My sister has a sick little freak of a Dachshund with a latex fetish. The dog cannot stand the sight or even the smell of balloons. He gets all worked up into a frenzy and wants to maul the suckers.
I don’t know how this happened. And it’s one of those situations where you DON’T ask for fear you’ll learn a little too much about your Sister and Brother-In-Law and what exactly they might be doing with their free time. . .
I mean, we’ve all seen that show on Discovery Health about the people who find balloons um exciting. . .
Wait? You mean you have a life and you don’t watch TV shows about the bizarre sexual habits of complete strangers?
Never mind. I don’t even know why you are still reading this then. . .
Anyway, after my sister’s baby shower a few weekends ago, she kindly offered us some helium-filled balloons because her dog was going to go wacky berserk at the sight of them.
I’ve always liked balloons. Sure they taste like ass and they make a really loud noise when they break, but otherwise, I’ve always found them to be a kinda’ special treat. It’s not every day you get some balloons, right? Balloons are sort of like wine from a bottle or a clean bra: Celebratory.
Mac’s eyes light up at the sight of them so of course we agreed to take some balloons. This particular bunch contained one mylar balloon appropriately lettered with the words “Baby Shower” along with two bright green latex ones and they were all tied up neatly with bright green ribbon. . .that standard issue plastic-ky kind of ribbon that’s good for making curly cues with scissors.
We stole a bunch of candy out of the remaining party favors for the ride home, stuffed those suckers in our trunk and peeled out of there.
When we got home, we “released” the balloons on the main floor of the house. I was elated because the ribbons were long enough for me to reach easily but not long enough for Mac. He played with them for a bit before bed and that was that.
Of course when I came downstairs the next morning, the Latex balloons had deflated slightly dragging everything closer to the floor. I snipped the string so the Mylar balloon could float back to the ceiling and tossed the latex balloons – ribbons still attached – into the basement figuring I could deflate them later since I didn’t want to risk scaring a sleeping toddler by popping balloons.
Of course things got a little hectic and the balloons were still rolling around on the basement floor the following day. I mindlessly kicked them aside every time I made my way to the washer, the dryer, and the second booze fridge.
The following morning I came downstairs to find several massive piles of cat puke. This puke contained at least 2 feet of gnawed up bright green ribbon.
I furled my brow and mumbled something about animals instinctively knowing what they shouldn’t eat is bullshit while I cleaned up the puke.
Still, I stupidly left the green balloons on the basement floor.
Another day or two passed and my Husband asked if I knew what could be possibly causing Satan’s Lap Hound to be shitting chartreuse. Oops.
I finally stuck a pair of scissors in the latex balloons to deflate them, said a small prayer the dog didn’t have an $1800 intestinal blockage, and threw them in the trash where they will no doubt eventually create an unfortunate digestive disorder for some poor unsuspecting wildlife.
However, that lone mylar balloon was still going strong on the main floor of the house. And the kid was becoming nothing if not demented Dachshund-like in his pursuit of it.
He’d stand in the center of the room doing a high-pitched whine/scream pointing at it floating on the ceiling. I’d rush to his assistance placing the ribbon in his pudgy little fist and the split second I’d turn around, he’d release it, wailing as he watched it float to the ceiling again.
It was starting to dawn on me that there was nothing celebratory about balloons. They were nothing but a parent torture device probably engineered by evil troll-clowns for the sole purpose of causing parents to go positively INSANE.
Then one afternoon, Mac was happily seated in his high chair having a little pre-nap snack. As I stood there cutting apples into little matchsticks (that’s how he likes them these days and yes, I had pants on this time), I heard a blood curdling shriek.
I whip my head around just in time to see Chris attempting to tie the ribbon attached to the mylar balloon to one of the round wood pieces of Mac’s stacking toy. Mac is in a crouched position in his chair completely spastic, snack ruined, nap in jeopardy.
“What in the name of all that is HOLY are you doing?” I hiss at Chris in the most pleasant tone I can muster for Mac’s benefit (while brandishing a massive knife).
“What?” he asks all innocently, “I thought he’d be able to get it himself this way.”
GET IT HIMSELF?! A half-inflated plastic balloon with a ribbon attached to it that has caused the cats to barf and the dog to crap green. . .Yes. It makes perfect sense we’d want our 17 month-old to access something like THIS all by himself.
And this is a man whose job is based upon keeping other people safe from all sorts of environmental hazards.
Sometimes I wonder what this world is coming to?
I demand Chris detach the balloon from the block immediately.
Mac relaxes a little, sits back down, and resumes stuffing apple matchsticks in his face-hole.
I watch the balloon slip effortlessly towards the ceiling. . .
And I picture myself stabbing it and all of its kind violently with an ice-pick.