I have been cleaning house lately. Part winter nesting, part kids sick and home from school so plenty of time to spare, part getting tired of chaos on one particular kitchen counter that seems to be a junk/trinket/paper magnet. It started several weeks ago and it is still in full swing.
Honestly, I get so into it at times that I think the girls are starting to worry that in a fit of organization, I am going to accidentally box them up and drop them off at Goodwill.
Anyways, poor Riley has been the one to really be stuck watching the flurry of activity. Part of me has thought that teaching him how to take items and put them in their proper bins (donation, recycle, girls’ pile, Country Boy’s) would have been helpful. I just don’t know that the dog slobber permanently embedded in let’s say, the favorite blanket, would’ve been appreciated by everyone. Oh well.
Riley has been great at being a sounding board for me when it comes to deciding what to do with some of this stuff. “Should I keep this sweater that I got in 1994?” Downward glance, droopy ears = “No, you really should have donated that back in 1996. We’ve all really hoped that you would only wear it to work in the barn…under a big coat….on a day when we’re all back in the house.”
His honesty is refreshing at times, like getting snow down your boot when you accidentally park the van too close to a snow pile at the grocery store.
We talk a lot during my scurrying. Well, I talk. He mainly gazes at me with either a look that says, “You realize I am a dog, right?” or one that says, “Enough of this business, I have a ball I need to fetch, a tree I need to mark, and some cat backside to sniff.” (Let’s just say that Nala isn’t too happy about that last part.)
But there are those times where he really seems to be a part of my conversation. For example, when I found a book that had a poem I wrote several years ago in it, he seemed really pleased to listen to it:
The Daily Special by me
Laying in bed, planning out the day
“Today I will be the Chef, not the entre,” I think
Tasks and ideas lined up and packaged neatly like noodles in a box of spaghetti
Each thought separate, each goal clearly defined
Girls awake. Someone’s grumpy – the pot fills with water
“Hurry before the bus comes! Don’t forget your lunch!” – the fire is lit
Off to drop one more, then on to work, each moment wondering what was forgotten
The pot of water begins to boil and my plans, my day, are plunged into the turbulent waters
Thoughts no longer clear, I am pulled and pushed by the endless needs of others
Until – finally – the bedtime hour nears and I heap myself on to the silver platter of my pillows
Resigned to be the entre yet again
Hopeful to be the Chef tomorrow
Riley seemed to really like that one. Maybe it was because he appreciates my writing. Maybe it was because he heard food and he thought he’d get a treat at some point when I was done rambling. In any case, we really seemed to bond over that one. I went to bed feeling happy.
In the days that followed, Riley has snatched Maddie’s toast, gone after a waffle, licked the yogurt container, put the plastic duck Zoe was wearing on a lanyard in his mouth, and follows me around the kitchen constantly. He also will now sit and watch the girls eat, staring at each bite as it goes from plate to mouth.
Apparently, my poem triggered something in him, just not what I wanted. I have somehow triggered a food-crazy response in Riley that can not be stopped. Who knew that poetry could be so powerful?
So just be forewarned that, should you come over to the farm, you may be impressed with how much more organized everything looks but please make sure you remember to do a full body block on any food you want to eat.
Chef Riley is in the house.