Or, Dan and Emily’s Excellent Adventure, part the first
Last week, Dan got a cold. It was right after we’d done a big hike on Mount Bierstadt and I’d chalked up his difficulty with the altitude to just that, but on Monday he informed me he was getting sick.
“Great,” I thought, but luckily it wasn’t too bad a cold so we figured he’d feel better by the time we left on our trip. Many times, when Dan gets sick I don’t (luck? I’ve already had it? Who knows?) but unfortunately, this time, I had no such luck. Late on Thursday I started to feel the telltale throat tickle, and I cursed my immune system. Or at the very least, I shook my tiny fist at it in impotent rage.
Friday, it was still mostly just a throat tickle and I felt kind of run down, but had no problems working an entire day or having lunch with my friend and her now 9-month-old (I was careful about breathing on him or swapping secretions). But Saturday morning, the day before we were supposed to leave, I felt like cold fried shit. We spent the day sorting and folding laundry, packing, prepping the house to leave for three weeks, packing the car, and, finally, shoving the kitties in their carriers for a trip up to the Dan’rents abode. Loki’s an old hat at this visiting thing, but it was Robin’s first trip, and boy did she voice her displeasure.
YOWL YOWL YOWL. YOWL. YOWL YOWL.
We were serenaded for a goodly chunk of the voyage by Robin letting us know in no uncertain terms that she Did Not Approve of riding in a car in a kitty carrier. Loki, on the other hand, made absolutely no noise. I was keeping one eye on him, though, since he has a tendency to be car sick, and he was looking as though he didn’t feel well. It was hot, in the high 80s, and our car has no air conditioning, so in between Robins Yowls of Displeasure she panted, so finally I tossed the one thing I had in the main part of the car that could keep the sun off her over her carrier. And then, I smelled it.
“Did you fart?” I asked Dan.
“No…” he responded, with a look of growing horror on his face.
I turned around once more to see Loki moving away from a giant log of poop he’d deposited all over the front part of the carrier. I guess I was somewhat lucky to be congested from the cold, because the smell was not nearly as pungent as it would otherwise have been. Dan rolled down his window and I manipulated things to be open the carrier, shoved Loki out of the way, and used a good supply of car tissues to wrap up and mop up his fecal mess. It was totally disgusting.
Not two minutes later, Loki peeped his “I’m gonna yak” peep and horked up his last meal. The car smelled of cat shit and cat barf, and once again Dan moved his seat forward while I used the towel in the bottom of the carrier and some tissues to clean up the cat barf as best I could while we hurtled up I25 at 75 miles per hour. I’d nearly finished my work when suddenly Loki decided that two emissions weren’t enough, and he peed all over the back of the carrier, looking miserable.
That’s right. Cat shit, cat puke, and cat piss, all in less than five minutes. And I got to clean it all up, or at least do the best I could, while Robin yowled away in the carrier above Loki’s. He’s never peed in his carrier before, so I don’t know if it was just a coincidence, or if his system decided it needed to purge itself in every possible way.
The pee was really the last straw, as I didn’t want to use any more of the tissues and the towel was already covered in poop and puke and I just couldn’t get it all, so I asked Dan to pull off the road to a gas station at the next available opportunity. I got out of the car, depositing all of the soiled tissues in a garbage can and going inside to wash my hands while Dan used some of the paper towels they supply for windshield cleaning to finish mopping up the pee out of the back of the carrier. I cleaned as much puke as I could off the towel and wadded it up, soiled bits on the inside. The funny thing was that after we got going again, Robin didn’t make a single noise for the entire rest of the trip north. And thankfully, Loki had nothing left in his system after his three-orifice extravaganza, and the rest of the way was peaceful.
* * * * * *
Dan and I left bright and early on Sunday morning, after I’d hardly slept at all Saturday night what with the being sick and the Robin climbing all over me and the anticipation of getting up so much earlier than usual. I felt absolutely miserable for the first several hours of the drive through Colorado and Nebraska. About eight hours into the trip, just inside Iowa, we pulled off into a campground Dan had found online and we staked out a spot for our tent. Tent camping wasn’t super-formal, so we paid our fee and set up the tent in a nice area under a tree and near the water. There were fire pits and picnic tables aplenty, plus a volleyball court and a basketball court and a kickass awesome jungle gym/big toy-type thing that got quite a bit of use over the course of the afternoon and evening, but there was absolutely no running water, potable or otherwise, unless one had a hose or some other sort of hookup in the RV area. I’d really hoped to at least rinse off my head after such a long, hot day in the car and all the humidity we’d encountered, but no dice. So I pouted and read a book in the shade and felt like ass, and later Dan and I played on the playground and reminisced about the playgrounds our elementary schools had had (and how much less pinchy swing chains coated in plastic paint are, and how much safer playground equipment is now). Eventually we made some dinner sandwiches, played our customary hands of gin, and watched the fireflies get eaten by bats and evening birds. As we went to bed, grass around us damp, we listened to the horny cows and the bull frogs and the cicadas and all of the other creatures that lived next to the stagnant lake.
I woke up when the sky started dripping on me. We’d opted not to put the rain fly on the tent because of how warm it was, but some time in the middle of the night it started to rain so I threw on the fly in my sleep stupor and hoped it would keep us from getting soaked. The tent was pelted with rain for the rest of the night, and in the morning what had been damp grass was sodden with rain. It was warm and humid, and my feet didn’t feel dry for nearly an hour after we got going.