If a tree falls in the forest . . .

“TIMBURRRR!”
And down it came, crashing like the clod of earth thrown into the sea by legendary Irish giant, Finn McCool.
My silent concentration was splayed like a bolt from the blue.
“For the love of Pete!” I spluttered aloud, spewing out eight tiny nails I’d been holding in my mouth. They landed, pointy side up I’m sure, in the long grass at my feet, where they instantly disappeared.
No doubt I’ll find them next summer when I’m running around without my shoes on.
The piece of window screen I’d had in my hand went flying like a frisbee, yanking the dogs’ attention to retrieve. I paused—listening for expletives born of a tree headed straight for the roof. None came.
Another tree had just bit the dust in the name of “The Glen.”
Slightly cranky, I picked up the skin I had jumped out of. My canine follies woofed incessantly in the general direction of the commotion and glanced back at me for reward, garnering only a flat stare.
“You think?” I said snidely.
As it was, “Dot” and “Cash” were in the bad books for remuneration of their patrolling duties. That exclusive contract had gone right out with them when they’d jumped through the screen door window during a recent hot pursuit of “Ozzie” the cat.
I still can’t fathom how two dogs, one of which is the size of a small car, had managed to explode through a rectangular space 22 inches wide by 11 inches high without losing a limb or something.
Maybe they were magicians in a former life.
When I’d arrived home to find the screen door massacre, I’d wanted to test their magic skills by hanging the mutts upside down from a four-storey roof like illusionist David Blaine did of himself during a stunt last week in New York.
Of course, I wouldn’t do that—and it went out of my head as fast as the dogs’ legs that carried them around the back side of the barn when they realized their screen debut wasn’t getting rave reviews.
Ozzie, in his own vanishing act, was AWOL for the rest of the day.
In fact, I found him the next morning at dawn—after considerable investigations based on the feline drawl “MOWW, MOWW”—locked in the garage with my truck.
I’m not even sure why I spent half my Saturday afternoon replacing the screen in the stupid door. The entire structure was begging to be torn down. The door’s 17 coats of white paint were peeling off in curly layers. Next to it, another ginormous section of screened window was flopping loose in the fall wind.
One of many cats that had boarded here over the summer had rubbed against the screen long enough to lift it from the slats, making a convenient entry way for small animals to come and go as they pleased.
Oh, brother. Where’s Pete when all these jobs need doing?
He e-mails me every night. “I miss you, I love you. How was your day?”
I flat stare the computer screen and type.
“Same as usual. I sat around all day eating chocolates and painting my toenails. The dogs did the vacuuming, cleaned the bathroom, and retrieved the mail. The cat folded laundry and mowed the grass, and then all three did yard repairs while I had a nap.”
Pete replies, “Sounds great honey . . . I can barely make out your e-mail because somebody stepped on my reading glasses. . . . ”
I pumped out another e-mail that said, “Thanks so much for the go ahead on hiring a contractor, honey. You’re a gem.”
Can you hear me now?

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