The stain that won’t abate becomes a feature

IMG_5894The never-ending stain on the rug at the threshold between the kitchen and the dining room has the tenacity of a birth mark, it’s as hard to remove, has become my daily penance, a Greek who’s upset the gods now on my knees rubbing, blotting, brushing, and still it returns each morning.

It’s where Ginger started squatting when Dawn and the girls left for Germany that one year a week or two ahead of me, and it made the dog so nervous she felt more comfortable going there on the rug than outside, and after submitting to a $500 fee to see an animal behaviorist and talk about the dog’s inverted vulva, we had a binder full of internet print-outs and samples of medication to help with the anxiety, but little regard for the carpet stains, which it seemed no one could help us with.

And as I sat there in the waiting room at the behaviorist’s filling out forms, the forms got more and more detailed, because we had concerns about the cats too, we were concerned how the transition to Germany might affect them, so the behaviorist wanted information on their as-is state: like, where is the litter box in relation to the main living area, in feet: can you draw a map in the house illustrating its proximity to the other family members, and how long in seconds or minutes have you observed the cats pawing at their waste, please estimate — and as I sat there filling it out I started to come apart as a person, like that character at the end of 1984 I felt beaten senseless, stripped of all reason, obedient to whatever, to accepting samples of scentless pheromone wipes you rub on surfaces to please your pet even though humans can’t smell it, you just have to trust (and go online to order more).

Ginger hasn’t peed on the carpet since we’ve been back but the cat went right there, puked an ocean, and a stain is a stain is a stain regardless of origin.

I’ve started clipping coupons, shopping for deals, succumbed to buying crap cereal for the kids but Dawn gets to it first, like a mouse chewing through the plastic sleeve, she leaves holes. The cat needs out to hunt and kill or she gets agitated, works over the cardboard scratching pads, folds her ears back flat, responds to inner voices, impulses to destroy. Dawn rescues a baby bunny from her jaws, its ears chewed — I catch Ginger gagging on an adult-sized mouse and seize it from her, drop it in the compost bin with the rest. I vacuum every day, empty the canister, a load of laundry, dishes — micro-managing the kids, checking in on status, following up.

After more than a year not working, I’m finally losing track of time with my kids at the playground (no watch, no phone, unsure how long we’ve been there); I’m loosening my grip, trying to enter the same pace as theirs where time holds no sway, where all they want is to grow up but it happens too slow for them, and too fast for us. It seems now I was often in a hurry, wanting to go: time bends as if we’re looking through a spyglass from opposite ends.

Something broke off a tree, a moss-crusted branch, landed right on the net on our sports court in the night, a karate chop straight down the middle. I heard the rain coming on hard, we had the windows open and it woke me up, I lay there scanning the yard mentally, all I’d left out that could get wet: some firewood, the patio pillows, a lawn chair — hoped Dawn had rolled up the windows on the Pilot, was trying to get up at 5 each day to write, some internal sense of duty that drives me, somewhere to be. The patio heater hasn’t fired in a few years: the disc it wears on the top like an upside down wok is bent at the rim from being blown over in a wind storm and now looks rumpled like a fisherman’s hat, even the neck a bit askew, a non-speaking fixture, a crudely drawn droid. We’re on our fourth or fifth gazing globe, what some Pennsylvania Dutch back east believe keeps witches away, like they get attracted to their reflection and it confuses them, they forget what they were doing and fly off, which makes sense, if you believe in witches.

Everything in the yard plump, bending down. Sometimes the reality of everything all at once. Playing Fela Kuti at dusk so loud I’m probably disturbing the neighbors by the green belt and can’t hear the birds but the music sounds better, and they’ll be back come morning. I traded out my two pairs of jeans in Europe for a set of Wranglers, Relaxed Fit, but I am anything but.


Categories: musings

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

17 replies

  1. If you solve the accident-making dog issue, please let me know. Ours is a hound that we assume lived in a “run” where she could go at will and it was hosed down perhaps. Storms, our absence, not wanting to wake us in the middle of the night, whatever messes her up and she sneaks to the dining room to make a lake. Dang! I’m tired of sanitizing after her. It’s a good thing she’s cute.

    Liked by 2 people

    • There’s no solution with that, with the pets. We have a ‘run’ also but we’re too humane to put our dog in it. Instead, kayaks. The sanitizing thing, I can’t go there now. I just got back from checking on my stain and it seems to have gotten worse, like a Rorschach it’s growing faces, features. Happens to be in my line of sight when I’m at the stove, otherwise I think I could ignore it. I tell my kids all the time it’s good they’re cute, or I’d get rid of them. Or worse. Hard love, here.


  2. can you just accept the stain as part of the design of the rug? and move on to other things that you don’t feel are a losing battle that offer you no chance of winning and every chance of becoming frustrated? like your wranglers, you will find your fit –

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes: I accept the stain. I’ll say it out loud and repeat it now, I accept the stain. Tell me to shut up about the stain; I need someone to just say shut up and I’ll accept the stain. You are my sage, lady. Thank you — I feel better (but maybe because I’m in the garage on the recliner, a would-be man-cave). Bill

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Those scentless pheromone wipes remind me of the noiseless air purifiers you can plug into the wall. Of course they make no sound, you just plug them in and your air is better, I’m telling you seriously your air is better, believe me, while supplies last.

    I like this one a lot, the way the paragraphs connect until the last couple where you elevate the thing and make it seem so big. That’s your secret weapon, and it’s a good’un. Well done, sir.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reflected on this piece, concluding thought, get a new rug. Enjoying these “back on the range” pieces, though I have to say I think you got a Rambler’s heart. Makes me think of Yonder Mountain String Band’s, Ramblers Anthem & Ramblin’ in The Rambler, maybe you can check one of those didies out while you keep stubbing! As always, thank you for the continued good reads.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s cool you reflected — I’ll admit, I get chuffed when you comment, man! I am glad you read and it is nice to know some folks are. And that you offer me musical tips; I don’t take that lightly. So I will have a peak at that and reflect, again — as we are here reflecting, again. So glad you enjoy the posts. Bill

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think we were destined to be writer buddies, or at least I hope that we were. I’m glad you enjoy my comments. Sometimes I feel like my comments can come off the wrong way, too snarky, or too polly-anna atta-boyish, but seems you get me, and that’s always a great feeling.

        Liked by 1 person

      • No worried on that, don’t over-think it. Just grateful for the readership and thought-ship, so to speak. Thanks. Bill

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I have no suggestions for your rug, but I think there is an interesting metaphor buried there beneath what the human eye and nose can sense.
    The idea of losing track of time and still sticking to a writing schedule is my goal and it seems you are finding that sweet spot.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve lost count of how much money I’ve spent on psychotherapy and medication for this stupid dog I live with. It’s neverending. It’s not worth it but it’s out of my hands. I’m trapped.

    I had to Google Fela Kuti, which sent me into a YouTube death spiral. It’s okay. It’s Friday night.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. This is so ridiculously good, please tell me you slaved over the writing and didn’t just toss it off in a free quarter hour of time!

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, there’s some slaving. I’m a pretty good note-taker who then goes back and rearranges. I’m starting to take more time than less on these; glad you thought it was good Jadi, thanks! Bill


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