Category Archives: dog

How NOT to Make a Sale (Part 1 of the Carpet Chronicles)

Our dog, Pee Pee* has been finding her way around the gate we set up to keep her confined to the kitchen and out of our family room while we are away from home. She’s 12 years old and on a vet prescribed diet that causes her to drink more than the average dog, and consequently, to urinate more than the average dog.  It’s become a problem in that she can’t seem to hold her bladder very long and has been  sneaking into the family room and using the carpet as her own personal fire hydrant.

It took a while for us to notice this.  I guess the puddles that Pee Pee made were absorbed by the carpet and soaked up like a sponge,  long before we ever actually spotted the stains with our eyes.  However, the incredible REEK of urine ultimately blew her cover.

When spot cleaners and odor elimators failed to do the trick, I decided the most efficient way to handle this would be to pack our things and move away, leaving the dog with the leaking bladder behind.  Unfortunately, the housing market stalled, leaving us rather stuck.  And I was too lazy to pack.  So the next best solution, it appeard, was for us to replace the carpeting in that room while at the same time, configuring a better kind of gate (electrified, perhaps) to keep Pee Pee from going in there at all.

I called Empire Today because they had a catchy jingle and their television commercial promised an “easy, in-home estimate.”  To my delight, they were able to set me up with an in-home appointment for that very same day!  The friendly customer service representative informed me that the estimator would come out to our house between 7 and 9 p.m., and that “all decision makers must be present.”  “Okay,” I said, “Deal!  Send the estimator on out!”

That evening, my husband and I sat watching the clock in anticipation while we savored what we believed would be our final days suffering the rank urine stink wafting through the air in family room.    7:00 p.m. passed… then 7:30.  Around quarter ‘til 8:00 my phone rang and Steve, the sales guy, called to say he was on his way.  He just left his prior appointment in the city (an hour’s drive from me, by the way) and he anticipated that he would be at my house in ½ an hour.  “Wow! He must be driving a race car!” I remarked.

An hour later Steve called back to say that he was on my street, but he needed my house number.   I told him my house number.  “Oh,” he said, “I was at your neighbor’s house.  Are you the house on the corner?”  I confirmed that yes, that was indeed my house on the corner.  I guess the reflective numbers on the mailbox, and the big brass ones nailed to the front of the house somehow failed to clue him in.

A few moments later, he knocked.  I opened the front door to a young man nicely, yet casually dressed, and who also happened to be talking a mile a minute.  He introduced himself, shook my hand, shook my husand’s hand, and announced he already knew my husband’s name since he had originally stopped at my next door neighbor’s house.  I can only assume she said something like, “No… I didn’t call about carpet… You know, there is a funny odor wafting from the house next door… Oh, you must want so and so, right there, at the house on the corner!”

Steve proudly told us how much money in sales he had made for Empire over the past year ($2,000,000.00 if you’re interested).  I immediately thought that this wasn’t exactly the sales pitch I’d anticipated.  In fact, it was rather turning me off a bit.  I mean, he was selling carpet, and $2 million in carpet is either a REALLY high volume of carpet sold at average sale price, or a lower volume sold at ridiculously high prices, right?  Regardless, it seemed an odd way to get started.  And although it left me wondering, I couldn’t ponder it too much because he kept talking, talking, talking, talking, talking, talking.  Diarrhea of the mouth, I believe the saying goes.  I really had to stay focused to follow him.

My husband and I, along with Steve, moved into the kitchen where Steve removed from his messenger bag, not a clipboard or an Empire Today estimate form, but a composition notebook.  The kind you used in grade school.  He set it on my table, but didn’t bother to open it.

He pulled out a tape measure and set about measuring.  He measured the family room, yet he didn’t write anything down.  And the whole while, he kept talking, talking, talking, talking, and talking.  But not about carpet, and not about the measurements he was taking.  Just about himself, his life as a salesman, some property he wanted to buy, his successes (and there were many!), his girlfriend of 12 years…

Since I had inquired about prices for replacing my kitchen floor as well, he measured part of the kitchen, but he failed to measure an entire section of flooring where we were standing.  Maybe he eyeballed it?  I don’t know if that figured into any of the calculations that he may or may not have done.  But once again, he didn’t write anything down.  Not the family room measurements, not the partial kitchen measurements.

Eventually Steve made his way out to his car and returned with 3 books of carpet samples.  The quality of each was never really explained.  One was (his words) “cushy”, the other “soft”, the last, “more plush”.  One had a 7-year wear and crush warranty.  The other two had 10-year wear warranties, and 5-year crush warranties.  But according to Steve, the sales guy, they were all about equal quality.

Actually, he didn’t say they were all equal quality, he said something about “not a big difference between them” or “not enough difference to matter”.  He then admitted to having a “super plush” sample he could have shown me… It was, he said, better than what he had with him, but he had, unfortunately taken that sample out of his car just the day before!  The company, or someone, I wasn’t sure exactly who, was now doing car inspections, and Steve had to remove it from his car because, as he said “otherwise they think you’re stealing from them.”  Sure, I nodded, as if this was a totally reasonable expectation.  But what I thought was, “So, you’re unprepared? You have something better but you can’t show it to me?  Isn’t that like coming to take a math test without your pencil?”  I even contemplated if that was why he wasn’t writing anything down, maybe he forgot his pencil. But he eventually managed a pen from somewhere, so lack of a writing instrument, then, wasn’t the problem.

We examined the carpet samples at my kitchen table.  We looked at them in the family room to see how the colors looked in that lighting.  We walked on them to see which felt the best.  My son, ready for bed and clad in pajamas (that glow in the dark!) joined us and declared a favorite.  I even tried to get Pee Pee to try the samples.  You know, just to see how quickly the urine would soak in, and how well the fibers could hold the stink.  But my husband stopped me.

While we were walking back and forth over the tiny carpet samples, Steve went back to his car to retrieve his laminate tile book to show us options for our kitchen floor.  And just let me say here that Wow!  That stuff is nice looking.  I didn’t know they had fake ceramic tiles like that.  I just may pick something like that whenever we get around to replacing the kitchen floor, although I hope they have more than 8 colors to choose from because 8 is all that Steve had with him.  Either that’s all they make, or he took the rest out of his car so he couldn’t be accused of stealing the better fake tiles, maybe.

After what seemed like forever, but in reality was probably merely an eternity, we moved back to the kitchen table and settled down to business.  Steve ran some numbers through his calculator.  I believe he used some special carpet cost equation calculator where X+$2million in sales + whatever you can dupe the customer out of = your commission and last laugh.  Or maybe he pulled a figure out of his pie in the sky dreams.  Because his price quote (again, not written down) was $2,880.00.  Yes folks.  For one room.  One 40 square yard room.  Do the math on a regular calculator and it comes out to some $75.00 a square yard of pure carpet gold.  Ca-ching!

The kitchen flooring cost something equally unbelievable, $6000-something.  Either I don’t recall exactly, or I didn’t hear him precisely with the ringing disbelief reverberating in my ears.  I figured I wasn’t redoing the kitchen floor any time soon, so the price didn’t really matter right now anyway.  Come to think of it, I wasn’t redoing the family room floor either, at least not at that cost.

I asked how long the quote was good for.  Steve appeared to think about that for a minute and said, “I don’t know, I guess until Empire raises their prices.”  I said we’d really have to think about this.

He seemed to understand that we weren’t handing over our wallets to him so he asked, “Did you have a number in mind?” 

 I replied, “Well, for the kitchen no.  But for the family room, for the carpet, I was thinking maybe $1200.00.” 

“Let me try to get you a better deal,” he said.  He went on to explain that sometimes, the warehouse, as it gets near the end of a roll of carpet, will give you a fantastic deal because they want to get rid of the remaining roll.  He called it a “roll back” or an “end roll” or something to that effect.  He said he’d call the warehouse and see, but I had to pick 2 colors, my first choice and a back-up, in case they weren’t running low on my first choice. 

I chose, just to be clear here, Shaw brand carpet with the 7-year wear warranty, the color “sandcastle” as my first choice and the color “honey” as my second choice. 

Steve made the call…

Now have you ever heard someone make a telephone call and for whatever reason, maybe the person answering on the other end is yelling, or maybe the caller’s cell phone speaker is turned up too loud, you can hear the person on the other end?  That’s what happened here.  I could hear the person who answered on the other side.  And to my astonishment, she didn’t answer, “Empire Carpet Warehouse” or anything business-like like that.  She said “Hi Babe!” 

Steve, to his credit, didn’t hesitate at all and responded with an appropriate sounding, “Yeah, I was wondering if you have any of the end rolls for “sandcastle” or “honey.” And what kind of deals you had on those?”  He did not identify himself.  He did not specify that it was Shaw carpet as opposed to one of the other brands of carpet he had been showing us, which may or may not have had similar color names.   The other end of the phone was silent.  I assume this was per prior agreement that must have gone something like this “Yeah, hon, sometimes I’ll call you when I’m working, okay?  You answer, and if I’m talking carpet, I’m just trying to fool my potential customers.  Play along, don’t say anything.  I’ll let you know how it all went down later.”  Because before the person on the other end had said another word, he looked at us and said $1700!”  “Wow!” I was thinking, as I mentally rolled my eyes,  “What a deal.  He came down over a thousand dollars in mere minutes!”  The person on the other end finally said something, “Love ya, Babe! or “Good luck!” or perhaps “stop for a gallon of milk on your way home, would ya?” (it wasn’t too clear).  He agreed to whatever was said, hung up, and said there was a coupon available too, on their internet site, which would lower the price even more, to $1630.00!

I said again that’d we’d really have to think it over.  At that point he said “Are you secret shoppers?” 

“What?” I asked.  It was so out of the blue, I couldn’t have been more stunned by the sudden turn of events if he had asked “Are you vampires?” He repeated the question and John told him no, we weren’t “secret shoppers.”  So Steve closed his composition book and said, very discreetly, almost whispering, “I can get you this carpet for $1200!”  “In fact,” he said a bit louder “I can probably get you better carpet for that price.  My buddy installs carpet.  See, Empire, they keep raising and raising their prices making it harder and harder to make a sale.  They hired more salespeople, and guys like me, they’ve cut the number of leads I get in a day.  They are withholding our sales commission too for over a week!  It’s so unfair!!!  I said to them, after all I’ve done for you?  After all the sales I’ve made for you, THIS is how you treat me?  I’m so angry, I’m thinking of starting a union…”  Or maybe he said joining the union.  Or getting a mob of his other similarly ill-treated co-workers to join him in standing up for their rights, whatever they may be. 

On and on and on and on he went.  Eventually he came down to offering us better carpet for about $1000 if we went with him and his buddy.  He offered to leave us with his cell-phone number and although I had it on my caller-ID, I pretended I was interested and I agreed.  He wrote it down on a blank page in his composition book, then closed the book and put it away in his messenger bag.  “What?”  I thought, “How is writing the number on a page in your book then putting the book away in your bag and not giving us your number, giving us your number?”  And then he kept talking.  Something about his mom and a real estate deal and some guy he didn’t trust.  And he’d told his mom for the past six months that he didn’t trust this guy.  And it’s just not working…. 

Then he decided again to leave us his cell-phone number.  So he pulled his book out of his bag and turned back to that same page.  Upon seeing he’d already written the number down, he announced, “Oh!  It looks like I already wrote the number down.”  He pondered that for a full minute then said “I’ll write… I’ll write…. carpet and flooring on here!”  And he did.  Then he put the book away.  Again. 

At that point, my husband spoke up.  “Did you get his cell phone number?” he asked me.  “Oh,” I feigned looking around, “Um, did I?  I don’t think so…”

It took one, or perhaps it was two more rounds of pulling out the composition book and putting it away before he figured he ought to tear the page from the book and hand it to me.  I thought to file it away right then in my kitchen trash can, but I didn’t want to be rude.  So instead, I started gathering up his carpet samples and leaning them against the door.  It took a little longer, but he finally finished his story about his mom, and got his coat, and retreated to our front porch.  There he proceeded to carry on for another 10 minutes about the upcoming football game.  

If all of this wasn’t bad enough, during his rant about Empire’s rising costs, Steve told us that he could guarantee us, that with his friend doing the installation, all the people working on our carpet installation would speak English.  With Empire, he said, we’d be lucky if ONE of the installers spoke English.  I found this offensive just at the face of it.  But it wasn’t until I was rehashing this odd experience in my mind as I was trying to fall asleep, that I thought what was really ironic about that, is that our last name has a decidedly Spanish ring to it.  So much so, that half the time telemarketers call us, they are speaking Spanish when I answer the phone.  “No hable Espanole! No hable Espanole!” I tell them, before I hang up.  And it’s true.  Aside from that phrase, the only other Spanish I can manage is counting from 1 to 10.  Anyway, I’m not sure, but Steve might have gotten us confused with our neighbors, whose house he went to first, by mistake.  Their last name is actually, “English”.

*Note: Not her real name.  Names in this story have been changed to protect the guilty.



Filed under carpet, dog, humor, life

When the Clocks Change

So that extra hour of sleep this weekend… You know, the one you got with the change back to standard time? How was it?  Did you enjoy it?  If you did, don’t tell me about it.  I haven’t benefited from that extra hour of sleep even once in the past six years.

Since my son’s birth, little joys like an extra hour of sleep, even once a year, have become a thing of the past.  The kid wakes up pretty much the same time every morning, regardless of when he goes to bed the night before.  If I put him to bed at 8:30, he’s up by 6:15.  If I keep him up until midnight, he’s still up by 6:15, with the added bonus of grump personality to polish it off.  To remind me that not only was he up until midnight, but so was I.  And that sucks.

This year though, I actually allowed myself to get my hopes up a little.  Snags and his dad were having an Xbox night, and I thought I’d head off to bed early, maybe grab two extra hours of sleep.  It was going to be great.  My husband would put Snags to bed and then he was going to sleep in another room because I was getting up early to go running, and he didn’t want my alarm to wake him.  You know, the way his alarm clock wakes me every.damn.morning. of the week. 

So I went to bed.  And you see where this is going right?  It’s all downhill from where I got my hopes up.  Because an hour later I woke up and needed to go to the bathroom.  I went, then I crawled back in bed, closed my eyes, and the dog started scratching at the bedroom door.  She needed to go outside.  Grudgingly I got up, went downstairs, and let her out.  I climbed the stairs and crawled back in bed.  And that’s exactly when somebody else’s dog, outside somewhere, started barking.  Bark, bark, barking.  So my dog started growling.  Right there, in the middle of my bed, in the dark, she’s lying there growling. Now this this probably only went on for ten minutes, but it felt like hours until I got up and shot both dogs. 

Okay, okay.  I didn’t shoot them (please note, no animals were harmed in the making of this story).  But I did lie there imaging myself calling the police and asking them to troll the neighborhood listening for the barking dog and for them to shoot it to put me out of my misery…

Eventually the outside dog stopped barking and my dog stopped growling in response, and I fell back to sleep.  But then I dreamt about work stuff.  Now dreaming about work generally sucks any time it happens but it is especially sucktacular when it happens on weekends. 

I don’t know if I met the work deadline in my dreams because my dog woke me up AGAIN by scratching at the bedroom door so she could go outside and do her business, AGAIN.  Had my husband been in bed with me I would have kicked him and pretended I hadn’t, pretended I was sound asleep, and he would have heard her and gotten up and taken her outside.  But of course he wasn’t there.  So I tried to fool the dog into sleep by calling her name all sweet and enticing like until she jumped back on the bed, and then I petted her, hoping she’d fall asleep and forget about her need to pee for the second time in three hours.  But it was wasted petting because she didn’t fall asleep, and she jumped down off the bed and scratched at the door with her mangy paw until I gave up and took her downstairs to let her out again. 

This time, as I headed back up to bed, I started thinking about Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the book I have been reading, and how perhaps there was a vampire RIGHT BEHIND ME ON THE STAIRS and so I ran up the stairs as fast as I could, cursing the dog and the scary book and the night and the fact that I had to get up in a few short hours to go running.  Of course when I got to the top of the stairs my heart was pounding, and as I climbed into bed AGAIN, I could feel my heartbeat and hear it in my ears.  Like a bad drum beat.  In the middle of the night.

I tried to fall asleep again but this time my brain wouldn’t shut off and I just kept thinking of all kinds of shit: the route I was planning to run, how cold it would be in the morning, the birthday party Snags had to go to in the afternoon, whether or not I’d let the dog back in the house if she woke me up a third time, the laundry I needed to take care of so I’d have some clean clothes for work, the Halloween decorations that I needed to put away, the scary book I was reading…

Then I realized it was hot in the room.  I tried to ignore the feeling but it wasn’t getting any better, so I threw off the covers.  That didn’t help so I got up and changed out of my flannel pajamas into something not so flannely and crawled back under the covers trying to decide if I should leave the flannels on the floor or put them in the bed under the covers.  In the morning, I knew, I’d be cold and want to change, but the flannel pajamas would be too cold to put back on if I left them on the floor. Even in different pajamas I was hot, so I had to get up again to turn on the ceiling fan.  Ten minutes later, of course, I was freezing, so I had to pull all the covers up onto the bed again.  All in all, between the temperature game and my brain that was on overload, I was awake for an hour and a half.  Add to that the treks up and down the stairs to let my dog out, and the stranger dog barking outside somewhere, and instead of gaining an hour of sleep, I lost a ton.

What’s that saying?  One step forward, two steps back?  So I’m mad. And bitter.  I can’t get that sleep back.  It’s gone forever.  And sadly, I know that when Spring rolls around, and we all have to move our clocks forward again, I’ll be even more behind.


Filed under daylight savings time, dog, humor, life, sleep, standard time

Don’t Try This at Home

Snags has the imagination of a crazy person’s reality.  A schizophrenic’s perhaps.  I don’t know if he actually hears voices, but he certainly holds conversations with invisible people — people that aren’t exactly real, like Darth Vader and The Mystery Gang from Scooby Doo.   He once spent weeks, or maybe it was months, talking to Eric and Dr. Kaufman and the Phantom Virus, characters that were in Scooby Doo and The Cyber Chase.  Most recently, he’s been holding his hand to his ear as if it were a telephone and having conversations with Darth Vader and The Emperor.  And he’s been known to suddenly shout out in the middle of dinner for someone to “STOP FIGHTING OVER THERE WITH YOUR LIGHT SABERS!”  Then of course, there’s the fact that Snags has changed his identity many, many, many times over the past few years.  I’m not sure how it’s taken me this long to wonder why I haven’t ever hauled him off to the doctor to get this checked out.  A visit with a psychiatrist perhaps, to reassure myself that this is just his imagination at play and that he’s not actually CRAZY…

But anyway, given his imagination, I thought it would be fun to make up a story, something utterly impossible and fun, and share it with him.  After all, Snags usually likes my made up stories.  He often requests them.  “Mom,” he asks most nights before bed, “Can I have a telling story? Please? Just one short one before I go to sleep?” 

So one afternoon a few weeks ago, I found myself a little bit bored and dare I say sick and tired of listening to Snags having one sided conversations with Darth Vader and the Emperor on his hand phone, and I decided to tell him a story…

But before I tell you more, let me give you a little bit of background on my inspiration for the story, which I took from Pinocchio, my own mother, and Bill Cosby…  Pinocchio, you may recall, is the story of a wooden puppet that gets turned into a real live boy. My mother, well she used to tell my brother when he was a kid, that she got him from a shelf in a department store and that she could return him at any time… And that sort of reminded me of Bill Cosby, and that bit where he says something like “…I brought you into this world and I can take you out, make another one that looks just like you…” 

It was with those thoughts in mind that I came up with this story. This story that I made up on the spot and thought was a pretty ingenious idea: both brilliant AND funny.  So funny, in fact, that I was chuckling in my mind the entire time I was telling it.  But oh, the wrath I brought down upon myself!

See, I told  Snags that he was originally a baby doll and that I bought him at Toys R Us. Everyone, I told him, all of our family and friends, and even strangers, thought I was crazy for carrying a doll around.  So I started to pray to God to turn the doll into a real boy and when he was 7 ½ weeks old, God did!  But, the night before that happened, right before I went to bed, I had tossed Snags the doll into my toy box because, well, he was just a doll… But then in the middle of the night a noise woke me up.  I heard something crying and there was a bad smell in my room.  Our dog had started barking, so I turned on the light to see what all the commotion was about and saw the dog barking at the toy box.  I got out of bed, went over to see what was going on, and lo and behold, there was Snags, alive and waving his arms and crying.  And he’d pooped his diaper!

I went on to tell Snags that the scar over his eye, the one we’d always told him he got from throwing himself on the floor and hitting his face on a toy when he was a baby, was really from the dog taking him out of the toy box and playing fetch with him when he was still a doll.  That, you see, is where the dog’s teeth had scratched his doll head…  Now, I thought this was all very funny, but apparently I was wrong.

Snags totally freaked out and screamed and yelled at me.  He was so stinking mad I couldn’t believe it.  “No!”  He screamed.  “You’re lying!  That’s not true!  I was never a doll!  Why would you say that?  I’m not going to trust you anymore!”

I was taken aback at his outburst and suddenly I felt very defensive.  It was just a story, after all.  A story I kind of liked, you know, since I made it up (even if Pinocchio and my mother had sort of been the inspiration for it). But still…

In my defensiveness, I’m a little ashamed to admit, I turned into a bit of a child myself and kept insisting the story was true, and that Snags shouldn’t be so upset.  In fact, I told him, “You can ask your dad and Uncle Dan when they get here.  They’ll tell you this is all true!”

And of course Snags did.  He ran screaming to my husband and his Uncle the moment they walked in the front door.

“Dad!”  He yelled. “MomsaidIwasadollandGodturnedmeintoaboyandIknowsheslying!”

“What?!” my husband responded. “She said what?”

“MomsaidIwasadollandGodturnedmeintoaboyandIknowsheslying!” Snags repeated.

My husband looked at me, shook his head in disgust and said, “Now WHY would you tell him THAT?” and my brother, Snags’ Uncle, started laughing.

“It’s NOT FUNNY!” Snags cried.  “It’s not true, either, is it Uncle Dan?” he insisted.

But my brother, well, he’s a lot like me and can’t resist a good moment when he sees it.

“Well yeah it’s true!” he said, with a big smile spreading across his face.

To which, Snags got even angrier.  My husband had to calm him down, and I had to admit that it was just a story.  But I still maintained it wasn’t such a big deal and he shouldn’t have gotten so upset about the whole thing.

And my brother, he seemed a little deflated when the truth came out. But I think that’s because up until the point where I had to come clean and admit that the whole “Snags was once a doll” story wasn’t true, my brother was probably thinking that if my mom ever did return him to that department store, at least there was a chance his nephew might be sitting on the shelf next to him. 


Filed under dog, God, humor, identity, insanity, parenting, Scooby Doo, Snags, Star Wars, telling stories


I have to tell you about Sicko.  No, not the movie.  I haven’t seen it yet.  Have you?  I want to see it.  But in order to see it I’d have to call the babysitter (who’s probably booked out until Kingdom Come) and find a date that she’s available.  Then I’d have to take out my life savings from the bank just to be able to buy a couple of movie tickets and a box of Snow Caps.  After the movie, I’d have to come home and pay the sitter a kajillion dollars (sitters don’t come cheap around here), and then STILL put Snags to bed because he would have talked the sitter into letting him stay up because he’s cute and conniving that way.  It all just seems like too much work, just for a movie.  Even a movie that everyone’s talking about.  Instead, I think I’ll wait ‘til it comes out on DVD, which will probably be in 2 weeks anyway, and then rent it from my local redbox where I can get it for just a dollar.  Seriously, even if I keep the movie for a week, I’d still pay less renting from redbox than I would if I went to the theater.

The Sicko I have to tell you about is my husband.  He pulled a London Broil from the freezer 2 weeks ago and put it in the fridge to thaw (yes, I know London Broil is a cooking method, but my grocery store labels the raw meat as such, and so I call it as I buy it).  Anyway, I believe he intended to cook it when my parents were visiting from out of town, but we had other delicious foods to eat like pizza and crab dip and hot dogs and 4th of July cake.  Then he forgot about it and it somehow the meat got shoved to the back of the fridge, behind the chicken he had thawed and also forgot about.  Until I saw it a few nights ago and said:  “Isn’t it trash night?  Shouldn’t we throw out that rotting chicken and did you know there’s a rotting steak back there too?”

“A STEAK?”  he asked, all wide eyed and starting to salivate like Pavlov’s dogs. 

“Yeah,” I said narrowing my eyes suspiciously because he was starting to pant over the possibility of the steak.  “I think you meant to cook it when my parents were here.  You got it out to thaw before they arrived.  They were here for a week and it’s been another week since they went back home.  So I’m sure it’s no good now.  Throw it out.”

Only the next evening, after I returned from a run, he told me how, instead of throwing it away, he had cooked that steak, the one rotting in the back of the fridge.  He threw it on the grill with some spices, and not surprisingly, he burned it a little.

“What?!  I cried.  “You cooked that?”

“Yeah,” he shrugged.  “I ate some of it. There was nothing wrong with it.  It’s fine.”

“Well I’m not eating any of it,” I said.  “And don’t feed any of it to Snags either!  I don’t think you are supposed to eat something so old.  Just because you burned it doesn’t mean it’s okay to eat.  In fact, it’s probably worse. I heard on the news that the burned stuff causes cancer…” 

Still, he swore it was fine.  He’d eaten some and wasn’t sick.  Yet…

I totally expect that any moment now he’ll come to me complaining he’s caught some horrible form of ecolisalmonellalisteriacampylobacterplusatumorfromtheburnedmeat and he’ll have the idiocy of mind to wonder why.  And if he does, I won’t nurse him back to health.  Not when it’s his own damn fault. 

See, I had salmonella once.  And even though I didn’t catch it from eating rotten meat, I am now very obsessive about expiration dates and how long I keep leftovers in the fridge before they start to grow things.  I caught salmonella, believe it or not, from my sister-in-law’s dog.  Her dog who got into the trash and ate some old, raw chicken.  Possibly chicken she’d gotten out of the freezer to thaw, then forgot about.  At least she realized it, and threw it away, instead of cooking it and poisoning the whole family.  Too bad for her dog though.  He got terribly ill, and when she was tired of cleaning up piles of dog sick from all over the house, I offered to ride with her to the emergency vet. That was a fun ride, let me tell you. She drove while I sat in the back getting puked on and shit upon by the dog. We dropped the dog off, went home where I showered and gagged over the stink that was on me, and we learned a few days later that the poor, sad creature that had been sick all over the house, the back seat of the car, and me, had salmonella.  Ultimately, he’d be fine and back home like nothing had ever happened.  Stupid dog.

Because what we didn’t know at the time was that her dog had given his illness to me.  Three days later I ended up so sick that I found myself admitted to the hospital where I stayed for a week while the doctors ran every test known to mankind trying to figure out what was wrong with me.  Then one day my dad thought to ask if it was possible to catch something from a dog…  A few days later I was sent home with some heavy duty antibiotics and a letter from the state health department warning me not to take a job in the food service industry until I sent them a bunch of samples – STOOL SAMPLES! — to prove I’d been cured of the disease.

If you aren’t familiar with the effects of salmonella, you can read about them in a clinical kind of way here.  They are too gross to go into in much detail, and besides, thinking about them makes my insides clinch in horror all over again.  But suffice it say, if you get salmonella and are sitting in a hospital bed sipping Tropicana Twister because it’s sweet and the only food or drink you can stomach at all, even in tiny sips, you have been warned.  It will come out the other end and you will be convinced you are hemorrhaging to death through your intestines, but it’s really only the red dye number whatever that you are seeing.  So you can breathe a sigh of relief and believe the nurses when they tell you that too.

But back to my husband.  He’s been eating the old rotten burnt steak for a few days now and he still hasn’t gotten sick.  So maybe it’s true what they say, that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  I guess time will tell.


Filed under chicken, dog, humor, london broil, rotten food, salmonella, sick, sicko, steak