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Not long before I (temporarily) returned to my parents’ home after divorce my father was on a 5-foot ladder changing a burned out bulb in the lamp on the front walk to their house. My mother said she happened to pass by the dining room window and glanced outside in time to see him begin to lose balance, topple and fall onto the hard sidewalk. My mother said it was a terrible, helpless feeling. There was nothing she could do to stop the fall, so she watched as he fell, “just like a tree falling,” she said.

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One broken shoulder later Dad nursed his arm (in a sling, they could not actually cast a shoulder break) and happily welcomed me back into the fold because the entire production staff  of his small newspaper business had walked out a week before. It must be said that progeny in a small family business are not always treated well. Be that as it may I learned valuable lessons from my father, intentionally or not, about teamwork, managing stress, learning to maximize potential, manage time, and humility.

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However short-lived my tenure was with Dad’s company, I have been able to apply what I learned in many ways since, though for a long time I tried not to, feeling it would be disloyal to use it elsewhere. I realized these were life lessons and if not used I would be nothing more than inert.

Some of it is effective in survival, looking out for others and bolstering the environment with no reflection on myself. But this virus? Totally out of control. People have lost a sense of perspective over this thing.  Yes there are inconveniences. If one chose to travel someplace after the disclosure of this illness there are consequences due to normal precautions regardless of whether you think a cruise or trip out of your country would be harmless. There are other persons, no one knows where from so please keep your wits about you if you test positive for this virus about which no one knows much and have to be quarantined.

Then there are the efforts to stock provisions in the unlikely event you will be stuck at home

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Our local hospital announced it would be preparing for this virus. Sensible. Everyone should. This was even before the one case of the virus surfaced in north-central NC because for some unknown reason an individual traveled to the same retirement home in Washington state where a few people have died from this. But panic? Doesn’t help.

How is it we have lost our collective sense of humor? Is death that terrifying? Or illness? There are many things that were never hard to find, now even amazon is price-gouging. $14 (in some cases, more) for an 8-ounce bottle of hand sanitizer.

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At least we can still find dog cookies. And toys.

And toilet paper.

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Separation anxiety

webmd.com defines this on a broad spectrum for dogs: anything from pacing to panting anxiously, barking, howling or chewing, to  escaping (or gnawing on their own feet– my experience with a border collie).

For me it begins as soon as I take my babies to be boarded. Oh, I’m sure they are just fine. They have an air conditioned run, scheduled playtime with other new friends, regular feeding times, their bed and blanket.

I am the one with separation anxiety. For me this runs from crying, to guilt, worry, anger that I took them before I actually needed to take them as though I could not wait to be rid of them, and then there is the not with them emptiness. Something dire is missing. The life around my ankles has suddenly gone still.

So I begin counting minutes until I will see them again. This might be allayed somewhat once I get to whatever place of doom that won’t allow me to bring them, or not. It’s not incumbent upon anyone with whom I will be while away to alleviate this stress for me, either, but the fact remains I will have some degree of stress until I am reunited with these babies.

I don’t go away often. This was not a trip I actually intended to make. It’s a trip I have taken with my brother and his family, occasionally my son joined the party, for about 7 or 8 years. Last year after my little Murphy died I worried so much about rescue dog Lily I found a cottage up the beach from where they stayed that would allow me to bring her. In fact, they allow 2 dogs so I could have even stayed there and brought Lily and her new little rescue sister Lulu. But time got away from me this year and I did not have a space anywhere so decided it was just as well and I would not go at all. That is until my sister-in-law checked this place’s reservations availability and found part of their week open. So I was confirmed into that reservation.

But I did not have to take Lily and Lulu to their boarding facility until 4. So why did I take them at noon?? Where I am staying has set meal times. The evening meal is at 6. It takes roughly 2 to 2 and 1/2 hours to drive to the place and the doggie inn is open Saturdays from 8-noon, then 4-6. I had made my reservation to arrive for the supper meal but I didn’t have to! I could have changed it, it’s not like I can’t miss a meal.

Because of all this stress, whether I know it now or not I will be glad to see my brother and his family. I only see them otherwise once a year so it’s important to me. For that I am grateful to my sister-in-law for spotting a space. My son is detained by work so I will not get to see him.

But those dogs! And when we were almost to where they are staying Lulu nearly jumped out the window! I yelled and scared her to pieces. When we got there I hugged her and told her I was sorry, what a good girl she is and petted her. She seemed to feel better but I didn’t. Some decisions I make I will never understand. So I am sitting here, by myself right now writing this blog feeling completely empty inside. Seriously! They are that big a part of me. I will miss those little bundles until I return home. I hope they will forgive me!

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