Sunday, November 28, 2004

Category 5 Adulthood

When I was a scrawny, gangly kid (as opposed to the scrawny, gangly grown-up I am today), my family and I took a trip to Lake Tahoe, along the northern border between California and Nevada. During this trip my folks decided to take my sister and I on a rafting trip down the nearby Truckee River. This represented a significant departure for us, a family generally disinclined to participate in any activity more physically demanding than a game of Boggle.

The rafting adventure began harmlessly enough, which is to say we all got into the raft without drowning. We slowly drifted down the river, occasionally steering the raft with an oar and comforting one another as the fear of drowing washed over us. We craned our necks back in forth in the orange life vests, staring at the scenery and noshing on tuna sandwiches as we coasted. Then suddenly, to the surprise and disapproval of everyone in the raft, the Truckee River turned into a Category 5 rapid and the Evans family was immersed in a struggle for its collective life.

The river became choppy and rough. I looked at my dad, who looked at my mom, who looked at my sister and me with a face that seemed to say, “Well, it’s been fun, kids. We’re all going to die now.” A family in a raft near ours overturned in the splashing nightmare of the rapids. My folks struggled mightily to keep our raft right-side-up and away from the jagged rocks that would most certainly have been the instruments of our death. I imagined the headline in the paper the next day would read, "Oy Vey! Physically Retarded Jewish Family Drowns in Truckee River Disaster; Should Have Stuck To Boggle."

Ultimately, through some stroke of luck I will never be able to explain (perhaps it was our Lord and Savior, Barbara Streisand, having mercy on our souls), we made it through the rapids and escaped with our lives. Then we all rushed back to the hotel to change our underpants. We spent the rest of the trip watching The Jazz Singer on Spectravision and never went on another vacation again.

As time goes by, I see that being an adult is a lot like that rafting trip. Everything started out so smoothly and serenely. I got a job. I met a wonderful woman. We got married. We went to Europe. We took walks on the beach. The world was paradise – smooth and serene and beautiful.

And then, without warning, experiences like last night turn that serenity into a hellstorm.

At 4:26 a.m., Left-Handed Power-Hitting Son called out to my wife that he had wet the bed. Hot Wife dutifully threw the covers off of herself and dragged her tired body into his room to strip the pee-soaked sheets, hose the child down and tuck him into a freshly made bed.

I won’t lie. I was thrilled to remain in the warm, cozy confines of our flannel sheets while Hot Wife went about her business. But my joy was completely crushed when she returned a moment later.

“Danny,” she said, “the dog took a dump on the carpet.”

That would be the new carpet. The carpet we just had installed a month ago. The carpet I mortgage my right testicle to afford. The carpet that replaced the carpet so stained and soiled with dog piss and shit stains that it looked like it had lined the floor of a kennel instead of a modest single family dwelling.

My first thought: I’m going to kill that dog. Right now. Where’s my Louisville Slugger?

My second thought: Shit! I’d better clean that poop before it stains the carpet and I have to mortgage the other nard to replace this carpet, too.

The second thought won out. So there I was at 4:31 in the morning, picking up dog shit with a wad of paper towels while my wife was in the next room pulling pee-stained sheets from our son’s bed.

And suddenly I was in the category 5 rapids of the Truckee River again.


At 10:54 AM, Blogger drawdawn said...

Bummer - what rotten luck! I would have installed hard wood floors. ;-)

At 7:48 AM, Blogger JoeinVegas said...

Might be better than having the dog in bed and the kid on the carpet. How about confining the dog to perhaps the kitchen (carpet there?) or the back yard? If that works that you can move the kid out there to, to keep the dog warm.

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