The turtle I ran over. This is what he looked like when I went back to check on him.
Pour the wine and settle in, sports fans, because this is going to be a good one:
I’ve been waiting all day to grill this little piece of strip steak I’ve been saving for my dinner. It’s so small it’s only enough for one person, so I’ve been waiting for a night when I’m alone for dinner. So I take it out of the freezer this morning, put it in the fridge to thaw, and at about 5 PM set it on the counter to get ready to cook.
I go out to let Bandit out, and come in to find … yup, Bailey had eaten it. Dammit. So I get dressed and go to Wegmans to get another steak, because now I’m so enraptured by the thought of steak that nothing else is going to satisfy me.
On the way home, I run over a turtle on Fairport Road. Squash, crunch, right under my tires. Who knew there were turtles on Fairport Road?? At rush hour? I mean, I think it was sitting still and then started moving, because I can’t think of any reason why I’d see it at the very last minute. Good grief! I’m completely freaked out when I look in my rearview mirror and see him on his back, legs waving in the air, helpless.
Dammit. So I go to the next street, turn around, and go back. Yup, there he is, but now he’s all tucked inside what looks like a squished shell, rocking gently as the cars whiz by. I think he’s dead, but I can’t leave it in the middle of the four lane thoroughfare to get run over again and again. So I look for oncoming cars, then make my way out into the lane with a towel and gently scoop the turtle up and put it in the jeep before either one of us gets hit in traffic. What I’m going to do with the turtle, not sure.
I get home, take the turtle out and lie it on the grass while I figure out what to do with it. Then I open the door to go inside the house, arms loaded with grocery bags, only to find …
… the dogs are loose. Together! Standing at the top of the stairs! Barking at me! OMG!
(Let me interrupt the story: For those of you not familiar with my dog situation, imagine one very reactive dog + one high strung border collie + a desire on the part of both dogs to occupy the same space at the same time = severe, bloody fights and a need for constant separation. Back to our story …)
I try not to freak out, and when I open the door they both rush at me in what would normally be a precurser to a fight, both dogs at mach emotional level and trying to occupy the same space in the foyer. Instead, with Bandit almost on top of Bailey at the screen door and tails awagging, they look at me and I say, “What are you two monkeys doing out together? OK, Bailey, outside …”
Like trained movie dogs, Bailey quietly goes outside, Bandit goes to the top of the stairs to wait his turn.
No problem at all. Seriously.
Then I check for blood, damage to the house, any sign they’ve been fighting (other than the fact they’re both soaking wet from spit and tipped water bowls) or any clue as to how they bypassed the gates/doors. Nothing. No sign they’ve been romping, chasing, rough housing on the beds. The water bowls have been pawed at and clearly both dogs have had their fill (and been busy at something). But otherwise … they were good dogs. Very good dogs.
Apparently my consistant routine coming into the house clearly paid off in this case. Even though they both were very, very excited that I was home, they went through the routine like little dogbots. Bailey outside first, Bandit waits in the foyer.
Anyway, I call darling husband to tell him about it all – the steak, the turtle, the dogs – and get the expected response: he’s so glad the dogs didn’t fight, but even through the phone I know he’s rolling his eyes that I would bring home a dead turtle. I also get the reassurance that despite the fact I’m notorious for running over strange critters (I once plowed over an owl that was sitting in the road) I am still loved.
I explain to darling husband that even if the turtle is dead, the shell is quite pretty, so why can’t I just put it in the garden? He explains that dead turtles stink. I ask, Can’t he just gut it, like he guts a deer? He sighs and tells me there’s probably something on the internet about gutting a turtle. I explain to him that it doesn’t really matter what he does with it. I usually kill ‘em and he usually disposes of the bodies. (Dead bunnies, headless birds, sick chickens, the owl …) We’re a team that way.
For the record, I haven’t slept more than a couple of hours at a time in over a week, and even then it’s really more napping than sleeping. I’m exhausted. It’s entirely possible that I forgot to close the door and actually left the dogs loose. Or at the very least didn’t check the door, which tends to stick and can be pushed open very easily. I usually double and triple check everything but not today.
And it might explain why I left the steak out where Bailey could get it in the first place, starting this whole chain of events. I can barely remember what I’m doing right now.
As for the turtle, I’m always emotional over the death of an animal, especially if it’s my fault. But in my defense …
The turtle is back from the dead! He crawled into the garden where I found him munching on some violet leaves. This morning, he was gone. Hopefully using the crosswalk this time.
… the turtle is alive! I put him in the grass and he’s meandered into the foliage, where, if he’s smart, he’ll make a home. It’s much safer than the middle of the highway.
So I’ll go to drink my wine and eat my steak and hopefully get a night’s sleep free from dreams about turtle murder.