The Tooth Fairy Is Dead… And How to Get Your Kids Outside On A Hot Day

A few weeks ago Ava lost a tooth, on a Friday, before she went away for the weekend with her dad.  She was worried she’d miss the Tooth Fairy, so I told her to leave it under her pillow and the Tooth Fairy would come.  Well, as all mothers can attest to, I forgot about it.  She came back home Sunday night and ran straight to her pillow, only to find the tooth still there.  Oh no, I said, well, she will come now that you’re home. But this particular tooth fairy was either really, really busy, or really, really bad at her job.  So when Ava came sullenly into the kitchen the next morning looking like she’d lost her best friend, I greeted her cheerfully, only to hear her tell me that the Tooth Fairy was never going to come.  Cue my stomach sinking.  Shit!  I forgot. Again.

Me:  She’ll come, Ava.  She must just be really, really busy with lots of kids all losing teeth at the same time.
Ava: No, she isn’t.  She’s not coming.
Me:  (Momentarily speechless, and struggling for some way to dig myself – er, the Tooth Fairy – out of this hole.)
Ava:  I know she’s not real anyway.
Me: Why do you say that?  Because she hasn’t stopped here yet?
Ava: No, because Dad told me.

Okay, so at this point I’m wondering what the hell he told her, and WHY didn’t he notify the MarylandTooth Fairy?  So I dove right in.  I asked her.  Her answer?  She knew Dad was the Tooth Fairy, because “she” didn’t take the tooth like “she” usually does.  Dufus.  Left the tooth under the pillow WITH the money.  And she figured it out.  Just like that.  I burst out laughing, and asked her why she didn’t tell me.  She smiled her big Cheshire cat smile and said, I don’t know.  But I do.  She wanted the money anyway.  So I dug 2 bucks out of my purse and handed it to her.  All’s well that ends well.

I was working on my computer one morning when suddenly this smell of what I thought was burning rubber accosted by nostrils.  I took off my headphones, and sniffed the air heavily.  I sniffed my computer. No.  I got up and walked around the house, and sniffed here, and there. Nope.  I stepped outside to see if something was on fire nearby.  Nope. But the smell was 1000 times stronger outside, and with that came the revelation of what I was really smelling.  About that time, I looked down over the deck and saw Ted (our friend who’s been helping Todd with auto repairs and renovations) coming around the side of the house with a huge stick.  He saw me and before he said, you’ve got a skunk out here, I realized that our dogs were also outside.  Oh. SHIT. 

And they saw me and ran up the deck toward me, and I braced myself for something one must experience just once never in a lifetime to appreciate.  I wasn’t sure which one got it, or whether it was both.  Had I had time to mull it over, I’d have answered the million-dollar question before I even left my air-conditioning. So, I sniffed Pi (because she arrived first – another dead giveaway) and smelled nothing, really.  This is when Ava opened the slider, and Pi rushed in… and before I could say, WAIT, Sabra dashed in right behind her like her ass was on fire.  And THAT’S WHEN the real scent of skunk – not the one you encounter while casually driving the countryside most likely 3 MILES away from the original spray, but the real scent that only an up close and personal experience can offer – accosted my senses like ricin and filled the house with an odor not unlikely to render one unconscious. 

To be honest, I had no idea it’s a bad idea to let your pet inside your house when this happens.  No idea.  Well, just in case you don’t already know – DO NOT LET YOUR PET INSIDE THE HOUSE UNDER ANY, ANY, ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. 

I will spare the details of the bath I gave her with elbow-length industrial rubber gloves, dressed in clothing I would soon throw away, using the most glorious shampoo known to rural pet owners (Skunk Off – the miracle shampoo!).  We had nothing in the house for our crazy brown girl, so Ava and I drove off to the local pet shop for help.  Meanwhile, Owen was in his room with the door closed, so before I left I informed him of the present situation – which hit home pretty fast when I opened the door – and told him to ignore the cries of our quarantined dog and possibly go outside.  I didn’t have to tell him twice. He went outside with Ted and played basketball for nearly 2 hours on one of the hottest, humidest days we’ve had.

So Ava and I walk into the pet shop, and the little old lady comes around the back of the counter to show me what she has in Skunk Off products, but she stops short just 3 feet from us and says, “ooooooh!”  Followed by the assertion that we did, indeed, have a skunk attack.  Ava’s eyes went round as saucers, horrified that shesmelled like skunk too.  I suppressed the ridiculous urge to laugh, as the old woman explained that if that smell gets in your house, everything will smell like skunk – your clothes, your furniture, carpeting, YOU…. Because all I could think about was that I had to work, in the restaurant, the next day.

Because just the sheer proximityto the victim allows for this pernicious odor to attach itself to one’s clothing, skin, and hair.  The actual inside of my car smelled like skunk.  I drove to Big Lots to pick up some air freshener, which Ava dubiously sprayed on herself in the middle of the store before walking up to the cash register, where I stood cautiously waiting for a reaction from the clerk.  And reentering the home is an exercise of unfathomable conviction, as the stench assaults the eyes and nose (not to mention stomach) and leaves you pondering the actual value of the dog who has brought this new form of hell upon your life.  I ran about the house, listening to the cries of despair from Sabra in the basement, and opened every window in the house as my eyes watered like a dam had broken.  Because, come hell or 100 degrees, I was not going to go to sleep tonight in an air-conditioned, skunkified domicile that threatened my bottom line the following night as a waitress.

And so she had her bath, and she smelled like a rose, and Pi kept pacing around, hoping I didn’t mean to give her a bath too.  And Ava spent the next 4 hours inside our own version of Chernobyl, spraying Febreeze and Lysol in every nook and cranny. And I had to laugh, because I finally had to order Owen to come in for dinner, and because Ava kept asking everyone if she smelled like skunk, and mostly because I couldn’t stop imagining Todd’s reaction when he came home later.  My life is still shit, and there’s a toilet waiting for me right now that needs a plunge.  I kid you not.

And the moral of the story – otherwise known as today’s Cliff Notes:

DO NOT forget the Tooth Fairy.  Put a sticky note on your bedside table, your television, your cell phone, your husband’s forehead, whatever.

DO NOT let your dumbass, skunk-chasing dog in the house after said encounter, unless you enjoy having the hair singed out of your nostrils.

BUY Skunk Off.  It really works!  A friend recommended it, and as she said – I could literally put my nose right up to Sabra and couldn’t smell a thing. Sure, there’s a very slight scent still lingering around her nose – which I’m sure is the site of the first impact (serves her right) – but the shampoo itself has a nice, somewhat menthol-y scent that made her smell way better than she did even before the attack.

And in other news, what Todd and I have been Googling:
  • After a short debate where Todd suggested that hair coloring only began in the 1950s or 60s, I insisted that it was a much older concept.  In fact, hair dying is an ancient art with colors being derived from plants until the 1860s, when the discovery of p-phenylenediamine’s reaction with air led to the development of synthetic coloring. There’s also a book published in 1661 that describes various methods of hair dying, Eighteen Books of the Secrets of Art & Nature. (source: Wikipedia)  

  • Andy Gibb did not die of a drug overdose.  Soon after his 30th birthday in 1988, he went to the hospital with chest pains and passed away 5 days later.  William Shell, a cardiologist who had previously treated him, supported the diagnosis of myocarditis, a condition made worse by years of alcohol and cocaine abuse.

  • The 6th season of Sons of Anarchy has not yet been released for us latecomers. The DVD is scheduled for release on August 26, 2014, giving us just 15 days to watch before the premiere of the 7th and final season.  We already know a major spoiler, but we don’t care.  Amazon is selling the DVD set for $34.99 for Prime members.
Miscellaneous tidbits:

  • A survey conducted by Visa in 2013 found that kids in the U.S. average about $3.70 a tooth.


  • In the Middle Ages, Vikings gave children money for their teeth, and Scandinavians wore baby teeth around their neck during battle, as they believed them to be good luck. In medieval Europe, baby teeth were burned out of fear of witches getting hold of them and subsequently having control over you.


  • A skunk’s spray is an oily liquid produced by its anal glands, and skunks can spray up to 10 feet (which brings me to my other moral of the story: A long stick will NOT protect you from a skunk – though by the time Ted arrived, I’m betting Skunkie had expelled all it had on Sabra).  


  • According to Wikipedia, skunks aren’t particularly eager to spray their precious perfume: “threatened skunks will go through an elaborate routine of hisses, foot-stamping, and tail-high threat postures before resorting to spraying.” (Double dumbass dog – couldn’t recognize the signs or mistook them for gameplay.)


  • Skunk spray can cause temporary blindness, if hit in the eyes. (I’d say it could easily cause blindness without direct contact.)
  • According to The Wall Street Journal, Febreeze  is a $1 billion product (as of 2011).  

  • Andy Gibb was buried in Los Angelos, under the headstone, “An Everlasting Love.” He supported a number of charities during his life, including the Diabetes Research Institute.  The Andy Gibb Memorial Foundation continues to give to this very important charity, as well as The American Heart Association and The American Cancer Society.