The autumnal cold has settled in with its resulting plagues and flux, one of which has greedily taken possession of my lungs, joints and all systems that formerly functioned. Whether of the regular bubonic variety or the new chic piggy strain, I have no idea, but I’m dealing with it in a prudent manner. Lots of mindless TV, lots of plaid flannel, lots of Ben and Jerry’s, an enormous stack of mass market paperback bestsellers. And lots of rest. The puppy is, needless to say, not amused.
She rolls her eyes like any good teenager. “I’m soooo bored. Do something for me.”
I am at a significant disadvantage and I know it. From under the pile of quilts I croak, “I’m sick. You should do something for me. Make me a cup of tea. Wouldn’t that be a joke!”
The puppy snorts, “I’ve already eaten that pair of socks you wore yesterday so you don’t have to wash them. The last bite was hard to suck down. I consider that quite a favor.” She makes a demure hackety, hackety sound to prove her point.
I’m too sick to argue her logic. “Not exactly what I had in mind. Shutting your yap so I can sleep would be an excellent start.” I turn over, hoping to end the discussion.
But my little girl is still not finished. A bored puppy is a dangerous puppy. “You always say sleep is over-rated. Besides, you look like hell. Get up and take a shower. I want to steal the soap. That’s something we can both enjoy.”
The puppy darts from the bedroom and in my be-fevered state I consider this a good thing. I hear the comforting bathroom noises of water running and suddenly I remember that I am the only human here and I’m in bed. Not good. I stagger upright, wobble a little as I adjust to the novelty of the position, and point myself in the direction of the bathroom.
The puppy is gaily running a tub. Treacherous little thing, she seems to know more about faucets and knobs than I had anticipated. She has retrieved the bars of soap from both the kitchen and bathroom sinks, and has plopped them into the tub along with the bar from the shower. “Glug, glug, glug, bzoozm,” she chortles under water. “Bzoozm, bzoozm.” Most dogs loathe getting into a tub of any kind, too confining, too slippery, too hard. Not for little Miss Submariner. Her black ear tips break the surface, and under she dives again. My tub is an antique cast iron number, deep with rounded edges, but deep as it is, a cavorting Doberman displacing the still-running water brings it dangerously close to over-flowing. The tiled floor is already well-slicked from the splashing and I remind myself not to slip while I proceed to do just that. I land ungracefully and rather painfully directly into the tub on top of the puppy.
“Glug? Glug?” She attempts to slide out from under, but she can’t find a foothold, only several bars of soap, and she goes under again. “Glugggggg.”
My own dearest wish is to climb out as well, but I’m riding a thrashing dog and can’t find a foothold or a handhold either. I reach for the knobs at the end and at least manage to turn off the water, which (the puppy never having learned H from C) has been icily cold the whole time. Remember this is a freestanding antique tub, and the shower is one of those charming chrome hanging gizmos that require a delicate touch to operate. I frantically grab for anything and succeed in pulling the hanging contraption down from the ceiling. The shower curtain gives both of us traction and the puppy and I emerge gasping and shivering from our watery adventure.
My plaid flannel jammies cling to me in a disgusting mush. Little rivulets of dye run onto the tiles. (They are discount pajamas.) “You little shit. Don’t you ever, ever try anything like that again. Look at this place. I’m frozen and soaked and remember I’m siiiiiick!” My voice has risen to an interesting pitch, despite my former croaking. There are so many expletives, but frankly I’m much too tired and too cold. The room is tilting ever so slightly.
The puppy shakes. Of course she does. That’s what puppies do. She shakes so hard that there are droplets on the ceiling, the plaster already abraded from the descent of the shower gizmo. She feigns righteous offense at my anger. “Me? You’re blaming me for this mess? I was just having a lovely bath and amusing myself when you screwed everything up. Who pushed me in the tub? Who got more water on the floor? Who pulled down the shower curtain? Who’s dripping the most right now? You. You. You. I’m all clean. I’m going back to bed. I don’t want to catch a cold.”
Causes Mara Buck Supports
Kennebec Valley Humane Society, Amnesty International