Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I dropped my lipstick while in my husband’s van the other day and when I searched for it underneath the seat, I couldn’t believe my eyes. There were enough empty fast-food bags under there to wallpaper an airline hangar.

“Don’t you ever throw out any of your bags?” I asked him. “What are you saving them for – a paper shortage?”

“Oh, I’ll toss them when I get around to it,” he said. “They’re not hurting anything.”

“You could attract mice...or roaches!” I said.

“There’s no food in them. I never leave any scraps. It’s just paper.”

“Paper that smells like burgers and fries,” I pointed out. “Your van smells like a lunch wagon!”

“At least it smells like something good,” he said. “Your car smells like a dog!”

His words took the wind right out of my sails. He was fully aware of how sensitive I am about the doggy odor in my car, yet he mercilessly used that fact against me.

In my defense, my dogs love to go for rides, so I often take them with me on errands. The end result is happy dogs...and a car that smells like a kennel.

It’s not that I haven’t tried to get rid of the odor. I’ve purchased enough air fresheners to deodorize a locker room. There are pine-tree fresheners hanging on the radio knobs, solid fresheners under the seats, and even some fresheners that clip onto the vents so when the heat or air-conditioning is on, the scent gets blown throughout the car.

Still, the car smells like a combination of pine, cinnamon, Hawaiian flowers...and dog.

One day I got fed up and scrubbed every inch of the car, vacuumed it and sprayed it with half a can of Febreze. I thought it smelled wonderful afterwards, fresh and clean. I vowed to keep it that way for at least at week, so I declared the car off limits to the dogs.

Immediately afterwards, I went grocery shopping at Bi-Wise market, where the baggers still carry your bags out to the car for you. After I finished shopping, the bagger followed me out to my car. I opened the door and he shoved my bags into the back seat. “You must have dogs,” he said, wrinkling his nose.

Had he told me my car was on fire, I couldn’t have been more devastated.

Even more embarrassing is when I have to leave my car with my mechanic. He always rolls down all of the windows in it, even in the middle of winter. I have the sneaking suspicion he also keeps a face mask handy, solely for the purpose of working on my car.

One time, just before I took my car to the garage, I sprayed the interior with Lysol and hung up two brand new air fresheners.

My mechanic thanked me.

I can’t figure out how two dogs that smell just fine in person, can make my car smell so terrible. I suspect that something in my car causes dog odors to breed and multiply. All it takes is one small odor and by the time it’s through reproducing, it turns into a giant, nose-torturing stench.

The thought has crossed my mind that if I spend enough time in my car, especially during hot weather, I might smell like a dog, too.

With my luck, I’ll end up attracting fleas.

At least the roaches my husband’s fast-food bags attract will have company.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Last week I started to tell you about my prolonged case of dizziness and my concerns that our house might have a build-up of carbon monoxide in it. So while my husband was taking a nap on a Sunday afternoon, I called the Allenstown fire station to discuss my concerns. The person who answered said someone would be right over.

In retrospect, I guess I probably should have awakened my sleeping husband and told him I’d phoned the fire department and they were on their way over. Instead, I took one look at the living room and its state of messiness, considering I’d done nothing but lie in bed for over a week, and decided to try to tidy it up before anyone arrived. I got distracted and completely forgot about my husband.

Trying to do housework while dizzy, I soon learned, was a nearly impossible task, especially since I had to rush. I held a broom in one hand while hanging onto the wall with the other. Whenever I bent over to pick up something, like a dog toy, I nearly landed face-first on the floor. And twice, I tried to hide stuff in my office but ended up walking right past the doorway because my feet refused to go where I aimed them.

I managed to get the living room looking presentable, but in the process, made myself so dizzy and queasy, I had to lie down on the sofa and put my arm across my forehead in an attempt to stop the room from spinning.

That’s when the fire department arrived and rang the doorbell. I tried to get up to answer the door, but when I sat up, I quickly changed my mind and flopped back down. They pounded on the door. I called out to them to come in, but not nearly loud enough, I soon realized.

The next thing I knew, the front door flew open and a firefighter was shouting, “Semi-conscious female on the sofa!”

I knew I looked and felt pretty bad, but I had hoped to at least look conscious when they arrived. Within seconds, I was surrounded by medical-rescue people, both from the fire department and Tri-Town Ambulance. In the background, I could hear one of the firefighters saying they should check the bedroom for my husband.

I cringed, thinking that my poor, unsuspecting, sleeping husband probably would divorce me after being awakened by firefighters bursting into the bedroom...if he didn’t die of shock first.

A few seconds later, he came walking out to the living room, his eyes squinting against the light, and asked me, “What’s going on?”

At the time, I was having my blood pressure taken and my finger pricked for a glucose test.

“Just checking for carbon monoxide leaks,” I said.

His puzzled expression told me he probably thought they were checking me for the leaks, not the house. But actually, at that very moment, the firefighters were making a thorough sweep of the place, including the basement and garage, testing everything. I felt safe for the first time in days.

“We didn’t find any problems with carbon monoxide,” one of the firefighters finally informed me, showing me the “zero” reading on his meter. He suggested we also get a carbon-monoxide detector for the upstairs, rather than have just the one in the basement.

“So, am I going to live?” I asked the guy who’d been checking my vital signs.

“You seem fine,” he said.

“I think you have a bad case of vertigo,” another said.

They also discussed some nasty stomach bug that was going around. “You have any stomach pains or cramps?” they asked me more than once. “Vomiting? Diarrhea?”

I shook my head. “No, thank goodness.”

I imagined myself trying to run to the bathroom while dizzy. I’d probably end up drowning in the toilet.

They then asked me if I wanted to go to the hospital, adding that they would be more than happy to take me if I felt the need. I considered it for a moment, then said I guessed I’d be all right. So they had me sign a statement saying I’d refused to be transported, and told me if I needed anything at all, not to hesitate to call them.

After they left, my husband said, “What a nice bunch of people – all of them...even though they nearly scared me to death!”

“That was all my fault,” I said. “I probably should have told you they were on their way over.”

“Ya think so?” he said, rolling his eyes.

A few days later, I finally was able to make it to the doctor’s and was surprised to learn I have a ruptured eardrum. Thinking back, I guess that might explain why I could hear air gushing out of my left ear every time I blew my nose. It also explains why my balance has been so bad. After all, the epicenter of balance is in the ears, so having an extra hole in one probably isn’t such a good thing.

The doctor said my eardrum might take a month or two to heal. During that time, I’m supposed to take anti-vertigo medication (which makes me sleep like a hibernating bear) as needed, not get any water in the ear and definitely not blow my nose.

“Does that mean if I catch a cold, I’ll have to hang a bucket under my nose?” I joked with the doctor, who just stared blankly at me.

The man has no sense of humor.

So if you happen to drive by a house in Allenstown and see a woman out front who has a really runny nose and is walking as if she just returned from happy hour at the local’s probably me.