It occurred to me today that if you are ever in a dangerous situation, I am the LAST person on earth you want on your team.
I would be no help at all in a crisis.
Here’s how I know.
Today was the first warmish day we’ve had in weeks. The snowpack was getting all mushy and melty, and the kids wanted to go outside to play. Naturally, I agreed. I got both of my grandkids into boots and extra pairs of pants. They put on jackets and hats, and I pulled on my warm sweatshirt. Out we went.
The kids were, of course, immediately drawn to the puddles. They wanted to wade, jump, splash in every wet spot they could find. Our driveway is long and shady, so the best puddles and icy streams running were out in the street.
Now you should know that we live on a very rural road. There are probably 10 cars coming slowly by on any day between 9 and 5. The mail truck comes, and sometimes there’s a delivery. But it’s not exactly a major thoroughfare, if you know what I mean.
Still, I am Nonni. The kids played in the puddles and dropped leaves and sticks into the roadside streams. I stood in the middle of the street, my head swinging endlessly back and forth, searching for danger.
I was on hyper alert. My eyes were actually aching from peering around me constantly. I scanned for cars, of course, but I was also keeping a look-out for bears (who have been seen in our yard once in 28 years), for coyotes (who sometimes wander through the back woods) and for our local bobcat (who I have never, ever, ever seen). I was wary of strangers, wary of branches breaking off in the gentle breeze and falling on our heads, wary of stray acorns falling.
I am a nut.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it now. I am a NUT.
I was so tense for the hour that we were outside enjoying the lovely sunshine that I wasn’t able to fully engage in the game of sweep up slush with a pine branch.
But at last everyone was soaked and cold, and we came back inside.
“At last,” I thought, “safety!”
I got the kids a snack, got them into warm, clean clothes, and tossed all of the wet stuff into the dryer. I started to relax.
And this, dear friends, is why you do NOT want me to be part of your personal security detail.
I completely relaxed, and was moving around the house singing songs. The kids were painting. All was well. We were so so safe.
Safer than safe. No danger lurked! None!
Then I noticed that our puppy, “if it’s on the floor I should chew it” Bentley, was happily munching away on something.
Something pink. Something very, very pink.
Holy horrendous! It was PRINCESS POPPY!!!! At least, it was her head. I wasn’t sure where her body was.
I jumped up, grabbed the slobbery pink plastic head from Bentley’s mouth, and tried to be calm. I checked the kids. They hadn’t noticed that assault. I examined poor Poppy and saw that one ear had been chomped off and her entire head was full of tooth marks. I quickly scanned the floor, and found the missing ear.
“Whatcha doing?” Ellie asked.
“Um. Fixing Poppy. She needs her ear glued on.”
I found the superglue in our junk drawer, and squeezed a few tiny drops on Poppy’s mangled ear. I placed the ear against the chomped pink head, but both sides were so smooshed that I couldn’t get a good fit. I moved things around, but…..
You guessed it.
Within 15 seconds, Poppy’s stringy pink hair had glued itself to my right palm. Her tiny, lumpy pink ear was stuck to my left thumb.
I was glued to Princess Poppy’s chewed off body parts.
Yeah. Didn’t see that one coming……
I shook both hands, realized that the superglue had done it’s job and was permanent. I was sure that I’d go to my death with tiny chewed up globs of pink plastic attached to my body.
Fighting off panic I raced to my bathroom to hunt down a bottle of nail polish remover, which I was pretty sure was the only known antidote to gluing oneself to an inanimate object.
The kids followed me, of course.
I used the hand with the head on it to open my cabinets and the one with the ear to dig around. It took a few minutes, but I finally found an old bottle of polish remover with a little left. I poured it over my gluey-Poppy-attached hands and wrenched off the Princess’ key parts.
A fair amount of my skin came with them, but at least I wouldn’t go through life looking like I was growing the world’s most bizarre tumors.
As I rinsed my hands and left the bathroom, I saw that the two kids were waiting for me on my bed. I dried my hands, and tried to look calm.
“Nonni,” Ellie asked apropos of absolutely nothing, “How do ducks walk?”
“Duck,” echoed little John.
I was happy to see that they were undamaged by my dangerous encounter with Poppy’s head.
I smiled in relief. “Like this!” I said happily. I splayed out my feet, put my hands behind my back and started to waddle.
The kids giggled and started to copy me. Johnny was quacking with joy, and Ellie was laughing as she started to waddle across the bedroom, her hands held behind her back.
Before I even noticed the danger, Ellie tripped over the big butt of our very own Poppy-eating puppy and face planted on the floor.
Blood flowed, Ellie shrieked, Bentley started barking, and Johnny ran down the hall to find an ice pack.
Ten minutes later, my hands were still stinging from the nail polish remover. Ellie was sobbing in my lap, her upper lip turning blue and jutting out like a…..welp. Like a duck. Johnny was moving back and forth from the freezer to my chair, bringing fresh ice packs. Every now and then he’d say, “Duck” and shake his head.
Bentley was lying on the floor at our feet, showing the “I-am-so-sorry” guilt look that only a basset hound can fully perfect.
And I was thinking this:
” Yeah. I was terrified of the freakin’ breeze, but I never even thought about being attacked by Princess Poppy’s severed head.”
You do NOT want me as your body guard. Nope. Even I don’t want me watching out for me, if you know what I mean.