13 October 2008

Ode de Skunk

For the second time in the middle of the night I got up to let the Disreputable Dog (DDog) out because his tummy was bothering him and he needed to throw up. He's very civilized about these things and will determinedly keep after you until you get up and let him outside for he does not like mussing up his house. I stumbled to the door and then back in to bed, meaning to lie there just a few minutes for warmth and then to let him back in, but I must have fallen into a deeper sleep. Goodness knows I was tired having down 5 ten hour shifts on my feet at the bookstore in a row. A few hours later I was awoken by an acrid smell. I worried immediately that there was an electrical fire, goodness knows they wouldn't be tarring the streets at this hour of the night. So I crept from room to room trying to locate the source of the smell to no avail hardly noticing in my half awake sleep that the open window was not helping. At some point in my search I noticed the Disreputable Cat (DCat) lying in front of the door starring out in the darkness and remembered that the DDog was still out there. The cat always waits by the door for her dog. I let him in and went back to sleep, trying for the life of me to ignore the smell, the comforter pulled up over my head and telling myself that if it was a fire surely the smoke alarm would have rung.

The next morning I awoke very groggily having had relatively little sleep and, encountering my dad who was returning from walking the dogs, asked him if he knew the source of the smell. "Skunk" was his reply along with "don't bother to take a shower yet because you'll have to take your dog". It turns out that while I had forgotten the poor DDog outside he had met up with his first ever skunk, no there are no skunks in Alaska, and while he was probably going up to say hello to what he thought was a cat it sprayed him, right under my bedroom window. Since I haven't been around skunks for awhile myself and since I smelled it before I let him in my half slumbering brain did not make the connection. The front of his ruff and chest were yellow with skunk spray and he had come in and laid down on my bedroom carpet and tried to rub the offensive odor off. My mother, whose 60th birthday had been the day before, shouted at me "Happy birthday!" and I broke into peels of laughter. There was simply nothing else left to do.

Having done that I went about collecting the ingredients to chemically neutralize skunk spray. A former organic chemistry professor of mine (Dr William Wood) had analyzed the various chemical components of skunk spray and then continued on to figure out what denatured it. Of course I only had half the ingredients necessary but they would have to do. So the DDog and I stepped into the shower and I lathered him with my special mixture and waited five minutes before rinsing it out and shampooing him at which point he was banned to the sunny deck to dry out. After showering myself and removing the bedsheets and the rugs and bleaching down the tiled entry way I made a run to the store for more ingredients. Between spraying my carpet and room down with the Anti-spray solution (which is really meant to be rinsed out) and alternately flinging all the windows open and running a fan and closing them all up and turning up the heat (to vaporize it) we managed to decrease the smell immensely. Today, I will steam clean the carpet and hopefully that will remove any other residue although to be honest with you I've reached olfactory exhaustion so I'm not sure I can tell if it smells or not any more. I'll have to recruit some independent noses for a test.

Anti-Skunk Spray Recipe (Note: It may bleach things a bit!!)
by Dr William Wood
2 bottles of hydrogen peroxide (16 fl oz.)
1/2 cup baking soda
1 tsp. liquid detergent
Mix it all up and use immediately. Do not store!

06 October 2008

Still searching

Photo from a river trip, Alaska 2004

Cross your fingers for me...I'm all excited about a position or two that have opened up that seem like they could be just what I'm looking for. I'm trying not to get my hopes up but it's hard not to sometimes. I know that eventually my persistence will pay off even though it's often hard when you can't see the next step in front of you.

04 October 2008

First Snow

It's here - the first snows above 8,000ft in elevation. We even had storm warnings this weekend. I hear from my friends in Fairbanks that there is already enough snow on the ski trails to make them usable.

03 October 2008

VP Debate

I just have to say this...that accent she's got? I never heard that accent from her as governor before.

01 October 2008

Happy October

This young of the year cow was practically posing for me - I had stopped to look because some people with New Jersey plates had told me there was a moose up ahead. Moose are rare in Colorado but can be found. I rather think though that the tourists mistook the longhorns that were in the pasture for the moose as there was none in sight.