It’s raining. Again. It’s impossible to tell how hard, thanks to the echoes on the metal roof, but I know it’s not just a gentle shower. Griffen knows it too. It’s why he looks at me blankly when I suggest he get off the couch and accompany me on our daily morning trek to the great outdoors.
But undeterred, I go downstairs to get ready. Phone in pocket? Check. Two layers of sweaters? Check. Then the fun begins. Hanging from a hook on the landing is what my father used to call “foul weather gear”, which we wore for fishing in…yep, you guessed it, foul weather — a blue rubberized jacket about four sizes too large, that I suspect may have been his, and matching pants. Only, the pants that actually match the jacket are safely balled up in the closet because they *are* four sizes too large, and puddle around my feet when I attempt to put them on. Yep, definitely his. These pants are mine, purchased at The Gap an indeterminate time ago, and match only in color. But they too are rain wear…or ski wear…or somesuch.
I take all this with me down to the mudroom. Still no Griffen in sight despite my cheerful calls of “C’mon, baby!….Griffy??….Come, pussycat boy…” and any other endearments I can think of. Nope. I proceed. Jacket on over my head. Lace-up waterproof hiking shoes. Crap. I’ve forgotten that my pants won’t go over the shoes if I put them on first. Off with the shoes, only to discover as I’m pulling up the pants that they, in fact, have zippers on the ankle for this very contingency. Oh well. How long do I have these that I’m just discovering that? Anyway, on with the show. Next, the Seattle Sombrero, or what a particular rain hat made by OR is called around here. Because of the winds, using an umbrella is difficult…and marks you as a rank amateur or worse yet, a tourist. So the wide-brimmed, waterproof hat keeps your head dry. It also keeps my glasses from fogging up, and works a treat. Now I check for the finer details. Poop bags? I fetch the roll from another coat, finding that they’ve unspooled themselves into a lavender-scented tangle in my pocket. A minute to rewind. OK. Tissues? My nose has outdone itself this winter, owing to how cold it’s been, and runs continuously once we get outside. Wiping it is almost futile, and a right pain in thick ski gloves — which I’m not wearing today, since it’s over 40 degrees. And then, last but not least, my orange safety vest, which, hopefully, will prevent us from being squished by an inattentive driver while we’re attending to our business. Really. Could there be a more ignoble end for a dog than to get flattened mid-squat? Is that the canine equivalent of Elvis being snuffed out in his bloated prime while on the toilet?
So now…“All I really need is the…dog”. Who is still upstairs, having blissfully gone back to sleep, unaware and uncaring of the fashion show going on on the floor beneath him. But ah, I have a secret weapon. From out of my down coat pocket, I pull a squeaker from a toy he destroyed months ago. I’ve discovered that he’s simply crazy for the sound of this thing, which is very similar to the annoyed call of his favorite nemesis – the Douglas squirrel. I squeak it, and wait expectantly. I’m not disappointed, for above my head, I hear the patter of little feet…coming running.
And when he arrives downstairs, he dances around madly on his hind legs, trying to get to the source of that sound. Mommy…Mommy….Mommy! What.is.that? Where.is.that? I…must….get to….
Oh…fooled again. It’s my opportunity to put his collar and leash on him, and finally, we’re ready to go.
Griffen hesitates at the opened door when he sees the rain coming down. Nope. But I’m all, sorry, bud, you gotta. I lock the door behind us and we’re off.
Normally, he half pulls me down our very steep driveway, excited to be out in the world with all the good smells to sniff and grass to eat and suchlike. Not today. I walk gingerly, owing to how slick the grade may be and pause every few steps to coax my recalcitrant pal along. We reach the end of the driveway and start on our walk.
And again, I have to keep stopping because “someone” has decided he’d rather not join me. He stops and looks at me as if to say, “Do I have to?” Yep, you do.
I’m aware of how distinctly unflattering my outfit is to my middle-aged figure. My thighs make a shh shh noise amid the splash of the rain, but I realize how lovely and otherwise still it is. There is a mist coming off the trees, floating in the air above our heads, and the cedar sprays look like they’re encased in silver. Griffen sees none of this. He doesn’t care. He’s wet and cold. But finally, obediently, he gets with the program and starts walking.
A nice long pee here. A sniff there. And then, the main event. Smart boy knows that once he does his thing, he will be permitted to go back, where a warm towel and his breakfast…OMG, BREAKFAST!!!…await. We turn around. We’ve been out less than 10 minutes, and all I can think is, I put on all this dreck for…10 minutes?? But it’s OK. Long walks are for nice mornings. I give in easily.
Once in the house, all the stuff comes off again. Removing the pants, I find that both legs have sprung a leak somewhere near each knee, leaving me with a big wet patch on my jeans. Griffen gives himself a good shake – of course, all over the mudroom walls. I towel him off to the point that he’s reasonably dry, and that’s it. The ritual is over for another day. Until we have to do it all over again in four hours.
Keine Lust translates roughly to, “I don’t feel like it.” Griffen can say that but I can’t. Welcome to my wet dog-scented life.