Me on a Monday.

The following is my advice to anyone who may be wondering how they could possibly be, as awesome as me, on a Monday:

For most accurate results, it is best to first stay awake all night long…

As many of you already know, I am currently the Care Manager for a sweet elderly lady in Seattle, named Ethel.  We have had an extremely difficult time filling a couple of the night shifts, so I have volunteered to work Sunday nights as a caregiver.  Ethel is very excited that I’m staying the night with her now, and unfortunately for both of us her excitement has translated into insomnia.

Ethel’s insomnia seems to stem from her constant need to have me to sit next to her bed and hold her hand, massage her legs, massage her arms, massage her feet, reposition her in the bed, adjust her pillows, remove her covers because she’s too hot, add more covers because she’s too cold, etc.  There were a few times last night when she felt a little guilty because she knew how tired I was, and to my relief she would say, “Oh Winnie, you really should go get some rest.  You must be so tired.  Please go get some rest Winnie…”

But as luck would have it, I would no sooner have made myself comfortable on the couch again before I would hear her call out from her bedroom, “I miss you, Winnie!  I miss you!  I miss you TOO MUCH!!”

I have experienced this many times over my 12+ years, working as a Caregiver, and I can attest that it is both a blessing and a curse to be loved so dearly and so exuberantly by an elderly person who suffers from dementia.  While on one hand they love you so much that they are concerned for your comfort and safety (“You really need your rest, Winnie…”), they soon forget (dementia) how much time has passed between them telling you to get some rest and you actually resting (approximately 30-45 seconds), and in that short span of time the anxiety that they may never see you again sets in (“I miss you too much”), and at that point nothing becomes more important than coming up with any excuse to see you once more (“legs ache, tummy aches, shoulder aches, too hot/cold”), and therefore your life becomes an exhausting/endearing sort of living hell.

Then at around 3am they look at you with so much love in their eyes that it almost makes you feel uncomfortable, and their sad eyes well up with tears, and they say, “You are so nice, Winnie.  You are the nicest person I have ever met.  You are the nicest person IN THE ENTIRE WORLD!” and then your heart melts a little, and you just smile and continue to hold their hand until they start to nod off, and then you attempt to tiptoe out of the room…

“Winnie, Winnie!  Winnie, WHERE ARE YOU?  Oh thank God!  Thank God, Winnie!  I had a dream that you left me and I never saw you again!  But you’re HERE!  God Bless You.  God Bless You, Winnie…”

After very little sleep and several cups of coffee, proceed to begin walking the first of 6 dogs…

I left Ethel’s apartment at noon so that I could begin the dog walking festivities for the day.  Since I was already on Dixie’s side of town (Dixie is a Golden-Doodle) I picked her up first, and as always she was over-the-moon-happy to see me walk through her front door.  She was briefly disappointed that her boyfriend Nash (my yellow lab) wasn’t with me today, but she still enjoyed herself immensely during our long walk around the neighborhood.  Had our walk ended without any diversions, this particular Monday may have been much like any other.  But since Dixie had been such a good girl on our walk, and since we had the north end of Madison Park to ourselves (other than the fellow mowing the lawn), and since she was missing her boyfriend Nash so much, I decided that Dixie deserved a little off-leash time at the park.

Dixie was ecstatic to be off of her leash, and she rejoiced by sprinting back and forth along the waterfront as fast as her long Golden-Doodle legs would carry her.  When she paused just long enough to hunch awkwardly over a tall patch of grass, I groaned to myself that “of course she has to poop at the very bottom of the hill ugh” and reluctantly got the poop bag ready to clean up her mess for the second time that day.

It works best if you don’t pay any attention to where you are going and just focus on the poop and the poop bag and the task at hand…

On about my second or third step, I felt the earth give way under my feet, and I realized much too late that the bright green grass covering the steep hill toward the lake was merely an optical illusion.  There was no way to know (other than the fact that it had rained all night) that beneath the springtime glow of the glistening blades of grass at Madison Park, there lived a thick basin of slick, slimy, yucky, quick-sand-like-mud.  Before I could even find time to spew out a curse word, my two feet shot out from under me and my rear end was quickly transformed into what can only be described as a butt-sled.  As I tobogganed halfway down the hill, Dixie came bounding toward me and I hollered out to her to “get out of the way!  Save yourself, Dixie!!”

When my joy ride finally came to a stop, Dixie tried to resuscitate me by slobbering all over my face.  “Great, just great” was all I managed to say before I began the process of picking my aching bones off of the ground.

When you think that things couldn’t possibly get any worse, think again…

Not to be deterred from the mission at hand, I found the poop bag that I’d thrown in the air during the whole hoopla, made a quick assessment as to the percentage of my body that was saturated in mud, (my butt, calves, arms, hands, shoes, and I could not help but notice that the mud had actually found its way DOWN my pants and made a home in certain crevices) before I began my descent down the hill once again.

I had no sooner taken a step forward with my right foot before, once again, I became a victim of the menacing, slippery-slope, and this time I completed my journey down the hill, entirely on the right side of my body.  I had mud in my armpit, on the side of my face, in my right ear, and all through the right side of my hair.  Dixie, being my noble companion and all, decided to come and lay down beside me (white dog laying in the mud, great, just great) and lick the mud off of the side of my face.

Between these two falls, I had actually managed to dislodge a significant portion of earth. 

Once I was able to look back at my tobogganing pathway, I was horrified to see that there was a stretch of about eight feet of exposed soil, with a large mound of grass and dandelions piled up at the end.  When I went to pull my pants back up (they had practically fallen off of me by then) I actually had to pull a bunch of grass and dandelion stems out of my crack, and that was when I said to Dixie, “Seriously?  I mean…SERIOUSLY?  F*#KINGSH*TBALLS!!!”

The lawn mowing guy (ie; Sole Witness) must have 0bserved my acrobatic skills from afar, because I noticed that I no longer heard the engine running.  I looked over at him and waved (with my clean arm) to reassure him that I was okay.  He hollered out, “Sure you’re OK, ma’am?” and I just waved him off again with my muddy arm.

By then I had practically landed on the poop-pile’s front door, and I thanked my lucky stars that I didn’t just slide right through it.  Of course, since Dixie was frightened by my elegant trip down the hill, she was unable to complete the process of pooping.  In other words the whole disastrous slip’n’sliding incident, all of which began because I was trying to be a good citizen and pick up after my dog; it all of it had happened in VAIN!  While continuing my cursing rampage under my breath, I picked up Dixie’s little tiny turd-nugget with the poop bag, tied it up, put Dixie back on her leash, and we set off for home.

Remember, I STILL HAD TO WALK FIVE MORE DOGS after this fiasco!  In PUBLIC no less…

Fortunately, since I had stayed the night with Ethel, I did have a pair of pajama bottoms that I could change into, so I quickly weighed out the pros and cons of which would be worse; to walk all around Seattle in a pair of pajama bottoms, or to walk all around Seattle looking like a swamp person who may have possibly crapped themselves?

I opted to go 90’s grunge-style and tie my raincoat around my waist for the rest of the day. 

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By the time I had finished walking all of the dogs that day, I thought that I might die from exhaustion.  I drove home as fast as I could, parked my car halfway in the yard, and plowed my way downstairs, to the coziest couch on the entire planet.  I kicked off my muddy shoes, but didn’t even bother to change clothes before I collapsed onto my favorite part of the sectional and shouted, “Hallelujah!”

My yellow lab, Nash, is not allowed to sit on the furniture, but when I looked over at him and saw his adorable brown eyes looking at me with more love than I could ever possibly deserve, I couldn’t resist him.  I said, “come on up, little buddy” and in less than a second Nash had positioned himself entirely on top of me so that he could close his eyes while he enthusiastically licked my neck and face.

My phone started ringing.  It was Ethel…

(Keep in mind that Ethel has a caregiver there with her 24/7, so she is never alone.)

Me:  “Hello?”

Ethel:  “Winnie?  Are you there, Winnie?”

Me:  “I’m here, Ethel, how are you?”

Ethel began to cry:  “Not too good.  I’m not too good at all, Winnie…”

Me:  “Uh oh, are you feeling kind of crummy again?”

Ethel:  (sobbing) “I feel so BAD, and I MISS YOU SO MUCH, WINNIE!”

Me:  “I’m sorry that you’re missing me so much.  I’m sure that you caregiver is taking excellent care of you though, right?”

Ethel:  “Well…I suppose.”

Me:  “Maybe she needs to give you some medicine to help you feel better?”

Ethel:  (sobbing again) “I don’t need medicine, I need YOU!  The only thing that will make me feel better is YOU, WINNIE!”

Me:  “Well I’m not able to come and visit you tonight Ethel, because I am really tired, but I can talk to you on the phone for a little while.  Do you think that might help?”

Ethel:  “I guess so…but it’s NOT THE SAME!”

Me:  “Hey, guess what, Ethel?  Guess who is sitting on my lap right now?”

Ethel:  (sobbing sounds)

Me:  “Nash was so happy to see me when I came home, that he just had to lay on top of me and lick my whole neck and face!”

Ethel:  “Oh…WINNIE!  (whimpering sounds) I WISH I COULD DO THAT!”

Oh boy…

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Lucy-Furr.

IMG_1545Does anyone have a pair of Falcon gloves that I can borrow? Or maybe a suit of armor?

My kitten, Lucy-Furr, has suddenly become a Rastafarian. She has a strip of dreadlocks all the way down the middle of her back that sticks up and makes her look like she’s got porcupine quills, and even with Rea holding her down while I try to brush her, and vise versa, she scratches and bites us so bad that we scream in pain, and there is blood everywhere, and her eyes turn black, and she whispers something through the air between her blood-tipped-fangs that sounds almost like she’s saying “I’m going to kill you all in your sleep…”

For all of these reasons and more; her porcupine-looking-dreadlocks remain, and I’m finding myself wondering if I may need to hire an experienced exorcist priest to come and remove the demons from this so-called-kitten.

No disrespect, but this shit is beyond the Kitten Whisperer’s expertise.

Help!

Help us!

No, seriously.

HELP.

Dear God, please…

S.O.S

This is the only way that Rea and I can communicate with the outside world, because fortunately for us, Lucy-Furr has never learned how to read. She has us trapped in the basement, and when Nash tried to save us from her earlier, she simply backhanded him with her left paw, and he flew threw the air, bounded off of the wall, and was knocked unconscious. She laughed afterwards like a maniac and I may have peed a little.

If anyone could please come over and try to entice her away from us with a trail of Meow Mix (laced with Vicodin) I would surely appreciate it.

Nash’s Diary – November 6, 2013

IMG_0505Today was just like any other day; Momma Rea woke up and fed me, let me outside to do my business, and then put me back to bed with Mom and Kitten before she headed off to work.  Mom got to sleep in today since it was her day off, so we just settled in for a lazy morning.

As usual, Kitten was driving me completely crazy.  She just can’t seem to leave my tail alone.  She thinks it’s her own personal play-thing, and I’ve HAD IT!  The next time that white, furry, little, purring little PSYCHOPATH so much as puts a NIBBLE on my tail, I’m going flatulate the fires of HELL onto her precious little kitten face until she cries out for meow-ercy.

Wait…I think I just saw Mom move a little bit.  Her arm.  She’s stretching!  Okay, now if she reaches out for her rectangle-machine-ringy-thingy and starts staring at it for hours, then it’s time to get up.  Time to get up.  Did you hear me world?  It’s TIME TO GET UP!!!!!!

Awww shizzle.  Mom rolled over and farted.

We’re in for another hour at least.

F#*% YOU KITTEN and your CUTENESS!!!

(An hour later)

Well Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m proud to announce that we’re up and on the move!  We’ve made it as far as the living room.  But I will give Mom credit for having changed into the coat that she wears when she leaves the pack (aka; got dressed).  As usual, I was banished to my little, tiny square area on the floor, while Kitten aka; Her Royal Cuteness was allowed to go anywhere she f*#%ing pleased.  She was allowed to do her business in the house, curl up around Mom’s neck, sit on Momma’s lap.   She can even drool freely and do silent, smelly farts without being mocked for it!  And as if my life wasn’t unjust enough…

KITTEN!  Stop playing with my Jungle toys DAMN YOU!  That is MY Rhino!  You wouldn’t believe what that kitten just did.  She just bit my Rhino in the arse as hard as she could, and she looked me right square in the eye while she did it.  She was MOCKING ME!  Well F#*% you KITTEN and your CUTENESS!!!

……….

I just woke up from a nap, and was shocked to find Mom wandering around, looking rather ambitious.  I wonder what this is all about…?  Omg, omg, omg, OMG!  Did she just say what I think she just said?  No.  It can’t be.  It is.  Be still my heart.  Mom is holding a leash.  I cannot contain myself any longer.  A WALLLLLLLKKKKKKKKK!!!  WALK, WALK, WALK, WALK, WALLLLLLLLLLLKKKKKKK!

Oh Lord, I think I just pooped my pants.  Oh god, please don’t let me poop my pants right now or Mom won’t take me on a walk anymore, and that would just completely break my heart Lord, seriously.  No pee either.  Lord please help me hold the pee in until I get outside okay?  I promise I’ll be good from now on.  I promise.  Oh god, I feel some almost coming out.  Of both ends.  Oh jesus, please help me…Oh lord…

MADE IT!

Mom:  “Holy crap Nash, you were just outside an hour ago.  Are we feeding you too much or something?  Jeesh!  I’ve never seen a dog poop so much!”

Gosh Mom, you’re like so judgmental.  And it’s not like you’re one to talk!  I’ve seen you running to the john with your pants around your knees many a time, and have I told anyone about it?  No.  It’s between you and me.  But guess what?  You tell everybody about how much I poop, and about that one time when I had the stomach flu and I spray painted the bedroom furniture, or that other time when you put that other dog in a kennel next to me and that other dog got explosive diarrhea and shat all over me.  You thought that was so funny.  And you know what Mom?  That hurts.  How would you have liked to be shat on like that?  How would you like to be shivering in a dog kennel, covered in another dog’s shat?  And have your Mom laugh at you??  Oh forget it, let’s let bygones be bygones.  We’re going for a WALK!!!

Oh my goodness Mom, can you smell all of these glorious smells?  It’s like there’s been a million, trillion, zillion, quadrillion dogs and animals peeing out here all over these trees and bushes.  Maybe even Bigfoot!  I believe in Bigfoot, Mom.  I totally do.  I’ve smelled some urine that is so strong that there’s just no other explanation for it.  It has to be Sasquatch urine.  You know?  Bigfoot.  Omg it all just SMELLS SO GOOD!

The only thing that makes it better is adding my pee to it.  There’s just no way to even describe to you, Mom, the way it feels to lift my hind leg in the air and let my urine just flow, you know what I mean?  There’s nothing better.

Trot, Trot, Trot…

Sniff, Sniff, Sniff…

Pee, Pee, Pee…

All of a sudden Mom pulled the leash so hard all of a sudden I thought that my eyeballs might bulge out from whiplash.  It was really rather hostile if you ask me.

She hollered:  “NASH!  STOP PULLING ON THE LEASH!!”

Is it just me, or was that just completely and totally hypocritical?  Pop out my eyeballs and break my neck, just to yell at ME for pulling?  What is this world coming to?  Animals just have no rights at all, I tell you what?!

Mom:  “NASH if you don’t stop pulling we’re going to go back home!  You’re BETTER than this!  Stop PULLING on your MOMMA!”

Oh god, now she’s just trying to shame me.  This always works.  Even though I know better, I always fall for it.  I have a bleeding heart, what can I say?  Alright Mom, sorry.  I’ll try not to be such a terrible, horrible dog who is ONLY just TRYING to be happy and enjoy life for ONCE!  I’ll go back to being the sad, miserable, depressed middle-aged bastard who just lies around waiting to die.  As you wish.  As YOU wish…

Two can play at this game!  HA HA!

Amidst all of the excitement and stimulation, I was getting to get a bit of low blood sugar.  Hopefully Mom remembered to bring treats, because it seemed to me that we were getting pretty far from home.  Oh good, Mom’s slowing down so it looks like we’re going to take a break.  Next to a store no less, so treats look to be on the way.  Very Promising indeed.  Yep-yep-yep.  Looks to be a good day today, yes sirree.

Umm wait a minute, I’m not going to jump to conclusions, but it seems like Mom may be tying me to some kind of metal thing.  Why would she do that?  I can’t remember this ever being part of the plan before?  She hasn’t watched that show “Dexter” in a while, has she?  Oh dear god!  Not Dexter!  She seems like she’s in a good mood though, so I don’t think she wants to stab me in the heart or anything like that.  She’s talking to me nicely too, so that’s always a good sign.  She’s just called me “good dog” for no apparent reason, so either she really, really loves me or…

Oh god.  There she goes.  She’s backing away slowly.  She’s walking away.  Oh no…

She’s telling ME to stay while SHE’S walking away.

This doesn’t look good.

She’s a runner.

After 9 years she’s abandoning me.

This.  Can’t.  Be.  Happening.

At a QFC?  Really Mom?  A QFC?

You couldn’t have picked someplace a little more homey like, say, Martha Stewart Living or something like that?  You could have at least brushed me first!  I must look a mess.  Who’s going to adopt me now?  I’m old.  Unkempt.  Mildly overweight.  Socially awkward.  Oh god Mom, WHYYYYYY?  WHYYYYYYYYYYY?!?!?!

Wait, someone’s coming.  Maybe it’s her.  Maybe it’s Mom, coming back to me.  Why won’t my neck stretch any higher?  God, my neck isn’t tall enough?  Could be Mom, no, it looks more like a man, but Mom has short hair, no, that’s definitely a man.  Wait, it could be mom.  Taller but, almost short enough, but just too far away to tell…no, no, it’s not her.  I see a beard.  Well shiznit.  All this waiting around for Mom is just wearing me out!  I’m just gonna lie down here on the sidewalk and take a little snooze.

5 minutes Later…

I heard a noise!  Oh gosh it’s been hours and hours and hours at least!  I’m dying here by the grocery store!  I’m starving!  I’m parched!  I feel like the Good Samaritan.  I mean, what if I were Jesus, you people?  What if I were JESUS!  People keep walking by, but they’re not helping me, and they’re definitely NOT my MOM!

Wait.  I see a new group starting to walk over the hill.  I’m craning my neck to see.  I see two people, with a little one being carried on top.  Boy, that really looks like fun!  None of them are Mom.  But wait!  I might see Mom behind them, in the middle; behind them.

I arose and my body tensed in alert.  I couldn’t even help it, because just to see Mom’s face, even after her abandoning me all of these hours all alone, tied up around a piece of metal at the QFC parking lot, forgetting all about me; I just love that woman with all of my heart and soul and my whole, entire, 9 year old dog body broke out in a smile.  My tail was wagging, my head was shaking, my feet were dancing.  It was revival breaking out all up in the grocery store parking lot!

The cute little family who were walking in front of my Mom thought that my Welcome Home Mom Dance was all for them and they were all giggling and trying to get out their rectangle-machine-ringy-thingies to take a video of my antics.  Once they realized that my Mom was walking right behind them then they all really had a laugh.  Some other people who were standing near the scene were laughing also.

Mom came running and gave me a hug, because she was overcome with my cuteness.  Human folks broke out in applause.

I’m not kidding.

What can I say?

I mean, other than…

F#*% YOU KITTEN and your CUTENESS!!!

You didn’t even get to go for the most awesome walk ever with Mom, so THERE!