We arrived at Kelly’s house at 11:00 PM, ready to hit the sack. But that wasn’t going to happen for a while.
A few hours earlier, while we were passing through Phoenix and our last Chipotle stop for the day, I realized I had forgotten to tell Chris that Kelly had somewhere between 8 and 10 dogs, all untrained and rescued from the pound. Chris hates dogs. The conversation went like this, only with a lot more swearing:
Me: Oh, by the way, Kelly has a bunch of dogs. Like…eight or more.”
Chris: “Are you f—ing kidding me?”
Me: “No. I forgot to tell you. Kelly only told me two days ago.”
Chris: “I thought you said she had a bunch of cats.”
Me: “I just assumed that when she said ‘pets’ she meant cats. But last time I talked to her she said she had eight dogs. They’re all from the pound.”
Chris: “Kennett, I hate you. I really hate you.”
Me: “Maybe they’re all outside dogs. Small outside dogs.”
Chris: “I don’t want to hear it, Kennett.”
When we finally pulled up in her driveway after 15 and a half hours of driving, we stepped outside into the cool air under a bright sky of stars. And a pit-bull in Kelly’s back yard jumped a six-foot fence, ran at Chris, barking, and jumped on him.
It was a nice dog though, and only wanted to jump on us, forgoing tearing into our flesh like one would expect of a pit-bull who just jumped a fence and is running at you. I could tell Chris was being a little girl about the whole dog situation already, as he cursed the dog and tried to push it off him. Kelly opened the front door, no doorbell was needed because the other eight dogs in the backyard were barking up a storm at our arrival. She welcomed us in, showed us around the house and to our rooms, which both had beds made. Everything looked nice and Kelly was friendly and looking forward to having us in her house. All of her sons had moved out and she was happy to have some more boys in the house. It was the part of the movie where everything looks like it’s going to turn out OK, right before the axe murderer in the horror movie chops the first head off, or the crazy neighbor family in the romantic comedy moves next door and ruins a newly married couple’s peace. In our case, the antagonist took the form of 9 dogs, somewhere between 3 and 5 cats, and a squirrel living in the bathroom. Yes, there was a squirrel living in the bathroom.
Before going to sleep, I had gone into the backyard circus of the 9 barking dogs and chased them around the yard for a few minutes. In those few minutes, I had completely covered the bottoms and sides of my shoes in dog feces. I didn’t realize it though, because Chris had just taken one of the worst smelling craps in history in the bathroom across from my room. So I thought the terrible smell in my room was the toilet fumes seeping under my closed door. After five or ten minutes I couldn’t believe how bad my room was still smelling, so I started examining some strange red blotches on my floor. Under close inspection, I saw that the five or six red spots were smashed ticks, red with the blood of the dogs and only somewhat dried on the tile floor. I also saw that there was dog crap all over the floor, and covering my shoes. I put the shoes in the hall and wiped up the largest smashed tick and dog poop so I didn’t step on them in the morning, then went to sleep. Or tired to go to sleep for about 45 minutes while one of the dogs ran up and down the hall, running into doors and barking. While I was trying to sleep, Chris was sweeping his floor, which had been covered in dirt and dog hair since I think it had been designated as the dog’s hang out room, also judging by the smell.
I woke up then next morning feeling very good, and was looking forward to eating a bowl of oats, going shopping for food, and riding in the 70 degree weather. First we had to unpack the van.
While I was trying to go to sleep the night before, as the dog rammed its head into my door over and over again, I began to have second thoughts about living there. So the next morning, right before we started unpacking all of our stuff, I told Chris there was another house that we could go look at if we wanted to live somewhere else. A guy named Jon had called me about us living with him at his place. Same price as Kelly’s and one of the rooms was the master bedroom and had its own bathroom. But it was sunny while we discussed this while standing in the driveway, and the warm rays skewed our decision-making capabilities and we decided to just lie in the sun on the pavement for fifteen minutes. When we got up, we decided that Kelly’s place was fine, and unpacked.
Kelly left part way through our unpacking to go do some errands for a few hours. She told us to leave the cat door closed, which lead from the garage to the rest of the house. The cats weren’t allowed outside and would try to escape while we were going in and out of the front door while we unloaded all our stuff. But she wanted us to open the cat door when we were finished unpacking. So after we unloaded everything and closed the front door, I unlocked the cat door. The cats never came out though, and Chris was wondering why.
I was setting up the altitude tent when Chris opened the garage door to see the cats. I heard him gasp for breath as he swore with his hand over his mouth.
“Holly s—t! F***. Kennett, you’ve got to come smell this.”
I’m never one to turn down such an offer, so I walked over to smell what new terrible odor we were dealing with, and saw that the garage where the cats were being held, was not the garage at all, but a small closet about three feet deep and the width of the door frame. There were a bunch of cats in little cubbies arranged on a narrow shelf. You could almost see the green fumes rising from the overflowing litter box. I gasped for breath and fought back vomit for the next five minutes. It smelled like a dirty litter box…times 50.
Now I’m not saying that Chris or I smelled great ourselves. It was Friday and neither of us had showered since Monday, but the smell of the house, which was of dog crap, cat crap, squirrel crap, Chris’ nasty crap left over from the night before since the toilet was super low-flow, and the smell of the fridge (which smelled like really old pizza—because that’s what was in there)–all of that completely overpowered any stench that was coming from the two of us. Which, by the way, is a pretty large feat.
By now we were regretting the fact that we had just unloaded all of our stuff. I went into the kitchen for some water and found out that the sink faucet was about to break apart. And all of the drawers were broken and barely opened as I searched for a spoon. Then I put some oats in the microwave and found this:
The microwave smelled like rotting sauce. All kinds.
That was the last draw. I ate the oats and we called Jon to go see his house. While backing out of the driveway, Chris ran over a large cactus. We got out to inspect the damage to the van and the cactus. Luckily the only damage to Chris’ van was minor, and in the same place that he apparently had already backed up into something else. But more importantly, the cactus, which was about three feet tall and weighed well over 100 lbs, was now leaning over at a 45-degree angle. We tipped it back upright and drove to Jon’s with the bad omen lurking on our minds. Within 4 seconds, decided Jon’s house was about 100 times nicer than Kelly’s, drove back and packed all of our stuff again. Kelly was still out doing errands so I called her to tell her the news but she didn’t pick up and her inbox was full. So I left some Post-it notes on her front door explaining what we had decided. When Chris backed up again out of the driveway, he made sure to give the cactus plenty of space, but in doing so drove into a bush on the other side of the car. His backing up skills are obviously lacking.
We got to Jon’s, unpacked all of our stuff again, and then finally got to ride our bikes right before it got dark. And the riding’s been great ever since. I’ve seen Lance and the Radioshack guys, but they’re going far too slow for me to get a decent workout.
Chris, repacking some empty water bottles and a bag of beans. That’s basically all he brought, just a lot of it.