Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holiday Mayhem

Our Christmas holidays this year were a memorable event. My stepson, Steve decided not to go with us to visit my family in Georgia, so we took Java, our 6-month-old chocolate Labrador puppy instead. I made sure Frankie did everything he needed to and he made sure I loaded everything I needed to. 

Since we were so adept at minding one another’s business, it didn’t occur to either of us that we might be forgetting something. We had a few errands to do and our first stop was Blockbusters to drop off some videos we had rented. All was going well until we stopped to get a bite to eat.

While in the drive through at Burger King, the dog started making “that” sound. You know the one that means, “Grab a bucket, quick!” We weren’t quick enough, and Java came unfed on the backseat of my car. I got her out of the car while Frankie flung the pile of puke into the landscaping behind the speaker box of the drive up window. That’s when I noticed we didn’t have a leash with us. I dragged the dog by the collar around the BK parking lot trying to lead her to a grassy area to finish her commotion. Frankie was pretty upset as he drove to the next window to pick up our food. Java and I ran to catch up to the departing vehicle. We were only a couple of miles from our house but Java threw up in the car again before we got home.

After cleaning the second mess, we were undeterred and confident that Java’s tummy was empty. We started again with fresh linens on the backseat. Approximately three miles down the road the all too familiar retching began. Before we could pull over, the expected delivery arrived. We pulled over and quickly evacuated. I was nearly doubled over with laughter while handing our stock of Burger King napkins to my exasperated husband, who was scraping yet another pile of puke. Reloaded, or should I say unloaded, we were on the road again after we stopped at a service station to sponge off the seat. Wouldn’t you know? The dog made a direct hit on the only part of the seat that was not covered.

About 30 miles down the highway, the dog was calmly sleeping while Frankie and I were singing Christmas carols with Bruce Springsteen. In the middle of "Santa Clause is Coming to Town," Frankie hushed abruptly and had a strange look on his face. I thought HE was going to throw up.


“Aw, NO!,” he said.

“What?…..WHAT?!” I asked.

“The gifts! You forgot to get the presents from under the tree.”

“Who forgot?! You were supposed to get them while I fed the dog.”

“You weren’t SUPPOSED to feed the dog. Dogs puke in the car when you feed them before they ride.”

“We have to go back home. Turn around at the next exit. And if the dog pukes, YOU’RE cleaning it up”

“Oh, that would be different!” We both burst out laughing.

Steve was building a fire in the fireplace when we arrived home. He looked shocked to see us. We told him our story and sometime during the commotion he asked if glass bottles would melt if heated. Neither of us was paying much attention to him because we were busy pulling presents from under the tree. Since we had tended to one another’s business enough for one day, I didn’t look to make sure Frankie got all the gifts on the side of the tree he was checking.

We made it to Atlanta about two hours later than expected. We enjoyed our overnight trip, the opening of gifts, and dinner with my family, but beneath the fun, I dreaded the ride home. I didn’t let Frankie feed the dog before we left mom’s house and amazingly she did not get sick. Instead, she slept all the way home while I drove. I think it was Frankie’s driving that made her puke.

When we arrived home, the house smelled smokey but I thought Steve had burned something in the microwave again. When I asked him about it, he replied that there was a downdraft in the chimney that blew smoke into the room and mysteriously put out the fire he had built. Seventeen-year-old males are very unpredictable and curious, and they can give the most logical reasons for why strange things are really normal. Step-moms have a gullible way of believing the most bazaar stories and being surprised when finding they aren’t true. 

The next day we were cleaning house in preparation for our Christmas Eve dinner, when Frankie noticed an unusual amount of soot on the furniture as he dusted. When I mopped the tile in front of the fireplace black streaks appeared as if I was painting with the mop. I knew something was amiss when I saw pieces of glass on the floor. When I opened the doors to the fireplace, I found two somewhat melted, very exploded beer bottles scattered among the ashes. Who did the kid think he was fooling? Why didn’t he at least remove the evidence? Frankie and I drew straws to see who was going to spank the lad first.

Later that day, we had to make a trip to the Food Lion to pick up some last minute items for the meal. We decided that perhaps all Java needed was more practice riding in the car in order to be healed of her motion sickness. Food Lion is less than two blocks from our house and we thought that would be a good trial run. The pup puked as soon as the tires of my car hit the bump at the end of our driveway. That dog just can’t hold her groceries.

The day after Christmas I mailed my mom’s gift that had been left underneath Frankie’s side of the tree. Next year, when we make our holiday trip, we plan to make a list, check it twice, and then borrow a car from someone who’s been naughty.


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