I just finished rounding up Ashley Cooper from another escape–she’s covered in mud and white paint (quite noticeable on a black dawg), and something that smells awful. I don’t know where she’s been, and don’t want to know.
This year has been full of changes: some more memorable than others. I was hoping Ashley would change her habit of escaping, but that habit remains as all habits without much forethought or premeditation. It is what she does. Whenever we find her, she’ll appear to feel a little guilty; lay down and try to look invisible just as she does when we catch her eating the cat’s food. It is the same look you get from the children when you walk in on them drinking straight from the milk jug.
Red-handedness is recognizable: one of the observable behavior characteristics is the diversion to avoid eye contact. With milk on your lips, and while holding the milk jug without a glass or a proper cup in sight or reach, eyes rove all over the room as if you’d misplaced your keys or something. Your desperate search for anything that might get attention away from your crime will always fail miserably. You then have to hear your mother say that inevitable reviling denunciation:
“Think of the germs!”
While sharing is often considered a virtue, infecting the family food supply is not. Such a practice is sure to keep whatever is going around in circulation. Generally, my sons only harbor germs and do not come down with symptoms of anything unless something important that cannot be re-scheduled is at hand. Then, fevers rage, but not until everybody in the house has had a slurp or two from the communal milk jug.
Cosmo Topper, being a dawg, takes no interest in our concerns for health and cleanliness, and only wishes to be out of the way should we decide to clean anything. Well, Ashley needed a cleaning, so I ran some water in the tub for her bath.
Hearing the sound of the water, Topper ran into the living room and did the dawg-thing: walking around and around in ever diminishing concentric circles as if he intended to rear-end himself and disappear into nothingness. But he didn’t do that. He navigated to the rug, ever so conservatively, and laid down so as to expose his clean side and appear to have no need of a bath himself. As he does this, he is hoping to look like nothing more than a discoloration in the carpet. He will not flinch, sigh, or bat an eye even if you promised him a truck load of soup bones under pending conditions and prospects of a bath.
Ashley comes out of the tub as often and as fast as I put her in there, and the soap makes her slippery. It isn’t sensible to even think about not getting in the tub with her, because you are going to be soaking wet, and covered with soap and dawg hair anyway if you attempt the bathing process at all. All the while, Brenda stands guard at the door to make sure neither Ashley or I can escape until the bath is finished.
With dawg-shampoo, paint remover, turpentine and scrub brushes in one hand, I hold onto the dawg with the other. Neither of us is wearing anything but an attitude saturated with inspirations, commitments, and outright dread. Brenda can see Topper from her watch at the door, but he doesn’t appear likely to break in on us.
After a lot of scrubbing and washing and rubbing and yelling things the children really shouldn’t be allowed to hear, it is time for the rinse. Me ‘n ol’ Ashley are lathered up and I probably have as much dawg hair on me as she does. While the filthy bathwater is draining, the shower should do nicely to rinse both me and the dawg.
Both of us are in the tub gripping porcelain with our toenails, and hanging on for the ride that is sure to come as soon as that shower head sprays forth. As I turned on the shower, she bolted. I’m not sure if it was the sudden rush of ice cold water on the back of her head, or the way I screamed. I was finally able to get the water set to “warm”, and drug her back into the tub with me. The burst of cold water had turned me blue, but dawgs are thought to be color-blind so perhaps that’s why she didn’t say anything.
It was a necessary cleaning: you can’t let a dawg roam through the house and hop up on the furniture after it has been on a paint bucket inspection at a nearby dump without taking a bath. Brenda won’t even allow me ‘n the boys to do that.
After bathing comes the drying. We enlist the aid of our sons with this duty. And, they make sure wet dawg hair is transferred from the dawg to the rest of the house. The dawg would shake water all over everybody and everything in the bathroom; towels would whirl, and the more we dried the wetter everything seemed. It is strange that an animal that does not wish to be bathed doesn’t wish to be dried, either.
There just isn’t anything like good quality family time. The only thing that saved Ashley from being rubbed bald-headed was the distraction of sounds coming from the television in the living room. If it weren’t for television, family time could continue, maybe lasting an hour or so.
Even Ashley was ready for a break, and showed a mild interest in the TV herself. Soon, both the dogs and the boys were lounging in contorted positions to soak in an episode of someone else’s adventures. When TV takes over, you can almost smell a complete abandon and disregard for any and all other tasks at hand. Maybe it’s just the wet dawg I was smelling. Even though it is winter, the dawg will eventually dry if it doesn’t rain for a day or two.
I’ve talked with other parents who seem concerned that their children spend too much time watching the tube. Well, maybe parents need to compete a little: offer some entertainment that gets the family involved in some activity together. There is not much on this earth that can hold a candle to time spent with our sons.
By this I am speaking of some of the fun things we do together (and there is actually a lot of that), not necessarily just holding a dawg bathing event even though they can be more fun than a barrel of monkeys. Now there’s a concept! Can you imagine giving a barrel of monkeys a bath? I can imagine David, Nathan and Mason trying to dry ’em off one at a time, and Brenda trying to keep them in the barrel. I suspect my position in such endeavor would be somewhat over the barrel.
Well, though I close for now, I’m sure to write again tomorrow. Other matters are on my mind, but it’s late and I’m tired, and you probably need a break as well.