I got up at 5:00 AM this morning, but my mind was not on my keyboard.
Instead, I was thinking of my lovable mutt, Katie, who had been locked in the mudroom overnight. She had returned home just as the sun and the mercury were falling, reeking from a game of ‘I dare you to rub in that’. It was too late to give her a bath, but at 5:00AM this morning, I knew something would have to be done and the knowledge that I would be the one to do it whatever it was.
So instead of doing something useful or soothing (like writing), I wasted time in the reading room playing iPod Scrabble. The pup was quiet, the kids were quiet, and there I stayed almost until it was time to launch the morning school routine. Sadly, avoidance therapy didn’t make the dog smell any better.
The boys and I managed to get out of the mudroom without inhaling too much of the stink. I actually found some comfort in the routine of hustling them into the car, scraping the windows, and attempting to break the sound barrier to get them to school on time. The ride home was much slower, and the closer I got, the slower the car seemed to go.
I knew Katie would need a bath, and I knew it would be a soaking wet dirty job that had to happen inside. I knew the country store stocked all sorts of useful pet supplies (the owners are mushers and religious about quality dog products), so I stopped in on the way home. I tried to drag out the shopping trip, but there was an online meeting at 9:00AM, and I knew the bath had to happen soon.
I got home feeling vaguely depressed and with the nagging feeling that I wanted a vacation. As I wandered through the house, getting the bathroom ready for a canine client and finding an extra leash and an old towel, however, my grooming plan began to form, and my spirits lifted a bit. I knew I would be soaked when the bath was over, and I doffed my clothes on the bed. Wandering from room to room, I thought once again how grateful I am that the only things outside our sliding windows are trees, and I wondered if my sense of propriety was about to reach a new low. It was.
I had everything ready and was about to open the mudroom door and leash the dog when I remembered we had garbage bags in the cabinet. Figuring one of them would make a great poncho, I reached in and pulled out a 30 gallon bag. It looked big enough to shield my girth from water, but there was still a problem. It was clear.
By the time I had ripped a neck and arm holes in the ‘poncho’, I was chuckling. Katie didn’t mind my fashion faux pas nearly as much as she minded being popped into the tub and scrubbed down. I was now literally elbow deep in the job I had dreaded all morning, and for some reason, I was smiling as I washed and soothed.
I know some folks might say it was just getting the thing over with that made me smile. There’s probably some truth to that, but, as I tore off my rated-R dog-washing poncho, a little part of me decided that truth doesn’t have to be stranger than fiction to be funny enough to get you through the day. But sometimes it helps.