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The Sad Story of the Senile Servant
Multi-tasking was never a problem for me in my younger years. Shoot. I could talk on the phone, and cook dinner, feed the dogs, and help my son with his homework all at once, no problem.
If I tried to do that today, the dogs would eat chili, we would sit down to dine on some geometry problems, my son would have kibble and bits in his notebook, and I would have flushed the phone down the toilet.
And here's what I did last night.
Fat Charlie is a big lovable lump of a dog. Sweet and every bit as good as gold. You just never hear the words "no" and "Fat Charlie" juxtaposed. OK, he does hold firm the opinion that any food on any counter is his personal property, but we know that, so fair is fair. (Translation: you leave the three pound hunk of pot roast defrosting unattended on the counter, you might as well just hand it to Fat Charlie, because that's where it is going to end up. This applies equally to coconut cake, Asiago cheese, whole loaves of bread, and very expensive entire catered meals. But I digressed.)
He is quiet, undemanding, ever so soft, and always generous with smiles, wags, and kisses.
Last night, I was talking to my friend Laurie on the phone, answering some email, changing over clothes from washer to dryer, and putting the dogs to bed, all at the same time. I thought I had done a fine job of it, and happily went to bed.
This morning, after dragging my raggedy self out of bed at 6:10, brushing my teeth, and throwing on my walking clothes, I began the choreographed routine of letting the dogs out. I could smell the coffee, so I knew that Bill was already down in the kitchen. Giacomino was already... hey! Giacomino wasn't following the routine. He sleeps on the bed with us, and his morning part is to dance around in front of each crate as it opens to welcome its occupant to the day. (Or to say, "Ha, ha. I sleep on the bed and you don't!" But I think it's the former.) I opened Maria's crate, and Mama Pajama's crate, but Giacomino was staring at Fat Charlie's crate with his head pressed to its door. Then I saw Fat Charlie's bedtime biscuit lying in the front of the crate, untouched.
My un-caffeinated morning brain said, "Huh?"
Then it said, "Is Fat Charlie under his covers?" (The crates are full of quilts and comforters so the dogs can snuggle against our air conditioning.)
Then my synapses started firing and the connection was made: Fat Charlie was not in his crate when I closed it last night and gave him his biscuit.
Oh God, where was Fat Charlie?
What had I been doing when I put the dogs to bed?
Oh God, Fat Charlie was in the dryer!!!!!
I raced to the laundry room, in a full panic. No dogs were in the dryer, and just in case... Nope, no dogs in the washing machine either. I ran back into the bedroom to see if I had closed two dogs in the same crate. Nope.
By this time Giacomino, Maria and Mama Pajama were looking for someplace to pee, so I grabbed Beans and we all went downstairs. There was Fat Charlie curled uncomplainingly in the new fancy dog bed. "Good morning," he wagged.
I got the rest of the dogs out, and then apologized profusely to Fat Charlie.
"Oh buddy, did I lose you last night? Were you lonely? Why didn't you scratch at the door?"
Of course he wouldn't have. He would have just sat outside the bedroom door with his sweet head tilted, ears cocked, waiting for me to remember him.
I'm sorry, Fat Charlie! At least I hope he enjoyed the box of cereal he "found" on the counter.
Tim Caro photo copyright protected