Where are we going again?
The Handbasket » Page 'Buckle Up'

Buckle Up

(quite long – buckle up)

Me: OK you two – we need to chat.

Sally: OK.

Sophie: OK.

Me: It has been a long and roller coaster-y year.

Sally: Has it?

Sophie: …

Me: Yes. Lots of ups and downs.

Sally: Remind me …

Me: OK … well, about a year ago, we started planning renovations with Mike and Lisa, so that is good.

Sally: Sure – they are nice.

Me: Yes.

Sophie: … messy, disruptive, noisy …

Me: They put in your heated floor in the new bathroom.

Sophie: Oh, I love them.

Me: Specifically, Mike did that. Thank him when he comes back on Friday.

Sophie: I will refrain from leaving a hairball in his shoes.

Me: That will do. I had SO MUCH FUN designing the spaces with Lisa. I didn’t realize how much fun that would be.



Me: Anyway, we’ve been in a global pandemic since March 2020 … that has been stressful. Two years now.

Sally: Is that why humans come into the house wearing muzzles?

Me: Those are masks, not muzzles. But yes. So, a year ago, people thought maybe the pandemic might be over. And we had a pretty ok summer, pandemic-wise.

Sally: …

Sophie: …

Me: In July, Big Dee collapsed on the deck in front of me. Turns out he was really sick.

Sally: I knew he was sick for a while.

Me: Yes, I think you did. … We lost him later in July. It was awful.

Sally: I miss Big Dee.

Sophie: To my surprise, I miss him too.

Me: I miss him so much. I still can’t believe he isn’t here.

Me: I sold my pink Barbie boat and bought a refurbished non-Barbie boat.

Sally: YES! That was awesome.

Me: It is pretty awesome. I named it after Big Dee.

Sophie: You never name anything after me.

Me: Nothing as beautiful as you has happened yet.

Sophie: Oh. Yes, that makes sense.

Me: Moving on … there was some family stuff in the fall – do you remember that?

Sally: When you were out  on the deck in the rain trying to get a cell signal?  A bunch of times?

Me: Yes, that was it.¬†On the “up” side, we got a quick visit from Angela around birthday time, so that was a treat.

Sally: She is nice.

Sophie: She likes me a lot.

Me: Yes, she does. … later on in the fall, we moved upstairs so the kitchen reno could start … that was … interesting …

Sally: Yes! I remember that! 

Sophie: I remember being under a bed for six weeks.

Me: Yes, I’m so sorry about that.

Sophie: There was a huge dog upstairs with big teeth.

Me: Yes. I’m so sorry.

Sally: What happened to Mr. Handsome?

Me: He is living his best life on a farm. He didn’t really fit in here as well as we’d hoped.

Sally: … I guess not … but being the only dog doesn’t really suit me.

Me: I know, sweetheart.

Sophie: Suits me.

Me: I know … and we will return to this subject … moving on … we moved back downstairs in December … and I started to enjoy my new kitchen …

Sally: I like it. It is bigger. There are more high traffic areas for me to sprawl out on while you are cooking.

Me: Yes, I noticed.

Sophie: I like the heated floor.

Me: That is in the bathroom.

Sophie: Best room in the house.

Me: I’m glad you like it … moving on … So, I had planned a big Christmas trip for December after the grades were in. Sally, we were supposed to go on two big Ontario road trips, first to see family in Thornbury, and our friends in K/W including crazy dog RayLynn, then a big dinner with friends in St. Catharines, including your little friend Bella, and then to Strathroy for more family … and maybe a stop in Drumbo … it was going to be great.

Sally: Did we do that trip?

Me: Nope. The pandemic returned with something called Omicron.

Sally: Darn. That sounded like a fun trip.

Me: Friends were going to visit after Christmas and then we were going to do road trip part two to Ottawa for New Years … none of it happened because … Omicron.

Sally: I don’t like pandemic stuff.

Me: Me either … I haven’t seen “my people” for literally months … moving on … my job is a bit weird right now. We are employing “work to rule” strategies to motivate management to negotiate.  That started in December. It keeps escalating … Stressful. 

Sally: …

Sophie: …

Me: The renos aren’t quite finished yet, for 1,000 reasons, and we are living in a partial construction zone. Nothing is stored in its rightful place yet and it is starting to feel quite claustrophobic. To me anyway.

Sally: I hadn’t noticed.

Sophie: Me either other than its a bit of an obstacle course around here.

Me: I know. It is discombobulating.

Sally: Big important word.

Me: Big word, not that important really.

Sally: OK.

Me: There is a war happening that is pretty awful. There is almost always a war happening somewhere. This one is just as horrible, unfair, and shocking as most wars are.

Sally: Is that like a dog fight in the park?

Me: … mmm … yes, sure. But with more dogs than you can count and the fights end in death and destruction.

Sally: OH! that sounds awful and confusing and unnecessary. My “fights” only last about ten heartbeats and I’m just trying to show that I’m strong. No one gets actually hurt.

Me: I know … War is a terrible, stupid choice for resolving differences and many humans are sad and stressed about it.

Sally: I know you are stressed.

Me: Yeah … everything is starting to get more expensive and that is also stressful.

Sophie: Can you still pay the hydro bill for the heated floor?

Me: Yes, so far that is ok.

Sophie: Phew.

Me: So, it has been a long, dark, lonely winter. And as Uncle Gin said the other day, no one is really doing well right now, mental health wise.

Sally: Are you ok?

Me: I’m “ok” but I’m really tired of waves of bad news. And I’m stuck in my personal routine which involves a lot of sitting at the computer. So I could be better. I feel we need … I need … some new energy in the house. It will be spring soon and I don’t want to feel so weighed down.  And, Sally, I think you need a friend.

Sophie: … I don’t think I like where this is going …

Sally: This sounds awesome so far … go on …

Me: So … I think we need … A PUPPY!!!

Sally: Yay … wait, what? What is a puppy?

Sophie: You’ve GOT to be kidding.

Me: Sally, a puppy is a baby doggie that will grow up to be your friend. It’s going to be great. You both have a job to do. You can help me train him! Sophie, you can teach him how to respect cats.

Sophie: … (looks for lawyer’s email address) …

Me: Hang on Sophie, remember how you and Big Dee made friends eventually? This will be even easier than that. We are starting from a blank slate. This puppy has never even met a cat yet.

Sophie: … (dubious) …

Me: You’ll see.

Sally: When the puppy arrives, will you still love me?

Me: Oh, sweetheart – always. You are so patient with me. You’ll need to be patient while we train him. I think you are going to love having a little brother and I’m going to love watching you teach him.

Me and Sally, July 30, 2021

Sally: Okay! Let’s do this!

Sophie: (closes eyes) … Jesus, Mary and Joseph … Can we block off the bathroom with the heated floor so I can get in and he can’t?

Me: No … BUT … you will always be the only pet allowed on the bed with me.

Sophie: … (still dubious) ok … bring it on …

Me: If the weather holds, I’ll be bringing him home tomorrow. Buckle up!

Me and Gus (March 4, 2022)
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