I just got home this afternoon from a business trip to Pittsburgh. My previous experience with Pittsburgh had been driving around its outskirts, well outside of the view of the city on our way home to The Motherland for Christmas. It was mainly just a point on the map, with the notable distinction of once being a beacon of light for a night when Mother Nature was wildly hormonal. I am so glad I really got to experience it this time. I feel like I met everyone in the city and felt so welcomed—from the great crowd at Pittsburgh’s Pride Fest, to the phenomenal staff at the gorgeous Priory Hotel (seriously, go there!), to the kindhearted concierge at the Convention Center, to a dad and son team on their way to the Pirates game on Sunday that would melt your heart, to the kind neighbor I bumped into while taking pictures of Pittsburgh’s gorgeous skyline. And the food! And the beer! And have you ever seen Pitt’s campus? Mind-bogglingly gorgeous! Pittsburgh, I’ve got one mean crush on you. It’s an East Coast town with a Midwestern soul—one of my very favorite combinations. I can’t wait to go back.
It took a bit for me to get back from BWI, which was slightly surprising but not entirely unexpected—DC is a spectacular place to visit but a difficult place to live. It took me three hours, two buses, and three trains to do the 40 miles between Baltimore to the Alice Palace, and I tweaked my trick back while carrying my heavy suitcase up and down bus and Metro steps. Still, Pittsburgh was great enough that I was feeling pretty good when I got home. And I was greeted at the door by my favorite little furry face.
And then the smell hit me. When you’re gone, your house always seems to smell differently than you remember when you get home. I figured that the house would smell like Eau de Chien et Homme when I got back, but this did not smell good at all. Like…
Alice is not the best with change. She doesn’t like it when either The Human Male or I leave town (or even the house, for that matter). She pouts and stares out the windows, and sometimes she won’t “do her business” for a couple of days. But ooh, boy, did she do it today! Definitely not what I wanted to deal with upon walking in the door. I started cleaning up the mess immediately and threw the filthy paper towels into the toilet.
After three years of living here, I learned something new about the Alice Palace plumbing today: our toilet doesn’t do paper towels. In the span of five minutes from walking in the door, I managed to royally flood the bathroom, too.
Okay, so this wasn’t the homecoming I imagined. I expected Alice to be super excited to see me, do her little parade, then we’d go to the Dog Park. Afterwards, we’d sit on the patio with a book and some wine. Not quite. I immediately put Alice in her crate so she wouldn’t drag her toys through her mess, and once I got the inch of water toweled up from the bathroom floor, I went to the fridge, grabbed a beer, and laughed through cleaning the carpeting. Even when I accidentally dropped the carpet cleaner’s container of dirty water and had to plunge the hairball out of the tub drain, I was still smiling.
Life is far from perfect. I spend a lot of time wondering if all the hectic-ness of my life has to do with choices that I've made, or if adulthood just totally blows (in which case, Mamala and Popsy, can I come home?). But I feel like when the chaos involves a dog, a lot of the foul, stupid, aggravating things that could bother you just become comical. It’s easier to deal with the merde—sometimes literally—when it comes in a cute package.