Site icon Joanna Campbell Slan

I'm Too Old for Mall Hours

I woke up around 4 am this morning to the sound of Rafferty yelping. Turns out our little boy dog was thirsty. This often oftens after he gulps down his dry kibble late in the day. He’s just fine for a couple of hours, even three or four, then suddenly he HAS to have water RIGHT now. So I was stumbling around in the dark, more asleep than awake thanks to the 1/2 of an Ambien tablet I took, and trying to get his leash on so he won’t get hit by a car–and he’s prancing like one of Santa’s reindeer, making it nearly impossible to snap on the leash. Once I get him all rigged up, I turn to his little “sister”, our girl dog Victoria, who is also thinking this is a grand lark: “Mommy’s up! It’s dark outside! Oh, boy! What joy!Can’t wait! Let’s go!”

I finally get the two of them clipped, but I can’t make it to the water or the door or anywhere because they’ve now run circles around my legs. Effectively tying me up like a hostage in a bank heist. So I do this sort of mincing around while ducking under the leashes and stepping out of loops and knots. Fortunately, the leashes are long enough that the two of them can get to their water while I’m still fumbling about. They slurp it up.

Explanation: We don’t leave water in their crate because a good pal who is a dog trainer suggested this was just begging (haunches down, paws waving in the air) for accidents. Lord knows, we have enough of those without putting a dish in the crate. Besides, they have access to all the water they want six or seven times a day–and of course, whenever they decide it’s a grand time to howl at me.

From the water dish, we move to the front door and out onto the front stoop which is some sort of stone. Limestone, I think. Or shale. Here my body shakes with fear. Three nights ago, I stepped off one of our front steps because David and I came home late during a power outage. Our house was pitch black. I was leading the way, in a long skirt and boots and carrying most of our belongings. Then I went flying through the air, hit the wet grass and rolled.

David was so tired he sort of whooped, “You okay?” and once he got me back on my feet, he added, “Nice roll there. You hit the ground rather gracefully.”

Uh, thanks, I think.

He opened our front door and toddled past me into the bedroom. With nary a “can I get you an Advil?” Or a “do you think it’s broken?” He fell irrevocably asleep. On his back. With his mouth open.

This is a consequence of two entirely different sleep schedules which we’ve embarked on since he opened his new store–Steinway Piano Gallery–at Tysons Corner in McLean. He’s zonked by 11 p.m. and up at 5 a.m. I’m usually not asleep until midnight or thereafter, and if I take an Ambien, I’m out until at least 8 a.m. So basically, it was Mr. Zombie Man and ME , and ME was hobbling about with a rapidly swelling foot. Gnashing my teeth and swearing under my breath.

So last night this whole ugly scenario came back to me as I froze on the stoop. An instant replay of my nose-dive into the wet grass replayed in my brain. I shivered and stopped right outside our front door. The dogs didn’t care. They’d had their water. They wanted to water the grass. If they tugged hard enough, I’d have to come along for the walkies.

And I did.

Which is a very long way of saying: I need a different schedule. My fingers barely function this morning and my eyes are sagging at half-mast. My husband’s mall hours are killing me. We’re too old for this. Okay…I am. Maybe he’s not, but I am. I need to ditch the Ambien, start going to sleep earlier, get the dogs on a schedule or something.

But what that something is, I’m just not sure.

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