Everyone returned safely from Saltspring, with Caroline and Hugh voyaging back in the Optimist, and Katie, Max and I following in the motorhome. Now it was time to get back to normal. Max and Brandy were reunited for their walks and very happy to see each other. School started for Hugh and the girls, though we still made time for fun things like a trip to the PNE and pro-D-day hikes around Sasamat Lake.  There were also dutiful activities to resume, such as going to church.  Sunday School had not yet started, so on our first visit to St. Alban’s, the girls had to sit with us through the service. Katie leaned against me after the first reading and asked:  “Is God’s name Peter?”
I said, “No, what makes you think that?” to which she replied:
“Well, after the readings, everyone always says, ‘Thanks, Peter God.’”
Katyisms were always so cute!

Big Max and Little Max.

September also marked Max’s second birthday. No one ever deserved the title Terrible Two more. Katie had ordained that Max should share her birthday each year, so it was quite the occasion. Kate roared into our room first thing in the morning and leaped at the presents, and while she opened hers, Caroline helped Max open his.  Max sampled all his tidbits and was very happy with these interesting parcels, though he was quite indignant when we made him take his coated chew toy onto the deck.  He kept trying various ways to sneak it back in and couldn’t understand why I didn’t want brown slobbery stains on my white bedroom carpet. Finally when he’d chewed off all the dye, we let him bring it inside, though that was a mistake as the triumphant look on his face meant he figured he had worn us down and won the battle.  The day followed with a riotous party and sleepover for the children. My parents bravely joined us, which was particularly noble of my father since he was by now undergoing radiation, but Max was very grateful for his namesake’s presence, given the plethora of excited little girls running around the house. He was able to go to Gamma for protection.

Guard Dog in Concert – Max’s debut show.

Now that the holidays were over, Hugh and I were working hard on the puppet shows again. Three projects were in the works: an updated recording of Babes in the Woods, plus two new ones, The Birthday Bug and Guard Dog in Concert. The latter was Max’s official first show. New recording artists were being brought in, so I was auditioning men for the various roles. Bob Werner became our new Robin Hood, and Brian Leonard and Mike Scannell came on stream to take on character roles. I still had not found a voice for Max, but had been given a few leads, so was hopeful that I would find someone soon. Max was a little bewildered by all these visitors to the house, and tended to glower at the newcomers, belying his ‘Ho Hum Husky’ official title. He was also a little put out by having to sit for photo sessions, which were necessary for our new brochure since he was now to be part of the company. He sulked a bit, which showed in his official portrait, but the process was a great test of his ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ training.

The official portrait.

Finally the brochures were ready, and on the day I was to pick them up from the printer, I took Max along for the ride. On the way, we stopped at Tisol where we were given a beautiful canister for buying a large bag of Iams.  Max was ecstatically happy to see the man from the store putting boxes of food and biscuits in his car.  He wagged his tail and elevated his nose, once again belying his ‘Ho Hum’ title, but at least he’d stopped glaring. Then we were off to Richmond to pick up the brochures, which were absolutely gorgeous. Max was most excited to see more gentlemen putting boxes in our car, and when we got home, he watched me carry every single one inside. However, he was very disappointed when the cartons only produced paper.

Where's that ball?
Where’s that ball?

He was also disappointed the next day, since Edna had to take Brandy to the vet, so he had to go through his morning walk alone. He still looked sulky when we got home, so, thinking he needed some more outside time, I sat in the garden while I had my morning coffee and did the crossword. Since I was not actually playing with him, he looked rather bored, so I suggested he get a ball.  He looked about, couldn’t see one, so put his front paws up on the garden table and got down an apple.  When later, I recounted this to Hugh, he said: “That dog has a better understanding of Geometry concepts than some of my pupils!”

The Terrible Two.
The Terrible Two.

The next day, Brandy was back on duty, so she and Max had a lovely romp together in the woods. However, Max surprised us with a disconcerting new trick. To my horror, he burrowed his way into a culvert that went all the way under the path.  Edna and I called him frantically, trying to get him to back out, but as we stood on the path waiting for him to emerge, he came up behind us having gone all the way through. He looked very pleased with himself, but given the narrowness of the passage, he could have easily got stuck. Max had no idea how much he’d scared me. That night, I had had a nightmare about closed-in spaces.  When I woke up and told Hugh what had triggered the dream he ambled off to make tea, and as he opened the bedroom door I heard him say, “Bad dog!”  Poor Max came trotting in looking bewildered as if to say, “How could I have been bad yet.  I’ve been asleep!”

Episode Forty-eight: Now we are terrible two!