It's a long night not because we're washing the dogs or anything like that - no, we decide to leave that for the morning as it's already past 2 a.m. and we've both had a long day. It's a long night because the even though we've wiped the dogs down and relegated them to the kitchen in the back of the house and left all the windows and doors open, the smell is so bad that it actually keeps me up. Elizabeth manages to fall asleep but even for her, who's typically a very sound sleeper, the smell penetrates into her dreams and sporadically wakes her up.
The next morning, neither of us want to go downstairs. Elizabeth, who usually heads down to the kitchen pronto after waking to make a cup of coffee is this morning lingering around the bedroom window looking out at the neighbourhood. I stick my face into my pillow, trying to find some temporary escape from the wafting odors but even that doesn't help. There's no more delaying it. I get up.
Downstairs, Stella and Rocky don't understand why they've been gated in the kitchen all night and they're pining to come say hello to me in the living room. Not a chance. I go into the kitchen and scoot them both outside where it smells refreshingly skunk free, I guess because my two furballs managed to bring most of the scent inside.
You know how when you go from one environment into another, the differences in odors are sometimes magnified? Having slept through the night in amongst the stenchfest, I'd actually built up a bit of a tolerance for it. Now that I had stepped outside and the green mist in my nasal cavity had cleared out, when I step back into the house, it's like being hit in the face with a baseball bat made of stink. There would be no breakfast for me.
And thus was my downfall.
The plan of attack is for me to wash the dogs in hydrogen peroxide (1 liter), baking soda (1/4 cup) and liquid soap (1 tablespoon) while Elizabeth strips everything down in the living room and starts on the laundry, then the mopping. We don't have any hydrogen peroxide so I go to the store to pick some up. And because I haven't eaten, I buy a couple of chocolate bars and eat those.
By the time I get back, Elizabeth has most of the furniture declothed and is just starting to mop. With the dogs out of the house and the front door open, the place is beginning to smell, well certainly not pleasant but not as offensively odiferous.
Stella and Rocky, as is typical for dogs, don't particulary like getting a bath but they don't put up too much fuss and just stand there in sullen silence as I shampoo them. They try to guilt me with their sad faces but I don't fall for it. I've read the manuals, I've done the training and I've taken the vitamins and I'm totally impervious to their "why oh why do you treat me this way?" expressions.
I must say, that deskunking shampoo mixture works wonders. Stella comes out of it completely non-skunk scented and Rocky, who was much worse hit, comes out with just one little patch of stink right between the eyes where I couldn't apply much of the slightly stinging shampoo without getting it into his eyes.
So the dogs are scrubbed clean and now it's onto the rest of the house and it's like it doesn't end. The seat covers, the cushions, the bedding, the carpets, the rubber mats, the floors, the increasing mound of towels. We work at it until 5 p.m. when I decide that maybe the last thing that needs to get scrubbed is the outside patio. I get out the hose, water gun and scrub mop and start at it.
By this point, I'm tired. The only thing I've had all day has been those chocolate bars and a can of Dr. Pepper (no I'm usually not this bad with my diet but exceptional circumstances call for exceptional actions) and now I'm starting to experience a sugar crash. I think I can push through it. I'm woozy but I'm on the final rinse so I keep at it.
I need to retrieve the hose which is at the bottom of the steps off the patio into the yard. I step down to the first step. It's covered in soap and I think to myself that I need to be careful. Unfortunately, my head isn't connected properly to the rest of me at this point and my foot slips out from beneath me. My ass hits the first step, thumps down to the next one, my head snaps back on the impact and I feel something go twang in the back of my neck.
You know how sometimes when you've had an accident, say you dropped a hammer on your toe or conked your head on a low hanging beam, there's that moment just before the pain hits and it's like the calm in the eye of the storm. Everything's very quiet. And then everything's very loud.
"FUUUUUUUCK!!" I scream, although I only scream this inside my head because I don't want to disturb the nice neighbours. My ass feels like it's been kicked by a sledgehammer and my neck feels like it's Charlie horsing. Meanwhile, Stella and Rocky are staring at me, giving me their "Suck it up buddy, you had that coming after that bath you gave us," look.
Elizabeth sticks her head out through the patio doors and asks me if I would like a bagel.
"Yes, that would be good," I say.
"The house still smells," she says.
"Mm, hmm," I say.