Fleas, Skunks, and Blueberries

So first there were the fleas. They’ve lived in our house before. And in spite of the temporary presence of a dog, we concluded that my husband brought them home from his recent camping trip. He was infested. The dog was not.
So I stripped sheets from beds, powdered the house with borax, and sprayed the dog with a mild vinegar and water wash. Three of the beds weren’t made yet. But we could take care of all that after the family gathering. There would be plenty of time when we got back with some grandkids who were staying overnight so we could pick blueberries the next day.
The plan was simple. I’d make the beds. Paul could walk the dog. Bedtime would be later than usual but not unreasonable.
Then the plan changed.
“We have a problem,” Paul said when he returned from the walk. The dog had nosed his way into a bush and got a snout full of skunk spray.
The new plan meant the dog couldn’t come into the house yet. Paul headed to the store to buy tomato juice. I still had to finish making the beds. So I recruited two grandkids–cousins, the two oldest.
“You two watch the dog, but don’t touch him.” They sat on the creaky porch swing. The only light from stars and the corner street light.
I gathered old towels, a basin of soapy water, and a bucket for the tomato juice. And by the time I finished the beds, Paul was back.
The younger cousins were upstairs getting in some bonus video game time. Paul and the two older cousins were outside washing the dog.
I stood in between, near a window on a stairway, laughter arose from the driveway.
And I remembered another day that hadn’t gone quite right. We were at our church picnic. The dinner had been wonderful. But then one of the cousins convinced Grandpa Paul to go on the ride that went forward, backward, and sideways.
“Remember the time Grandpa threw up at the park?” I had told them they would always remember that day. “You’ll always remember this day  too.”
It seemed as though nothing had gone right that day, yet all was right that could be.
After the dog dried off and settled down, the lone girl cousin was down the hall between pink sheets with a book and a light. Quiet there already. Later it was quiet upstairs. After the game was off, after a fight over who was hogging the covers,  after cousin whispers of adventures and memories.
The next day we picked 22 pounds of blueberries. It took two vehicles to carry the cousins and the grandparents. We stopped for ice cream after our work. Grandpa played tag with them in the playground.
He did not throw up. But may we always remember anyway.

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21 Replies to “Fleas, Skunks, and Blueberries”

  1. I know Paul. Always suspected he was a flea carrier! LOL! seems appropriate a Patriots fan would get skunked. Love you Paul.

  2. What a nice reminder that the crazy days are the ones we remember more often than not, so it’s best just to embrace the day. Mine and my husband’s key phrase is “someday we’re going to laugh” ?

  3. Despite the tough time with the fleas and skunk spray, at least you had a pleasant time with picking all the blueberries. 🙂 Inspires me to plant some. 🙂

    1. It was one of a few adventures we had with Boomer–my son’s dog. We kept Boomer while my son did Reservist duty and when he deployed. Boomer came to be at home at our house and, when we missed Boomer after my son’s return, our kids conspired to get us a dog for Christmas. So the doggie adventures continue. Thanks, Edna! God bless!

  4. Wow, what an experience. The story certainly grabbed my attention and pulled me in to see what happened next. Hopefully no fleas or skunks for a while or maybe ever! 😉

  5. Love this story! Our dog got skunked once right as my husband and dad were leaving for a race – so they had to run up a mountain smelling of skunk and I was left to deal with our dog… It was rough at the time but now a funny story. (Friends even gave us a skunk ornament for our Christmas tree that year!) I need to remember to step back and see the humor in those days where everything goes wrong…

  6. Haha, oh my! I had two labs growing up and they always seemed to get skunked on like Thanksgiving Day or some time really inconvenient. Feeling sympathy for your story 🙂

  7. I love this little picture into grandma life. You show yourself adapting to the little hazards that daily life throws at us. We tend to always be surprised when they occur. But it seems these things actually tend to be the norm. Rarely do things go as planned when grandkids and dogs are involved. 🙂 You adapted so smoothly and with humor – the key to navigating grandma life.

    About the skunk. We were gifted with our son’s aged dog, who had no prior experience with skunks. I’ve lost track of how many times he got sprayed in the few years we had him, from a light dusting to full in the face, which ended up getting in my hair as I cleaned him. We came upon this recipe from the Humane Society, which works even better than tomato juice, should you ever need it again:

    Mix together:
    1 quart of 3-percent hydrogen peroxide (available at any pharmacy)
    1/4 cup baking soda.
    1 teaspoon liquid dishwashing soap.
    Wash a few times, depending on how hard the animal is hit with the spray. 🙂

    1. Actually, someone else had told us about using dish soap. So Paul used the tomato juice and then the dish soap followed by a very good rinsing. It did the trick–but peroxide and baking soda can only help! The poor thing just could get the aroma out of his nostrils for some time.

      We hoped it was a lesson learned, but we were the ones who became more cautious. Thanks for commenting, Melinda. God bless!

  8. Such a cute story! Things don’t always go the way we would like, however sometimes the memories are quite enjoyable to look back on.

  9. I’ll never forget the night a few months back, I was walking late and just as I walked up to my driveway I saw a black cat in the yard. The neighbors have 3 cats, so this is not completely unusual. But in a split-second, I gave it a second look and stopped dead in my tracks. It was a skunk!!!! I slowly backed away and he ran the other way. I’m so relieved that he never sprayed and he hasn’t been seen since!

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