The return of fur season

I just took part in that annual mundane yet necessary fall rite of passage. I rearranged my closet. Like any sort of cleaning, it's not something I set out to do, but when the mood struck, I just decided go with it. Flip flops, tank tops, T-shirts, shorts and anything that had a tropical theme and/or revealed skin was shoved to the rear while fleece, wool, flannel and more fleece came to the fore. A real barn burner, I know. I rank it right up there with alphabetizing the CD case, but when you live in a house with closets the size of, well, closets, it is an essential task.

Some of you may be wondering what's next? A play-by-play of sorting my recycling bin? As intriguing as that may sound, I'll have to leave some things to the imagination. Besides, the whole point of letting you in on this scintillating tidbit is not to bore you to tears but to let you in on a little epiphany. See, by my recollection, the Smartwools usually don't come out from hiding until at least mid-November. But this year, they've been making regular appearances since early September. And they have since been joined by hats, gloves and most recently, down jackets.

By my account, this can only mean one of two things: I've developed a degenerative circulatory problem or winter is way early. I'm going to opt for the latter, mostly because I like to fancy myself in fine health, but also due to what I've observed in the animal kingdom you know, sort of like how they do for the Farmer's Almanac. OK, so I'm basing it on my dog, which isn't exactly scientific. But he can predict thunderstorms from miles away and cowers in the corner accordingly, so it's entirely plausible that he also can do the same with winter. And if his current state of shedding is any indication, we're in for a doozy. For the past several weeks, he has been dropping his fur coat quicker than Paris Hilton goes through shoes. And it's not your standard seasonal undercoat replacement. We're talking copious tufts of thick, white downy stuff that balls up and rolls like tumbleweeds through my living room. My house looks like the site of a down comforter massacre, with every square inch of floor, wall, furniture and clothing bearing his fuzzy white calling card. I've even found them in the baby's diapers. If that's not a sign, I don't know what is.

Now some would say this runs contrary to rational thinking. If the dog is prepping for a harsh winter, wouldn't it stand to reason that he'd want to hang onto as much hair as possible? Au contraire. I've estimated that for every hair that falls out, 10 new ones come in. In fact, since the mass exodus started, I'd say he's doubled in size. Of course it's all hair. The poor thing is like a bath mat with legs, a modern-day woolly mammoth minus the tusks. Any groomer would have a field day.

Naturally, I've concluded from all this that we're in for the mother of all winters something I've shared freely with anyone who'll listen, which surprisingly has not been many. Seems a lot of people are still mourning the loss of tan lines, bare feet and barbeques. On the bright side, I point out that the coming of winter is not so bad. After all, it also coincides with the end of West Nile and RV season.

Then there are those who maintain that only fools and newcomers try to predict the weather. I of course, prefer the term "meteorological mystic" or "climactic clairvoyant." I also remind them that Nostradamus was once the laughing stock of astrology school. But no one's laughing now.

My husband happens to be in the dissenter camp.

"I've never seen the dog shed so much. He must be getting ready for a huge winter," I tell him as I rake dust bunnies the size of Volkswagens from underneath the couch.

"Or maybe he's just getting old," he pointed out.

"Older and wiser," I reply. "He knows the big one's coming."

By now, the spousal unit has usually left the room or completely tuned me out. He claims I do the same thing every year: make rabid generalizations about the upcoming winter based upon minute, irrelevant observations, only to be proven wrong.

Which may be true. I guess it's like an addiction, something I just can't help myself from doing. But who knows, maybe one of these years I'll actually be right. After all, sometimes all it takes is a little hair of the dog.

Missy Votel




News Index Second Index Opinion Index Classifieds Index Contact Index