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Adopting a puppy is easy—you see one, you want one.  Parker is a joy, albeit a joy that now weighs 30 lbs and wants to sit in my lap.  I know, I know!  I should have enforced the “no couch” rule when she was tiny.  I didn’t and now…

I also have a cat.  Amber is a joy— actually, she is a “no trouble” kind of joy.  Of course she is allowed on the couch and the kitchen countertops and everywhere else.  She is the boss.  

And I have a teenager.  Enough said.

So…Sadie and I moved back to Vermont this week after spending our summer in Massachusetts in a MUCH bigger house.  Coming back to our tiny house here is a little bit like slipping size-eleven feet into last year’s size-nine soccer cleats. We make it work.  We clean and purge and reshuffle— until when everything is in its place—things feel like home again.

Not this year!  Puppies and cats and teenagers create a few additional challenges.  First there is the crate with the door that opens the wrong way. There is the cat’s food and her litter box full of yummies.  And then there is Sadie’s room.  It may be clean right this minute, but that is because we have been gone for the whole summer.

The crate is easy.  If you flip it upside down, you can get the door to open the other way.  The litter box and the food are not so simple.  The teenagers room? I’m not going to fool myself.   

I puzzled for a few days and after first blocking the upstairs with a chair that I had to move 50 times a day,  I came up with the brilliant idea of blocking the hallway down to Sadie’s room with a walk-through child gate.  The litter box and the cat food can stay in the hallway and the room can be what is— a pit.

Not so simple.  Child gates are thirty inches wide, the hallway is 45.  Luckily, I am not the first person to have this problem.  It’s easy to buy an extended-size gate—expensive but easy.  Unfortunately, the one I bought was also extra tall.  Cats can jump.  Evidently cats can jump up but they need a place to land— they are not hurdlers.

I started to wonder why this was my problem.  If the dog eats the cat’s food, the cat will need to learn to get there first.  If the dog eats Sadie’s homework, she will need to keep it off her floor.  I will flip the kennel because it drives me nuts and I suppose there is training for litter box eaters.

Problems solved, until the homework Parker eats is a computer.  Puppies, cats and teenagers—oh my!

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