A Stain on My Day
Not much bothers me as much as when people assume that my "lifestyle" is the result of some kind of well-planned scam, that all of the poor career decisions I've made are a smokescreen. In their eyes, I am a genius of slack, somehow having convinced this poor, hardworking woman to finance my educational whimsies, then trudge off to work while I sit at home, eating malted milk balls and watching TV.
This simply is not so. I've gotten where I am today via 20 years of random screw-ups, short-sighted thinking and a breathtaking inability to fit my square pegged-self into the conveniently round holes of society. Don't let the polo shirt fool you; I am one seriously out-of-sync guy.
And lest you think that my days stretch out before me as endless fun, consider that the complications of my days, while seemingly trivial, have no less impact on my ability to enjoy myself than an unreasonable boss or client does yours.
Consider today's conundrum: I woke up feeling like someone had just slammed me in the jaw with a 2 x 4, drove the Jawa to Discovery Science camp (this week is one of the three this summer in which he has an actual planned activity), went to the gym, drove home and ... hmm ... seems to be a very unusual smell in the house.
It hit me immediately after opening the door. Shack stood there, hanging his ridiculously giganticly-eared head in shame. I looked around and found nothing. But ... that ... smell. It was not good, not the way I hope our house usually smells.
"I'll find it eventually," I thought jauntily, then continued into the bedroom to separate laundry.
It was while hauling the laundry basket downstairs that I found it. Not a small pool of urine, or a sad, but manageable pile of vomit. No, what began yesterday as a hint -- while at the dog park, the Jawa mentioned that "Shack's poo has the consistency of pudding," thus guaranteeing that we would be eating no pudding for the immediate future -- now sat before me in colorful, malodorous symptomatic form: Shack is not feeling well.
I'm sure you've heard people describe how, during an auto accident or other traumatic event, time seems to slow down. Consider finding a giant stack of dog diarhea parked next to the dining room table a traumatic event. Time slowed down. In fact, I had enough time to consider whether I had any chance of ignoring the problem, before admitting that I would have to do something about it.
Quickly coming to my sense, I thought, "Carpet cleaner." But we had none. So I grabbed what I could with two paper towels, then sprinted down the front steps to the garbage can, making noises only decipherable by zealots who handle snakes for fun. This took care of the lion's share of the problem, but left an indelible stain on our very tired and on its last legs dining room rug.
Consider our dining room, and my role in its present state. Even if you take away Shack's attention-grabbing efforts, the room is no show-stopper. We have a formica table that was really cool when we bought it for $99 in 1995, thinking that it'd be hip and retro and provide a bridge until we could afford a real dining room table. Twelve years later, it's still here.
As is the tired old blue rug, dotted with small keepsakes from various meals the Jawa has eaten since we bought it, in 2000. Sandra Bullock has been planning our dining room makeover since 2002. We have decided on at least 5 dining room tables and a half-dozen rugs. And yet, when it came time for Shack to cut loose, he knew that if he went into the dining room, we would care that much, because we still have the same post-collegiate, stained, falling-apart setup in there that we've had since moving to San Francisco. If this is a con I'm running, it's a particularly cruel one.
Still no carpet cleaner. I would have to improvise.
Can you use Comet on a rug? The label says "no." Windex? Lysol? No, and no. I remembered that my mother kept a large bottle of something called "Simple Green" around, so I drove to the grocery store and bought some, then sprayed about half the bottle on the stain. This left me with a wider, more deeply ingrained stain.
Downstairs I found some Baking Soda stuff. I poured it on the stain. 30 minutes later, the stain was still there, but now at least it smelled like Baking Soda instead of Shack's intestinal distress.
Meanwhile, Shack was lying around, waiting to get yelled at. No way. This was my fault, for leaving him inside while I went to work out.
My options seemingly exhausted, I decided that the only thing to do was to flip the rug over. So I moved the table and chairs from the rug, pausing twice to straighten out chair legs that were collapsing inward on themselves. Shack decided that now as a good time to check and see if I was still angry with him, so he planted himself in the middle of the rug.
Stupid rug. Just as bad on the other side.
Seriously, this took about a half hour. Me flipping the rug around, then trying to match it to the pad underneath, Shack running from spot to spot on the rug, all the while trying to make sure that at least two of his legs remained on its surface. And after all that, I decided to just flip it back over. Six of one, half a dozen of the other.
You can't accuse me of slacking on this one. By lunch I'd tried three cleaners and the other side of the rug. And the stain remained as stubbornly obvious as it had been the first time I saw it.
What I needed was that little cat the the Cat in the Hat keeps under his lid, the one that has the thing called VROOM. Wipe that stain off the earth, shovel the snow and put everything back in place before mom gets home, or in my case, before the Jawa returns from camp. Shoot.
Finally, I found something downstairs, something I'd overlooked. A bottle of something called "Kids and Pets." You pour it out, onto the stain, let it sit there, and, in a non-toxic fashion, it lifts the stain away. You blot at it with a clean towel. If it doesn't work the first time, you repeat steps 2 through 4.
If it doesn't work the second time, you pour a half-gallon of it onto the stain, go away for two hours, then scrub it with a wire brush.
At this point, I began to notice that the stain had become part of the weave of the rug. It was now difficult to ascertain where the rug ended and the stain began. Taking a short moment to remind myself what this stain was comprised of, I gagged, turned away, and poured more "Kids and Pets" onto the affected area.
As of right now, 8:10 pm, the stain stands. It is part of a larger wet area made up of 70% "Kids and Pets," 15% Simple Green, 10% Baking Soda and 5% water. Sandra Bullock just shrugged her shoulders and said, "I think we should just order that new rug now."
Simple as that!