Perdita’s Tragic Ordeal

porch 1
Look at my fabulous porch. I took the listing pictures – they are just ever so slightly overprocessed bwah ha ha but hey it is the fashion nowadays and anyway I must admit my porch has never looked so. . . dramatic before.

Things are moving right along! It turns out that if you have an overarching goal and you do a few things towards it every day, suddenly you will wake up one morning and discover that not only is your house for sale, you are moving across the country in TWO WEEKS. Who knew?!

I’m completely terrified. That must mean that this is the right choice.

Meanwhile, the house is ON THE MARKET for a large sum of money (the odd thing about the gentrification of Asheville is that my house suddenly doubled in value just as I decided I had to get the hell out of here because of the gentrification, so, uh, I stand to do okay on this transaction, whoa) and it’s being shown. I have mostly emptied it – I had a yard sale, which netted me $84 and I took everything that didn’t sell to the Habitat for Humanity store. I have made many, many trips to the Habitat store now and there are a couple more in my immediate future. Want an ice cream maker? Several cake pans? And a dog bowl? A cedar chest? A solid – very solid, like so damn solid you can’t lift it – mid century chest of drawers? They’ll be at habitat or possibly goodwill quite soon.

The stuff that hasn’t been removed has been cleaned and is ready to move. My friend Adam spent almost half the summer here painting and cleaning and tweaking things until they looked amazing. My soon to be ex laundry room is a glory to behold. And there are boxes everywhere and everything is cleaner than it has ever been. It’s awful and I can’t wait to get out of here. Soon, soon, in yet another staggeringly terrible financial decision (credit cards, baby, it’s the American way!) I will succeed: I’ll be on my way to Astoria even though the house will still be on the market. Leap of faith!

In the meantime, I have to leave the house (immaculate, which is harshing my mellow, man) every day so that strangers can walk around in it and leave me helpful  feedback like “it’s too close to the road.” Not only do I have to leave, django perdita reflectionsso do the dogs. I don’t know if I went into it here, but my dog Django was diagnosed with cancer about 8 weeks ago. He has a huge tumor on his ass – well, sort of where his leg meets his ass. It’s an unfortunate placement for several reasons, one of which is that he looks like he has elephantiasis of the balls. The other, more serious reason the placement is so bad is that it’s attacking his back leg muscles and it’s about impossible to operate on without amputation. They quoted me $5000 just for the operation. Well. Django is 12 years old and I don’t really have $5000 and so, I said, okay, we will just let nature take its course.

I was very sad and Django was very happy to get all the extra treats and love and so on. I thought oh god, I will be making this trip with one dog. I thought, oh god, what if he dies while we’re on the road and I have to deal with an 80 pound dog corpse in a state park somewhere? Immediately I got this vision of myself trying to haul a dead dog around a campground. Better bring a shovel, I thought. I am nothing if not practically minded.

Since then two months have gone by, weeks in which I kept expecting things to deteriorate. For once in my life, they haven’t. Django is . . fine? He’s exactly the same dog he ever was, except his already overweight self has gained a few pounds from the extra treats and, of course, he has a giant tumor on his ass. I call him cancer dog now and I am very grateful that he’s doing so mysteriously well. The only problem is that he can’t really get in and out of Moby the truck; it’s just too high and his leg gives out. Therefore, I bought a dog ramp. This works, sorta, but it’s heavy and clumsy and takes up a lot of space. And let me tell you, unfolding a ramp while you’re holding back two big dogs who want to jump into the truck and go to the park RIGHT NOW cancer be damned, is a GIANT PAIN IN THE ASS. Making sure that you’re parked somewhere you can unfold ten feet of ramp is a GIANT PAIN IN THE ASS. Steering a dog up the ramp because they can’t seem to quite get the all four feet on the ramp thing down is, you guessed it, a GIANT PAIN IN THE ASS. But we are doing it, daily, and heading mostly over to Hominy Creek Park, where it’s not usually too busy, there is lots of parking, shade and a canoe rental place that sells beer out of a repurposed shipping container.


This afternoon when we were getting into the truck to head out for the park, Perdita fell off the ramp. “My front leg is broken!” she yelped. “Broken!” And she cried and held it up and cried some more. Oh gods, I thought, oh gods no, please, not now, we went to the vet yesterday, I don’t have any more money for this.
“Can you get in the truck?” I asked.
“No, not possible, too much pain, can’t use leg. . unless. . Unless I can drive,” she said, neatly hopping into the drivers seat and curling up into a ball.
“You can’t drive,” I said, “You are a dog.” and I moved her oh so gently into the passenger seat which she endured nobly with only a few tiny whimpers.  But somehow being in the forbidden front seat perked her up most wonderfully.
“Well,” I said, “the park is on the way to the vet. So we will go to the park and see how your leg is holding up.”
“Broken,” she said, “So broken,” and held it up in the air as she stuck her nose out the window and watched the traffic, deeply enjoying riding shotgun.

It’s about a ten minute drive to the park and she forgot to hold her leg up a couple of times, so I began to relax. I also remembered a certain time when we did go to the vet because her tail was BROKEN and it HURT SO BAD and actually it was fine, a slight strain perhaps? said the vet doubtfully, charging me a small king’s ransom for the honor.

When we got to the park, I took Django out first. “OK” I said to Perdita, “Can you get out of the truck? Can we go for a walk?” Oh yes. Yes we could. It was the miracle recovery to end all miracle recoveries and I am pleased to say that Perditas leg is completely fine and not broken at all. So after our walk we went over to the French Broad Outfitters bar, conveniently located basically in Hominy Creek Park and I bought the dogs a bottled water and myself a beer and we drank it sitting at a picnic table overlooking the river and it was good.

And in about five weeks, give or take a few days, the river we will be overlooking will be the COLUMBIA and not the French Broad. Amelia and Moby and Django and Perdita and Okra the cat and my daughter Audrey and I are all hitting the road! There will be blog posts to come, because while the hermitage will not be so hermity, the mobile will be mobile again!


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