Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What about Jack?

It was a little over a month ago when I was asked to help cover the Storage Station of Greenwood Lake location for a co-worker who was planning a big vacation for his family.

Storage Station of Greenwood Lake is located at 1867 Greenwood Lake Turnpike, West Milford, NJ, 07480, directly across the street from South Shore Marina and just a few minutes from Union Valley Road and Macopin Road.  You can visit the main office during our business of 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday, and 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on Saturdays.  The office is closed on Sunday.  You can also call the main office at 973-846-4637 or visit our website at

When I was asked, I didn’t have any plans scheduled for that week and was willing to help out in any way I could.  Who wouldn’t?

I don’t remember the exact moment I forgot that I had volunteered myself for the 5 days I was to travel 25 miles each way to get to the Greenwood Lake facility.  It was probably a few minutes after I did it.  I was at my own site, Storage Station of Wayne, doing my own work.

West Milford, NJ Chamber of Commerce

Needless to say a few weeks later when I got the confirmation call that I was scheduled to begin my Greenwood Lake adventure on that Friday, Saturday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, I was caught off guard.  Monday is my scheduled day off and I had made plans.  Since I had forgotten about my covering the site, my first impulse was to renege for Monday.

After I thought about it a few minutes, I didn’t want to be the guy who would bail on my agreement, so I had to figure out what I was going to do.

I didn’t have a big trip planned or anything exciting to do.  I share custody of my English Bulldog, Jack, with an ex.  This was my weekend and he doesn’t appreciate when his Daddy leaves him alone.  He doesn’t appreciate it so much that when I absolutely have no choice but to leave him alone, I’m greeted upon my return with either gifts from him personally or a torn up pillow, chewed up chair leg… you get the picture.

I thought and thought about what I was going to do with Jack.  I couldn’t leave him alone for 9 hours and everyone I know has a job to get to on Monday.  I figured if worse came to worse I would bring him to the office with me.  Sounded like a plan! Nope!

It occurred to me that as the manager of the Storage Station of Greenwood Lake facility, I also have the added responsibility of managing the Storage Station of White Road facility as well.  I could only imagine me having to leave the office at Greenwood Lake to go to 11 White Road and what I would find upon my return.  I won’t go in to details, but I’m sure Jacks wrath would be immeasurable.

So… what to do?  I pulled a Scarlett O’Hara and figured I’d worry about it tomorrow.

I was excited to see Jack and go for our usual very early morning walks in the park.  We sit on the couch in the air conditioning, watching television and when he’s up for it, he’ll go grab a toy and shove it at me to play tug-of-war.  In the heat of the summer months, an English Bulldog can overheat very quickly if they’re outside too long.  Even just playing in the air conditioning, they run out of breath.  So we relax and that’s fine with me.

Before I knew it, it was Sunday morning and I had no more tomorrows left.  I didn’t panic though.  Maybe if he were to be alone all day, he’d be ok this time, I tried to convince myself.  I knew better of course.  If worse came to worse, I’d leave Jack alone and clean up my gifts and deal with the damage.

In the afternoon, I received a frantic call from Chuck, a friend of mine.  He thought he was having a stroke and his neighbor had just called 911 for him.  He was scared and asked me to come over.  I live close, so I grabbed Jack and we rushed over to his place.  The EMT’s were checking Chuck out and Jack started barking.  It was either the cat cowering under the sofa or he was wondering what those guys were doing to his buddy Chuck.

Chucks neighbor went in the ambulance with him to the hospital.  I stayed at Chucks, as per his request, to take care of the cat.  The cat that didn’t move from under the sofa for the rest of the afternoon, it was the easiest job ever.  Jack’s being there, right there, probably had a little to do with it.  I put the food and water bowl under the sofa, just in case.

It was a little over two hours later, I was waiting for a phone call to get caught up on Chucks condition, when there he was walking through the front door.   What happened, I asked.  As I looked at him I saw the right side of his face was droopy and his right eye was all watery.  He was told it wasn’t a stroke, he was told he had a case of Bell’s Palsy.  It’s a viral infection and the muscles in your face weaken and it appears like the symptoms of a stroke.  Chuck was told that the symptoms usually go away after a few days, maybe more, but to stay home a day or two to rest. Uh, thank you!

I know it sounds horrible and I am not proud of it, but after the obligatory, glad you’re ok, I was thinking to myself, how much time?  What is the respectable amount of time to pass for me to ask?  To release the cat from the bondage of under the sofa, I came right out with it.  Since he would be home anyway, I asked Chuck if he would watch Jack for me on Monday.  He knew Jack.

He loved Jack.  Did I mention he knew Jack?

He asked me what was he going to do with him if he had to go out.  I reminded him of the mandatory prescription of bed rest the doctor gave him.  He had no retort.  My smile was from ear to ear.  Not only did I get someone to watch Jack, it was someone who loved him as much as I do.

My work day passed on Monday and I picked up jack from Chucks on my way home.  We sat and chatted a bit.  He was feeling a lot better and less scared and he said Jack was no trouble.  But he said he hadn’t seen his cat for a while.

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