To say that this has been a stressful school year would be an understatement. Every year, it seems like this is the most stress that I have ever had. Yet, in her infinite wisdom, Fate hands me a more complicated one the next year. I guess if I survived the year before, then I can deal with more the next year. I'm not sure of the reasoning.
The first Saturday in October was supposed to be my day of rest. After 18 years of living with a teacher, Rob has learned how difficult the fall can be. He has gone out of his way to make this year easier. That morning he and the girls had a yard sale. I was picking up the kitchen, when he came in and told me that he got a call to play basketball. He told me not to do anything and assured me that he would help me pick up when he got home. No sooner did he leave, than Lily ran in yelling that the dog got out of the yard. Caroline took off in her socks after her. I got in the car. Buffy dodged through the neighborhood yard sale, sniffing people, but no one grabbed her. We chased her into the woods and lost her. I took the girls home to get Caroline's shoes. At this point, I was so upset. I tried calling Rob, but he didn't answer. I left "hysterical message number 1" on his phone. We drove around for almost an hour. Finally, we got a call from people who'd caught her. She crossed over into he next neighborhood. We pulled into the driveway and saw a statue of the Virgin Mary. Caroline and I looked at each other and declared "God is on our side!" We rang the bell and a young nun answered the door. Buffy had been caught by a houseful of nuns! Unfortunately, she had escaped from them. I got in the car and started to cry. Cue "hysterical message number 2". Between, hiccups I wondered if Buffy had ever heard of St. Francis.
I had to drop Caroline off for a hair appointment and then went out to look some more. By this time, it had been 3 hours. We live near a very busy street. I was bracing myself for finding a flattened Buffy. I got a call that someone had found her. I explained that she could escape easily and the lady assured me that she would hold on to her. Lily and I rushed to the house. Buffy had managed to plow through the woods and find one of the few rural areas left in our neck of NoVA. I was greeted by a seasoned horse owner who proceeded to instruct me in dog care/training (this instruction occurs every time someone catches my crazy dog)!
We took her home and on the way I left "relieved voice mail number 1". I walked in the house and past the turtle tank. I glanced in and noticed that the turtle seemed to have his head stuck inside the Tiki god statue (this is the same turtle who two weeks earlier managed to jump out of the tank and hide in the living room). I pulled him out and tried to get his head out. The turtle was stuck! Caroline grabbed a flashlight and we shone it inside. The bottom of his jaw was stuck under a ridge inside the statue. Cue "hysterical voice mail number 3"! After tossing my phone in frustration, I picked it up and called my mom. She suggested smashing the statue. That seemed like a risky option. What if I crushed him? I tried using a chopstick to move his jaw. No luck! Meanwhile he closed his eyes and his movement started to slow. At this point, I thought that he was dying. This came after three hours of picturing the dog dead in the street. Cue "extremely hysterical voice mail number 1"!
Luckily, Lily was upstairs and missed all of this. Caroline and I laid the turtle on the floor and tried to stop crying. I had no choice left. I went into the garage and got the hammer. As I smashed the Tiki god, I prayed that I would miss the turtle's head. I also told Caroline "This is the kind of crap you have to do when you are a mother." Caroline replied "Then I will never be a mother." After two hits, the statue split in half and the turtle pulled his head out. He laid there on the floor looking weak. I rigged up a turtle ICU with a Tupperware full of warm water, and put him under the heat lamp. I was afraid that if I put him in the tank, he wouldn't have enough strength to swim and would drown. I watched him slowly start to move. I left him long enough to leave "angry voice mail number 1". When I came back, he was gone! I found him where he'd gone last week and put him back in the tank. I thought about all of my voice mails and left "apologetic voice mail number 1" and sat down.
Rob finally called me back and I burst into tears yet again. He apologized for leaving his cell phone in the car and told me he was happy that everything turned out fine. This launched into a tirade along the lines of "what if this had been the girls?" He didn't bite.
Later that night we tended to the paw Buffy had managed to hurt during her great escape and listened to my voice mails. I didn't find them as funny as the rest of my family.
The irony of the whole thing is later that week, I left my cell phone at home and caused another crazy Simpson type episode of confusion. No one threw it in my face. Well, no one except, Fate (or would that be Karma?).