Two Aunts and a Chevy

A “perfect storm” is an expression that describes an event where a rare combination of circumstances will aggravate a situation drastically. The term is also used to describe an actual phenomenon that happens to occur in such a confluence, resulting in an event of unusual magnitude (Webster).

So picture a friend of a friend who is moving on November 1st, a well-intended Mother who wants the best for her ADHD son, an adorable puggle who needs a home and you’ve got this past weekend. Along with Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  Doesn’t sound like a lifetime but it damn near felt that way.

I’m that person that says, Let me see if I can help.  Please God, put your arm around my shoulders and your hand over my mouth.  Send out a few emails, see if anyone knows anyone and somehow my friend Ev says, hmmmmm.  Oh no you don’t and I initiate a campaign to stop the rest of the what-if from coming out of her mouth.  You are not dog people.  You’ve never had a dog before.  It’s a fifteen year commitment.  All those little mini vacations you like to go on would cost even more now.  Oh yeah, the expense can be astronomical.  You would have to keep everything super clean and off the floor.  There would have to be rules and boundaries.  Did I mention the expense?  I thought of her, and told her so, as I was writing the 217.00 check for Lina’s UTI.  See….  I don’t know if it’s for you.  Yes I know that ADHD kids respond well to dogs but but but but but.  Oh my God how do I stop this?

I text my friend with the friend who is moving, is the dog still available?  Can they meet the dog? Yes they can.  I text Ev.  There is that moment that you absolutely know you’ve made a mistake.  The reply comes back, Daniel saw the message and is getting all excited.  Valuable lesson number one, do not let your kids near your GD phone, its personal.  Valuable lesson number one to me, never text Ev again.

Sunday 4:38pm the text reads:  Don’t know how this happened but we now have a dog.  My reply, from the pit of my stomach: Not surprised in the least, good luck, take good care of little Chevy.

And downhill it went from there.  He’s two years old, he has a ton of energy, he’s walking them, he’s over stimulated, and he’s tearing up the dog bed.  OMG what have I done.

Tuesday 6am the text reads: We can’t keep Chevy, nobody is sleeping, I have a rash and everybody is on edge.  It’s sad but we can’t. Of course the woman can’t take him back, she’s moving.  Send me a picture.  I send it out to all the people I know and get places to call and people to see.  We send out his picture, he is the cutest damn thing you ever saw.

Now I’m presenting at a meeting for the MINI group.  I happen to be sitting next to another dog person extraordinaire, Tonine.  We start texting back and forth about this little guy.  Now don’t even start about us sitting next to each other texting, it’s a meeting for God sake and this is really a crisis.   The inkling of the two Aunts team is beginning to hatch.

She knows someone who fosters, they know someone who has an agency, and pictures are sent.  People are getting excited about fast placement. And a plan is born.  The only thing we need are the Vet records.  The woman doesn’t have them, can she get the name of the Vet.  I get my friend back involved.  It’s all in motion but I need to get the dog out of that house.  I tell Ev I’m coming for the dog, ok she’ll meet me there.

I get there a few minutes before her. Did she tell her family?  I don’t think so because when I show up they’re happy to see me…..then it hits them.  I’m taking the dog.  Everyone starts crying.  I’m ok with being the bad guy, truly I am, because the end result will be best for everyone.  I can assure you though that there is nothing more heart wrenching than watching a family in pain.  Ev, get your family in the house and close the door.

Off we go, Chevy and Aunt Sandi to meet up with Aunt Toots.  The plan, and God if it doesn’t work we are screwed with a capital S, is to bring Chevy to her mother-in-laws back yard to meet Chloe.  Chloe is Tonine’s dog who will be hosting Chevy at their house tonight.  We hope.  Should be fine.  Chloe loves other dogs.  How the hell are we going to pull this off?

I pick up Tonine, of course she loves Chevy, off we go to meet up with her husband and Chloe.  We get there first and let Chevy into the fully fenced backyard.  Have you ever seen the picture of the dog running with his ears flying in the wind all full of joy?  This was our little Chevy.  He ran and ran and fetched the ball.  Between Tonine and I we had him walking perfectly on the leash, sitting on command, bringing the ball back and fetching like a pro.  Then came Chloe.  I know you think it went bad but it just got better and better. They are playing like old pals. Thank you God, please put one in the owe you column.  Ok maybe more than one.

Tonine kept me posted through the evening with pictures and quips.  All was well at their house.  In my head I’m thinking….here we go again.  They are falling hard for this little cutey.

I finally get the Vet records and there are shots missing.  My Vet takes us in at a moment’s notice, we bring Chevy for a quick exam and his shots and off we go to drop him off in Mt. Olive at the rescue.  But wait, my poor partner in crime is a mess.  I knew it…………………do I really have to take this dog away from a crying person AGAIN? Am I that heartless?  Apparently.

The drive was quiet with Tonine repeating “it’s all good” as if it were a salve she could put on her heart.  Chevy is snuggling and telling a story and whimpering on occasion.  This is not going to be good.  Are you sure you can’t keep him?

We arrive, we talk to the people at Eleventh Hour Rescue and they are wonderful.  There are people putting in applications according to Tonine’s friend Jill.  It’s all good, more salve.  More tissues, more second thoughts more emotion.  Another damn perfect storm.  Let’s get a picture and then I’m taking you out of here.

So you think I made it all the way through without shedding a tear right?  Not a chance.  Toots and I walked arm in arm out the door and never looked back.  With tears running down our faces and hope in our hearts that our little Chevy would be in a forever home very very soon.

I gave Tonine a new mantra, “we did good today”.  No good was going to come from anyone other than the two Aunts taking care of this.  No good was going to come from placing him in a shelter.  Our Karmic equity went off the charts today and I hope that she and I will never have to do anything like this again.  What I know like I know is that I truly hope that she and I will be friends for many years to come such is the love I have for her depth of feeling and selflessness.  What she knows about me is that I’m tough, I can do the hard stuff but am eternally grateful for the arm in arm walk and the solidarity of emotion she allowed me.

We thought that Two Aunts and a Chevy might be a great name for a rescue.  It would be, but not for us.



Nostalgia Walk

This morning was pretty cold when we started out and pretty dark too.  It wasn’t quite tights-under-your-sweats cold and I had on just the right layers to make for brisk walking and no stripping down half way through.  It was perfect really.  I had on a bright red fleece that, for some reason today, reminded me of a fleece I used to wear walking over twenty five years ago.  It belonged to my former husband’s late brother who once ran track at TZ High School.  It was old school fleece, thick and nubbley with the sewn in cuffs and zippers at the legs so you could get in and out easily.

There was a time when I walked every morning no matter the weather or the amount of sun light.  It was a terrific walk, usually with my sister-in-law, around my neighborhood.  We did a one mile loop around the tiny little park with the duck pond, up the hill, through the back roads then back on to Oak Tree Road and home.  We talked everyday about everything and the walk went very quickly, especially in the winter months. And then we didn’t walk anymore.  Things changed and I was very hurt for many years by our abrupt halt to the morning ritual.  I know why and I no longer fault anyone and have finally let it go.  I felt the hurt leave my mind and body as I watched her walk away from my new home, irony at its best.

When I first arrived on Stowe Lane I ventured out for a walk with the girls and it was quite an escapade with two scared rescues.  This morning I realized just how far we’ve come.  We’ve honed our lives and our walk to fit where we are in life.  We’ve reversed the route just recently, originally to avoid the lunatic dog that the woman around the corner keeps off leash, to include the hill side of Mark Twain.

What I also realized this morning with the chill in the air, the red fleece, the hill, the neighbors waving on their way to work, the sidewalks, the duck pond on Mark Twain, the very good company I was walking with is that I didn’t lose anything.  I’ve gained a neighborhood, two walking partners who listen to every word I say (mostly) and the comfort of a home that is blessed.


Ever wonder where you’d end up if you took your dog for a walk and never once pulled back on the leash? ~Robert Brault



When I first got my Lina she was so afraid that she would pee at the drop of a pin, or a gust of wind, or a leaf or a blade of grass.  She was so afraid.  She’s much better now four years later.  So on Thursday night when she came running out of my office leaving a trickle behind her I thought “what spooked you honey”.  We went for our evening walk and she kept trying to pee.  Not until she came into the kitchen with me and peed right in front of me did I really get it.  I’ve been known to give people/dogs the benefit of the doubt.  I gotta work on that a bit.

Somehow she made it through the night without peeing.  I was vigilant in my awareness of where she was and what she was, or hopefully wasn’t, doing.  First thing in the morning I call the Vet and they can get me in at 11:45.

Could you bring a urine sample?

A what?

A urine sample just put it in the refrigerator until you bring her over.

You know she’s a Pit Mix right?

Yes we know.

Seriously, how does one try and get a urine sample from a scaredy Mary Pit.  Aggghhh.  Well first you need something to put the damn pee in.  So I guess a jelly jar might work, its glass, just came out of the dishwasher so it’s sanitized (you know I hear Muriel in my head laughing about the fact that I have a jelly jar ready for action).  Definitely can’t have both dogs together or there will be pee all over everybody if I can even get close to….well you know.

So Toto goes into the office.  Lina and I go out, on a short leash, with the jelly jar.  So she makes a move and I’m right there except she stops and looks at me like “what the hell are you doing”.  I know Lina; there is no dignity in this for either one of us.  Ten drops at a time for the next three outings.  What we do for our dogs.

We arrive at the Vet, they take the jar, and we wait.  I didn’t realize that they were doing the urine testing right then and there.  I’m sitting and Lina is lodged firmly behind my knees between the bench and me.  Several dogs come and go and she makes it perfectly clear she wants none of it.  With every bark a little pee must fall.  You can’t make this up.

Finally, they are ready for us.  They want her weight.  All I can think of are the grooves in the mat that protects the scale.  One good pee and that thing is going in the can…thankfully, mercifully she didn’t let go of a drop.

Urinary tract infection. No shit.  And of course there are two ways we can go, first to get her through the two weeks of Clavamox (if I had a dollar for every Clavamox tablet I handed out I’d be rich, to say I should own stock in the company is an understatement) then retest for infection.  But you know, sometimes a urinary tract infection can be a symptom of an underlying issue.  Is this woman trying to upsell me?  Wait just a minute.  She relents quickly when she sees that are-you-kidding-me look on my face.  She’s a better Vet than salesperson.  So ok we’ll retest after the two weeks of Clavamox and they hand me a tray.  Designed specifically for “catching a specimen”.  It’s about an inch tall with a pour spout.  Are you kidding me?  Then they give me advice on how to go about “capturing a specimen” because sometimes the dog can be spooked by the height of the tray.  I fell out.  The jelly jar is about three inches tall.  When they realized I “captured the specimen” directly into the jelly jar my street cred went through the roof.  I’m just saying.  They could not stop a) laughing and b) applauding my style. That’s right.

When we got home we issued the first pill with a peanut butter chaser.  I was not going to get into a pissing match (pardon the pun) with this little one over eating a pill. Then we cleaned everything within an inch of its life and sequestered the girls behind bars in the foyer and kitchen which could easily be cleaned and re-cleaned if need be.

The office rug went to the dry cleaner with the pronouncement of “no judgment please”.  I went and bought a new rug pad because well you know.  And then collapsed.

By that evening, after only two pills my little girl was no longer trying to pee when she had just peed.  Her sense of urgency had abated.  She stopped panting. Her tail was wagging and she was happy and running the length of the apartment once again with no drips.

And they were let out of the red zone.  They both slept through the night, me not so much, one jump off the bed and they were getting whisked out the door.  But no incidents, thankfully, mercifully…we’ve made it through our first UTI with flying colors.  Whew.

Dear Honey

On this anniversary I thought that the best way to honor you and celebrate your life would be to cook!  So today I put on a pot of sauce and relived all the silly things we’ve done in the kitchen.  I’ll always remember us being jammed into the little kitchen on Oak Tree Road making sauce, and ravioli and mozzarella. God, that was a blast. I will always have fond memories of you in the kitchen cooking some damn thing for dinner…and lunch the next day… and some for the freezer…

We still miss you every day and not a day goes by without mentioning your name or telling one of the many funny stories.  Just this morning we had a real belly laugh about the time Terri woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t move her head.  I know it sounds scary but the truth of the matter is that you were playing basketball in your sleep and palming her head as the ball.   God there are a million of these we will replay for the rest of our lives.

One of your football kids took the scholarship this May.  You knew him; he met you at some game or another and thought you were pretty cool (of course he did).  Kenneth Furlong will forever remember you and the boost he got from your Foundation. Bravo!

I know you see that Terri is more amazing as the days go by.  She’s on the board of the condo association, and running for another term.  She’s making a difference following in your footsteps but with her own quiet consideration for people.  She’s determined to make a community where one once was when you were the de-facto mayor.

She still misses you very much but is learning that sorrow can become a celebration of life with the help of her posse; those women continue to astound me with their love of her. Isabel and Ethan are growing up to be quite protective of Miss Terri, making sure to check for her car before they go to sleep each night.  You want to make sure a person comes home to love, give the job to two of the most wonderful upstairs children in the world.

Well Honey the sauce was wonderful, enjoyed by the neighborhood, safely stashed in the freezer and certainly would have met with your approval. Listen for the toast at Thanksgiving! Salute; take care of Thomas, Love San


Ladies Auxiliary

When you know people for twenty five years they in turn know you.  You can’t hide, or make any new face they don’t already recognize.  You can’t clean up your past because, eh hem, they were there.  You can only be yourself, tell the truth and frankly you can just be.

We were women in foodservice.  Marge is still in foodservice professing, at one time, that it is in her blood.  Ridiculous but, God love her, she’s still in Manhattan working the salespeople to be their best.  I bailed long ago and Barb bailed shortly after me.

Foodservice distribution is a hard business.  There is no distributor loyalty and if your #10 green beans are 2 cents more than the other guy, the other guy gets the business. If you can’t deliver before lunch then you don’t get the order.  If you can’t call me on Monday at 4pm for Tuesday delivery you don’t get the order.  Oh my God, stop me I’m speaking that language again.

There is a deadline every day in foodservice distribution. I know, I was the one enforcing the deadline, the one they were whining to when they missed that deadline.  I was the one who had to hear them lament, “Picture this, I’m standing on the chair with the rope around my neck…I’ll do it if you don’t give me an extension to the deadline.  Kick the chair my friend you’re not getting an extension.  Getting nickel and dimed each day does not lead to good customer management.

What it does lead to are friendships that are born in the trenches, which cement in an instant and last for, well, twenty five years.  These women have been there for me in my very darkest hours.  They have sat at my kitchen table and not left until I was breathing again.  They allowed me to be the third wheel at any number of functions just to get me out in the fresh air.  They breathed for me when I couldn’t.

We have been very close for most of the time.  There were several years that I withdrew for reasons I can’t fully grasp anymore and it was not pleasant for me nor was it fair to them. Tragic things happened while I was gone and I deeply regret that I wasn’t standing next to them where I belonged. I hope I’ve apologized enough for that but the fact is once I took the first step back, I was back and so were they.

I’m not altogether sure how to explain that we are completely different people but we are exactly the same.  Marge is much more serious than she once was, Barb is deeply spiritual but amazingly funny and they are both fun to be around.  We were christened the Ladies Auxiliary (meaning supplementary, supporting, and ancillary) many years ago.  I say it was our first boss; a smart ass food guy who emphasized everything with his reading glasses and could drink you under the table. They both say it was our second boss; aptly named Batman, you know who you are you wanna be superhero, who could also drink you under the table but wasn’t quite so mean when he did so.  It was the 80’s what can I tell you…They thought we were ancillary to them but we knew better.  We were supporting one another in a crazy business that had daily deadlines, no boundaries, no time off (what’s a holiday again?) and plenty of atypical customers who had very little manners.  Did I mention I bailed quite some time ago and yet…?

At any rate, it was duly recognized then that the Ladies Auxiliary was something to be reckoned with and that still holds true today.  Do not mess with these women, I can still summon up that deadline enforcing, quick tongued lunatic that I was back then and so can they.  We will be supporting one another well into our old age (no Marge you’re not there yet for crying out loud) with no anticipated break in the monthly (or as close to monthly as possible) meetings anticipated.  We did decide tonight that there would be no red hats involved, but if you know me you already knew that.

See you next month, same place, and same time with coffee to follow.  Love you both.