From the outside, my house looks picture-perfect. We live in a great neighborhood at the end of a cul-de-sac. Our yard is sunny, the area is quiet, and the house is everything you’d want in a house…if you’re a family with older kids or no kids. For families with young kids, it’s terrible. We bought the house before the rugrats were little more than a twinkle in my eye, and we let the house’s “glamour” outweigh its practicality. We have a “palatial first floor master suite” (as the listing called it) that abuts a “library” (a pretentious name for an office with built-ins) – both rooms sit in a separate section of the house, away from all of the other living spaces. The realtor called it a “peaceful retreat” which is codeword for: I cannot hear a thing that’s going in the rest of the house when I’m in my bedroom.

When we bought the house, we vaguely knew that this arrangement wasn’t ideal for little kids but I derived a plan where we would turn the “library” into a nursery when baby number 1 came along. My plan explicitly laid out the fact that by the time baby number 2 came along, we’d all move upstairs as a family unit. Well, my best laid plans were foiled when baby 1 and baby 2 came at EXACTLY THE SAME TIME.

So, did we all move upstairs when the twins were born? Nope.

Enter the neurotic dog…

My dog is GROSS. There’s no other way to put it. He smells, humps everything in sight and farts constantly. Sometimes when he farts, he sharts, too. Not firm milk-dud like turds, but more like something resembling Nutella. He spends his entire day finding a soft surface to rub his ears, face, butt and private parts. There’s not a single day that I can come home from work and not find a snail trail of dog poop or slobber smeared someplace it isn’t meant to be. In all seriousness, he’s neurotic. We adopted him when he was already grown – they estimated about 6 years old – and he hadn’t been neutered when we got him (for those of you who don’t know, dogs neutered late in life can still retain some aggression even once neutered). I personally think he was abused by his prior owners because he freaks out at weird stuff, and barks at flying monkeys ALL.FREAKING.DAY. Because of his anxiety, he’s destroyed the front door trim, all the windowsills, and parts of the wood floor. I spend my free time cleaning the mess and damage caused by this dog. His one redeeming quality is that he’s fiercely loyal and LOVES my husband and kids. This also means that if he’s in any part of the house that the kids or husband are not, he goes legit bonkers. The only reason why I’ve put up with the dog is because I know how much he loves hubby and the kids, and I couldn’t bear to send him back to the concrete jungle known as the doggie pound; especially since I believe he had a bad start in life.

So, what’s the connection between moving upstairs and the crazy dog??

The upstairs of my house is spacious, in good condition, and clean because no one really lives up there. In order to keep it this way, the dog isn’t allowed upstairs. The first time that my husband went upstairs to sleep in the guest room, he left the dog downstairs and the dog went berserk. The dog barked as if he were being tortured, pawed at the carpet and baby gate that sits at the base of the stairs, and basically worked himself into a tizzy. By the time he succeeded in moving the gate aside enough to run upstairs, his innards had gotten worked up to the point that he diarrhea-pooed all over the place; both upstairs and downstairs. I found myself shampooing dog diarrhea out of a white carpet (please don’t ask me why the prior owners put in white…) and disinfecting tile floors at 2AM while tending to two tiny infants who needed to feed every 4 hours. This scenario has repeated itself on a few other occasions when the kids were upstairs, or when hubby has spent extended time up there. Basically, if anyone is up there (besides me because the dog doesn’t give a cr*p, literally, about where I am), I can count on the house being destroyed.

So, now here we are – held captive by a dog on the first floor of a house that is largely unused; crammed into our impractical but “palatial” master suite, while the kids share a “bedroom” that was never intended to be a bedroom. All because my dog is nuts and I prefer not to wreck the rest of my house.

So the moral of the story is this: 1) Think twice before you let form dictate function; 2) At the end of the day, these are all first world problems…I look back on it all and realize that we are lucky to have a roof over our heads, and that my dog is lucky to have gotten a second chance on life.