Mother Earth Helps with Clean up, Alarms Blare with No End in Sight and Let the Bucket List Fulfillment Begin
By Patty L. Fletcher
June 8, 2023
Yesterday, dawned in a state of gloom. The rain was cold and there was a knot of trepidation growing in my stomach. Though I told myself, I was just letting my imagination run away with me and that I spent too much time lost in my head, that feeling of foreboding simply wouldn’t leave.
Stepping into the shower, I turned the water on as hot as I could stand it. “I’m gonna wash those nasty feelings right out of my hair.” I sang in an upbeat voice, as the hot spray and steam began to loosen my tight muscles. Between the stress of dealing with my housing situation, which was suddenly harder in many ways to deal with than where I’d been living before, and the crappy mattress I slept on, my neck was wound up like a tightly coiled spring.
Standing there in the spray lathering the new shower jell I’d bought the day before over my body and through my hair, the fragrant scent wafting through the air I began to pray. “Mother Father God, the things wrong here, must be revealed. I know our apartment manager is dealing with some personal issues, and he’s a very likeable man but he’s not doing his job. It’s obvious he’s his favorites, you can tell that by who he talks with every day while he’s here and who he never so much as comes by to check on how they’re doing which ones those are. I don’t understand what changed. When we first moved here, he made his rounds every time he was in the place, going to every building and connecting with as many as he could along his way. He also made sure things were repaired in a timely manner and if someone filed a maintenance report, he always checked a few days later to see it had been done. Now, you only see him at certain places, and unless he must do so, he never comes to the first two buildings in the place. Nor am I the only one who has noted this, for I’ve heard others in both buildings make similar comments. ‘It’s as if we are forgotten.’ One elderly gent stated one afternoon, after I’d asked if he’d seen the manager that day. When I went walking to see if I could spot him asking other neighbors as I went, the answer was always the same. ‘If you want to see him, you’ll need to go to the other side of the complex, he’s always over there or at the top of the hill talking with the ladies or hanging out with his maintenance crew.’ Please, Mother Father God, all I want is to have a safe, affordable place to live. I’m tired of having to struggle. I only want to go in peace.”
Had I known what the day would bring, I’d have gotten on the bus, whether Blue liked it or not and headed for the furthest spot from this place I could find. The first thing to go wrong happened as I was readying to take Blue outside. He began licking his mouth and swallowing repeatedly. Knowing this meant he was about to throw up, I hurriedly buckled him into his harness, and began hustling him out the door. “Come on baby, let’s not throw up in here.” And even though it was evident he was sick, he obeyed me as I brought him quickly out the door and into the nearest patch of grass I could find. We made it and as he began to throw up whatever he’d eaten, which made him sick, a pulse of anger went through my head. “Those stupid people. Why do they need to throw out leftovers and other junk the birds don’t even need to eat? Try as I might, it is impossible to keep Blue from finding pieces of nasty meat and junk, it’s flipping everywhere.” I demanded of the air.
Finally, Blue had emptied his stomach and as I knelt to pet and praise him for being such a good boy, the chilly rain began to pick up and I said, “Come on boy, let’s go to park time.” Without further thought, we began quickly up the hill to his relief spot, and it was not until we arrived, and he quickly began to relieve, I realized I’d made a mistake. “Oh Gods! I forgot to grab a bag.” I moaned while hunkering down there with the rain pouring overtop my head. I stayed like that for a moment, my head down, Blue sitting patiently beside me waiting to finish relieving and then, inspiration struck. I began pulling hands full of grass up from the earth, saying, “I’m sorry, mother earth, please let me use some to clean up this mess.” Finally, I had enough to cover both the top and underside of the pile. Scooping it up into my hand, I carried it over to the tree and sitting it at the base I said, “As soon as you pee, we’re gonna run home, grab a bag, and bring it back to clean this up. Momma cannot complain about other’s not picking up if she’s not gonna do it herself.” Blue seemed to understand, because he quickly finished his business and once back in harness, which I’d had hung about my neck all this time, with no hesitation he led me back to the walk and quickly to our apartment.
Stepping inside I had a moment of panic, as I realized, not only had I forgotten a bag, but in my haste to get Blue out and off our floors, which had just been mopped the day before, I’d left the door wide open. “Gods, there best not be anyone in here. In the mood I’m in, they’re going to seriously regret it. Blue made no sign anything was amiss, so I quickly washed my hands, grabbed a bag from the closet and grabbing my dog ran back out the door, closing it firmly behind us as I went.
Soon we’d made our way back to the spot where I relieved Blue and with the help of my cane, which I’d grabbed on my way out the door, I found the mess, bagged it, and said, “OK Blue. Good boy, let’s head to the dumpster, throw this away and get a cup of coffee and your breakfast.”
Once we were home, breakfast for Blue and coffee for me were to hand I laughed and said, “You cannot make this stuff up. I’m going to blog about it. Nobody will believe it but I’m gonna do it anyhow.”
Had that been the only thing we dealt with on that day of hell, I’d have said it was a strange and rather dirty bout of business, written a funny post about it and gone on with my life unaffected.
Later in the morning, after I’d gone through the email, attended a morning ACB (American Council of the Blind) community call and eaten a bit of breakfast, I sat about doing the morning chores. But as I finished the dishes and began gathering the trash, the alarm in my apartment began to sound. “What the hell?” I wondered, as I quickly punched in the code to turn it off. “We’re not cooking.” I checked the stove and oven to be sure nothing had been left on then went through the entire apartment checking everything to make sure all was OK, then, thinking it was a fluke started back to my chores. Every time I stepped into the kitchen to bag the trash, the floor in front of the sink gave a bit under my feet, and the alarm would sound.
After several attempts to get it to stay off, I called my apartment manager, but he didn’t answer. After trying a couple of times and getting no response, with the alarm blaring again and Blue to the point of panic with the noise, I decided to try the main housing authority office. Just as I reached for my phone to do this, I got a text from our manager, “Out of office today.” I went outside, called the main office but just as I began to tell the lady my trouble a maintenance man came walking up saying, “I was close by.” I supposed he’d been working in the complex somewhere and had heard the alarm and so I told him what had happened. He went in, turned off the alarm and after flipping the pull cord switch which had been somehow activated by my bed he asked, “Do you think maybe Blue pulled it?” “No, he was up here with me. Blue doesn’t mess with that stuff. Maybe one of the pillows fell off the bed, when the floor shifted when I walked.” He changed the subject immediately, which is always the case when I mention my flooring and laughing, he said, “You don’t have a ghost running round in here do you?” I let the subject drop, and he went on his way but two minutes later the alarm was blaring again.
When I opened the door to let my neighbor know I was OK, Blue, who was in full panic mode by this time, disobeying the rest command I’d given him, ran out the door. As the pitiful thing started for the parking lot and God knows where, Lee my neighbor I’d been talking to said in an upbeat voice, I could not manage, “Blue, come. Come here to me.” And just like that Blue turned around and came barreling back up the walk and into Lee’s arms.
“Oh Gods!” I said, “Thanks. I know better than to get upset and let him know it but I’m…” “Just about at the end of your rope?” Lee finished. “Yes, I cannot make it go off and stay off and the maintenance guy left.’”
For the next hour and a half, I tried to reach housing, maintenance, or someone but all I got was argumentative texts from my apartment manager who denied there was anything wrong with my flooring and insisted maintenance was coming. The problem which had begun just before noon, was finally stopped when the maintenance man returned at 1:45 PM and disabled the alarm. As he was readying to leave, I said, “We have to have some sort of smoke alarm.” To which the maintenance grunted in reply. Finally, a regular smoke detector was put up and at just after 2 PM Blue and I were able to return to our home. Though blue was at first fearful of entering, I coaxed him inside, and began trying to return the day to some sort of normalcy.
Later in the afternoon, my dad, who had been planning to visit having gotten all clear from me, came over and this helped me and Blue calm down even more.
I’m Hopeful, things will remain calm today, because I’ve a wonderful event happening this afternoon. One of the things on my bucket list is to interview some of my favorite bestselling authors, and today, at 1 PM eastern, I will begin fulfilling that dream. If it’s one thing I’ve learned over these many
years of struggles I’ve endured it is that we must hold onto the good things which come our way during trial and strife and if all goes as planned, today I’m going to grab hold of this good thing with all my might.
Thanks for reading and please see below if you’d like to attend our Free to Be Me call today to meet USA Today, Bestselling author, Brett Battles.
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This week, Free to Be Me presents Brett Battles, a USA Today bestselling author to talk about his books, writing and more.
About Brett Battles.
Bestselling author Brett Battles is that kid back in 6th grade who convinces his teacher that, as an assignment, everyone should write a short story that is at least 10 pages long. He received an A- on his project, while another student (name withheld) received an A+. Brett’s not bitter about this, nor does he ever think about the incident. Mostly.
Since that unfortunate injustice, Brett has written over forty novels, a few novellas, and several short stories, and is a USA Today bestselling author.
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