Ending Mediation with a runaway dog, broken alarm and a traumatized paralegal

I leave Nala at home. Today is a half day mediation.  At my office.  We will be done by 1:00.  I can then come home and let her out.  She will be fine for four hours.

The mediation drags a bit.  Colleen Barrett is the mediator.  First time I've used her. She was a defense attorney.  Had several cases against her.  Always liked her.

Slow going.  How will we be done by 1.

I have another meeting that starts at 1.  What was I thinking.  Push it forward to 1:30.  This will give me time to run home and let Nala out.

12:15.  We are still dragging along.

12:20.  Email Anne. Can you let Nala out of the house.  This mediation is going to go over and then I have another meeting and Nala needs to go.  Give me 10 more minutes just in case we start moving faster.

12:25.  We are still dragging.

12:30.  Anne comes in.  I give her my house key. Write the alarm code down on a piece of paper.  One slight problem - I transpose the numbers.

12:45  Miraculously Colleen doesn't just break the log jam. She pulls a super slick move and settles the case in one fell swoop.  Boom just like that.

12:50 We do a few more things

12:55  Colleen has the CR 2A agreement prepared and we are all signing it.

12:56  The alarm company calls to say the alarm has been set off.  I tell them no problem.  Anne must have tripped it.  Put it all out of my mind

12:57  I go to another conference room down the hall.  Shake hands with Greg Wallace the defense lawyers.  We are chatting.

12:58  Mike rushes into the room and says:  Anne is on the phone and says it's an emergency.

12:58.5  I run to my office, pick up the phone.  All I hear is heavy breathing.  huh huh huh huh.  I call out her name.  Can you hear me.  Are you okay.  huh huh huh huh.  She is either having a medical emergency or she's running.

12:59  Slam down the receiver grab purse, keys and run out the door.

1:03  Arrive at house.  Yes that's right.  I live 2 miles away.  Park and see Anne kneeling on the front step next to Nala.  Nala is wet and covered in mud.

Anne:  She's okay.  She came back.

She (Anne not Nala) is still panting.  Nala is actually smiling

I come in.  Close the gate. Hug Anne and tell her how sorry I am that I asked her to get Nala.  The mediation was done on time after all.  Anne is still shaking.

The alarm is going off. She shows me the code I gave her. It is of course the wrong code.

I punch the right numbers in.  This stops the main alarm.  But the alarms on the other two levels of the house are still going off.

I relieve Anne of Nala.  Take her over to the side gated area.  Enter.  Pull out soap.  Anne tells me what happened as I wash off the mud.  Here's her story:

Everything was going well until she punched in the (wrong) code.  The alarm was going crazy. Nala looked like she was scared (guarantee you she wasn't scared - you can let a firework off right next to her and she won't blink if she's focused on a bird).   Anne kept punching in the (wrong) code and it wouldn't stop.  So she decided to put poor delicate Nala in her car away from the noise.  She scooped her up in her arms and walked out the door.  Made it past the gate.  When suddenly Nala started flailing and wiggling until she basically lunged right out of Anne's arms.   The bad girl of course landed cat like on her feet and without so much as a bye see ya, took off like a rocket.  Anne started to run after her.  This was a useless exercise.  Particularly since Anne was wearing slip on wedge sandals.  Anne called her name.  At least once Nala looked back at her and winked.  Or at least that's what it seemed like.  Anne ran back to her car and had just fired it up when Nala came running back.

I finish hosing off Nala. Bring her back to the front.  Dry her.  Put on booties.

Apologize again to Anne.   Try to comfort her.   The alarm is still blaring.  She shakily leaves for the office.

Call the alarm company which is easy because they just called me.  So I hit the call back button.  Tell them the alarm won't go off.  They can hear it.  Sounds like a smoke detector when the battery needs to be replaced but ten times louder.  Beep.  Beep.  Beep.

Explain what happened.

Alarm company tells me we will need to turn it off.  Run downstairs.  First need to unscrew the breaker.  The breaker is in the ceiling.  Get a step stool.  Mount it with screwdriver in hand.  Try to unscrew the screw.  Strip the screw.  Partly this is because of technique.  And because I can't see it.  The aging process strikes again.   Hold on I tell him.  Descend ladder.  Run up stairs.  Find reading glasses.  Run back downstairs.  Back up on ladder.  Yep.  I stripped it.  Back down ladder.  Dig around in box.  Find $9.99 black and decker electric screw driver.  Battery is dead.  Connect charger to outlet and look for corresponding hole on screw driver.  Can't find it.  The guy thinks I'm an idiot. Finally find it.  Wrong hole.  Finally find it.  Back up on ladder.  The screw driver turns the wrong way.  Figure out how to reverse.  Jam into stripped screw.  It comes out half way.  Rip it out the rest of the way and unplug it.  The beeps stop.

It is 1:35.  Am late for the next meeting.