This weekend I started a project from my home improvement to do list. My wrist has hopefully healed well enough from the last go round of wall paper removal. This would be the one that sent me for several visits to OSS, a cortisone shot and a five-week stint in a wrist brace. This time I invested in a power steamer. What an amazing little piece of equipment! It is so much better than trying to hack off bits of professionally hung wallpaper that was intended to stay put until the end of time.
Knowing that Jellybean can be a bit needy, I prepared ahead of time for my work day. I pulled a few of Jellybean’s favorite toys from her ridiculously large, overflowing basket so they would be readily available to her. Then I prepared a bone by coating the inside with peanut butter, a particular favorite of hers, and to top it off even stuffed a few little treats inside. I made sure her water fountain was running at full speed and placed her favorite blanket as close to my work space as possible. I made sure that Jellybean and I took a long, rambling walk in the morning – just the way she likes it. We came back for some extra snuggle time and played with her favorite little hedgehog. Finally, everything was set and I was ready to begin my project. But wait! It takes about 15 minutes for the steam to start pouring out of the plate, so that gave us a few extra minutes to play. Being the over the top dog momma that I am, I even explained to Jellybean what was going to be happening for the next few hours.
By the time I had positioned myself on the ladder and placed the steamer plate on the wall, Jellybean had finished her peanut butter bone. Not even ten minutes into the project the whining had begun. “Jellybean, get your toy! Get your Hedgehog! Oh look, there’s Mr. Pizza. Come on Jellybean, you have so many choices!” I suddenly feel like I am back in my Kindergarten class asking a student, “Would you like the kangaroo counters or would you like the Digi blocks for your math activity today?” I return to my work only to hear more whining, becoming more intense and more pitiful with each well-timed puppy breath. Oh, and the eyes, those big, black soulful eyes now genuine puppy dog eyes staring me down. “Jellybean, really? I spent the entire morning with you. Now it’s my turn to get some things done around here. I can’t be with you every second of the day.” I continued to steam and scrape. The whining continued only now it was coming from under my ladder. “No, Jellybean, you can’t be over here. All this wallpaper will stick to your feet and fur. Jellybean, I said no. Oh, my Jellybean, you’re killing me here.” And so the afternoon went with Jellybean whining and me pleading with her to make good choices, until finally I turned to her and said, “That’s it, Jellybean, you’re going to Grandma’s. You want attention? You’ll get so much attention you won’t know what to do with it. Now, get your ball cap on and let’s get going.” Oh my, I think I’ve created a monster, a furry, loveable four-legged little monster!
Beverly Stiffler Smith