Getting out of the house
Yeah, so I’m not exactly known for my great ideas. But what else were we to do? We can’t exactly pawn Rowdi or the cats off on any neighbor, considering that any one of them could have a flea on them at any one period in time (plus the cats are fully clawed, and Rowdi is a sixty-pound high-energy dog). And because Rowdi has been kicked out of the dog spa at the most inopportune time, and we needed to get everything ready to spray super-fast, and the house was an absolute grade A disaster area, there was no time for interviewing new dog spas. Cleaning, moving things, laundry, etc. No time. And while the spray is wet, it is toxic to pets and humans (and hopefully fleas!), so the little furry children couldn’t stay home.
After days of cleaning and laundry, we finally left the house with the pack of wild animals around 4 p.m. yesterday. And after having sprayed a couple of rooms, closing them off, ventilating them, whatnot earlier this week, I knew that it takes about four hours for the spray to dry, especially on the windowsills and tile. Oh yes, before we went, I went to the Florida State Parks website and searched for parks within 100 miles of us, then went to each result’s page, compared the map of each result’s location against writersblock‘s link to the map of all the Florida fires, and then we just decided to go south on A1A and maybe hit Sebastian Inlet. I’ve not really been impressed with Sebastian Inlet, but we figured if we got bored, we could keep going south toward Ft. Pierce.
Ok, so first stop was Petsmart. Wait, back up. First we put the kitties in the carriers, and we couldn’t remember which goes in which carrier. We soon found out. So we put Minerva in the Sherpa (wrong choice), and Sydney went into the hard carrier. That was mainly because Sydney was hardest to catch, and the Sherpa was open first. Many scrapes and scuffles later, the cats were in the carriers, Frank was in the back seat with Sydney, and Minerva was in the front seat. I got Rowdi’s canteen filled and grabbed the backpack, which I had packed with snacks, a frozen 2-liter of ginger ale, books (took those back out, because yeah, right), the video camera (this was sure to be an instant classic–too bad the video camera’s battery was dead and I didn’t think to charge it). Then I took the puppy to the car–she wore the Gentle Leader, just in case she got a little too excited about being in such close quarters with the kitties. I put her in the back seat on the other side of Frank from Sydney, and I went back in to spray the house. I sprayed the garage and the perimeter of the yard and porch last and finally got in the car.
Everyone’s hatin’ on Rowdi at Petsmart
Alright. Frank took Rowdi on a very long walk before we went anywhere. Good parents. Rowdi was great in the car. Poor thing couldn’t get comfortable, because she needs two seats for herself, and Daddy was just infringing on that territory. Sydney squeaked a little but then just got comfortable and decided that she was happy that whatever the cats were going to endure, the dog was going to endure as well. Minerva was completely quiet until I got into the car. Then she started calling for me. “Maaaaaaaaaaaa!” And Rowdi just needed to check it out. How are things in the front seat? What is going on? I told her three or four times, No, get back, back up, sit, but she was completely fixated, because by this time, Minerva was fully clawing the sides of the Sherpa (oh yeah, that’s why Sydney always goes in the Sherpa, and Minerva goes in the hard carrier) trying to escape. I couldn’t reach Rowdi’s hip (squeezing her hip always gets her attention, and tapping the side of her neck does nothing), and Frank had run back inside the sprayed house for something (I told him to hold his breath). So finally I popped her on the nose, and she did not try to stick it in the front seat again. She was utterly disinterested in Sydney. Probably because Syd was making no noise.
Now, Minerva wouldn’t shut up unless I was petting her. So I opened the top flap of the Sherpa just the slightest bit and had my hand stuffed in there, petting the kitty. I moved my hand just a little at one point, and Minerva seized her chance. She jammed her head out of that Sherpa opening so fast. And once the head is out, well. She’s a cat. So I was driving, and Frank was leaning forward from the back seat trying to help me shove Minerva back into the Sherpa. Finally, we tag-teamed it, with me shouting instructions, driving, watching the road, not the Sherpa, and coming out injured in the process. It went something like this.
SARAHK: Ok, you unzip the flap, I’ll grab her scruff and shove her in, and then you zip it. [unzip] No, NO Minerva! [Entire upper body was now out, because she is a cat, as I have previously mentioned.] Ok, you’re gonna have to unlatch her paws from the sides of the Sherpa now.
FRANK J.: Got it. Minerva, you’re BAD!
SARAHK: Watch out for the dog. Rowdi, get back! Frank!
FRANK J.: I was taking care of Minerva! I can’t do both!
SARAHK: I’m driving!
FRANK J.: Ok, I have Minerva’s claws out.
SARAHK: Ok, she’s in! Zip it! [zips] OUCH! You zipped my arm!
FRANK J.: Sorry!
SARAHK: It’s ok.
FRANK J.: You’re right. We really should be videotaping this.
At Petsmart, I took Rowdi in with me. She was Miss Perfect. I had the cart in one hand, the leash in another, was barely holding the leash with the left hand (I had my right wrist through the loop as a safety and was holding the other end with my right hand, as always), and she didn’t even try to wander off. She tried to sniff a lot of things, but I would say no, and she would stop. She never tried to walk in front of me. When I stopped, she stopped. When I said sit, she sat and looked up hopefully, because she did doggie class at Petsmart, so she probably thought she was getting a cookie for doing a super-fast sit in the doggie class place. Poor good dog. Occasionally, she got really interested in something that smelled good, but as soon as I gave a slight tug on the Gentle Leader, she moved right to my side. Good dog.
I found mice and jingle balls for Sydney, since I had accidentally sprayed all of Sydney’s cat toys, including her shredded monkey, picked up a frisbee for Rowdi, and treats for the kitties (we’d brought a bone for Rowdi to chew on). Oh, and Rowdi was perfect walking by all the other dogs in the store. All the little Mitzi moms with their matching powder puff Mitzi dogs looked all scared, but I was just like whatever, let me just maneuver my cart by you, because that’s the hardest part of getting around in this store, they make the carts so stinking huge. My dog will just follow nicely. Will your powder puff? I just smiled all nice-like. I’m so tired of people hatin’ on Rowdi.
At checkout, I pulled my cart up behind another couple, and I stayed with the front of my cart a good two feet behind them (so Rowdi was at least three or four feet behind them), because Rowdi is so aggressive- or exotic-looking. After I told Rowdi to sit (she did), the woman of the couple turned around and saw the vicious beast. She scooted forward another foot, at least. I was good and ignored her. I wanted to move my cart off to the side and walk Rowdi right up behind the woman and let Rowdi sniff her senseless. They left, and I had just finished telling the cashier how Rowdi hadn’t been in Petsmart in almost a year and this was the most perfect she’d ever been there when… Another dog about Rowdi’s size walked in the door. I knew this, because Rowdi turned, sat nicely, and watched said dog. I turned and watched while I waited for my transaction to go through. The other dog turned and tried to dart toward Rowdi. Rowdi started to spring toward the darting dog, but I had her and turned her away. She tried to jerk back to look at the other dog, and the other dog was still trying to come at Rowdi and was now growling. So Rowdi started her high-pitched bark (the same bark she barked at the feather-duster), and I quickly put an end to that one. “No, we do not act like that.” And I turned her, again, toward me and away from the dog. The other owners were walking off, still trying to get their dog under control. Rowdi gave a couple more glances but calmed down right away.
And as soon as Rowdi had barked at the aggressor, even though I already had her under control, the man behind us in line had decided that he needed to switch lines. I ignored him, too. I mean, he was already standing about five feet behind Rowdi, it’s not like he was gonna get caught up in the non-fray. Whatever.
Back in the car, Frank put the harness/seatbelt on Rowdi, and she actually got comfy very quickly and finally lay down and went to sleep.
Harnessing cats… it’s like trying to bottle air!
We got to Sebastian Inlet and paid $5, and they told us we could go anywhere except near water with our animals. Ok, so the picnic areas and parking lots. Frank got out with Rowdi and Rowdi’s bone and took her over to a picnic area. I got out harness #1 and held it right at the flap of the Sherpa. I opened the flap, and Minerva stuck her head right into the loop of the harness. I’m so smart. I put her in my lap and worked the rest of the harness onto her. Ok, one thing that ticks me off about these harness thingies? They’re all measured by your pet’s girth size. Like I walk into Petsmart just knowing my cat’s or dog’s girth off the top of my head. Same with Rowdi’s seatbelt thing. That thing was in girth. I just guessed and got a large. With the cats I was like, well… I guess they’re large… Who knows? All I know is that they both easily wriggle out of collars, so harnesses are the best thing I can think of for taking them outside and also for when we move to Texas so I can put their tags on them. Uh-huh.
So I tightened Minerva’s harness as tightly as possible, and it was still a tad loose, but not loose enough that she can get out of it. I think. Next came Sydney. That was a little harder, but since she was kinda taking in the new surroundings outside the windows, she was distracted enough that I didn’t get injured. Finally I had the leashes on both kitties.
Oh how I wish I could have found our camera yesterday. Y’all just don’t know.
I opened the door and held the cats in my arms. There was a surfer dude a few yards away. “Are y’all, like, gonna walk your cats on the beach on leashes?” “Well, not on the beach, but we’re going to try. This will be the first time.” “That’s awwwesome. Good luck with that.” “Yeah, thanks. We need it.”
I put the kitties on the ground. Both looked petrified and immediately backed under the car. Sydney started wriggling out of her harness. Oh no no no. Apparently that’s not the right girth size. I quickly grabbed both cats by the scruff and put them back in the car. Then I noticed that Sydney had one leg out of the harness. Oh, so that’s the problem! Let me just fix that… and let’s try again. So I put them back on the ground outside. Funny, they did not want to be outside! These kitties who always try to escape the house just did not want to be outside (on a leash in a harness). Sydney was trying to wriggle again, and they were both under the car, so I grabbed them both and put them in the front passenger seat.
I called out to Frank at the picnic area, “It’s not gonna work!”
Fluffy kitty pillows don’t make good driving tools
Frank and Rowdi came back to the car, and as soon as Sydney saw Rowdi, she volunteered to crawl into the Sherpa. “Yes, I would like to ride in here now, please, Mommy, and if you will just zip the flap up behind me so the big dog can’t get to me, I’d be most pleased, thank you very much.”
Minerva planted herself squarely on my lap. “And I’ll ride here. It’ll make it easier for you to reach me for petting while you’re driving. I’m helping you out. You may commence the petting now.”
Rowdi was just like “Whatever. I’m going to sleep.”
So after our five minutes at Sebastian Inlet, we left and went farther south. I’m not sure where we turned around. But at some point, Minerva decided that she would like to sleep behind my shoulder blades, between my back and the seat. So I was leaning forward, and Frank was trying to figure out how to negotiate Minerva’s removal with the least amount of damage to me, the cloth seat, and Rowdi, who was directly behind my seat. It’s a good thing Rowdi was harnessed in, because if she had decided to lean forward and sniff the kitty, Minerva would have decided to swipe either me, the cloth seat, or Rowdi. Finally Minerva was removed, but since she had been riding in my lap, the hard carrier was now inaccessible in the back of the SUV; Sydney occupied the Sherpa; and Minerva was doing her best to make it back to either the comfort of my lap or the weirdness of my shoulder blades. Many squabbles and arguments between Frank and Minerva later, Minerva finally decided she could perch upon the center console, but only if she could perch facing the back seat; this way she could keep an eye on that evil, sleeping dog, who was just over all of it. Eventually, Minerva tried to get to my lap again, and I was too exhausted for it. And then…
FRANK J.: Rowdi’s just trying to sleep, and Minerva’s scaring her for no reason! She’s just moving towards her and then hissing and swatting and spitting!
SARAHK: Just keep her. You handle the children, I’ll handle the driving. And by the way, we’re never having children.
FRANK J.: Well, maybe our children won’t try to attack each other.
SARAHK: Are you kidding? Have you ever seen children? They’re monsters! And we have our hands too full with animals!
We got home at 7:46, and Frank said that was good enough. I wanted to make sure. So I decided to walk Minerva to the door on her leash, and then I would pick her up and carry her when we got inside. I put her on the ground outside, and she just started walking. Like, “Oh, I love harnesses and leashes.” Until I started walking too, and then she was like, “No. You don’t get to lead.” And then she would do this thing where she’d lay on her side and act like I was going to have to drag her. And I would say, “Come on, bebe. Let’s go.” Like she’s a dog or something. And I’d just keep walking, and then she would realize that she doesn’t have a choice, and she’d kind of pull against me, but she walked. But probably only because she kinda wanted to go inside the house too. She only let me lead her where she already wanted to go. We got inside, and I saw that the tile was dry. I put Minerva down on the floor, and she started acting, again, like I would have to drag her, and she did make me drag her a little. It was funny. Then Frank and Rowdi showed up at the door, and as soon as Minerva saw the dog, she was out of that harness lightning fast.
Our bedroom wasn’t quite dry, so I just closed that off and opened the windows and turned the fan up until it was done. We were too worn out to get actual work done. The entire way home, we talked about how excited we were about the work we would be able to do when we got home. Yah. We were so done for the day.