House guests can really get one's goat
Published: Friday, November 4th, 2005
We all know those pesky things — those things notorious for using all our hair conditioner, eating all our garlic-flavored Triscuits and leaving toenail clippings in the bathroom sink. Yes, the infamous house guest. Perhaps Mark Twain said it best: “Fish and house guests smell after three days.” My boyfriend and I are in the throngs of an unwanted house guest situation. No, we are not the house guests. Neither did Aunt Mabel drive in from Petosky nor Uncle Wilbur show up from Kalamazoo. We have a creepy little couple that didn’t even wait the allotted three days until they started to smell. One came in reeking of urine. That’s because he pees on his beard. Before I go on, perhaps I should clarify these guests are neither aunts nor uncles but pygmy goats. They seemed like a good idea when we requested them back in July, but now we are fully stocked with our two goats, two dogs and pet rat. We stopped wanting these pygmies sometime in August. We told the person we didn’t want them sometime in September. But alas, they arrived on our doorstep, appropriately delivered a day before Halloween. The nanny looks something like a scared rabbit mixed with a stunted mule. The billy goat looks like a gnome. Tolkien’s popularity aside, I’m starting to get nightmares. I knew a gnome like this once back in Brooklyn. He was a 3-foot iron statue at the entrance of Leif Ericson Park. What a Viking had to do with a big-nosed gnome remains beyond me. But the gnomish fellow was so hideous my friend and I pretended he was blessed just so we could keep going to the park. The blessed theory flew out the window when we found him one morning graffitied with light green nail polish depicting both male and female anatomy. The billy goat gnome needs no nail polish. He’s a full grown billy goat. Even one of our dogs is starting to puke. My boyfriend claims it’s because she indulged in cantaloupe strewn in the goat pen. I’m adamant it’s because the pygmies are so ugly. Not only are they sore on the eyes, but they’re mean. The same puking dog was cruelly butted in the shoulder by Mr. Gnome one morning while Mrs. Scared Rabbit has constant run-ins with Slim, our normal goat male. Well, Slim is not exactly normal — he’s a little kooky — but we’ve gotten used to him. He’s become a fine addition to our extended family. These pygmies just aren’t hacking it, although we’ve tried. We thought perhaps, given the proximity of their appearance to Halloween, that the costumes would come off, their attitudes would soften and they would transform into the cute little pygmies we envisioned. Alas, they’re still ugly. They’re still nasty. And they’re still here. Racking our brains for a solution — short of having a barbecue — I tried to recall house guests in the past and how we’ve gotten rid of them. My favorite option is always to just put on my pajamas and go to bed. But this has also led to waking up to a living room strewn with people sleeping in their clothes. Childhood house guests were just sent home, like the neighbor kid who wiped boogers in the carpet and then stuck those same fingers in my mother’s freshly baked cheesecake. But where on Earth do these pygmy goats come from? They look like they hatched out of eggs. At the very least, they have thus far refrained from using our hair conditioner — although a good dose could be warranted on Mr. Gnome’s stinky beard. But they surely have been making a dent in the garlic-flavored Triscuits. Maybe I should stop feeding them to them. Maybe that’s what’s making the dog puke. And maybe I should just get into my pjs and head on to bed.
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