Why I’m sad my neighbors are moving.

My Guy is a jock. He loves, loves, loves sports, and he loves, loves, loves kids. So, he’s helping a buddy coach his kindergartner’s baseball team. I think they mostly practice listening and being where you’re supposed to be. The rest is just gravy.

Getting to the practices is a challenge for My Guy, as they start at 6 and are about 20 minutes from our house. So, on practice nights, he’ll come rushing home from work, change his clothes, and be out the door in a flash.

And so it was one recent evening. I was playing with the dogs in the backyard, and My Guy stuck his head out the back door. “Hi and bye!” he called.

The dogs and I walked to the part of the backyard by the driveway to wave (me) and watch him go (the dogs). But while we were standing there, I realized that The One True Ball was on the other side of the picket fence. See, the dogs have an uber-favorite ball. And they also believe that when people are walking down the street, these people would stop and play ball if only The One True Ball were available. So, the dogs push the ball under the fence and hope for the best.

I waved to My Guy and made a grab for the ball. I stuck my arm through the fence.

As I watched my husband drive off, I realized that my arm was stuck in the fence.

About half a second after I realized my arm was stuck, I also realized that I am a complete dumbass.

And about half a second after that, all 4 dogs crowded around me, wanting The One True Ball.

I threw the ball. The dogs ran off. I wiggled my arm. The dogs came back, all hot and panting and wanting me to throw the ball again. I realized that it was about 85 degrees out and I was face-to-face with panty, dirty, One-True-Ball-obsessed canines.

I got hot. I vacillated between thinking I could just crouch there for 2 hours until My Guy came home, or I could melt and die right there. I moved my arm all around. I realized for the first time ever that my elbows must be really fat.

“Can I pet your dog?”

A little neighbor girl was suddenly standing by the fence, and I inwardly applauded my lack of profanity-riddled tirade. I tried to act calm as the 4-year-old twins from next door suddenly appeared as well.

“I did something so silly,” I said. “I got my arm stuck. Wasn’t that silly? Anna, can you go get your mom?”

Three little faces looked at me in terror and amazement. Anna ran off. I felt like a zoo animal, and the dogs kept bringing me their damned One True Ball.

The little neighbor girl tried to hold my sleeve to see if I could pull my arm out of my little jacket thing, but she held it with about zero force. My request to see if she could step inside the open garage and grab the hammer I knew was right there was met with similar demurity.

Anna came back with no mommy. “Anna, did you go tell your mom?”

She wavered. “Umm … Josh is gonna go get her.”

Great. Her brother was gone, I was melting, and the dogs still thought this was the best game of fetch evvvvver.

So, I crouched next to the fence, and these little girls just stood and stared at me, and the dogs kept panting on me, and I kept throwing the ball.

And then I turned just a tiny bit. And my arm was free! Covered in splinters, but free.

Just then, my neighbor came running out of her house. “Cha Cha, did you have your arm stuck in the fence?”

Sigh. “Yes. I’m such an idiot. I just got it out – I’m so sorry you had to come out,” I said.

“No, I’m sorry! Anna lies. And so when she came in and told me, I thought she was lying. I’m so sorry.” She then turned to her daughter. “Anna, this is why you can’t lie. Then people won’t believe you when you really need help.”

It was “Peter and the  Wolf” come to life, if the tale had been called “Cha Cha is a Dumbass of Epic Proportions.”

Huge kudos to my sweet neighbor for not blinking an eye and acting as if a grown woman misjudging the size of her elbow were a totally normal, everyday occurrence.

And dogs? From now on, get your own damned ball.

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