All things considered, the transition from house to condo that my wife and I made a while back went rather swimmingly. Some might say we 'downsized'. I prefer to say that we 'simplicized'.
(As one might do by making up a new word when the dictionary doesn't provide the one you're looking for. As in, say, 'simplicized'.
Circles within circles, my friends. Circles within circles.)
To be sure, there was a bit of creative decorating involved in cramming six rooms of house furniture into four condo rooms. I 'creatively decorated' the inside of a dumpster with junk several times, and still we overflowed to fill our new basement storage space to the bursting point.
(With what? I still don't have a clue -- I've never even seen half that crap down there before. And I can't figure out why we'd want any of it badly enough to keep it around. I'm pretty sure if we ever really need a leaky cooler or a patio chair missing a leg, I'll be able to buy a fresh one.
I'm convinced that either my wife is secretly sneaking off to Goodwill for hoarding material, or the junk down there is somehow getting together and reproducing. I'm fully expecting to walk down there one day and find the extra curtain rods bumping uglies with our old broken toaster.
How, you ask? Awkwardly, I guess. Just like the rest of us.)
Anyway, once we took half of our worldly possessions and sold, chucked or traded them for booze, the missus and I settled into our new place like it was a soaking tub full of warm soapy water.
(Also? The new place doesn't have a soaking tub. But I've heard of such things. We've got Kennedys hanging around the city, remember. Word gets around.)
And of course we assimilated nicely -- what's there to fight, really? We traded step shoveling, grass mowing, leaf raking, bush whacking and gutter de-glomming for... well. For less hassle, certainly. I pulled a kid's frisbee out of the hedge beside the condo front door this summer. That's about the closest I've been to 'yard work' in over a year.
Truth be told, the only wrinkle in our transition has to do with the mutt. It's not as though she's struggled with it, exactly -- I frankly don't think she's bright enough for that -- but her little furry brain and years of positive reinforcement have come back to bite my wife and I in the ass.
The problem boils down to this: In our old house, the living room led to the kitchen, the kitchen to a tiny mud room, and that room -- via a doggie door -- to an enclosed chain-link kennel where the dog could do her business if no walker was available. Or if, say, a walker was available, but really wanted to finish dinner first. Or was in the middle of his favorite Seinfeld rerun. Or it was cold outside, or the clouds looked ominous, or it was Saturday and I wish I could help, but the floor is lava on Sundays and the only way to save myself is to stay on the couch so I don't spontaneously combust already.
You may get the impression that the dog spent regular 'quality time' visiting the kennel latrine. Very astute of you.
Now here's the layout in our new place: the living room again leads to the kitchen, which leads to a hallway, which leads to a small room in the back of unit. Tiny little thing; you could maybe squeeze a mattress in and call it a guest bedroom -- assuming you weren't particularly fond of your guests But it's not really made for that. As a bedroom, it's lacking the width for a big bed, a connected closet, or room for nightstands or dressers.
But as a kennel, it's downright luxurious. Except for that whole 'being fully enclosed inside' deal, which might deter one from dropping deuce in it every fricking time one felt the urge to offload a few Snausages.
The dog, I'm sorry to say, is not so deterred.
"There's no body wash on the planet that can compete with the funk of horsemeat and rawhide that's spent the last week up a dog intestine."
Somehow in her kibble-stained brain, the spatial position just seems to make sense. When the Fairy Turdmother calls, she can either find one of us to take her out -- or she can mosey back to that spot behind the kitchen where we always encouraged her to go, and squeeze it out there. The two choices are completely equivalent to her. And no amount of retraining, screaming or wrinkling up our noses and gagging at the rush of fresh scatwash emanating from the room has yet convinced her otherwise.
Instead, we find the doofus pooch trotting out of the back room, head bobbing and tail awag, as if to say:
'Whoa, look at what I just did! Sure am glad this condo came with a poop room, too! Hey, what's for dinner?'
And we peek inside to find the latest pungent half-digested nightmare, and we grab the hazmat tongs and Lysol-brand Holy God, Let's Mask That Stench With Lemon!™ and go to work.
I suppose it could be worse. We just have a couple of filing cabinets in that room right now. That could just as well have been the master bedroom, if the layout were a little different. Or a closet, or a pantry, or the place where the soaking tub is installed. And nobody wants that bobbing around their bathwater. There's no body wash on the planet that can compete with the funk of horsemeat and rawhide that's spent the last week up a dog intestine.
(Although that would make an awfully interesting Axe commercial. Someone alert the marketing weenies.)
So here we are, a year-plus into our condo tenure, and everything's just grand. Except that we obsessively follow the dog around like she's about to shit the second coming of Ashton Kutcher, so we can head her off at the hallway and hustle her looming turds out of the damned house. It's a fairly constant pain in the ass, and the price of failure is twenty minutes of scrubbing, disinfecting and choking on recycled Purina-brand ass candy fumes.
And you know what? Still, it beats the hell out of shoveling snow. Doggie door or not, man I love this condo.