Monday, November 06, 2006

Hair Lab

I love my yellow Labrador. He loves me, too. Whenever I wear a color darker than white, he loves me all over my legs. I have to store my darker sweaters in the car if I intend to wear them in public because he loves me so much. Last year, I had to throw out a black cardigan because he loved me so much the sweater needed washing to remove the love hair, and it met up with a facial tissue in the wash. It looked like a snowstorm in pen and ink. I tried picking, shaving, and lint-rolling the mess, but then calculated how much time I’d spent pulling hair/tissue wads off and made a better cost/benefit decision.

My Labrador loves our couches, too. He lies around on them like a Furboy, and if he could get the remote control to stay in one paw, it would be a real toss-up as to who’s lollygagging on the couch – hubs or Hoover! This creates a problem for Spawn, whose black and red Pizza Hut uniform is so covered in dog hair that they won’t let him cook. They’ve tried lint-rolling him, too, (I wish they’d comb his hair instead), but it doesn’t get enough hair off of him. So, of course, he comes home and rolls around on the couch, and when he gets up, one side of him looks furry.

Our Labrador loves Bunny’s bed, too. He likes to crawl up there while she’s at school and make a dog nest in the pink afghan on her bed. Bunny has given up on being dog hair free at school. She now sits with other people who have yellow Labs during lunch so that no one wonders why she’s covered in fur. They all understand. No one asks where the hair in their lunch came from, they just assume they brought it in themselves and it free-floated into the mixed vegetables.

Hoover loves to go to the library. It’s not that he gets to go in the library, but he likes to go for drives, and when the kids were littler, we’d all head for the car in a mad dash if I called out “LIBRARY”, including him. He’d sit in the car, smelling the exciting downtown smells while the rest of us perused the racks. He shoots fur when he gets excited, so by the time we got back to the car, it was well insulated in dog hair. One time, I was bemoaning the excess of dog hair in the van, while the kids and Hoover were sitting in the back in a sunbeam. The kids pointed out to me that he was shooting fur, like a porcupine shoots quills. I went back to look and, sure enough, sitting there, happily ensconced between two book laden children, the sunshine showed him clearly shooting an endless stream of fur in three dimensions.

When we had Chow-chows, I thought the dog hair problem was bad. They’d blow fur, and I mean, BLOW fur once, maybe twice a year. It came off in puppy-sized wads, lurking in corners and clogging up the vacuum cleaner. If I took them out in the yard and brushed each one for an hour each day for a week, though, the hair problem was usually solved.

Not so with a Labrador. His hair has given our Oreck a case of chronic bronchitis, causing it to spit, huff, and occasionally shoot fur OUT of it instead of sucking it up. Smaller vacuums generally give up after a week, and we’ve killed carpet sweepers in a matter of hours. We finally bought a Shop Vac, which will not only suck up a perpetual stream of short yellow hair, but will also remove Legos, socks, and cloth napkins from the general traffic pathways. It doesn’t much care for pencils, though; they jam up in the pipe.

There are times when the June Cleaver lurking within me wishes we didn’t have pets. Sweeping up parrot debris, which is either crunchy or chunky, gets tedious. Wearing an unending stream of dog hair enhanced clothing is kind of depressing. I may occasionally vaguely dream of a never-never day where I’m sitting in an apartment (also, apparently free of children and their spots) on a cream and flower patterned couch with Persian throw rugs on the floors, and nothing is covered in fur. I look happily at a sunbeam coming peacefully through the window, and all I can see floating in it is a bit of dust.

And then the door slams as someone comes barreling in yelling, “MOM” or “BoS,” or Hoover pads over to me and lies down on my feet or rubs his face against my knee and looks adoringly up at me. Hawthorne will hoot out a “Wheeeee! Gimme a chicken waffle!” in the background, and I know that a June Cleaver clean house will never be a part of my real future.

I wouldn’t mind a discount on Shop Vac filters, though.

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