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The Devil Wears Pet Dander --

Offbeat  (tags: dogs, cats, fur, dander, lint brushes, humour, stuffiness )

- 3523 days ago -
There are certain imponderables to living in South Florida. I don't understand, for example, how the blades on a ceiling fan that is always turning can get dusty. I wonder how three cats and a dog, none of which move very much or very often, can


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Raffi LidoRoiz (301)
Thursday August 27, 2009, 11:15 am
The devil wears pet dander

There are certain imponderables to living in South Florida.

I don't understand, for example, how the blades on a ceiling fan that is always turning can get dusty. I wonder how three cats and a dog, none of which move very much or very often, can deposit hair on every horizontal surface in the house. And I wonder why, after more disastrous dinner parties than I can count, I still invite people to dinner.

Generally, I don't spend a lot of time thinking about pet fur not even when we have company as all my family members and friends have pets of their own. They know, as I do, that pets can shed faster than I can vacuum.

It's on those rare occasions when someone who is both pet-less and well-groomed arrives that I get uneasy. If these guests are bold enough to mention that they are covered in fur, I have three stock responses: I can apologize so profusely that they drop the subject just to shut me up, I can fix them with a frosty glare and say, "The cats live here; you do not," or I can silently hand them the lint roller and assume they know what to do with it.

And so it was that when a visiting company dignitary from New York came to town, inviting her to dinner at home never crossed my mind. But when she made several comments about how she longed for a home-cooked meal, I felt compelled to invite her, along with several co-workers, to dinner on the spot.

The dignitary is 50 or so and tedious. She thinks that because she outranks you at work, she outranks you everywhere. She lives in an immaculate Upper East Side apartment with neither children nor pets and is legendary for her grooming. She is also going through a rather severe change and tells complete strangers about her hot flashes. When she rang the bell at 7:59 p.m. for an 8 p.m. dinner, dressed from head to toe in what looked like black cashmere, I knew I was in trouble.

Conversation before dinner was strained, as it always is with this woman, and I kept refilling the wine glasses in the insane hope that my co-workers would loosen up. It was when the dignitary got up from the sofa and made her way to the dining room that I discovered that our yellow Labrador had been sleeping on the sofa again.

From the back, she looked like she was wearing a gold mohair suit.

Things began to get better during dinner until the dignitary remarked that the food would be wonderful if only it were hot, and looked pointedly at the ceiling fan spinning over the table. Cursing silently, I turned the fan off, knowing full well what was going to happen.

Immediately, the room began to get very warm.

It did not take long for our menopausal houseguest dressed in black cashmere to notice. I ignored her as she started to dab her forehead with her napkin. "Are Florida homes always this warm in August?" she finally asked, looking at the fan again.

With the knowledge that my worst fears were about to be confirmed, I turned the fan back on, covered my wineglass with my hand and waited. As the blades slowly began twirling, a confetti-like rain of dust and pet hair slowly wafted down, covering plates, glasses and the stunned dignitary. Smiling inwardly, I silently handed her a lint roller, resisting the urge to tell her what to do with it.

Guy Andrews is a longtime Coral Ridge resident. E-mail eastsider

mary f (200)
Friday August 28, 2009, 4:11 am
in my house its not called "fur"niture for nothing

Sheila G (267)
Friday August 28, 2009, 12:07 pm
omg you are both precious, 'fur'niture hahahaha, and Rafael my motto also, 'the cats and dogs live here, you do not' (and never will thankfully) I can live without guests, but not without thos babies!

Sheila G (267)
Friday August 28, 2009, 12:11 pm
the story is funnier the second time around, I am lmao!!!!! I have to check out this source, ty for the posting, gettin a heat flash from laffin!

Kari D (192)
Friday August 28, 2009, 2:10 pm

Kathy Chadwell (354)
Friday August 28, 2009, 4:24 pm
I save myself this kind of trouble by making sure anybody and everybody I even have to talk to knows about my animals and the kids in my home. Then I go one further by never inviting this type to my house.

Past Member (0)
Friday August 28, 2009, 5:47 pm
Oh Raffi, I am ROTFL with this one, thank you, thank you. Sorry to be a bit late on the comment here (back to work-school dossiers - colleagues - pant, pant, gasp gasp) but just cannot resist. If I ever have guests that comment on the dog hair I have exactly the same three options ... Of course, I try to avoid these awkward situations and invite only other "pet friends" over. In fact if I have to send out fancy invitations (rarissimo) the RSVP includes the dress requirement "dog hair resistent fabrics and no black or navy blue, please." This generally separates the sheep from the goats. (And I either never hear from the "goats" again or they cross the street when they see me coming lest any dog hair leap off me onto their clothes.)
Back when my companion and I had set up our home together he took it upon himself to invite his sister and her husband for coffee one Sunday because they "had been begging to see" our Siberian Huskies. I told him I would rather have been consulted before he tendered this invitation, and asked him if he intended to charge an entrance fee. Thus the day was well prepared in terms of ambiance. He sulked.
The fateful day having arrived I cleaned as thoroughly as possible considering it was shedding season. (Note: these dogs know when you are going to have company and go into full shed mode two days before.)
After beating sofa cushions and rugs near to death and vacuuming for several hours three times in every nook and cranny (we do not have a ceiling fan) with my industrial-strength vacuum cleaner, including the fridge just in case, I felt confident that the house would pass muster with only the occasional renegade dog hair lurking in wait here or there.
Four o'clock and here came the in-laws. All went as well as possible and I was just starting to relax when Sister, who had been yakking my poor ears off with inane remarks about the dogs - who were relegated to outside for the duration of the in-law invasion- responded to my companion's remark that they shed twice a year with an excesively loud bray in local dialect,:

" Oh so THAT's why there is dog hair everywhere!"

An Ice Age swooped in and fell upon the living room. A mosquito whined. The geese down the road honked.

I smiled diplomatically and asked if they wanted some more coffee, wishing very much inside that I had thought to buy some roach treatment powder as an additive. The three others produced noisome guffaws as if it were the funniest thing they had ever heard.
After another unbearably painful light year or so, Sister and hubby finally took their leave. As soon as the car had left the drive, I turned to my companion and said,
"If that woman EVER sets foot in my house again you will find youself sleeping in the park faster than you can blink."
The threat has worked for 20 years now.
Thanks again Raffi, for such a funny story. I've earmarked it so I can read it again and again.

Karen S (106)
Saturday August 29, 2009, 4:27 pm
Thanks for the chuckle Rafael. Toooo funny. Michelle, you ought to be writing a column of your own. You are so funny. Thanks.

Raffi LidoRoiz (301)
Saturday August 29, 2009, 5:03 pm
I loved this story-it brought back so many memories for me when we had all our cats-20 in a very large house-our ability to care for them carefully mapped out-no hoarding-10 were mine and 10 my mothers and a feral colony outside on a large property.

I even wrote a poem about the white hair invariably adhering to my black clothes and the black hair adhering to the white-that was published in Cat Fancy-it was one of my favorite pieces-it just comes with the territory and no matter what we did to maintain the house there was always the hair-I remember every time I went out to some big soiree someone there was brushing the hair off my back and shoulders...

I loved your comment, Michelle-it was a delight!

We had some people over, too, that we had no choice but to invite (at one time or another)and they didn't survive long with all the Persian fluff and Turkish Angora and other wafting everywhere or they left with a full seat of fashionable cat hairs-unbeknownst to them because they had been strategically located to a chair that had plenty of it to offer and left us snickering away as they went out the door...;-)

Revenge is sweet they say- and best served up on derriere'...of the unsuspecting.

Thanks for all your comments everyone-this was just a great joy to post.
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