Little Girls, Little Dogs, and One Old Cat

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Finally…this crazy week is over.  The past couple of days have been a whirlwind of activity.  Working with the consultants and conducting public meetings, hosting a concert last night, responding to phone calls and emails.  It was a busy, but productive week.  I enjoyed working with my friend.  His assistance as a meeting facilitator was invaluable, and we were able to accomplish more than I had hoped.  I’m excited for the next phase of this project and many of the potential pitfalls and road blocks I had anticipated were never encountered.  Not yet, anyway.  This is a good project.  What was initially an economic development initiative has blossomed into a community development project.

I haven’t known whether I was coming or going these past several days.  It felt like I was  making guest appearances at my home.  I dashed home for an hour or so each afternoon between meetings and the events in the evening to spend time with the family.  Without fail, I was greeted each day by Lola and her pack of friends.  Our yard has become the designated summer hang-out.  It’s quite a sight to see driving up the street.  Five or six little girls between the ages of 6 and 9 all dressed in brightly colored summer clothes (they all seem to like skirts and dresses in LOUD COLORS!)  There are usually piles and piles of stuffed animals lined up on the front porch, along with an assortment of baskets and a wagon or two used to haul around their fuzzy pastel zoo.  The funniest thing, though, besides the animated activities of the little girls, are the pets that accompany them.

Right in the thick of the action are little dogs and our old cat, Pepper, all on leashes.  There is a little white chihuahua, a furry little gray dog, and a little brown dog.  None of the dogs are any bigger than the stuffed animals that these little girls haul around.  All of them are on leashes, but none would rather be anywhere but right in the middle of all this girl action.  Most of the time, the dogs don’t even have a girl hanging onto their leash.  They happily stay near the girls.  Their little dog faces beaming with doggy smiles.  The only sourpuss in the group is our old cat, Pepper.  He suffers the indignity of wearing a harness and being hindered by a leash with a look of disgust.

We have an old horse trough in the garage that was once used to ice down beverages for a long-ago work event.  Tonight, the girls drug it out of the garage and filled it up with water and soap suds.  Girls and dogs all squeezed into the tiny space and splashed around until dark.  Lucky for Pepper that he still has his claws.  Lola was smart enough to know there are some indignities that Pepper refuses suffer for her!

As always, coming home means an abrupt shift in gears.  If I am tired or stressed or depressed or want nothing more than to plop down on the couch, it doesn’t matter.  Duty calls.  I need to attend to dinner and laundry, and where are the beach towels?  Can Chloe and Ellie stay for dinner?  The two big kids want attention, too.  They want to chat at the end of the day before heading out for the evening with their friends.  T and I catch each other’s eyes over the activity that swirls around us and give each other looks filled with wonder and amazement.  Where did they all come from???

We carve out time and peace and quiet where we can.  Tonight we popped a pizza in the oven for the girls, and threw a couple of steaks on the grill for us.  We situated the pack of girls with their pizza on the patio and snuck inside for a quiet dinner for two.  🙂

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