I may be absent from blogging for a few weeks because, last night, my dogs failed to assassinate me with poison ivy.
Every evening, I take them for a long walk at sunset, and, when we get back to the house, I unleash both of them in the backyard so they can blitz around and burn off any excess energy. There’s no fence containing them there, but, on every single prior occasion, they have voluntarily not run away, because they love me. Or they would really love to kill and eat me. One of those.
But, last night, Coco (Actual, live Coco; not Faux-Coco, may she rest in peace) spotted a squirrel dashing into the fire swamp behind our neighbor’s house. Even though she heard me slow-motion-screaming, “COCO! NoooOOOO! IT’S A TRAAAaaaaPPP!” she was all, “THESE WOODS ARE LOVELY, DARK, AND DEEP, AND IF YOU WANTED ME TO OBEY YOUR COMMANDS THEN MAYBE YOU SHOULDN’T'VE RUN OFF TO CALIFORNIA AND TURNED UP TWO YEARS LATER WITH ANOTHER DOG!” *Sassy bounding in pursuit of squirrel*
So, both dogs are now romping through the underbrush, coating themselves nose to tail in poison ivy oils and raccoon shit while I stand on the edge of the fire swamp ineffectually hollering,”TREAT! HUNGRY?! DINNER! BREAKFAST! BACON! BLUEBERRY! ICE CREAM!?”
Meanwhile, my neighbors just stand there, watching uselessly from their living room window as if this kind of spectacle is dishearteningly commonplace or somehow MY fault, even though THEY’RE the ones who let the fucking fire swap get totally out of hand with toxic plantlife.
After nearly a minute of fervent cursing and angry hand clapping fails to entice either Jimi or Coco back out, I have no choice but to go in and retrieve them.
I do so bravely but with caution, stalwartly minimizing all physical contact with the environment by entering the woods at a leaping sprint, using my arms to shield my face from poisonous vines and shrapnel and whatnot, sort of like an Olympic hurdler running into a burning building to save her murderous, betraying pets.
Yet, when they see me blasting through the foliage like a reenactment of Pickett’s Charge, those fluffing assholes turn and run AWAY from me. This forces me to leap so deep into the fire swap that I eventually pop out the other side, where I find the two of them just sitting there, in some unfamiliar backyard, watching some weirdo on a riding mower, who, in turn, is just sitting there ogling me because all this bravery has sucked my spandex shorts almost entirely into my vagina. Or maybe he’s just staring in shock and confusion because no one has ever survived the fire swamp before.
I’m not really paying all that much attention to what he’s thinking, preoccupied, as I am, with the realization that my dogs are trying to kill me. A futile endeavor, considering I’m invincible and, when my immune system experiences an attempted ivy poisoning, it just Hulks the fuck out.
I know because, the last time this happened (the last time I encountered poison ivy, I mean. Not the last time my pets tried to end me, which happens with disappointing regularity.), my entire body ballooned to an incredibly inconvenient size and stayed that way for three weeks. I couldn’t move, including to speak or to consume any sustenance that must be masticated, because doing so would cause my prohibitively taught flesh to literally split open at the joints, and also because my daily, head-to-toe calamine slatherings had layered and dried into a gnarly, pink, full-body cast.
So, I just laid, immobile, in bed, petulantly pondering the slew of alternative afflictions I would rather endure than the worst documented poison ivy rash in the history of mankind.
Despite the fact that I couldn’t move, or speak, or see (my eyes were swollen shut), my friends still came to visit.
I had my parents turn each visitor away, no matter how much I would have enjoyed someone reading to me or feeding me through a straw. Not because poison ivy is contagious; just because the first person I let see me was like:
Generally speaking, every time a person is exposed to poison ivy, the reaction is more severe, but I’m not really sure what comes after the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man.
Maybe I’ll just look like someone microwaved the Stay Puff Marshmallow man on high for 20 seconds.
Then again, I may not react at all. After capturing my evil, wicked dogs, the three of us went into emergency quarantine mode; meaning, I tucked them under my arms like furry, belligerently thrashing footballs and whisked all three of us straight into the shower. I washed us with hot water and Dawn dish soap (cocoa butter body wash didn’t have the oil-fighting balls for this next level shit), then I pulled on a pair of rubber gloves, threw the contaminated clothes, shoes, and doggie harnesses into a very hot laundry cycle, and retraced our route from door to shower, scrubbing down anything we touched with rubbing alcohol. It was actually an impressive feat to behold.
It’s still too early to tell whether it did the trick. If I do Hulk into a grotesque human-marshmallow, I’ll try to let you know.
It’ll probably look something like, ” 4to;mhkhcLHIL Ttw4jilH kklW:YE J ,4oih5ty,” since I’ll just be blindly banging in and around the general vicinity of the keyboard with fingers that have swollen and merged into one monstrous, inflexible uni-digit.