I have been dreading today all week, because it was my field day. I had to meet a crew on a site at 8 am. The problem is, I live approximately several hours hours away from the site (depending on traffic and speed you are traveling). This morning, I crawled out of bed at 4:15 so I could get on the road by 4:45.
It’s not the work I was dreading. I was overseeing a small crew of people for the first time, and while I was nervous, I wasn’t actually going to be doing any work. All I had to do was take notes and photographs. I was dreading the idea of leaving my little puppy by himself. I was going to be gone for 12 hours, which is too long to leave him in the crate. Boarding him this young would be a traumatic experience. Why not leave him in the gated kitchen, an area he is already comfortable with, with lots of food, toys, and water?
I’ve been prepping him for his stay the kitchen, leaving him there while I am work and checking on him at lunch. Still, today would be the first time he’d be there for that long by himself without my checking on him.
It was not a solution I was thrilled about, but it was the only feasible one I had. At 4:30, I opened his cage, put lots of food and water in his bowl, and set out durable toys. I took a Kong treat and spread peanut butter over it to make it tasty and fun for him. Then I set it on the floor and looked at him, guilt washing over me like a high tide.
“Come here baby,” I said, scooping him up. I hugged him and gave him little kisses on his head. I think he was more interested in the peanut butter than me, because he was scrambling for me to set him down.
I set him down, imploring him to wait for Mommy, be a good boy, and Oh God, please don’t choke on the toys.
The drive was tiresome and it seemed like it would be dark forever. The entire drive, I couldn’t stop thinking about Apollo and the disaster scenarios he would get into while I was gone. Would he be okay? Would he choke on his food or toys? Would he be expecting me at lunchtime, when I usually check on him? Would he get lonely? Each scenario ended with me coming home to find a dead puppy.
I showed up on site at 7:45, and began preparing for the day’s work. I sent texts to loved ones, saying how worried I was about Apollo. They all texted back, saying not to worry.
The crew did not show up until close to 10. I sent frustrated texts to loved ones. I’m so glad I woke up at 4 for nothing.
The work itself went faster than I anticipated. The experience itself was…interesting. I have never had to direct a crew by myself before. I was the only female, by the way, directing three men. Their tone was overall respectful, but there was still the patronizing “baby” thrown out there a couple of times. One time, one of the men told me to move out of an ant bed by touching my hips and moving me. I was so shocked that I didn’t know how to respond.
The same man saw my gum in the car and joked that it was my breakfast and lunch (at least he didn’t say I looked like I have AIDS, which is what a coworker told me back during my summer job I held at eighteen.)
The jokes died down when I was driving the contractor around. “Were you raised on a ranch?” he asked. “No,” I said. “Girl, you’re handling this truck like you were raised driving out in this stuff,” he said. I kept quiet. If you know the mishaps I’ve had with parking larger vehicles, then you would know that no one ever thinks I was raised on a ranch. His comment made up for the gum joke, and I felt a little warmer to him after that.
I could make a whole other blog post about being a female in a male-oriented field, but different women have different approaches to it. Some get very upset when they are patronized. Others ignore it if the tone is not overtly sexual or patronizing. I’m still on the fence about how to proceed. But since they were overall respectful, I ignored it.
Work was done at 3, and I hurried into my truck to drive home. After driving impatiently through city traffic (why do I have to get stuck behind all the people who want to go 20 mph below the speed limit?), I scurried out of my car and bolted up my apartment stairs.
As I opened the door, I said tentatively, “…Snuggle Bug?”
“Apollo?” I said. I didn’t hear anything. Frantically, I repeated, “Apollo? Apollo!”
Frightened, I ran to the kitchen, expecting the worst. Apollo was lying in his bed. He looked up at me. When he saw me, he jumped up and down and started whimpering. I scooped him up in my arms, and he showered my face with kisses.
Today wasn’t so bad.