These Noodles are Not for Dinner
In the evenings, I dangled my legs from the high stool at the breakfast bar and graded my students’ Spanish homework. Could there be anything better than spending time with my dog and a handful of nacho chips dipped in chunky salsa? I often lost myself in the beautiful sounds of the Spanish words that resonated in my head as I corrected them on paper.
Circling a wrong tense here or adding an accent mark there, I savored this quiet time working with language in the same room with my dog, Buddy, his breath warm on my feet. Finally losing hope that I’d drop a chip, he’d stretch out on the smooth tile and fall asleep. His regular breathing filled the air.
“Ah, Buddy,” I said one evening as I scooted down next to him on the floor and stroked his silky black ears. “La cucaracha, la cucaracha ya no puede caminar.” I searched my mind for the rest of the lyrics. “Porque no tiene, porque le falta una pata de atras.” It had such an upbeat tune and was a favorite not only from my high school days, but with my students, who begged to sing it.
I gently nudged my dog’s leg. “Buddy, guess what this song is about.” He cocked his head and searched for the real meaning of life—nacho chips—as if he were more interested in his stomach than the song. Go figure.
“Ha! It’s about a cockroach that can’t walk because it doesn’t have a hind leg.”
Buddy’s tail thumped against the stool. His eyes followed me as he picked up on my excitement. He jumped up as I danced, estilo-Colombiano, around the kitchen singing the first stanza again. With one hand over my heart and the other out for balance, I shimmied my hips—or maybe it was my behind since I had no real hips to speak of and, come to think of it, no real sense of rhythm—belting out “La cucaracha, la cuca-”
As I tilted my face up, it crashed into the open cupboard door.
I bent over double and crumpled onto the tiled kitchen floor. Clutching my forehead, I sucked in my breath and let it out slowly. Ohhhhh. My throbbing head.
I felt a nudge and a rough tongue against the top of my hand. Oh, Buddy. I felt another nudge, and put my arm around his neck, drawing him closer, needing his soft nuzzles. His dark eyes sought to console.
“Buddy,” I whispered, “I was laughing at the cockroach with no hind leg when all the time I forgot that I can’t even see.”
The dog licked my hand again, as if to say, “That doesn’t matter.” I think he would have liked to see me dance more, but I couldn’t muster the strength. He let out a deep, heartfelt doggy sigh, understanding perfectly.
I wobbled as I tried to stand. Gaining strength, I darted into the bathroom and peered into the mirror. Two large bumps swelled with a slender red dotted slit between the two. I traced the first, larger lump and then the second with two fingers. Great! Nothing like camel humps on my forehead.
Back in the kitchen, I sat at the top of the steps and patted the floor. Buddy padded over and laid his head across my lap. “Serves me right, Buddy-Lou,” I said, using my older brother’s pet name for my favorite companion. “Next time I dance, remind me to close the cupboard door.”
Fat chance. Out of sight, out of mind.
Because I didn’t usually see the cupboard door, I almost never remembered to close it. The same went for the door to the microwave. How many times had I smacked it with my head? Too many to count.
“La cucaracha, la cucaracha ya no puede caminar,” I sang softly, burying my face in Buddy’s dark fur.
Ppfft! His small, stray black hairs tickled me as they clung to my skin. I wiped my face several times to rid myself of them. Just my luck. “Silly dog. We need to brush you.”
When my friend found out my frequent collisions with open cupboard doors, she thought for a minute. “What about a noodle?”
“A noodle?” Had I heard her correctly? I frowned. “How can a noodle help me keep from bumping into open cupboard doors?”
“Well, it’s not going to keep you from bumping into them but it might cushion the blow.” She explained. “It’s an old RV trick because space is limited. My husband bumps his head all the time.”
I considered it. “Hmmm. An old RV trick.”
“We learned from the old hands how to cope with the space issue. You cut out a couple of pieces in a pool noodle and slip it on the corner of a door, and voila, next time you hit that area, you won’t hurt your head. Do you want to try it?”
The next time my friend saw me, she handed me two small pieces of a blue foam noodle with a slit in each one. With the help of my driver, I slipped them onto the corner of the cupboard door. They fit perfectly!
I’m happy to report the blue foam stands out. I haven’t run into the door since. I would have never thought a simple foam pool noodle would ever solve this low vision problem in the kitchen.
Who knew this use for it?! Talking out low vision challenges is helpful!
Now if I could only remember to push in the drawers!
Do you have any solutions for preventing accidents in your home, especially if it is vision-related? I would love to hear it!
You have just read “These Noodles are not for Dinner.” by Amy L. Bovaird. Copyright July 1, 2015. I would love to read your comment and to have you share this post!
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