There are many different types of hangovers in life. While I may not experience alcohol-induced hangovers, I do experience the full gamut of dog-related hangovers. Behold:
The Dog Show Hangover - the feeling of being hung over after a long weekend of conformation and/or performance events.
The Event Volunteer Hangover - the feeling of being hung over after a long weekend of stewarding an event, or working an event in general.
The Lure Coursing Hangover - same as the Dog Show Hangover, but with more flu-like symptoms due to being outside in the cold/rain/wind/etc for twelve hours.
The Visiting the Breeder Hangover - the feeling of being hung over after a long weekend of playing with adorable puppies.
The Adoptathon Hangover - the feeling of being hung over after driving to the Chicago area for an adoption event. Made worse if you actually have a dog to take to the event.
And finally.... The Meat Hangover - the feeling of being hung over after driving 14-15 hours round-trip to bring home a load of raw meat for the dogs.
This weekend it was the Meat Hangover. I think most people who go in on our order have a rudimentary understanding of what we go through to obtain meat, but I feel I need to relay an honest blow-by-blow account of how awful it actually is. To be frank, we haul ass for about 16 consecutive hours. We don't take breaks, because we haven't got the time.
Aryn got off work and picked up the truck at about 5pm on Friday evening. I drove to her house after work, and got about 5 hours of sleep before we left at 2am. The first six hours of our drive was in the dark, hoping to god that no deer would cross our path. We stopped a few times to use the restroom - mostly at dark, creepy rest areas in the middle of nowhere. These were quick stops - run in, pee, then run back to the truck so we could stay on schedule.
Luckily we arrived at the beef place on time. We only budget about 10 minutes to load roughly 2000lbs of beef into the truck. We pay, we back up the truck to the loading dock, we load the meat, and we leave. This time I had to laugh, because the muchachos loaded our order to the tune of Gangsta's Paradise. There's something oddly surreal about a group of guys throwing boxes of meat into a truck at 9am with rap music blaring, while another group of guys strip out beef carcasses in the background.
After the beef place, we hauled ass to the rabbitry. Again, we only budgeted 10 minutes to load our rabbitry order and get back on the road. After the rabbitry, we drove and drove and drove until we met one of our order-buddies on the side of the highway to deliver her meat. We meet her on the side of the highway because we don't have time to deviate from our route home. Meat is exchanged, and we press on.
This time we also stopped in Marion, Iowa to deliver meat. It's rough, because we're on a tight schedule and the meat guys don't always label the boxes very well, so we're crawling around atop the pile of meat (like Koolies on sheep!) until we find the boxes we need. Usually we end up covered in blood, if it's hot enough for any of the meat to thaw. At this point we usually rearrange the boxes so the meat doesn't thaw any more than it already has.
We finally get back to Des Moines. At this point, we've been at this for about 15 hours. We unload, sort, distribute. Our day is not over yet though, folks! We drive to Aryn's house, and move my meat into my vehicle. We then unload Aryn's order at her house. Then we occasionally have to clean the bed of the truck because we're not sure how the rental company would feel about getting back a bloody truck. Then we return the truck. Then Aryn goes home, and I drive 40 minutes back to my home... where I unload my meat.
We left at 2am. I was "finished" with the meat run at 7pm. That is 17 grueling hours spent in a rented truck, just for meat. And that is why I get Meat Hangovers.
On a somewhat unrelated note.....
Before heading over to Aryn's house on Friday, I went shopping at Hy Vee for some snackies that would keep me awake and coherent on the drive. I must have put my debit card in my back pocket with my phone, and it must have slipped unnoticed out of my pocket when I got into my car, because by the time I got to Aryn's house I had officially lost my debit card.
I called and and had the card frozen, because there is no way my card would have been returned in that part of town. The next day, I called my bank for a new card. One problem though... it will take ten days to receive the new card.
So I cannot access my account for nearly two weeks. Steve volunteered to take me grocery shopping. I wanted to get as much food as I could, so I stocked up on soup, ramen, mac & cheese, and other cheap meals. I felt like I was back in college. It was embarrassing.
But let me tell you... Ramen noodles are delicious.