"I am grimy from petting you," I told the puppies (!!) who are, I think, big enough to be called dogs. It rained here yesterday and so the mud (and the smell) should not have been appealing on the creatures. I had just pulled myself off the kitchen floor where we'd been cuddling and looked at my formerly-blue-but-now-brown shirt and shook my head while wiping puppy slobber off my chin. But Gray and Golden looked at me, both resting on their backs with tummies exposed for pets and I smiled and bent to sit on the floor again.
"You're just so pretty," I told them as they both scrambled to their feet and battled for the ideal place on my lap to kiss my chin while I looked at the ceiling again. I giggled before looking down at them and nudging the hair away from Gray's eyes and kissing Golden's muzzle. "I love you. Yes, I do. Because you're such good girls!" I continued to coo and pet and accept more kisses than I ducked as Cousin made dinner and Little Cousin played dress up.
"The wand makes noise," Cousin told her daughter when they opened the present I brought soon after we hurried through the rain to their front door. Waving it around (it went with the skirt and wings and tiara included with the 'how to be a fairy' kit!), it did emit a noise. Golden hid herself under my arm, ears perked with curiosity even as she huddled close, and Gray found a spot on my lap and buried her face under the hair at my neck.
"I think it scares the puppies," I told Little Cousin and smiled when she looked at them with big, blue eyes as she sat on Cousin's lap.
"It does have magical powers," Friend noted from her seat at the table, still looking rather zombie-like. I don't think she truly woke up all day. Little Cousin soon abandoned the fairy costume for a too-big-but-still-lovely pink gown. She would tug at the sleeves when they slipped off her shoulders and I glanced at Cousin to confide that her daughter was ridiculously pretty. She smiled and nodded. I grinned back at her and told her that glitter was still on her cheek from when she opened the fairy costume. Otherwise clad in holey jeans and an old t-shirt, I still thought Cousin lovely but was cheered at the sparkle of light that sometimes appeared on her left cheek.
"Every time I see it glitter, I think, 'Cousin's fancy!'" I told her and she laughed.
"I'll leave it alone then," she said, moving her hand away from where it had been rubbing her cheek. "To give you that moment of joy." I smiled and thanked her.
We all had dinner, talking afterward about how we felt pretty salty. The reubens, with their pats of butter and corned beef, sauerkraut and two slices of swiss were fantastic. But salty. After eating too much, Cousin and her husband began to clean up while I stood from my seat at the far end of the table. Jay glanced over and shook his head at my appearance.
"We're pretty eco-friendly here," he said and I nodded. "So we decided on a new floor for the kitchen. It's made of dirt. And we're well on our way!" I laughed at him and looked down at my clothes then at the puppies who were wet again from going outside in the rain. "Some people call it packed earth, but we're just going for dirt," he concluded and I nodded.
"Just wait a couple more days," I advised, "then wait for the magazines to document your brilliance."
We had pudding (with chocolate chips!) a bit later and watched Little Cousin don still one more different dress. After one more cuddle session with the puppies (!!), they abandoned me for Jay as he doled out food for the dogs and cats. So Friend and I gave hugs and wandered to the car to make our way back to my house.
"I think I'll take Benadryl earlier tonight," she decided.
"Good plan," I agreed. "You were mostly out of it all day."
"There were moments of consciousness," she said mildly. "But I was really tired." I nodded.
"I'm going to shower when we get home," I noted. "My hair is even icky from when I'd duck my head to stop the kisses to my face. And I feel grimy. So I'll shower - and wash my hair - again today, I think."
"Good plan," she said, still uncharacteristically docile. "You smell."
I paused when I realized I couldn't even tell, so used to the wet dog and oddly farm-like odor that it was just fading into the background for me. But I pushed back a lock of gnawed-on hair and wiped at my chin with the back of one dirty hand and decided it had been a wonderful day. And though I was removing my clothes before even getting to the master bathroom and hopped in the shower to ease a good deal of dirt off my body and down the drain, the easy contentment lingered even after I was nice and clean and not-smelly.