It's been raining all night and morning.
The street in front of my house is a running creek. The backyard, a collection of miniature ponds. Everything in between is mud. Why my wife wants to go shopping in this kind of weather is beyond me.
"Wouldn't you rather stay inside and read a good book?" I ask her.
"We're going shopping," she answers.
"I can make us both a nice cup of coffee..."
"We're going shopping."
"...and we can cuddle up under some blankets and fool around."
She isn't convinced.
"We're going shopping," she says, ending the conversation. Even giving me the stink-eye for good measure.
Of course, she's kidding.
It's not that I don't like going out in the rain and getting wet, it's that I don't like getting wet when I go out in the rain. I take the dogs outside to do their business. They've been inside for a very long time, so they all take a long squat. They don't care to get wet either, but, like me, they have no choice.
Before bringing them back in, I grab a towel and dry them off as best I can. They have that wet dog smell to them, but I have my secret weapon: Bounce. I rub them down with fabric softener sheets so they don't go smelling up the whole house. I do this on a regular basis when they're dry, but it really comes in handy when they're wet.
"What're you doing?" my father asks me. He asks me that every time he sees me doing this..
"I'm getting rid of the stink," I answer him.
"Good luck," he says, and he's back watching TV.
"We're going shopping..." I start to tell him.
"Sam's?" he wants to know.
Oh-oh. If I mention Sam's, he'll want to come along.
"Just shopping," I say. "The dogs have already done their business, so don't let them out."
"Don't let the dogs out. It's raining, and they'll track mud inside the house."
"What if they want to go to the bathroom?"
"They've already gone. They'll be good until we get back."
"Don't let them out. It's raining."
"I know it's raining, I can see that. It's also cold. Now, where are you going?"
"Lots of places."
"Oh my, lots of places, lots of places. And it's cold, too. I'm glad I'm staying home. So, when do I take the dogs out?"
"You DON'T. If they scratch at the door, ignore them. It's too muddy."
"I know it's muddy. It's raining. OF COURSE it's muddy. And it's cold, too. So you already let the dogs out..."
"...and you don't want me to let them out."
"That's right," I tell him. If you think these conversations with my father go on forever, you should try being a part of them. "We'll be back soon, just don't let the dogs out."
"All right, all right. Don't worry. We'll be fine, we'll be fine. Now, where are you going?"
"Sa... uh, just out. We'll be back soon."
Man, what's taking my wife so long? The longer she takes, the longer I have to talk with my father. Blah, blah, blah. Who, what, where, when, and why? Finally, my wife's ready.
We leave, and we have a very nice time, too. The rain's not so bad. Fortunately, there's not a lot of drivers on the road. What few there are, are careful and considerate. I must have gone to sleep in one city and woken up in another. After a very pleasant afternoon, we return home a few hours later.
I walk into the kitchen carrying two bags of groceries. I notice right away that something's not right. There are muddy paw prints all over the place. ALL over the place. I stand there, speechless.
"What the fudge?" I not-quite yell, only I don't use the word "fudge." I guess I'm not so speechless, after all.
"What?" my father says.
My wife walks in. She's just as shocked as I am.
"Dad!" she says. "What happened?"
"The dogs wanted to go out."
"Pop," I say, "I specifically asked you..."
"But they wanted to go out."
Why couldn't he have just let them out, and then had the good judgement to KEEP them out?
I turn to my wife. Her eyes are so wide she could be a guest of Area 51.
"Don't worry, sweetie," I tell her, gently. "Go upstairs. I'll bring everything in, and I'll clean up."
I expect something snarky like "You bet you will!" but she just goes upstairs without a word. I feel bad for her. Heck, I feel bad for myself. I wish I could go upstairs with her, and, when I came back down, the whole thing would have just been a dream. The floors would be clean, the dogs would be dry, and my father... my father would be ... would be...
I start cleaning the floor, mumbling to myself.
"Holy smoke," I mumble, only I don't use the word "smoke."
"Smoke, smoke, smoke!" I keep mumbling. I can hear my father in the great room. He's back to doing what he does best-watching TV-but he's talking to me at the same time.
"You know, they WANTED to go outside. I didn't even notice the mud on the floor. Where did that come from?"
I keep cleaning the floor. There's no use for further discussion as to what happened or why. I'll just blame the dogs and leave it at that.
"I'm hungry," my father says.
There's nothing friendlier than a wet dog.