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Know What I'm Doing While Talking On the Phone With You? (No, it does not involve the bathroom.

I have been ridiculously busy lately, even more than usual. My husband is gone for 14 days, I am working a bit extra at Iowa Humane Alliance, have some sick snakes I am trying to diagnose, trying to clean the house for my husband's folks in two weeks, during which I will be away for 14 days (leaving day after Torben returns). Of course, the 100 plus animals need food, cleaning, misc attentions as well. Oh yea, my daughter is in there somewhere.

Whaa whaa, cry me a river, right? I am not complaining, just explaining why I have to multi-task to the point of incorporating phone calls into my routines. You see, I hate talking on the phone most of the time, mostly because I can't sit still if I have stuff to do. It is a wonderful rare occasion to find myself sitting in a chair, relaxed, speaking to someone. It is nice, but not the norm. I also rarely get a moment to actually talk without distraction. I don't like speaking to folks who I suspect are doing something else, like watching TV, or concentrating on something a bit more than their conversations with me. I think it is rude, but it is what I end up doing, thus being rude!

Last week, I had a full day at work, picked up Kris at school by 5PM, ran to the pet store for much needed mealworms for the bats I am wintering over (up to 7 now), then headed home. I had multiple phone calls and texts, most of which involved easy, quick, responses. However, I needed to talk to my sister in Oregon about something timely, and had also postponed a response call to my mom's text "Could you please call us?", which had come the night before. By the time I was off the phone with my folks, I was behind in chores, so started on those. As it got later, I decided to call my sister, Anya, and began chatting.

Talking to her and doing the routine chores was not an issue, my attention was mostly on what we were talking about, much of which was the current politics. (I will stop RIGHT THERE!) I had taken the pet store bag to the basement, and put the three containers of mealworms into the fridge, thinking "Didn't I buy four?". Tossing that thought aside, I scooped cat boxes, fed and watered pocket pets, and went back upstairs. I checked the kitchen counter for a forth mealworm container. None there. That is when I noticed Kaia, the terrier, chewing said container, which was empty. All around her was the meal the worms come packed in, as well as the 50 or so worms, all embedding themselves into the living room carpet. Clementine was doing her best to lick it all up, but the worms were having none of it. I am sure Anya had said something important or profound, which she is known to to quite often. My response was just "OMG! I hate my dogs sometimes! The mess.....!". Picking worms out as fast as I could before losing them to the deep pile, I mumbled more about how stupid my life was at that moment, totalling blowing off whatever amazing thing my sister had likely said. Sure, I could vacuum them all up, but hey, they cost money!

Finally, I was back on track with the conversation with Anya, and feeling pretty attentive and considerate of her feelings, since that is just the kind of gal I am, when......

I noticed our big old, long-haired cat Scorsese coming up the basement stairs, looking quite annoyed. At closer examination, I noticed he had accumulated a big mess on his bum, such that he was likely leaving imprints of poo on everything he sat on during the day. This was not acceptable, since he had just come up from the basement and into our main living area, which included a kitchen counter he liked to sleep on. Before the situation could get more disgusting I mouthed the words "We have to bathe Scorsese NOW!" to Kris, who was happily texting friends, hiding in her bedroom. She heaved a big sigh and got up. I ran to get a bit of sedative to calm Scorsese, since he hates baths, as most cats do. As I did this I think I was babbling to Anya about something spectacular I had recently done, and how awesome I am, something like that.

Still talking, I brought Scorsese to the raise dog bath tub we had built into our mudroom (yay, for foresight!), filled two 5 gallon pails with warm water and shampoo, and dunked his bum into the first one. Using gloved hands, and still talking to Anya, I worked at his disgusting bum, all the while mouthing to my daughter "Help me, would you?" She was mouthing her own words "NO! Too gross. I can't. Why don't you just hang up the phone?"

This went on, until his butt was cleared of the fecal mess, when I put him into the second pail, where he was soaped up all over. Finally, Kris helped with the rinsing part using the spray nozzle. The dogs, by the way, insisted on trying to get up into the tub, for the first times in their lives, since they were not the ones getting bathed.

All cleaned, Scorsese was put onto dry towels, dried, combed, then shaved on his behind. This process went on while still talking to Anya. I think I had put the conversation into automatic, something I was familiar with saying over and over again, meaning it was about politics probably. The dogs were getting in the way, insisting on putting there faces over the cats, wanting attention. Kris was getting more and more annoyed, when I finally cut it short, since it was likely sister's turn to talk, and I was not going to pay much attention to her. Hey, I was crabby so thought I'd make it all about me, OK?

Being the ever understand older sister she is, Anya allowed me to just cut suddenly say "I have to go. My dogs are being stupid." and hung up. Kris and I spent almost an hour combing and brushing and cutting, before Scorsese was no longer feeling mellow from the drugs I had given him, and the growling was turning into physical complaints. We cleaned up our mess, and let him free in the house.

As I started to calm down, and daylight was diminishing, I realized I had not fed the chickens and pot-bellied pigs who live in the backyard area. While out there I noticed huge clumps of Scorsese hair that the dogs had been grabbing and taking out to chew up. I guess it was good they still had access to just the mudroom, and not the rest of the house for the rest of the night. Hopefully birds will use the hair for nests, or a big wind will gust on through and take it away before it gets rained on and makes the clumps permanent residents of the yard.

It was 8:00 when Kris told me she still had Algebra homework she needed help on. When this happens it means my reading the entire mathbook chapter to crack my memory of High School Algebra, then explaining it to her, since she daydreams in class. Before heading down to her room though, I head to the kitchen for a big glass of wine, to help me survive the next few hours.

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