Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A (Long) Friday Story

 It happened. 

Thursday, after keeping myself in a continual, happy, not too busy state for 2 weeks, I finally got bored. After spending the morning glued to the Internet and radio because of the outstanding SCOTUS decision, I realized I had nothing to do. I actually started to do the boring things I had put on the back burner for a few weeks now. I even started looking for jobs in Togo. Someone, please, give me a job in Togo!  It was so horrible that I arranged for Friday to be a busy day so that I wouldn't have to be tied to my computer doing more boring stuff. Responsibilities are the worst! I made the dogs an appointment to go to the groomers because they are disgusting and they smell really bad and M totally bought it when I told him I couldn't do it myself because the bathroom is too small. I arranged for our UAB to finally be dropped off at our apartment. And I set up an appointment for an evaluation of the dogs for doggy day care. Yes. I said doggy day care. This is my life. 

The dog drop-off at the groomers went smoother than expected in the morning. I put the harnesses on them so that they could easily be dragged from place to place against their will. I heard the groomer try to put them in a kennel, and while I can tell it wasn't a very good experience for her, I contained my smile and mentally high-fived myself for not having to take on this horrible job myself. See you later suckers, oh, and, mommy loves you!

When the UAB delivery guy called to say he had arrived (after 2 weeks of blowing me off) I was overjoyed. I wasn't sure exactly what I'd find in there, but I knew it was stuff that "7am-me" and two completely indifferent packers must've thought I'd enjoy. When they arrived at my door I was dumbfounded.The boxes looked as though they had taken up residence in a ninja-warrior training center before arriving in VA. The corners were all bashed in and there was literally a hole the size of a foot in one of the boxes. Sweet security, guys. I opened the boxes to find a giant wreck.  On top of what must have been the most violent route to get to these boxes to VA, I realized the packers had literally just thrown stuff in from around my house. Oh my gosh! They managed to pack all my reusable shopping bags! That's so much better than something important! Yessssss! And, Fantastic, a decorative bowl! That makes so much sense to have in a tiny little apartment- who needs a bowl we can actually use when we can have one that's shaped like a turtle and sits in the closet!!

YES! Turtle bowl!!
The worst part is, they actually had "just thrown stuff in." I had set aside 2 plastic shoe boxes of pens, pencils and office supplies to be packed-which may seem crazy until you travel to West Africa and try to accomplish anything requiring a pen that works. They had not been wrapped or taped shut before being packed so they were dumped throughout the box- along with my jewelery box, our knife block and multiple games. I spent hours picking up game pieces, earrings, necklace-entangled knives, ink-covered reusable shopping bags, and trying to salvage what I could.

On the bright side, they did manage to wrap up a few things. They wrapped the 2 throw pillows. They wrapped my 1/2 a food processor. They wrapped the turtle bowl. They wrapped the racquetball racquet. They did not, however wrap the tennis racquets. Racquet discrimination. I'm sure of it.*

After unpacking everything, I went to pick up the dogs. As I paid, the woman went in the back to get the dogs. She came out with a look of horror on her face, dragging my unwilling dogs behind her. I looked them over. They looked clean-- until I got to see Kima's head, which looked like it had been dunked in a bucket of Loki's spit. "I'm so sorry!" she sputtered, almost in tears, "I can re-wash her!" At that moment I couldn't help but crack up. They put them in the same kennel as I had requested, of course they were going to slobber on each other! I wasn't sure the extent of the slobber would be so great, but voila! Loki was leaking like a faucet and Kima had a slobbery head. My fault. At least the rest of their bodies were clean...

From the groomers we went directly to the doggy day care evaluation. We initially looked into doggy day cares because our apartments provide housekeeping services once a week, and since I will never turn down someone wanting to come clean my house, we need the dogs to be out during that time. After researching doggy day cares in the area, I came across the winner. This facility was by far the best. Kima and Loki would be in the same room, there were couches to lay on, swimming pools to swim in and jungle gyms to play on. It was like puppy heaven. On top of that, you get a report card of your dogs behavior every day. It tells you how well they did with the other dogs, what they did, how much they ate and any other relevant information. When I found this place I knew it was the one. I called M immediately to tell him about it. After telling him the part about the report cards the other end of the phone went silent. After a few moments M responded “What is wrong with you? Why would we need a doggy report card?!? They are dogs!”  I got very angry with him, told him to take it up with my childless ovaries, and hung up the phone. 

So it was decided, we would use this day care facility.  But first, the dogs' behavior needed to be evaluated- they don’t just let any dogs into this doggy day care. 

Besides pooping on everything, our dogs did great! They behaved wonderfully and won the hearts of the staff within the first few minutes. I expect that they will be getting A+’s and gold stars everyday. 

As we left, Loki jumped in the front seat. I looked at him and told him if he wanted to be up front he was going to have to wear a seat belt. He looked back at me and said, “You wouldn’t dare. I’ll make this entire drive miserable.” So I did. I reached over and put the seat belt on him. I knew if I didn’t he would at some point or another go flying through the windshield. This can be attributed to both my driving and his sense of balance. 

After buckling him up, I looked back down at my GPS. The GPS was telling me to go a route that would take me back by way of Seven Corners, a very scary intersection I wanted to avoid. I also wanted to get over to the National Foreign Affairs Training Center to pick up M by 4:30. I looked at the map, found a “better way” and headed in that direction. After driving for about 15 minutes on windy, forested roads, my gas light started blinking and the car started beeping. I would’ve gone back the way I came, but I had already made a few turns in what I was sure must have been the “right direction.” The dogs both looked at me and frowned. 

I finally came across the smallest town in the world. It must’ve had 8 buildings. One of them had a Texaco sign. I pulled into the parking lot. As I passed the building I realized it wasn’t a Texaco. It was an antique shop. It was an antique Texaco sign. It’s how they get suckers like me to go in. It’s also the beginning of a horror movie (I’m no dummy). I got to the back of the parking lot, and turned my car around, trying to get out of there as soon as possible, when I noticed two fifteen-year-old girls behind the dumpster sneaking cigarettes. “Hey!” I yelled. They immediately looked panicked, threw their cigarettes down and popped up from behind the dumpster. “Can you guys tell me where I can get some gas, please?” I pleaded with them. They looked annoyed that I had interrupted their cigarettes, but as they approached the car they must’ve grown amused with the lost, panicked lady and her buckled-in dog, so they told me to take the next left and I’d come across a gas station in a few miles. I thanked them profusely and probably should’ve given them a few bucks to replace their cigarettes that I ruined, but I didn’t. 

After driving for another 15 minutes and having my gas-less car beep at me with greater and greater frequency every mile, I thought for sure the girls had lied to me in retaliation for my cigarette ruining. I had visions of me and my two dogs,  running through the forest away from the little antique-shop-of-horrors employees, who were certainly after us by now. 

A. Our house B. Doggy Day Care C. Me, lost at an Antique Horror Shop
Eventually, we came across the gas station. I liked the smoking girls again. I filled up the car with gas, went inside, asked directions, got some water for myself and the dogs, and got an apple and some potato chips, since I hadn’t eaten all day and at the rate things were going, didn’t know when I’d eat again. I jumped back in the car, opened the chips, placed them down on the passenger side floor for easy access, started my apple and drove towards the interstate. Finally we found the signs that told us we were going in the right direction, and we made it to the interstate just in time for rush hour traffic. As we sat in traffic, I finished my apple and reached down for some chips. I shoved a handful in my mouth and knew immediately something was wrong. They were soggy. I looked over. The way Loki was strapped in the seat next to me, his tongue dangled right over the edge of the seat. Right above my chips. Like Kima, my potato chips had also been baptized by mass amounts of Loki drool.

I got home 2 hours later than I had originally expected. I was hot, tired and I desperately needed to brush my teeth and gargle some Listerine. I walked in the door the same time M did, which allowed me the perfect opportunity to yell at him for not putting gas in the car. What a rude husband! He told me he’d make it up to me in margaritas, and to get ready because we had dinner plans with some of his friends from FSI. I obliged. Apologizes offered in margarita form are usually accepted. 

I was very excited to meet M’s friends from school. They were all very nice people and I wanted to make a good impression. As we received our first pitcher of margarita, M, always the gentleman, offered to fill my glass up. As he went to pour a drink into my glass, something happened and most of the apology margarita ended up in our laps. He now owed me several more apology margaritas. Shortly after that, I received my salad. There was a huge peperoncini on the side, and I couldn’t wait to eat it. As I bit into the pepper, the lady across the table stopped talking, and started wiping off the side of her face and looking around. In my haste, I didn’t realize the peperoncini had been FULL of juice. And I squirted the diplomat sitting across the table with it. She was wonderful and laughed about it as we all jokingly pondered the physics of pepper juice fluid dynamics. Next, I decided the best way to take on the pepper was to use a fork and knife, like a fancy person. As I cut, the three diplomats to my left were squirted by my peperoncini. The whole table stared at me. That’s when M took the pepper away from me. Thankfully, I managed to get through the rest of the meal without spilling any more food on anyone else. M might not have many friends that want to hang out with us as a couple after that dinner, but if they do, I assume they will probably come wearing protective gear.

After a record-hot day and a messy dinner, we rounded out the night with a huge, lightning-filled thunderstorm that took out our Internet and power. M and I got home, listened to the rain, and cuddled two very scared dogs in the dark. It was a healing, cleansing way to end such a hectic day. 

*The purpose of this blog was not to complain (although I must admit, it did feel good). It was to remind myself (and any other FSO spouses in my same position) not to be too nice. I just kinda let these guys do what they wanted without lurking over their shoulders because I didn't want to be that naggy lady who wouldn't just let them do their job. I know better now. While I will always be nice and tip too much, I will make sure that I am more in control of the situation. I should've made them unpack those boxes to show me what they had packed, and then made them repack them with the stuff I wanted in there. 

In reality, everything that was important was in my car with me. And even most of that stuff, I would've been fine with losing.  We are going to Togo, not outer space. Anything we actually need, we can get, and we'll be happy- as long as we have each other.

1 comment:

  1. Stupendous! I never smile this much at my computer. Or snarf pizza through my nose while doing so...
    Unbefreakinglievable packing job, but awsome storytelling! It's like you're right here :-)