Judy Pugh felt pretty safe knowing she’d been dealt most of the wild cards life had in store for her, at least for now. The unexpected end of her marriage had turned her world upside down. After fearing she was going to lose her house (she didn’t) and being forced to change careers (which has worked out just fine!), she found herself and her life in need of some serious revamping at the age of 49. Then the real bombshell dropped. Judy Pugh’s daughter and son-in-law were called away on dual military deployment. Not only was she a single person for the first time in years, she was now a single parent, too! For the duration of her daughter and son-in-law’s time away, Judy was going to be “mom” to her precious and precocious two-year-old grandson, Marcus. “Oh boy, here we go,” she thought. But, she didn’t yet know the half of it…
Two months passed quickly and Judy and Marcus were semi-settled in their routine. Standing by the front door of her house one Sunday evening, Judy was feeling pretty good. Despite the challenges and bumps in the road—not to mention the occasional poop found under her fingernails—they were both doing ok. At the moment, Marcus was inside watching his favorite cartoon, Jimmy Neutron, on TV. Nothing could tear that child away from his beloved boy genius! Glancing outside at her plants wilting in the California sunshine, Judy figured she had at least a few minutes to water the front yard before Marcus would notice her absence. Jimmy Neutron was his idol. If anybody could hold her grandson’s attention it was the animated 10-year-old inventor that Marcus called “Teutron.”
Heading out to her thirsty yard, Judy felt her heart swell as she took in the scene around her. She loved her neighborhood. It was like a little piece of paradise in Southern California and Judy felt lucky to be a part of it. Saying “hi” to her neighbors Bill and Dixie across the street, Judy noticed that pretty much everyone was out and about enjoying the glorious day. Jean and Corey were washing their cars. Larry, Claudia, and their teenage son, Sean, were doing yard work next door. Waving to Judi who was on her porch across the way, Judy thought about how dear her neighbors all were to her. They had always been there to offer a kind word or loving gesture, particularly when she’d been going through her divorce. Drinking in her serene, fabulous slice of neighborhood heaven Judy felt blissfully content. That is, until all of a sudden when a little monster came barreling out the front door, grinning from ear to ear. Marcus’ behavior wasn’t unusual for a two year old. However, what he was holding in his hand was. Shrieking with glee, Marcus held up the vibrator, its lights flashing for the world to see. “Gramma … BRRRR … Toy!” Oh, crap.
Judy Pugh’s daughter and son-in-law were called away on dual military deployment. [She] was now a single parent, too! For the duration of her daughter and son-in-law’s time away, Judy was going to be “mom” to her two-year-old grandson, Marcus.
Until a few minutes ago, the thing had been safely nestled inside Judy’s nightstand drawer where it had been since her ex-husband had gifted it to her as a Valentine’s Day present. Judy couldn’t believe Marcus had found it! What’s more, she couldn’t believe he figured out how to turn it on! Its lights and humming sound effects just kept going and going … spinning around in horror Judy wondered why she had outfitted her plaything with those darn Energizer batteries. While the world moved in slow motion around her, Judy took the few steps across the yard to where Marcus stood. As she did, Marcus made a break for it. He ran down the sidewalk, his little legs spinning at top speed, his little mouth yelling “Brrrrrrr!” Oh God, when did Marcus start to run so fast? After what seemed like an eternity, Judy finally caught up with him. Grabbing the pulsating, blinking red rocket out of his little hand, Judy shoved it under her shirt. Wouldn’t you just know it … today of all days she just had to wear a white shirt.
Keeping her eyes fixated on the front door out of fear of meeting any disapproving or embarrassing looks from her neighbors, Judy was painfully aware that the bright, flashing lights were still visible beneath the white cloth on her chest … and now just didn’t seem like a good time to ask Marcus how on earth he’d turned the “rocket” on.
Dragging Marcus behind her while she blinked and whirred for what seemed like an eternity in this walk of shame, the two finally made it inside the house. Finally! After pushing every stinking button on the contraption, Judy finally managed to turn the beast off. As she tossed the now seemingly harmless object back in its hiding place Judy let the horror of what had just happened seep in. Oh no, she could never leave the house again! Telling herself that the lawn was incredibly parched, she decided not to go outside to shut off the hose until after dark—way after dark. Then she calmed herself down by saying that there was absolutely no way that the neighbors saw anything and “if they did, so what?” Judy was exhausted after the horrific afternoon. All she wanted to do was climb into bed and pull the covers over her head. Maybe tomorrow she’d go look for another place to live. Throwing Marcus some Skittles, she escaped beneath the sheets.
When the morning sun woke her, it seemed like the previous day had never happened. Another glorious day in So Cal paradise! Then, a sinking feeling crept into Judy’s belly. Oh, God. The memory of a glowing red vibrator hit Judy like a ton of bricks and she realized she had never turned the hose off. Would the nightmare ever end? Sneaking outside to her mucky lake of a lawn to get the hose before the neighbors woke up, Judy once again thought of the little boy, barreling out of the house with a vibrator in his hand. A smile crept across her face and a chuckle escaped her mouth. Judy had to laugh as she thought of how happy Marcus was when he found Gramma’s toy. She was a lucky grandma to have a boy like Marcus and he was a lucky kid to have a caregiver like her. They were going to make it.
Little did Judy know, this would not be the end of the vibrator tale, it would make another embarrassing appearance. This time during a dinner date with a man Judy had courageously invited into their home. One thing Judy learned from the whole experience? If a toddler finds something he should not have, never EVER put it back in the same reachable spot!
In the end, only one neighbor admits to having seen the “toy” Marcus wheedled in his hot little hands that afternoon. When approached the others just looked at the ground and mumbled something about not seeing a thing. Yeah, right.
To read more about Judy and Marcus, visit Judy’s web site and book (http://www.reportingfordoodie.com/).
Thank you Judy, for sharing your Story with us.
Our Stories and pictures are the sole copyright of their Authors and may not be reprinted or used without their permission.© 2009 by Tamar Burris and Story of My Life