I had originally titled this post "In which I am beset by grubby mongrel children" but it just seemed mean.
I only had one appointment today, this morning. I went, I followed the directions. I hit my trip odometer so I'd know when to start looking for the house, because they had one of those funky RR Box whatever addresses and up in the yonders no one bothers to put their address on their mailbox. I guess if someone in your family is ill you either throw them in the back of the honey wagon and take them to town or shoot them and toss them on top of the silage with the tires since an ambulance finding you is right out.
Look, I live in the country. I'm all down with that. I know there is no mall, and no traffic lights, and I have to pass farm machinery, and people have cows and whatnot. Three years of this I've had. I get it. This was a whole 'nother level.
First, the town. I couldn't find it on account of it used to be on the main drag and since they dragged the main drag over half a mile, the town now sits below the level of the road, a Valley That Time Forgot. I had to turn around once but got on the right track, found the landmarks, turned onto the dirt road 'between the two churches'.
A more accurate landmark would have been "Drive toward the smell."
There are five houses on this road. Five houses and ten veal barns. I'll spare you the PETA line, you can Google 'how veal is raised' all on your own and be grossed out on your own time. Suffice it to say it was a latrine on the nature trail to hell times a thousand. Nestled right up alongside one of these delightful barns was the house I was looking for. I drove past it twice, noting the two tons of random crap levered against the front porch hoping it was not the house I was looking for. The same group of people who gave me the stinkeye on the way past the first two times SET A DOG LOOSE the third time when I finally pulled in. It was a lab, a rather determined looking one, and I carefully observed its body language to determine whether I needed to reach down and pet it or put its head into its neck with my foot. There was wagging. The dog didn't, contrary to my original assumption, want to sink its teeth into my face.
A woman squatting on a plastic lawn chair that was on its way to the density of a dwarf star under her considerable bulk waved and yelled sort of half-heartedly and called off the dog. I waded into a sea of children, cats, other dogs, plastic yard toys, and more cats. One or two of the older kids helpfully hammerlocked the smaller ones to keep them from following me inside.
I wouldn't say this house was dirty. That wasn't the problem, though I'd say its been a good 12 years since some of the windows have been open and the 'remodel' of the farmhouse the woman mentioned wanting to do would involve the rental of no less than five twenty- foot rolloff containers and a team of five in each room working all day for two weeks solid just to strip it to God-knows-what. Imagine, if you will, going to about 100 estate sales and buying every single nick-nack, teapot, piece of china, and age-darkened print of a woodland scene or cavorting angels in a gaudy frame and shoving all of that stuff into one house. China figurines stood shoulder to shoulder on the buffet. Rugs that began to surrender their original color midway through the Nixon administration adorned every room. And every open space that didn't have angels clustered together like they were waiting for an airport shuttle was occupied by a sleeping cat. I looked in all the rooms, and it took some clever interview skills to discern what was and was not going and even now I'm not completely sure. On the way out I got to see the dog that 'greeted' me nursing a litter of a dozen puppies. I managed to have my sneezing fit after I rounded the corner on my way back to the highway.
And this week has only begun to yield its treasures. We take to the road for an adventure in Philadelphia on Friday, where your faithful Dispatcher finds out if she still remembers how to drive with extreme hostility and malice aforethought. Or how to parallel park.