Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Dog on Roof

I'm not sure when I developed a sense that my family was different from other families. When you grow up in a certain environment you just expect that that is the norm. It seems perfectly normal to say "Blast off the dishes" rather than the traditional "start the dishwasher." And really I thought all people had a song for every family event from fathers coming home to brushing your teeth.

Then somewhere in elementary school or maybe by the time I hit young womens I realized that some people are popularly considered "normal" run of the mill and some people are not. You know the type I mean. If these people were pennys they would be shiny enough to be noticed but not flashy enough to be considered exceptional.

These normal people talk about boating and going out on the lake. Their children always have their hair parted and their shoes shined. Their car's are always clean and they would NEVER eat a picnic dinner on their front lawn. Come to think of it they don't eat on their back porch either. These people's houses do not have objects like lamps, book cases and vacuums which were at one time abandoned by their previous owners and adopted back into household circulation.

What is more these people don't go exploring. Everywhere I have lived my parents have made it a policy to go explore the neighborhood. I think one of the main reasons my father didn't enjoy our Phoenix neighborhood was because it was too normal. Suburbia without a forest near by to explore or a river around the bend to throw rocks into.

My family has NEVER fit into that perfect Mormon family mold. I think I might have begun to realize that in 4th grade. My church group (we were called merry misses I cheesy) of all girls hosted a 50's dance Daddy daughter type deal. All of us 10 year olds wore poodle skirts with scarves in our hair. We created a juke box out of card board and were so excited! On the night of the dance everyone's father came wearing a suit. Except my Dad. He got the announcement that this was a 50's dance and he didn't want to be left out of the fun. He wore jeans and a white tee-shirt with his hair slicked back and a pack of cards rolled up in his sleeve like some smokes. I think he tried to put a fake cigarette behind his ear but my mom told him no so he replaced it with a comb.

We moved a lot my entire life growing up. I didn't really mind. I liked meeting new people and moving gave everyone a chance for a fresh start. Sometimes I wistfully imagined that the forth coming move would turn us into the "Normal" family. None of us would ever wear mis-matching clothes. We would buy fancy new furniture etc.

I moved to a small Utah town just before my junior year of high school. Once again this was a fresh start. For the first time in my life my family bought a beautiful house in the towns wealthiest neighborhood. All of our neighbors were "Normal" people. They all had yachts and took them to a near by lake every Saturday. Now my family has never been one to keep up with the Joneses but my dad thought we should have a boat too. He went to the local pawn shop and purchased a shiny red canoe. Now we were part of the neighborhood.

Except we weren't. We've never been. Now least you think I'm complaining or feel myself deprived in any way realize that I would not change my upbringing for the world. What boring lives those other families must have. They have never explored abandoned box cars mere miles from the front porch or canoed down countless streams a yacht would never dare to go. Can they entertain themselves with round upon round of "Dead Armadillo"? I think not! I do realize I'm bias but our family had so much more JOY. Why did none of the other fathers go all out with a 50's costume to support their 10 year old daughter? I had it so good! So we didn't have matching furniture but we did travel all over Europe including Israel and Turkey. We read lots of books and had hundreds of adventures.

SO how does this apply to dog on roof? Well my family once again moved over Christmas. They moved to the Indian Hills behind Provo and once again none of their rich neighbors would ever use an abandoned vacuum no matter how it sucked.

No one has any intentions of trying to be "Normal" but at least we make an effort not to seem too eccentric. The first few weeks in the house it seemed the plan was working. Until a neighbor knocked on the door to ask us if we were aware we had a dog on our roof.

Apparently Max the family dog didn't realize that we were trying to be incognito. With in a few weeks at the new house Max realized that he could jump from the balcony to the railing and onto the roof. Perched on the roof he could bark at bikers past or see into all of the neighbor's back yards. Never before had Max exhibited any signs of "Cat like" behavior such as roof sitting. I've seen it myself with my own eyes. I drove down to visit my family and when Max heard my car pull into the driveway. There he was wagging his tail 12 feet above me looking down.

We realized the cat was out of the bag on our "normal status" when a police officer knocked on the door one Saturday afternoon. (I guess Saturday afternoon is a pretty low key time for Provo police) My father opened the door.

"Sir do you know you have a dog on your roof." The police officer said.
"Is it illegal to have a dog on your roof?" My father responded.

Instead of answering my father's question the cop explained "Some of the neighbors have called and are concerned about the safety of the dog."

Apparently THEIR dogs never realize how much fun a roof can be. So much for Normal.


Arwen said...

I think this is your best blog entry yet! I wish I could see Max on the roof. And you are right, Normal is overrated.

The UnMighty said...

Did you already know that you also had a human on your roof?

Daniel said...

Dear Joanie,
This entry is so funny! I loved it! Besides who's to say that we aren't normal? Just because we burst into song 24/7, or explore box cars. Well maybe I'm not doing anything to help my case.

heidikins said...

Hahah! This is a fantastic post! Love it! The real question is why isn't Hollywood knocking on your door asking to sign your super-talented dog to a 5-year contract?


Anonymous said...

For the record, I got engaged in one of those boxcars. Yes, really. Very funny blog.

The UnMighty said...

Ya, about today. It was that "time of the month" when I needed to take care of my "guy stuff" and by the time I was done, class was over. I feel horrible about it.

Emily and Nikolas said...

Ha ha, this is amazing, I love this blog post. By the way, I don't believe there is such a thing as "normal" and if there is... well none our families fit into that mold and I'm glad that we don't. I loved your families random singing (all the time) whenever we got to see you guys! ;) Anyway, I love your blog, you are truly a fantastic writer!