peccadillos in concrete

In a sermon today, we heard the parable of the rich guy whose objective was to build bigger barns to store his stuff so he could live the good life (Luke 12: 13 -21). But he was unwise, in that his focus on himself had no room for God, or thinking of others. And his future life of idle happiness was, according to Jesus’ parable, very much in doubt. I thought about that today as my wife and I have been diligent in recent weeks in taking Dexter and Comet away from the house to relieve themselves. For several weeks already, and for at least several more weeks, work has been going on remaking our landscaping. We have been keeping it free of dog pee and poop in that time.

concrete, stamped, patio
Stamped Concrete: Form and Function

Until mid-August, we had a doggie door leading to the back yard for twenty-four hour access. With cracked concrete and mostly dirt yard in back as their very own, it came as a hard lesson in behavior modification (both for me and for them) to walk them out several times per day so they would relieve themselves. With newly laid stamped concrete still pending sealant all around the premises, we cannot let our canine pals retreat into old habits. Observing that Dexter is in no way altering his water-inhaling habit, the five potty-walks may remain. More walking does me good and the dirt, mud and dust will be less keeping the door shut. Until I am assured they would use a planned “potty corner” for those night-time urges, I doubt they would refrain from initiating the new concrete if given unrestricted access.

Now, this sounds a bit like that rich guy, obsessing about his possessions, but I have not had anything worth unreasonable obsession in two decades of marriage. Preventing Dexter and Comet from marking up the new concrete before our concrete man returns to clean and seal it, is more of a nod to the artist who created it for us. And that is what it seemed when we saw the final product. Art. I do not know how many artists you may know, but I allowed him to execute his ‘vision’; All of it came out beautifully.

I do not want to explain any stains that might befall his handiwork before he “turns it over” to me.

So that is why I was briefly mortified the other day. One of our sons came to visit, and at that moment, Dexter whined to go out in the yard. As Matt called out to us about letting Dexter out to pee, out through the opened door, Dexter went peeing on the new concrete. The choked horror I uttered as I dashed from garage to kitchen for a pail of water, to the backyard concrete, startled not just Matt but Dexter also.

Fortunately, Francisco is not going to be around for at least another week. Once the sealant is applied, the occasional accident will not be a cause for artistic angst. Unfortunately, we have to get through at least a month of 5AM, Noon, 5PM, 8PM and occasional 3AM potty hustles till most of the outdoor work is complete. But I am not going to get overworked about it.

That rich fool never got to enjoy his big barns. Or his concrete. But the next owner probably did.


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