Episode 20: I am the weirdest person in this laundromat.

Before we got Olive, I did significant research on what I was about to get myself into. Okay, I read a book about getting a puppy by the guy who pretty much founded the current school of dog training, and I had owned two dogs previously. I figured the feat of housebreaking a terrier made me pretty much qualified for anything.

The puppy training book for responsible grown-ups assumed that you were reading the book before you started looking for puppies, when you were still at the “You know what this house needs? More poop” phase of considering puppy attainment. I, however, read the book while driving to pick Olive up from the people in the boonies who had taken her extremely pregnant mother in from the side of the highway. The book also assumed that once you read what it had to say about getting either well-bred dogs from a kennel or, even better, well-bred and already trained dogs from a shelter, you would do one of those things. You would not, the responsible dog ownership expert assumed, get a free 7-week-old “Golden Retriever mix” from Craislist and pitch the deal to your partner with “LOOK HOW CUTE THE PUPPY!!!”

But look how cute the puppy!

The book’s primary training thesis was this: Start with the puppy described above, then make sure that they don’t have the opportunity to make any mistakes. If they screw up and shit in your shoes, it’s your own damn fault. This is true to an extent. We did everything he told us to with regard to crate training, except we had two major and unforeseen hurdles which the book did not address. First, getting little tiny Olive to stay in her crate proved difficult due to her conviction that the crate was full of demons escaped from hell who feast on puppy blood. After weeks of trying every possible method to get her to let us sleep through the night or even shower in peace, we finally brought in a priest to perform an exorcism on the crate and now she and any remaining demons more or less coexist in peace. The other issue, however, still prevails now that Olive is about to turn one year old: Rain is a completely incapacitating obstacle to using the bathroom outside.

When it rains, Olive goes outside and stands in the rain. She looks at the water falling from the sky as if willing it to tell her its secrets. But she absolutely will not under any circumstances do the thing that dogs are supposed to do on the ground if that ground is also covered in water.

In addition to being a cautionary tale about not getting dogs from Craigslist, this is also an explanation of what I was doing being weird in a laundromat yesterday. So now you know that Olive won’t pee outside if it’s raining; the other piece of the puzzle is that she thinks our mattress is both a springboard for playtime and the best possible place to urinate. A memory foam mattress is like a Japanese robot toilet for a slightly retarded dog with a full bladder.

So that explains why I was at the laundromat last night: washing dog pee out of a king-sized comforter. Like you do.

But the part that makes it even within shouting distance of relevant to this blog is that, as I mentioned before, I’m currently working on about eight projects for Christmas presents. With nine days to go, every minute that I’m not knitting is a minute wasted. So I couldn’t just awkwardly lug a king-sized comforter to the laundromat; I had to spend the time waiting for the comforter to become clean while knitting gloves for my dad. This doesn’t sound particularly weird in itself, but this is what my table in the middle of the laundromat looked like:


Not being terribly well-coordinated and knitting with double-pointed needles means that every eleventh stitch brought me dangerously close to poking myself in the eye. A woman dragging one leg behind her walked past me five times, each time giving me and my knitting a look of obvious suspicion. Perhaps she thought I was knitting a bomb, or maybe she could tell that someone with my grace and precision has no place operating that many pointy things at once.

In the meantime, as I was sitting in the laundromat realizing that I should have just played Angry Birds for an hour like a sane person, it also occurred to me that the yarn I had painstakingly chosen for my father’s gloves is the kind of yarn that would prompt random people to invite a 74-year-old man to join their game of hackey sack. My dad has never worn any of those colors before, much less all of them at the same time. The most flamboyant article of clothing he owns is a White Sox hat.

This post wound up being a completely pointless window into my terribly dull existence. So, in conclusion: Merry Christmas, suspicious laundromat patrons; Merry Christmas, everyone!

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