Friday, December 5, 2008


This first bit is not for the faint of heart or glass of stomach (and you know who you are). Just scroll down till the boldface invitation assures you that we're out of bad part.

I don't really want to talk about dog urine, but it's an issue that's in my face, as it were. Poor Sunny, Mike's sixteen-and-three-quarters-year-old cocker spaniel, has reached that stage in her long happy life that it's too difficult to climb the stairs to the bathroom, push open the heavy door, drop her waist-high old-lady drawers, squat shakily onto the seat, and pee. Therefore, the nearest piece of carpet will do just fine, thanks.

I wouldn't mind if it weren't for the smell, which I cannot describe and wouldn't anyhow, although if I had the ability to make you smell it through words alone, I wouldn't be going to the Wednesday Midday Market, would I? No. I'd be sitting at my mink-trimmed computer, drinking that fabulous peppermint hot chocolate from Bob Evans, paying someone else to exercise for me. As it is, the stench kept me awake last night.

To be fair, let's say that it was the absence of Mittens that started it. I woke every couple of hours to pull on a piece of clothing (once it was just a glove) and stumble in the cold, drear night to the screen door, open it -- because you know how sound gets blocked when it has to squeeze through those tiny squares -- and call out, "Mittens! Come on! Come on!"

I sing "Come on!" in a particular way. I wouldn't, for instance, call you in that specific tone. No. It's for Mittens as intentionally and solely as the two-note whistle my mother would use to call my girlhood cat, Tiger.

You might conclude that exotic pet names sort of run in the family, but let me say this, firmly: I did not name Mittens. She came to me that way. If she spoke English, she'd be embarrassed enough to lose all her bunny-soft hair.

I called for Mittens every two hours. I have no doubt that there are neighbors who can attest to that.

Why should Mittens be in her bedroom at night? True, we decorated it just for her -- a pink canopy over the bed, a princess phone (I am not getting her a cell phone!), her own small HDTV, innumerable pastel pillows and cat toys scattered about -- but that's no reason to insist that she be there each night.

I worry about her getting kidnapped. Er ... catnipped. Er ... catnapped. I think someone will steal her and sell her to laboratories for painful experiments, making her, for instance, wear a lipstick that's not her shade. I don't know. I just want to know where she is and that she's safe and happy.

I swear I heard her meow while I slept, so I got up for the third time, groped for some fabric, wended my way through my natural clutter to the door. No Mittens.

The trouble is, although I was worried and half-asleep, I could smell Poor Sunny's liquid mess and that would pop my eyes open. It's simply a smell I cannot bear. Remember my Thanksgiving drivelings? Of course you do. I was grateful for my sense of smell, for the great pleasure it brings me. Lilies! Green peppers! Brut with Camel straights and exhaust fumes (John Beaumont c. 1966)! Fresh air! But last night's smell? Not at all.

I paid ten dollars online to buy the secret formula for getting rid of the smell. But it takes two days. There was nothing more to be done. I wrote Leone a whiny email. That helped. It made me remember all the murder mysteries I've ever read, where the homicide detectives at the crime scene or the morgue apply Vicks Vapo-Rub to their upper lips, stiff or slack. I signed off from Leone and went to my medicine cabinet, which is a basket in the linen closet. I pawed through throat lozenges and aspirin and found a small, squat jar. I opened it and applied the contents, wondering if Vicks actually has an expiration date, because I sure didn't smell that famous menthol.

Yeah. Well. That's because I'd put Vaseline under my nose.

You can look now.

So yes, the Wednesday Midday Market. I made four bucks after the booth fee and parking fee. But no matter! I'm going to that no-name show tomorrow, Saturday, December 6, at that church at 5441 Ninth Avenue North. That's from nine to four.

After that, I hope to go to Sacred Lands again at six, not for business but for pleasure. First Erik will tell an old tale about a rescue. Then there's dinner from six-thirty to seven-thirty. Then Celtic music from then on, by Empty Hats. It's twelve bucks at the door, which is really a fence, ten bucks in advance. I assume there will be a bon fire. I want to go, even though being at craft shows usually makes me want to spend the evening with Epsom salts and ibuprofen.

Tonight, Liz Armstrong -- the Little Bastard's mom -- will be signing books at Gulfport's Art Walk, at Small Adventures.

Don't look!

I wonder if I could somehow work a trade for tonight: Mittens is persistent and clinging, and the smell disappears?

You can look now.


DH said...

strictly a test

Barbara said...

Without having a clue as to the goal of your strict test, I'd STILL say it was a roaring success. I LOVE your picture here, DH. I viewed it full size and I'd say it's awesome, except I'm not thirtysomething. Thanks.