The day before starting our big trip to Rome and then on to Sicily for my niece’s wedding, disaster struck Sabra personally three times.
First Pearl, our labradoodle, managed to get her anxiety medication off the middle of the kitchen island and eat a 30-day supply. Regular readers will know that we just went through this ordeal a few weeks ago, and we should be old pros at it by now. Since the two-dollars-a-pop pills don’t contain any real drugs– only herbs– they are as harmless as setting six sawbucks on fire and dropping them into a large, empty, metal trashcan.
Nevertheless, it really upset Sabra, who was in her 48-hour pre-trip jitters.
Actually, Sabra starts worrying about what she’ll pack a good month before any vacation. It’s a daunting challenge. While I’m good to go in shorts and T-shirts for temperatures ranging from a little over freezing to hot as hello, she needs a different level of insulation for each five degrees of variance we might encounter. Then there’s color. While I only need to make sure that the hot sauce and ketchup stains don’t show (that’s why I wear a lot of orange) or are at least symmetrical, Sabra has to color coordinate from her socks to ear rings. And finally, there’s a distinction she makes between dressing informal and formal. To me formal is clothing that hasn’t been worn for more than a day, but for her it means... well, I guess I don’t know what it means.
Then, not 10 minutes after Pearl ate her pills a large, mysterious crash was heard in the house. Sabra was in the kitchen, and her first reaction was to scream at me in the upstairs office with the door closed working on his computer (aka watching “The West Wing” on Netflix). My hearing isn’t very good and I missed the crash entirely and could just barely make out Sabra’s yell over an impassioned presidential speech by Martin Sheen. Like trees falling in a forest, my attitude is if you didn’t hear it then it didn’t happen. Sabra, on the other hand, heard it and had to find the source so she took a break from deciding between the light fuchsia sweater or the heavier salmon jacket. After a short search she came to a closet in the basement where we keep several dozen games stored on shelves in the closet.
Yep, not only had the crash sent about 10,000 different Mahjong pieces, domino tiles, Uno cards, checkers etc. to the floor but they pinned the folding doors shut as well. “Now what are we going to do?” Sabra asked with some exasperation. But for once she took my advice and we agreed to pretend it didn’t happen until we got back.
The final catastrophe came in the form of ants, an entire army of them, which she suddenly discovered had set up headquarters in our houseplants. As a bachelor, I once shared an apartment with mice, bats, at least one ghost, and worst of all, other bachelors. For Sabra, however, one ant is an intruder and brigades of them are an all-out invasion of house and home.
They had to go, and they had to go now so she launched a counter-offensive. Every plant in the house, and we have a greenhouse worth, had to be toted outside and washed. The ones with the worst infection also got ant traps, fingers crossed Pearl doesn’t take a liking to them as well. It was a lot of work for me as well as I had to open the door for her when she carried the heaviest plants.
Actually, it was a relief that third tragedy happened before we left. They run in threes, it is said, and I’d hate to start out an international trip with only two behind us.
Since Sabra usually is making last-minute decisions about her wardrobe, I was especially pleased and surprised that she announced on the day of our departure that she was packed and ready to go a full hour before our ride to the airport arrived.
Then I made the mistake of suggesting we play Jenga to kill time.