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2002-11-11 | 8:36 a.m.

Criminy's in the kitchen, washing dishes inadequately. Jinx is in the living room, singing a made-up song with the violence and energy of a Viking. Strange ejaculations punctuate the ditty: "Boulderhead!" "Carnivores!" "Aaaaaaaaaggghhh!" Felony is still asleep. I am sitting here at the computer, early-morning fetid and itchy, writing this.

Criminy comes crashing into the jungle that is this room. I've already checked to make sure she is wearing shoes. That is the extent to which I am a good mother. I have not yet dealt with the health hazard that prompts the inspection, but I have a goal to pull up the urine-soaked carpet and replace with something well before Christmas.

Last night I went to Duff and said, "So what do we do? Put her down?" Duff said it wouldn't be right, which actually made my heart zing with happiness. "Put her in doggie diapers?" I continued.

I told him what I'd really like to do is get one of those Igloo dog houses and a big sheepskin and confine her to a relatively small area of the basement. I wish it could be somewhere we could just hose out, but that might be difficult to pull off since the only suitable spot would be near the garage door, which is a good forty feet from the back door she will use to go out.

Just putting some thought into it and having him confirm my own feelings was great. And part of my warm fuzzy feeling stems from him not suggesting some entirely different scheme. He does it more often than not and I find it incredibly enervating. I know that in a relationship, theoretically, both people are supposed to work on problems together. But after I mull something over for two hours or two days or two weeks and then tell him what I've come up with, and he INSTANTLY has a "better" idea, and says, "No, let's do this instead," it just makes me feel horrible. I want to scream, "You're not my boss! You're not my supervisor, my manager, my superior! I do not need your approval!" I just find it incredibly morale-leeching and, of course, he doesn't even realize he's doing it. He thinks he's just pitching in and improving upon the groundwork that I've laid. But to me it feels like he's sending me the message that he's smarter than I am, and his ideas have more value than mine (because once his idea is on the table, mine must be defended to within an inch of its life). It's times like those when I just long to live alone and make a decision on my own and not have to be bothered with anybody else's anything. Of course, if I lived alone it would come with a whole host of different problems, but knowing that doesn't make the longing go away.

Anyway, I didn't start out trying to be negative. The point is, we had a discussion that made me feel a little spark of happiness and I wish more of our home-related discussions could go like that.

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