Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Lovely Visit

It truly was a lovely visit.

I tend to get just a wee bit stressed before any overnight guests arrive. I'm not one of those Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, Martha Stewart, Home and Garden, Southern Living types. I would dearly love to be, and sometimes I try to fool myself into thinking that I am, but I am so not. If you had to correlate my housekeeping skills to a magazine, it would have to be Mad Magazine.

Amy and Bob were coming with our grandchildren, William and Abigail. Abigail is desperately allergic to dogs, but is such a good sport about it that I feel terrible. So I try to sterilize the house to lessen her symptoms. Floors, walls, slipcovers, window treatments, dogs - nothing escapes my crazed cleaning frenzy. But of course, if I do all that a week before they arrive, it's useless when there are nine dogs in the house. (It is really useless no matter what, but it makes me feel better, and the house needs cleaning anyway: there are nine dogs in the house.)

So Bill started on Sunday and Monday, tidying and cleaning out the junk drawers, while I finished up my orders and started laundering dog bedding. I bought two new dog beds for the kitchen/dining room, but didn't put them down yet. We bought new pillows for the guest rooms. Then on Tuesday, I went into Psycho Cleaning Woman mode. The dogs hate Psycho Cleaning Woman mode. First I dusted, vacuumed, and washed all the rooms which could be closed off from the beasties. Still doing load after load of dog blankets.

(You have to lie somewhere while the Crazy Woman washes the floor!)

On Wednesday, I bathed all nine dogs. I scrubbed them silly and even Very Old Dog was not exempt. It was rainy but warm outside in the morning. Substituting baths for walks was not a popular move. Then I began to sterilize the parts of the house which have unlimited doggy access. Bill came in to help and let Swede William and Lindy Loo out. Did I mention that it was warm and wet outside? I called them back in and re-bathed the little mudboggins, re-washed the floor where they had deposited their muddy footprints and mopped up the bucketful of dirt they sprayed the kitchen with when they shook. Then I went out in the yard with a shovel and did my best to fill in the three foot deep hole they had dug.

All the while, I was doing dog blanket laundering. I chucked the old dog beds and brought in the pretty new fresh ones. I noticed that the wind had really picked up and the temperature was dropping. I know I had heard the Emergency Alert going off on the radio every so often. Something about severe thunderstorms and hail. No time for that! I did notice that it wasn't north of us, so the travellers would be fine,

Mind you, I now have nine peeved dogs. Except dear Very Old Dog who is worried. I also do mega cleanings before leaving on a trip, and I know he was concerned about the possibility of a Dog Sitter in the near future. I took a moment to stroke his wrinkly brow. "I'm not going anywhere, Sweetheart. Lie down now and relax."

[Oh, yeah, Idiot Human! Just relax when you are firing up the Monsterous Evil Electrolux which has been known to suck up unsuspecting innocent sleeping whippets who have never been seen again. I think not.]

He stood, facing the vaccuum, one ear up all akimbo, worry wrinkles galore, pleading with me to stop the insanity. But I couldn't. So God did.

That pesky electrical storm knocked out the power. Want to see a post menopausal woman in full blown Psycho Cleaning Mode go crackers? Turn off her electricity. The vacuum went quiet (much to the relief and delight of a certain Very Old Dog). The washing machine, dryer, and dishwasher stopped. So did my heart. This was not good. I had already done all the dusting and counter top cleaning and things which didn't require electricity. I couldn't mop until I had vacuumed. I had more dog blankets to wash! Why, oh why were there so many infernal dog freaking blankets? Eight multiple-blanketed crates in the dog room, eight multiple-blanketed crates in our bedroom, blankets on every couch and chair in the house, blankets on the dog beds, we wouldn't want a whippet to suffer a chill, now would we?

I decided to let the dogs out, blocking their access to the mud pit formerly known as our yard, forcing them into the gravel potty area. Another most unpopular move. Humph they sighed, but their bladders were bursting. Then I went ahead and fed them which was met with unanimous canine approval. Early dinner - finally I had done something worthwhile.

OK, blah, blah, blah the power came back on and I mopped and polished and the whole house sparkled. (Except this little computer room, which can be closed off, and which was the repository for all the mess for which I couldn't find another place. There are now piles of stuff on every surface, and it is impossible to walk across the floor. Oh well.)

At nine o'clock I put the dogs to bed, and at 9:15 our guests arrived! Perfect timing. The dogs were so exhausted from watching my frenetic cleaning zoomies that they didn't make a peep from up in the bedroom. Oh how the kids had grown! They are our grandchildren, but I'm being completely objective when I say they are the most beautiful, charming, intelligent children ever born. We had a wonderful snack of prosciutto and Asiago cheese which Amy and Bob brought from Chicago, and bruschetta which Bill had prepared. Ah, heaven.

Abigail and William don't live with dogs. My dogs don't live with kids. Usually I keep them pretty well segregated, just to err on the side of safety. And then there's Luciano, who's special in his head because he didn't have quite enough oxygen during his birth. I kept him way separated. Except the time years ago during another visit when I came home from a walk with Amy, to find that Bill had thought I was being silly ("Oh, the dogs will be fine") and had let the dogs out loose with the kids, and five year old Abigail had backed Luciano into a corner, and Abigail was screaming with her hands waving in the air and Looch was backed as far as he could melt into the woodwork and every tooth in his head was showing. I have still not recovered from that and it was four years ago.

Abigail is a star!

But a miracle happened this visit. Nine year old Abigail and seven year old William were not seen as alien beings by the dogs. They were just little people! And Abigail had new prescription allergy medicine and wasn't sneezing, and William and his namesake Swede William became instant buddies. And we cooked together and we walked together and the neighborhood kids came over and it was just the best of visits ever.

Morning snuggle with William, Amy and Sam I Am

the two Williams

Bob and beautiful Abigail
I hope they can come for Christmas, too. The house will need another good cleaning by then anyway.


  1. A story with a happy ending is our favorite kind. We need to figure out how to kill the power when Mom starts cleaning!! The human pups ARE cute!

  2. Boy do I really miss my grandbabies now! Great post Patience! VC

  3. What a great post Patience! Your frantic cleaning escapades sound rather like mine, albeit on a larger scale. I'm delighted the visit went so well, and the photographs were great!

  4. Patience, what a great tribute to our dogs. I am always amazed at their power to sense and frequently just do the right thing. Last Christmas, my youngest Mati became best buds with my nephew, and I think he needed that friend.

    Glad you and yours had a great visit. Just think, the house will remain clean for about...ohhhh, 48 hours!

  5. Patience, as always I *love* your stories (and especially now, when I too am in full-blown Cleaning Mode - hopefully only temporary! - brought on by the state of the New House). I check your blog quite often and avidly read all the new offerings. Thank you!

    I did want to mention that the biggest thing you can do to help Abigail with her allergies is to just spray down the dogs and wipe them off once or twice a day with a solution of Listerine and water. The allergies are triggered by dander and saliva, and the Listerine dissolves and removes both. It won't hurt the dogs in the least, I've been using this solution as a dry bath for years - you'd be amazed how quickly it kills the odors created by rolling in dead stinky things!

    Hugs and kisses to all of you down there,

    Lisa, Pat, Banjo, Karma, Zorro, and the Gang of Hairy Dogs (aka the BCs)

  6. my mom cleans like that also when people are coming over. Glad your visit was great.

  7. what is it with muzzers anyway? why do they think everything has to be cleaned and stuff when peoples are coming? My muzzer has driven us crazy since Wednesday, almost a whole week, because we had Thanksgiving ( which was fine) and then another big dinner last night (which was OK) Now I think she doesn't need to clean until 2009!

    loved the story, wish we had some cute kids come to visit. Wanna share? I'll send Teka to you, you send the grand pups to us.


  8. Aw.. The picture of the Williams are just precious! Bajas, Coco & Nimbus want to say they feel for the Waggle, they know the Crazy Cleaning Lady With Evil Machines too!


  9. So glad to hear it was a wonderful and happy visit. Looks like all the kids and dogs (as well as the adults) had a truly special weekend.

    Missing you here in PA, r

  10. Lordy, it's bad enough washing dog beds for three dogs!! (And yes, we have one for each in every room too!)

  11. Great story! That will be me in two weeks when my nuerotically-clean mother comes to dog-sit for a week! As much as I love visits from my mother, I oh-so-dread the cleaning that precedes it.

  12. Awww, family is a good thing. And that last pic of Swede William is precious.

    Nearly, Buster and Skeezix

  13. Hello Ms. Patience,

    We're Jake and Just Harry, two more "hairy dogs," aka The Barkalot Boyz. We had a whiff of whippets two Sundays ago on the chat -- but you all had to leave before we got to introduce ourselves.

    Our Mom turns into Psycho Cleaning Woman too when company is coming. And that loud monster Dogdad turns on to get the dirt off the floor incites us to riot. So we identified with your post -- but somehow knew it would turn out all right.

    Come visit our blog -- our house is clean now for at least another three weeks so we can have a nice chat!!


    Jake and Just Harry

    That eyeliner is really cool. Maybe we'll steal our Mom's and see how it looks on us!!

  14. What a lovely post AND a lovely visit! As always, it truly was relaxing and enjoyable. Thank you for welcoming us, accomodating Abigail's allergies and for bringing out the best in the kids!


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