Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in a few weeks, and if that doesn’t make your sagging spirits billow with hope, then you must not have endured a day like I endured last Tuesday.
It all started Monday evening. Instead of greeting me at the door with his normal two spins and a mild leap, my canine companion Maury stayed on the couch and simply raised an eyebrow in my direction. We had moved from Grand Rapids to Holland a few days before, and I wondered if he were expressing some sort of previously repressed doggie-angst towards me. But something else was wrong. He could hardly move. By the morning he lay on his bed and looked at me with a “You go on about your day and don’t mind me while my life slowly ebbs away” look that made me genuinely worried. Who among us can stomach animal suffering? Not I. Or is it “not me”?
Regardless of the grammar and of being new residents, we found a vet and were in his office when it opened that morning. “I wasn’t expecting that,” our new vet said while reading Maury’s temperature, and my first thought (which I wisely kept to myself) was, “Neither was Maury,” and my second thought (which I also kept to myself) was the old joke about the British doctor who was going to write a prescription and pulled a rectal thermometer out of his coat pocket. “Uh oh,” he said, “some bum’s got my pen.”
But I digress. Turns out Maury had a fever and some sort of infection that set up in his hind end parts that made walking and sitting next to impossible. He is now taking three pills regularly, which, our new vet demonstrated, he enjoys embedded in cat food. There’s just something about pork liver.
I won’t tell you how much this cost. Can you put a value on the life of a beloved pet? (Don’t answer that.) Moving is expensive, and then there are inevitably unforeseen things that pop up. One must always be ready to calmly deal with the unexpected.
Which is why I kept my composure that afternoon when my wife called and gently screamed into the phone, “The hot water heater has burst and there’s water flooding the basement!!!” I won’t bore you with the details – I mean who gives a rip about another’s plumbing issues (not I and not me) – but I will say that I feared I was turning into my father when the plumber arrived and I thought he looked 12 years old. I felt better about myself when my wife whispered, “Do you think it’s wise to trust our plumbing to a middle school student?”
Suffice it to say junior fixed the problem and then presented me with a bill the size of the Gross National Product of Uruguay. His bill made the vet’s office look like a thrift shop. I could have had a dog sled team treated for what the plumber charged.
But all is well now. Maury is better, we have hot water, the basement has dried out, and pitchers and catchers report soon. Life is good even though we hit a bump now and again. Previous generations couldn’t get their pets (or themselves, for that matter) cured by antibiotics and never had the luxury of hot water heaters. All is well, life is good and we’re lucky to be alive in this day and age. Who cares about a few hundred unexpected dollars being spent? It’s only money and I won’t miss it a few months from now. This luxuriant and generous attitude helped me not even care as I watched the plumber drive away and noticed that the garage door wouldn’t shut.