What I'm saying is that I asked my dad to take care of my pets while I was on vacation.
I should have known better. Do you remember that one time I went on vacation, and when I came home he informed me that he was kicked out by the relative he was staying with at the time and he had all his shit at my house and expected me to let him live there for a while? Yeah. I definitely should have known better.
Anyway. So my dad's current ... let's call it vocation ... is driving a taxi in tourist trap/Jersey Shore locale, Seaside Heights. He works overnights because that is when all the drunks want to be carted around, obviously. I didn't anticipate this being an issue. He told me he would come over in the morning and walk my dog and feed both of my pets when he got out of work. His taxi job is a solid hour and 15 minutes from where I live, but he always makes a show of how much he loves driving, so again, I figured it would be fine.
Cut to a couple of days into vacation. I had called him once or twice to check in, and he told me everything was fine. On this day though, he called me. We had the following conversation (and yes, in case you were wondering, pretty much everything I said, I was shouting at him, hence the all caps):
Dad: Hi Jaclyn. You really need to let your friend know not to lock your cat in the bedroom.
Me: What are you talking about?
Dad: Well, whoever else is coming here must have locked her in the bedroom and she pissed all over your bed (PISSED ALL OVER YOUR BED???????????????? FUCKING REALLY DUDE. THIS IS NOT SOMETHING YOU BRING UP CASUALLY AND WITHOUT A DROP OF GUILT).
Me: THE CAT PISSED "ALL OVER" MY BED? ARE YOU KIDDING ME????
Dad: Well I guess whoever was in here locked her in there.
Me: YOU WERE THE ONLY ONE THERE- NO ONE ELSE IS GOING TO MY HOUSE!
Dad: Oh, really? I figured you had Nadine or someone else coming too.
Dad: Oh. Well, someone else was definitely in the house, Jaclyn. It wasn't me. The bedroom door was open when I left. Someone must have broken in. Did you leave your windows unlocked?
Me: SOMEONE BROKE IN, NOT TO STEAL ANYTHING, BUT TO LOCK MY CAT IN THE BEDROOM? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?
Dad: I don't know. It had to be someone else though. Maybe it was the landlord. Maybe Joey was barking and he came in to check on him.
Me: NO ONE ELSE WAS IN MY HOUSE.
Dad: Well, Joey got out of the kitchen- he was walking around the house when I got there. Maybe he pushed the door closed. You know how he does that sometimes (bold-faced lie. I can't tell you of a single time when my dog pushed a fucking door closed. NOT A SINGLE TIME).
Me: JOEY DIDN'T LOCK THE CAT IN THE BEDROOM EITHER! MY MATTRESS IS LIKE 6 MONTHS OLD AND NOW I HAVE TO THROW IT OUT- CAT PEE STINK NEVER GOES AWAY!
Dad: Oh don't worry, it's fine. I cleaned it, and I'm going to wash your sheets and your mattress cover.
Me: Cleaned it with what (this was a legitimate concern, because his idea of "washing" anything means soaking it in bleach. Even his feet. I wish I were kidding)???
Dad: Oh, I took some rubbing alcohol and wiped it on the stain.
Me: REALLY? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? RUBBING ALCOHOL? MY ENTIRE BEDROOM IS GOING TO SMELL LIKE CAT PISS AND RUBBING ALCOHOL! WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU USE FUCKING RUBBING ALCOHOL?
Dad: Well, I figured you didn't want me to use bleach.
Me: MY MATTRESS IS RUINED, ISN'T IT?
Dad: It's fine!
I got off the phone with him and ranted to everyone for 10 minutes about what an incompetent douche bag he is. Everyone agreed, naturally. After that, I tried to put it out of my mind and enjoy the rest of vacation, but in the back of my head, I was constantly wondering what the hell I would be going home to. This was especially true a couple of days later, when April called him to ask about HER cat and HER house (because he agreed to catsit for her as well) and he informed her, completely ignoring her questions about her own home/pet, that my house was "a disaster" and that my dog had gotten out again and broken something. I was not exactly looking forward to going home after that:
The first thing I noticed when I walked in my door was actually the LACK of mess. My dad is a known slob and he doesn't usually have the courtesy, even in someone else's home, to not throw his clothes and garbage everywhere, so the fact that things looked relatively uncluttered surprised me. He must have realized how pissed I was about the mattress. Ah, the mattress. I needed to assess the damage and decide if I was sleeping on the couch tonight and how much I could afford to spend on a new one.
Again, I was shocked. "Pissed all over your mattress" is pretty definitive, I would say, to indicate that something has been ruined beyond repair, but surprisingly my mattress looked (and smelled!) fine. There was a small yellowish stain that smelled a little like the rubbing alcohol he used to clean it, but it looked like the mattress pad kept the pee from soaking through to the actual mattress surface. So far, so good.
The relief I felt knowing I wouldn't have to throw my mattress away disintegrated immediately when I walked into my kitchen and realized that, just 3 weeks after moving in, I could say for sure that I wouldn't be getting my security deposit back when I move out:
Me: Dad, what are those dark spots on the floor?
Dad: Oh, that's where Joey peed.
Me: I thought you said he didn't pee in the house. And why does it look like it seeped completely under the (very expensive looking) tiles? How long did you leave it there before you cleaned it up?
Dad: Oh, that was my fault. He peed on the floor twice, but those were the days I didn't get back here for like 20 hours or something like that.
Me: 20 HOURS? WHY DIDN'T YOU COME BACK FOR 20 HOURS?
Dad: Well I ran late at work.
Me: 20 consecutive hours late? Why didn't you tell me if you thought you couldn't do it every day?
Dad: I'm not saying I couldn't do it- I didn't mind- I just couldn't get here for a while!
Me: I could have sent someone else to at least take him out that day! That pee is under the tile and I'll never get it out. I'm going to lose my security!
Dad: Oh, come on. Your landlord isn't going to notice that!
Me: I noticed it the SECOND I walked in here!
Dad: I wouldn't worry about.
Me: Of course you wouldn't.
At this point, I asked about his "disaster" comment and he told me that the dog had knocked over Caitlyn's toy shopping cart and that the removable front piece came off. He realized after telling April that my shit was broken that it was actually completely fixable. It's sort of ironic. The two things he focused on- the mattress and a broken fucking shopping cart toy- were the very least of my worries.
Most of the destruction he caused was dog-related, but not in the way you might think. It wasn't the dog destroying things so much as it was him not paying a single second's worth of attention to the detailed instructions I gave him before leaving. For example:
- Joey had not been groomed in a while. He smelled pretty funky and his hair was too long with a few small knots that needed to be cut out. What can I say? I've been busy. Before I left, my dad insisted he was going to give Joey a bath. I told him that I appreciated that, but because Joey had some spots on him that were matted, I'd prefer he didn't. You see, I explained, when those spots get wet, then dry again, they tighten up and cause him pain, like his hair is being pulled, so I'd prefer to wait until I was able to give him a haircut before giving him a bath. "I'll give him a haircut!", my father insisted. Since I groom Joey at home, I directed him to the grooming kit I own and told him that he was more than welcome to give him a haircut if he had the time, knowing full well that he would absolutely not bother and hopefully just leave my poor dog alone. Of course, when I got home, he had given Joey a bath and no haircut. Which led to the next 5 problems on this list:
- Since I just moved, I had emailed my landlord a few days before vacation to let him know about a couple of small issues I was having, one of which was that my bathtub was clogged up, and also to let him know that my father would be at my house while I was away (it's a condo complex, and I don't know how nosy the neighbors are yet, so I wanted to let him know just in case anyone asked him who the old, homeless-looking dude was). He couldn't send someone to fix my tub until Sunday, the day after I left for vacation, which was fine, because my dad would be there to let them in. I spoke to my dad on Sunday evening, and he confirmed that all was well and that my bathtub was unclogged. Then he promptly gave my ungroomed, hairy dog a bath in there. He didn't even bother to wipe the dog hair out of the tub, despite claiming that he cleaned everything with bleach the day I got home (he made a point of telling me this because he wanted to prove that all my complaints about the overwhelming bleach smell I hate are exaggerated and that I wouldn't have even noticed if he hadn't pointed it out). My tub is now clogged again.
- I purchased a cute frog-shaped bath mat for my new house. It was only a few days old when I left. When I came home it was filthy and caked with soap and dog hair to the point of nearly gluing one of the frog's eyes shut.
- One of the first things I did after being home for a little while was get in the shower (to use my freshly reclogged bathtub!) and clear the road skank off of me. While in there, I noticed that half my bottle of body wash was gone. This was a brand new bottle. I believe I bought it on the same trip to Walmart as the bath mat. Anyone who uses body wash knows that a bottle usually lasts a couple of months, so I had to ask why so much was gone. Well, isn't it obvious? He used it to wash the dog (which also explains what was caked onto my bath mat)! Why would he use so much, you might wonder? Well, he was leaning over the bathtub and he couldn't really reach, so he just poured it onto him! Which leads us to...
- When I finally did get around to giving Joey a haircut last night, I found that, while the fur I was cutting off was certainly soft from the half gallon of body wash used to clean it, the stuff closer to his skin was matted to hell and covered in dandruff. Or maybe it was just dried up body wash. I also found a couple of scabs where he had clearly chewed his skin raw, probably because he had a reaction to the body wash, or, at best the fact that the body wash was not properly rinsed off of him. Oh, and the fur around his nails was pink, also seemingly blood-stained from him chewing them raw with itch. I also feel it's important to mention that I had not ONE but TWO full bottles of dog shampoo in my bathroom. One was in the medicine cabinet and the other was under the sink. But, I mean, who would look in literally the only two places I could store something in my bathroom for dog shampoo when there was a full bottle of body wash at his disposal! Vanilla and honey scented bloody paws are awesome!
- Another fun note from Joey's grooming last night- his dick was caked in piss. This has literally never happened before. I mean, I've certainly seem the remnants of drippage and the ends of his fur in that area, but I can't imagine a reason that the entire area was caked in a sticky, piss film. I have to assume leftover, unrinsed body wash was to blame because there is literally no other explanation. My POOR DOG!
- After the cat piss incident, he promised to wash my sheets and mattress cover. Which he did, but cat piss is a hard stench to get rid of, so my first thought was to smell the sheets, which he had left at the foot of my bed. "Don't worry", he assured me, "I put like 5 times more detergent than I was supposed to. The smell is gone". He was mostly right. The piss smell was gone. I can't say the same for the chemically Gain smell that I'm pretty sure I'll never get out (I really don't like chemically smells. I get unscented things whenever I can). And that is when I thought about it. I don't own scented detergent. Which wouldn't be that big a deal except for all the warnings and signs posted in the laundry room about the fact that the washers are high efficiency washers and using detergent that isn't labelled as such, along with using too much of any detergent, can break them. There are literally at least half a dozen signs specifying what kinds of detergent are safe to use, and noting that you shouldn't use more than 1/4 cup of even those high-efficiency detergents. So. Instead of using a reasonable amount of the HE detergent that I had, and maybe running it through the washer twice, he went out of his way to buy a scented detergent that wasn't safe for the machines in my laundry room and use it at 5 times the normal amount needed for a regular washing machine. He saw and ignored the signs, despite the fact that he must have realized that I would be responsible if he broke one of these expensive machines. Of course I asked him why he wouldn't just use the detergent I had, and again, he didn't see it (just like the dog shampoo). He saw the signs, he said, he just didn't bother to read them. Why would he? It's not like he's responsible for anything.
So. If you are thinking I should be more grateful, no matter how much of a bumbling idiot he is, that he was trying to help, maybe you need to read through this again. In fact, check here and here and here and here and here again too. I think I've learning my lesson this time. Nadine, you are officially on notice for dog sitting next time.