The coronavirus and resulting restrictions have caused many of us to tackle work from our houses.

It’s not easy, or especially practical, to produce a newspaper when you’re not in the place where it is being assembled and printed. However, web links and program downloads make it possible for me to handle some tasks at my home computer, a nice convenience.

The one glitch is that I have to remember to log out of and shut down the programs at home so they will function when I am in the office. It’s a small thing, and I am usually quite good about it, but middle-age brain fog caught up with me one day recently, and I forgot.

I was almost to the office when I realized my error, and I muttered to myself as I turned my car around to head home and set things right.

“It would be nice,” I thought, “to have somebody at home who I could call to help me out with this.” Alas, my only housemates are two little dogs, Ollie and Einstein. I can only imagine what their reaction would be to such a call …

“Hello, Ollie? Yes, it’s Mommy. No, I’m not home. I’m talking to you on the phone. No, I am not at the front door. Well, you can check if you want to, but I’m not there. No, I can’t give you a snack over the phone, and besides you had one just before I left for work. It has not been 100 years; I left the house 15 minutes ago.

“Listen Ollie, can you do something for me? I love you too, honey. Yes, you are a good boy. A very good boy. No, I can’t rub your belly over the phone. No, I’m not at the front door now. OK, go check if you want to but I’m still not there. Satisfied? I miss you too. Now can you help me with something? Can you go to the comp … I love you too, Ollie. Listen, can you put Einstein of the phone?

“Hi Einstein, yes, it’s Mommy. Can you … what? Where is the lizard? Well, he’s not hurting anything sitting on the back patio. What makes you think his heart is filled with evil intent? A murderous gleam in his eye? Really? No, I don’t think lizards sit around thinking of homicide. You said the squirrel we saw last week was a potential arsonist, remember? You swore you saw him with a lighter and it turned out to be a piece of corn.

“Listen Einstein, the barking isn’t … I SAID THE BARKING ISN’T HELPING! That’s better. Can you please go to my computer … yes, you have permission to go on it to help me. No, you do not have your computer privileges back. Because you tried to order 20 pounds of bacon from Amazon, that’s why. Also, there’s the matter of that Facebook profile you opened. Because Sir Fuzzy Butt is not your name! And the profile photo you posted was not appropriate. I don’t care how many likes you got! We have had this discussion! Now can you just go to the computer and … STOP THAT BARKING! The lizard does not have a sword!

“Hi Ollie. Yes, it’s still Mommy. No, I am not at the front door. Yes, I will hold on while you check. Is Einstein still barking at the lizard? Oh, the squirrel too? Good grief.

“Listen buddy, I am turning the car around. I will be home in about 15 minutes. Yes, you can have a snack and a belly rub. Tell Einstein I will deal with the lizard/squirrel menace. Then I really have to close my computer program go back to work.

“Yes, I will miss you, but for some reason I seem to get a lot more done in the office.

“Maybe it’s the lack of barking. Or the absence of lizards seething with homicidal intent.”

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