The View From the Family Bed

The View From the Family Bed

The view from the Family Bed is rarely a peaceful one.  As is so often the case, Bachmann has made himself a nuisance in The Family Bed once again.

Over the past weeks, since before Thanksgiving, he’s been causing all sorts of trouble for the other Companions and for me.  His porky mouth and reckless beaver antics have crossed numerous lines of Family Bed etiquette and socially acceptable behavior.  At times, he’s been almost unseemly.

Now, I consider myself to be a very patient, loving, and understanding dachshund.  But that beaver is certainly creating a tense, and uncomfortable situation with his conduct.

At first, he was just shooting off his porky mouth.  He would taunt some the other Companions and make fun of their various and sundry deficiencies. For example, one afternoon, I heard him jeering at poor, sweet, harmless Ernst.

“Hey, Eggplant!” he was gibing.  “How’s about you and I mix it up with a game of Boggle?! You know what’s a four-letter word for stupid??  E-R-N-S-T!”

He was deliberately mocking poor Ernst’s lack of vocabularical prowess.  It was sickening.  I reprimanded him immediately, but he exhibited not a single shred of remorse.

Another time, I caught him following Candace down her narrow hallway, poking a piece of string cheese between her two feet, trying to trip her.  He was making mooing noises and ridiculing her awkward mobility.  Disgusting.  And even though I took away his electronics privileges and his dessert privileges for a week, the horrible comportment continued.

It all came to a head the other day, when Bachmann decided to make what I can only assume was his Bull Run stand by challenging me to a staring contest.  He’s always been so very dramatic.

Georgie vs. Bachmann

Now, at first, I didn’t realize what he was doing.  I was in the middle of a well-deserved and much-needed nap when the sound of him wheezing through his front teeth roused me.

“Bachmann,” I pleaded, “I’m exhausted.  Can’t you go pester someone else for a while?  Or better yet, go find something constructive to do – don’t you need to clean your room?”

But he continued to stare at me with those beady little beaver eyes, not saying a word.  Which was very unusual, because generally he can’t keep that porky mouth shut.

I became instantly alert.Georgie vs. Bachmann

“Bachmann,” I sighed.  “What are you playing at?  Can’t you see I’m busy and don’t have time for your shenanigans?”

Still, he continued to challenge me with his bore-like gaze.  I began to wonder if he was experiencing a medical situation that was preventing him from speaking or moving … or blinking.  Even so, his insubordination could not be tolerated.Georgie vs. Bachmann

“Bachmann,” I warned.  “Cut it out.  If you continue with this defiant and threatening provocation, you will be sorry.  And by sorry, I mean you’re going to end up crying like a little she-beaver.  You better knock it off and leave me to my nap.”

Honestly, I gave him every opportunity to retract his confrontation.  I offered him multiple activities and constructive ideas as alternatives to this hostility.  I entreated him to rethink his folly and each time he refused to back down.  He didn’t simply refuse to back down, he grew more and more belligerent.

And then this happened …The View From the Family Bed

This is me, setting out to open a can of Whoop-De-Do on Bachmann’s Beaver butt.  Note the terror his his expression as he tries to scramble out of the path of my wrath.  But his short little beaver feet couldn’t move fast enough to avoid me dealing him a heaping helping of comeuppance.

I worked him over pretty good.  I’ll grant him this much … he took the waling I gave him with dignity – for a short minute.  Then he started blubbering and crying and apologizing and begging for mercy.  It was most satisfying.  I even took him back inside the compound so the other Companions could watch.  And since Bachmann had been making their lives uncomfortable and difficult for weeks, they were very enthusiastic about the entire affair.

Afterwards, Bachmann slunk off to his room to lick his wounds, while the rest of the Family Bed enjoyed cake and punch courtesy of the Festivity Committee.  Overall, it was a lovely end to the day.

It’s been just a few days since what is being referred to around the Bed as ‘The incident’.  Bachmann resurfaced just this morning, took his toast and coffee alone in the Commissary and then retreated again to his room.  He hasn’t spoken to anyone since his beatdown, but many Companions have reported receiving letters and notes of apology via Inter-Family-Bed mail.  So it would seem Bachmann has possibly learned a lesson.  Or not.  Only time will  tell this beaver tale …

The View From the Family Bed

The View From the Family Bed

When I opened The Family Bed Education, Rehabilitation and Training Center, it was with the particular goal of providing a nurturing, enriching environment in which to instruct my Companions.  Over the years, I have trained countless Companions – shaping them into upstanding, productive members of society.  Many of them have gone on to careers in the Arts, Politics, Finance, and Sports Medicine.  A few have moved into the arena of Community Organizing and Activism, but one has to expect a certain number of failures in any educational setting, I suppose.   Still, overall, I enjoy my work and feel the FBERTC is a successful institution.

Probably the most rewarding part of my day, however, is the work I do with the more disadvantaged members of the Family Bed.  Some of my companions suffer from developmental challenges.  Some are behaviorally dysfunctional.  And some are just porky-mouthed. (You know of whom I speak – Bachmann.)

image

One of my toughest cases is Ernst …  He’s an Eggplant.  And though he’s very sweet, there are clearly many problems which I must help him overcome. For example,  I’m constantly reminding Ernst to use his words because when he gets overly excited he just grunts and points.  I believe his issue stems from being left on the vine over-long … I’ve consulted many experts and they agree with my diagnosis.

I work with Ernst on a bi-weekly basis but we often nap together.  I have found, through my work in the Family Bed, that napping is a great way to build trust and promote inter-companion communication.  I do nap with other Companions, both within and without the confines of the Family Bed, as each individual case may demand.  In this photo, Ernst and I are napping on the couch in the family room.  The elevated position gives Ernst a feeling of empowerment, and also serves to protect him from the prying eyes and often cruel taunts of some of the other Companions. Notice his serene countenance.  Plus, Ernst is quite cuddly and I look especially lovely next to his plush purple exterior.

In many ways, Ernst is my biggest success story.  Since I first began to train Ernst, his vocabulary has expanded by over 12 words.  Additionally, he no longer spits as a greeting.  And while there are numerous issues yet to be resolved – his need to announce bodily functions, for example – I firmly believe that I can help Ernst become the Eggplant he has always longed to be.

The View From the Family Bed

The View From the Family Bed

Life in the Family Bed can be hectic. Sometimes, I like to kick back with a puzzle and relax. But with all those Companions – well, it’s a challenge. I like to think that I’m equitable with the love and nurturing care I offer my Companions and that I don’t play favorites, but the truth is that there are some who require much more attention than others.  Such is the case with the Companion you’ll be meeting in this edition of The View From the Family Bed.

Today, I’m introducing you to Candace. She’s possibly the neediest member of the Family Bed, which I have attributed to her lack of balance. With only two legs, she’s quite a stumbler to say the least, and is constantly mooing for someone to help her stay upright. Tsk, tsk, tsk … she’s so clingy.

While Candace does try to manage on her own, she needs a lot of help.  A lot, a lot, a lot.  And I, along with my team of specialists, work with her about three times a week.  She runs line drills, the balance beam (which is really quite amusing, I must say) and other standard coordination exercises – all designed to help her stand on her own two hooves, so to speak.  Candace has been with me for about two years and in that time she has made no significant progress.  But I’m always hopeful that one day, she’ll be a self-supporting member of the Family Bed.  It would be such a help if she were less of a burden on me, personally and professionally.

The View From the Family Bed

The View From the Family Bed

On this visit to the Family Bed I’m introducing you to El Monterey, a rare Mexican moose. He prefers to be called Montey, though, so I humor him.  Here we are, Montey and I, after one of our ‘sessions’.  It’s important to rest and restore ourselves after such exertion.

Montey became my Companion a little over two years ago. Originally, I  planned for hime to provide a certain amount of multicultural depth to the Family Bed, but he American-ized really quickly. Now, instead of bringing a Mexican flavor to the table (pardon the pun), he watches Glenn Beck and demands pizza and imported beer at every meal. I recently had to block his internet access because he had subscribed to too many Libertarian websites, which resulted in the entire Family Bed being put on numerous Federal watchlists.  He’s also become increasingly involved as a volunteer for Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign. Even though Cruz is not Mexican, Montey says he feels a deep connection.  As long as it doesn’t affect his work here in The Family Bed, I’m fine with that.  I encourage all my Companions to explore their passions outside the borders of the Bed.

Interestingly, Montey’s most positive contribution to the Family Bed has been as a yoga instructor.

His utter spinelessness renders him unbelievably bend-y and his “small government” political philosophy allows him to really connect with the other Companions. I’ve noticed an improved sense of cohesiveness in the Bed since Montey began offering daily Hot Yoga sessions in the sunbeam near the sofa. And most all of the Companions have told me that at the end of our workouts they feel less stiff and sore than before, which I generously attribute to Montey’s flexibility training. Except for Bachmann, of course. That darn beaver takes every opportunity to cause trouble in the Bed… I don’t know why I keep him around. Gaaahhhh.

My own yoga training is much more rigorous than what Montey teaches the Companions … I have achieved true limber-ality.

Anyway … Montey may not be serving the Family Bed in the way I originally envisioned, but I think he’s proving himself to be an important part of our mission.

The View From the Family Bed

The View From the Family Bed

The Family Bed Community is home to many Companions. By far, the most demanding and loudest member is this porky-mouthed beaver Bachmann. He is my most-trusted confidante, although I honestly don’t know why — he’s completely self-possessed.  I’ve found that I need to have more (and more intense) training sessions with Bachmann than any of my other Companions.  He’s quite stubborn, as I suppose beavers are wont to be.

Georgie and Family Bed Companion Bachmann
Georgie & Bachmann

He fancies himself to be a real cosmopolitan beaver, even though he hails from the wilds of the Great North. His family runs a ‘mom & pop’ beaver vanilla bottling plant.  His more irritating qualities include his constant tail-slapping and shrill announcements of ALERT! ALERT! … all day long. This interrupts my nap time and it’s very rude. Lately, he’s taken to using his tail as a lever to move rocks and begun referring to himself as ‘Bachemedes’.  Now he expects the Family Bed Companion Group Health Plan to pay for his unnecessary and grossly expensive tail-waxing procedure to fix the damage.   I’ve told him repeatedly that he can lever rocks until the cows come home but he’s still not going to be a mathematical pioneer with a shiny tail.  Whatever will I do with this rodent raconteur?

Beard to Beard:  The View From the Family Bed

Beard to Beard: The View From the Family Bed

Too often, I find myself completely caught up in my work. My Companions are so important to me and I tend to measure my own happiness and contentment by their happiness and contentment. Which is unfortunate because some of them are, quite honestly, never happy or content. (Bachmann) Anyway, when I take the time to relax and enjoy some down time, I look for hobbies to fulfill my creativity AND engage my strong intellect. I enjoy crafting and puzzles, couch aerobics (a great way to get my heart rate up & strengthen haunch muscles), and, of course, studying Irish and Viking history. It’s my passion, really. But occasionally, I need a more paws-on type of activity that just allows my mind to drift and clear. Dealing with the kind of troubled Companions that I do – well, I’ll just say that there are a lot of problems in my head to which I must find solutions. Wait – that didn’t come out quite right. What I meant to say is that I have a lot of problems to solve in my head. No, wait. I have a lot problems that I need to use my head to solve. No. I mean, my head is full of problems. Oh, well, fuckle. Those damn Companions are so completely screwed up that I spend all my time thinking of ways to help fix them! It’s exhausting! GAAHHH. So, how do I clear my mind and recharge my spirit?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This is Breakfast in Bed Chewy. Chewy and I like to snuggle while I pour out my troubles to his willing ear. He is a loyal and true friend and one I would likely not be able to continue my good work without. He’s always willing to give me feedback, especially when I’m working on a really difficult case, like – How do I convince Russell that not having a head doesn’t excuse his poor table manners? Or, do I need to get Emrys a Christmas gift, even though I’m pretty sure he’s Jewish? Spending time with Breakfast in Bed Chewy allows me to give the most I can to my other Companions. He’s the most understanding, stalwart, compassionate and flavorful friend I’ve ever known.