Monday, December 17, 2012

Many Hands Make Light (But Stinky) Work

The oddest thing has been happening as I've taken on some unpleasant new responsibilities in recent weeks. Take yesterday, for example. It was the first time Ethan helped me pick up dog poop. I braced myself for a big battle, but Ethan just said, "Okay, I'll be down in a minute."... And then he actually came!

I told him the shovel was a little heavy for me, and would he please do the scooping while I held the grocery bag for him? He shrugged. "Sure."

Just like that, my 15-year-old boy calmly scooped up a week's worth of poo, literally about 15 piles. There was even a sense of camaraderie as we commented over each new find. "Shoo! That one really reeks.... Did that seriously come out of Lola's butt?... Man, that's a big one."

And then we were done. No big deal. It was almost fun. (But ask me again in the summer, when the smell will surely be much more rank.) I was so proud of my boy!

Fluffy's Contribution
Next came my first time to clean the hamster cage. Bill had shown me how to take the cage apart, replace the bedding, and clean everything up. He made it look really easy, but apparently I didn't pay close enough attention.

After two weeks, the cage was smelling pretty ripe, and I knew there was no more procrastinating. I asked my mom and Allyson to help me, or at least to provide moral support.

The first task was to snap the top off, catch Fluffy, and put her in her ball. Allyson eagerly volunteered for this, and I was happy to let her do it. She got the job done, but first she gave me a heart attack when she squealed, "She's getting away!" Not to worry, Allyson scooped her up and set her gently in her ball.

The rest of it was pretty easy and not all that gross, except when it came time to put it all back together. Getting those thin wire walls to line up inside the grooves on all four sides was tough! And while it seemed there was only one way to put the second floor in, the way we initially chose wasn't it. We sweated and grunted and shoved, but that piece would not fit. Just when I was about to call Bill and have him come get Fluffy and her stupid cage, Allyson said, "Mom, the food bowl goes on this other side. Turn it around."

I narrowed my eyes. "No, because then the slide's pointing the wrong way."

Allyson grabbed the slide and twisted it into position.

"Ah, you're right," I admitted. And the three of us managed to screw it into position. But it took another ten minutes to figure out how the exercise wheel went back in. Whew!

After that, Allyson expertly chopped a bit of carrot and some lettuce into tiny fragments and set them inside the cage on a tiny Tupperware lid. There! Now that wasn't so bad, was it?

I have to say we made a pretty good team. I certainly couldn't have done it without Allyson, who obviously paid much better attention all those times she watched Daddy clean the cage.

Some Things Don't Change
In addition to cleaning pet excrement, I did a few more enjoyable things this weekend. On Friday, I went to Ethan's Christmas concert. Mom, Allyson, and Bill came, along with Ethan's father Byron and stepmom Jen. It felt so good to sit there all together clapping for Ethan, just like we do every year. My heart was positively bursting with pride during his band's first song, in which Ethan expertly set the tempo on the lone snare drum.

I was very moved by the symphonic band's performance of Amazing Grace, which was dedicated to the families affected by the school shooting in Connecticut that same morning. I wanted to lift my hands to heaven like I do at church when we sing that song, but I was afraid I'd scare off Ethan's girlfriend, who sat on my right. Instead, I grabbed my mom's hand and held it as tears of sorrow and peace trickled down my cheeks.

Byron and Ethan After the Show - So Handsome!
On Sunday, I went to Allyson's annual choir concert with Mom, Dad, my sister Amy, Ethan, and Bill. And I felt the same joy and pride I always feel when I see her singing her heart out and concentrating fiercely on her dance moves. But this year, the songs about family were a lot more poignant than ever before. There were happy tears and sad tears and I-don't-know-what-I'm feeling tears. But it was all good.

Life goes on, doesn't it?


Victor S E Moubarak said...

As I was picking up my dog's poop in the garden my dog came by and said: "This is great. I get to poop where I want and you pick it up. Who's the boss now?"

God bless.

Gentz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah said...

Victor - You always make me laugh! And I can use a laugh.

Gentle - Dog poop and all. Great line! When I think about what happened in Newton, it puts all my problems into perspective.


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