Sunday, February 25, 2007

Taking the Dogs to the Groomer

I used two of my personal hours at work to take Raleigh and Caesar to the groomer because I didn't think Mom could handle them on her own. The plan was for Mom to sit in the back seat with the dogs on an old comforter I'd placed back there to protect my new carseats from dog hair and dirt. As soon as we started off, Raleigh began howling because he wanted to come into the front seat with me. Mom kept a deathgrip on his leash. Raleigh's deep and indignant baying provoked Caesar into howling as well, although his howl is really a whining, high-pitched, chalk-on-blackboard, screech.

Yes, it was nerve-wracking but Carrie's Country Kennel is not that far out. Mom said she remembered exactly how to get there. So, we figured we could bear up under the noise for the few minutes it would take for us to arrive. This, incidently, was that day it was so foggy, you couldn't even see as far as the front of your car.

"Go to that road where Christi's grandma used to have her bridal shop," Mom directed me confidently." I picked my way slowly through the gloom and turned down the road.

"Now go to the next road and turn left." I was almost on top of the sign before it appeared, looming up out of the fog.

"Okay, it's the first house on the right. There will be a sign in the yard"

I crept up to the first house on the right. It did not have a sign in the yard.

Meantime, the dogs, if anything, had gotten even more hysterical. Over their cater-wauling, I pointed out to Mom, "I don't think this is the right place."

"I'm sure this is the way I came the last time."

"Well, Mom, they've moved then because it doesn't seem to be here this time."

I asked her (knowing in my heart how futile the question was) - "you don't happen to remember a road number?"

"No, I never paid any attention to numbers, I just knew how to get here."

"I don't suppose you put the card she gave you in your purse?" I inquired (gently).

"No, because I didn't think I needed it. " Her voice now contained an element of nerves and defensiveness." You know, maybe it was the road before the road we went down."

I had made it back to State Road 15 by then so I re-traced my path south and turned down the road before the Bridal Shop Road (Mom and I are both more into landmark signifiers than actual road numbers). I've been down this road (School Bus Road) a thousand times and I didn't ever remember a kennel on it....and I was right. No kennel. We forged on as Raleigh continued to try to pull Mom's arms out of their sockets and both dogs assailed our eardrums.

Mom was, by then, in full apology mode.

Raleigh howled; Caesar screeched; Mom apologized.

"I'm sorry, I'm really really sorry, really really really sorry."

"It's okay, Mom. It's no big deal. Don't worry about it."

I fumbled my cell phone out of my purse as I drove blindly into the, if anything, even denser fog than when we'd started out. I tried to close my ears to the, if anything, even louder, canine cacaphony. I called information and got Carrie's number. No answer. We could have gone back to a phone somewhere, of course, that had an actual telephone book and looked up the actual road number but our pioneer spirit had kicked in by then and we were determined to find Carrie's without the wimpy aid of an actual address.

After about 40 minutes of aimless wandering in foggy circles, we passed a house and peered through the fog to see the sign for Carrie's Country Kennel.

"Mom, look," I yelled out jubilantly, "there it is!"

We dropped the dogs off with Carrie. Mom was shaking from stress by the time she finally turned over the responsibility of the leashes.

When Carrie called to say the dogs were done, I told Mom I'd just run to get them by myself. She gratefully agreed. The fog was gone. I put a towel on my seat and let Raleigh sit in the front. He was happy and silent. The little dog curled up in back. He was content and quiet. They both looked beautiful with their new haircuts. And, in just a few short hours, Mom's and my hearing returned to normal.