So the other day, I took the pups for a walk around the outlet mall because it was nice, not too warm, and I still have no yard in which puppies can frolic so we went to the mall instead. The walk went beautifully. The kids were very well behaved. The Gator Girl was her usual anxiety ridden self and Big was his usual disinterested self. We even came across two different people who actually recognized the Gator Girl as a malinois. Finding one person out there who recognizes a malinois as a malinois (and not a German shepherd or a dingo) is a rarity so stumbling across more than one is certainly surprising.
By the time we got to Joe's office to drop off the mail, it was hot. Almost twenty degrees warmer than it had been when we left the house. Had I known (or had the weather channel been more accurate), I wouldn't have brought the dogs with me or we would have gone straight home after the mall walk because when you combine the Gator Girl's heightened anxiety and the exertion (however minor) of the walk with a sudden rise in temperature, it's generally a recipe for disaster which usually manifests itself in the form of her launching herself at Big and trying to tear off his ears.
This day wasn't any different. I didn't get the Gator Girl strapped to the door in time and she found a tiny crack of opportunity and burst right through it. She growled and snarled, Big shrieked and I whirled around in the driver's seat and broke out my Scary Mommy voice and pulled the Gator Girl off the Big Brave German shepherd.
And thus the angry back was born.
Don't get me wrong. It's a worthwhile injury. I would like Big to keep his ears and if I have to periodically throw out my back in order to ensure that that happens, then I will gladly do it. The whole thing was my bad anyway because I had unhooked the Gator Girl from the door when I took the mail inside. I knew the recipe for disaster was in the making and I did it anyway.
The point is, I am now the proud owner of a thrown out back and I need to throw it back in.
Here are a couple of ways to not throw it back in:
1. Act as a decoy in obedience class. A decoy, for those of you not in the know, is the
sucker brave soul who gets to first agitate dogs and then hold a target while (in my case) being attacked by three eager malinois (not at the same time). For my troubles, I was bitten once on the hand (again, my bad as I was gripping the target in the worst possible way) and received a seriously impressive series of scratches on my leg (neither injury from the Gator Girl). This latter injury led to the following exchange which I personally found to be rather funny:
Carl: (re: the scratches) Did the Gator Girl do that?
Me: No, Tres did.
Carl: Why didn't you tell me?
Me: Tell you what? That your dog scratched my leg while I was agitating him and provoking him to bite me? That's ring, man!
While I wear all my ring related bruises and injuries proudly, acting as decoy still wasn't the smartest choice I could have made.
2. Go to work. Especially when one's job involves the lifting and carrying of multiple boxes filled with tutlenecks and heavy sweaters. My last shift was before my vacation (the one where my store manager was Losing. It. and throwing a major hissy fit complete with profanity and flying water bottles) so I felt compelled to show up for this shift. I get so few shifts that I hate having to call out. I was told by the assistant manager that my first shift back was also the store manager's first shift back. And her shift was going to be a double. "So, uh, good luck with that!" she said into the phone.
I stopped at Dunkin Donuts (by the way, I so very much want a Dunkin Donuts location about which only the locals know) and bought the store manager a couple of Boston Cream donuts. They're her favorite. They weren't going to do much for her diet, I knew, but they would improve her mood. It worked. She decided not to hate me or throw water bottles at me and even helped me carry in the seventy three boxes of turtlenecks and sweaters. Still, after everything, my back was not at all happy with me.
Joe asked me how my back was feeling and so I told him it felt kind of crappy. This led Joe to respond, "Well, what did you expect it to feel like?"
We love each other. Really.
But one good thing to come out of this injury is that now that Mockingjay has finally arrived (without me having to mount an assault on the Northborough facility), I now have an excellent excuse to sit around and do nothing but read.