There are no bad owners, only bad dogs


It's a wild, wild life.

Some people glide through life with grace and elegance, their cars always clean and free of abandoned McNuggets, their children unaware that head lice and pinkeye even exist, their checking accounts never overdrawn. I know people like that. They're not very interesting, but they seem calm.

I am clearly not one of those people. If I wear a white shirt, I will immediately spill, dribble, drool, or somehow erupt food, some kind of red food. Thus it was that an evening out with friends became a bit ridonculous. We were at one of our favorite bars, where they don't quite yell "Norm!" when we walk in, but with a few more visits and some effort, it will happen. I got there first and snagged the only available table, a booth against the brick wall. Then our playmates, LoudGirl, RadioBoy, and his dad, LeavingLasVegas arrived ("That Jack Daniels sure tastes good in the morning..."). At one point, the people in the booth behind us made a bit of a ruckus, rocking our booth and table by association, so I naturally assumed they were just obnxious attention whores -- "Look at me! Look at me!" Then the object of their excitement wandered our way, feeling his way along the brick wall with his nasty long brown antennae, looking for ... love? food? brains to suck out of an unsuspecting bar patron?

Realizing that the attention whores were just people who were startled by the enormous cockroach wandering along the wall, I reacted the same way they had. "I just know," I said, "that this roach will fall off the wall into my purse." The roach, thinking that I had not made a prediction but an actual request, obliged.

Because I now had a four-pound roach in my purse, I calmly requested that I be allowed to leave the booth. The greggers thought it would be entertaining to trap me on the inside, me and my purse roach. Eventually he let me out and I took my purse outside to the cries of "Free Willy!" from those who preferred the roach to be released into the wild. I dumped him out and he scurried away. I respected the wishes of the pro-insect lobbyists in the crowd, so returned to cheers.

I then found two other patrons from Wisconsin, and we shared stories of cheese curds and deep snow.

We were then joined by the youngest member of my work team, FreelancePhilosopher. We moved to a bigger table, tried to get LeavingLasVegas to eat something so he would stop repeating his stories about the Holler (somewhere in Kentucky and/or Tennessee), where he used to hunt with hand guns and make moonshine. The first three times, the stories are tolerable.

Eventually we found our way back to my house, which was not prepared for company (mounds of unfiled paperwork on the dining room table, unmade beds). It was a cool enough night, so we went white trash and hung out on the front porch and watched the dogs act like idiots. The guests had to leave before midnight to pick up their son at the nerd store where he'd been playing Magic for seven hours, so the greggers and I stayed outside, talking and having another cocktail or two, reminiscing about the Holler... The dogs were acting all doggy, alternately resting and snuffling about in the bushes. At about 3 a.m., they were in an active mode, rooting around in the greenery, but not barking or on especially high alert. Which is really hard to fathom in the long run, as Buster had just shoved his nose up the ass of a skunk, who had reacted sensibly (for him) by letting loose with a stream of skunk juice in Buster's face. His first move was to run over to the people, who immediately began gagging and screaming.

Although I knew it was pointless, I hauled him into the bath tub and shampooed him over and over and over again. It got some of the smell off, but it was still eye-wateringly smelly. So at about 4 a.m., we headed off to the 24-hour WalMart and bought 10 quarts of peroxide, several large boxes of baking soda, and a large bottle of dish detergent. Thank you, Pimp. Back home, I shucked off my smelly clothes and got into the shower with Buster -- after having dragged him by the scruff of his neck out from under the neighbor's pick-up truck -- and the greggers mixed batches of anti-skunk formula in a big bucket and handed them into the shower to me and I scrubbed Buster with the solution for about an hour. After that was over, he smelled better (still not good), but the whole house was even worse. The skunk spray seems to atomize and to be oily enough to cling -- it was in the back of my throat for hours, no matter how much Listerine I gargled. We left the windows open, the fan on, the bedroom doors closed, and got the hell out of there and went to Greg's to sleep. We got to bed at about 6:30 a.m. and spent the next 12 hours alternately sleeping and dreading returning to the house.

It still stinks, in spite of the fan and the candles and the air freshener... Buster appears to be very sorry and embarrassed, although that doesn't stop him from feeling like snuggling. It's Sunday, I'm still tired, and my house is still the wrong kind of funky.

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