I have a wonderful new lady who helps me clean the house. She’s a good friend who went to high school with me and she does an excellent job of cleaning Casa Crisona. However, she has a large fear of dogs, especially big ones, so I lock Mason, the Doberman, and Jessie, the Sheltie, in the pet room every time she comes. For the sake of anonymity I shall call my friend Susie Q.
The last time (and it may very well be the last time) Susie Q came to clean I had locked the dogs up as usual. Now, Mason has learned to open doors by twisting the doorknobs or flicking them with his nose. The door to the pet room is a pocket door, one I was sure he could never figure out. I had to go to Huntsville that morning with my sister to find some things for our father for Father’s Day. I told Susie Q that she could just lock up when she was finished. I felt secure that Susie Q was safe from the dogs; although my dogs are not vicious I still did not want ninety-five pounds of Doberman causing Susie to faint.
We left and made it to the south end of Huntsville when my cell phone rang. Susie Q was calling. I thought maybe she needed some cleaning supply or something so when I answered the phone and heard hysterical screaming I nearly rammed my car into the car in front of me. Now, Susie Q is a Southerner, born and bred, and her accent is rather thick, hard to understand when she’s calm, impossible when she’s screaming. All I got out of her was “Do you know your dog, the Doberman?” Well, I wanted to ask sarcastically, of course, he’s my dog. But I could sense this question had a deeper meaning. I said yes. Susie Q proceeded to tell me that he had escaped and she was hiding in the study. She held the phone out to allow me hear some pretty awful snarling and growling.
Gee, was that Mason? I asked. Yessss, she screamed, telling me that I had to come home right now to rescue her. I heard pounding which meant Mason was launching himself at the door. As calmly as I could, I told her that I was at least forty-five minutes from home. That did nothing to settle her nerves. Susie Q insisted that someone had to come and get her RIGHT NOW. Mason is a good boy, never bit anyone, so I told her to crack the door and talk to him nicely. She did and all I could hear was ferocious barking and a blood-curdling scream. My first reaction was to tell her to close the door and lock it (Mason can and will open doors).
My sister, ever perceptive, had picked up on the dilemma and she suggested that her boyfriend could come to the house and let Mason out. Her boyfriend is well loved by the dog and has always minded him. Good plan, I told her, call your guy. But how was he going to get in? The hidden key! I told her to call him and tell him where I hid the key that I constantly needed because I am always locking myself out of the house.
Sis called her boyfriend, only to discover he was on a conference Skype with his big bosses in California, some top-secret stuff. Being the kind of nice guy that he is, her boyfriend talked to her while his bosses listened. Everyone was wondering if the dog was going to kill Susie Q and how was the boyfriend ever going to get the dog out. After a round-table discussion, it was decided that the boyfriend needed to go rescue the housekeeper, security secrets could wait.
Great, now we had a rescuer. All I could do was pull over and talk to Susie Q to keep her calm. My sis talked her boyfriend through the intricate hiding place of the key, the top shelf on the left side of the green house (one wonders sometimes…). Finally he had the key. All this time, while talking to Susie Q, I could hear Mason barking, going wild and not sounding like the lovable doofus that he is. Horrible thoughts of him eating boyfriend’s face crossed my mind (I am sure my sis would not appreciate that). I urged caution to the boyfriend – open the door slowly and call Mason. It worked! Mason bounded out the back door, jumping and excited to see the boyfriend.
Whew! I told Susie Q that the boyfriend was walking the dog to calm him down and for her to stay put. Did she listen? NOOOO! She headed out of the study immediately only to run into boyfriend coming in the back hall with Mason. Susie vaulted back to the study, slammed the door and commenced screaming at me. Sis told boyfriend to lock Mason in the master bath, then lock the master bedroom door. Surely two layers of defense would protect Susie! Boyfriend proudly reported “Mission Accomplished!” and rescued Susie from the study.
Exhausted and unable to think I heaved a sigh of relief, now wondering if I was, again, in the market for a housekeeper. The only thing Susie Q could say was she needed to finish the floors. I asked if she was going to quit and she said, why no, all she needed to do was get to know Mason better. Go figure: one minute she’s terrified and the next she’s planning a meet and greet session with the dog. I hung up the phone and told my sister – “Rednecks, you gotta love ‘em!”
Have you ever had to handle a catastrophe over the phone? Giving simple orders can become monumental when you aren’t there to direct. Tell us about your experiences!