Big Dog Mom’s Best Kept Secret
On Saturday night we had the pleasure of hosting dinner for two young couples.
Both couples were in their late 20’s. No children. One couple with a 2-year-old cattle dog mix, the other was dog-less. They arrived at 4:00 pm.
I always wonder what people think when they come over to our house. Isn’t the saying “You never get a second chance to make a great first impression?” Let me tell you, that’s a hell of a lot of pressure for a parent with two small kids and two giant dogs!
Once guests cross the threshold and through the Junior and Sulley welcoming committee, I wonder what they think about me, my family, and my home?
Because no respectable person eating our food and drinking our beer would be honest if I asked them, I will give you a little behind the scenes look into my life on this day.
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Junior woke me up as usual with hot breath and a kiss on the face. I got up to find Sulley snoring on his back spread eagle beside the bed. Both reminiscent of Groundhog Day.
Fed everyone and started the laundry. Big Barker Dog Bed covers and dog blankets are a top priority because, while they are cleaned regularly, they are magnets for dog hair and slobber. My husband went outside to mow the lawn and clean the pool, an all-day job. That left me inside as General Manager or, as my two kids might say, Dictator In Chief.
After breakfast, my son and daughter decided that since they rearranged their bedroom furniture last week, my husband and I needed our bedroom furniture rearranged. Forming an unlikely alliance and in utter defiance of common sense, they moved our King size bed and huge bedroom furniture all over the room, exposing that which I DID NOT have time to deal with – giant balls of dog hair, dusty walls and slobbery, dirty baseboards.
Oh the Horror!
Adding to the anarchy, my normally well-behaved children also dismantled the Ginormous dog crate which was in our bedroom.
While it rarely gets used anymore, I liked to have it there just in case. My philosophy is that you never know when you will need to crate your dog, dog sit a friend’s dog, or, I don’t know, get a third mastiff. These are all options when the crate is set up and ready to go.
Sure that crate had turned into a shelf for miscellaneous items with no real home of their own, but it was my crate, and they dismantled it. And not by folding it as it was designed, but by taking every panel completely apart.
Sadly, that dog crate puzzle laid mockingly in the middle of the floor by the kitchen all afternoon as I sanitized around it. My sweet husband was kind enough to clear the wreckage just before our guests arrived.
My philosophy is that you never know when you will need to crate your dog, dog sit a friend’s dog, or, I don’t know, get a third mastiff. These are all options when the crate is set up and ready to go.
CrossFit Big Dog Mom Style
I began my battle against the scourge of cleanliness; dog hair and mastiff slobber.
Dog slobber alone doesn’t bother me. If it did, I wouldn’t own two mastiffs. Slobber is just slimy water. No big deal. Wipe it off. You’re clean. Water bowls stay outside and the laundering of strategically placed slobber rags around the house amounts to a full load every two weeks. We manage.
I attempted to explain this to a woman Sulley and I met in a hotel elevator while on vacation in Colorado a couple of years ago. Sulley greeted her sweetly as he does everyone and for three floors all he and I heard was, “ugh, gross! That’s so gross! Ugh! Ewww!” After about the third “ugh” I stopped apologizing and allowed just a little more lax in Sulley’s leash.
All of that said, it is in these moments that I am quite impressed by how far and wide our dogs deposit their slobber. I find it in the crevasses of our cabinets, within the grooves of our textured walls, on doors, windows, and even ceilings. And it’s not as if this was my first time doing the whole house wipe down either. I clean regularly.
However, slobber is like dog hair. It is pervasive and it is everywhere. Dried on and cemented like super glue.Slobber is like dog hair. It is pervasive and it is everywhere. Dried on and cemented like super glue.
With nail cutting knocked out the day before, the dogs’ bath was next on my To-Do list.
By this time it was at least 105 degrees outside. A seemingly perfect time for me to go outside and bend over in the hot sun for half an hour.
Fortunately for me, Junior and Sulley love their baths and are good about standing patiently as I lather and rinse them. Because mastiffs have a short coat and Junior and Sulley go swimming daily, I don’t normally bathe them in the summer and I only bathe them quarterly during the rest of the year.
This was our lucky day.
I learned how to make bread a couple of years ago. From the grinding of the wheat to the kneading and rising, I make bread.
As someone whose domestic skills in the kitchen are limited to the Popcorn button on the microwave and the Perfect Turkey probe on our oven, I am very proud of this uncanny talent. The downside of perfecting something like this is that your family gets spoiled, guests start requesting it, and it starts to feel like a part-time job.
And so the four-hour process of making bread began.
After preparing lunch for everyone, I fed Junior the second half of his breakfast. For some reason, this spoiled dog has decided he wants his food delivered to him three times a day, not just two. I’m convinced this is his way of reinforcing my subservience. Of course, I complied.
CrossFit Big Dog Mom Style (continued)
If you have read Big Dog Mom’s Most Glaring Weakness Revealed And It Will Surprise You, you will have an appreciation for how ubiquitous dog hair is. In fact, it is the sneakiest of all scourges of cleanliness because 80% of the time you don’t really see or notice it.
But I know the truth. It’s there. It’s everywhere. I know this because my dust mop and vacuum expose it.
In fact, on this particular day, I emptied out my vacuum three times. That is a lot of hair for two mastiffs who really don’t shed noticeably as many breeds do.
But, like the slobber, the dog hair doesn’t really bother me. I tolerate it because I adore my dogs.
With Go Time fast approaching, I got both kids dressed respectably and finally got my shower.
Fortunately for me, the decision of what to wear when guests come over is not a major production for me as it is for some women. There are definitely days when I wish for more fashionable attire, but with limits in our budget, I choose to spend money on my kids and my dogs.
Someday I might create a little more wiggle room in our budget by selling pre-slobbered, pre-shedded on clothing. If Nordstrom’s can sell dirty jeans for $425, who knows how much people will pay for this dog-friendly fashion.
That night I selected a pair of khaki shorts and a black tank top. Both were clean (sorry Nordstrom’s). Good enough for me.
The Moment Of Truth
Our guests successfully made it over the threshold and were kindly greeted by the Junior and Sulley welcoming committee promptly at 4.
While I am undoubtedly determined to control what I can control, I realize that our guests’ first impressions are not born entirely by the cleanliness of our home. My children are courteous and smart. My husband is generous and funny. Junior and Sulley could not be more endearing. And, despite the dry chicken breast and burnt rice, my bread is delicious.
So, if you ever come over to our house for dinner, now you know the truth. The dirty truth behind what goes on at Big Dog Mom’s house before you get here.
It’s my life. And I love it!
For more on our journey, read Life Lessons: What I Learned from an iPad, Flip Flops, and Two Big Dogs.