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Welcome to Bangor: Three dogs, two cats and a bottle of Champagne


Professor Paul has an amazing three story house in Bangor.He lives there with his wife, two kids, three dogs and two cats. The lower level is a rental unit. The upper level has a guest quarters.

Our three-day drive across the midwest and a big part of New England was largely uneventful…until we arrived at our “destination: Bangor, Maine.” (apologies to Roger Miller).

Weeks before our journey, Jen arranged for a short stay at the home of a University of Maine colleague, who happened to be overseas on a family vacation.  Professor Paul and his wife owned a large, three-story house in a quiet, urban neighborhood called the “Tree Streets.” A renter lived on the first floor and we would share the top two floors with three “friendly” dogs and two cats.

The plan was to stay in the third floor guest quarters for two or three days until our apartment opened up and a long distance moving service delivered our furniture. The pets would occupy the second floor. Two caretakers, graduate student Jeremiah and his partner Ammon,  would be available to assist during our arrival. Of course, we arrived much later than anticipated.

Sometime after 11 p.m. our pick-up truck pulled up in front of a dark house. I mean really dark. The kind of dark only a burglar could love. No lights. Not even one over the front door. I pulled a flashlight out from under the driver’s seat and we made our way up the narrow driveway.

We found the key under a rock near a side-porch piled high with flower pots, furniture and gardening implements. Somehow the dogs heard our arrival. They started to bark like a chorus of linebackers on the home team sidelines. These were big dog barks barely muffled by a long stairwell and locked second floor door.

We were tired, disoriented and worried neighbors would call police.

“Let ME handle this,” said Jen, implying I would only screw things up.

I wasn’t going to argue. I’m not a big fan of dog bites.

Jen marched up the stairs, opened the door and was met by  two over-excited golden retrievers running around a kitchen table and an aging Irish setter trapped behind a baby gate in an adjacent room. A cat raced under her feet and down the stairs into the foyer.

“DON’T OPEN THE DOOR,” she yelled down to me. The cat clearly wanted to make a jailbreak.

Jen tried to quiet down the dogs. She tried her sweet voice. She tried to reason with them. She found some treats in a nearby storage room. Nothing worked. The barks were becoming more hostile. She retreated back downstairs to call the absent caretakers and look for another passageway to the third floor guest room.

For some reason I had left the house, maybe to lookout for the police. When I returned, I opened the porch door and the cat raced for the exit. He was gone like a streaker at a church picnic, diving into a bush under the porch.

This is were Jen lost it.


I was kicked out of the house and ordered to stay out of the way. I stood in the driveway with my flashlight and listened to the dogs bark. Surely a neighbor would call police. It had to be 11:30 by now….

A few minutes later the porch door burst opened with Jen leashed to the two most rambunctious dogs. Things were  out of control. A flower pot smashed to the ground. Jen was pulled down the porch steps, tripped, grabbed for a railing and became entangled in the two leashes as the goldens darted around her legs. The barking never stopped.

“I’m taking them for a walk,” she screamed.

This is where I lost it.


Somehow Jen got the dogs back in the house and I pulled out my phone to start looking for accommodations. Right about then, Nate walked up the dark driveway holding a bottle of champagne……

(Stay tuned….

I’ll post the second and final part of this caper next week)

  1. John Freed permalink

    This is a great story and I can’t wait for the second part! Does this mean the honeymoon is winding down?

  2. David Ferrara permalink

    Reads like a good book! Don’t keep us hanging too long.

  3. Em Rankin permalink

    Installment II required! Love reading your writing 🙂

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