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We installed a dumb waiter in this new house of ours thinking of safety as we age. We strongly prefer houses with upstairs and downstairs spaces but also recognize that may not always be the best alternative for us. I know tromping up and down stairs carrying a lot of stuff is dumber than the dumb waiter we have which is precisely why we have it. Our dog, however, does not quite get the concept. Or, perhaps she gets it perfectly.

We, along with everyone else in the County except Aunt Regina and Uncle Claude, went to Lowes to shop their Memorial Day sale. We were particularly interested in a barbeque grill and a table for our new deck.

When we left this morning the deck had logs, a chop saw, four ladders, a sheet of 3/4 plywood and a table saw on it, all accompanied by an assortment of screws and lag bolts. Our contractor has encouraged us to start taking possession of territory in our new house as they finish working on it. I generalized that statement to mean we could drag the chop saw and the table saw and the ladders, etc. to one side of the deck and set up housekeeping on the other side of the deck. If we were going to set up housekeeping we needed something to keep. We actually have some deck furniture, two rocking chairs, a middling size folding plastic table, a couple of very cheap Adirondack chairs and four nylon folding captain’s chairs that do double duty for camping. We have two deck chairs that were cheap and then started to fall apart and we have two of the tiniest chairs in the history of the universe that go with the tiniest table. It was supposed to be a bistro set but it must be a mouse bistro given their size.

Red dog looking imploringly up with blue paint on hips and ear

Sophie watching my spouse fix her food a few months ago. Notice the paint on her side. Curious critter she is.

We wanted a table that would sit more than two, half-persons. We wanted a grill too. We found both and they will be delivered next month. In the mean time I grabbed an inexpensive but respectable charcoal grill. Tonight I set up our deck by moving all of the logs and saws and ladders to one side and moving us in on the other. We decided to grill a lot of food tonight to make sure we used all of the charcoal’s heat. We grilled vegetables, chicken breasts, steak and corn on the cob. Some of the steak and all of the chicken we reserved for later in the week. Our poor dog had politely stalked the table the whole time we were cooking and eating. She got her usual 2 little bites of people food for her after dinner snack. Life was good.

After sitting and enjoying the view and our new tiki torches we decided to go back downstairs to our little apartment since i was getting cold on the deck. I surveyed the piles of dishes and left over containers that held our steak, chicken and vegetables, along with plates, glasses, mixing bowls and whatnot and sighed. How did so much stuff get up here? My spouse said, “We can just load it into the dumbwaiter.” I was impressed. He was right. We keep forgetting we even have it so it is a novelty when we remember and a success when we use it.

However, we did not predict what happened next. Both my spouse and I stacked and carried dishes and left over containers to the dumbwaiter and deposited them inside. Once all of the items were placed inside, my spouse sent it to the garage level where we live now and went down stairs. I had a few more things to tidy up so did not head downstairs when he did. Our dog started barking loudly and racing around. She kept calling me with her bark to go into the utility room. Finally I got it. The food went in there. There was steak there, she could have some. It was in that box.

When I figured out what was going on I started laughing so hard I could not respond to her. Even so I was not sure how to explain a dumb waiter to a not at all dumb dog. Finally I called her over and picked her up so she could see into the cabinet that holds the dumb waiter. I held her far back for safety reasons, but only the shaft could be seen. The car with the food was not there. She lifted her head and looked up and then down and all the stuffing ran out. No excitement. The tense worked up dog I lifted to see the empty cabinet was suddenly a sad pooch. I put her down and then raced to the dumbwaiter spot in the garage with her. I lifted her up and behold, steak. I put her down and she looked at me as if to say, “Wow, there is steak i this cabinet too?”

My spouse and I were still laughing at her so hard we could hardly stand up. She sat patiently, having found the steak, waiting for her steak. A tidbit she got but no steak for her. The dishes and left over food got carried to the apartment kitchen and she followed crestfallen.

We don’t know where the dumb waiter thing will end up in a dog’s eye view. I have a hunch it is always going to be a magic cabinet. Our dog gets the concepts. Food goes in and food comes out.  The “Waiter” may be dumb but she is not.