Off Vest

Coffee break for Chloe... or rather tummy rub
Coffee break for Chloe... or rather tummy rub

One of my students snapped this picture of Chloe off vest while I was on the floor with her one afternoon.

Off Vest

Our work day on Thursday is a long one. Thankfully, I have a whole hour break between classes at 3 PM. When possible, I take Chloe’s vest off and take her for a quick walk. I chase her around the classroom with a squeaky toy, or “mess with her” a bit. It usually ends up with some Chloe lovin’, and we just chill for a bit before the next class starts.

Ever once in awhile I have a student meeting, or parent/teacher conference. When that happens, Chloe waits patiently by my side but I can tell she knows it’s past 3 PM. Have you ever heard a dog sigh? If I’m close enough, I can hear her heave a big sigh that is just a big exaggerated. It cracks me up actually!

Chloe’s “off vest” time at home means our nightly walk. It only takes about 20-25 minutes and I walk REALLY fast. My husband teases me that it’s practically a sprint. We can only go when it’s not rainy out, b/c I don’t walk when the weather is bad… I weave! (grin) During our walks, Chloe knows she is “off vest”. She sniffs around, walks in “heel” if she feels like it, switches to “place” if she wants. I make her sit in heel and wait when we come to a crossroad. Once we cross the street, I let her know she’s free to sniff around again. This is her time to just be a “dog”.

Off Duty

It’s important that we learn to take some time to be “off duty” each day. Likely, you play many different roles each and every day. You may be an employee, or adviser. Perhaps you are a chaueffer for those who don’t make the car payment in the home (grin). Some of us make the appointments, are the personal shopper, take care of the yard, and scoop the poop. Maybe you are the cook and accountant. You may be the housekeeper and laundress. It is very possible you are someone’s cheerleader. Thank goodness pom-poms are optional…

Even if it’s only for 30 minutes or so, don’t do anything “necessary“. Stop and investigate, sniff around a bit if you like. Literally take the time to smell the roses. If you’ve allergies like me, “smelling the roses” may mean sneezing like crazy later. But I find my own way to “rest and reflect”. It may be with a cup of green tea and a good book on proverbs or “famous quotes”. These brief forays away from “your job that defines you” is very important.

Women are the world’s worst about removing their vest. They think they have to be “Super Mom”, or “Super Woman”. They wear so many hats, these defining headpieces lean precariously off the tilt of their weighted down head. We do so many things, we end up not doing any one thing well. Take the time to unwind.

Breathe deeply.

Meditate and/or pray.

Write in a journal.

Burp if you want too.

(Sorry… I had to throw that in b/c Chloe gets such a rub down and vigorous massage when she’s off vest, she burps in contentment)

Denise Portis

© 2009 Hearing Loss Journal

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