The phone, the phone. I picked the clock up and squinted at it.
8:20? What the f-
Wearily I stumbled to the sitting room and picked up the receiver.
'Snifff...sofa...carpet...hand made rug from Marrakeesh...chewed straight through capble of lamp...on sheepskin rung...stinking...sniff'
'She's destroying my home!'
'The dog?' I try not to laugh out loud, of course it is the dog, all four inches of shivering eyes.Poppy's Big Surprise-shortened to Angel, clearly had a few surprises of her own up her designer doggy sleeve.
'She's not a dog, she's a...she's a...shit machine! I got up this morning and found four piles in the kitchen and she managed to get out under the screen I put up and -'
Anyway, you get the picture it went on in this vein for quite some time.
I let Etheline rabbit on because while I don't know why she would expect a ten week old pup to behave as anthing other than a ten week old pup, I do have a certain level of sympathy for my dear sister.
So I let her rant, drowsily, wondering idly if I should make an appointment with the waxer in Malahide. I still haven't forgiven her for the balding she gave me at Christmas, so I decide I won't go, I'll shape it myself into a heart, or a mushroom, or if I'm feeling adventurous, a thunder bolt although I tried that a few weeks ago and it just looked like I had mange.
'What am I going to do?' Etherline wailed. 'I can't leave her out the back, my neighbour says she's small enough for a hawk or a fox to take her!'
'Um.'I say. Tough shit, I think. You should have thought of all this before you bought her.
'How can something so tiny be so...destructive?'
'She's a dog Etheline, dogs, even small ones, act like dogs.'
'Can I drop her off with you this morning?'
'Nope. I won't be here. I'm getting my hair done at twelve. Anyway I'm not sure that the cats wouldn't kill her.'
'They wouldn't, she's surprisingly vicious when she wants to be.'
After another few minutes she rings off. I make coffee.
Etheline and I are polar opposite when it comes to our homes. I like textures, velvet drapes, chenille throws, suede, leather, I like deep yellows and reds, lots of wood, books, antique lamps, rugs, pictures, old mirrors, I like tassles for heaven's sake. This is a pain in the arse, because as the owner of three cats and their never ending balls of hair, rich fabric means lots of washing and shaking things on the terrace and grumbling, but hey, that's my lot.
Etheline likes cream, she likes white and colours called 'duck egg blue' and 'twillight hint' and shit like that, she likes chrome lamps and stiff linens, her wardrobes (beech) are full of light bright clothes and neat preppy tops. Her bathroom is dazzling, her towels match and are white, her kitchen is pristine and her plates and cutlery match. Her living room looks stylishly cool and no one has ever coughed in there let alone spilled wine/beer/coffee, dropped crisps, played cards and yelled at the telly on fight night. There is no hair anywhere and no animal has turned one side of a cord sofa into a scratching post.
So the sudden realization that my sister's neat uncluttered hoome is being systimatically destroyed by something smaller than a bag of suger and that she paid handsomely for this pleasure makes me laugh and wince at the same time.
Animals, even designer ones all carry a price, and as I gaze across the room to the partically destroyed side of my large three seater sofa, I can shrug and take it in my stride. The bigger of the cats is snoozing in a patch of sunlight, I am going to ruffle his head in a moment and then I am going to go and make toast.
Etheline has a lot to learn.