Gravy and all

By Mir
August 16, 2006

When I last took care of our charming puppy-guest, she was still very much a puppy. She needed to go out approximately every seven minutes, and even then, she had a number of accidents in the house. If you left any item unattended either on the floor or anywhere within reach, she would chew it up. But that was this past winter.

But she’s much older and wiser and calmer, this time, and when I picked her up I said, “She doesn’t have accidents any more, right?”

“Right,” said my friend’s husband. “She’s very good, now. She’ll tell you if she wants to go out.”

This morning when we let her out of the crate, she let us know she wanted to go out. By peeing on the floor while I was getting her leash. Message received!

Oh, she was sorry. She was terribly sorry and ran outside with me and tried to lick me to tell me how very sorry she was; she had not MEANT to pee on the floor, she just really had to go and it was so exciting and she couldn’t help it. Fortunately she peed on the vinyl, and it was easy enough to clean it up.

After being told that she doesn’t have accidents anymore, I had continued on with, “And does she destroy things? Or is she pretty much past that?”

“Well, if she’s feeling neglected, she’ll maybe chew something up,” he admitted. “But on the whole, she’s pretty good. She’s nearly an adult, you know.”

(This was later corroborated by Monkey, who spent some quality time rubbing the dog’s belly and then cheerfully announced, “She has ten nipples! That’s a WHOLE LOT, even for a growned-up dog!” Circumstances didn’t allow me to investigate further at that time, but it occurs to me now that he may have been equating her nipples with, say, rings on a tree stump. He probably thinks really old dogs are studded with countless nipples.)

Anyway, the Nippled Wonder will indeed chew up anything she can clamp her dainty jaws around. This has proven amusing for me, as I love nothing better than an immediate (and slobbery!) consequence when my children fail to take care of their belongings. However, I suspect she ate some Legos today. Or maybe something of even more sinister origin.

The morning piddling accident was long-forgotten, when I sat at my desk working and the dog lay on a pillow at my feet. (Yes, really. She likes to guard me, so I set her up right next to my desk.) Tappity tap tap, went I, at the keyboard, and the children were finishing up their lunches with a slurpity slurp slurp of milk, and the dog suddenly lurched off of the pillow—inches from my feet—and made her own contribution to our symphony.


You may or may not recall; I am emetaphobic. I am legally and genetically bound to deal with my children’s vomit, but I found myself confronting a PILE of BORROWED DOG BARF and I briefly considered just, I don’t know, moving away.

After the initial panic I did manage to spring into action. I got the dog outside (poor thing; you could tell she was mortified, as if she’d just gotten over the morning’s embarrassment and now THIS) and handed her off to Chickadee while Monkey fetched supplies at my direction, then I fell to cleaning the carpet.

I don’t know what made her sick or what horrors lurked in that orange spew. I was too busy gagging and trying to think of something—anything—else to investigate. And as I finished up, I realized that I did have something else to think about.

When I was putting away groceries last weekend, I discovered a turkey in my deep freezer. I think I bought it around Christmas (gotta love the surplus turkey sales; I paid $4). Of course, the turkey had been subsequently buried in frozen vegetables and whatnot, so upon my discovery I decided that it needed to be cooked this week, because Christmas was… a long time ago.

So now I remembered, I had a turkey to cook today. Because nothing works up a powerful appetite like bodily fluids.

Well. If I’m going to go to the trouble to make a turkey, I may as well just go for it, right? When the children questioned why I was preparing a turkey right after lunch, I told them that the day before my birthday is ALWAYS Thanksgiving.

“Really, Mama?” asked Chickadee.

“No,” I said. “But wouldn’t that be funny?”

“Not really,” she said.

So then I had to chase her around the kitchen with the turkey neck to make her go away. (Stop looking at me like that. As if you wouldn’t have done the same thing.)

I got the turkey seasoned and put into the oven. I started making stuffing. I chopped vegetables and put a pan on to start a glaze for the turkey. The dog remained calm and leakage-free, and the children were playing nicely… inside.

“Everybody out!” I declared. “It’s a beautiful day, go play outside. Take the dog with you.” It was a beautiful day, but the truth was that their inside play seemed to be getting louder and louder and my head was throbbing. Then I realized, of course, that they weren’t getting louder, I was just feeling crummy. Oh. Right. That. I shooed them out the door and took my temperature. I was running a low fever (again).

I also had a turkey in the oven, glaze bubbling on the stove, and dishes in various states of preparation on every available counter surface, because I was in the middle of making a complete turkey dinner. Because I am insane.

Luckily, I didn’t have much time to panic about that, because the sounds of the children screaming and brakes screeching outside distracted me. The dog had gotten off the leash, and made a break for a passing car. (We live on a very quiet street. But she ran after one of our neighbors.)

I had the presence of mind to turn off the stove burners before running outside to retrieve the dog, calm the kids, and thank the neighbor for not running any of them over. We all came back inside, and Monkey declared that the kitchen smelled funny.

I wondered if the dog would get sick again if I shared the turkey dinner extravaganza with her, while the kids were safely enclosed in her crate.

Things were calm for about an hour, and then Chickadee remembered something she’d left outside. She ran out for it… leaving the door wide open. Because she was raised by wolves.

The dog made a break for it, and as I ran out the back door after her, the screen door fell off the track. I dropped it on my foot and then propped it there on the deck and ran into the woods to get the dog (who finally succumbed to “Hey, wanna go for a RIDE?”). Chickadee and I had a discussion about closing doors, the dog had a time-out in her crate, and I glazed the turkey right about the time I remembered that my doctor’s office was supposed to call with my test results today.

A friend called, offering to stop by tonight with ice cream to celebrate my birthday. There was a pause, and she slowly added, “… except, today isn’t your birthday. I thought it was tomorrow. I mean, that today was tomorrow. Your birthday is tomorrow. Nevermind.” I suggested they come by tomorrow. No, tomorrow they would be busy. I put pan number four into the sink and said, “Well, then come tonight. In fact, please come tonight, and eat this stupid turkey I am cooking. I am sick and cranky and horrible company, but, um, come over anyway.” To my surprise, she agreed to join us.

I called the doctor’s office and found out that everyone had gone home early. So I found out exactly nothing about my test results.

And I am sick and I was cranky and the stuffing was too dry but it was the best damn gravy I have ever made and we had a lovely dinner during which all of our children ate (and Monkey used such impeccable manners, I made a mental note to figure out what Chickadee had done… for this was the halo-polishing routine of a sibling who knows he is looking good by comparison). Afterwards there was ice cream. And the dog lay in the corner of the kitchen and watched us with sleepy good cheer.

All in all, it wasn’t a terrible way to spend my last day as a 34-year-old. Though I’m thinking it would’ve been plenty memorable without the puppy puke. And the mystery disease. But it turns out that good company (and good gravy) cancels out quite a bit.

Tomorrow I’ll be celebrating by putting away laundry, making soup from the turkey carcass, and NOT CLEANING UP ANYONE’S VOMIT. I hope.


  1. carrien

    Happy birthday. I love deciding to just make something and then invite good friends over at the last minute because what I’m making is just more fun if it’s shared. But I’ve never done that while dog-sitting, mysteriously ill, and after cleaning up vomit. Way to go.

  2. Marvo

    Okay, I’m going to assume it’s tomorrow and it’s your birthday, unless the whole time zone thing is a government conspiracy. Anyway, Happy Birthday to you, Mir! May it be filled with mischief or monsterous amounts of cake.

  3. daysgoby

    Oh, I love what Marvo said!

    Happy Happy, Mir. May this time around the sun be the best yet!

  4. Theresa

    Happy Birthday! Here’s hoping the day is fever and vomit free!

  5. TrudyJ

    In my humble opinion, anyone who EVER cooks a turkey, for any reason, is a saint and a domestic goddess (a friend of mine once cooked one for her whole extended family on the day she moved into a new house … just started as soon as the stove rolled off the moving truck … but I think she’s a little weird). Cooking one under the circumstances you describe is medal-worthy. Happy Birthday!

  6. David

    Happy Birthday, Mir. Now, go eat some cake. Or some Amy-go pie, if ya got any. ;-)

  7. Sara

    I think the word (is ‘hoooork’ a word?) you chose to describe the dog tossing her Milkbones is perfect. That’s exactly what it sounds like! Of course, being a fellow emetophobe, it was something I could have done without reading while I was eating my toast this morning…But that’s neither here nor there. It’s your birthday!!! Woohoo! Hope it’s chock-full of good things that are bad for you.

  8. Sheryl

    Happy Birthday Mir!

  9. Bob

    Happy 35th birthday! Even if you hadn’t said that yesterday was the last day of your 34th year I would’ve got it right this time, ’cause – I still remember last year when I “accused” you of being 35. hoo boy, lesson learned. I too hope that today is symptom free and that your day is filled with balloons, and cake, and more ice cream, and , and , and……

    Many happy returns of the day.

  10. Amy-Go

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MIR!! And screw the laundry. Celebrate with new shoes! And by feeling better. ;)

  11. Christina

    Happy Birthday!! And thanks for reminding me about the on sale turkey that I have still lurking in my freezer :) Will have to do something about that this weekend

  12. jennP

    delurking to wish you a happy birthday! thanks for the laughs!

  13. chris

    Happy Birthday.

    May your day be blissfully bodily fluid free.

    Unless Otto is visting. Can I say that? Will your Dad avert his eyes?

  14. Julie

    Happy birthday sweetie!!

  15. Ben

    Wishing you a vomit-lite day, Mir!

    Happy birthday!

  16. motherbumper

    Happy Birthday Mir :)

  17. Stephanie

    Happy Birthday!

  18. Mom Nancy

    Happy Birthday!

  19. Randi

    Happy Birthday!
    Are you sure you don’t want a puppy for your birthday?!

  20. Aimee

    Happy Birthday! You’re pretty! Have a great vomit-free, headache-free, squabbling-free day — you deserve it!

  21. InterstellarLass

    Happy Birthday Pretty Mir!

    A turkey dinner sounds fabulous actually! And I totally would chase my kids around the kitchen with the turkey neck. That’s fun!

  22. Summer

    I too wish a happy birthday to the pretty pretty Mir, who is also a queen of thriftiness and smart enough to give herself the gift of leftover turkey for her birthday. May you have the most delicious of cakes to go with your sandwiches, and may the children leave you enough for a midnight snack.

  23. Daisy

    Happy Birthday! And…um…who got the wishbone?

  24. shannon

    Happy Birthday!

  25. Julie

    Happy Birthday!!

  26. Vaguely Urban

    Happy Birthday! Hope you get the much-coveted gift of All-Clear Test Results!

  27. Pieces

    Now I want to make a turkey. Sans mysterious disease and random vomit, of course.

    Happy Birthday! You bring joy to my days despite (or perhaps because of) your suffering. It is a gift, you know. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  28. Vanda

    Happpy Birthday Mir. You are pretty and special.

  29. Zuska

    Happy birthday, sweetie!! It sure as hell better be vomit free – at least, I hope it is!!

    “…for this was the halo-polishing routine of a sibling who knows he is looking good by comparison” – I love this line; of course, this happens at least once a day in my house lol!!!

  30. kate

    Happy Birthday! I love cooking a turkey and all the fixings in the spring or summer becuase you do always have a free one in the freezer!

    Again happy birthday and here is to no vomit cleaning on ones birthday!

  31. Jenn

    Delurking to wish you a Happy Birthday! May every day this birth year be better than the last, and of course, may they all be free of dog puke.

    I had to clean up cat vomit this morning (damn moths. The cat eats them, they make him sick) off my newly shampooed cream-colored carpets, so I can sympathize. It is never a pleasant way to start the day, but at least it was my cat and not someone elses!

  32. Susan

    Happy Birthday, Mir! And no wonder I can relate to you so well! I have a *huge* fear of vomiting myself! Somehow, I do okay with my own kids, but when it comes to myself or anyone else, I’m ALL DONE. Have you noticed how many movies have vomiting scenes? Why is that? Is vomiting that common an occurance elsewhere, ’cause it sure isn’t in my home. I make sure of it. My, what a lovely birthday message this has become! Uh… happy birthday. LOL

  33. Brenda

    Happy Birthday, Mir!!! Leos Unite!

  34. jlybn123

    Sounds exactly like what my sister lived through while watching my puppy for a long-weekend! Then my best-friend watched him for a week, 2 months later, he was great! Dunno about them silly puppies…Hope you

  35. jlybn123

    Oops…meant to say….hope you hang in there!

  36. OneTiredMomma

    I’m with you I can NOT see :vomit: anywhere! Happy Birthday, sorry you feel so crappy today.

    Here’s wishing you good results on your tests!

  37. Jan

    Happy birthday!

    My gift to you is a trick for breaking the vomit-begets-vomit cycle that plagues many of us.

    Smear your upper lip with Vick’s VapoRub before you start. It might bring a tear to your eye, but you won’t smell a thing!

    You’re welcome. :)

  38. rachel

    Happy Birthday! Enjoy a lovely glass of wine and some cake, ideally made by someone else.

    I spent my 35th birthday sick and achey, so I’m so sorry you’re doing the same.

    You saved some leftover turkey, right? we’ve got some more dogs to run with the puppy, so we’ll be over to eat your leftovers. :)

  39. liz

    I pay my son $20 to clean up dog barf. I couldn’t do it if my life depended on it. I don’t know what I’m going to do when he goes away to college.

  40. WendyC

    I hope you are having a wonderful birthday!

  41. bad penguin

    Now I have a craving for mashed potatoes and stuffing.

    Happy Birthday! I hope you’re having a lovely day.

  42. Leslie

    Happy birthday! Hope it’s been a great (vomit-free!) one.

  43. Kristie

    Happy one day early birthday!! Er, actually, since it’s morning the next day, I guess it’s technically …. Happy Birthday! Hope you have a great one!

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