Christmas 2004: A day that will live in infamy
It's that insane time of year when people bustle about getting ready for parties, shopping for gifts, decorating, cooking and otherwise working themselves into a frazzled mess. I try to avoid all of that.
I haven't enjoyed the holidays much since 1989. I was home on leave from the Air Force that Christmas, and it was the last time I saw my dad alive — he died of cancer shortly after.
I felt a spark of the old holiday cheer after marrying The Boss and moving here. Over the next several years, his parents entertained the whole family on Christmas Eve. But after his Mom died a week after Christmas in 2000, the family drifted to separate celebrations.
I stopped putting up decorations because the joy just wasn't there. But in 2004, I came down with a minor Christmas bug and decided to invite my retired neighbors and a single friend who lived in Nashville for Christmas dinner. We decorated the house, put up a tree and gathered ingredients for a big feast.
The day didn't start on a high note. We had snow that year, and my friend Laura was hesitant about driving from Nashville. But she packed her bags and her dog Freeway and made the trip.
While she braved icy roads and my turkey roasted in the oven, I began preparing the holiday ham. That's when I stabbed myself.
In case you didn't know, one of the most common reasons for emergency room visits involves people cutting themselves in an attempt to remove modern packaging. I had selected a sharp paring knife to cut the shrink wrap off the ham. I inserted the knife and attempted to slice open the tough plastic, but the knife slipped and I jabbed it full force into my wrist at least a half an inch. It hurt like you-know-what and spurted blood all over the place. I probably should have had a few stitches, but no way was I driving 20 miles to the ER on Christmas Day over slick roads.
So The Boss, after calling me his favorite pet name (bull in a china shop), helped me apply a gauze pad and bandage, and I bravely carried on.
Laura and her dog Freeway finally arrived. She was a nervous wreck, but grabbed a glass of wine and relaxed. The house was filled with good company, fine food, peppy music and five energetic dogs. We ate, drank and made merry.
The next disaster struck at clean-up time. The Boss and the neighbors were in the living room unzipping their pants to make room for bigger bellies, as Laura and I tackled dishes. The last chore was putting away leftovers. I was at the kitchen island pulling turkey and ham off the bone to put into containers. The five dogs were milling about the kitchen.
As I was slicing up the ham and turkey, drinking a glass of wine and gabbing with Laura, I didn't notice Peanut and Scooter on either side of me at my feet. I also didn't remember that I'd forgotten to feed them. That is, until I accidentally dropped a thick slab of ham on the floor smack dab between them.
If it had been a scene from a movie, it would have unfolded in slow motion: the juicy piece of pink pork lazily drifting downward, both dogs following it with eyes of eager anticipation, licking their chops, the music coming to a crescendo as the ham slapped the floor and the dogs warned each other with hard stares.
The next thing I knew, there was vicious snarling and growling at my feet. Everyone ran into the kitchen. Scooter chomped into Peanut's ear, blood was dripping and neither was giving up. Peanut is very submissive and always backs off when it comes to Scooter, but when it comes to food and a hungry belly, he gets mighty brave.
I was clear-headed enough to remember the best way to break up a dog fight is to douse them with water, and luckily an almost-full pitcher was nearby. I dumped it and they parted ways. The Boss was yelling, the dogs were stiff-backed and angry and decided to go another round with more frenzied growling, biting and snarling. The Boss picked up a chair to try to wedge between them, while I scanned the room for more liquid. I spied the dishpan full of filthy water in the sink, jerked it up and gave it the old heave-ho. Unfortunately, this time my aim was off and most of the swill landed squarely on The Boss' chest! He gave me a look I can't describe, other than to say it's a good thing there were three witnesses.
The dogs finally called a truce, The Boss dripped water as bits of food clung to his cheery red shirt and the kitchen floor was a lake.
My neighbors left shortly after. I think the wife was afraid the Cujos would attack her next. I apologized for the ruckus, to which the husband said, "Oh, I thought it was just part of the show."
That was my last holiday hosting attempt. I figured a stabbed wrist, a dog with a bleeding hole in his ear and a soaking wet Boss was all the cheer I could take for a few years.
The holidays can be stressful for our pets — and dangerous. Make sure to keep their routine as close to normal as possible, keep decorations out of their reach and most of all, don't forget to feed them.
So, do you have any memorable Christmas tales, disastrous or otherwise? Please share!
posted by Sandy at 12/05/2007 09:10:00 AM