A local charismatic church has decided it's a good idea to send their families into the surrounding neighborhoods to "invite" people to their church. They do this on Saturdays, trying to get people to go to their church the next morning. The families dress up like they're going to a nice backyard party - the men in Dockers or Docker shorts with nice shirts, women in nice shorts (not too short now!) or dresses, girls in summer dresses, etc. They've bothered me the last several Saturdays, ignoring the large NO SOLICITING sign on the door which, as I explained to two groups of them already, goes for churches as far as I'm concerned regardless of the wording of the relevant city ordinance.
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This past Saturday I decided to trim the dog's nails. I don't do this very often because I have to do it by myself and the dog hates it. She would rather be whipped with a bullwhip than have her nails trimmed. I don't know why...that's just one of her quirks. The dog is a min pin, black, and about 16 pounds of wiry frame and pure muscle. I start, as I always do, with trying to use treats to get her to comply. I take her into the bathroom and give her a treat. I put a treat in the bathtub and put her in there. So far so good. I tell her to sit and gave her a treat. Textbook...up until this point.
Now comes the fun part. The dog and I go through the sit - grab paw - stand game. The dog sits. I grab a paw and lift it up to try to trim the nails. The dog stands, which allows her to gain leverage to pull against me. I push her rear down and she sits again. Start over. The problem is that the dog has infinite time in which to play this game and I have other things to do. The offer of treats is irrelevant...the dog knows that if she complies the nails will get trimmed, which is tantamount to torture for some reason. Twenty minutes of this and it's time for plan B. Oh well, at least I can say I tried.
Plan B involves putting the dog in various wrestling holds that still allow me to hold each paw with one hand and trim the nails with the other. Unfortunately this has two drawbacks. One is that the dog can still twitch her legs enough to cause me to trim the nails either too close or not close enough. The other is that the newly trimmed nails are extremely sharp, so that the dog gains weaponry to use against me as the process continues.
After a wrestling/trimming session that could have headlined as a grudge match on any WWF program, the dog finally has trimmed nails. Unevenly trimmed, but trimmed none the less. At least one nail on each paw is trimmed too close, so during the match my white t-shirt has become covered in blood. My arms and legs are scratched up like I've been in a fight with a rabid bobcat, I'm covered in dog hair, and I'm sweating profusely. The dog is none the worse for wear except for the fact that she can now walk properly. I've had enough of her for the day, so I pick her up to take her out to the back yard. As I'm about to put her out, the doorbell rings, which causes her to start barking and writhing around in my arms, giving me a few extra scratches just for good measure. Out she goes.
I head back to the bathroom to start cleaning up, and the doorbell rings again. The dog starts barking and jumping on the back door, leaving bloody streaks in the process. Having already had enough of whoever is at the door, I decide to ignore it. The doorbell rings again. Fine. Anyone but Ed McMahon is going to be sorry.
Still out of breath from the fight, sweating, covered in scratches and blood and hair, and carrying a nail trimming tool in one hand, I fling open the door. The picture-perfect charismatic family has decided to let the little girl be the front man. She looks to be about eight years old. She's standing on the front porch, while Mom, Dad, and Little Brother - about five - are standing a few feet back on the walkway. I grit my teeth in my best Dirty Harry impression, look directly at the little girl, and say, "Yes?"
The boy isn't paying much attention, having found a stick with which to occupy himself, but the other three family members are frozen. The mom finally pulls the boy back against her leg, but they're too far from the girl to reach her without stepping closer themselves. The girl is unable to move. The dad, showing his true colors, is also petrified. The mom finally gives him an elbow and he tries to find his voice. I continue to stare at the little girl. "Yes, can I help you?"
The boy finally looks up and sees me. He starts with a low moaning noise and slowly works up to a scream. He scampers behind his mom and latches onto her leg so she can't easily move. Dad gets his voice back and says, "Mm-m-maybe this is a bad time, uh, Lindsay honey come on, let's go." Lindsay is as still as a stone. Still staring at the girl, I take a step forward onto the welcome mat. My jaw still locked, speaking through my teeth, I say, "Not at all. Would you like to come in?"
Lindsay's fight-or-flight instinct kicks in, except in her case it's fight-or-scream. She lets out a scream that would put Fay Wray to shame. Then another. And another. Dad, figuring he better do something, takes a careful step forward and pulls Lindsay back. She continues to stare at me and scream as he picks her up. Little brother is in full scream mode also, and attempts to climb up his mom's backside. She almost trips over him trying to get turned around, picks him up and starts trotting away. Dad follows with the girl. Bye now!
I go back in and close the door, then go to the window and watch. Mom and Dad do their best to jog all the way back to their minivan parked across the street a few houses down. Just as they get to the minivan, Lindsay, who is still looking back toward my house and screaming, pukes all down her dad's back. Mom tries to put the boy down, but he's clinging to her like a monkey. Dad fishes the keys out of his pocket and they all get in the van. After a minute Mom and Dad step back out. Mom's front is all wet. Apparently the boy peed all over her. Dad is covered in puke, and takes off his shirt and leaves it in the street. Mom and Dad finally get in the van and the family leaves.
I know what's coming, so I quickly go to the bathroom and jump in the tub where I was trimming the dog's nails. I turn on the shower and wash off all the blood and hair. I hide the wet clothes in the bottom of the hamper and put on an identical white shirt and similar shorts. My hair is very short, so it dries quickly with just a towel. I dry the bathtub with the towel as well. I then go to the back yard with a paper towel and wipe the blood off the back door. The dog has stopped bleeding by now. Perfect. Two minutes later the doorbell rings again.
"Yes officer?" I say after I open the door. "Can I help you?" He looks me up and down and says there's been a complaint of something strange going on in the house. He's being purposefully vague, so I ask for more details. He mentions a bloody shirt and points out the scratches on my arms and legs. "I just finished trimming the dog's nails and they're very sharp. We were playing afterwards and I got scratched up a little." I invite him in and he takes a look around. I take him to the back door and show him the dog. Then I say, "Oh, I know what they must have seen...come in here." We go to the kitchen and I pull the paper towel out of the trash can. "See? I got a couple of the dog's nails a little close, and I used this to stop the bleeding. I must have had it in my hand when I answered the door."
The officer asks if he can look around the house, and I say he can. He just kind of walks up the hallway and sticks his head in to give each room a cursory glance. Satisfied that he's seen enough, he starts to leave. I stop him and say, "By the way officer, I have a 'No Soliciting' sign, and although I'm aware that the city ordinance says it's for sales only, I have it there because I don't wish to be disturbed by anyone. I imagine other people with those signs feel the same way. Maybe you could say something to those people?" "Will do," he says as he leaves. "Thanks for your cooperation."
I watch out the window again as Mom and Dad, who have returned, gesture towards my house as the officer shakes his head. Dad starts to get a little hot, and the officer finally points his finger at him and says something. The officer then shakes his head as he gets in his car and leaves. It seems he has better things to do than field complaints from overreacting religious nuts. Mom and Dad get back in their minivan and leave, hopefully having learned their lesson.
So, if you've been bothered by people from this particular church the last few Saturdays, there's a good chance you won't be bothered any more.