Wednesday, January 2, 2013



My husband and I got rid of our kids the old fashioned way. We swaddled them, wiped them, smothered them, adored them, bossed them, and then firmly and finally kicked them out. They went. It was too late. We were addicted to the swaddling, wiping, smothering, adoring, and bossing. We were addicted to the caring.

The dog arrived just as the kids escaped. That dog, and the fur coat she came wrapped in, was proof positive that my husband and I had lost what little equilibrium we had left. Just as our home became clean, comfortable, and hypoallergenic, we filled it with a mammal that sheds the equivalent of six angora sweaters per lunar cycle. She’s hairy. We have adapted.

We buy lint rollers in case lots from a start-up company in Indonesia. We qualify for the large quantity discount and the company Christmas card. Our account rep’s name is Omja; it’s a name that means, “born of cosmic unity.”

Last night as my husband pointed out that we were closing in on our thirty plus year wedding anniversary I was distracted by a tumbleweed of dog hair drifting languidly through the air. Waving a lint roller like a road flare, I expertly whipped floating dog hair from the air.

“Hold still,” he said, and with a flick of a wrist, he ran a lint roller over the back of my Winnie the Pooh pajamas. I trembled and jumped a bit.

He said, “Sorry, I thought—you know—dog hair. There was dog hair on your . . . back parts.” He gave me a half grin and a shrug. I thought I saw dog hair drift onto his head.  

I nodded and rolled his head.

Climbing into bed, my husband lint-rolled his pillow and then mine, while I ran a lint roller across the part of the bedspread that catches our chin drool. In tandem, we ripped fur clogged sticky strips free from matching lint rollers, wadded them into clingy balls, and tossed the wads over our shoulders.

“Honey, have I told you that the last thirty plus years have been,” I said, pausing, as an errant dog hair floated by, “a thousand kinds of fun.”

He smiled his special smile, and ran a lint roller down the front of my Winnie the Pooh pajamas. I giggled. A dog hair stuck in my lip balm, making my lip itch.

I smiled my special smile.

Just as he leaned in to kiss me goodnight, our sixty-pound canine hair factory vaulted onto the bed and shook. Dog hair showered down like dandelion seeds in May. We lint rolled our own faces. Pushing in between us the dog flipped onto her back, burped a burped that smelled vaguely of plastic, shoved her four hairy legs skyward, and fell asleep in a puddle of her own fur.

“A thousand kinds of fun,” I repeated, quietly.

We tapped our lint rollers together. They stuck. We left them that way all night. Now that’s love born of cosmic unity.

Linda (Fur Ball) Zern

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