For our most recent soccer tournament, we decided to pack up the whole family and travel to Columbus, Ohio. Our hotel was located at Fort Rapids Waterpark, and that promised to be a type of fun that the younger kids could never have sitting at a soccer field for two solid days. But we barely made it out of our house, let alone to our destination.
We awoke Friday morning to discover that a water trough behind our house had a plugged drainpipe and was overflowing hundreds, if not thousands, of gallons of water into the yard. It was running through the yard into another drainage area, but not before it made our yard a swampy, muddy mess that is virtually unmowable.
So we dug a hole where the drainpipes converge to see if we could run a snake and unclog it. This hole, mind you, was about 4 feet by 4 feet and anywhere from 2 to 4 feet deep. I kept thinking while digging, “I really should be packing.” Especially when the hole revealed that the pipe was actually collapsed farther up in the yard and the digging was a fruitless endeavor.
Later, a regular customer called in need of some hay, and we were only beginning to unload when the clock struck the hour that we had been expecting to begin our road trip. We still had not packed, and we both needed showers, as well.
Another hour later – and once the car was finally loaded – we had one more mishap. We had decided to lock the dogs in the barn for the weekend where they would be safe from road traffic, have each other’s companionship and adequate shelter. We had an exorbitant amount of food and water prepared for them, and a friend coming by to check on their status each day.
We had no more than shut the barn door when our newest acquisition reappeared at our feet. He had jumped the half-wall in the barn and escaped. We again postponed our start time to gather some lumber and nails and increase the height of the walls of the pen.
We nailed boards horizontally about a foot apart all the way to the ceiling. Then we nailed boards vertically so that no opening was bigger than a foot wide at any point. We closed the door at the top of the stairs so he could not climb up and out. We shut the door outside the pen so he could not get out that way.
And then we finally left.
We arrived, we played, we swam, we ate. We had a great time on the first vacation we have taken together in two or three years. And then we drove home.
Our dog met us in the driveway. The claw marks in the boards we put up indicate that he used them like a ladder to climb up the wall. He then squeezed himself like a rat through a hole that is narrower than his body width and wiggled into the other side of the barn where he then crawled on his belly underneath the stone foundation to freedom.
He smugly grinned at us. We were too tired to say anything but “good dog.” Then we went up to the house and to bed.
Laura Zoeller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.