Today I had a little job to finish at Saints - re-installing a small gate between the kitchen area and the rooms at the back of the house. Since Carol's working late, I went over in the late afternoon figuring to take half an hour to do the gate before putting the barn animals to bed.
Now, I should mention that I do not do handyperson chores by instinct. I learned a few basics of carpentry and painting when I was a young girl working alongside my dad, but most of my home repairs have been learned from how-to manuals and trial and error during the many years I was a single mom with no discretionary income to hire fix-it people. So I have to think through every step of every task or I end up with boards cut at the wrong angle, screws in the wrong place, or measurements that don't measure up. But rehanging the gate seemed a simple enough task - I had cut and painted the new support posts yesterday and thoroughly cleaned the gate, and I had the right anchors, screws and tools to do the job.
SAINTS was surprisingly quiet - it must have been a busy day earlier, because the dogs were all snoozing. No woodles out of Copper, no insistent yapping from Phoebe. But within a few minutes I was wishing I had added earplugs to my tool box. The troublemaker? Jack. Little, cute, mechanical dog Jack. Doing her frantic "I'm going to have a heart attack if you don't feed me or pick me up or talk to me or let me out of here" song and dance. Nonstop. And loudly.
So I carefully set out the tools I will need where I will need them - drill, screwdriver, sander, anchors, screws, gate and supporting posts - on the floor where the gate is to be installed, and then take a few minutes to attend to Jack. And just as I am returning her to the living room, I turn around to see Jazz, who I hadn't even noticed was nearby, pee - all over the tools, the gate, and the floor where I am about to work. It was a BIG pee. And her aim was perfect.
So I get the mop and the paper towels and clean everything up. Then I realize I forgot the level, so I pop outside to get it from my car. When I return, Michael has planted himself in the exact spot where the gate is to go. Not just NEAR the spot. IN the spot - crosswise from wall to wall, from where the right hand post will go to where the left hand post will go. Like a gate. And he is NOT moving. I try cookies. I try "Michael - MOVE!". I shove. I get a leash. I cuddle and coerce and coax. I finally put on my really mad voice and he reluctantly budges just far enough that I can get on with the job.
Within minutes, both Michael and Jazz decide they better check that I'm doing it right, and two big furry faces are peering over my shoulder -one from the left, one from the right. And there is no light in that hallway, and dusk is setting in, and they don't understand me when I echo the words my dad said many times: "Move - you're blocking my light!"
Fortunately Jazz can be bribed with cookies, so I tricked her into the entrance area and closed the gate on her. Michael eventually decided I was doing an okay job, and lay down a few inches away to watch, allowing me to get the job done - all to the accompaniment of Jack's continuing drama queen act.
Work done, tools put away, barn animals to bed after a brief game of musical stalls. Toonie had once again turned Carl's stall into her private boudoir and ensuite, so I had to remove the evidence before Carl would consent to come in.
I go home. Usually my Charley is the first to the door and very demanding of attention, and Isaac plods along behind. And usually as soon as I get home from a few hours away, I take both dogs for a romp in the back four acres, with Charley eagerly running ahead and Isaac being coaxed along behind. Today, Isaac was waiting by the door and burst out the second it was open - heading straight for the gate to the back pasture. He does not understand this daylight savings thing - I tell him it's dark and we can't go, but he's insistent. Easy going, never make a fuss, go-with-the-flow Isaac digs in his heels - or his paws - and woofs and scratches at the gate until I finally get the flashlight and take him for a little romp. Charley, meanwhile, just lies in the driveway and looks at us like we're crazy.
Ya just never know who the troublemakers will be.