That Murphy sure is a bastard (aka Postcards from the Road, Day 1)

So, here I am, finally, after much adieu and dismay, safe and sound at Mom and Dad's. If you're asking yourself why I make it sound like it was a feat, that's because it was. Getting the whole trip orchestrated required no less than 2 hours planning and 8 hours excecution, including 3 hissy fits, 6 glasses of sake, 2 hours of driving in the middle of the night, 3 dog-poop-removal sessions, 2 loads of laundry, and a lot of drama - plus 1 suitcase, 1 duffle, 1 carry-on and a GIANT attitude.

Remember Murphy's Law? Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong? Had some experience with it here too.

And here.

And here.

And now . . .

Last night, on my way home from work, I realized I'd left behind my (extremely detailed and perfectly meticulous) packing list which I'd worked on for 2 days on my breaks - which are virtually non-existent this week, by the way. That list guaranteed me a time savings of about an hour, so I should have been pretty pissed - BUT, being that I'm generally very positive, I decided to blow it off. Until I stopped to go to the bathroom and realized there was a GIANT stain on my ASS. My efficient plan of picking up groceries or stopping for a quick meal on the way home was now destroyed - ain't NO WAY I was going anywhere but to my car and home to clean up. (And where the HELL did the stain come from, anyway?? It looked like I shat myself.). (No, I HADN'T. Believe me, I'd have told you allll about it.) (By the way, that stop en route to my house had been another 15-, maybe 20-minute time savings. Now I've lost over an hour and I'm getting quite irritated.)

I walked in the door with some serious pep in my step -'cause stuffs needs to get done, pronto! - and found that Kona, after 3 weeks of angelic behavior (at least on the defecation front), had pooped in his crate. In all fairness, this was probably because I've been supplementing his diet with a new, higher-quality food to help his poop solidify and become more regular. Right now it's kinda soft and he goes a bajillion times a day. Plus, he hates his current large-breed-puppy food. But my night was already virtually impossible, I was still in some pain, and the last few months have had much suck, so I was hard-pressed not to burst into tears.

I dragged him outside, clipped him to his tie-out, and proceeded to scrub every inch of his crate, all his toys, and his bone. While I was at it, I tried to sweep and wipe down the floors inside (the jerk ran inside on his tie-out about 6 times, covered in water and mud, paws still vaguely poopy.) I bitched at him so much that the neighbors probably pegedg me for an animal-abuser, and he proceeded to poop all over my freshly-poop-scooped back lawn. He's getting a real bath as SOON as he comes back from Camp Bruno, because as hard as it is to bathe him and as dirty as he's going to get, AINT NO WAY I'm doing so twice this week. I almost forgave him when I pulled out the puppy wipes and, in addition to a hosing, gave him a good wiping-down, which he looooved - except the paw part and hosing - and he became all sweet and happy and snuggled up to me and calmed down.

For about 3 minutes. Then he turned into psychopuppy and the floodgates opened. More cursing that might get the SPCA called on me. (Now, mind you, I wasn't even in the same 10-foot radius as the dog, so I wasn't touching him - just fussing at him. But people are still really funny about those things.)

And then, almost as if she read my mind about hoping no one heard me, my next-door neighbor poked her head out of her patio and said, "Do ya'all smoke?" (Appreantly she hasn't noticed that Tony's long gone.) "No," I answered, tryng to restrain Kona's bully ass. "You got some mail!" she added and then ducked off. Hoping not to sound as psycho as I must have looked, I expressed my gratitude and ran inside to wash my hands. Two seconds later, she materialized in the backyard, tapping on my sliding glass door with the box in hand. (What, is she equipped with a jet pack or intimately acquainted with Scotty from Star Trek?) Kona went from zero to nuts in 5 seconds, sneaked out the patio door, got all over her despite my cries of "off" and "down,"and proceeded to get mud on her white t-shirt. I was too horrified from my bout of insanity to properly apologize. Also, suspected some of said mud might actually be poop. Wanted to crawl in hole and die.

The box was fresh green peanuts from Georgia. For me to boil. Terrified!!!! House still smells like burnt peanuts from last time. I never burn anything I cook - EVER - so this has permanently traumatized me. In fact, the burnt smell is probably what prompted my neighbor to ask me if I smoked.

So, I tossed the peanuts in the fridge as if they were kryptonite (although I will admit I was salivating as I broke the box down and took out the trash) and headed off to throw in the laundry so I could pack. I still had to get him to my brother's, change kitty litter, do dishes, fold laundry - oh, and pack.

All of a sudden it dawned on me: I couldn't find the little cat.

Girlie. Where is Girlie?

I ran around the house crying her name over and over in the ridiculous falsetto my ex-husband used to use for her. It sounds something like: "GUURRRR-LEEEEEE-EE!!! GURRRR-LEEEE-EE!" Where is she?!!!!! In the garage? No. Cat condo? No. Tub? No. Tub 2? No. Under the bed? No. OhmyGod, Girlie sneaked out during the Dog Fiascos.

And then I heard jinglejinglejinglejingle and turned to see her coming down the steps. That hooker. She was upstairs all the time. Phew. Back to laundry.

Kona lumbered upstairs clumsily behind me and, not more than 10 seconds later I turned around to find out that somehow, while I was throwing the laundry in, he'd begun depositing massive squirts of steaming doody on my pristine off-white office carpet. The laundry dropped out of my hand and I issued a bloodcurdling scream. The floodgates were back open. A trip to the backyard, 30 minutes of stain remover and blotting, several bouts of hysterical tears and an attempt to clean the poop piles from the backyard later (the poopy bags split and dropped a particularly pungent, wet pile almost on my toe), I was done. I stuck Kona in the garage and headed off to Publix. I couldn't figure out what I wanted to eat.

I dialed my mom at this point, still in hysterics. After several minutes of ranting and grumbling, I deadpanned, "I'm over this. I just need to drive my car off a cliff."

Brief pause.

"Florida doesn't have any cliffs," I realized outloud. Angrily. I mean, how can I make an inappropriately-timed suicide joke when the local geography doesn't even cooperate with me???!!!

I went next door the my favorite pizza place, figuring I'd grab a quick slice or bowl of pasta and a glass of wine.

They had a wait.

Hell, they probably wouldn't have served me if they had no wait. I looked like I'd just escaped the nearest looney bin: shorts that resembled pajamas, mismatched top, flip-flops and makeup running down my face. I climbed in the car, vowing that this would be the last time - I eat wherever I land or I starve until tomorrow, m'f'er - and headed down the street to my favorite sushi place, where the chef knows me so well he makes my conch nigiri more like a hand roll, chopped with special sauce, seaweed and scallions. Abe was not working - but that didn't make the sushi any less fabulous. Thank God one part of my night turned out okay.

6 glasses of sake later, I'd made new friends, exchanged phone numbers, calmed down considerably and was ready to crawl into bed. But, at 9pm, I still had to grab Kona and head to my brother's house. We got there (40+ miles each way) about 10:30 (it took me extra-long because I'd taken my E-Pass out of the car and had to stop and pay cash at every toll both - more about that later), walked out in the backyard so Dave and I could watch the boys play and get Kona settled, and Kona proceeded to run up the back stairs so clumsily that he almost broke his back left paw.

Finally, about 2am, I got packed, got in bad and set my alarm so that I could be up in time to get cash for my 7am cab. The morning went substantially better than the evening did, and I had my stuff together and the litter cleaned and was out the door for some McDonald's iced coffee and cash before 6:30 (yes, I succumbed to an uber-greasy value meal along the way - which we chall never discuss ever again). But when I got to McD's, my debit card wasn't working. Forking over my last few dollars, I headed to the nearest gas station/ATM combo. It was now about 6:45 and I'd left my telephone at home. The gas station ATM also refuses to give me cash. I was LIVID. I knew my balance was well over the amount I was trying to wirthdraw, and I live only 6 miles from the airport - if that - so parking for 5 days = $40 plus schlepping bags, versus a cab each way for about $20 round trip and no schlepping.

I landed in Chattanooga, saw my parents and aunt, and the floodgates opened again. The bank still wouldn't give me cash because they claimed I'd had an overdraft 2 days prior (not true; my bank manager had called to let me know one of the electronic drafts I'd cancelled was still going through and she was going to move some money over from my savings to prevent any negative balance as well as prevent the errant draft.)

Finally . . . things were settled. And, climbing into my bed at mom's later in the night, I felt like someone had waved a magic wand over my head to stop all the insanity. There's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home . . .

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