"And I bought clippers so I can shave the dogs!"
I'm standing in my kitchen, watching my wife's obvious excitement regarding her most recent purchase and thinking that perhaps coming home for lunch wasn't the best idea. A bowling trip at work had fallen through so I thought I'd come home and play a little Marvel Ultimate Alliance. When I called Linda to tell her, she told me that she was out getting her hair cut. Fair enough. Along with going to get her hair cut, she also stopped at Target and purchased the implements sher was so very, very excited about. I had no response.
"The clippers were only 25 bucks and we spend 100 dollars every time we go take them to the groomer. I mean, how hard can it be? And look, it came with a DVD! Besides, I think it'll be a funny story."
There aren't a lot of ways to respond to your wife when she comes home with clippers and every intention of shaving your dogs. You can try and offer token resistance to the idea, but doing so will only delay the inevitable. No sir, when your wife wants to shave the dogs, there's really nothing else to do but strap in and go for the ride.
Lunch was uneventful. We had Wendy's, I beat up some folks with Ghost Rider and then went back to work. About an hour later a message from Linda pops up:
"These clippers aren't working so well."
Before I can respond, the phone rings. It's Linda and she's laughing hysterically. Things have not been going well. I can't say I'm surprised. A brief background on my dogs. Due to her Pomeranian nature, Maggie has wiry hair that could be gathered, tied to a stick and used as a brush for cleaning grill grates. She's also on a hair trigger and is not the kind of dog that would react well to loud, whirring blades just inches from her person. Henry is the calm one, however he's covered in warts that are in various stages of scabbing over, has large deposits of fat roaming under his skin and has teeth that are held in his mouth by only plaque and whatever pieces of dog shit he just ate. Between his mouth and whatever seems to be eating him from the inside, his odor ranges from somewhat unpleasant to horrific bordering on assault. He's not a dog that you'd want to have panting around you due to being clipped, nor is he one you'd want to have to, you know, touch and certainly not clip lest you gouge a wart or a fat deposit. What I'm saying here, is that attempting to groom these dogs on one's own is the very definition of "not going well."
Linda proceeds to tell me that she started shaving Maggie but the clippers weren't doing a very good job with Maggie's hair. Then the clippers started making a weird noise. Then the clippers started heating up to the point that they burned Linda's hands. Then they started making even weirder popping noises. Wisely, she chose to unplug them at this point. She said that she was going to switch over to the clippers that I use to cut my hair, and just buy me new clippers. Why clippers that are used to cut human hair, hair that isn't used as the organism's sole protection against the elements would be better than clippers used to cut dog hair is beyond me, however I've used my clippers on a number of occasions and never once have I lost use of my hands as a result.
An hour or so later I got another message:
"Maggie half done. I'll finish her later."
Later? Later when? This did not bode well for the lack of involvement on my part, something which had been promised up and down, backwards and forwards. At this point, I got up from my chair, went over to my teammates and said "I bet I'll be shaving my dog tonight". A word of caution. This is a statement that, when said without prior qualification, will be greeted with stares of quiet befuddlement mixed with a fear that you might become violent at any moment. Once I described the situation, my team was in agreement that I'd be spending my evening as a canine hairstylist.
When I got home, I was greeted by a dog that was, in fact half shaved. Her head, shoulders and top half of her was shaved, the bottom was not. It looked like she was wearing some sort of hair skirt. It was not pretty. There were also random tufts of hair in places where her hair kind of grew together at weird angles. In short, it looked like the work of someone who had watched a DVD and then attacked their dog with a set of molten hot clippers.
Abby was in a mood that night, and it was my night to put her to bed. Afterwards I heard the sounds of the tv mingled with clippers coming from our bedroom. Ben was sitting in our bed watching TV while Linda was shaving the dog in the bathroom. The amount of hair on the floor and on the ottoman that Maggie was standing on looked like someone sprinkled a litter of puppies around the bathroom. Maggie was pretty calm, I'm assuming from grim resignation. Linda wasn't faring any better than earlier. It was at this point that the good husband in me took over and I told her to give Ben a bath while I finished shaving the dog.
Surprisingly enough, I am a particularly adept dog groomer. The key is to go with the hair, cutting it to one length and then shaving it down to the length you want. It's still not perfect as I don't know how to trim around the paws. I did not watch the DVD. Maggie also has rows in her fur that look like she's a piece of farmland, a casualty of whatever guard we used on my clippers. When I was done, I vacuumed up the dog hair, cleaned said hair out of the vacuum and threw it out. It was a relatively unsettling sight as it looked like a rabbit died and we were trying to dispose of the body.
Henry I refused to touch for the reasons I mentioned before so Linda is on her own with him. At present he's half way finished as well. Apparently my clippers weren't very useful on him as they just kind of pushed the hair around rather than cut it. As a result, his head and body are shaved, but his legs aren't which makes it look like he's walking on the legs of a dog twice his size. It's all very unsettling. All weekend long he had a tuft of hair sticking up between his eyes and three long hairs coming out of his chin. Thankfully Linda trimmed those up as they were starting to freak me out.
Now the search is on for new clippers for the dogs. Most of the models we've seen cost around 100 bucks, but given that one trip to the groomer's costs that much, they'll probably be worth it. I'm assuming that for 100 bucks they'll actually cut hair and not singe your hands. I'm not sure which one of those is more important. Probably the latter as I can deal with long haired dogs but not with a wife with gnarled, blackened stumps for hands. We've already purchased new clippers for me, complete with a cape, something like 3 dozen guards and an apparatus for trimming my eyebrows. This last one is intriguing, yet scary at the same time.
The next day I told my team that I spent my evening shaving the dog. Again, the lack of a qualification before that statement caused them to look at me as if I could hurt them at any moment. This time I didn't explain as it's fun having them think I could snap at any moment. Maybe tomorrow I'll come in with some clipper hanging off my belt and really freak them out.