Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Oh, Brother.

Last week, as part of his sabbatical, Trey skipped town and went to Vegas because nothing says Sabbath like Sin City.

Not really.

He actually spent a week at a beautiful monastery in Arkansas on a 'silent retreat'.

I just kept picturing him getting bored and trying to strike up a conversation with one of the Monks only to have the Abbot crossly hiss, "SHHHHHHHH!  No talking"!

Didn't happen but it made me laugh all week thinking about it.

All the monks address one another as 'Brother (insert first name) which is what I've started calling Trey.

Brother Trey.  We're full of whimsy like that.

On Sunday evening, before he left, Trey took the girls to a nearby lake for a little fishing because, well, that's how they roll.  And of course they came home with a pet because what else is a husband supposed to do before he leaves for five days but bring home an exotic animal.

And by exotic, I mean turtle.

Box turtle to be specific.

New love of Sadie's life to be exact.  She named him Franklin.

Now, I don't know a ton about turtles, except the volumes I haven't read in books, journals, and periodicals over the years, but I assumed - as far as actual pets were concerned - they were pretty bland.

Not Franklin.  He was lively with spunk and personality!  He almost never tucked into his shell and speed-walked around the lawn like, well, any other animal besides an actual turtle.

Did I mention Sadie's love for him?

L. O. V. E.

Well, we had done a pretty decent job caring for the little guy all week sans Head of House.  We fed him berries, changed his water, kept him properly shaded and sunned, and let him walk around the yard supervised three times a day.  (I love summer.)

So, Thursday night came and the kids were all getting ready for bed.  And by 'getting ready for bed', I mean starting a movie, fixing a snack, and making up dance moves to "Payphone" by Maroon 5.  Sadie was helping Dea do laundry.

And I had just sat down on the couch with a nice glass of wine and a book which always spells trouble.  Will I never learn?

Usually, when I sit down for a millisecond, Scout is right next to me wanting me to scratch her ears.  It's a thing we do that she, apparently, never grows tired of.  Never.

But Scout was mysteriously absent.

My Spidey senses started tingling because she's a labradoodle so, really, really un-mysterious by definition and always, awkwardly present.

I ran to the backyard, where she never stays alone because, honestly, I think she's a little afraid of the dark.  And the bugs. And the gunfire.

Not so scared tonight.  She had found the ultimate distraction and he was encased in a hard, turtle shell.


I may have cussed.

I said may have but probably not because, remember, I am married to a man who was spending a week at a monastery in silent prayer and those kinds of wives do not cuss.

When I recovered the turtle from my dog, I could immediately see the two had not been equal partakers of 'playtime'.  The turtle shell was cracked and there was blood.  Reptile blood. Gag.  Franklin had closed himself inside his shell and was obviously dead.

Insert child screams. 

And tears by all my children except Dea because he tends to keep his head in situations like these.  He may have made himself a burrito.

I spent the next hour soothing and singing four children to sleep which is no easy task because I have the singing voice of a howler monkey .  It was especially tough for my youngest child who had just lost her 'Most Beloved Pet EVER'.

Remember, we'd had him five days - attachment is not her issue.

When everyone was finally settled down and restlessly sleeping, I went back outside to further inspect the damage.  Franklin had not come out of his broken shell and there was more blood at the crack so I wrapped him in a grocery bag in preparation for the morning burial I knew we would be having.

All without Brother Trey. 

The next morning, I went back down to transfer Franklin's corpse to a box so none of the kids would have to see the horror.  Except, there was no Franklin.

I may have actually cussed here.

I looked all around frantically, convinced a rabid dog had entered our backyard in the middle of the night and made off with the body.  I was dreading finding remnants.  Remnants would have been real bad.

Instead, I found the empty grocery bag and immediately started thinking of how I was going to spin this one because I like myself some closure and my acorns didn't fall far from their momma tree.

Suddenly, my neighbor called out from across the street, "Hey!  There's a little turtle over here that looks like he might have gotten hit by a car!"


Franklin was alive and had walked out of my backyard, across the street and into my neighbors yard in an effort, I'm sure, to get as far away from my dog as possible.


Mr. Chan said his son used to have turtles when he was little and slapped a some duct tape on that broken shell and called it a day. And that would have been super-perfect except for a little thing called 'the internet' so, after I'd told the children and they danced and sang and apologized to Scout for wishing her a slow, painful dog death, I did some googling.  Not my best idea ever.

You see, "turtles can survive with cracked shells but they are prone to infection without proper treatment so your only option is to get them to a vet ASAP" said every site I clicked on.

Awesome.  That's just fantastic because I would SO MUCH rather spend the money I've been saving to have my carpets cleaned on a vet bill for a pet turtle we'd had for five days.  FIVE DAYS!

And right about now, you're probably thinking - like Brother Trey was when he got home Friday night - that I should just let that turtle live out its last days in happiness, down by the lake, wounded and fending for itself.

I'm sorry, have we met?

And have you met Sadie?

Yeah, Big Talker.  Why don't you try explaining to her how we're going to deny her pet turtle - the one we took from it's natural habitat and allowed to be attacked by our dog - some much needed medical attention because momma would rather have her carpets cleaned and turtles really don't qualify as pets, anyway.  Go right ahead and try.  I may pop some popcorn, sprinkle it with Junior Mints, pour myself an ice cold Diet Coke and watch just for fun.

Straight up, you wouldn't last 47 seconds.

So, as of this evening, Franklin has been under observation at the vet for four days.  Every time I call, they all know my name and gush about what a fabulous turtle he is.  How he's doing great and recovering and making friends.  The vet - who knows the whole story and promises she's not making any money on this deal - actually asked to forward pictures of his injury to her graduate school professor/herpetology expert at the Austin Zoo because "if the injury is on a joint, we may need to do surgery".


Oh, Brother.


Jen said...

I so needed this laugh tonight!!

Sara said...

Oh my goodness gracious, THANK YOU for the chuckle. Franklin is quite the character. You should write a children's book about him. :O)

Danni said...

I remember a family friend who had a rabbit when I was in high school. That rabbit needed $2000 (two-thousand dollar) braces because the way their teeth were skewed in their mouth, it was cutting into their mouth/lips/whatever and would continue to lead to life-threatening infections if they didn't have the rabbits teeth corrected. I suggested going ole yeller on the bun, because how many rabbits can you get with $2000? But also, that's inhumane or something so nobody heeded my suggestion.

pendy said...

Bless your heart. Really, that's all this southern girl can come up with!

TDM Wendy said...

You did the right thing. Turtles are people too.
What a classic story. You should now write a children's book called "All Cracked Up." You got your story, you just need an illustrator now. Sadie?

Lea said...

I can SO relate!! We found Snappy the box turtle in Little Rock in our yard before moving to California, and it was a "sign"-he HAD to come with us. So, he rode on our laps (my lap) for that little trip. Five days. On my lap. So far, no surgery. Our scruffy little dog did destroy once long ago, and he has no idea we have a turtle in the house. But I feel your pain. I needed this tonight--tears of laughter! You definitely should write a book! I gotta go read the finale.

Holli said...