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It has been almost two weeks since L’il Sis moved into her own place with The Pig as her non-paying roomie. It has been a long, quiet, lonely time here at Grandma’s. My plan ( carefully orchestrated) was to leave The Pig on her own in the apartment to get used to being bored and for L’il Sis to realize just how invaluable Grandma’s dog-sitting services are. Distance makes the heart grow fonder etc.

The first week Gill asked, “So, have you caved and had The Pig over to visit?”

“No, I have not,” I said proudly. “I’ve wanted to but I can’t spend an hour each day driving around town to pick her up and take her back. My plan is to wait until L’il Sis is desperate enough, i.e., when The Pig is overcome with angst and peed on the new carpet that she makes an offer to drive The Pig here and pick her up. I figure that’s a fair deal when I’m offering, out of the goodness of my heart, to take care of The Pig all day. Tit for tat, as it were. I’m not going to let myself be suckered into looking after the dog AND being her chauffeur. I will stand firm…”

“Sure you will, Ma. You tell yourself whatever you must to get through the day.”

Gill was correct in her assessment of my resolve. I have none. I miss The Pig being directly behind me in the kitchen, waiting for scraps to drop. I miss her lounging on the sofa, woebegone expression carefully calculated to stir my heartstrings. I miss eating lunch on the deck with her and Mrs. Beeton. We are ‘The Ladies Who Lunch’ club. There’s no freight train snoring noise when I nap during the day, no after-soup pee (short foray into the yard ostensibly to pee but actually to hunt critters in the periwinkle tangle). In short, I miss my little sidekick.

Now, I couldn’t simply demand that L’il Sis turn over the beagle to me since she is TECHNICALLY her dog but, after watching the recent Iranian negotiations, I figured that if Iran and the rest of the major powers could reach some agreement, I could certainly negotiate visitation rights with L’il Sis for The Pig.

I began slowly. When L’il Sis called one day to see if I could look after The Pig while she did some errands, I agreed. “But I don’t have a key to your new place yet so I can’t come over to get her…”

“Oh, that’s right! I forgot. I’ll have one made today.”

She chauffeured The Pig over (the dog triumphant in her return, riding shotgun to grandma’s) and we spent quality time together, just a beagle and her grandma. When L’il Sis returned, she said The Pig could come over any time. “Did you remember to have another key made?” I asked.

“Oh, sh*t!” she exclaimed. “I knew there was something else I had to do. Don’t worry. I’ll do it this week.”

The next time she came over, she brought the key. “But you’ll have to give me a lesson in how to use it,” I said. “You couldn’t get the lock to work when you first tried it…remember? You had to come here to phone the landlord since you’d locked your phone inside the apartment and the key wouldn’t work. We have to have a trial run before I’ll feel confident enough to spring The Pig on my own.”

“Well, I don’t have time now. But you’re right, we must do that! I guess I can drive her myself until we get the key sorted out.” My plan was working. And off she went.

A couple of days later, she called. “Mom, could you look after The Pig today so I can go to yoga class after work?”

“No problem. Can you bring her over on your way to work?”

“I won’t have time before work…couldn’t you swing by and get her?”

“I’d be happy to…except that I haven’t had the key lesson yet. Tell you what…I’ll pick The Pig up from your work. I’ll meet you there at 8:15 and that’s halfway for both of us.” That’s right, just call me John Kerry. When I explained later to a friend that I had picked up The Pig at work, she was amazed that The Pig was employed. “Oh, she doesn’t really work,” I corrected her. “But she’d be insulted if I suggested otherwise…”

To date, I’ve been successful in avoiding the drive to and fro from L’il Sis’ place but the really hard work, the intense part of the negotiations has yet to start. My preferred outcome would be to have L’il Sis deliver The Pig each day and pick her up after work. We could have the day together and then I’d get to return her…stuffed full of ill-advised treats, hyper, and spoiled rotten –just like a real grandkid. But unlike John Kerry, I can’t threaten more sanctions or military action to get my way. I have to grovel, perhaps shed a few tears, play on my daughter’s sympathy. She knows I’m a softie and this arrangement will likely end with me providing a ‘Meals on Wheels’ program for The Pig, delivering her homemade soup at soup o’clock every day. Perhaps I should call Benjamin Netanyahu…now there’s a guy who takes no prisoners and usually gets what he wants!

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