9 O’clock Bum Bum

I believe the above phrase began with my younger brother.  Arlan is a retired Army Colonel now, but as a child he had a unique way with words.  He called our next door neighbor, Mrs. Whiteaker “Dazzo.”  When he got a splinter in his finger, he had “a fiffeo in his fineo.”  (Spell check disapproves of all of those, by the way.)  Arlan is “too young” to remember this but as near as my older sister and I can recall, “Bum Bum” is what he called our mother’s father, Grandpa Anderson, and when Grandpa and Grandma were visiting, nine o’clockwas generally when they came upstairs from their downstairs apartment.

Eventually, nine o’clock bum bum worked its way into the family vernacular, and when the folks issued those words as a command, it meant it was bedtime for everyone.  Before television made its way over the Divide and down the canyons to Warren, Arizona, nine o’clock was pretty much everyone’s bedtime.  Only after the advent of TV did people start staying up for the ten o’clock news and then going to bed at ten fifteen sharp instead of nine.

So now this story is going to segue off in another direction.  (Segue not to be confused with the motorized vehicle, Segway!)  For years, especially in the Beaumont books, I wrote about people having yappy “little dogs.”  (By the way, Spellcheck disapproves of yappy as well.  I have to trick her to keep her from automatically changing it back to “happy.”)  I disapproved of little dogs, you see, because I had big dogs—an Irish wolfhound and two pairs of steady-as-you-go golden retrievers.

And then, because of Bella, we became Dachshund people.  And now we have not one but two yappy little dogs.  There are people out in the yard pruning trees at the moment, and the dogs are barking like crazy.  We have several deliveries set for today, so today is going to be one of those barking mad days, and you know what?  I deserve it.

For years, I told my daughter not to worry if she came home a little late to feed her dogs or if she had to feed them early for some reason.  “Dogs can’t tell time,” I told her with great motherly assurance.  “They won’t notice.”  Like hell!

Jojo, our younger little yappy dog tears up dog beds, but she doesn’t tear up dog toys.  She uses them as a means of communication.  She has one particularly obnoxious squeaky toy, a lobster.  She has learned that if she grabs that and squeezes it like crazy while standing at our feet with reproachful looks aimed in our direction her food will come sooner than later. Mary doesn’t stoop to squeaking, but she’s a master when it comes to reproachful looks.  And when we can’t stand either the looks or that ungodly racket another moment?   Viola!  Like magic dog dishes are deployed and food appears.  For reasons of convenience, the dogs’s evening feeding time slowly was dialed up from five PM to three PM on the dot.  Which is exactly the time when Jojo starts squeaking these days, come hell or high water, daylight savings time or not.  

Due to doggie digestive systems, eating earlier in the afternoon is not a good idea because things tend to, let’s just say, run their course at inconvenient times, (like the middle of the night.)   This is not a good idea if you happen to have another yappy little dog who has to be personally escorted to the door.  (Mary is not a fan of doggy doors.)  As a consequence, we’ve been slowly moving doggy dinner time to later in the evening—4:30 PM.  The problem in making that change is that Jojo still starts squeaking—relentlessly—at 3 PM.

My friend,Alice, had a tiny little dog named Slick, a silky terrier—another yappy little dog—who started trying to get them to go to bed at eight pm.  I thought that was hilarious.  But here’s the thing, Karma is a bitch!  Jojo has now become our 9 o’clock Bum Bum yappy little dog.  She gives us until 9:15, actually, but at that point, she establishes permanent eye contact with Bill and insists it’s bedtime.  So who’s laughing now?  Alice and the ghost of Slick.

So yes, having dogs in the family can be … well … challenging, but I wouldn’t want to live without them.  

We’re considering changing Jojo’s name to Bum Bum, but that hasn’t happened yet.