Saturday, December 8, 2012

A stinky Christmas Carol

The other day we watched the second of four of our couches get clawed, lifted and crunched by the garbage truck.  I’m glad to see them go, although they’ve each seen some very interesting and varied action.  I am not very pleased about why they went.  

As my holiday gift to you, I’d like to share a very important rule for pet owners of which we were sadly unaware.

Pepe le Bastard
If your dog gets sprayed by a skunk… do not immediately let him into your house so that he can sprint around, crop dusting your home and belongings with foulness.


A couple weeks ago, our dog Bullock trotted out into our backyard for a quick pee and sniff, only to immediately get sprayed in the ear by a skunk.  I doubt there was time for peeing, but there was much manic yipe-ing and dog hysteria, causing my husband Joe to open the door to investigate.  This is a completely reasonable reaction.  It was possibly much less reasonable to refrain from slamming the door in horror at the wall of stink that rushed in like a funky apocalypse. 
The dogs are accustomed to rocketing up the deck stairs and into the house as if they are in the race of their lives and perhaps they scampered in before Joe even realized what was happening. 


I’ve later read and heard that it is a good idea to wash your dog with a much posted and celebrated anti-skunk concoction OUTSIDE.  Maybe multiple times.  Instead, Joe and I washed Bully in our master bath.  More than a week later, my son Joey referred to our bathroom as “ground zero.” 


Please kill me.
I sort of don’t mind an outside skunk smell as you’re driving along.  It gets your attention, everyone agreeably identifies the weird, strangely sweet stank as skunk, maybe a “phew” or two is uttered and it’s a nice little bonding experience.  When a skunk sprays someone or something that lives in your house, it’s a whole other deal.  That kind of skunk smell is airborne HELL.  It smells like diseased werewolf scrotum.   


Apparently, one of Bullock’s first miserable resting spots, before semi-permanently polluting our bathroom, was on our leather family room couch. 


For the next week or so, we sprayed fresh sprays and cleaned and deodorized as best we could, but that couch sucked up the skunkness like you know who with wine and cheezits.  Our favorite spot on the couch is right next to the end table, near Joe’s recliner.  Each time one of us sat in that beloved polecat position, a whuff of gutrot would come shooting up out of the couch and we’d leap gagging back up like we’d been goosed.  Except Max who really was not all that bothered by it.  Poor Joey woke up the morning after the skunking armageddon with a broken nose.  It was all so smelly you didn’t really realize where it was coming from.  He sat in the skunky couch spot watching TV and I drove him to school, not even realizing that he’d been marinating in it.  As his classmates began to freak out around him in the hall, poor Joey immediately changed into gym clothes and suffered through a whole day of questions.  He has post traumatic stink disorder.  What kind of mother am I to send a smelly gigantic child to school?  Yet another bullet point for his future therapist to assess and hold against me.


On second thought, Joey kind of deserves it.  When Joe came upstairs with his surprise stinkbomb, Joey and I were watching TV together while I was drawing.  Instead of offering assistance, Joey fled like a little girl and hid in his room for the rest of the night while Joe and I began the Stinkapalooza ’12 battle of our lives.


I have a bit of an overactive nose.  Our other dog, Duncan, rides the doggy short bus and is basically a special needs dog.  If nobody is around to notice that he needs to go outside, he cheerfully pees in a corner.  One of his favorite places to pee is on our computer desk where I used to spend a shameful amount of time with Facebook games, wine and my snack of choice.  I would constantly complain that I smelled pee until Joe bought a fancy carpet cleaner.  I still smell pee.  Plus Duncan sometimes poops under the dining room table.  I once had a semi-celebrity client pick up a pencil portrait while I was buying power carpet pet de-smeller stuff.  She beat me home and Joe claimed that she made a lot of disgusted sniffing/coughing noises while waiting for me.  These are the things I relive over and over, mentally writhing in nonstop shame shudders.  I have been regularly paranoid about Duncan pee and/or poop smells.  But this…


The Bully skunk smells were far more worth complaint.  And God knows, I can complain. I announced every ten minutes that I still smelled skunk until Joe fantasized about beating me with a shovel.  After accidentally sitting in the skunk spot for the 20th time, Joe had heard enough complaining and I’d endured enough skunk.  It was time to buy a new couch.  Considering the stinky leather couch had a broken arm (thanks to two rough boys) and a million little scratches and rips (thanks to two scrabbling dogs), I was glad to see it go.  We’d been meaning to buy a couch for our basement anyway, so Joe and I headed out to a local cheap furniture store for the next pieces of furniture in a long line of upholstery to be ruined by the Zumpano family asses.


We chose two sectionals.  The love seat in our family room which had escaped the worst of the skunk wrath, would replace the scratched up couch in the front of the house where I greet my pencil portrait clients.  Our downstairs couches, lovingly given to us by Vicki when she moved and promptly destroyed by our inevitable destruction (we’re rough on things), the broken smelly couch and the scratched up business couch all went into a holding cell in the garage and out to the curb one at a time.  We had a good time joking about what would happen if some hapless curbside shopper picked up “Ol Skunky”.  How soon before it would return to the curb, perhaps with an angry note attached?   Not to be.  The garbage man (wearing industrial gloves, thank goodness) dragged Ol Skunky away from the curb and the claw arm flung it into the hopper where it released one last stinky poof of a death rattle as it was crunched up. 
“Rot in hell, Ol Skunky!  I hate you!” I yelled in triumph.


The front room couch, which is a burgundy leather, is a perfect couch except for its “distressed” treatment by eight long-nailed little feet leaping on and off of it for years.  You might want to check our curb if you’re interested.
We waited for our new couches like it was Christmas morning, only to have the family room sectional show up too big for the room and with two right armed ends and the basement sectional unable to fit down the stairs.  A beautiful Christmas miracle moment all hosed up in Zumpano style.  We are currently waiting for the replacements.  You can come over for the holidays without any fear of remaining skunkiness.  I hope.


Merry Christmas!  Hope you have a stink-free new year.

(P.S. I know I said that the last post had to be my last of 2012 because of my crazing drawing schedule, but you deserved a little extra Pencil Envy love.)

Wendy Zumpano


  1. Replies
    1. I wish I didn't have the story to tell, but I got a kick out of writing it.

  2. What a terrible thing to go thru. I know. My dog got skunked several years ago. I tried the chemist formula with the hydrogen perixoide, etc. and it worked great for him. He was a springer spaniel with a relatively thin coat. Also, I always kept it short. It took about 2 washings, but he got rid of it. I hope it does not happen again.

    1. Did you wash him outside, like a normal person, or did you let him spread his skunk-stink all over your house first? Lesson learned!!!

  3. When I was in college, my step father and I gave my mom a St. Bernard puppy which she named Heineken. Never knew such a friendly, ready-to-play dog before or since. One summer morning I heard my mom yelling, "No! No, Heineken! Stop, stop!!" and other such. The dog had come across a skunk located between my mom and himself, and proceded to do a bouncy, gallumphing, happy-to-meet-you, let's play dance approaching both the skunk and my mom. You know the rest. He was not allowed inside the house for about 2 weeks! At that time tomato juice was the recommended antidote. I takes a lot of tomato juice to wash a St. Bernard!

    1. You know what? I always do a bouncy, gallumphing, happy-to-meet-you, let's play dance when I meet someone new, too. Heineken and I would get along great.

  4. You crack me up, Wendy! Good and entertaining read! :D

    1. Hooray! Compliments are my favorite and I'm overly needy for them.


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