Monday, April 21, 2008
My Kitchen Staff: Wylie & Marcel
Some people have sous chefs. I have apres chefs - aka - after chefs, aka my staff. I figured it was time I 'fessed up to having some help in the kitchen and felt it was only fair that I shared a little about them, given all that they do here. (Can you name this movie: "What is it that you do here?")
So anyhow, given my penchant for not vacuuming - My Staff must remain on full alert when a recipe is about to unfurl. And it's not easy - I mean, these are creatures who typically sleep the entire day - so, it's difficult to imagine the wherewithal, the sheer personal domination it must take just to stay awake to fulfill their duties hoovering the kitchen floor. I venture to guess their perseverance would humble even Tom Cruise in another Scientology vs. Matt Lauer beat-down. They're that good.
This is Wylie "The Floop" Fitzsmudge - he's 3 years old. He cannot tolerate any barriers or doors whatsoever - you may as well remove a claw one-by-one instead. When he was a puppy, we bought a typical baby gate and placed Wylie in the laundry room for the day. When we came home from work, he had chewed through the gate - plastic-coated-wire and all. So, we got that message loud and clear. Every day, he makes a scene before we go to work - hoping that today will be the day that his efforts finally prove effective. When he senses we're about to leave - he dashes out to the living room, trying to show us that "I'd prefer to stay here for the day", then, as we approach him - he rolls onto his back into the submissive position, conveying to us just how pitiful his dire situation truly is. We carry him into the master bathroom (where Marcel is already peacefully ensconced, to Wylie's eternal irritation and derision) - at which point, we gently place him on his ridiculously overstuffed pillow - at which point, OF COURSE, he begins to shake violently like an abused dog...of which he is the absolute opposite. He is a drama king - and this is just one example of many - but the extent of his separation anxiety makes my problems feel like a bath.
Then, there is Marcel Verdel Purcell, he's 1.5 years old and weighs 3.4 pounds. At one point, the cost of Marcel's monthly grocery bill surpassed ours - and at the time - he weighed...oh...about 1.75 pounds. No, you don't need bifocals. Yes, you read that correctly. Yes, I took math in school. No, I didn't forget how to use it. Put it this way: Marcel has his own nutritionist who lives in California. Enough said? Not quite? Okay, well, after some terrible health issues from ages 5-9 months - which no vet or amount of money could solve - we desperately sought the help of an animal nutritionist. Almost immediately, through diet and supplements - our little stinker was back on track. Of course, we were cooking for him (but not, say...for US) - and hence, the very expensive diet - while Tony and I were eating cereal and frozen burritos. Fast forward, and our darling fur-babies still only eat the best -- dog food that contains raw, human-grade meat - which is often imported from New Zealand [roll eyes here]. While...we often eat processed, sub-par grub...food which I'm not always quite sure is good enough for...well...dogs? Now, that's interesting. I never said I was great at math.
Anyhow, Marcel is all easy-breezy, baby-of-the-family, totally secure about separation, accepts his place as non-alpha, very joyful and moment-to-moment. He worships Wylie, he shadows Wylie, he is constantly sniffing Wylie in all the wrong places - as if, at any moment, Wylie's odor i.d. may suddenly change. Beyond the ocd odor checking, Marcel's only real pathology is his obsession with nostrils. Simply put, there is NOT enough nostril on the planet for Marcel. If he had his way, he would spend his day in a sling, hoisted up near my face, in prime position so that he could have his tongue inside one of my nostrils every waking moment. If Marcel could shoot nostril in his vein - then we'd find Marcel living in some back alley, drugged up with nostril, selling - stealing - anything to get more nostril, in and out of rehab for nostril. We call him NOSTRILDAMUS. We don't know what to do.
What we do know is that these two nutty ragamuffins are not only excellent apres chefs, but they are also two of the most beguiling and charming beings to have ever graced our lives. Given that, I guess we can accept that Marcel is now worth more than Governor Spitzer's 6-month call-girl bill, and I suppose we're willing to put up with Wylie's almost-daily ploys for an intervention from Dog Protection Services, and his claw artwork on nearly every door in our 3-year-old house...not to mention our new floors in the living room and master bedroom - compliments of his Picasso-esque attempts at liquid-ism. That nut.