Friday, December 30, 2011

Dog pee and a reindeer killing

We woke up in the middle of the night a few days ago to the sound of a pee stream. Sean jumped up and turned on the lights and proclaimed "Who the hell is peeing?!" Our dogs haven't gone to the bathroom in the house in years, but here was Avery--our youngest dog--running away from his dog bed, guilt-stricken. He only peed enough to mark his territory on the bed that he and Sam often fight over.

Great. All of this spoiling them for the holidays has erupted into a full on battle for dominance in the pecking order. Jasmine is the alpha dog, then comes Sam, and lastly Avery. Lucky for us things seem to have calmed down but I can tell you that we were not happy to have pee in our bedroom.

Christmas was eventful. My car broke down a few weeks ago and although it was running fine again when Carrie and Laura landed, we didn't quite trust it yet. So my dad let them borrow his car.

Fast forward to Christmas eve.

Carrie and Laura left to go to the party at our parent's house and we followed in Sean's car. On the highway a line of cars suddenly hit their breaks and came to a complete stop. I was driving and Sean saw the deer on the side of the road first and warned me not to look at it.

I looked anyway.

I was reminded of one of my favorite Richard Shindell songs about witnessing war, the lyric:

"Once I saw an accident on old rte 17 / Mama told me not to look at it as we slowly passed the scene / though the image of that wreckage was burned into my brain / that did not prepare me for the things that I have seen"

She was still alive, flopping in pain on the side of the road. I started shaking at the sight of it. In my rearview mirror, as I passed the scene, I saw the car that was struck pulled over on the shoulder with one headlight and a damaged hood. Even though it was dark, I noticed that the car was green. My father's car was green.

We immediately called my sister's phone. No answer. We called Laura's phone. No answer. We called Carrie's phone again and it went straight to voicemail. I nearly threw up. Was it them in that collision? It sure looked like them. Were they okay? Should I pull over? Please let them be okay.

Sean kept calling Carrie and she finally picked up and confirmed that yes, they had hit that deer, the car was totaled, they were fine and not hurt.

Fast forward to the party. Dad and Sean had gone to pick up Carrie and Laura at the garage. Dylan was crying because his teeth hurt. So the awkward side of me that had been through a traumatic event turned to him and asked, "Are you crying because aunties killed Rudolph?" and the reindeer jokes continued throughout the weekend. "What shall we have for dinner? Venison!" We made sugar cookies for Santa with reindeer patterns. The girls got reindeer PEZ in their stockings.

Aside from the tragic dead deer, we had a great Christmas. One of the best! And we'll have this story to laugh about years from now once that awful visual image of an injured flopping deer is forgotten.