So I spent last weekend at my father's house--camping on the cold, cold ground two nights in a row, with lots of other people, who were also camping on the cold, cold ground or sleeping in their cars, or totally cheating and driving into town to the (warm, warm) hotel. This is a family/friends gathering where Jell-o shots (with whipped cream!) have been considered a legitimate dish-to-pass in previous years.
There was so very much blog-worthy material, but lazy slug that I am, I failed to blog about any of it and most of it has evaporated into the ether between my ears--except for the following two things--one of which has already been repeated so many times, if I ever forget it, I'm sure I'll hear it again and the other of which was burned permanently into my brain so traumatic was it and the only way I'll ever forget it is with copious amounts of expensive electroshock therapy.
First, the tent, the first night. Son-One, Daughter-Only and I had long since gone to bed and were in various states of sleep when I heard Son-Three unzipping the tent. A second later, in a voice both panicked and annoyed he says to Son-One, "Cut it out! Cut it out!"
And Son-One mumbles, "Why? Why?"
And Son-Three yells, "Because you're scaring the f#$% out of me!"
Apparently, Son-One was sleepwalking (he doesn't do it often, but when he does it, he does it well) with his big black blanket draped over his shoulders and sort of lumbering right toward Son-Three who was reasonably certain Son-One had been zombified and was about to take a swing at him.
Added bonus? We were surrounded by tents containing family and friends, all of whom no doubt heard Fouly McFoulmouth* screaming at his brother. Ironically,** Son-One slept through the whole exchange and only woke up (back in his rightful corner of the tent) when the dogs in the next tent reached sheer hysteria brought on by my uncontrollable (and completely exhausted) laughter. (Anyone remember the cartoon Jabber Jaw? With the shark that had the weird-ass laugh that sounded more like a fat woman in anaphylactic shock than an appropriate way to express amusement? Yeah, that's how I was laughing, in a tent, in the dark at some ungodly hour in the middle of the night--of course the dogs thought some horrible crime was taking place. Speaking of dogs (not that you asked), but the puppies were so tired, they slept through the whole thing--and all the other various (loud) things that happened throughout the night.)
And now, for the second highlight--the electroshock therapy worthy thing. Along with a vast array of people (there were always at least 20 people there and in the middle of the afternoon Saturday, the number was closer to 80), there were at least fifteen dogs running around. Some of the kids decided to put name tags on the dogs, which seemed kind of goofy at first but turned out to be a stroke of genius because it allowed you to yell at a specific dog, by name, and then, the dog could take great delight in knowing it was ignoring someone who actually knew its name.
During the volleyball games (kill or be killed volleyball, as usual, and I'll take this completely inappropriate moment to further interrupt myself by saying that my team was--and remains--undefeated!!!! The greatest backyard volleyball team EVER!!), the specific dog being the most annoying was Abby, a middle-aged and highly neurotic yellow lab. Abby's person was on my volleyball team and struggling nobly to ignore Abby who kept bringing balls, frisbees and assorted other throwable objects to her, usually in the middle of yet another Olympic-style volley. Many members of the audience also tried to help distract Abby by throwing stuff for her--Abby would bring it back to the thrower three or four times and then spot her person again and wander back on to the court.
Everyone on both sides of the net was getting very frustrated with Abby and her person assured us that if we all ignored her and just went on playing she would eventually get bored or stepped on and go away.
We tried to ignore her, but she didn't go away. She did get mighty quiet, though, and, between points I glanced over at her and she was standing over the biggest, most frightening pile of dog puke I've ever, ever seen. (Not that I'm a dog puke connoisseur, by the way, and no need to send me any photos of dog puke that you think might rival this dog puke because I'm telling you, if there's something out there grosser than this, I sure as hell don't want to know about it.)
The pile was the size of Abby's (very large) head. It was grayish and lumpy with pokey things clumped together near the top and, perhaps most alarming, what looked like a sock entangled in it. People on the other team were groaning and yelling, "What is it? Dear God, what is it?"
One of my teammates (a teenage boy, but for once, not one of my own teenage boys) said, "It looks like oatmeal and a dead bird***!"
And I said, "There's a sock in it! A sock and oatmeal and a dead bird!"
Then trying to keep the situation from getting farther out of control, I said, "Son-Two go grab a hammer!"
I meant a shovel, but in an instant a very clear image of Son-Two pounding this pile of puke with a hammer was in my brain (and out my mouth--of course, out my mouth), and I actually laughed so hard I ended up on the ground (six merciful feet from the Puke Pile), much to the amusement of the other team. I'll bet they thought I'd be too distracted to continue kicking their asses, but no such luck.
This whole episode has really been on my mind ever since. The most disturbing aspect was not the sight of the gigantic pile, nor was it the fact that Abby had somehow spewed a pile that size without a sound and without any outward distress, but the fact that all of that--the oatmeal, the dead-bird looking clump of grass, the sock****--had been inside Abby the whole time.
*When my sister and I were in our teens, swearing up a storm, my father once ended a lecture on our foul language with the line, "I don't know where you kids picked up that shit!" And then was stunned and confused by our giggles. Unlike my dad, I know exactly where my kids picked up that shit-- from their grandfather, of course.
**Or not, I've been kind of paranoid about using "ironic" since Alanis Morrissette's song by that name, when language sticklers everywhere criticized her for not knowing what ironic really means and then I got all paranoid thinking maybe I've never really known what "ironic" meant either--so maybe it's ironic, maybe it's just funny.
***No birds were harmed in the making of this blog. Turns out, the "bird" was actually a clump of grass that Abby had probably eaten in a futile attempt to help digest the rather large article of clothing she had swallowed.
****Can you believe there was a debate over whether it was actually a sock or a washcloth?! Of course you can believe it, you're reading a blog about dog puke.
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