No good deed goes unpunished. Especially when you’ve — ahem — forgotten to do it.
Yesterday was the first time in ages I didn’t remember to bring the trash bins out. Any of my regular readers will know that I am normally quite diligent in this regard. But my brain — like our suitcase — seems to have missed its connection back from South Carolina. The lost luggage got delivered on Sunday. My mind? We’re still waiting.
Anyway. I was exhausted. It was hot. MJ was fractious. I had — as I mentioned in yesterday’s post — a lot to do. So bin duty fell by the wayside. Oh, it did occur to me once or twice: “It’s Monday. Roll those suckers out before you forget!” But this was immediately supplanted by: “I’ll do it later.”
“Later,” needless to say, never came. It wasn’t, in fact, until I had put MJ down, cleaned the kitchen, put away the toys, carbo-loaded two plates of pasta, watched three episodes of “Community,” gotten into bed, read half a New Yorker article, and begun to be sucked, like so much human spaghetti, into the hungry maw of slumber, that I remembered, in my last waking nano-second: the bins. Fuck. I should. Go…do…zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Next thing I knew it was three AM. I woke up and reached out for Mike, who had worked so late I never heard him come in.
He wasn’t there.
I shot out of bed. Well, let’s be honest. I crumpled to a standing position. Anyway, I got up. Where was my husband? Had something happened to him? Bleary thoughts of disaster trailed me as I stumbled to the bedroom door.
But there, in the living room, was Mike. He was asleep on the couch, a wool blanket draped over one leg. Phew. What a relief. But also confusing. Why was he there? Had we had a fight I was unaware of? This was conceivable. Did I smell? Also conceivable. Was I snoring? I have an abiding, if unfounded, insecurity about this last point.
“Mike?” I half whispered. “What are you doing here?”
He groaned, rubbed his eyes, and sat up. “Sorry. I didn’t know if I should come in.”
He looked at me sheepishly through the dim light. “Let’s just say that I learned my lesson tonight.”
This sounded bad.
And it was. But not in the way I thought. Turns out, Mike had come home at midnight from work. Understandably exhausted after a sixteen hour day, he got ready to eat a quick dinner before he walked the dog and came to bed. But then he noticed I’d forgotten to take the bins out. So, putting off his meal, he went outside to do it. And, in so doing, forgot to latch the door behind him.
Now, this is something he’s done many times before. Normally it occurs during the day, and results in nothing worse than the introduction of several large flies into our kitchen. Which results in me, of course, dropping whatever I’m doing to stalk the above with one of the two flyswatters in my possession, all the while muttering “Hate. Bugs. Hate. Bugs.” Then I lecture Mike about the utility — necessity, in fact — of closing screen doors.
That’s the daytime. But this was night. No flies came in.
But one medium-sized, tail-wagging entity did go out.
Mina is a canine Houdini. Some of you probably remember her recent escape from our home through the louvred windows in the living room. She got out again, through those same panes, last week while our housesitter was here. This time the louvres were closed. Which basically means that our dog has better fine motor skills than our toddler. And that she really, really wants out of here.
All of which is to say that a door ajar, to her, is the equivalent of an engraved invitation — from Tiffany; scented — to exeunt.
Which, at 12:30 AM, she did. And then she escaped the yard. And then, as is her wont, she homed in on the closest skunk nest she could find. Where she got sprayed — for the umpteenth time in her life — in the mouth, face, and ears.
Why? Because that’s how she rolls.
In moments she was back, hacking and spitting, reeking and miserable. But not as miserable as Mike, who, needless to say, never got to his pasta. Instead, there was the garden-hose dog bath, (“I water-boarded her, basically”), the shutting of said mutt in the garage, the stripping off of be-fumed clothes. The fear of bringing the smell into the house. And the decision, ultimately, to sleep on the couch, lest the stink ruin our bed permanently.
I, however, insisted Mike come to bed. Poor guy. He didn’t smell that bad to me. Plus, I was guilt-ridden over those bins.
“Oh, honey,” was all I could say as we fell asleep. “I’m so sorry I didn’t take them out.”
And I really am. Especially because, after re-bathing Mina this morning, Mike shut her in the utility room to dry off. Now all of our laundry, coats, and the entire ironing pile — voluminous as always — reeks of skunk. As does the garage. As does the bedroom. As does the yard. As does the whoooole house.
And as does, still, the dog.
Next week I’m setting a reminder on my phone. For the bins, that is. Forgetfulness costs.
It also reeks to high heaven.