I hope you’ve all been following along through the first two parts of this story. When we finished yesterday, I had successfully, but with great complications, delivered two of my kids to school. I had just arrived home with my two youngest. Add to that a bum ankle, a dead phone, a puddle of urine on the floor, a dislocated shoulder, and a dangerously skewed sense of reality. My saintly bride is not home to play the role of Geppetto to my Pinocchio and keep me from doing stupid things. With that being said, I’ve decided to set my own shoulder and stick to my guns about not seeking professional medical help.

The logistics of the process aren’t as difficult as one might think. In fact it’s much easier than trying to drive a minivan full of children with one arm while holding a door closed in the second row. It is however just as painful if not more so to put a shoulder back in as it is to pop one out. It’s not nearly as melodramatic as Mel Gibson would lead you to believe in the Lethal Weapon movies, but it does in fact hurt like hell. I’m not going to hurtle myself into a wall or scream like an attractive young man spending his first night in a maximum security prison. And it often takes several attempts to get it right when doing it yourself.

I’ll spare you the gory details and deviate from my normal practice of trying to paint a very graphic and vivid image for you. I’ll just say that this time, the tools required for the attempts were a door jam, a dining room chair, the waist tie to a robe, a football, and a wooden crab mallet for me to bite down on. After several brutally painful attempts, I was able to get the round peg in the square hole. Success! Now on with my day.

Around 11:00am, I put the two little ones back in the car and went to retrieve my 4-year-old from a morning session of Pre-K. The door lock had thawed and was now functional so pick-up was much less challenging than drop-off had been. I had my three youngest children safely back home shortly thereafter.

About an hour or so later, I was sitting on the couch feeding my baby boy from a bottle. My mind was rapidly sifting through a cavalcade of “random thoughts” that would drive most people to seek professional help and medication. But they are so commonplace in the vast, warped abyss that is my mind, I was simply trying to categorize and file them in my head for future articles. My mischievous pair of toddlers, whom today we’ll refer to as Thing One and Thing Two (to borrow a Seussian reference) were playing in another room. I was too deep in thought about the fact that I have a drawer in my kitchen with two flashlights without batteries in them surrounded by an arsenal of loose, assorted sized batteries to notice the eerie silence in the other room.

Suddenly I heard the loud screeching howl of our cat. It was that high pitched, exaggerated sound that you generally hear only in a cartoon when the old lady with curlers in her hair opens the window in the middle of the night and hurls and old shoe at the alley cat on top of the fence to silence it. (Now that you’ve just heard exactly the sound I did in your head, I’ll move on). The unmistakable sound of a feline in distress was immediately followed by the giggles of two little girls and a series of running footsteps. I was startled and aware that I had to investigate, but fortunately I was also cognizant of the fact that I was holding an infant. I gently set my son down on a blanket and made my way to the other room with trepidation. I wasn’t yet sure if this was going to be a search and rescue mission, a disaster cleanup, or a gunfight, so I kept my fatherly mind open and prepared for the worst.

It’s barely noon and already for the fourth time today I was horrified. Apparently the cat had been innocently minding her own business, perched in her litter box voiding her nearly 12-year-old kitty colon. If you ever had the misfortune of witnessing the crap that comes out of this whiskered moron, you’d think I had her on the same diet as Garfield. When visitors come to my home and glance at the litter box, they think we have a grizzly bear as a pet.

My daughters thought that while the cat was in mid expulsion that it would be a good time to sneak up and scare her. Their plan worked to perfection. They screamed in unison. The cat then leapt from her commode petrified (and right in the midst of growing a second tail) and took off running…leaving in her wake a trail of soft, steamy carpet mines. She ran to another room fearing for one of her 9 lives. The dynamic duo then gave chase.

It’s now important to point out that prior to this action, the girls were playing dress up. My 3-year-old was wearing her 11-year-old sister’s shoes at the time. Her dress shoes!! As we all well know, that unless you happen to be a clown, tiny feet in really big shoes makes it difficult to navigate and run a straight course.

My daughter managed to stomp firmly with both shoes in at least two piles of the whiskered warrior’s rectal bread crumb trail while in pursuit. The epic chase spanned three rooms (all of which have light colored carpet) before the fearful fur-ball managed to hide under a bed. A seemingly never ending trail of large brown spots charted the course of my daughter’s pursuit. At this juncture, a few things were glaringly apparent to me. The only thing more prevalent than my knowledge that I had to clean this putrid mess up was my willingness to part with my eldest daughter’s shoes. If it comes down to a choice of tossing some footwear, or me scraping  dookie, I know exactly where the line in the sand is drawn. Now we ain’t no rich folk, but I would happily part with $30 or so to not touch animal poop. So those shoes not only went into the trash, they went directly to the outside trash can. I couldn’t run the risk of one of my girls dumpster diving for doo-doo dogs.

I would spend the next several hour on all fours (oh the irony) scrubbing and using my spot steam cleaner to remove all fecal remnants and evidence of the perfect metaphor for how my day has gone.

Well, it wasn’t supposed to happen like this, but my day is still far from over. You’re either going to love me or hate me for this, but what the hell, let’s go ahead and do a Part 4. It may be tomorrow, it may not be until next week. But in order to firmly grasp a tragically typical twelve hours in my life, and subsequently feel much better about your own, I need to tell you the whole story. I hope you’ve enjoyed the first three installments.

Thanks for playing along, Syd Nichols