Monday, February 16, 2009

My morning misadventure

I'm sitting in my kitchen, drinking a cup of coffee. It's the last day of the long weekend. The sun's coming up, my dog is at my feet, and you might wonder what could be better. Well, all of it.

I woke up over an hour ago feeling parched. I stumbled towards the kitchen with my eyes half-open. Superdog was happy to see me awake so early, but he's usually more subdued in the wee hours. He likes his rest, too.

I pushed through the kitchen door and was about two steps in before the a smell hit me, the kind of smell that can make you go from sleepy-eyed to red-alert in a second. I sniffed again, just to make sure I wasn't imagining things (as if my brain would conjure a smell like that just for the heck of it), but no. Something was amiss. I took a turn around the island, and right there--in the middle of the kitchen floor--was Superdog's Unfortunate Accident.

Everyone has their own reactions to these random and inexplicable occurrences. Mine was to wonder how a medium-sized golden retriever managed to produce something that big. I almost felt sorry for him. Almost, except I was going to be the one cleaning it up. I'll spare you the messy bits.

A lot of bleach and vinegar later, I put on my shoes and jacket while a very excited Superdog waited by his leash. It's below freezing outside, but I stayed in my knee-length shorts. This would be a brief trip, an emergency outing. Time was of the essence, and I couldn't afford luxuries like pants. Besides, it would be quick. Five minutes, tops.

Superdog and I made it to the end of the backyard, and it was actually a nice walk. The weather wasn't so cold. My bare shins were fine. My sock-less feet were still warm.

I was hoping that after Superdog's Unfortunate Accident, he would have only one thing on his mind. This was not the case. The backyard seemed to hold fresh wonders for him on this February morning. Every twig, every leaf, every frozen patch of earth; he found a new appreciation for each one, sniffing them inch by inch. I wondered if he had a life-altering experience during the night, and whether he discovered a new-found appreciation for shrubbery in the meantime.

I started to regret the shorts after about fifteen minutes without action. This was not what I bargained for. I must have miscalculated the severity of Superdog's situation. My patience was reaching its limit. Five minutes later, I quit. I tugged on the leash, and we began the walk back to the house.

Halfway back, something must have clicked. One second he was walking at my side, and the next second he was holding the pose I'd been waiting for. Victory! Or not. The pose didn't hold, and we were back to square one.

Now I knew there was something to wait for, and I couldn't in good conscience bring Superdog inside. Not when I might have to clean the mess all over again. Two more false starts, and I was having dark thoughts about tying the leash to a tree, if only so I could go inside and put on some pants. I coaxed, I begged, I swore. Finally, my prayers were answered. He held the pose. I turned around to give him some privacy, and watched the sun start to show through the trees to the southeast. The sky had the dark grey of pre-dawn when I'd stepped out into the yard. Now there was an orange glow, and shades of blue overhead.

The business concluded, we walked back to the house. Sleep was beyond me now, so I sat down with my laptop at the kitchen table. That's where I am now. I have a cup of coffee nearby, the morning sun is getting stronger, and Superdog is lying down by my side.

What could be better?

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