Not Quite the White Christmas I Wanted

I was recently talking with a friend who has three mixed-breed dogs, all heavy shedders. In this friend’s home is a commercial sized refrigerator because his wife runs a catering business and orders in bulk, so the overflow comes home with her.

They love their giant fridge, except for the fact that the coils underneath are a nightmare to clean. Dust and dog hair are quick to accumulate, causing it to run extra loud when in need of cleaning.

This same friend also owns one of those big backpack-style leave blowers, which does a tremendous job clearing even heavy, wet leaves from his lawn.

So, I suppose it wasn’t all that unusual for him, upon being faced with needing to clean those furry fridge coils shortly after having cleared his yard of leaves, that he might decide the same tool could be used for both tasks.

The leaf blower cleaned the coils beautifully. But it redistributed the dog hair all over his house.

I told him I could understand his pain, as I had gone through something similar once.

Back when I lived in South Charleston, West Virginia, I had stripped off the very old wallpaper in the front entrance of my house. The wall under the paper had been textured, and when removing the paper, big chunks of the textured plaster came off, so I attempted to match the design.

Once it had dried, I realized the pattern on one wall was much busier than the other walls, so I put some sandpaper on my power sander to soften it a bit.

Before starting to sand, though, I taped plastic over the doorways and put a heavy beach towel over the air intake on the floor to try to keep the dust from going all over the house, which I had just finished decorating for Christmas.

After just a few minutes of sanding, I looked like I’d survived an explosion at a baby powder factory. I was covered, head to toe, in a layer of fine, white dust. Unfortunately, so were the two terriers we had at the time. They had slipped under the plastic and joined me while I’d been preoccupied.

Now the dogs were nagging me to let them outside. The door was right there beside me, so I complied. While they were out in the yard, it started to rain.

No big deal, I thought dumbly. It’ll just wash off the dust.

But I couldn’t have been more wrong. The rain turned their powdery white fur into congealed coats of matted plaster.

When I let them inside, both were threatening to shake, as dogs will do when they’re wet. In a desperate attempt to block them from ruining my fresh walls, I snatched up the heavy beach towel off the floor vent and used it to cover them as I herded the boys to the tub for a real bath.

Getting them clean of the white goo took a while, so I suppose it’s not unexpected that by the time I finally started sanding again, I had completely forgotten about the now-uncovered air intake vent on my floor.

And sometime during my next hour of sanding, the furnace kicked on.

Sending a layer of fine powdery white dust throughout my house.

While Bing Crosby might croon wishes for all your Christmases to be white, my hope is that it’s in the more traditional sense.



Karin Fuller is a newspaper columnist and short fiction writer who resides in both Atlanta, GA, and Hinton, WV.

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Karin Tauscher Fuller

Karin Fuller is a newspaper columnist and short fiction writer who resides in both Atlanta, GA, and Hinton, WV.