As her daughter’s beautiful, glimmering wedding week drew to a close, with all of its joy, happy tears and chaos, as Joanie wearily ushered the last of the umpteen hung-over houseguests out of the house and to the airports, it occurred to her that in fact the wedding week was not over. Really not over. Completely and totally exhausted, she washed sheets and towels, changed beds, shook out blankets, washed glasses, emptied the trash full of empty champagne and beer bottles and watered the plants as she would soon be away for ten days. Away for ten days with a teenager and three small dogs. What was she thinking?
She had committed to keep an eye on her teenaged granddaughter while the newlyweds were on their honeymoon, and that offer would soon be one that she might have reconsidered. As granddaughter gave her the rundown of her schedule- baseball practices, shopping, visits with friends…she was tired just thinking about it.
First day: Home alone with the dogs, that were frantically and ridiculously ferociously barking and attempting to attack anyone and anything that walked past the backyard fence, she looked around the house- dirty clothes piled, overflowing cat litterbox, floors needing to be swept…you get the idea. Ten loads of clothes later, refrigerator cleaned, floors swept, toilets scrubbed, weeds pulled, beds made, Joanie took a deep breath and went out onto the backyard deck with a cup of coffee to sit for a minute. Bad idea. Doorknob locked. There she was, locked out, sweaty in a worn out tank top, hair a mess, old yoga pants, no makeup AND no bra. Good God Almighty! No! No! No! Now what??? No way could she beg to use the neighbors’ phone to call a locksmith looking like the Wreck of the Hesperus- so, tried each and every window to see if she could break in. Burglar-like, she methodically took screens off, shook doorknobs, opened the back gate and went out front to try to open the garage door…no deal. As she seriously considered kicking the back door in (Why not? How hard could it be?), she noticed that she hadn’t tried one last window. As she wrenched it open she gave herself a big high five and a pat on the back. Yay! In, and only slightly out of breath after clambering into the rec room, she noticed that the dogs were gone. Crap! Forgot to close the damn gate! After momentarily considering letting them run free so that she could rest- hey, that’s what the Humane Society is for, right?- out she squealed to find them. Such nice people in the neighborhood- a lady had them all corralled for her right next door. Sweet! And the little white poodle only bit her once! She winced as she handed them over and scurried back into her house. Joanie was sure she would never see her again.
Second day: Took granddaughter to her new high school, or tried to. Kid forgot how to get there. Nice. Ok, took deep cleansing breaths, drove around in circles for a half an hour and cursed only a few times before finally finding her school. Got her excruciatingly detailed instructions as to when and where to pick her up after softball practice, and was reminded to pick up her cookie dough order- the softball fundraiser- and of course she would be the top seller, roughly 500 pounds of boxes. Oh goodie. Joanie then reminded her that the pickup time- 5:30, would seriously postpone her happy hour and she wasn’t happy about it. Oh my, this was going to be a VERY long ten days. Three hours later, after delivering the last of the snicker doodles, chocolate chip, peanut butter cup, oatmeal raisin, candy M&M’s, white chocolate macadamia nut and chocolate pecan cookies, with only one slight mistake- delivered a box to a family that didn’t order one…but they were thrilled… they were finished and drove back to the house. During delivery, Joanie only swore five or ten times as granddaughter forgot who ordered what and where they all lived- “Oh grandma, it’s ok, they won’t remember what they ordered! Besides that they don’t know who I am!”
One last cap to the day- NO ICE! As Joanie started her first of many collapses, granddaughter pointed out the icemaker. There is a God. Thank you and now where’s the vodka?
Third Day: Joanie thought that it might be time to find a grocery store. Found it, got a few things and promptly got lost on the way back. A friend later helpfully pointed out that she could use her GPS to find home- if only she had the address written down, that is. Ahhhhh…. The rest of the day went along pretty well- picked granddaughter up again at softball practice, notified Joanie that she has a crush on a boy, cooked dinner, got ready for bed and let the dogs out for one last potty before nighty night. As Joanie opened the back door and stepped out, oops! Her feet went out from under her on the slimy little deck and she crashed down the steps, bouncing her ass on each consecutive step, finally landing on the concrete, in the dark, in the rain. The damn dogs helpfully licked her face and the lotion on her legs as she assessed the damage. The bruises speak for themselves.
Fourth Day: Cat will not come down from the neighbor’s roof. Will. Not. Come. Down. Granddaughter and Joanie balance a barstool on a chair in a near lightening storm, caught the damn cat by the damn leg after baiting her with a steaming bowl of tuna fish casserole and went to bed. Cat is not happy and is limping but Joanie just doesn’t care.
Fifth Day: To be continued.