Before we start, I want to state that this is a ridiculously long post. I’m too lazy to edit it; it’s been the type of week that makes me throw my hands in the air and say, “FINE! YOU WIN!” and so this will be long, rambling, and mostly unedited. And it’s really not even that impressive, otherwise, so this might be one of those Let’s Just Skip This One deals.
In the last post, I mentioned a bear that tipped the compost bin and left me a mess to clean up. I didn’t mention all the other animals that tried to ruin my life, though. I don’t know what I did to whom, but the animals of my town are currently out to get me.
Whenever possible, Gabe and I set Sunday mornings aside for Just Us time. We try to sleep in as late as possible and we insist on not leaving the bed before 10:30 am. (For those of you can’t do this for whatever reason and are all, “Oh” *snotty tone* “Must be nice,” let me just tell you – it is) Typically, we lie in bed talking about things, planning the future, telling ridiculous stories, and catching up with each other. Once we do get up, we stay in our pajamas or put on lounge wear and make a yummy brunch. It’s really nice, it’s probably good for our marriage, and it helps us feel like we’ve done some resting before the coming week. That’s why we try to do this whenever we can but life has been busy the past several months and there haven’t been many lazy Sunday mornings at all. This past Sunday was to be our first in lots-n-lots of weeks and we were so excited.
At 6:00 that morning, our new-to-us dog, Daisy May, had to go outside for some potty time. We knew this would happen and had planned for it so it was no big deal. Gabe took care of opening the door for her while I remained blissfully snuggled in bed. Then at 6:30, Daisy May woke me up to tell me she had to go out again. I was a little irritated, but she drinks during the night (haha, yeah, don’t we all?) and I know how that can be hard on a morning bladder so I got up and took her out. That’s when I noticed the compost bin on its side in a place it shouldn’t be. I had really thought Hungry Bear had already gone to bed, which was where I should have been. Well, not in the Hungry Bear’s bed…that would be dangerous. But in my own bed with my husband who snores like a bear so it’s sort of similar.
I finally made it back into my warm little spot and I was drifting back to sleep when my bossy little boy cat came up to punch me in the arm, demanding attention. I moved over to give him some room, sacrificing my own comfort for him and he didn’t even appreciate my efforts. He kept butting his big, round head against my arm, insisting I give to him the attention he so rightfully deserves at all times. I scritched his ear and his nose and mumbled at him but it wasn’t good enough and he was soon punching me again. I shoved him off the bed. His sister took his place and she started walking around my pillow, stepping on my hair, causing mayhem and scalp pain. Finally, she settled on my chest and fell asleep and the boy returned and burrowed into my side, purring like a really loud motorcycle or chainsaw or jackhammer, and then he also fell asleep. We were warm and comfortable and we would have all dozed happily all morning like that only, a quarter hour later, there was a lot of loud pounding on our wall from the outside. Some dumbass bird – a woodpecker or a flicker or something – was thumping our house. It sounded like the damn bird was right above our heads, but it was really probably on the chimney because I never got around to getting it painted this past summer. Then it started playing in the gutter above our bedroom window which is above our headboard. That got the cats’ attention and they leapt up into the windowsill, or tried. Mostly, they fell on our faces and rolled around, scrambling all over our heads to get to the window to get to the bird.
We were getting a tad pissed-off and then the neighbor dogs started barking which started other neighbor dogs barking which started Daisy May barking only, it turned out that DM wasn’t barking beause other dogs were barking. She was barking because there was a visiting dog in our backyard and she was not having it. Not having it at all! She’s become pretty territorial in the week we’ve had her, probably because she’s a misanthropist of dogs. A miscanineist. She doesn’t enjoy the company of other dogs. At all. Thus, it was important to her to yell at this visiting dog through the safety of the back door. I know she was telling it to get off her lawn.
Finally, we just got up. It was about 8:30. We groused about it but, in the end, we knew that staying in bed would only invite the wrath of other malicious sleep-hating animals down upon us, so we got over it and went about our day and that should have been the end of the attack on our sanity. But it wasn’t.
I got home around 7:00 Monday evening. I wasn’t feeling that great due to either an incoming cold, a flu bug, or malaria. Maybe the plague. As it was Monday, I knew I’d be home by myself til 9 or 10 and I was hoping to eat a bit of dinner, fold a few clothes and then make myself some hot tea and curl up with a book in bed. I had wanted to be asleep by 9 pm because getting a lot of sleep is the best way to kill off incoming diseases, I’ve found.
I let Daisy May out, I made my dinner, I let her in and fed her her own dinner, she wanted to go back out, I let her out, I fed the cats and then I ate my dinner. I went to let her back in and before I even reached the door, I smelled it.
I used to love the smell of skunk. I know it is ghastly and eye-watering-making but, to me, it has always smelled like summer. It’s a smell that means warm weather and long nights…until our last dog was sprayed right between the eyes and then died shortly thereafter. The two are linked but not in the way one might think. Anyhow, since that time, everyone in the family (meaning Gabe, the cats, and I) have grown to detest the smell of skunk. So it was with great trepidation I went outside and approached Daisy. I prayed that she hadn’t been hit.
She hadn’t, not directly. It was more like she’d been in a room full of teenage girls who were spraying their body sprays and the cloud of scent just stuck to every surface only this body scent was skunk and the room was our backyard and there were no teenage girls involved. Unless the skunk was a young female. I think the skunk got the side of the shed and Daisy May just happened to be nearby and got a waft of explosion stuck to her fur. It was still enough to make me gag. I thought about this for a moment – it was supposed to be a warm night, she wasn’t hit directly and probably wouldn’t go blind or anything…I could just leave her outside and still get to bed early. Heck, I could make her a bed in the garden shed and that would be thoughtful enough to probably let me be able to sleep with a sound conscience. Except that she’s new to the family and she’s hesitant about everything, feeling her way around, unsure as how to behave in this new home. She’s an older dog and she’s smart and I was pretty sure leaving her in the backyard all night would offend her. Also, it left her open to more attacks. And I knew it was just the wrong thing to do. So, I did the right thing. I filled the bathtub with warm water, adding about a gallon of baby shampoo to make a bubble bath. I cleared the path from the back door to the tub and I let her in.
Again, we’re not all on the same page, yet, when it comes to how we all live together. She came bursting in, dodging my grasping hand, and made a beeline for her bed. No problem, I could wash the cover. I went to haul her from her bed but she jetted away, thinking she was in trouble, and ran toward the couch. I freaked and pretended I was all excited and called her over. As I said, she’s been around awhile and she was totally on to my trickery but she didn’t jump on the couch and that was good. Instead, she ran past me and up the stairs toward the bathroom and curled up, all dejected and tail-between-the-legs, on the landing. From there, I was able to coax her into the bathroom by means of her collar. Yes, I cruelly drug my new dog into the bathroom.
I think she knew what was happening and I found out she doesn’t really relish the thought of baths. Thank goodness she’s light, maybe 30 lbs, and I heartlessly picked her up and tossed her in the tub then I crawled in after her. Don’t worry, I’d removed my pants. Or trousers if you’re British. Up close in the small space, the skunk smell was potent but not chemical-smelling so I knew she’d just been dusted and it hadn’t gotten down into her undercoat. It didn’t seem to be near her face. I sniffed her like a weird person and found most of it concentrated on her ruff, her right shoulder and right leg. Not too bad; I knew I could take care of it. I soaped and scrubbed. I didn’t bother with the tomato juice because I didn’t think it was necessary. She pressed herself against my legs, trembling like she was made of earthquakes. Her hair came drifting off, the tub water soon turned brown and I kept on soaping and scrubbing. After 45 minutes of wash, rinse, and repeat, I let her out of the hair- and dirt-filled bath to a towel I had waiting to receive her sodden little dog body. She did her shaking thing, spraying water everywhere. I let her drip dry while I cleaned the tub and washed all her hair off my legs and arms. My own shirt and underthings were soaked and smelled skunky so I just took my own shower and figured we could dry off together afterward. It would be like the girls locker room. We were bonding. Sometime during this fiasco, I managed to snag my nail on something. Not a full-out gouge, just that little slit like the cut mark on a spool of thread that’s made to tuck the loose end into when you’re not using the spool.
When I got out of the shower, I found Daisy off her towel, huddled by the door in the most pathetic huddling I’ve ever seen. She gave me the injured eyes look so I quickly dried and put on a clean shirt. I warned her that the worst was yet to come, that I had to dry her off and since she was wet all the way through and because she couldn’t go outside and dry in the sun, what with it being a chilly autumn night, and all, we’d have to resort to the blow dryer.
I grabbed her little rubber brush, my hair dryer, and a few dry towels. I positioned her, turned the dryer on and she freaked out. She tried to climb the walls, she tried to jump up into the sink, she tried to hide behind the toilet. I blocked her movements. I tried to put a towel over her head to maybe help muffle the horrible sound of the hair dryer, which bothers me, too, but apparently the towel was even worse. She finally hunkered down, back to me, face to the floor. I toweled, I dried, I brushed and there was a cloud of black hair floating around the room in no time. I stopped the dryer every ten minutes to just brush and towel and give our ears a rest and it took about an hour to get most of her dry. I couldn’t do her face or chest so I had to do my best with more towels. By the end, she was panting and I was pulling stray dog hairs out of my nose – they got up there so deeply that when I pulled them out, I could feel them unwinding from around the backsides of my eyeballs – and mouth and from the back grate of the blow dryer. Looking at the pictures that I took of the mess, I’m sort of surprised I still had a dog after all this and that she still had hair. I’m sure she’s at least ten pounds lighter now.
I finally relented and freed her of the torture chamber we call a bathroom. She did what all dogs do after they’ve been to the beauty parlor – she ran around the house with a stupid grin on her face, wagging her tail and rolling around on the floor. She was so proud of her fluffy, non-skunky coat. She even paused to show off to the cats but they didn’t care.
I quickly grabbed her bed and took off the cover before she could go roll around on potential skunk residue. I threw it in the washing machine and then I started in on the bathroom. I had to shake out all the towels, then vacuum everything, then wipe down all surfaces, removing dog hair from as high up as the light bulbs. The little cut in my nail turned out to be a hindrance but I couldn’t file it because my nails were still damp and filing damp nails grosses me out. As a result, I wound up with the bathmat, the cleaning rag, and my robe all hanging from my snaggy nail at one point and it made me crazy. Plus, I was getting really tired so I was cussing and fuming by this point.
Everything went into the washing machine for a good cleansing and I mopped the bathroom floor. Even after all that, I could still smell skunk in there. I took down the shower curtains and washed those, too. I bleached the tub. I scrubbed the corners of the whole room and I put a Bath & Body wall plug-in air freshener thingy into the electrical socket. The smell of skunk slowly faded, but the smell of lavender scented cleanser + bleach + apple cider air freshener was almost just as painful.
For good measure, I Febreezed all the places she’d been pre-bath. The air still smelled skunky but that’s because the entire outside smelled skunky. The dog and the house, however, smelled fresh and clean. And I got into bed sometime after 11:30 pm which is probably why I woke up with a fever, chills, and all that other flu-ey crap the next morning and had to stay home sick for two days.
But the worst part? Daisy May went outside that following morning, found a patch of skunk-scented grass…and rolled in it.
Because the animals in my town apparently hate my guts and want nothing more than to make me miserable.