A few days before Christmas 2004, my boyfriend of two years took me to a Christmas lights display. It’s no secret that I’m like a toddler in an empty refrigerator box when it comes to Christmas, so the venue was perfection. The icing on the cake was that a portion of the entrance fee went to local animal shelters. Since I prefer dogs to most of the people I know, it was a clutch move on my man’s part.
Everything was storybook beautiful. Shimmering lights reflecting off a fresh blanket of snow like thousands of tiny mirrors. Families bundled in their hats and scarves, huddling together for warmth or for just because. My nose, dripping just enough to necessitate several not-so-subtle snorts so that I looked like Donald Trump during the Presidential debates. Only I have better hair.
Romance at its finest.
After some time of walking around, gloved hand in gloved hand, gnawing on peanut butter fudge, I confided that, despite my layers of clothing, I was uncomfortably cold and recommended we head home where the beer was. It was then that my Mister announced he had to use the bathroom. Of course he did. When I suggested I wait in the car, he got all panicky. The chill was seeping into my bones, no doubt cutting off oxygen to my brain, but sure, honey, you go ahead and drop a deuce while I die a slow death à la Jack Nicholson in The Shining. I reluctantly agreed to hang by the fire where parents were repeatedly shrieking, “Get any closer and you’ll fall in!” to their children.
The romance just kept building.
By the time my boyfriend returned, sixteen hours later, the falling temperatures had turned me into one frozen bitch.
WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?!
Uh…there was a line.
That was some line! Are they giving away BJs in there?!! (always classy)
Wanna do one more lap before we leave?
So, we left.
Back in the warm car, my heart begins to thaw and I notice the poor, dejected man’s eyes. They seem to be saying, “I’m trying. Go easy on me.”
He confessed: I didn’t go to the bathroom. I actually went to the gift shop. That’s what took me so long.
The panicky look was back on his face. He handed me a small white bag with silky ribbon handles. It looked a little too extravagant for a gift shop, but it didn’t register. Not until I opened the box inside it, saw the gorgeous ring shimmering like the lights on the snow, and yelled real lady-like, THE GIFT SHOP DOESN’T SELL DIAMOND RINGS!! did it register that the man was pledging his undying love to me, and I was basically ruining it.
He pulled over, looked me in the face, and said: I was hoping you would want to be my wife?
Again yelling, I responded with something academic like hells yeah I do!! and then we went home to make a new memory.
Not that kind of memory; the kind where our dog eats my Grandma’s gift, a jumbo-sized Hershey’s Chocolate Bar, and would be dead before Christmas Day unless we pumped her stomach.
Oh yes. We walked in the house to find our dog had eaten through the wrapping paper and bow, and inhaled the milk-chocolatey goodness, also known as poison for dogs. Naturally, I freaked the freak out. My fiancé (squee!! I had a fiancé!) and I stood on the back porch in the frigid night air while our mutt ran around the back yard like Lil’ Wayne on crack. During a small snippet of downtime, the man to whom I would eventually say “I do” thought to attempt gagging our dog with a plastic picnic spoon in hopes of regurgitating the chocolate. In a sudden yet somewhat expected turn of events, the spoon broke and the dog made it her new, jagged chew toy. I freaked out some more.
At approximately 11:30pm, fresh out of gagging ideas, I called our vet on his emergency line, rambling about chocolate–SO MUCH CHOCOLATE–and pointy plastic. A lovely man, our vet, but not so well versed in his English pronunciations of certain words, he was quite difficult to understand over the phone. What I surmised from our conversation, after repeating his every word at volume 100 because that’s how language barriers are broken, was the following:
Hydrogen peroxide…induce vomiting…dog could die…
Okay, got it. At least we were on the right track with the gagging. Force-feeding a mutt hydrogen peroxide would be so much easier, said no one ever. But we had no choice or, on the very night we should’ve been celebrating our engagement, we’d have to bury our dog.
One of the more important details that I did not secure from our vet was the amount of hydrogen peroxide required to make a 60-pound Labrador/Shepherd mix upchuck. Wanting to be thorough, we wrestled her into a scissor hold, pried open her mouth and dumped half a friggin’ bottle of the stuff down her throat.
Then it worked some more.
And then some more.
It continued working through Christmas morning.
<Cue angels and bells and bleach>
My new fiancé and I spent the evening we got engaged acting like the parents we would become 5 years later: keeping watch over our baby, aiming her vomit away from the carpet. Our story isn’t perfect, it doesn’t smell all that great, but it’s ours. I like to think that’s a metaphor for our marriage: hilariously imperfect and a little stinky. Also, love.
Make memories of your own at Overly’s Country Christmas (without the barf); each of your visits benefits a local child or animal in need!