In which the big dog shows us she loves us by vomiting copiously all over the place (OR: An anniversary story)

Yesterday was our second anniversary and although wedding anniversaries are normally a chance for a couple to ruminate on their love for one another, I think J and I are the kind of people who would really prefer to treat them as another birthday. So our day yesterday was punctuated by us saying things like, "Well, it's my anniversary, so I'm going to eat whatever I want," or "It's my anniversary, I'm going to buy this even though I normally wouldn't." I tried to get my parents in on the idea, too, like by telling my father Sunday night that I would really appreciate it if he would bring me coffee in bed the next morning because "it's my anniversary." This is something he tricks me into doing quite often. He lies in bed yelling at the top of his lungs, "Hello, hello, hello, hello, hello," until someone, usually me, yells back, "What?" and then he says, "Come talk to me, I'm lonely," and then when you do that, he's sitting there with the newspaper holding out a coffee cup. At this point he states that, "If you really loved me, you'd get me some coffee," and inconceivably, this works every time.

J and I actually have dinner reservations in DC tonight since the place we wanted to go isn't open Mondays, so we decided to spend our day yesterday hanging out together, getting lunch at a good deli and walking around Annapolis.

Before we left, however, we had to deal with some things.

It was after I'd finished cleaning up a pile of small-ish turds I'd found on my parents' bedroom floor, left undoubtedly by Mina, and was proceeding to get ready for the day that I noticed Cecilia, our big pit-bull mix, was acting kind of funny.

Normally a happy-go-lucky, goofball type, she had retreated under the dining room table and was not engaging in her normal tongue kisses with the Labradoodle, and I had, literally, just said aloud, "Huh, I don't think Cecilia feels good," when I heard a bad, sick sound and turned around to discover she'd puked all over the carpet.

I know that some of you are going to say "just wait until you have kids," but I've been around lots of babies and children and I've also been around lots of dogs, and I've got to tell you - dog puke really takes the cake. And this was seriously unreal. Cecilia has a sensitive stomach anyway and since we've been living here she's been heading gleefully down to the water and eating her fair share of dead fish that wash ashore, and, I mean, you get the picture. I don't want to trigger any gag reflexes or anything, just know that this was above and beyond.

I threw her outside and started calling wildly for J, who'd headed down the driveway to check the mail or look for a bird or something, "The dog threw up! The dog threw up! Cece threw up! I can't believe it, it's so much," while I grabbed an entire roll and a half of paper towels, some soda water and starting cleaning with a speed and intensity I reserve for true emergencies.

In the meantime, she puked on the porch, and I started to really lose it. It was my anniversary, damnit! My day! What was wrong with her, didn't she know?

It took some serious time to recuperate from the incident, but J helped talk me through it, helped me forget some of the more intimate details, and we proceeded to have a great afternoon. We both admitted we hadn't gotten each other presents and so we picked out things in stores and "bought them for one another" using our joint checking account. We stopped on our way home and got food to grill out and a bottle of French wine for dinner.

And I did get coffee in bed that morning, although not from my father despite my lying there for a while yelling "Hello," at the top of my lungs for an extended period until someone came to my rescue, which will definitely come into play the next time he claims he wants me to come talk to him, but really wants me to be his slave.

It was instead my darling husband who brought me a mug of coffee as I rested in bed, before getting up, before the chaotic events of the day unfolded, and when he placed it on the bedside table he told me that he'd "put a secret ingredient in there, see if you can taste it."

I couldn't - only tasted the coffee with milk, the way I like it - and so he explained that he'd put a little chocolate syrup in there, at which point I started laughing, and he said, yeah, yeah, he knew putting a little chocolate syrup in doesn't make it a mocha or anything, but that it was sort of a mocha.

I thought about J's special coffee the rest of the day. It got me through spraying Resolve carpet cleaner around the dining room in a maniacal manner and I smiled about it while walking around town.

It just may have been my favorite thing about our anniversary - the kind of gesture you can only give to someone you are comfortable enough with to know they will be pleasantly surprised, and not angry, when you add chocolate syrup to their regular coffee lineup. The kind of thing you do when you want to do something nice for somebody you love to make an everyday experience a little extraordinary. It's both hilarious and heartwarming, and it's why cleaning up seriously ridiculous amounts of puke on your two-year anniversary is only a minor pitfall on an otherwise wonderful day.