Hunky Hubby and I are staying in Knoxville this weekend. Note to potential burglars – our well-armed son and snarling hounds are home, so enter our house at your own peril. But, I digress…
We are here to look after my mother-in-law Judy. This is a quick trip, and I am certain that we will return many times to ensure that MIL is safe, comfortable, well-cared for and secure. HH and I are staying in an area of town called Cedar Bluff. It is convenient to MIL’s home, to her new home in a skilled nursing facility, McScrooge’s Wine and Spirits, several restaurants, a Kroger’s with a Starbuck’s inside and several of HH’s family members. We look forward to dinner with HH’s cousin and his marvelous wife tomorrow night. We have selected Mellow Mushroom. Then, Sunday night we will enjoy the company of HH’s aunt and cousin. I advised HH that, no matter what he was doing to help MIL, I needed to have my ass parked in the hotel Sunday afternoon to watch my Packers. Again, I digress…
HH and I stayed in this very hotel during Christmas in 2004. The kids stayed with their Grandma and her (now late) husband, Gaston. We brought (now late) Xugana, the wonder hound with us, and MIL didn’t have enough room at her house for two additional adults, two kids and a dog.
While HH and I stayed at the Residence Inn at night, we brought Xugana over to visit MIL, Gaston and the kids every day. This was a Big Deal. MIL had never had an animal of the four-legged type in her home. Her home is a lovely bungalow, which, at the time, was pristine, dander-free and had white carpeting in the living area. MIL, in spite of her first impression of Xugana when they met in Hawaii in 2001, had come around and viewed Xugana as a friend, no longer a slobbering enemy out to devour her grandchildren. (Note – Xugana loved the kids as if they were her own puppies. She was part Staffordshire Terrier and looked fierce. When MIL first met Xugana, before HH and I were married, she unfairly thought Xugana was trying to eat the man-cub. She was just kissing him).
Xugana made herself at home in MIL’s bungalow. We had a dog bed for her, so after investigating the entire home and licking Judy and Gaston, she curled up on her bed. All Xugana wanted was to be with her humans. And to eat. But, MIL wouldn’t let Xugana have her food or water bowls in the house, so Wonder Hound was banished to the garage to eat and drink. Xugana was the perfect house-guest, but, even so, I respected MIL’s request.
MIL liked Xugana. She welcomed this dog into her home, not only in December 2004, but many times thereafter. This time was particularly noteworthy, however. MIL was a world class chef. Nobody ever went hungry at Judy’s home. Ever. Judy prepared a Christmas feast of monumental proportions, including a turkey that had to have been raised in Chernobyl. There was a lot of leftover turkey, including the massive carcass, floating in butter and poultry grease that MIL wanted to save for some reason. She left the hulking mass of turkey and fat in the garage to congeal. Or something.
After we ate, belched a lot and unbuttoned the top buttons on our jeans, MIL enlisted the help of our daughter to deliver mountains of cookies and baked goods to her neighbors. HH and I cleaned up the kitchen. Xugana was banished to the garage to eat her dinner. I was, at this point, blissfully unaware that the turkey occupied the same space. After a few moments, we let Xugana back into the house. I was taken aback that she had not eaten her food. Naturally, I was concerned that something was wrong. I was, and am, in charge of worrying.
MIL and daughter returned from their cookie-delivery service, and entered the home through the garage. MIL burst into the house, shrieking that something had gotten into the turkey pan, noshed on the carcass and completely wiped out the congealed grease. Hunky Hubby and I looked at each other with horrified looks on our faces. Time nearly stopped. We turned and ran into the living room, from whence loud horking noises were emanating. Noise was not the only thing emanating. Xugana the brown dog was the fat-snarfling culprit, of course. She was probably very pleased with herself as the gelatinous mass oozed down her gullet. She was not, however, very happy when it raced back up at the speed of greased lightning. It should be noted that Xugana had a perplexed look, as if she were asking “what in the name of all that is holy is happening to me?!” I reached out to her, in slow-mo, yelling in slow-mo, trying to grab her to fling her outside. Trying, mostly, to remove her shuddering body from the white carpet.
No joy. Poor Xugana deposited much of the turkey detritus onto the white carpet. I don’t know who looked more shocked, MIL, Xugana or me. Hunky Hubby swooped the dog up and ran outside with her. She was nowhere near finished clearing her system. MIL looked at the enormous, quivering mass on her carpet, looked at me, looked back at the carpet, and then finally back at me. MY dog had sullied her home. And sullied it in a grand, spectacular, unforgettable manner. I didn’t know if MIL was going to cry or scream at me. She chose the latter. In fairness, I would have done the same thing if I were in her shoes.
I cleaned up after the dog. MIL had some carpet cleaner, which I used after scooping up the effluence. Then, I wrote her a check so she could have the carpet professionally cleaned and I asked HH to get the three of us the hell out of there before MIL attempted to kill Xugana. Or me. We’d go back the next day. We had to collect the kids, after all.
Xugana had demonstrated her ability to rid her body of pollutants via both ends by this time. On the ride back to the hotel, her continued gurgling and whining were clues that she had not yet stopped erupting. What to do? We couldn’t take Xugana back into the hotel room while she was still channeling her inner Vesuvius. The only option was to walk her until we were confident that she was empty.
Next door to our hotel was (and is) a car dealer…and another in line…and another. We took Xugana for an extended stroll, thinking we’d look at cars as we wandered through the various lots. There are no sidewalks, therefore our options were limited. As we walked leisurely around one dealership, looking into the windows of the shiny new cars, Brown Dog started to tremble and make sounds we hadn’t heard yet. Hunky Hubby and I turned to look at each other when whatever was left inside our beloved pooch forcibly exited. It was like watching a slimy Alien burst out of her. Thankfully, it didn’t erupt out of her chest, but took both of nature’s intended routes instead.
After this episode, Xugana gave a little shake, wagged her tail and looked up at us with her goofy smile. I imagined she was saying “Well, that wasn’t much fun, but I’m fine now. Hey, I’m hungry! Do you have any kibble?” She looked kind of pleased. And cold. She wanted to go back to the room and get warm, or check to see if elves filled up her dog bowl. That was well and good, but we had nothing with which to clean up the car lot. HH and I skulked back toward the hotel. We tried to imagine the reaction of the wallah who would have to hose down the concrete the next morning. Would he think aliens had vaporized something? Would he call the hazmat cleanup team? Or, would he and the dealership personnel watch their surveillance videos and issue a BOLO for two nefarious humans and a brown dog?
When we checked out the next morning, as planned, all three of us had Groucho Marx fake mustaches, glasses and noses and wore trenchcoats as a disguise. Just in case the car dealership had spies strategically posted to catch the perpetrators…All’s well that ends well. We were allowed back this trip, and our faces weren’t plastered on Wanted posters in the lobby. I think East Tennessee may have recovered.
10 January 2015