First and foremost, I'm terribly sorry that I mistakenly said Journey sang Livin' On a Prayer in Tuesday's blog post instead of Bon Jovi. I actually meant to reference Journey's Don't Stop Believin' in the first place, so my mistake all around. I went back and changed it, so please stop emailing me. Seriously. I mean, I love hearing from you guys, but I've never experienced such an influx of angry emails in all of my days of blogging. And it was because I mixed up my frat boy songs with -in' in it. Telling...
So, I'm dog-sitting Cella Hurst again for a total of 10 days and between me, you and the Pooper-Scooper—I'm shitting bricks. (BAHAHA! See what did there?!) Cella's the best; don't get me wrong. It's just that...well...how do I put this delicately? She's kind of got "one paw in the grave," if you know what I mean. She's part pit bull, part grim reaper, if you catch my drift. She's a fafillion fuckin' years old and is about to drop dead at any given second, if you're picking up what I'm putting down. Wiiiiink! Nuuuudge!
I started dog-sitting for Cella last summer and I'd be a whore and a liar if I said I wasn't worried that she'd up and die on me, even back then. I decided to keep my concerns to myself though because I didn't want to disrespect or upset Becky. I told myself that I was just being paranoid and pushed the idea of her dying on my watch out of my mind completely. But then Becca found out that I was going to be Cella-sitting for a 10 day period and blatantly sent me an email being like, "PSHHHH, that dog is going to die on you. You should probably be prepared for that now. Just sayin'." (And just to clarify, Becca is not the same person as Becky. I get that question a lot. There are two Rebecca's: Becca is my sister and Becky is our friend. Kind of like how there's Co-Blogger Chris and Tulane Chris. Except Tulane Chris is now the Co-Blogger and Co-Blogger Chris is now Ex Co-Blogger Chris, not to be confused with Ex Co-Blogger Eddie. That's easy enough, right? And people say this blog is confusing...)
Although Becca was just echoing my own fears, I made the executive decision not to listen to her and assume she was just fucking with me because quite frankly, if the roles were reversed I'd do the exact same thing to her. We're sisters, not saints. (Please tell me why I just wrote that, immediately realized it was the catchphrase for Kourtney & Khloé Take Miami and wanted to punch myself in the face.) (I'm in Miami, trick.)
...And then I got an email from Becky last week with a few last minute reminders about staying in her apartment. They were all pretty typical things you'd expect to hear from someone leaving their apartment to you before they're unreachable in Europe for a while, like who to call if I lock myself out, where to find the trash room, how to turn the AC on, the name and number of the building manager—oh, and an entire section on what to do in case Cella dies. And oh. my. squaw. I am freaking out.
I know this is absolutely nothing to complain about, but I haven't really had a lot of experience with death in my life, nevertheless dead bodies. (KNOCK ON ALL SORTS OF MOTHERFUCKING WOOD. IF I WAKE UP WITH A HORSE HEAD IN MY BED, I'M GONNA BE PISSED.) Sure I've had grandparents die, but one set was cremated and the other was Jewish so there was no reason to have a viewing. Plus I didn't even go to any of their funerals, so I feel like that separated me from the reality of death even more. (I'm not an asshole, I swear. My grandma Catherine died before I was born; my grandpa Bern's ashes are still kickin' it in a closet in my parent's house alongside the ashes of three dead cats and a poodle; I couldn't go to my grandpa Walter's funeral because it was in Long Island and I had school and I couldn't go to my grandma Betty's because, again, it was in Long Island and I was heinously sick with mono. I swear I'm not a terrible person. Well, I might be, but I certainly didn't skip all of those funerals out of choice.)
I've never even seen a dead pet's body. None of our cats died in the house; we had them all put to sleep in the end and Christ knows I wasn't emotionally strong enough to be there for that. (Actually, that's a lie. My cat Nellie died unexpectedly from Corona Disease—THE SILENT KITTY KILLER—and, ironically, it happened when we were on a family vacation and Rachel was taking care of her and my parent's house. I don't want to say "I always blamed her"...and yet, I just did. But I'm sorry, Rachel. I totally get it now. I get it.)
Come to think of it, I've never even seen a pet fish's dead body. I had a fish named Firecracker for an unprecedented six years and one day I came home from school (the first day of fifth grade, to be exact) and my dad was like, "HEY SPORT! [yes my dad is Marshall Darling in this flashback] Did you have a good day at school?" and I was all, "Yeah! I like really like my teacher and the class!" and he was like, "Well, at least you have that. Because your fish is dead. WAMP, WAMP!" I demanded to see Firecracker so I could take him out to the backyard and give him a proper burial, but my dad was like, "Ooooo...really? You're still into that scene? I kind of thought you had outgrown wanting to do that so I chucked him before I put the trash out." This plagues me to this day. Firecracker deserved better than that. He deserved better...
My point here is that I've never seen anything larger than a squirrel dead and I think I would completely lose my shit if I had to see or handle Cella's dead body. I mean, she's a grown-ass dog. She's large. Precious large. I can't imagine seeing something that large dead. It's just so fucking spooky to think about. I realize that this is probably unhealthy and I've honestly tried to take action to get over this. My dad frequently goes to Tennessee on business, so after I got fired and suddenly had a lot of free time on my hands, I proposed I go with him on his next trip and we swing by the UT Body Farm on our way home so I could see a dead body. I genuinely thought he was going to be all about this idea. If there's anything my dad loves more than me (and Becca) it's kooky adventures! Alas, he gave me a courtesy laugh and walked away. When I pressed the point, he flat-out said no and walked away again. I'm still reeling from the disappointment.
I tried again when I stayed with Eileen for my mini-cation in NYC a few weeks ago and it also failed spectacularly. Eileen is a nurse at New York Presbyterian Hospital and lives next door in the residences, so when we woke up Saturday morning and she asked what I wanted to do, I immediately answered: "MORGUE! LET'S GO NEXT DOOR TO THE MORGUE SO I CAN SEE A DEAD BODY I WANT TO SEE A DEAD BODY SO LET'S DO IT! MORGUE!" Eileen calmly tried to explain to me that you can't just go to the morgue to see a dead body, but I (rightfully) called shenanigans. She's a nurse; of course she can go to the morgue anytime she wants. She then refined her argument to I can't just go to the morgue to see a dead body because I'm not a nurse. Dedicated to the morbid cause and up for the challenge, I concocted a wacky Saved By The Bell-style scheme where I borrow a pair of her scrubs, put on a surgical mask, clip my SmartTrip to my shirt to serve as a makeshift hospital ID and follow her lead, but she seemed oddly pre-occupied with not wanting to loser her job. Pshh. Pussy. Losing your job is not the end of the world. You just get a retail job and babysit half-dead dogs all day, duh. Grow a pair.
So now I'm stuck here with the ticking time bomb that is poor little Cella until next Wednesday and every day that she doesn't die is a bigger surprise than the last. What freaks me out more than the thought of being in the same room as something dead is the conundrum of what I'm actually supposed to do with her body. Becky left me instructions in case of the worst, yes, but all she specified was what to throw out, what to keep and that what I do with the body is up to me; I can bury it, cremate it, give it to science—whatevs. While I love Cella dearly, I barely had enough money to cover the 5-dollar footlong I had for lunch, nevertheless cremation charges. This leaves burial, of course, but where the fuck am I supposed to bury a dog in Washington, D.C.? The idea of me scampering around the greater Dupont area lugging a dead pit-lab and a shovel behind me looking for a peaceful grassy knoll is slightly absurd, so I decided that GOD FORBID the worst happen, I need a game plan. And I think I've concocted one that's pretty damn air-tight.
It's a 4-man job and I think each party involved is about 52% on board with it. Considering that's over half, I think we're off to a good start. I like those figures.
Step 1 is Cella dying. And again, I honestly stress GOD FORBID. She's a sweet baby angel and it would break Becky's heart, so I seriously hope it doesn't happen. But let's just say that it does, Step 2 is to call Ex Co-Blogger Chris and ask him to come over. I really see myself in more of a directorial role throughout this entire process, so Step 3 is to direct Chris to physically pick Cella up and wrap her body in something—in my mind it's an oriental rug because if I'm being honest, I find that visual highly comical, but in reality it would probably be a blanket. Step 4 is to call Alex and ask him to drive his SUV over. Step 5 is to direct Chris and Alex to pick Cella up and put her in the back of Alex's car. Step 6 is drive to the hardware store in Eastern Market and purchase a sturdy shovel. Step 7 is to drive over to the house of the only person I know in the city who has a backyard—Helena. Step 8 is to knock on Helena's door and motion towards the oriental rug and/or blanket. Step 9 is for Helena to open the door and direct us to the backyard, before making a nice pitcher of ice-cold lemonade. I had originally planned for Step 10 to be a round-robin rock/paper/scissor tournament to see who has to dig the grave, but upon hearing Step 9, Chris said he'd, quote, "do anything for free lemonade," so Step 10 is for Chris to dig a ditch deep enough so Cella won't resurface when it rains, while the rest of us sip lemonade and watch his muscles glisten and gleam in the sun. Step 11 is to direct Chris and Alex to gently lower Cella into the grave. Step 12 is to direct Chris to pile the dirt on, bless Cella's heart. Step 13 is for us to go around in a circle and say a few kind words about the life and times of Cella Hurst before I play Danny Boy on the fife I got sophomore year when I went to Colonial Williamsburg with my parents for Fall Break while the sun sets. Step 14? Heal.
I feel slightly better knowing that I have such a well-thought-out and foolproof plan, but I'm still anxious. But, only 7 more days to go...7 more days.
Stay strong, little friend!