Of Barf and Bowls

The dog is eating her bed again.

I awoke to my daughter’s soft warning, “Mom, Shanti barfed on the deck.  I tried to stop her but she did this (juts her neck forward, stretches her lips wide) before I could stop her.  It’s on the deck, just sitting there.  I put a Tupperware on top of it so she wouldn’t eat it.”

C. S. Lewis once referenced the ordinary ‘horror of waking’ but I think I had him beat this morning.  I heaved myself out of bed, stumbling to the kitchen for coffee, but my little ritual had been tainted.  I smelled the coffee but I thought of the barf on the deck, preserved ceremoniously from the elements.  I thought of the Tupperware perched atop it that I no longer wanted to use–ever, ever.

After eating my breakfast listlessly and consuming my coffee without thanksgiving or joy, I stepped out on the deck.  Oh good, I thought.  It’s raining.  That makes it–not better.  There it stood, a melange of poly cotton dog bed and bits of yarn from my sweater belt.  I knew I couldn’t actually touch the barf, even to kick it wearing Husband’s shoes.  So I went back inside the house, opened up the dishwasher, pulled out a large fruit salad bowl, and filled it with water.  The kids were interested now.

I stepped out on the deck again, aimed, and sloshed water on the offending mound (now sans its protective plastic dome).  Felicitously the water did its job and the nightmare made its way past the bottom step.  It was now officially in the grass.

I stood staring into the middle distance a moment, seeing myself the way the cars zooming past our house must have–me with my Liza Minnelli, don’t-make-eye-contact-with-her hair, wearing Husband’s cheap Bozo-the-clown-goes-to-war Crocs.  All those people speeding to work, making things, or selling them, and I stood there in pajama pants from two Christmases ago.  Pretty people full of purpose, with their Starbucks and big plans.  Me, a baggy-eyed woman holding a fruit salad bowl, happy the barf made to the safe zone.

I didn’t stay out on the deck long, though.  The kids needed breakfast because their appetites were just fine.  There was stuff to be done.  Elizabeth Elliot’s voice rang in my head:  Just do the next thing.

So I did.

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