Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Bucket List

The title of this post was inspired by the 2007 movie of the same name. When the movie came out, a lot of people posted their "bucket lists" (things to do before they kick the bucket), and I gave some thought to what would be on my list. So what did I come up with? Absolutely nothing. Nada. Zip.

There are plenty of things I haven't done that I'd enjoy doing, but I can't think of a single thing I need to experience in order to feel that my life is complete. On the one hand, that realization fills me with a sense of contentment. On the other hand, it makes me think I must have a pitiful imagination.

At any rate, this post isn't even about that kind of bucket list. This is nothing more than three separate, unrelated entries that I've bundled together because of their references to buckets.

P is for bucket
My little brother recently turned fifty, but I have a clear memory of an incident that happened when he was only three years old. He was playing with his chalkboard, studying the brightly painted items that decorated its frame. The name of each item was printed in large letters below its picture, and my brother knew his alphabet by then. I remember the look of concentration on his face as he pointed his tiny forefinger at each letter, said the letter aloud, and then said the name of the item.

Forty-seven years later I can remember only one of the items pictured on the chalkboard, and that one only because my brother's reading of it charms me to this day:

"P-A-I-L...bucket."

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Pails, in comparison
In the mid-1990s I attended a work-related seminar that energized me. Driving back to the office with a co-worker, I spoke excitedly about all the ideas the seminar had generated and how they could be implemented in our workplace. To my surprise, she disagreed. She said she'd found the seminar boring and most of the ideas "too much trouble" to try.

At that particular time the company's management was focused on helping the employees be the best they could be so they could deliver the best possible service to the customers. Since I believed the seminar had provided some ideas that would help to further management's goals, I expressed my frustrations in confidence to our psychological consultant.

"How can two people sit in the same room, hear exactly the same things, participate in the same exercises, and perceive the experience entirely differently?" I asked. "I just don't understand it."

"It's really very simple," the consultant replied. "Let's say the two of you go to the river to get water. You take a five-gallon bucket, and she takes a three-gallon bucket. If you expect that both of you will come back with the same amount of water, you've set yourself up for disappointment."

Ever since then, when I'm feeling frustrated, I stop, take a deep breath, and mentally measure the size of the other person's bucket. I hope this little tip will be as helpful to you as it's been to me.

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Buckethead


That's my most recent term of endearment for Butch, though I certainly mean him no disrespect.

After a weekend of pain and misery, he's now doing great! Monday at lunchtime was the first time he looked perky since his surgery last Friday, and he's been full of doggy energy ever since.

He's still on antibiotics and pain meds, and he still requires some special care. The grapefruit-sized, shaved area on his rump has to be wiped gently to keep his stitches from getting infected, but both of us seem to be tolerating that procedure fairly well. His plumbing works correctly most of the time. Twice I've found pairs of lima-bean-sized "droppings" that seem to have escaped his body when he wasn't paying attention. He didn't acknowledge ownership of them, so I'm hoping those were anomalies and not signs of the future.

I must say that the two days of constant belly rubs may have spoiled him a little bit. He no longer whines in pain, but he's now incorporating the whine into his bag of tricks for getting me to give him what he wants. He stands at my knee with a wagging tail and an expression of expectation on his face and waits for me to guess what he wants. If I say the right word, he barks excitedly. If I don't say the right word soon enough to suit him, he begins to whine.

The "bucket" on his head seems to interfere with his hearing and/or the sensitivity of his nose, two senses he relies on because of his blindness. As a result, he crashes into things more often than usual, and sleep is reserved for chunks of time in between the screeching sounds of plastic scraping against furniture.

I'm guessing that his temporary hearing and smelling disabilities are also responsible for his sudden inclination to walk so closely behind me that the top and bottom edges of his "bucket" hit me repeatedly in the thighs and calves. We'll both be glad to get rid of that thing when his stitches come out next week.

If you've read this far, then you already know that Butch isn't the only one around here who whines occasionally. Now that I've noticed I'm doing that, it's time to adjust my attitude and switch my focus to how much I love Butch and Kadi and how grateful I am that Butch is recovering so well.

And, since Butch has now finished his nap and has head-banged his way over to the computer to let me know he's up and around, I'll stop writing for now and get us all a treat. Who knows? Maybe I'll even let him beat the living daylights out of the backs of my legs for a while, just to show him how much I care.

7 comments:

  1. I'm so glad he's doing so well. He's also smart enough to know how to "work" you. LOL. Don't you just love them? I can't imagine my life without my pet. She's only 17 lbs. but manages to hog most of the bed.

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  2. Great post Velvet. I've thought quite a bit about my bucket list since that movie and while I would love to see Iguazu Falls one more time... eh... it I've seen 'em once. No biggie.

    Your brother's story is really charming and yes, measuring the size of other's pails will prove helpful.

    Now on to Butch's supposed droppings... was Lucy there???

    Give your babies some tummy time for me!

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  3. Oh, good! an update! I'm so happy that Butch is better, and like you, I'd gladly have bruises and scratches on the backs of my legs. Give him a hug and kiss from me!

    That 5-gallon, 3-gallon bucket thing is giving me something to ponder, chief of which is whether I'd be able to haul five gallons of water a couple of feet, much less back to the homestead. I find even a gallon of water kind of heavy.

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  4. I just love the way you write

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  5. I've experience the Buckethead syndrome too... not personally, you understand, but Sheba the Husky and later on Wendy the Golden retriever both had surgery that required a bucket. I think we were all glad when it was no longer required!

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  6. Love that Butch boy and so glad he is getting well! I hope you don't mind but I tagged you for a pretty easy MeMe...Carmon

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  7. Val, I often wonder whether we train our pets or they train us. I think it's a little of each.

    CreekHiker, Lucy wasn't there to blame for these little indiscretions. Since writing this post, it actually happened a third time. This time the tiny turdlet stuck to Butch's behind, causing him to run to me (while maintaining a squatting position), throw himself on the floor at my feet, roll onto his back and throw open his legs in an urgent appeal for help -- quickly, please.

    Janet, since the 5-gallon and 3-gallon buckets are filled with imaginary water, let's pour out that water and fill them instead with imaginary lightweight, styrofoam packing peanuts. Now you can fill your 5-gallon bucket to the brim and carry it easily.

    4th Sister, thanks for your words of encouragement. You make me feel like doing it some more.

    Ex-Shammickite, I'm thinking I'll keep Butch's bucket when he no longer needs it. I'll cut a little window to see out of, then invert the bucket over my own head for those times when I have to be someplace but don't really feel like interacting. Ya think it might work?

    Carmon, I don't mind at all that you tagged me, but it wasn't as easy as you thought it might be. That's MY problem, though, not yours.

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