Before I recount my latest canine-related misadventure and my predictably slow progress on Icarus, I just want to point out that my sister’s cookie recipes are the absolute best and if you haven’t seen her post from yesterday, take a look and get that recipe!
She was always such a great baker—even as a small child—that I myself never bothered to learn to bake. What was the point really, when she was (and is) so much better at it?
Besides, I was always the kind of kid who’d get bored halfway through a batch of cookies. You know, making those little balls exactly the same size so they’d bake evenly and all that.
So I’d just take the rest of the dough and make one really, really big cookie.
That cookie would never bake. Or it would, but the others would burn up in the meantime.
Hey, come to think of it, maybe the same thing happened with the United States. About the time they hit Ohio, one of the guys in charge of carving up territory said to the other, “Listen, dude, if we make all these states the same size as New Hampshire, we’ll never get finished. Look at all this land we got left! We gotta start making these bigger.”
At the end of the day, they made one really, really big state and called it California. And that explains why California—bless its big, beautiful, alternative, West Coast heart!—has always kind of “baked at a different rate” than all the other states.
Here on the home front, Miss Shelley, shown here giving you the “junkyard dog” hairy eyeball,
has once again been defending her turf. Unfortunately for both her and for me, she is apparently unable to discern the differences between an intruder like, say, a groundhog—which she can dispatch with almost frightening haste to his hoggy reward—and one like, say, a skunk.
If I’ve told her once, I’ve told her a thousand times, “Shelley, Shelley, the skunk always wins in the end. They’re the casinos of the animal world.”
But does she listen? Does she listen? No. No, I tell you!
I don’t have to take this crap. I’m going outside to see if I can rustle me up some skunks.
Last night, we’re sitting on the sofa reading, Shelley is outside on one of her routine perimeter checks, and the cat is on the phone to Homeland Security reporting us for “suspicious behavior” and requesting that the apartment be bugged by NSA—typical quiet evening at home—when Alex says, “I think I smell a skunk.”
“Ha, ha,” I say. “I’m sure it’s just that I’m cleaning the oven and it produces strange fumes.” Since I’ve never cleaned the oven before, neither he nor I could possibly know what it smells like, but my feeble attempts at housekeeping are a topic for another day.
“No,” he says. “I’m pretty sure I smell skunk.”
Just then, Shelley bursts through the dog door into the back hall and starts writhing about on the carpet, encrusted with dirt, foaming at the mouth, and running at the nose.
Skunked. R.I.P., carpet.
I grab her, hustle her into the tub, and yell to Alex for backup. First we have to give her a conventional bath to get the mud off, then we have to repeatedly apply a mixture of baking soda, white vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide to her muzzle to cut the skunk spray.
This procedure is met with an unfavorable response from the canine unit.
By the end of it, it is difficult to discern if the situation is better, or if we have just spread the stench around. Our olfactory systems have burned out. This is a small, but significant, blessing.
But there is icing on this fetid cake! I take my hand off the dog for a microsecond and she hops out of the tub and shakes violently, showering the entire bathroom with water and whatever remains of the skunk oil.
Good times, good times.
I could only go back to Icarus once I was sure that I wouldn’t contaminate him.
Nothing was ever said about flying too near a skunk, after all.
Real progress is being made, but you have to be very, very discerning to see it.
How like life!
If you have any
peanut butter chocolate chip cookies kind words to raise me out of my skunk funk, please pass them along. I assure you, they will be richly appreciated.