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All I wanted was to spend time with my family and, if time permitted, I'd also write. What I didn't plan on was the fact that I'd get horribly sick the night before. So, when I got up the morning of my vacation, I was slow moving. As my husband double-checked to make sure we didn't leave anything out of our luggage, I took our dog out for one last pre-vacation walk. I was exhausted because, well, it was o'dark thirty in the morning, I hadn't slept, and my stomach was still a little upset; so, when my normally docile and, dare I say, lazy dog rushed forward and began barking, my reflexes weren't quick enough to retract the leash in time. When I finally rushed to catch up and see what he was barking at, a puffy white and black tail was waving at me and the smell of Ohio public transit in the '80s was filling the air. My dog began doing somersaults in the grass, trying to remove the smell; his bark had been silenced by a skunk.


Pain aside, we sprinted home and knocked furiously on the door. It was an hour and a half before we had to leave, and our dog had been sprayed by a skunk. We tied him up, did some online research (thank you, Internet and thank you, Paul Krebaum!!!) and found Paul's recipe for de-skunking our Blue Heeler. Incidentally, I did some more research after the fact and found it ridiculously cool that Krebaum was a Bennington graduate. 
We don't ordinarily dress 
him in my old tank tops. 
We really don't. 
His recipe, as I read it on quite a few sites, is:


1 quart hydrogen peroxide
1/4 cup baking soda 
1 to 2 teaspoons of liquid soap (we used Dawn because it's gentle)


We bathed our little guy, massaging the mixture into his fur for five minutes or so, then rinsed him, wrapped him in a beach towel, and hauled ass to Pawderosa Ranch. Let me just extend some more thanks here. Chris and I were so worried that this doggie daycare facility would turn away our dog--we were worried that we could no longer smell the skunk because we'd been around it so long--but the kind ladies here just offered to give him a second bath and sweetly ushered him back to his room.


Okay, so we made it! We made our plane and even had time to buy some gum and a Texas armadillo for my parents. Unfortunately, a crown on my back tooth didn't respond well to the gum, and before I could stop it--yet again--a sizable chunk of my tooth went down my throat. 


I was so happy to see my father and step-mother waiting from us at the airport that I hugged them, rushed to get my bags and we all made our way to the parking lot when I realized my cell phone was missing. I began cussing and kicking the air, then ran back into the airport and searched for my phone until I gave up, planted my tongue in the hole in my back tooth, and walked back to my parents' car. Here, I found my phone in my bag, wrapped up in my hoodie. Whew! A break!


After all of this, I was a zombie. Luckily, my stomach had settled enough to enjoy a nice dinner at Ruby Tuesdays, and here things began to feel more like a vacation. 




We went to Northampton, Amherst, Montague, Holyoke, and Springfield over the course of three days. We went to the Dr. Suess and quadrangle museums and far too many wonderful restaurants where I chewed on the right and savored each bite. My father and I climbed Mt. Tom and got ice cream, the same way we used to run then go to Graeter's after. We spoke about writing, my father's business and all the interesting jobs he's been doing, and we did something I hadn't done since graduating: we relaxed. Sure, I was still with a somewhat-queasy stomach, a broken tooth, and my skin broke out from the hotel soap (guess I forgot about that one), but I was genuinely happy and relaxed. 


It was wonderful, and I returned to a scheduled dentist appointment reminder and a notice that Gargoyle #58 is now available. I wrote a mean little piece that appears in here, and I am thrilled to be a part (Gargoyle has always, always been one of my absolute favorite magazines).  Speaking of favorite magazines, another one, PANK, accepted one of my favorite new short pieces for its August issue. Talk about happy ending to my summer vacation story! I miss my family. I'm exhausted, and it's back to work tomorrow, but I did get time to write... this... and hey, if crazy shit didn't happen to me, what would I write about? 


I couldn't ask for more. I'll have more to post next month (hopefully nothing involving a skunk or broken tooth). Cheers! ~Jen







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