All I wanted to do was bathe my Shelties, but fate had other plans.
| JUST ONE OF THOSE DAYS (1646 words) My 'one of those days' actually began the evening before. I was multi-tasking and hurrying down the basement stairs to rendezvous with the awaiting washer. I stumbled, missed a step, and tumbled to the unforgiving cement floor. I knew that I'd broken my right thumb. I had left-thumb fracture experience. Now, I was home with time on my hands. I couldn't just sit on my hands; it would've been very uncomfortable.The hubby was at work, the kids were at school, and I was suddenly side-lined. My dominant hand was impeded by a cumbersome plaster cast and I couldn't very well visit my clients in the privacy of their homes to provide personal care. I'd experienced difficulty dressing and bathing myself. What to do? I faced a long day. I wasn't a fan of daytime television. This was in my pre-computer-ownership days, so I had no keyboard to peck at or on-line sites to surf. I was grounded. Sure, I enjoyed reading, but I wanted to do something, anything. I wanted to accomplish something worthwhile. Recently, I'd learned to cross-stitch thanks to my eldest daughter, and I'd begun an ambitious piece intended to be a combination birthday/Christmas gift for my mother. Now, I had an unexpected block of time to devote to it. How was I going to grasp a narrow, sharp needle? Stretching from my fingertips to my elbow, the cast discouraged manual dexterity. How was I going to poke, push, and pull a fine needle through tiny holes to create a neat pattern of stitches? How could I repeatedly re-thread this needle? How was I to cut with a pair of scissors? My left hand was unprepared for fine motor skills. I could take the dogs for a walk, but I wasn't in the mood. Maybe I dreaded a possible fall so soon after my accident. Our usual ritual was to partake of an evening stroll, and it was barely morning. Housework one-handed wasn't impossible, just difficult. None of it was important or urgent. I was no stranger to mishaps and subsequent recoveries. Life continued and I always carried on. I was still a wife, a mother, and a dog owner. My two Shelties were a little confused. 'Normally', they amused themselves during weekdays. They were attuned to the family schedule and I wasn't supposed to be at home, so, if I was it could only mean something good. They sat and stared at me. I sat and stared at them. Eventually, I formed a plan, and it most definitely involved them. Inexplicably, illogically, I decided to bathe them. All I had to do was some preparation. First, I had to protect my ten-hour young cast which was still a little soft. This wasn't my premier 'donning of the plaster', and I knew it needed to stay dry. I rummaged in a kitchen drawer for two plastic shopping bags. As the old saying goes, two is better than one. Try as I might, my left hand just could not tie the loose ends of the bags together. Knots do require the synchronized efforts of two hands. Next, I struggled with cellophane tape; clutching the dispenser between my knees and tugging sharply. Unfortunately, this sticky tape likes to wrinkle and fold back upon itself, rendering its application impossible. After a few blunders in which the stressed elastic bands snapped and ricocheted across my kitchen, narrowly missing the attentive dogs, I managed to finagle a couple over my bulky arm. I tucked the ends of the plastic into the edge of the plaster. I hoped it was water-tight. I had to contend with my long, loose hair. There was no conceivable way I could coax it into the restraints of a tail. A braid would have been ideal, but a daunting task, so, I resorted to also tucking it; into the back of my t-shirt. I was prepared to get wet. As is my habit, I was already barefoot. Granted it was a wee bit awkward, but my left hand succeeded in rolling my jeans to my knees. I piled several towels on the bathroom floor within reach and I filled the tub with warm water. I was ready for my first canine bather. At this point, both dogs had disappeared. I must mention that Shelties do not like water, unless it is in snow form. They will cavort in 'white water', yet refuse to swim. They prefer to bask in sunlight and avoid puddles if at all possible. An occasional bath is to be endured, not sought. During my impromptu planning, I'd forgotten that my dogs would not enter the tub voluntarily. They simply would not step, slip, or slide. They also refused to join me in 'the room of water'. I was forced to bring a dog to the mountain, I mean the fountain. I just had to do a bit more hoisting and lugging. When I set Dilly into the tub, my right arm was only submerged for a second or two. He wasn't exactly thrilled, but at least Dilly didn't struggle. He suffered the lathering, the scrubbing, and the rinsing with baleful eyes. I wasn't too wet until I lifted a sodden Sheltie the only way I could; by bear-hugging him to my chest. Rubbing Dilly down with towels required a great deal of intense effort. I knew the moment I stopped to catch my breath, he'd be shaking and shimmying; spraying water droplets everywhere. Dilly took off racing through the house as I repeated the bathing process with Tasha. It was as if he believed he could out-run the moisture clinging to him or create his own wind-tunnel dryer. I wouldn't have thought it possible, but bath-number-two made me even wetter. Finishing with Tasha, I was dripping and fur-covered. I planned to change soon enough, but first I needed to take care of the soaked towels. This meant traversing the very set of stairs that had tripped me only a short time ago. I bumped down the basement steps on my butt. I figured it was a bonus workout and an opportunity to remove some dust. There were no witnesses to deny my dignity. I arrived at the washer unscathed and deposited the towels. Ascending the stairs wasn't a worry. Falling up hurts less. Walking into the kitchen, I was distracted by the sound of footsteps across the front deck and the unmistakable squeal of the mailbox being opened. Mopping up puddles could wait, I had mail. Without a second thought, I stepped out onto the deck and crossed the short distance to the mailbox. As I reached to pull out my junk mail/flyers and bills, I heard the door click shut. One or both of the dogs must have jumped against it; it was too heavy to swing closed. The next phase of my day was about to surprise me. I discovered that the door was not only shut, but locked as well. Tasha and Dilly stared expectantly at me from their perch atop the forbidden loveseat. Their heads were cocked and their ears were alert as if they were thinking, "What are you doing now? Aren't you coming back in?" I was stranded on my own deck in bare feet and soggy clothes. At certain times this wouldn't have been an issue, but it was a frosty Canadian November. Normally, there was a light skiff of snow. This day merely featured frozen ground. As I stomped my feet and slapped my arm, or was it scraped my arm because of the heavy cast, I decided that there was only one course of action. Waiting for my kids to return home wasn't an option; they weren't due for several hours. My neighbours were at work, so no one could shelter me or offer the use of their telephone. My hubby's place of employment was situated at the end of a long hike and I didn't relish traipsing through an auto body shop sans shoes. My car keys were secure in the house. As I saw it, my only recourse was to walk the four or five blocks to the elementary school to retrieve my son's house key. With my mind set, I waved farewell to my perplexed pooches and set off on my quest. I believed that if I kept moving, I wouldn't feel the nip in the air. Thankfully, my feet were numb, so they didn't object to their mad march. At the school and grateful for the temporary warmth, I was well aware of my sorry appearance, but beyond caring. To give her credit, my son's teacher didn't commiserate as her eyes took in my dishevelled dress. She was quick to summon Chris and her only comment was, "This explains a lot." No, she wasn't judging me or being sarcastic, at least, I don't think she intended this. Earlier, at breakfast, Chris had informed me that he needed a permission letter. This was fine except my writing hand was hindered by a fresh plaster cast. Mothers are nothing if not ingenious. I dictated while Christopher printed his own missive. For my scrawl of a signature, he wedged a pen into my palm. My pitiful predicament was proof positive that my son was not a forger. Hustling home ,all I could anticipate was a hot bath of my own and a hot cup of tea. The trouble was I could not foresee that my vexing day was not quite finished with me. My hot tea spilled into the hot bath water. My cast was a tiny bit squishy. Later, in the evening, while I regaled my bemused family, I inadvertently 'clunked' my youngest daughter in the face with my plaster club, er, I mean my arm. She was only shocked. She'd already broken her nose years before, but that's her 'one of those days' story. (1646 words)