Heir 1 gets the Linguini Unsung Hero Award. This is because, when referring to our family, we refer to Heir 2 as “our one son in school,” but somehow when referring to Heir 1 it’s been “and this is our son who lives in the basement…with the dogs.”
That pause is always there and we all do it, including him.
The truth is, though, that Heir 1 was a sort of unwitting victim to this entire foreclosure fiasco. He was renting The House of Squalor with two other friends and was also forced out. Instead of renting elsewhere, he’s moved back home to help us get over this hump. So he is basically paying to live in the basement…with the dogs.
I might add that this is not some modern finished basement. Oh, no. This is your bare-minimum cement block wall basement. With a sump pump. And a smell that isn’t just the dogs. He empties the dehumidifier several times a day.
Originally he told us he was going to rent somewhere else, which was fine with us. But when he did the math he found he could rent elsewhere and have no financial wiggle room, or stay here and contribute to the family and we all pool our resources.
So then he was going to share a room with Heir 2. But he’d been on his own too long.
So – and I want this on the record – it was his idea to move into the basement. He assured me this wouldn’t be a problem, that he didn’t mind that is was like a dungeon; didn’t mind that from his bed you can have a conversation in normal vocal tones with whoever is in the bathroom; didn’t mind that he was living in a basement…with the dogs.
The “with the dogs” part seems to be the kicker in this. Actually he’s down there with only three of the dogs. Zsa Zsa, Topper and Gaspode sleep in my bedroom on the floor (until we fall asleep at which point Gaspode sneaks up into the crook of Dirtman’s leg). The dogs in the basement – Abby, Hokie and Salt – sleep in crates and, Heir 1 insists, fart all night and talk in their sleep. I tell him this will prepare him for marriage.
Still, I think he’s having fun with the designation of “son we keep in the basement.” When our landlord came to fix the pipes, we called down to give him a heads up. The answer back was preceded with snarling and coughing and then in a drooling Igor voice, “Yethe, mathters!”
Our landlord looked a little frightened, so we explained, “Oh, that’s just our son who lives in the basement…”
And all together we said, “…with the dogs.”