Perhaps you have important guests coming in from out of town? Your husband’s beloved grandfather (Papa) and uncle who’ve never been to Portland? I can help!
Your guests will be tired from travel. But not so tired that they don’t immediately notice that your front yard is full of dog crap. Quickly steer them into the house. The first thing to do is feed them, of course. Just make sure the dishes you feed them on have that weird residue from the dishwasher.
After dinner, give them the tour of your quarter acre urban farm, being sure to stop in the basement to look at the piles of laundry and the smelly, yet adorable, baby chicks. Then make them stand around outside in the rain looking at your chicken coop and overgrown lawn when all they really want to do is sit by the fire and talk to your four-year-old who they only get to see once a year. She will cooperate by burying her head in your chest and grunting whenever they address her. Once she warms up, she will deliver ear piercing girl screams to show her affection. At this point, advise that hearing aides should be turned down.
Let your guests return to their hotel for some much needed rest. Your husband has a role to play here, too. After closing up the chicken coop for the night, he should decide that one of the chickens definitely needs to go into the vet, as her butt looks like those red-assed monkeys you can’t help staring at at the zoo. Make an appointment to drop her off in the morning, you can squeeze it in during the grand tour you are planning, it will just take a few minutes.
In the morning, instruct your husband to ready a large box to house your giant chicken for transport to the vet. As you guests arrive, recruit one of them to take over cooking breakfast while you and your husband wrangle a 12 pound chicken into said box. Leave your husband to finish cooking and scurry off to the vet.
The vet’s office will instruct you to return for your chicken in two hours, so, take a wrong turn on the way home to add another twenty minutes to your already half hour return drive. Once you’re home, it’s time to being the tour of the Rose City! Pile into the car, passenger seat for Papa, of course. Your husband drives and you ride on the hump squeezed between uncle and large car seat.
Make a stop of your daughter’s school. Brilliant photo opportunity. Wow, it’s time to pick up the chicken already!
But when you get there, it won’t be. You will sit in the lobby, with guests, four-year-old and husband waiting in the car, for a ludicrously long time, while every bird keeper in Portland waits with you.
Because they are gracious and midwestern, your guests will forgive you. But God only knows what they must be thinking. Finally, after nearly an hour and half, the vet pulls you to an exam room to tell you that your chicken has lice and a mild uterine infection. You get to give her — a chicken who won’t come within 3 feet of you of her own volition — antibiotics twice a day for seven days.
But the monkey butt? Completely normal.
Fork over enough money to buy a flock of 30 baby chicks to treat a chicken who hates you and heft your box of poultry out to the car, wedging it into the space between the passenger seat and the back seat on the floor, your four-year-old’s legs resting atop it.
This is where you all break into giggles. There is a chicken in the car. At least there will be a story for your guests to tell their friends when they get back. Never mind that everyone in Minnesota will think you’ve become a hopeless west coast flake. Own it.
Now that you’re off to such an aupicious start, the rest will likely take care of itself. Make a stop at Powells Books, the International Rose Test Garden and the St. John’s Bridge. Your guests will be so relieved that they are no longer locked in a sedan with a sick chicken, they’re sure to fall in love with P-town.