We have an open house tomorrow at 10 am. By tomorrow morning I need to clean the entire house, which is a task that, in itself, could take me about one hundred hours. I also need to paint Peyton's entire room the most boring tan color imaginable. I also need touch-up paint the master bedroom the most boring tan color imaginable. I also need to complete a special order party kit that a super nice woman ordered through my etsy store and will be stopping by to pick it up before the open house.
I need to do all this while paying some sort of attention to my sweet children.
It's 7 pm. I've done most of the cleaning. I've painted Peyton's room. I've touched up the master bedroom. I've paid enough attention to my sweet children that I'm in no danger of social services knocking on my door. I'm feeling accomplished. I'm exhausted. And I'm making dinner.
I'm sauteing vegetables for chicken pot pie. I glance over and notice our dog, Indie, happily lapping up the excess paint from the top of one of the many paint cans that are stationed on a large towel in the hallway. He has the most boring tan color imaginable all over his black muzzle and his tongue.
How much paint was on the lid? I know I cleaned it up a little before I started dinner, but really, how much paint should a dog eat? Probably not much.
I know, I know. It is my fault. Having a dog is like having a toddler. I know. I should have put all the paint away. Or made sure it was super clean and dry. In my defense, though, I did put all the rollers and other paint tools away. And the dog that I used to have, Max, never, ever would have done such a thing. Max would have glanced warily at the paint cans and gone about his business of sleeping and more sleeping. Raising Indie, the crazy, wild dog that he is, is an exhausting and irritating labor of love.
I sprint over and grab Indie by the collar and drag him to the kitchen. I'm using a wet paper towel to get the tan paint off his tongue. But since I need one hand to hold his mouth open and the other to wield the paper towel, he makes quick work of wriggling out of my grasp. And where does he run? Straight back to his delicious paint treat that is waiting in the hallway.
That stupid dog.
And he's still at that puppy stage where it's Super Fun to not come when called, and way more Super Fun to run around the house at top speed when someone is trying to stop him from drinking paint and save his life.
He nabs a quick last lick of paint deliciousness before sprinting into Peyton's room. To his secret hiding place under Peyton's bed. Where he knows I can't reach him. I know I need to move the paint cans right away, but there are so many, including a really heavy 5-gallon tub of paint, so I grip the edge of the towel that they are all on and begin to pull it into my room. Peyton and Ella are trying to coax the dog out from under the bed.
I have a plan, damn it! A calm, collected, plan. Because I pride myself on staying composed in mini-emergencies. I will pull all the paint into my room, close the door, go after the stupid dog, clean him up, call the vet, make dinner. Feed the sweet children.
At which point Indie comes barreling out of Peyton's room, and through the hallway, at top crazy dog speed. YAY! FUN FUN FUN! PAINT IS DELICIOUS! MOM IS PLAYING A GAME WITH ME! YOU CAN'T GET ME MOM! YAY YAY YAY!
I reach over to try to stop him. Everything in this moment happened so fast, I'm not quite sure of the exact events. This is what I know for sure, Oprah: I didn't stop him. And in not stopping him, one of the cans of paint was knocked on its side. Which should have been fine, except. EXCEPT I had obviously not secured the paint lid as well I as should have.
Because I got to watch as white primer paint pooooooooured onto the towel and then ONTO THE CARPET in the hallway. glug. glug. glug. In slow motion. For extra added comprehension.
Did I happen to mention the open house tomorrow morning? The open house in which people would be walking through this very hallway in order to see our bedrooms and examine our house? And did I mention the cleaning I still needed to finish? And the special order party kit I still needed to finish? And the sweet children I still needed to feed dinner to? And the family dog that might possibly die in a few moments from paint consumption? Can you feel my brain about to explode?
I grab the paint can mid-pour and stand it back up. And I stand up. And then I stare for a moment at the mess of it all, taking it all in.
Only I didn't say "Goodness gracious."
So, really, it sounded a little more like, "SHIT!"
And then I cried from the sheer force of trying to not have a nervous breakdown in front of my innocent children. And then I got my act together enough to call my husband. He didn't answer his phone. So I called my mom. And we formulated a plan.
And the plan worked.
And as the plan was working James called me back. I told him what happened and that his dog was the stupidest dog ever and if the paint didn't kill him I might anyway. You know what he said? He told me not to worry about a thing; to put a sopping wet towel on the paint and he would clean it all when he got home in two hours. But since the plan was in the middle of actually working, I knew I could see it through to the end. But can you even imagine the husband bonus points he just got? About a gazillion.
Skipping to the end now.
Spoiler Alert: The dog didn't die.
I finally caught the dog with the paint-smeared tongue and put him in his kennel. Then I called the vet's office. The girl who answered listened patiently through my sobs. I don't remember her name but I think I'm a little bit in love with her. She was kind and reminded me to keep breathing as I told her the story. She told me to look for some warning signs that would signal, um, you know, that Indie was headed for the light. But she did some checking, and, it turns out, if your dog is going to drink some paint, the low-VOC paint is the way to go. One more reason for people with stupid dogs to go green.
Spoiler Alert: The paint came out of the carpet.
I sopped up the paint that had pooled on the surface of the carpet with old rags. The paint was lingering, really, tormenting me. Sipping cocktails while it waited for me to pull my brain back together. Luckily, I have a steam-cleaner. Sure, it's really old and it leaks and is a general pain in the ass, but oh, how it redeemed itself this night. Who knew that two straight hours with a steam-cleaner could clean a half-gallon worth of white paint out of the carpet? It turns out, if you plan on spilling huge amounts of paint onto your carpet, go with the primer.
Spoiler Alert: My children didn't go hungry.
During the two hour steam-cleaning marathon, they survived on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse cartoons and an entire sleeve of Ritz crackers. And every once in a while they would come and check on me and give me a hug. You know how sometimes kids just surprise you with their goodness? Peyton and Ella were incredibly wonderful and self-sufficient during all this. I was so grateful. And then when James came home at 9:00 he lovingly made them a dinner of freezer mini pancakes.
Spoiler Alert: I finished the party kit and James finished cleaning the house.
I drank some wine and finished the chicken pot pie and we ate a very, very late dinner.
Thank you, Indie, for expanding my tolerance for stupid, yet incredibly good-looking beings.
Do you see what I'm up against?