I love Lucy (well, that’s not quite so)

Published 10:04am Wednesday, July 30, 2014

So I was listening to my friend describe her panic attack, with its extreme anxiety and loss of self-control, when I had a thought: this disorder sounds a lot like an old-fashioned hissy fit. It’s highly possible that I recognized the correlation because I’ve had a few of my own lately (hissy fits, that is), and I confess they’re all related to the arrival of Lucy, a young lady my son brought home a few weeks ago.

As soon as he introduced me to this flame-haired vixen, I knew she was trouble. That’s why I pulled him aside and begged him to reconsider the entanglement.

“You hardly know her,” I pleaded, “and you’re definitely not ready for such a serious relationship.” I even tried the “Sure, she’s beautiful now, but what about in 10 years when she’s going on 70 (in dog years)?” line. But in this case it seems I wielded no more veto power than a puppet queen, good only for perfunctory duties like buying bacon-flavored treats and repairing chewed-through leashes.

Who cares if Lucy is a golden pedigreed pooch with the papers to prove it? So far we are the ones doing all the retrieving – of missing flip flops and anything else we dare leave on the patio. But what really has the potential of putting me in the highly agitated/panic attack category is something else – her strange appetite.

This dog eats swimming noodles, then dribbles the blue Styrofoam crumbs down our driveway like a message for Hansel and Gretel. She licks the petals off my zinnias and takes a bite out of every pear that falls from our tree. Most recently I stopped her from consuming the “W” from a rubber welcome mat. Not be deterred, she moved on to an unsuspecting horsefly instead.

Hardly a week into our tenuous relationship something happened, however, that threatened to move my reactions to Lucy’s behavior from the hissy fit category into something higher on the Richter scale – the all-out conniption fit.

Morning dawned bright and beautiful, and I told myself, “Yes, I’ll pause a moment and take it all in from the porch, sit a while right here …” And that’s when I discovered our 40-pound puppy’s latest snack preference – two rocking chairs and a side table.

My son gave Lucy a scolding and casually remarked that paint should make it all better, a response that upset me because: a) he in no way indicated that the sight of my gnawed-on rockers was worthy of a hissy fit and b) he in no way indicated he would do the painting.

I gently told my son (at least I like to think I did) that while paint can do a lot, it cannot replace bite-sized chunks of wood. I also gently told him (well, maybe not) that his end-of-summer-break camping/canoeing trip on the Okatoma hinges upon his completion of the repairs. It’s nice to have leverage.

I’m happy to report that as I type, the chairs’ final coat of paint is drying. That means my son will soon throw a tent in his truck and gather up hot dogs and everything else required to survive in the wilderness.

Something has me thinking about panic attacks again, though, and it’s not the fact that he and his friends are heading out on such an adventure. It’s that Lucy will be staying home. With me.

 Wesson resident Kim Henderson is a freelance writer who writes for The Daily Leader. Contact her at kimhenderson319@gmail.com.