02 June 2010

happiness is puppies. or more specifically, a pug puppy.

{I apologize in advance for how long this is.  Actually, I don't really apologize for that.  It's a good story, and you should—if you really want to—stick with it all the way to the end.  If this motivates you at all to keep reading, I'll put a picture of my little pug puppy at the end.}

I locked myself out of my apartment building this morning.  At 5:30.

I assume this is because God wanted to teach me something.  When you do something absolutely ridiculous, it's a good idea to assume that God is giving you a growth opportunity because if you start looking for the lesson, you'll stop focusing so intently on how stupid you feel.

This concept also works if you start looking for the good things that can come out of a bad situation.  {This is my equivalent of playing Pollyanna's Glad Game.}

The bad situation this morning was pretty obvious.

It wasn't even 6am.
It was raining.
How long would I have to sit here before it was an appropriate hour to ask a neighbor to buzz me in?

{And inside, there was coffee and a journal waiting for me.  In the split second before I realized I'd left my keys inside, I'd been thinking about how I would skip my tennis class this morning and instead make French press coffee and do some writing.}

Plus, I had a pug with me. The pug was, in fact, the whole reason I was outside at 5:30.  Keyless.

My parents have loaned me their little pug for the week.  Lena charms all my friends, who seem to want to come over more frequently when she's around.  We go on lots of walks.  She and I hang out in my reading nook—she sitting on my lap, me reading.  I let her sleep on my bed last night, and she curled up in the nook my knees make.

And then this morning, I let her hang out in the foyer of my building.  Something new for her!

I tried to pretend—for the pug's sake—that this was just part of our crazy morning routine.  Lena is a nervous little pug, and I didn't want her getting worked up over my mistake.  When she gets worked up, she snorts a lot, and I knew that an echo of pug snorts filling the foyer wasn't going to help me think of a way out of this situation.

{Look, I gave you a picture earlier than promised!  Under promise and over-deliver, that's my motto.  
Although in this case, I just didn't do what I said I would.}

Because of course I tried to think of a way out, besides just sitting there, waiting for one of my neighbors to wake up.

Sitting and waiting is never the most obvious solution to me—makes me feel like I'm not trying very hard, and aren't all problems solved by trying very, very hard?

This morning, I came up with a few pretty great ideas for getting inside.

  I could climb the tree by my balcony.  It's some sort of pine, if that helps you imagine how easy it would be to climb—all those branches sticking straight out, making a ladder for me.  What I couldn't figure out is how I would get from the tree to the balcony, a good 8 feet.

I saw myself climbing to the end of one of the branches.  It'd bend under my weight, then flick me up and over the railing.  I could even add in a flip.  Then I remembered that I don't live in a cartoon world and the tree branch would not act as my springboard.  It also most certainly would not make that boing sound when it launched me.

  I could climb my neighbor Chris' balcony.  His balcony is actually scaleable.  But then I was left with the problem of being on his balcony and not wanting to be the creepy neighbor who shows up on your balcony at 5:30, dripping wet from climbing your balcony in the rain.  Balcony climbing is really only appropriate in Verona and if your name is Romeo.

I could climb the foyer wall.  My building's foyer is three stories high, but one of the inside walls only goes partway up.  Then it opens to the staircase and has a railing.  All I would need to do is climb the wall, just to where I could reach the railing.  Then, using my massive arm strength, I'd pull my body up and over the railing.  I'd be home free.

Unfortunately {but fortunately when you think of it from a general safety perspective}, there are no good footholds in the foyer wall.  There are also no good places to grip.  If I were Spider-Man, this wouldn't be a problem, but then again, if I were Spider-Man, I probably wouldn't be in this situation, sitting in a foyer with a pug on a rainy morning in the Chicago suburbs.

So those were all my options, and let's face it, none of them were very practical.  They involved me being a cartoon, creepy, and a superhero.

Little Lena had crawled in my lap as I imagined all this.  She was sitting so happily and contentedly, as if it were perfectly normal to go out for an early morning potty break and then spend some quality time hanging out in a foyer.

I hugged her, and she licked my glasses.  It was a beautiful moment.

Maybe the lesson that God was trying to teach me was that I need to slow down and sit happily and contentedly for a little while.

My schedule is usually so crammed full—of good things!—that it's a challenge for me to know what to do with the empty spaces.  I fill those with productivity:  cleaning, laundry, journalling, writing cards to friends.  But it's very rare for me just sit.

This morning, I just sat with a still-sleepy pug on my lap.

I prayed for whatever came to mind:  for a good friend who just left on a road trip, for my teacher friends wrapping up the school year, for my non-teacher friends who aren't wrapping up the year, for my nieces, for my parents.

I said a little thankful prayer for this time to sit quietly and for all the other good stuff in my life.

And then I heard movement in one of the apartments.  Lena heard it, too, and got a bit snorty, which made it hard to figure out which apartment it was coming from.

I left her inside, looking a little confused {a common look for a pug with their buggy eyes}, and I went out in the rain to see if anyone had their lights on.

There, out on his balcony, was Hal, tending to his plants.  Hal and his wife, Jackie, who live above me, helped me the other time I locked myself out of my building {only one other time!}.

I called up to him, “Good morning!  I've been very silly and locked myself and my little pug out of the building.  Could you please buzz me in?”

I heard his wife from the kitchen:  “Oh, honey, that's okay!  We all do that sometimes!  And look at you out there without your rain slicker on!”  I was, in fact, in a white t-shirt and shorts.  Not the best rain gear.

I thanked them, went into the foyer, and picked up Lena, who likes to be held like a baby, cradled on your hip.

The security door buzzed, and in we went, to some French press coffee for me and a bowl of dog food for my happy, contented little pug.

 {Lena when my parents first got her a few years ago.  
She's meeting the older pug, Solomon, for the first time.
I dare you to name one thing you don't like about pugs 
after reading this story and seeing these pictures.}


  1. Oh my gosh, Lena's so tiny in the picture with Solomon...did she just fit in your hand? Bless her little heart! :)

  2. Wait, doesn't "bless her little heart" mean something bad down South? Are you insulting my little pug puppy? :)

  3. Great story, Kami! I especially like the lesson - isn't it amazing how a pug can be content just about anywhere? And meanwhile we get a little panicky when things deviate even slightly from our plans :)

    Maybe I'll spend some quality time sitting with my puggy in the morning...learn the zen of pug!

  4. I can be the same way when it comes to sitting still, but I loved your thoughts!

    And that is the cutest puppy ever! Thanks for the extra picture halfway through. :-)

  5. Isn't it nice when you are FORCED to wait somewhere-- look what a nice story & reflection comes out of it! Plus nice prayers for friends who are on road trips. I like that part. :)



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