Friday, November 21, 2008

Bossy Betty Tells a Story to Warm Your Hearts and Soothe Your Souls: Today the Story Heats Up.

(Please note, if you missed installments 1 and 2 of this story, please scroll down and read those first. No, I am not upset at your absence. I just want what is best for you and apparently what you believe is best is to check in on this blog willy-nilly whenever it suits your fancy and that's just fine. It's just that now you have some background reading to do if you are to make sense of this extremely heart-warming story I have written just for you.)

I'm Hoping You Used
Fabric Softener on that Load.

Back to our story...

Over the next fifteen years we moved four times, both had numerous job changes, both got our master's degrees and became parents to two children and Donald was there for it all. He was the creature who curled up between us at night, woke us in the mornings, and was a constant companion during the day. He was there when we brought both sons home from the hospital and watched as they grew. He who scowled at our boys as they wrestled in the living room, was also the one who was always nearby when their tears ran and willingly let them clumsily pull him close to snuggle.

When I went back to work full time, our lives got incredibly busy and Donald was witness to more than one conversation concerning the uneven distribution of household duties. I was the one doing all the cooking, cleaning, and I wanted a change. Finally, after about a year of these conversations, Dan said in exasperation, "OK, from now on, I'll do ALL the laundry." "Even the folding and putting away?" I asked quickly, like a car salesman eager to seal the deal. He nodded in agreement. I was relieved but skeptical.

The first thing I learned about my husband from this experience was that multi-tasking was out of the question. As the washer was chugging away, he'd sit in the recliner, Donald on his lap, even though there were dirty dishes to be done, a lawn to be mowed, trash to be taken out. "What are you doing?" I'd ask as I entered the house loaded down with grocery bags. He'd look at me with an incredulous look and motion from his chair to the washing machine. "I'm doing laundry," he'd say slowly with a feigned patience. The he'd look down at Donald, raising his eyebrows and nodding as if to confirm my idiocy with the cat.

Now, watching Dan stuff fifty pounds of unsorted laundry into the washing machine was painful enough, but watching him stuff it into the dryer was even worse because I knew it would be hours and hours before he pulled out the faded and fried clothing. You see, when the dryer stopped, he knew he was supposed to do something with the dried clothes. Setting the timer for another 60 minutes and punching the start button again bought him more time. So many times I almost said something, but always caught myself. I knew this was part of his evil plan. He was just waiting for me to say something, anything, critical so he could throw up his hands and say, "Fine! If you don't like the way I'm doing it, then YOU can do it." I vowed I would not fall into that trap. I would stay the course for myself and all women everywhere.

One morning I was the last one out of the house and as I prepared my lunch to take to work, I heard the infernal sound to the dryer. It had been going for about two hours and I couldn't take it anymore. I flung the dryer door open to stop it and went to work.

Six hours later, I was in my office at work and Dan called. I could tell by the way his voice was shaking that something was terribly wrong. He had come home for lunch and on the way out to talk to a neighbor, had slammed the dryer door closed and started it up again. Ten minutes later he had come back and (miracles of miracles) opened the dryer door, pulled out the hot clothing and there, among the towels, jeans and blouses, was a limp, nearly dead cat. Dan rushed the smoldering cat to the bathtub, ran a thin layer of cool water and called the vet with the details. "16 years old? Ten minutes on high fluff? Don't even bother bringing him in," the vet had told him. Dan told me the whole story over the phone, his voice wavering. "He's still alive, but I don't think he's going to make it much longer," he said.

Tomorrow: The Conclusion, The End, The Denouement, The Cool Down Cycle.


Alyssa said...

Even though I know how this story ends, I'm still anxious to read the next installment.

Bossy Betty said...

Good! Ah, a true cat lover!

Alyssa said...

I remember when all of this unfolded on email. It was quite dramatic.