Tag Archives: house

What a good dog

I’m sitting here writing at my kitchen table and my dog, Steve, is just staring at me. He’s in the living room, he’s sitting on the couch, and his head is propped up at the armrest so he can stare at me without really expending any effort. I wonder what he’s thinking about, because he’s always staring at me.


I’ll be watching TV and I won’t be thinking about my dog at all, and then for whatever reason I’ll look his way, and he’ll be lying on his back on the floor, staring at me upside down. I’m not thinking about him, but he’s looking right at me. And so, no, I don’t know if that means he’s thinking about me. I can’t tell what’s going through anybody else’s head, let alone a dog’s. But when I’m staring directly at somebody or something, I’m usually thinking of them, if not actively, then my mind is at least making its mental registry.

Sometimes I’ll get up in the morning and I’ll be rushing around, trying to get out of the house on time. Right before I go, I’ll take Steve for a walk and then feed him breakfast. But, and he does this a lot, if I’m not there, he won’t eat. I won’t come back until much later in the afternoon and when I go in the kitchen, his bowl is still full from earlier in the day. And he comes in right behind me, because all he does is follow me around and stare at me, and then he starts chowing down. I’m like, were you waiting for me? Please, Steve, go ahead and eat without me, I won’t be offended.

And even that doesn’t make any sense, because while he’s nothing but a gentleman when it comes to his dog food, if I let my guard down at the wrong time, I’ll look over and, yeah, he’s staring at me still, but from under the kitchen table. That’s Steve-speak for, I just did something bad, and I’m hiding so that when you find out what I did, you won’t be able to see me.

Except that I can totally see you Steve, and you’re making it even more obvious, just constantly staring at me. I always wonder, when he busts into the garbage to start eating old aluminum foil or browned banana peels, is he still thinking about me? Is his constant eye contact really as affectionate as I’m making it out to be in my head? Or is he spending all of that time looking at me for plotting purposes, not wanting to miss the smallest opportunity to sneak behind my back and cause some destruction?

And now that I think about it, the whole not eating breakfast thing, what else are you eating, Steve? Do you have like a secret stash of garbage somewhere? I don’t want to give him too much credit, but he’s showed feats of intelligence before. Like after we realized that he was getting in the garbage, we bought a new can that closed automatically, the one where you step on a pedal to open it up. Steve learned how to work it. For months I had no idea what was going on, and then I caught him in the act, pressing his paws on the pedal and sticking his head in to bob for treasure. And when I threw that garbage can out and bought a new one that locked shut, I came home from work that day and found the entire trashcan on its side, dragged across the room.

So either he loves me, or he’s just really, really interested in what I’m up to, probably for some sort of selfish game. Or maybe it’s both. Maybe he loves me, but he also loves garbage equally. It would make sense. One time he broke through the barrier preventing him from going upstairs, he dragged the bathroom trashcan onto my bed and rolled around in all of my dirty Q-tips and used floss picks.

That was the worst, because when I came home that night, Steve was sitting on the couch like everything was cool. So I came over and started petting him, telling him how good of a dog he was. I wonder what went through his head, like wow, I really did a good job here, he really loves it when I get upstairs and make a huge mess in his bedroom. And I’m just like, “Yeah, good boy Steve, what a good dog.”

Everything was different

I walked through the door and everything was different. “Hi honey,” it sounded like my wife, but it it’s my wife. Everything is different, including her. Her hair is falling in a way not like it usually does, like, maybe more to the left? I don’t know, I can’t really articulate it, but this is all just slightly off, I’m looking at her, and it’s not right.


And her shirt, I’ve definitely seen that t-shirt before, it’s one of mine, or a pretty close facsimile of a shirt that I’d received like ten years ago at college, at some club, or one of the club fairs, one of the student groups was giving out free t-shirts to people that signed up for their email list. I’d never worn it, I think it was an XL, but my wife always wears these old oversized t-shirts around the house. Not this one though, it was … was the lettering off? I couldn’t tell if my shirt, like my real shirt, if there wasn’t maybe a hole under the left arm.

But it was definitely different. “What’s wrong?” this lady asks me, and I didn’t want to act not natural, in case whoever set this whole thing up was maybe looking for me to act all convinced. But I didn’t know what to say, it was like trying to smile a natural smile for a photograph, but you can’t fake it, you’re really trying but it looks crooked, I felt like any words that would have come out of my mouth right now would have been the same, it would have been a crooked giveaway. And this dog came up to me, again, it couldn’t have been my dog. They’re about the same size, yes, but the way my dog moves his feet when he comes over to say hi to me when I get home, it’s just, it’s not the same way, the pitter-patter pattern is … could this be like a robot?

No, just different. Is that clock on the wall, wasn’t it like five minutes behind? It’s also … it had to be. I knew that I could only look at it like a guide to the time, not as an actual indicator the current minute, but I’m looking at my watch, could this lady have fixed the clock? Or is this a completely different house? Should I walk back outside?

Or would that be too much? “I’m doing great,” I tell her, I think that sounded close enough, “You’re hungry?” I ask, hoping to draw something out of her, anything, maybe if she talks a little more I’ll be able to put my finger on exactly what’s different here. I mean, she obviously knows me. And I’m supposed to know her, right? What am I missing?

“Are you OK? You’re acting different,” she tells me. I’m acting different? Maybe that’s part of her trap. Is it too late to get out of here? “Listen, I think I dropped my wallet back at the corner, I’m going to go to check real quick,” I finish the sentence as I’m already out the door, she says something to my back but I’m gone, walking down the block, not running, I don’t want to give myself away, but definitely out.

I take out my phone to call, I don’t know who, maybe there’s an email, maybe a text message or something, some clue. But this looks different too, my phone, like the operating system got one of those really minor updates, sometimes when you wake up in the morning, you’re phone tells you that it enhanced this or tweaked that and, you can kind of tell but not really, and that’s what this was like, only I couldn’t for certain be sure as to what changes were made.

Was this my phone? Could whoever have switched around my house and my wife and my dog somehow have gotten into my pocket while I was at work? I didn’t leave this thing on my desk, had I? I don’t think so, but was I positive, was I absolutely sure? I wasn’t really sure about anything, like this block, or where I was, everything should have been the same, but nothing looked like it was supposed to look, the stores, the cars on the street, the money in my pocket, everything looked kind of off, just a little not right, everything was just different.

5 most haunted spots in my house

People think I’m being a little crazy, everyone’s telling me that it’s all in my head, that my house isn’t haunted. They’re only partially right. It’s not all haunted. But certain spots are really haunted. Here are the five most haunted spots in my house:

1. The basement stairs

Yeah, I guess everybody’s basement stairs are haunted to some extent. But you know that feeling you get when you’re at the bottom and you turn the lights off and you have to sprint upstairs all while you can just feel the otherworldly spirits reaching out to pull you back down? I’ve experienced that everywhere, my childhood home growing up, my grandparent’s place. And for real, it’s significantly more pronounced in my basement.

Even worse, my basement staircase is its own separate room. There’s a door on the first floor dividing it from the living room, and another door at the bottom that closes off the actual basement. I’m pretty sure that the architects who designed the house recognized the evil inherent in that narrow corridor, and so they did their best to localize the darkness by sealing it in from both sides. Which is fine if I’m in the basement with the door closed or upstairs in the living room with the door closed. But as soon as either one of those doors is opened up even a crack, it’s like you can feel the ominous presence start to encroach upon your soul. If I was the kind of guy who lit candles, I’m almost positive they’d all get blown out in unison.

2. The haunted crawlspace off the basement stairs

I’m still on the basement stairs here. Once you get to the bottom, there’s that door to the left that goes to the basement. But there’s also another door straight ahead that leads into this weird dungeon area. That’s where you’d go if you wanted to do work on the pipes that connect to the street and everything, and so when you’re in there, you look up and it’s all subterranean, pools of moisture that don’t have any specific source, or random cracks in the concrete that would make really comfortable habitats for rats or possums, that is, if that architectural abscess were capable of sustaining biological life.

And the door won’t close all the way. There’s a doorknob, which should close in theory, but for whatever reason, it doesn’t click shut. So the previous owner nailed this tiny little latch to keep the void from constantly gaping out to the rest of the house. Only, even with the latch, the door is still just a little bit open, just a crack. And it’s like, that’s all it needs, just that inch, so that every time I go downstairs, not only do I have to ignore the spirits that occupy the stairway, I have to simultaneously keep out of my head whatever it is that lurks behind that creepy second door. And I can feel it, calling out to me, creepy looking ghost fingers trying to paw through from the other side. When I’m away, do the voices in the two rooms whisper to each other, make plans on how they’re going to lure me deeper inside?

3. Underneath my kitchen sink.

This is a subtler haunted spot, because it’s so small. When I first moved in, I had naturally assumed that the entire kitchen was haunted. But upon further examination, I was able to pinpoint the origin of any spooky activity to directly under the kitchen sink. The first obvious sign was the total disappearance of sponges. There are never any sponges. And I’m constantly buying them, the five-packs, the high quality yellow-bottomed-green-topped good sponges. When I get home, I put them with the other kitchen cleaning supplies, right underneath the sink. So where are they? There’s just no way I could be going through that many sponges. It’s like whatever lives in there is consuming them by the multi-pack.

Also, did I leave it open? The cabinet door? I don’t think so. Stuff like this happens all the time. And if I’m ever guaranteed to be surprised by a cockroach or a silverfish, it’s almost always coming from that two-by-two cupboard of horror. There’s no food under there, and it’s relatively free of clutter. The only possible explanation is ghosts. Lots of very small ghosts.

4. My guest bedroom

Totally haunted. Which, I mean, if I have to have ghosts hanging out in the house, I guess I’d rather them hang out in the guest bedroom than in my bedroom. It gives me the sense that they’re respecting boundaries, that they realized they’re merely guests in my house. Or I could just be projecting too much of my own hopes and fears into the situation. Maybe the guest bedroom is haunted because that’s where something crazy went down. Like a murder. Or a possession. Or a murderous series of possession, all eventually culminating in right now, me living in this house, the ghosts just waiting for my wife and I to get into a big enough fight where one of us storms out of the master bedroom to sleep in the guest bedroom for the night.

And that’s when it’s going to happen, because the guy is always the one that storms out, pillow and guest blanket in hand, full of anger, ripe for murderous possession. Or maybe it’s the guest bed. Maybe the wood that the bedframe is made out of came from a tree, a cursed tree, maybe some crazy violent possessed lunatic hung himself on that tree, and then when they found his body and cut it down, they accidentally cut his neck, and all of his possessed evil blood spilled onto the ground, into the soil, through the roots, making the tree even more evil, and now it’s in my guest bed, it is my guest bed. Whatever it is, it’s haunted, it’s the most haunted guest bedroom ever.

5. My printer

I didn’t use to believe that printers could be haunted, but that’s because I’ve never owned a haunted printer before. Now that I own one, I want to get the word out there: printers can definitely be haunted. It started out innocently enough, I’d click print, I’d get random messages popping up on my computer like, “There’s no printer connected,” or, “There’s no ink,” even though I just bought ink, there’s no way that I could be out of ink already.

But then pages started printing randomly, without any prompting from me, pages of characters and incomprehensible text. That was my first hunch that something dark might be living inside the printer. But it was only after I had my next ink cartridge blessed by a priest that I came to conclusively believe that what lurked inside was pure evil. It spazzed out and sputtered around, for a while only printing out documents in blood red tones. Finally the strange activity subsided somewhat, but I still think that it’s haunted, that it’s just waiting there for the malevolent printer company to remotely send it an evil firmware update. And I’d get rid of it, I really would, but printers are so expensive, and it’s last on a long list of haunted repairs and maintenance that I need taken care of here. Like, do you know how much it costs to replace just the kitchen sink cabinets?

There are so many more haunted hot spots in my house, like our haunted Oster twelve-speed blender, or my left hiking boot, but the haunting are more obscure and hard to articulate, and in terms of conclusive proof, well, it’s conclusive to me, I mean, I can feel it, but … you think I’m crazy, right? Why does everyone think I’m nuts? Did you just hear that? No, you’re reading this from your house, how would you hear that? Unless your shower curtain rod is haunted like mine is, and maybe they can send each other haunted messages. No, that’s nuts. Is it?

Originally published at Thought Catalog

Someone broke into our house and stole everything

Someone just broke into our house and robbed us blind. I’m only writing about it because whoever burglarized us stole my computer, including all of my blog posts that I had written out for the next month or so. So now I don’t have anything. I’ve been doing this every day for over a year, always with a hefty surplus of essays in my pocket in case I have a day where I can’t think of anything to write about or I don’t have any time to sit down at my computer. I usually back up my work every once in a while, but I guess I grew a little complacent.

This is crazy. I spent the whole morning at work. I came home around six-thirty and everything was fine. My wife was out all day and came back at around eight. It was a really nice night out, so we decided to take the dog for a walk to the park.

We were out a little over an hour. We stopped for ice cream and started making plans for what we’d do for dinner. We made it back to the house and I put my keys in the front door, but it only opened up like an inch before getting caught. On what? It was that chain lock, the kind you find on every hotel room door, a chain that I didn’t even know existed, it came with the house but we’ve never used it, but it’s something that could have only been hooked from the inside.

It didn’t make any sense. It was one of those actions that I do so many times throughout the course of the day, I put my keys in the doorknob and open up. And when it didn’t open my brain just couldn’t provide me with an immediate answer. I was just staring at it for a good ten or fifteen seconds, not really thinking about a break-in, not really thinking anything at all. It was just, “does not compute, does not compute,” in my brain, over and over again until …

And then it was obvious. Someone broke into our house. I said it aloud to my wife, “Someone broke in the house,” and I reached my hand inside that crack, I couldn’t make it to the chain, but I could flip on the lights which, once turned on, they illuminated our living room, totally ransacked.

I immediately thought about my laptop, all of my writing. “It’s not there,” my wife saw our kitchen table, empty. I started thinking about what else might be gone, the XBOX, my guitars. Again, my mind started freezing up, I was paralyzed, and when I finally realized that I wasn’t doing anything, I made it a point to act, to do something, even though I didn’t know what I should have be doing.

Let’s get inside first, I thought. I had never done anything like this before, but I decided that I had to kick the front door open. It shouldn’t be too hard to break the chain, I thought to myself, I’ll just take a step back like they do in the movies and try to put all of my body’s weight into the middle of my right foot as I – KICK. Thud. Nothing. It didn’t work. That was frustrating.

Let’s try this again, I wound up, harder this time and, bingo, the chain came off. I immediately ran upstairs to check if anybody was still inside. I came back down and headed out through the back yard, right past the garage, out into the alleyway that leads to the next street. Nothing. There was nobody around. I started running. I was running down our block, then down the next one.

I’m a good runner so my body automatically shifted into distance mode. I covered all three adjoining streets in every direction, but still nothing. What was I looking for, a bunch of guys running away holding our stuff, right? That’s what I was thinking, I think. We were only gone for like an hour, how far away could they have ran?

But nothing, nobody, nothing. I made it back to the house and got on my bike. But the further I extended my search outward, the more futile I realize my actions were. Maybe these guys were in a car. Maybe there ere a bunch of them and, what was I planning on doing exactly if I did somehow run into anybody?

I made it home, I took a more measured look around the house. They must have jumped the backyard fence, climbed up the gutter, and busted through the bathroom window. The cops came, they filled out a bunch of paperwork. The detectives came, they told us that we can’t clean anything up until someone shows up before Tuesday to dust for prints. All I can do is sit here. That’s it.

Whatever, a couple of laptops, an XBOX, all of my wife’s jewelry, yeah, that sucks, but it’s all just stuff, we’ll replace it eventually. That’s what I’m telling myself anyway as I sit here writing this all out on my old desktop computer that was probably too big and out of the way for the thieves to make off with. It stings though, having had stuff and now not having it. I like to think of myself as this enlightened progressive guy, but stuff like this shows me that I’m just as materialistic as anybody else. But what really hurts is my work, my writing. I was like thirteen thousand words deep into a novel I was trying to write. Like I already said, my blog posts for the next month are gone, and I’m going to have to sit here and wing it every day until I can slowly build back up enough reserve posts. What a setback.

This sucks. I want to find out who did this. I want to kick down their door and steal all of their stuff. Fucking assholes. But what am I going to do? That’s the worst part about all of this, the sitting and stewing, the impotent rage as I wait here totally helpless, I’m not Batman, I’m nobody, and some other nobody just broke into our house and stole all of our shit. Fucking assholes.