The other night, Number One Son Sam opened the back door, at 11:30 p.m. – when people were all sorts of tired – for the ShepHerds last ‘out’ of the night.
Oh, I was sound asleep upstairs. I hadn’t gotten a good night’s sleep in a while so I went upstairs around 10:00.
Remember… sound asleep.
Suddenly, out of my slumber appears JoHn’s face.
It is much bigger than I remember it being before I went to sleep. Oh! That is because he is very close. WAITWHAT’SWRONG?!
JoHn: “I’m so sorry to wake you up…”
My brain: KIDS!
My brain: GRANNY!
JoHn: The dogs…
My brain: OH SHIT THEY ARE DEAD IN THE ROAD!
JoHn: They just went out and…
My brain: THEY ARE LOST!
JoHn: They got a porcupine…
My mouth: Did they kill it?
JoHn: No. They have quills though.
Me: In their mouths?
JoHn: Marshal does.
Me: Okay, they should go to the vet.
JoHn exits the scene.
I am now sitting up in bed.
I consider laying back down.
Because JoHn will call the vet, right? And he will find out where to go after hours up here in Maine, right?
I love my Nearly Perfect Husband very much. But. Well, I might as well share with you that he is decidedly not good in an emergency.
And I should add that this is all well and good because we balance each other out very well that way.
We figure, most likely, the kids and Granny and ShepHerds will be saved in the case of a house fire or explosion, because first I will try to catch JoHn as he runs around in circles (he was a state champion sprinter in high school so this is still not one small feat), and once he is safely out of the way, I will go back for the kids and dogs.
I am not really kidding much about this.
Once, JoHn came into the kitchen, from the porch, all wild-eyed – but with an oddly calm voice – and said that there was a “little fire in the grill”.
I went out to find – and I am not kidding here – flames licking up the side of the house.
And when I went back inside, he was frozen.
I yelled for sand, soil, the fire extinguisher, something not wet!
And he finally moved and we saved the house.
Once I found some sand.
I have no idea where JoHn went.
And that brings me back to the other night and the Great Porcupine Incident of 2015.
I had no idea where JoHn went.
So I figured maybe he was not calling the vet, nor figuring out a good plan forward.
And once I put myself in his shoes, and realized – from his perspective – that his precious Marshal Dillon Dingle was hurt and in need of a vet.. well, then I realized that, in JoHn’s eyes, this was an emergency.
I got up.
I pulled on my sweats.
I went downstairs.
I found Gabe in the back room holding Marshal’s and Blaze’s collars (both ShepHerds calmly lying on the cool, brick floor).
Me: “Where’s dad?”
Gabe: “I dunno.”
I am telling you, the house is not that big.
Suddenly, around the corner with wide eyes, comes the man I married.
Me: “What are you doing?!” (and I think I put a hand on my hip)
JoHn: “What? I… uh…. I cleaned out the car.”
Me: “For fifteen minutes?”
Me: “Did you call the vets?”
JoHn: “Uh. No.” (and now he starts laughing and I start laughing because this is how we roll)
I hand him the phone. It has the vets number on it.
Me: “Okay, call them. They will probably give you an after hours number. Call that. Then tell them what happened.”
That was four steps. That was pushing it, but I believed in him.
In the mean time I went in to look at the dogs.
Marshal was all sorts of amped up. He really wanted to tell me all the heroic things he did, but the quills in his mouth prevented him from any real articulation.
Princess Blaze was completely calm. She had three quills sticking out of her right paw.
JoHn came back in, and he was ready to take them to the vet’s office. Gabe would play the role of amateur vet tech.
I said I would go back to bed.
When JoHn looked at me with that, “what-you-are-not-coming-we-might-die” look, I shot him a look that said, “do-you-know-how-many-‘we-are-headed-to-bed-but-let’s-take-a-detour-to-the-emergency-room’ visits I have done these past 23 or so years?! (I also ESP’d him the fact that I had done one less than two weeks ago when Gabe broke his foot).
He got he message.
We are so in sync.
But of course, I did not go back to sleep because people were out and I wanted to know what happened.
And when they got back, I snuggled the dogs and we laughed and said that it was clear that Marshal went in for the porcupine kill, guns blazing and without a thought in his dopey little head. And from that he took eight in the face and mouth.
Blaze considered it all, quite royally, and decided it was best to just knight the porcupine (smart because if you can’t beat ’em, get them to join you).
And for her trouble, she took a few in the paw.
Sir Porcupine will be roaming free all summer – potentially barked-up but untouched – in any Dingle garden and/or tree he chooses…
on this little island in Maine.