Dominos and Dog Food
By Dave Wiley
I am convinced that there is no one better to hang out on earth with than small children and dogs. Its like you live in a cartoon. Armed with this fascinating tidbit of information, you save yourself a lot of time being embarrassed about things because, quite frankly, you already know upfront you will be embarrassed. So, when I made the life choice of packing three dogs and two kids into the car for a trip to Walmart, I already pretty much knew there’d be a story to tell afterward.
So off we went…. The mission of the trip was simple. Get dog food, cat food, cat litter, paper towels used primarily for cleaning up recycled dog food and cat food, and treats, apparently to pass out when the recycled dog and cat food made it into acceptable pre-approved disposal areas, like the deck and the litter box. Being male, I kept the list inside my head instead of writing it down, primarily because of my stellar past performances of memory escapades that always made me travel back to wherever it was I just came from because I forgot something.
The dogs all laid down in the car, the boys were perched in their car seats, and I drove the four-some odd miles to Wal-Mart. When we reached the store, amazing gymnastics were performed to get the two boys out of the car, while keeping the three dogs in the car. Luckily, I was a pro at this. Someday I will write up the story at how you become a pro. So, armed with one boy in one arm, and one baby-seat carrying a boy in the other arm, we tromped into Wal-Mart to get the variety of animal related products we required.
At the entrance of the Wal-Mart, right next to the 5 billion shopping carts, the Wal-Mart greeter, and the food place that sells the same rotating hot dogs that have probably been there since the rotating hot dog machine was installed, sat a GRANDIOUS display of Easter baskets. My two year old was in heaven. They had Easter baskets with golf clubs, race car sets, two foot high sponge bobs, and some with girl stuff in them (funny how when you have two boys you don’t even look at the ones with girl stuff in them). The display consisted of well over a hundred Easter baskets, all wrapped beautifully in crazy Easter colored saran wrap. I set my two year old down, and put the baby seat with baby still attached into the shopping cart.
Aiden took the opportunity to high tail it over to the baskets. Nolan and I rolled up seconds later with the cart. Aiden had selected an Easter basket with golf clubs in it, and one with a race track for his little brother. With all the powers of storytelling I could muster, I explained how you could not actually buy these Easter baskets, but that the Easter bunny had rented out the Wal-Mart greeting area as a storage facility for all his baskets and we would have to wait until Easter for our particular baskets to show up somewhere in our homes. I don’t think my son bought the story, but he did put back the baskets so we could proceed to the pet section of the store. I got dog food, cat food, cat treats, dog biscuits and cat litter while my son watched approximately forty fish peck on the two dead ones. “Sleeping daddy?” “Yes, I think he’s sleeping Aiden”. And we headed off to check out.
After returning to the car to a chorus of “Thank Goodness you’re back, we’ve suffered” barks, I loaded all the food into the car. Then I realized we’d forgotten the paper towels. Thinking (usually typing the word thinking is sort of where the story turns somehow into a story) the food would be safe for two minutes, the boys and I hustled back into the store for the paper towels. Wow, how cool was this…. Paper towels were just inside the store by the entrance!! I set Aiden down and grabbed the 24-for-4.99 pack of super-cala-fraga-listic-absorbant-ala-doshious paper towels and turned back just in time to have a “slow motion” moment. Slow motion moments are those times in your life when you know exactly what is going to happen but have absolutely no ability to stop it. My current “slow motion” moment was watching Aiden once again select an Easter basket with golf clubs in it, and an Easter basket with a race track in it for his brother. The only difference now was he’d chosen the top row of the bleacher section of Easter baskets to pick his selection, instead of the front row like the first time he’d chosen.
So, now my life shifted into SUPER-SLOW-MOTION….. I heard myself say “NooOOOooOOooOOOOO!!!” although it sounded more like a fog horn, and very slowly, one by one, the Easter baskets began toppling over. They did not stop until all one hundred baskets had taken out each other and tipped to the floor like dominos. Really though, it wasn’t all one hundred. Aiden was holding two of them, so it was only about 98 baskets.
The Wal-Mart greeter woman turned a nice color of chartreuse, and all around me I could hear whispers of “Glad that wasn’t my kid”. For the next fifteen minutes, I picked up Easter baskets. Now I noticed all the girl ones. Girls get pretty nice stuff in Easter baskets too. Aiden said “Do it again Daddy!!” which earned him a spot in the shopping cart. Finally the baskets were back together with no help from anyone, and we paid for the paper towels.
Well when we got back to the car, the dog food, the cat food, the dog biscuits and the cat treats PROBABLY would have been safe for a few minutes. They might have been safe for five minutes. They may have even lasted ten minutes…. But twenty minutes is a long time to leave dogs and food unattended. The inside of the car wreaked of kibble smell. And I thought the Easter basket fiasco was a mess. I decided just to put the boys in the car and go home. The front seat of the car looked like one of those beady things a cab driver puts on his car. I didn’t care. I just sat on it. We went home, crunching going on the entire time. Nolan, my eight month old, thought the crunching was uproariously funny, and laughed the whole way home.
By now my wife was home from work, so everyone went in the house, and I went back out to the car and cleaned up dog/cat/food/treats for the better part of the evening, separating it all out into its own piles and redistributing it into the house storage containers. I’m really looking forward to Easter this year. Maybe we’ll make colored eggs tomorrow. That went so well last year when the dogs ate all the unguarded eggs. The sad part is, I wasn’t the least bit embarrassed, as I appear to have become immune. I even thought the Easter basket thing was cool.