The weather forecast predicted scattered showers that day. The morning was cold and drizzly. It was also a Rental Dog day, Angus, Gracie and Franky triple tagging one home, the same home being my first property scheduled for the day.
After the kids were ushered into the shelter of the house, I set about doing my work in the yard. By the time I finished the front, the drizzle had turned to rain and had seeped through my several layers of clothing. The cold set deep in my bones. I hurt in places I forgot I had. Moving was difficult, especially my fingers which were needed to operate my pruners.
The rain showed no indication of letting up. I was cold and miserable, but I had only finished half the yard. The rest of the week was already falling apart. Any job missed would have to be made up on another day that same week. I had no choice but to finish what I started, so I limped into the back yard.
My toes hurt, my back hurt. My knees could hardly bend, and just standing hurt them. The damp of my gloves started to freeze, adding the pain of iciness to the arthritis I was already feeling in my hands.
I walked across the back patio and happened to glance over my shoulder into the living room.
I couldn’t see Franky’s body, but I did see his tail, hanging limply over the arm of the couch.
I saw Gracie, her eyes glazed in contentment, being brushed by her “Rental Mom”, oblivious to me looking in from the outside.
On a couch adjacent to the one occupied by Franky, Gracie and Rental Mom, lay Angus, under the warm glow of a table lamp. He was on his back, legs splayed. His posture so relaxed his jaws were open ever so slightly showing his lower pearly whites. His eyes closed in a deep, warm slumber.
I’m not sure why it wasn’t Gracie or Franky that brought the feeling on, a feeling stronger than any I have ever experienced before. It was Angus. At that moment, seeing him so warm and comfortable, I was completely and totally overcome. Never before had it been so clear to me what happiness could be. And at that moment, true happiness, true bliss, the likes I have never experienced before was possible, if only…..
I had a bucket of ice water and free access to Angus.
Don’t judge me!
I work in some pretty extreme conditions. Heat, cold, snakes, biting spiders and scorpions. They are all part of my job, all while bending, stooping, contorting and carrying very heavy loads on my back. But no body cares, at least not about me.
Here’s another example for you: During one of Franky’s Rental Dog visits, his Rental Mom determined the very short, early morning walk they took may have been too much for him. Upon returning to the air-conditioned home, Rental Mom proceeded to, ever so gently, wipe Franky about the head and face with a cool, damp towel to comfort him in his time of need.
For my part, when I went to pick Franky up, I was reminded that the giant prickly pear in the back yard had to be removed next maintenance visit. You think prickly pears are fun to work with? Try removing one at over 100 degrees! The glochids (the little hairy things that dig into your skin and take weeks to remove) adore sweat. Not only will I be itching uncontrollably from the unavoidable glochids, but the salt from my sweat will add quite a sting to the sensation – for a couple weeks! No cool, damp towel to ease your stress Crazy Dog Lady! You can suffer! But Franky, he needs comforting!
Thing about hauling a trailer behind a truck every day is that it sucks gas. For that reason, no matter how hot it gets in summer, or how cold in winter, I can’t run the air conditioning or heat lest I empty my gas tank in less than a mile. This ‘no climate control’ rule is in effect even when I am transporting kids to and from Rental Dog. Imagine if you will just how it makes me feel when I go to pick up the kid(s) at the end of a long work day, me being either frozen through or well done, only to have Rental Mom or Dad find the very thought of no climate control when used in the same sentence as my kids unacceptable. “No, he/she/they can’t ride with you, we’ll just follow you home taking them in our car. We have air conditioning/heat.” YOU can suffer, but not Franky, Angus, Gracie, Sarah (or insert other name here)!
And it isn’t just my landscape client/Rental Dog families that don’t care, it’s the kids themselves – at least all but one (at least I think there is one).
Sarah would give a tail wag when she saw me toiling in the yard, but to ask her to actually remove her person from the couch and show a just a little concern would be too much to ask.
Gracie also greets from afar, but makes no move to comfort. Indeed, watching me work makes her incredibly thirsty and sleepy.
Slugger will stand at the sliding doors and watch me, but if the door is open, he will make no move to leave climate control. Indeed, he will back away from the door and the offending uncomfortable temperatures, be they hot or cold.
Franky, well, he’s another story altogether: When I’m working, he won’t even acknowledge me. I think my status of servant embarrasses him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t tell Rental Mom or Dad to keep an eye on me lest I steal the silver! Seems Franky kind of likes the idea of living in a gated community…
Vito is my one little bright star. Before he was fired as a Rental Dog for body checking a miniature poodle, he would insist on helping me work, weather conditions be damned! I’m family, and Vito’s job is to protect the family, no matter what. If the truth be known, while Vito helped me, he constantly gave the “Are we done yet?” look. Though he feels he must protect, he would prefer to protect in climate control. Sometimes I wonder if he deliberately got himself fired so he wouldn’t have to protect me when I work…
Gotta keep in mind here, only Maude and Angus were raised ‘soft’. The others came from holes, the street, the desert, plucked from the e-list in horrible physical condition, and in Willy’s case, a war zone. Wouldn’t you think at least one of them could throw a little sympathy my way? Nope!
So, my clients and my kids are not concerned in the least about my discomfort in perpetual foul weather. My loving spouse cares right? Not so much.
When I’m overworked, under watered and sweating up a storm, I get nothing from him.
Consider this transcript of recent call from Crabby to me:
Crabby: When are you going to be done?
Me: I don’t know. Regular time. Why?
Crabby: I forgot to close the windows and turn the air conditioning on.
Me: I guess I’ll be home around 2ish maybe. The kids will be fine. They’re just sleeping anyway.
Crabby: I’ll leave early today. I’ll go home at lunch. (11:30 a.m.)
Me: You do realize it’s only going to be 88 degrees today right?
So, let us examine this further: Your wife, your soul mate, she who you promised to honor and cherish, can go out in all sorts of weather and all you have to say is “Have a good day!”. But your dogs, who sleep the day away, inside, away from harsh elements, except for the fan on the floor for extra circulation, THEY can’t be exposed to temperatures as high as (gasp!) 88 degrees?!?!?! And it’s a dry 88 degrees at that!
To add insult to injury, last weekend, we had a power outage that lasted quite a while. Maude was flat on the floor, panting excessively, and quite loudly. Crabby was ready to surround her in frozen foods from our freezer to ease her stress. It was only 83 degrees in the house. Where is MY frozen food comfort at 112 in the full sun?
I have one question: What about Mom????