Thursday, April 6, 2017

Tales from a Small Business Owner | "Long hours and rescued pets"

One of the short stories which originally appeared as "Juggling", a collection of events, afternoon mishaps and the struggle to balance my retail store, houseful of rescued pets and the reality of working really 12-14 hour days for months during the summer.

I am really not all together. I was only able to remain at work today for just a few hours before the thudding pain in my jaw pain made me decide to call the dentist. Unbelievably, they had an open spot to see me so I put a note on the store door apologizing for “unforeseen circumstances” and raced across town. I’m worried that I won’t make it home in time to check on the pets but this seems to be of a higher priority right now. Diagnosis is possible abscess/infection in root of tooth but not at the tooth level but in the jaw level; I get a prescription for ten days and then appointment to come back and we’ll see what’s really in there. The word “crown” is mentioned in regards to that tooth but if that’s the case she’s going to have to write me a prescription for Xanex first because I don’t do well with long appointments. Or drilling. Or crowns.

I dart out of the dentist’s office and race home for my daily afternoon check of the animals. I’m half an hour late for the little dog’s shot. Since I don’t have much time but still need to get the newly rescued baby Panda kitten out to play, I scoop him out of the bathroom and dump him in his playroom….but he can’t see out because there is a stupid blind and curtain in the way which makes me worry about him getting stuck. He’s tiny and the playroom isn’t really set up for babies since he just arrived, so I hastily grab at the curtain to move it to the side, at which point the rod launches itself off the wall and directly at my head, causing words to be muttered and Kung Foo Panda to dash and hide. Of course the curtain assists by draping itself over me and if you know anything about home improvement it’s to NOT stand in a precarious situation when reaching up to “fix something”, but I didn’t absorb that warning I guess. My foot slips off the box I’m standing on…..I know, why am I standing on a box? Because it’s Panda’s playroom and kittens go with boxes — just like this #*!@&* curtain goes with the damn rod.

I shriek and yank to retrieve the foot/ankle/leg combo from an odd angle now lodged under the desk. Throw curtain aside for later. Roll up blinds all the way to the top because those are death traps for kittens to get stuck in. It doesn’t roll well. Lopsided is fine with me at this point but refusing to roll is a whole different problem. I yank on the cords to mash the blinds into some resemblance of a bundle hoisted to the top of the window and carefully wrap the remaining cord back and forth across the top of the window where Panda cannot get stuck in it unless he is hanging from the ceiling or really tall. I pick up baby kitten to place him by the window and show him his new little bed and window, which is followed by searing pain as he rakes his claws down my arms while the army of hounds explodes into Full War Mode at the front door. Seriously, there are still people who miss the warning signs outside and instead of wisely leaving the property, choose to knock on the door which sets the whole house into a “disturbance”. I dig the Panda claws out of my skin, he takes off to hide and I make my way to the door.

“DO YA WANNA BUY SOME MEAT??” yells the person at the door. It’s a salesperson with a van I see, parked down the street, uninvited and not on my list. There’s no point in trying to reply back through the glass because I don’t have a voice like that and so would never be heard over the racket of donkey braying and coyote-like screeching so I just shake my head and point helplessly to the dogs swarming around me. “ARE YOU SURE???” Someone isn’t getting the picture here but it’s likely that right behind me there are three hounds waving hysterically and trying to signal to him that YES WE DO WANT MEAT. I reach for the door just enough for one nose with the snarling lips and exposed teeth to poke out and poof — magically Mr. Salesman gets it and leaves. I slam the door, regroup, find bowls to feed the herd, locate leashes, dash outside, count dogs, convince them to return indoors by promising in a loud and cheerful voice that “THERE ARE COOKIES”, count dogs and head out the door to get back to work. Some days are just a higher quality than others I think.