I left Dad's house early (for me). The plan was that I'd visit my grandparents, visit an aunt, meet a friend for coffee at the library, then meet another friend for drinks, hang out for a bit, then meet another another friend for drinks. Then to Mom's house, since I hadn't actually spent time with Mom yet.
Greg, meanwhile, was preparing to leave his mom's house. 9AM Saturday morning, Greg would finally sneak away to meet his bio-mom and bio-bro.
Before I left, Dad and Marilyn--my step-mom--asked about Greg. They asked about a lot of things. Waffles. New York. Greg's mom. Greg's bio-mom. Dad and Marilyn have a great kitchen--it's an open area with natural light (it's rare that I get natural light), and a large sink beside a dishwasher, and french doors opening out onto a deck to earth and sky. And rabbits making a home out of a pile of sticks meant for burning.
So. Plans: visit grandparents, aunt, friend, friend, friend. When I visit home, I often feel like I'm in the last third of Goodfellas, where Henry Hill's narrating his day before arrest: I've got to go here and pick up this and then get to that (something else is going on), and then over to there to see this and (why are the helicopters following me) then here and here, and back there, and holy shit I forgot about visiting this and (helicopters, seriously?), and out to here to hug and back....
Driving down hwy 72, I call Greg. It's 10:30 AM, and he'd intended to meet (finally!) his birth mom and 7-ish year old half-brother at 9AM. I was excited, and thought I'd waited the appropriate amount of time for Greg and his bio-mom/bro/fam to meet and greet and sob. I wanted to sob along with all of them. When I called Greg, I wanted him to be happy and bouncy. When he answered his phone, I wanted him to tell me to call back in a few hours because he was too busy basking in the love of--
"This is a nightmare," Greg said. "I'm in the car following them to [bio-mom's] home, Mom refused to keep Waffles so I've got him in the car, and he's out of control--he snapped at [bio-bro]."
"I don't get it. You're following them? Like, stalking?"
"No!" Greg used his emphatic tone of voice, which I always love. "My grandfather was there. My grandfather! I didn't even know he was alive. But Waffles kept--"
"--at the ball park?--"
"--snapping at everyone. Yes, at the ball park. The--I met them, and they asked me back to her house, my [bio] Mom's house, so I have to follow the car but Waffles is impossible."
"Why didn't you leave him at your mom's."
"She said she wanted to rest and didn't want to keep him."
Long story short (I know, too late, but more to come anyway), I met Greg in a parking lot to intercept the dog. Greg driving his mom's car, almost against her will since she'd tried to find several reasons to prevent Greg from driving it. The night before Greg took her to physical therapy and to have her stitches removed, the woman had seriously suggested to Greg that he drive the car around the neighborhood for a while, to make sure he was still in practice.
Where was I... Oh. Parking lot. I met Greg in a parking lot to intercept Waffles, who had just moments before barfed all over Greg's (adoptive) mom's upholstery, and then on Greg's jeans.
Greg, when I met him in the parking lot, was doing what Greg does: Muppetting. Waffles cowered in the passenger seat. Vomit dripped from the back and front seats, and from Greg's crotch.
Before picking Greg up on the final day home, I stopped off at Petco (Co?). It seemed like the right thing to do--Waf, without knowing, was facing a 5 hour trip home, a dosage of sedatives, and a lack of food. It seemed only fair that I buy him a snack or two, perhaps a new chew toy.
Pet stores in NYC are different from pet stores in Florence, AL. I mean, it's not as if we don't have a Petco (PetCo?) in New York--we do; I've been to the one on Broadway and 92nd-ish a few times, but the difference between the PetC/co in Florence and the Petc/Co in NYC is that the aisles are more chaotic in NYC, and there's an upper level, and it doesn't feel so much like a grocery store in NYC as it does in Florence.
It was raining when I parked the car and extracted Waffles from the Toyota. Waffles hates rain. He was wearing his complicated, vaguely Victoria's-Secret halter and leash, and refused to take a step on the slick-wet asphalt no matter how insistently I tugged on his leash. Rain--light, sparse--fell on both of us, dotting my glasses and making Waffles' fur speckled. PetC/c/Co's automatic door, some feet away, yawned open and closed as people, unaccompanied by their own pets, moved freely in and out of the building, carrying bags of dog food, cat food, litter boxes, ferrets, a six-pack of mice for pet boas, whatever.
Rain. Insistent, persistent rain. And oh my god the smell of rain--the slightly acrid, fresh but organic, puffy warm scent of Alabama rain splattering and brushing against me. I didn't mind the tug of war between Waffles and myself because it had been a long time since I'd smelled a real rain.
But yeah and so I gave up eventually and lifted Waf from the asphalt, tucked him under my arm, and plunged into PetCo. Petco. Whatever.
The Petco in Florence is very well-lit. I'll say that about it. Very well-lit, and very clean. Up here in NYC, most pet stores we go to are locally owned, very small, kinda dingy, and littered with pet toys. Petco in Florence seemed a bit too antiseptic, a bit too perfunctory and generic, as if no pet had ever actually been in the place.
I set Waf down, and he immediately began sniffing about. He rushed forward, pulling me with him leash-first (obviously), and a few PetCorps employees giggled. "Who is walking who?" some teenage kid with a floppy haircut asked.
Some time later, leash and intended purchases in alternating hands, I made my way to check-out. The young woman behind the counter asked if I had a PetCo card.
"No, I don't."
"Well," she said, opening a drawer and starting a clearly rehearsed, rather dull speech about the wonders of a PetCo card, "if you get one today, you'll save a few bucks, and your..." she checked to make sure "...dog will thank you for it." From the open drawer the young woman magically produced a pen, an application, and a rabbit. Wait, no, just a pen and an application.
"That's okay. I don't live here." And I really just wanted to buy and go--had a boyfriend to pick up, luggage to arrange, plane to catch.
The young woman stared at the application in her hand, the open drawer, seemed to consider her pitch, her uniform, her existence, and responded with perfect deadpan irony, "It's not like we don't have these stores all over the place. You can use the card where ever you are. Serious."
Rather than hug the young woman, I nodded, and filled out the application. Waffles snuffled his own crotch, and I got a discount on the chlorophyll treats and bone-shaped chew toys.
Inappropriate sharing, incomprehensible ramblings, uncalled-for hostility: yup, it's a blog.
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