The drive down to gather our dog was uneventful. I used the opportunity to indoctrinate my children in the music of my childhood via satellite radio. That was fun! Well, it was fun for me, at least.
Then we got to the place where Sophie had been happily playing with other dogs—instead of being freaked that she was at a vet’s office, and someone was going to touch her damn ears again—to find out that there had been a mix-up somewhere, and the boarder thought that she would be leaving Sunday—not Friday.
This means that Sophie—who doesn’t enjoy being dirty, per se, but LOVES to smell bad—had not been bathed. She smelled like shit. Literally. This is probably a byproduct of running around in fields where farm animals traditionally poop.
Did I ever mention that Sophie hates baths? She does. I was hoping that the peer pressure of the other dogs getting baths would help the boarder get Sophie both wet and soapy—something that has been very difficult in our household.
I would have had the boarder bath her right then and there, except for the fact that I thought shit might smell better than wet dog when ingrained in high quality leather seats, and the fact that it was twenty degrees outside.
So we rode home, through three towns, smelling the pungent aroma of horse shit the entire way. By the time we got back to town, I had enough. The dog needed a bath, J was at work, I didn’t want her coming into the house smelling that way, and Sophie, seemed, well, in a good mood. Almost docile. If there was any better time to take her to Mudd Puppies (a place where you can bath your dog using all of their stuff for a reasonable fee), I couldn’t think of it. Unless, she was unconscious of course, but I couldn’t get my hands on a handkerchief, much less ether, or whatever it is they use in the old black and white movies.
Ever watch one dog, count ‘em, ONE dog, completely destroy a grooming operation? I have. Sophie was the only dog there at the time, and she left the world’s largest mess in her wake. Yes, she still hates baths. Yes, I had to carry her sixty-five pound carcass to each grooming station. Yes, she howled like she was a werewolf the ENTIRE time.
They were very nice about it, thank goodness. They actually laughed it off and said they’ve seen worse, especially in labs. Who were bred to go into the water and fetch the water fowl recently shot by their masters. I had always thought it was the Wein in her that made her neurotic and desperately afraid of water.
So, by now, the car was caked in red clay, smelled of horse shit AND wet dog, and had the usual trappings of our family that needed to be picked up.
I figured, since I was already wet and shivering, I might as well hose down the car at the car wash. I didn’t want to take it through an automatic wash since it wasn’t my car, and even in my own car I still feel as if I am going to come off the little track that is leading me through the water downpours and blowers. This car was NICE and I was still unfamiliar with it, and there was no way I was going to take it through the freaky automatic washer with a neurotic wet dog inside.
Who, by this time, was the most indignant creature you have ever seen, and was continually trying to lick and bite the soap off her fur.
I had a couple bucks on me when I pulled into the car wash (a rarity, since I tend to spend cash if I carry it), so I went up to the change machine to get quarters. The change machine was not in order. The sign on the change machine suggested that I visit the office to get my quarters. I did not feel the sense of foreboding that would have been appropriate at that time.
I went a few feet to the left to enter the office—equipped with a glass door and the customary bell. I walked in to greet the sound of water and an older gentleman whom I can only describe as looking like a dirty Santa Claus in Big Smith overalls.
He was standing still, at an angle, where his front was only partially blocked from my view. In the span of about five seconds, I wondered why he was so motionless. I wondered where the sound of running water was coming from in this office. Then he turned around to tell me that he would be with me in a moment, and that’s when I realized that he was pissing in the drain in the concrete expanse of the office floor.
I got full profile of dirty Santa’s junk. I felt like a damn TSA agent.
This is why the x-ray machines and pat downs must be stopped immediately. It gives Americans the sense that it is okay to show off your junk in wildly inappropriate places.
I made sure to grab my change myself—since there was only a drain to piss in and no accompanying sink to wash. I walked numbly back to the bay where my car was and proceeded to soap down the car for three minutes. I say soap- since I couldn’t get the knob to turn to rinse, and I had already deposited my money. There was no way in hell I was going in there again to demand my money back, or to even report that one of the bays was not quite in order. After three minutes of soap, I just got back in the car, and planned to wipe the car down with a towel when I got home.
Perhaps it was the fumes of wet dog and horse shit that greeted me when I got back inside, or perhaps it was the fact that my brain was still dedicating a lot of my attention to processing the dirty Santa’s money shot, but I damn near drove off an embankment before I got out of the car wash parking lot.
I would have been better off with a neurotic dog freaking out and a scratched up luxury rental in the automatic wash.
I got us all home, thankfully, without doing any more damage to the car or my brain. I got everyone inside. I got all of the blankets out of the car that I had used to keep Sophie’s claws off the fine leather. They had worked nicely in keeping the wet-horse shit smelling-dog off the leather. Much of the smell left the car with the blankets. I then towel-dried the soap off the car to the best of my ability. I wiped down and vacuumed the interior of the car, removed the boy’s trash, and sprayed it with Febreeze.
That damn car was not only cleaner than any other rental car in existence; it was cleaner than our real car has ever been. I was proud, but worried that the rental car placed would be suspicious. I was also worried that the wet dog smell would somehow bleed through.
I went in the house to be greeted by a dog that only stopped licking and chewing the soap off of herself for the moment that it took to deliver to me the most withering look a dog can give.
I then turned in the rental car. By this time, J was off work, and met me at the rental car office. Yes, that’s right. This experience had taken all damned day. I still had plans to put up the tree in the evening. For all that I had been through that day, and the stories I could provide to J for comic relief, I expected him to help me pull out the crates of Christmas decorations from the garage storage area, and place the lights on the tree.
The agent at the rental office commended us on how clean the car smelled. I stepped back, waiting for the other shoe (of suspicion) to drop. Nothing. Yet. Whew!
I hope he doesn’t read my blog.
So, Christmas tree time, right?