House and Home · Memories

This Post Isn’t about Cancer

Emily's First Dog

Mom and Dad gave me money for my birthday, which was almost two weeks ago. The present I bought with that money arrived today: a Bissell SpotBot Pet carpet and upholstery cleaning machine.

I had one of these SpotBots with my first dog.

Taubensee was a great dog, but sometimes prone to eating things he shouldn’t. Like an entire batch of homemade pumpkin chocolate chip cookies that I’d left on the counter to cool.

(SIDE NOTE: After cleaning up the cookie barf that day some 11 years ago, I still can’t stand the sight or smell of pumpkin chip cookies.)

Anyway, I loved my dog AND this machine. But then my beloved dog died. And then a few weeks later my husband and I moved to Urbana from Indianapolis. So the SpotBot was sold in a different sort of purge—the one I dubbed The Great Purge™. It took place when we moved into temporary housing that didn’t allow us to get another pet. And then our “temporary” housing turned into OMG-how-are-we-still-in-this-tiny-apartment-two-years-later housing.

You know how some women of a certain age get kid crazy? Well, in the two years I lived without a dog, I got pet crazy. All I could talk about how was how I wanted a puppy and kitty and I wanted them to be BFFs.

In 2015, on the day we moved into our very own house and out of that one-bedroom apartment, we signed adoption papers at the Champaign County Humane Society. We have a puppy and a kitty and they are BFFs.

Both of these critters are pukers, but especially Boomer the lab mix. He pukes when he gets too excited, he pukes when he eats ice cubes, he pukes after a long day at the dog park, he pukes in the car on the way back from my check ups at Siteman Cancer Center in St. Louis, and he pukes because that’s just what labs do—puke.

He pukes more than me on chemo. That’s something.

So this little machine has been on my wishlist for a while now, because you just put the thing over the messy spot after you’ve cleaned the debris, push a button, and walk away while it scrubs and sanitizes and deodorizes and whatnot. Its little wand attachment works on upholstery too, so the whole car’s getting a shampoo.

Sorry if I’m getting commercial-y, but I’m geeked. Happy birthday to me.

The links in this post are affiliate links. 

 

Memories

That One Time When I Got Scolded for Reading the Bible in Church

boys will be boys

This is the earliest I remember being held accountable for something boys did.

***

Imagine, if you will, a Sunday School room in a Baptist church basement circa 1990. Pale blue cinder block walls and hideous multi-colored commercial carpet. A tack strip holding up a poster of a young girl, her hands in the air, her feet off the ground. At the top are the words “Forgiven and Free!” (Which for weeks I misread as saying “Foreign and Free” and I was so, so confused. Lolz. But that has nothing to do with this post.)

For this particular Sunday School lesson there are four people gathered around two folding tables pushed together. I, two male peers, and the teacher are all sitting in cold, metal folding chairs.

“Emily, will you read aloud for the lesson?”

“Sure.” I grab one of the church-provided KJV bibles on the table and read the passage—I don’t recall the exact chapter and verse. What I do remember, vividly, is that the passage contained the word “ass.” So, I dunno, Jesus might’ve been riding into Jerusalem or something.

I read “ass” out loud when I come to it, and the two boys just go into fits, giggling and snickering because “Emily said a cuss word.” And in church no less.

I say to myself, “Verily, God is gonna smite me.”

The teacher doesn’t address the boys for being disruptive or for being immature twits; instead she turns to me. “Emily, next time we come across that word, we’ll just say ‘donkey’, okay?” She’s firm in the way adults are when giving children a warning not to do a thing again. Using her next-time-there-will-be-consequences voice.

The boys straighten their faces and I nod. My cheeks are hot with embarrassment and I feel ashamed for having sworn in church. I wonder whether the teacher is going to tell my parents what I did.

***

I  held on to the shame for some time—years even. Deep down knowing that there was something unjust about what had happened but unable to name it. I mean, I was reading the section my teacher asked me to read…from a bible the church bought!

But now I know that boys will be boys and some people will let them.