If It Smells Like Poo….

It’s a tush-dragging kind of a day. Back sore. Legs sore. Arms sore. My eyelashes are fine however. Not sore.

I’m not exactly sure why I’m dragging, unless my body is fighting something I don’t know about or it’s something to do with that “a-word” (age). Grrr.  Thursday I took two SWEAT classes back to back; lifted weights (hitting another benchmark for dead-lifts), followed by my favorite  punch bag class. Then I cycled 42 miles on Friday. I was so tired from that ride that once home, I made myself a sandwich, grabbed a glass of milk, sat in my comfy chair and didn’t move for nearly two hours…not even to shower post ride! Gross, I know!  I was just so tired; I had barely finished my sandwich before dozing off. Since The Poodle was at my side, I’m sure he was mightily disappointed that there wasn’t a morsel of cheese left on my plate as I drifted off for a good twenty minutes or so. Although he is pretty well-behaved around food he’d throw good training out the window in a heartbeat for cheese.

So this fatigue that I’ve been dealing with for a couple of days seems to have made me quite dopey in the head as well. More so than usual one could say.

You see, I was talking to my good friend Ms. Cookie who lives in North Carolina. She’s considering a three-day adventure to middle-earth just to see moi! I’m pleased as punch she wants to come for a visit though I’ll confess I’m wracking my brain over how to entertain her… here. When I lived in Southern California entertaining an out-of-town guest was never a problem. With a plethora of terrific restaurants, miles and miles of beach to enjoy and a host of places to explore, not to mention the fact that people watching anywhere in LA, provides entertainment on a whole different level. And, living in the Washington D.C. area was a breeze for entertaining visiting friends and family too. I lived there for over 14 years and I still haven’t experienced all there is to see and do! So when Ms. Cookie comes to town, she’ll just have to be over-the-moon for the Space and Rocket Center. (Ahem…..so…. if you’re reading this Cookie, I’d forever be in your debt if you would fake it any way you can!).

Back to the point of this story: I’ve got my iPhone ear buds in and I’m talking to Cookie and all the while I am multi-tasking like a beast. My Garmin VivoFit activity tracker is happily ticking off the steps as I walk circles around my kitchen island, wash dishes by hand, dust the living-room furniture, sweep the back patio, and take The Poodle out for a walk around the block. I love carrying-on conversations this way. I’m moving and in the process, lots of things get done. Chores seem considerably less mundane when you’re talking to a friend all the while. Of course there can be one little drawback:

Sometimes one’s attention to detail is not quite optimal.

Case in point: I’d been walking around the kitchen island about twenty times now and it’s time to switch gears to the laundry (before dizziness set in). As I chat with Cookie about her latest good book read—and mine too— I’m heading to the bedroom for the laundry hamper. I haul it into the laundry room and start stuffing clothes into the washer (it’s a white load if you must know).  As we chat on and on I notice a smell. A somewhat vague but particularly unpleasant smell.

To be more specific, it smells like poop.

If it smells like poo…. then….there has got to be poo…somewhere!

Hmm. This is not good.

Ms. Cookie is talking about her Australian friend who isn’t too keen on Bill Bryson’s book about Australia. I had recommended it to Cookie back in August and I just loved it.  She’s reading it too and finds it quite entertaining.  Or…hmm, is it his book “A Walk in The Woods.”  Damn…I’m not paying attention (sorry Cookie…I’ll make it up to you with wine!).

“Oh why is that?” I ask half listening. I’m busy turning all the shoes over that are housed in the shoe bin on the floor, inspecting the soles trying to find the source of the poo smell. Perhaps I stepped in poop while out in the back yard. I was there too, cleaning out a couple of flower pots and the like before walking The Poodle.

Hmm; nothing here. The shoes are practically clean as a whistle.

Cookie chats on. She is explaining her friends’ thoughts on the author… something about not liking the author’s uniquely dry sense of humor. I’m starting to feel badly because Cookie is losing my attention… and to poop no less! Surely you understand! Though still vague in the air, my mind has escalated it to something much more. Like I may as well be in a port-o-john during a marathon.  The smell is starting to assault my senses big time. I’m vexed beyond measure as I inspect trash cans, cupboards, the powder room (which is right next to the laundry room) and the entire downstairs floor area. Did The Poodle poop inside the house?!  Impossible!  That only happened once and that was six years ago because I’d given him a sampling of fresh veal that I was preparing (let’s just say it wasn’t a pleasant experience for either of us and leave it at that!).

Desperate now to find the source of the smell I start to rifle through a basket filled with dirty laundry.

Then, I shudder at a thought….

Poop cannot possibly be in the clothes hamper.

I’m standing in the middle of the laundry room, hands on hips, my head now clearly not into the conversation I should be having with my dear friend. Was I losing my mind?  I definitely smell poop.  Where the hell is this smell coming from?

Then, as if a switch had been flipped, a certain fog lifted from my brain. Little wheels that were at a dead stop were once again set into motion. A thought hit me square between the eyes. Early this morning—at 5:30 a.m. to be precise— I had walked The Poodle for a good forty-five minutes. And, then later in the day during my call with Cookie I’d taken The Poodle for a walk around the block.

Hmm. I used different leashes. He’s got three of them; a short lead leash in the car, a green leash in a basket by the front door and another blue one hanging in the laundry room.

And there it was.

Hanging on the wall by the door to the outside. The Poodle’s blue leash.  poopholder

The Poodle’s blue leash has a nifty little plastic gizmo for the express purpose of holding poop-filled bags. And indeed, there were two—not one…but two— large, particularly odoriferous poop-filled bags hanging on The Poodle’s leash. This was the leash I had used for his early morning walk. I remember It was a two-poop kind of a walk. I’d obviously completely forgotten to properly dispose of the poop bags before entering the house!

I slap my forehead and let out a huge sigh of relief. Whew. I wasn’t going crazy (well…you know what I mean). The smell was not a figment of my imagination but rather a result of being totally scatter-brained and maybe just a wee bit tired! I start laughing, and of course must ‘fess up to Cookie over my dopey senior moment. We share a laugh over it while I think to myself that in the future perhaps I shouldn’t multi-task so fervently whilst catching up with my girlfriends on the phone. It’s best to be present with the ones you love. Poodles included.

Today’s bliss? Laughing at self…over and over again!

Down Under? Oy!

I spent the last week with sis and company. We spent three full days enjoying the beach in North Carolina followed by a couple of days in Northern Virginia. It was a much-needed respite even though it was hotter than Hades and  it wasn’t a full week of zoning out in a beach chair staring out at the ocean. We even managed to not spend the entire time talking about the sad state of affairs with our mother. I took long walks along the shoreline, humming whatever tunes popped into my mind the entire time as I let the cool ocean water tickle toes and ankles. We looked for shells at every opportunity—Alexandre carted an entire bucket full of shells back to Virginia— and we even went crabbing in the dark of night. Now that was a blast I’d never experienced in all of my 57+ years!  The Poodle and Nica-Roo the beagle were on sensory overload too as they ran after crabs skittering about in the sand. We laughed ourselves to near exhaustion that night!

Back in ‘Bama-land I am still on a high. I’ve just got confirmation of another upcoming trip. It’s no secret that Rocket-man is away on business travel a good deal of the time. Folks ask why I’m not traveling with him on some of his more “exotic” business jaunts.  Two words would best answer the question: It’s expensive!  Many of his business trips are scheduled last-minute which would make purchasing a ticket for me a costly proposition. And, even if a trip is scheduled within a reasonable time frame, it often gets changed or cancelled due to whatever is going on with his job. So, when Rocket-man came home last week and said it looked like he was going to Australia on business travel I nearly knocked him over in my rush of excitement.

Can I go, can I go….PRETTY PLEASE…. can I go!?

No shame here folks:  I spent my first six months after I moved to ‘Bama-land binge-watching McLeod’s Daughters on Netflix, if that doesn’t tell you how excited I am about the prospect of traveling to Australia.
map-of-australiaAnd so it is now official. Next month, we are off to the land of Down Under (Canberra, specifically with two days in Sydney).  It matters not that it will entail 30-some hours of travel. It matters not that I will be stuck in coach whilst Rocket-man is enjoying business class. I’m traveling to the land of Koalas, Kangaroos, Uggs, opals (my birthstone, as it happens to be), and good wine.   Unfortunately, it’s only going to be for ten days (four and a half of which are travel days!) but I’m mighty stoked to be able to visit another continent (the island continent!)…the worlds sixth largest country…the world’s largest island.

Having said that, I just so happened to have picked up a book about a month ago about Australia (not knowing about this opportunity mind you). I was perusing the shelves in the travel section at Barnes & Noble when the cover caught my eye:  A kangaroo carrying it’s baby in her pouch. The title of the book: In a Sunburned Country, by Bill Bryson. Knowing that the author is a world traveler who writes interesting, fact-filled accounts of his adventures peppered with a wonderful sense of humor, I purchased it without even reading the back cover synopsis.

Once home, I hadn’t even made it through the entire introduction when a thought hit me square between the eyes.

I cannot complain about living in insect hell anymore.

Case in point, here is a paragraph in Bill Bryson’s introduction, In a Sunburned Country:

“It is the home of the largest living thing on earth, the Great Barrier Reef, and of the largest monolith, Ayers Rock (or Uluro to use its now-official, more respectful Aboriginal name). It has more things that will kill you than anywhere else. Of the world’s ten most poisonous snakes, all are Australian. Five of its creatures—the funnel web spider, box jellyfish, blue-ringed octopus, paralysis tick, and stonefish—are the most lethal of their type in the world. This is a country where even the fluffiest of caterpillars can lay you out with a toxic nip, where seashells will not just sting you but actually sometimes go for you. Pick up an innocuous cone shell from a Queensland beach, as innocent tourists are all too wont to do, and you will discover that the little fellow inside is not just astoundingly swift and testy but exceedingly venomous. If you are not stung or pronged to death in some unexpected manner, you may be fatally chomped by sharks or crocodiles, or carried helplessly out to sea by irresistible currents, or left to stagger to an unhappy death in the baking outback. It’s a tough place.”


Okay then!  And I want to go there?

So yes…Australia has the greatest number of reptiles of any country in the world (a total of 755 species…yikes!) and 140 varieties of snakes in addition to 32 species of sea snakes! One hundred of these snake species are venomous and of those, 12 are deadly…as in that’s it, lights out, deadly.

Hmm…..let’s think about this trip.

Back in my working days I had a boss, Jeff, who was detailed for some weeks on a project in Australia.  Jeff brought back little souvenirs for everyone in the office.  Mine sits on a shelf in my family room.  I don’t recall asking my boss much about that trip; our work environment simply didn’t lend itself to much casual chit-chat. Still, I kept in touch with Jeff following my move from Northern Virginia to Southern California.  He’s still working the salt mines, as it were, while I’m still a beach bum…(a beach bum sans the beach mind you).  I follow him on Facebook because his photography is breathtakingly amazing and because, well…he’s a fair dinkum kind of guy (Aussie speak for genuine and trustworthy).  Following my divorce seventeen years ago, he gave me a chance when I desperately needed it.

So I sent him an email.  I told him about the book that I was reading.   I said something to the effect: I’m just amazed you came out of Australia alive….in one piece.

Jeff, being a quiet man of few words, replied with an email that contained only this:


I hope to make it out alive!

I hope to make it out alive!

Folks, I’m trying to not get my knickers in a knot over this.  I just hope to make it back alive….and in one piece.

Stay Tuned!