It never ceases to astonish me just how long everything seems to take these days. Even the simplest, straight forward activity can turn into some drawn out ordeal, and that’s on a good day.
Not that it’s always an ordeal. But it’s never simple.
Take today. For the first time since the first snowfall back in November or whenever it was I was able to take the bike trailer out of the garage and walk the dog with both kids. This can’t be done with a single stroller and one kid walking because Rusty isn’t a dog lover. Literally. If there is another dog around who is friendly or not attached to his owner via a leash, my dog will lunge and freak out and be an idiot.
Lack of proper socialization in puppyhood will do that do a dog.
Aside note: we adopted him from the Humane Society when he was 18 months old, at the prime of his adolesence. He had supposedly been in an apartment fire where two of the cats he lived with had perished. The owners, a woman and a 7 year old girl, gave him up for adoption when they moved into a new apartment that did not allow pets. Upon adoption, it became evident that Rusty had many problems, was fearful, and therefore somewhat aggressive, mainly due to this lack of proper attention at an early age. Knowing what I know about dogs and dog behaviour, it is fairly evident to me that the previous owner was probably not equipped to handle such a large dog, part Rottie, part who knows what else. The sheet attached to the cage indicated that the dog was used to being left alone for 10 hours per day, implying that she was probably a single mom and at work/busy with the child the rest of the time. Poor Rusty was so afraid that the sound of waves at the lake nearby caused him to “want to save me” by pulling me away from the offending water. He would jump and lunge at a leaf that fell off a tree and land on his back. We did some intensive training with him, first with a group, then privately and he has come a long, long way. He is a great pet now, but remains alert and aggressive toward other dogs. Which is why I cannot walk him with a child if said child is not inside a stroller. I can’t watch and deal with Rusty’s issues if I have to keep an eye on a preschooler who is more interested in picking up sticks by the gutter.
Having said all that (sheesh, I didn’t expect to type so much about poor Rusty!), I have a certain way that I can make this work. I can walk Rusty on the leash, have both kids in the bike trailer which converts to a double stroller, AND even get some decent exercise at the same time. Sure, Rusty has to stop and stiff and pee and poop, but he is a much better walker than either kid.
So anyway. My plan is to go and get the bike trailer out of the garage. I’m anticipating this to take a few minutes since I’m assuming it probably got pushed to the back and is blocked in by things like snow shovels and sleds. Add this time to the time of dressing both kids, and we’re looking at about 20 minutes before we even start walking.
Fine. I can live with that. There is nothing unusual about 20 minutes in getting the family out of the house.
I get to the garage. Just before I open it I notice in my peripheral vision that there is a pile of something brown in the middle of the driveway. Before I can turn and confirm that it is probably cat or racoon poop the toddler (naturally) walks right through it.
Quick calculation in my head: how long will it take to clean up the poop and clean up the kid? How am I going to do this quickly?
Since the kids play with the snow shovels, I don’t use them to push the now squashed poop aside, I simply go get a wet dog towel that fell off the line and drop it on top of the squashed poop. I would have had to wash the towel anyway…
Then I pick up the toddler and push her boots through a little pile of remaining snow to clean off the poop.
Then I stick her in the trailer.
Then I take her out of the trailer.
Because in my peripheral vision (of the other eye) I see racoon prints all over the inside of the trailer.
How did they get in there? It was all closed up….
Whatever. I’ll deal with the racoon(s) later.
I leave the kids on the driveway to play, and walk back in the house. It’s too much trouble to remove my boots (which are laced up) so I do my best to wipe them on the entrance mat and walk into the kitchen to get the orange cleaner and a roll of paper towels.
I go back outside, visually assure myself that both kids are still a) on the driveway and not on the street, b) not sitting or standing or splashing in a puddle, and c) not fighting, bickering or crying.
I wipe the inside of the trailer, manage to get most of the dirt out, turn it upsidedown to get the loose dirt out, give it another wipe, put it back up on the right side, and realize that I should probably have the kids sit on a blanket. What if the racoon had diseases, dried up urine, or fleas?
So I go back inside. Glance around for a blanket. Grab one off the couch. Glance at the digital clock on the stove….the original 20 minutes has now turned into 35 minutes. And we’re still home.
I get outside, and notice the kids are in the trailer. Great. I ask Ben to step out, pull the baby out, place the blanket on the bench, stick the baby back in, tell Ben to get back in, march up the steps, open the door, grab the leash, make the dog sit, attach the leash, take the dog out onto the porch while grabbing the library books and a bottle of milk (bribe) for Sonja, lock the door and go back down to the trailer.
They’re still in it. Sonja however is standing up and facing the wrong way. I stick her back on her butt, and they announce they want the weather guard up, not down.
Fast forward to our return. It took the better part of an hour to get the dog out for his 20 minute walk.
At least it didn’t rain…