verge (vʉrj)
the edge, brink, or margin (of something): also used figuratively the verge of the forest, on the verge of hysteria

to tend or incline (to or toward)
to be in the process of change or transition into something else; pass gradually (into) dawn verging into daylight

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dressed for Success (or Holy Crap)

You may wonder what it takes to be a dog walker. Let me tell you. It takes 2 graduate degrees, a persistent case of vertigo, two concurrent therapy jobs, and a car that triples as a closet, the company headquarters, and corporate jet. Oprah's closet may be vast and climate-controlled, and her offices may be bi-coastal, bi-continental, and bi-ergonomic, and she may be able to hop onto her Lear jet on a moment's notice, but I've gone Uni-Versal, and have managed to get the wardrobe, the database, and the company fleet into one single Toyota Corolla. Pure genius.

During the academic year, I often start my morning with a dog walk. Only 10 months out of the year it's cold, wet, slippery, or dark. The rest of the year, the weather is simply delicious. [Except for this particular year. Delicious never arrived and it's almost time to stack wood. It was either way too cold or way too hot] I put on my high school therapist clothes and sensible shoes, brush my teeth, call Jane, eat breakfast, go back upstairs to change into something different, forget before I get there why I went upstairs, decide to strip the bed, discover Meredith is foregoing the alarm clock, lecture her into consciousness, go back out to start the car, drive to the dog, suddenly remember why I went upstairs in the first place--but too late--I'm almost with the dog, and then I actually walk the dog. "Good morning, Young Whippersnapper! Let's get up and at 'em!"

I finish the YW, scoop the poop, toss a biscuit to 'Snapper as I wave him goodbye, put the poop bag on the floor of the car, drive to the high school, lock the car and skip past my office, heading directly to the main office to check the tardy list to make sure Meredith is not among the damned, and then attempt to convince teenagers that adults are not freaks of nature. After several hours, it's time to leave the school and go walk the Noon Time Crew. Across the school cafeteria and into the parking lot I go, only to discover that a) it's raining sideways and b) I left the poop bag in the car and c) the car now reeks.

OK, Oprah, watch closely because Here I Come! I pop the trunk, and Presto Chango--rain gear! Fishing hat? Check. Windbreaker? Check. Duck boots? Check. Polar fleece? Check. Umbrella? Check. Towels? Check. In no time, lickety-split, I am transformed from counselor to The Dog Walker-er, ready to withstand any downpour or deluge.
Off I go to walk Boo and then my BFF Tucker, and sometimes old Buddy. Everyone gets soaked, everyone gets all wet-dog smelly, and everyone basks in the towel-down after. I look a little like a chia-pet, but once again--and Oprah take note--I pop the trunk and voila--Grown Up administrative meeting clothes! All slithered down in my closet/office/jet, I slip off the morning counselor clothes, the rain gear, the dog hairs, and jettison to the hospital conference room for a meeting with district administrators, carrying my satchel and wearing my pearls, a sassy swing jacket, and flowy pants that drape just so. I Am Woman and I Am Roaring! And I am seated among suits galore--leather-bound planners, Cross pens, tie shoes that shine, professionals with manners and who speak in multi-syllabic words. Right at this moment, I have this bird's eye view of my day so far and my ever-so-clever ingenuity with the clothes, the jobs, the dogs, the weather, with motherhood, and I think "Mmmmm-mmmm. You're one hot ticket. The real-life Samantha Stevens. Magical. Hoo-ahhhh (as Al Pacino would say). So M-o-u-n-t-a-i-n TOP. "

5 minutes into the meeting....10 minutes into the meeting. Hmmm. Do I smell something? I smell something. Yes, I definitely smell...something.


Definitely, phew.
Someone in this room has a problem. A serious problem. One of these All-Importants has quite the hygiene problem (such a pity--people just don't take care of themselves the way they used too). Ewww-eee. Is it just me? Doesn't anyone else smell what I smell? Either their sniffers don't work, or they are incredibly polite and very good actors. They MUST smell it too. It's enormous at this point. I can almost see a cloud.

Yes, I see a cloud. Indeed, there's a cloud. It's rising up from under the table. It seems to be a fine vapor and it's gravitating towards me. No, not towards. From! From me! This vapor is coming FROM me!

And there it is. The whole stinkin' truth. There, encrusted around the heel of my shoe like sludge on a stick, is a smeary, mushy, gooshy, hunk of yes. Poop. Fresh dog poop. Stuck to my shoe. My dog-walking shoe. My oops-I-forgot-to-change-my-shoes shoe. And it isn't the Whipper's poop because no, I scooped that and it's still in the car. This is someone else's dog poop, making this all the more insulting. But I forgot to change my shoes! How did this happen? This what I call a serious malfunction. I am utterly deaf for the rest of the meeting. I have no idea what I have agreed to prepare for the next meeting. I have no idea who these people are or how I got here. I have no idea what my name is. All I know is that these pearls and this sassy swing jacket do nothing to squelch the smell of the vile glop on my poor shoe. Desperate, I attempt to summon the jet through prayer . Oh God please if You would only pop the trunk, I would throw myself in.

Someone remind me to fire my staff.


  1. Wonderful! Beautifully told. Shades of Bombeck. You're a terrific writer.