I know I haven’t been all that productive blogwise this year. It wasn’t intentional . . . well that isn’t completely true. I intentionally chose to do things like sleep, eat, spend time with my family and do school work. Mostly that last thing. I’m not sure if I mentioned it but I started a Masters of Education Degree program and Teacher Licensure Program this summer. This fall is my first “real” grad school semester. I’ve spent most of my time writing, sobbing and fulfilling my student teaching obligation. Not in that order necessarily and in differing proportions. It’s like undergrad except it’s more expensive and you can’t really b—–it your way through papers anymore.
Anyway, the extra time away from the family has caused stress, but we (read my wife and children) are adjusting and making it work. My favorite day is Friday because I don’t have any classes or teaching obligations and I can take my time in the morning. I have always liked mornings (quiet you haters). Lately however, I am gone before it starts. On Fridays I get to participate.
My wife and sons have a system, so I pretty much stay out of the way. Today I walked around in my pajamas and put lunch boxes in backpacks, poured milk on cereal and refereed a screaming match over who was looking at whom. My wife herded our cats toward the garage at the appointed time. “I love yous” and “See yas” and “Don’t Touch My Bionicals” were shared and off they went. My wife takes them to meet the bus and then goes to work.
I was staring at an English muffin in our toaster when the phone rang. “Did you promise Charlie you would drive them to school?” Morning phone calls customarily lack salutations and small talk.
“No.” Replies are usually short and to the point.
“He says you did and wants to know why you can’t drive him to school.”
My answer was basically that I didn’t even hint that I would take him to school, and besides he isn’t the boss of me.
In the background I could hear Charlie say something like “Not fair!” or “Yes he did!” or “Don’t Touch My Bionicals!” My wife asked Charlie patiently “What part of you getting in my car made you think that Dad was taking you to school?” She is a lawyer. She is very good at asking questions like that. Charlie reacted with a frustrated grunt-roar. It sounded something like Chewbacca reciting Hamlet after stubbing his toe. “AAAAAgggggggAAgghhhh Slings and arrows! AaaaaAAArgggg To be or not to be! Urrrgggh That really hurts!”
“I have to go.” She hung up. That happens a lot with morning phone calls.
A rescued my extra crispy muffin and was eating and reading something fascinating on Facebook when she called back. Apparently Chewie was very happy to hear that I would pick him up from school. Whatever it takes. She also reminded me that the dogs didn’t go out this morning because they are lazy bums. I agreed to let them out before I left.
I looked around and didn’t see either dog. I called for Abby and Bone . . . slight stirrings from the boys room. Bone is our new dog. He is eight years old and kinda gimpy an stiff legged. I can relate. We’ve had him for about six weeks and he has already carved out a place in our heart. We are told he is an American Bulldog. We believe his mother was an American Bulldog and his father was a rock. He gets all his energy and love for activity from his Dad. Seriously . . . this dog is so lazy he needs frequent dusting. I called again and Abby came down the stairs. Abby is a pug mix with a perpetual look of impending doom on her face. I yelled for Bone and there was a little more stirring from up stairs. After several seconds I heard Bone creak and groan his way down the stairs. He trotted to the back door and looked at me like I was the one holding up his biological processes.
I let him out on the back deck and wen out to keep an eye on him. He jumped off the deck and trotted into the woods. I could see him through the trees and when I saw his tail go out straight after a minute or so I knew we were in business . . . so to speak. He ran . . . more or less . . . out of the woods. He got to the deck and put his front paws on it. The deck is about 20 inches off the ground and Bone sometimes has a hard time getting back on it. I walked to the edge of the deck and put one foot on either side of the dog. I bent over and lifted Bone’s hips onto the deck. I tried to straighten up but my center of gravity (be nice!) shifted forward and I started to fall.
I would like to mention now that at some point in my life I had a very good, even athletic-level sense of balance. I had good to very good reflexes and though I was probably never described as nimble, I was not inclined to fall headfirst off a deck while lifting a dog’s butt. That was then, This is now. Now, with my knees and ankles pretty much totaled, I am basically a victim of gravity. My thoughts before impact were “Hit and roll . . . you’ll be fine” and then the basic realization that I had on two articles of clothing, it was about 23 degrees outside, there was nobody home but me and the dogs, and I was about to fall on my head. I was hoping that I wouldn’t be completely frozen before my wife got home and gave me that “I left you at home by yourself and you fell off the deck and froze to death” look. I didn’t want the look, but I wanted to say goodbye.
All my thoughts happened in a millisecond. I hit the ground like a dropped soft serve. I managed to land mostly on my shoulder, but I still got the wind knocked out of me. Most of the snow from our storm last week has melted but our deck doesn’t get a lot of direct sunlight so there was enough to break my fall a bit with some left over to go up my nose and down my pants. I lay there for a moment doing the physical inventory and clearing my head. I heard a snuffle and a whine. I turned my head and got a big wet tongue in my face. After I fell Bone jumped down and was now licking my. He whined again and poked me with his snout. “I’m ok, buddy,” I said. “I’ve just need to lay here for a second . . . in the snow.”
He whined again and head butted me. Gently he took my shirt in his teeth and pulled. He woofed and pulled some more. I was touched. “It’s ok, Bone. Just give me a minute.” I took a deep breath. Bone nuzzled me again. When I didn’t move he sat down, cleared his throat, pointed his nose upward and howled. Well it was kind of a howl. It had more bass in it than appropriate and it was a bit pitchy . . . but it was long and mournful.
When he was done howling, he licked my face again, turned around and started kicking snow on me. Have you ever seen a dog kick leaves and dirt backward after they pee? That’s what he was doing. I objected as he continued to kick snow on me. “Seriously Bone?” I yelled. “I said I was going to be fine.” He looked over his shoulder at me like he didn’t believe me and continued to bury me. He stopped when he figured he had enough snow on me to keep me from stinking until spring. He looked around then stepped on my chest and shoulders and boosted himself up on the deck. The door didn’t latch apparently because I heard him head butt the door open. When I eventually made it back in the house he was laying on the couch in his usual spot. He seemed only vaguely surprised that I pulled through and dig myself out.
I gave him side eye and went upstairs to change. No real damage done. I’m a little sore, but I’m used to that. I got dressed and called my wife. She thought it was hysterical that the dog buried me. Then it occurred to her that the dog had reason to think I was dead . . . that made it a little less funny.
Now I am in the library writing to you nice folks instead of working on projects. Breaks over . . . time to get back to work.
Thanks for reading folks. I promise to be back soon on This Side of the Diaper.