Here in Italy the kind of advanced technology that allows Americans to seal their garbage bags by pulling on a space-age device called a “drawstring” is unknown. Trash bags here come with a sort of filament. A long and exceedingly fragile plastic thread that is in no way capable of actually sealing the bag against the sorts of super-pressures built up by American waste production habits.
There’s a five stage process involved in properly sealing the Italian garbage bag:
1) Stall until garbage is spilling over the top.
2) Lift garbage bag up while producing old man grunts.
3) Attempt to use the filament despite the failure of the previous 912 attempts.
4) Find the duct tape, curse Italians for their refusal to do the hard work necessary to produce state-of-the-art bag-sealing technology, the children for creating trash, the wife for creating children, the numbness in my left thumb caused by stabbing myself with a knife opening a Nerf pistol two years ago resulting in a degree of clumsiness in tearing off duct tape, and George W. Bush because why not?
5) Drop the stupid string on the floor where it will be eaten by the cat.
So we go on vacation for a week — if by vacation you mean driving around France screaming “goshdarn it, if you two scamps don’t pipe down I could have a serious accident and then I will be very disappointed in you.*”
And we come home to Florence. Okay, Pelago. Which yes, does sound like a skin disaease. We drive over to see the Cat Lady. She’s British, lives up the side of a mountain that would daunt Granny Clampett, and we pick up Lightning the kitty. Take Lightning home and it seems Lightning isn’t acting like her usual self. In this case, howling much of the night causing me to cry out, “Oh, please, kitty, won’t you cease disturbing my well-earned repose?**”
This morning we discover that Lightning has a garbage bag string hanging out of her butt. Which quite frankly took some of the steam out of my irritation. Under similar circumstances I doubt I’d curl up in a ball and go to sleep, either.
There’s a vet right at the bottom of our hill but Katherine made an appointment with her regular vet who is much better. He’s more expensive, further away, slow and inconvenient. But purely by coincidence he is the handsomest vet ever. If you like young, swarthy, five o’clock shadowed with great hair, dreamy eyes and the cutest accent.
Katherine and The Girl spend two hours discussing butt string with Dottore McSogno. The Boy and I sit in the car playing Quordy on our iPhones.
Lightning is home and doing better. If by “better” you mean producing vast piles of diarrhea so toxic that I’m thinking of sleeping in the office. Katherine and The Girl are digging through the piles of poo looking for string. They’re going to measure the string, add it up.
It’s a kind of home school math project.
*translation: ”G—– it you little —–, if you don’t —- —- —- — I’ll —– —- and ——-on a —– killing spree!”
**translation: ”G—– it you —— cat I am going to —– —— and ——- —- cat cassoulet!”