Grit Blogs > Domestic Episodes of a Rodeo Princess

Feather Comforter Versus the Dogs: Wet Feathers

A photo of Shirley Rodeo VanScoykWhat was I thinking?

I gave our two dogs an old feather comforter to lie on in the basement. One day, they ripped it to shreds. Of course. Clouds of feathers drifted into the corners, stuck to the windows, the water heater and the dehumidifier. As episodes go, this one was at least fluffy and sort of funny, but I was in my January hibernation mode and thought I would postpone sucking them up with the vacuum until I had nothing else to do. In this kind of mood, I would postpone breathing until a more convenient time.

On a day that was unseasonably warm and sunny, I crawled out of my cave, scratched my back on a tree and decided now was the time. C was nagging at me to get it done, and it might even be fun!

A trickle of water snaked out from under the outside basement door toward my feet the minute I opened it. It was dragging a feather. And another. And another. I stared while the feathers pooled around my feet. I tried to push the door open but I could only budge it a couple of inches. It was like there was something behind it. Through the window I saw that something. Feathers. Wet feathers.

The floor was covered with pools of water and pools of feathers. A breeze from the open door blew some of the dry ones onto the wet ones. They became wet ones, loosing their fluffy white purity to become menacing and grey.

I had to wade through piles and piles of dirty wet feathers and gallons of muddy water to get to the shop vac. It was parked next to the laundry tub, which was overflowing. This tub collects water from the washer on the third floor of the house and directs it out into the back yard and occasionally clogs up with lint. Once I found a drowned rat head down in the drain. Another story for another day. Today there was no rat, just the dread of finding one.

Just from wading across the floor I was looking tarred and feathered. Each time I moved, drifts of feathers stirred and, lemming like, jumped to join their buddies in the puddles. Too late, just as I plugged in the vac, I realized I was standing in a puddle – waiting to be fried like Wiley Coyote.

I directed the nozzle at the biggest lump of wet feathers and it sucked for about thirty seconds before it clogged. I got a thin piece of PVC from the corner and shoved it down inside the hose. Scrunching the hose up like an accordion, I managed to push out a 7-inch wad of wet feathers and mud. Did I mention our basement floor is dirt?

This is where the snow shovel comes in. See, snow is sometimes soggy and heavy, and sometimes dry and fluffy. Just like the feathers! I did use the vac on the dry feathers. The occasional piece of gravel sucked up actually made the dry feathers move through the hose better. They sounded kind of cheerful rattling up the hose. Twigs and small pieces of paper caused even the dry feathers to clog the hose. I'm only relating this because I have a naive notion that someday this will happen to someone else.

I have a vacuum canister full of feathers, and I am going to have to ask C to help me empty it. It weighs somewhere around a thousand pounds. This is going to lead to some nasty man/woman discussions involving antique plumbing woes, the behavior of my dogs and the way women solve problems. I also have three trash bags full of wet feathers.

I am so glad we tip our garbage men.

rodeo princess
2/4/2010 7:00:13 PM

Thank you everybody for your comments! This actually happened a few winters ago, but when I go down the basement I always think of it.


oz girl
1/29/2010 11:41:07 AM

Rodeo girl, you really do have a great knack to take a rather mundane and annoying life event and spin it into quite a chuckle! Loved your story... and I'll be sure to throw any old feather comforters into the trash instead of recycling it for any of our animals! :-) Susan


cindy murphy
1/29/2010 6:34:08 AM

Rodeo, I always get such a laugh out of your stories....they're funny, you have a wonderful way of relaying them, but also because it's never too difficult to imagine myself in the same predicaments. Feathers did not enter the picture, but been there/done that with the thousand pound shop vac and the man/woman discussion about problem solving. Here it usually involves a lot of head-shaking and the phrase "the right tool for the right job". Enjoy your day.


lori
1/29/2010 6:11:49 AM

Rodeo, I can so relate with the hibernation! I'm not a winter person, and it takes some effort not to get into a depressed slump during the cold months. One of the things that keeps me going is photography. Even winter has real beauty to capture! I can just imagine your reaction at finding your fluffy feathers not so fluffy any more! I'm sure it was hard work to clean up and it's great that you could turn this into an amusing tale. Thanks for the laugh!


vickie
1/27/2010 12:53:06 PM

Rodeo, You definetly had me laughing -Sorry- to you it probably wasn't so funny. You must have been exhausted after cleaning up all those feathers! I bet the dogs were too! vickie


nebraska dave
1/27/2010 12:46:43 PM

Rodeo, it sounds like you have such an exciting life with all the adventures life has given you to write about. I do enjoy a good real life story and you have a great knack to spin a good yarn. It is so refreshing to know that I’m not the only one that wrestles with inanimate things from time to time. When things begin to pile up rapid fire, life can really get interesting. One of my many things I value in life is to help people move. Boy could I write a book about moving day. Probably the funniest moving day story was when we were moving a hide-a-bed down a flight of stairs from an apartment into the moving truck when out from the depths of the couch jumps a black cat over our heads and down the stairs. We all had to change our shorts after that and were just lucky to not drop the couch. I really like a good adventure. You have the ability to paint a word picture of a disastrous situation and turn it into a funny story. I really try to accomplish that as well and really it all boils down to perspective. I always look forward to reading about your next meeting with fate on the pathway of life. Thanks for keeping my perspective of living on the right road.