Where’s Waldo?

When I was a kid my family took a lot of vacations. I call them “vacations” tongue-in-cheek because while they were vacations in the sense that we had time off from school and chores, they were hardly restful! My siblings and I would pile into the family’s 12-passenger van (and later, the 15-passenger), and set off along the twists and turns of the Great Smoky Mountains, or across the Western Plains. My dad would spend weeks poring over the Atlas and planning out every leg of our trips. We once took a family vacation to follow Lewis & Clark’s trail out west, and yet another to see the Grand Canyon and Painted Desert. We’ve hiked rugged vistas in Arizona and driven straight across the state of Kansas without stopping (a miracle with that many people in one vehicle). We’ve seen buffalo, eagles, and prairie dogs in their natural habitat, and gone to Gator Land and Lion Country Safari to see alligators and lions in captivity. We’ve hit up battlefields, battleships, war memorials, the Four Corners, state parks, Gettysburgh, Mt Rushmore, Crazy Horse, the Mall of America (whee!), the “Freedom Trail” in Boston, and of course the obligatory museums, exhibits, and aquariums. Chimney Rock? Check! Paul Revere’s house? Check! Plymouth Plantation? Check! USS Constitution? Check! Climbed all 294 steps of the Bunker Hill Memorial? Check! Truth be told, we’ve been to so many places that I’ve forgotten some of them.

I hope you’re understanding what I’m trying to get across here…I am well traveled! What that MEANS though, is that not only have I forgotten being more places than some have ever been, I have also spent a lot of time in the car.

A LOT of time.

The entertainment de rigeuer on these trips (did you know that an 18-hour jaunt to the grandparents’ in Massachusetts can be made in one day? I do!) was vast and manifold. We listened to Adventures in Odyssey tapes, my mom would read our history books out loud, and we would sing along to science and bible tapes or practice for our Children’s Choir musicals. When we got tired of being noisy, we read. I usually brought Anne of Green Gables, but we also read Tintin, Tundra comics, Far Side comics, Calvin and Hobbes comics, and Foxtrot comics. These books lived in a “trip bag” in the car and were passed around so often that they usually lost their covers and got so beat up, we couldn’t even sell them on Amazon as “used – acceptable” if we tried! We also had Where’s Waldo books. Remember this crazy guy?

imagesHe’s the guy from these books who is eternally hiding out. My 12-year-old brain decided he was probably part of the Witness Protection Program and on the run from some mafia group or terrorist organization. I mean, look at those smarty-pants glasses! Doesn’t he look like someone who accidentally helped develop plutonium for a bomb to blow up the entire island of Manhattan, and then realized what was going on, destroyed his notes and went underground? His handler probably told him to find places with lots of people to blend in, but I always found him. Mwa-ha-ha.

Anyway, I’ve got mad Waldo-finding skills. Not only could I hunt out the man himself, but I could find Wanda, the wizard, the Waldo kids, and any other random things the artist decided to put into the illustration. I’ve perfectly honed my ability to hunt out odd and out-of-place things in pictures. You know the “compare the two pictures and find the differences” challenges that are in all the magazines? (Okay, they’re in kids’ magazines at least). I ROCK those.

Is it any wonder, then, that when I saw this picture I immediately found a problem with it?


Photo from house tour on cococozy.com

What could possibly be wrong with this beautiful, classy picture? The natural lighting! The open shelving! The crisp white walls and deep farmhouse sink! Ahhh, perfection! But look closely. I’ll crop the picture to make it easier.


See the problem yet? I’ll make it even easier still.



But…but…WHY??? Who would do such a thing to a dog? Is he okay? Can somebody help him down? Do you know where his PAWS have been, the same paws that are now sitting on your pristine countertop? Screw the paws, his ASS IS ON YOUR COUNTER. Did the photographer toss him up there, command him to sit, and then frantically snap the picture before the dog could projectile launch himself at the nearest edible in reach? (IMO, it would be the plants growing on the windowsill that would be nommed on first. Potted plants are like crack to dogs!) Or…what if it isn’t a real dog at all? What if it’s a stuffed animal? I mean, they make creepy lifelike sleeping cats, so I’m assuming dogs aren’t safe from this indignity either. Which makes me ask…what kind of person owns a stuffed dog?

Readers, I am beyond confused by this development. Are living animals the hot new countertop accessory? Hell, if that’s the case, my house is freaking styled perfection! Not only do I have a tank-full of real, live baby chicks (no stuffed animals here!), I also have a cat that is attempting to create a permanent butt-print on my counter. Cat hair is a condiment, right? If countertop animals are the new Eames lounge chair, then I’m Jonathan Adler. In fact, I’m expecting a call from Elle Decor any day now.



P.S. I’ve just about had my fill of moping now that The Hubs is actually away and I’m counting down until his return, and I’m super psyched about this weekend! My secret plan involves something that rhymes with schmainting. Here’s a hint: it starts with a “P”.


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