Last weekend saw Hubby, our son and me visiting my folks on Sunday. It was a flying visit and the dogs came with us too. Two nights previously, the dogs had stayed in kennels because we did not quite trust Maddi enough to allow her to stay overnight at Hubby’s folks’. Since she was to be kennelled, Zack stayed as well. However, despite knowing the owner and keeper of the kennels for years now, Zack, the big baby, would not eat his food whilst at the kennels. Maddi’s appetite, as we found out later, remained unimpaired.
We arrived at my folks’ around 11:30 am on Sunday, having first picked up the dogs from the Bathgate kennels and shopped at a Chinese supermarket. (I cannot tell you how much I miss Singaporean food!) Sis, who is Mum’s main carer, wanted some work doing in the garden and Hubby obliged. Meanwhile, I found myself enjoying some conversation with my sister whom I had not seen since Christmas!
All of us had been to greet Mum when we first arrived at the house. The first thing she said was ‘What did you buy?’ Then, as I listened harder, the babbling which has caused me such heartache began. (Mum has lost most of her vocabulary to the ravages of Alzheimer’s Disease. For a former teacher with a bright and loquacious personality and an avid reader, this is probably one of the worst things to have happened to her.)
As I began to tell Mum what we had bought, I heard the dogs making a beeline for the kitchen. Uh oh! Zack may be trusted not to steal food but not Maddi. Moreover, none of us trusts the dogs to be civilised to each other if both come across food at the same time. Time to go and see what the dogs were up to!
Having successfully separated the dogs with one spread out in the sitting room and the other in the dining room, our attention turned to lunch. As Sis heated up some tamales for my son that my brother had made the night before, I heard an approaching clatter signalling Maddi’s arrival. Perhaps Maddi had smelt food cooking and was coming for her share.
Sure enough, I turned around to see Maddi standing at the back of my chair in the dining room. Then – horror of horrors – I recognised a familiar body set: legs slightly splayed, head down and a retching deep in her throat. Maddi was going to vomit on my sister’s dining room floor. I grabbed a stray piece of newspaper in the vain hope of trying to get her to puke onto it but she moved away. My only recourse was to try and drag her outside.
Too late! The next moment, I heard a spewing noise and saw a watery mixture with great lumps of meat on the floor. As is her wont, Maddi then began to move about trying to spread her detritus all over the floor. Having emptied her belly, Maddi now made her way back to the sitting room where I instructed my brother to keep her whilst I cleaned up the mess. Zack was banished into the kitchen with my sister for company.
So, my visit at my folks ended with me cleaning the floors in my sister’s house over the next half hour. Maddi had dribbled the last of her puke onto the hall floor as well as the runner there; and after cleaning the wood floors, I then had to wash the runner as well. With the floors cleaned, Zack was now able to escape the confines of the tiny kitchen.
It would soon be time to leave, and I thought I would have a bite to eat before saying goodbye. Sis brought out some rice, gluten and Chinese pickled vegetables for me to eat. Zack, hungry as he was because he had barely eaten over his weekend in kennels, watched me intently and sat in his begging pose before me. How could one refuse him?
I gave Zack some of my rice which he gobbled up. Then, I scooped up more rice for him onto a plate, which he quickly ate up. As Zack continued to look soulfully at me for more food, Sis suggested giving him some garlic sausage with rice. The problem was that we had a 3-hour journey to reach home and I did not want Zack to have anything spicy in his tummy, just in case it did not agree with him. Rice is bland; so we decided to give him what was left of the rice in the pot.
Well, Zack finished most of the rice with relish. But, he had made a mess of the newly cleaned dining room floor. So, it was back to square one for me – that is why I said earlier I had spent the last part of my visit to my folks cleaning the floors. This time, I had to pick rice grains up from between the gaps in the floor boards as well!
It was time to go. I wanted to be home by 7 pm as it always takes me time to unwind after travelling some way. Hubby held the dogs on their leads in the front garden as we said our goodbyes. But my cleaning duties at my folks’ were not yet finished. To great laughter from my family, we all watched as Zack decided to do a poop in my sister’s front garden, dropping more pieces of matter along the stone steps and footpath as the bits that had stuck to his long hair fell off while he walked his dignified way to the car. With a long suffering sigh, I got a couple of bags and began to pick up Zack’s presents. I don’t think I have washed my hands so many times before within a 45-60-minute slot!
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