Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Chapter Two

Packing 2 Houses and 35 years

By now, Gramma’s mongrel was already living at my house. A young black curly haired thing that we actually helped her pick out at the local pound a year earlier. Had we only known. Since then, the pooch went from a mutt to some fashion of a Portuguese water dog. This slightly resembles a standard poodle.
Gramma even took it to school. I have decided that “doggie school” is a scam. This is like paying for a private mail order education for your child and being told after a few days you can allow them to take the entrance exam to medical school. Gramma actually went and as she tells it, participated in these classes.
Here is the picture in my head. A five-foot unhealthy, over
weight 65 year old woman being led around by a dog nearly half her weight whose keen sense of command skills likens that of the greyhound chasing the fake rabbit around the course. I am not sure that Gramma’s “stern” command voice (between hacking spells) is going to influence this animal. I suspect more
training was needed as I saw my daughter being drug around
our house by the leash of this pedigree animal at 35 miles an hour.
“Don’t worry, she’s still a puppy” Gramma could be heard yelling in the background.
Since the dog was already more than a year old and the average life span is around a decade, then it must be a teenager about now. It is not enough that the dog had this incessant whine the like you have never heard. It did not like to be outside alone.
Our neighborhood did not have fenced in yards. If someone had a dog, they used invisible fencing. When we bought our house, our two golden retrievers were already more than half way through their lives and we figured that if we
installed it, we wouldn’t get past training. One zap and they would both drop dead to the ground based on the mere fact that they felt we had betrayed and didn’t trust them anymore. It saved a thousand bucks too.
Our morning routine the first month was a daily exercise of Charlie bringing my mother a carafe of coffee with a cup on tray to the guest room which she now occupied down the hall from us. Not to be jealous but, I don’t recall Charlie bringing me
breakfast in bed for the first five years of our marriage. He would then take her giant oxygen machine to the first floor of the house since she would need to be tethered to it most of the day. By the time he left, Mom was already making the walk down to the master bedroom because we had a much more comfortable chair and cable hook-up to the television. At this point Gramma had also requested to use our bathroom instead of the one in the hall, since ours had a walk-in shower versus the tub to step over in the other. This seemed like a reasonable request until I had to wait in line for my own bathroom.
A month had passed and my husband was already in
another state beginning his new job. We decided I would stay back and tie up a few loose ends.
Pack up our 4 bedroom home and list with a realtor
Move Gramma into our home after leaving the rehab center
Put Gramma’s house up for sale
Pack Gramma’s house and go through 35 years worth of stuff
that she absolutely had to have even if she didn’t know she `had until we found it.
Getting an attorney for gramma and drawing up a purchase agreement for her home as well as a will
Getting us all to Wisconsin in one piece by the first day of school year
It was July now and I had decided to keep working as long as possible since before Gramma had gotten sick we decided that I would become a stay at home Mom with Katie and Emma. While I was at work, we took Kate and Emma out of the local day care center and let them be home with Gramma. It was ok since I was assured that although she couldn’t chase them around the 16
yard, she was quite capable of making lunch and dialing 911.
I could do this because there were many women who I knew that could juggle all of these things and make it happen. How could I be any less up for the task? I should have know the day I was sitting g in my office and my 8 year old called in a hysterical voice that was barely y audible, crying…
”Mommy, Cleo (Gramma’s dog), got in a fight with Bear(my dog) and ripped his tooth out. There’s blood everywhere and he’s gonna die!”
Here I was, sitting at my desk with visions of Gramma’s young dog Cleo, visciously attacking my old, quiet, never a pest, big brown-eyed dog, Bear. I had her put Gramma on the phone to understand the severity of the situation from an adults’ view.
According to Mom, there was quite a lot of blood from my dogs mouth, but she was sure that my dog started it and that if the tooth had been extracted it was because my dog had, like a sniper, come up behind her dog and gone for the jugular, catching his tooth in the collar of her dog. Perfectly acceptable 17
in the rules of engagement. I suddenly felt like I was in the seventh grade.
As I pulled up into the driveway 20 minutes later, two young girls were running up to me crying and yelling that Gramma didn’t care because she let her dog, kill our dog. Gramma was in turn yelling that they were tattling and listed a number of things that they should not have done that day. This, I thought, was not happening.
After the ER visit to vet and $150 later, I returned home and informed my crew that Bear had indeed lost his tooth and No, the “doggie dentist” would not be replacing it nor would the doggie tooth fairy be coming. One of the casualties of war, he would now eat pureed food his remaining days.

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