Anyone in the parking lot saw me charge into our local pet supply store like a heat-seeking missile on a mission. In less than 2-minutes, I locked on my objective. Bacon treats. That’s right. Bacon treats. Our dogs loved them beyond measure.
There are usually advantages to being tall so seeing them high on the top shelf wasn’t usually an obstacle. But not this time. Had they hired Shaquille O’Neal or was the normal stock guy using a ladder to mess with me? Really?
I had to really stretch, but no-go. Now on the tips of my toes, I strained to stretch out just another inch or two, almost there…
A little earlier we had spent a good part of the afternoon out in the yard playing with the dogs; sweaty business on a hot summer day in Chicago but it had been a great day up to that point. Barefoot, my favorite pair of short pants and a ball cap. Add a hose, the dogs and a frisbee…perfect.
Coming back into the house, both dogs assumed their sitting positions while I reached into the cupboard for their customary treat. “Wanna cookie?”
What I found was an empty bag. No bacon strips!
Unaware of the klaxon going off in my head, Jake and Basia eagerly sat there waiting for the what comes next. But after a minute or two, both started fidgeting, heads cocking to one side, their eyes saying, “Huh, what gives? You know what is supposed to be happening right about now, right?”
Four legs good. Two legs, not so much.
In a spur-of-the-moment decision, I threw on a shirt, jumped into my deck shoes and grabbed the keys. No sirens or flashing lights, but make no mistake, ‘the kids’ mattered and as any pet owner knows, you make deals with them. “We gotta go.”
Back to our story already in progress…now up on the tips of my toes, I struggled to stretch even further…just another inch or two more…almost, gotcha! Nope.
As the bagged bacon fell towards the floor, so did my shorts. Seems in my quest for comfort, I had skipped the whole belt thing while my stretching did the rest.
Without adding to the picture now scorched in your mind’s eye, the bagged bacon wasn’t falling nearly as fast as I was racing to pull up my pants.
I’d like to say there was a spontaneous round of applause from the shoppers around me, but sadly, no. Now up front paying for my bacon, more than a few folks averted their eyes, smiling that it was me and not them. “I remember you. You were that guy”.
In that moment, a permanent entry was made in the family journal of funny stories told to embarrass me at any High Holiday. So ensconced is the incident with Rick and the relatives, it’s been tagged with its own shorthand – the ‘Pet’s Mart Moment’ – and everyone starts laughing.
Don’t know why I was remembering the whole incident this morning, but as the footage rolled in my mind’s eye, another thought snapped me like a towel in gym class.
The lowly belt loops are the belts’ belt. Without a belt running through them, what use are the belt loops? Conversely, what’s the point of wearing a belt if you don’t have loops? But put them together and they both find their purpose at the points of intersection between them. Pants stay where they should. Wow! This kind of aha-moment is why I make the big bucks around here.
Belts don’t just stop around our waists. They’ve been used to transfer power from one place to another. Wind mills, water wheels and my principal in elementary school…they all relied on the lowly belt to get the job done. So does our Dirt Devil.
Besides bacon, the other thing you can count on with dogs is they shed. In the summer, it seems there is even more of it, lots of it. Not being Amish and with no need to turn the fur into sweaters, I’d pull out our bagless vac with its headlight and multiple floor settings, getting busy while the dogs ran for cover. Shed be gone!
Our Diablo de la suciedad has performed nobly over the years
But in the last few months, I’ve begun to suspect she might be getting old. Same machine, but I found myself working a lot harder, going over same spots over and again before the carpet stands up like it should. The handy dirt cup still collected product, but it’s been taking a lot longer to get the same result. Maybe she was losing suction or at least that’s what I thought just before I gave myself a hickey putting the vacs’ hose up to my neck. Nope, that’s not it.
Second epiphany! Maybe the beating roller wasn’t up to snuff. We need new belts!
No easy task to find replacement anythings on an older model of anything, but Ace Hardware rarely disappoints. Faster than you could say ‘Jack Spratt vacs’, I was home again with the two #9 belts we hoped would revive the old girl.
Third epiphany! If you still have them, read the instructions first. If you don’t, Plan B is to find the manual on-line and read the instructions. But of course, in fine male tradition we did neither. Being the mechanical engineer between the two of us, Rick took it upon himself to break out the tools and begin the process of disassembling the sweeper, spreading its’ parts and pieces all around him like Johnny Five after a hard night of drinking.
It was a valiant struggle. The new belts were as strong as the inside parts were old and dirty. So while he grunted and pulled, I held the flashlight over the work site, trying my best to offer moral support in the absence of any useful working knowledge on the subject. It was probably a good 20-minutes later, when we both saw the ‘replacing belts’ diagram impressed in the side of the plastic panel now laying face up on the living room floor.
“Oh, that makes sense”.
Zip, zip, zoom. The belts slipped into their places and the whole thing came back together with no left over pieces. Always a solid win!
Now it was my turn. I plugged her in, flipped the switch and went for a test drive. OMG! The difference was remarkable. Carpet knap was standing up on the first pass…the dirt cup was filling nicely and the little red light that tells you you’re still sucking dirt was turning to green faster than the Chicago River this weekend.
Belts and loops. It has since occurred to me that many of the behaviors I’ve wrestled with in my quest to constantly reacquaint myself with me have a looping quality to them as well. Ever ask yourself why the same old problems keep popping up again and again? Simple answer. For me, it has become a sign of not having honestly dealt with them in the first place. So what happens? They keep coming back until I do. A remarkable quality assurance mechanism if you think about it, but so maddening before it dawns on you what’s really going on.
Rolling connections. Moving power from one place to another. Now it seems so simple if it weren’t for all the work that went into figuring it out to begin with. But I have (and I do – every day). If I’m lucky, I’ll get to continue figuring out what makes me tick till the day after I die when all will be made plain.
Be of good faith, Pilgrim. If I can figure out how belts loop me back to where I need to be, I’m thinking you can too. If you don’t, you run the risk of joining me with your pants down around your ankles as the security guy up in the video booth says to the other, “Hey, you’ve got to see this…”
Be well. Be you and love when you don’t think you can.
Back in grade school, the head cook was Mrs. Lueth. Every time she looked up from the serving line and saw me, she’d break out and sing a few lines of “Oh Danny Boy” as she slipped me an extra snicker doodle. With a nod to St. Patrick, I leave you this week with an amazing rendition of the same from pianist Keith Jarret.
Mrs. Leuth, you may be gone, but I love you still.
Your Danny Boy
“Danny Boy” performed by Keith Jarrett at the “Tokyo Solo” Concert (October 30, 2002 at Metropolitan Festival Hall)
(September 13, 1956 – March 10, 2017)
Joni Sledge, the singer best-known for the disco anthem We Are Family, has died aged 60.
“Sledge, who formed Sister Sledge with her three siblings in 1971, was found unresponsive by a friend at her home in Phoenix, Arizona, her publicist said.
She had not been ill and the cause of death is unknown.
Sledge, who is survived by her adult son, last performed with the band in October.
Her death was announced on social media on Saturday – a week before the group were due to perform in Los Angeles.
“Yesterday, numbness fell upon our family,” a statement released on Facebook read. “We are saddened to inform you that our dear sister, mother, aunt, niece and cousin, Joni passed away yesterday.” It added: “We miss her and hurt for her presence, her radiance, and the sincerity with which she loved and embraced life.”
Aside from the Grammy-nominated We Are Family, the hit which sold more than a million copies after it was released in 1978, the group were also known for He’s the Greatest Dancer, Lost in Music and a cover of the Motown classic My Guy.
They sang We Are Family for Pope Francis in 2015.
The Sledge sisters came from a family of performers, including an actress mother, a Broadway star for a father and an opera singer for a grandmother.
They performed together from a young age, leading Sledge to note “I can’t remember not singing” during an interview with the BBC in 2015.
However, the four have not stayed together throughout their careers. Instead, the band became a trio after sister Kathy left the band in 1989.”
Sources: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39246958 and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sister_Sledge. PIC: https://a2-images.myspacecdn.com/images04/7/7fe07cb745bb4304858592683e8c95f0/300×300.jpg
And now to what has become an anthem for so many…presenting Sister Sledge and “We Are Family”. Yes Ms. Sledge, yes we are.
Banner Coastal Redwood Forest by Eric E Photography is used with permission.
Border Collie playing with hose: Saved from Modern Dog Magazine as seen on Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/jesseroberts1/animals-are/; Collies (Source): http://custom-car.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/border-collie-australian-shepherd-mix-507.jpg; Boy and his belt driven tools: http://blacksmithandmachineshop.com/images/2Belt-Drive-antique-old-vintage-lathe-mill-milling-drill-press-filing-boy-apprentice-German-Machine-Shop-1920-s-from-a-postcard-going-home-to-Romania.jpg; James Brown and the Vacuum Cleaner Museum: http://www.coolthings.com/vacuum-cleaner-museum-showcases-120-vintage-and-classic-dust-sucking-home-appliances/; Belts and Loops: http://onceuponabelt.com/belts-and-buckles-interchangeable/keeper-belt-loop-30mm.html
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