Oh boy, where to start... where to start.
I woke up this morning at 3:30am. I showered, brushed my teeth, let out and fed the dogs, and drove forty-five minutes to Norwalk to pick up my friend Aryn.
From Norwalk, Aryn and I headed to central Wisconsin to pick up roughly 600lbs of meat for the dogs. It's a seven hour drive from Norwalk to our beef supplier, so we had to hit the road while it was still dark.
The drive up was reasonably uneventful. Or if it was eventful, I don't remember any of it because it was so early in the morning that I was probably driving on auto-pilot. I remember mentioning several times how pretty southern Wisconsin is, with its bluffs and hills and ravines and gorges and ancient farm structures. If you've never had a chance to experience rural southern Wisconsin, I highly suggest driving up there to take a look - it's breathtaking.
The last half-hour of our journey landed us in rural central Wisconsin, where no road was straight for more than thirty feet. Twisting, turning, doubling back... we quickly lost our bearings in the woodlands. Our destination was a USDA-inspected beef processor that also sells raw beef for pet-food use. We had no idea where we were going. As we passed a shady-looking trailer with a ton of cars parked out front, we decided that we were somewhat lost. Turning around, we finally figured out that we'd passed the place a few lots up.
We pulled into the facility, and were ushered into the office by a very friendly guy who owns the place. He had our order ready for us, and even helped us load it up. Here's what eight weeks of raw food for seven dogs looks like:
SUPER IMPORTANT NOTE: I know the packaging looks alarming, but keep in mind that legally, most (if not all) meat not approved to be sold for human consumption must be labeled as such. Our beef mix contains green tripe - which is an extremely healthy part of a balanced canine raw diet but is not legal to be sold for human consumption. 'Denaturant' is a substance added to the meat - by law - to make it unsuitable for us humans to eat, usually by messing with the palatability of the product. In this case, the denaturant is bone meal. Yes, the bone meal used in our mix is safe for dogs.
Anyway - now that the super important note is out of the way, let's continue with our journey!
We headed for home, but first stopped to refuel the HHR which had earned a new nickname... The Meatlocker. (I've since considered getting the vanity plate MEATLOKR, because it's hilarious and now an inside joke... and I love inside jokes. However, deciding to get a vanity plate when you've only had three hours of sleep and have currently been on the road for more than 9 hours straight may not be the wisest time to make a decision like that.)
Somehow we managed to find the most redneck BP station in Wisconsin. I'm not joking. They actually sold ammunition at this BP, along with a large selection of hard liquor and archery supplies. I think I heard some dueling banjos over by the Doritos. The support poles in the gas station were wrapped with camouflage fabric and fake vegetation. We got out of there as fast as we could, since it was obvious that we "weren't from 'round there."
To keep the meat cold and the smell (tripe is stinky!) to a minimum, we had the air conditioning cranked full blast. As a result, we were forced to wear our jackets and hooded sweatshirts. Other drivers shot us funny looks as we bundled up in preparation for the drive home. Yes, we knew it was 95 degrees outside - that doesn't change the fact that we were driving in The Meatlocker. Aryn hopped into the car, and with a half-hearted, exhausted chorus of The Raw Song, we headed home.
The Raw Song:
99 boxes of meat in the car,
99 boxes of meat,
Take one down, pass it around,
98 boxes of meat in the car,
... and so on.
It was a tame drive home until something.... was seen. Something that cannot ever be unseen. I've debated putting this part in the blog because I know who reads it (HI GRANDMA!) but let's face it - everyone who reads this blog was young and uncouth at one point in time, so I'll try to be as mature as possible about this.... but no promises. Keep in mind that Aryn and I were both quite sleep-deprived and have the same overactive sense of humor. We get along so well because we both find humor in the most unusual (and often inappropriate) places.
Let me paint the picture for you.
I was driving. I was paying attention to the road, checking my mirrors occasionally and staying under the speed limit because Wisconsin police were around every corner... and it's the law! Aryn was sitting in the passenger seat, working on her cross-stitch. The car was silent, save for the whoosh of the air conditioner and the hum of the open road.
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a scantily clad motorcyclist passing me on the right. This guy was heavyset, wearing nothing but shorts, flip flops, a hat and a pair of sunglasses. He was going about seventy miles per hour. Aryn saw movement out of the corner of her eye. She looked up, turned her head towards my window, and got a glimpse of the same horrible sight that I had just seen. Our eyes went wide and our jaws dropped as the motorcyclist roared past.
.... what do you think happens to the chest area of a heavyset shirtless man, on a motorcycle doing seventy miles per hour? Let's just say he was energetically waving at us, but not with his hands.
Aryn and I are huge Family Guy fans, and we couldn't help it... our minds instantly went to the "side boob" skit. (Click here if you're not familiar with it, and want to know what I'm talking about.)
We were silent for a few more seconds... then burst into laughter. We couldn't contain it, it just gushed out with such force that we were both crying within minutes. This was too much. We were exhausted, the car smelled like a butcher shop, it was freezing cold, and we'd just seen a partially naked man fly past us on a Harley with his chest area flapping in the wind. There was nothing we could do or say or think that could possibly make this road trip normal now.
About an hour later, we were just getting out of Dubuque when I noticed the same motorcyclist on the other side of the road. He was parked on the shoulder, poking at his chest area... probably wondering where all the chafing had come from. I pointed and yelled, "OH MY GOD IT'S SIDE BOOB!" Aryn whipped her head around, saw the guy examining himself, and a new wave of hysterical laughter ensued. We had now been on the road for about twelve hours straight, and we'd lost our minds. We decided that the guy would henceforth be known as Sideboob Joe, and to quote Aryn, "we took the joke further than it ever needed to go."
For the remaining three hours of the drive, we'd spontaneously lapse into hoarse fits of laughter over Sideboob Joe. Our eyes burned, our ribs were sore, we felt sick to our stomachs and we were having trouble breathing. We approached the encounter from every possible angle, twisting it more and more until the mere thought of anything remotely related to Sideboob Joe would send us into a fit of hysterics.
The Prayer of Sideboob Joe
wherever you are,
may you be on the road,
or on the side of the road.
keep on flappin'.
After more than fifteen hours on the road, we arrived at my home in Prairie City. Half the meat was mine, and we had to haul it from 'The Meatlocker' (haha) to the freezer in my basement. This meant carrying 300lbs of frozen meat up the front steps, through the living room and kitchen, then down a flight of stairs. After carrying the first few boxes, Aryn decided to try sliding a box down the last flight of stairs to alleviate some of the soreness in our backs. The 30lb slab of beef went hurtling down the stairs, landing with a heavy thud at my feet. Aryn was so pleased with her successful idea that she yelled out an enthusiastic "YESSS!" and ran to get more frozen slabs of meat to throw down the stairs. With each slab, we laughed harder and harder. I'm surprised I didn't lose any toes, and that Aryn didn't fall down the stairs from exhaustion.
After my share, we drove to Norwalk to unload Aryn's share. By this point we were zombies. We tried to do simple math to figure out how many more boxes we could fit in the freezers, but failed miserably. Apparently our short term memory was shot, and Aryn started trying to do math problems by air-drawing equations on the lid of her freezer. Even though we both knew one box fed the dogs for one week, we still tried to figure out pounds per day in relation to total freezer capacity, and how much time that would last.
I suddenly realized we could calculate how long a full freezer would last by counting the BOXES instead of the pounds. Because one box = one week. My genius was apparently on a significant time delay.
At this point, I decided I had to go home. So I went home. In my compromised mental state, I attempted to mix Mountain Dew and orange juice to create an energy drink that could power me through this blog post. It sort of worked, but it's not a good flavor. Or texture, since I used high pulp orange juice.
And I'm still laughing over Sideboob Joe.
Petesch OUT! Time for some sleep!