Friday, July 15, 2011

It's a Dark Day

I'll be the first to admit that it has been too long since my last post. And I can't promise anyone that this post means there will be a change in my posting patterns. However, what I can say is today, after an extensive vacation, inspiration has come back.

As it happens, I am currently babysitting a hamster. Whiskers appears to be one of the cute Siberian type. Little, fluffy and, possibly, full of evil. I accepted delivery of one hamster and promptly left for work. When I came home my 3.5 year-old son was a flutter with joy of having a hamster in the house. As he told me, "I love our - OUR - hamster." He's had 4 hours with this hamster and already he's claimed it. Stick a flag in it; he's done.

On the other end of the spectrum: my cat. I immediately noticed the cat, Mitzi, was twitchier than normal, constantly crouched in an investigative position and definitely jumpier.

Pictured: Not a jumpy, twitchy, crouch-y cat.

Of course, my first thought was that Hedwig, my cat who has been threatening to die for 10 of the 13 years I've had her, finally had her way with life. After a rigorous search of the premises turned up Hedwig alive and what I can only call kicking I quit looking for her corpse. Since she wasn't dead I was able to quickly rule out the possibility that Mitzi was freaked out because she found the body and was not able to communicate to us her predicament.

Hedwig not being dead.

I put Mitzi's bizarre behavior on the back-burner for a while and went on with my life... until I realized that finding Hedwig hadn't helped her, and Mitzi was still flipping out. So I decided to go all scientific on her sweet ass and conduct an experiment.

My hypothesis: Mitzi is weirded out my the introduction of Whiskers the Cuddly.

My test: Grab Mitzi and attempt to expose her to her possible fear.

Yeah... about that...

The first attempt to grab Mitzi ended with her flinging her cat-like body down a flight of stairs. She normally doesn't move, I mean at least not that fast.

The second attempt went remarkably better. Or not, probably... On the second try I managed to pluck up the crafty kitty and carry her to the room with the Evil Whiskers. As I opened the door her claws started to protrude and her muscles tensed. Within three steps towards the hamster cage Mitzi was letting her true colors show.

The results: I felt a warm sensation on my side.

My cat had peed on me. The tiny little hamster scared the piss out of my cat. Really?

Conclusion: Mitzi is in fact afraid of a cotton ball with a pulse. But this just opens up so many other questions. How is she going to show her face to her friends? How will Hedwig react when she finds out? But perhaps more importantly: What do I need to know about this hamster? Should I be afraid?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Driving My Mice Away

So, a while back my mom and I were driving. I don't know where we were going, and it doesn't much matter. The important thing is that as we drove under a rickety old train bridge a snake flung itself on my car.

I responded calmly and pointed out to my mom in a shriek well below shrill that there was a snake on the car. She had heard the thump but tried to explain it away as "just a twig or something less alive - definitely not a snake."

However, even my calm and sane mother couldn't deny the snake sitting on my windshield wipers when it stared at her and waved its little tongue at her. For me, it was almost like her acknowledgment made everything more real. There WAS a snake on my car, and it WAS going to crawl under the hood, and it WAS going to come through the air conditioner vents at us.

Not wanting to over react we continued to travel at 30 to 35 miles per hour with the snake slithering around for another eight miles or so. Finally deciding we couldn't take anymore of it poking it's head under the hood, we pulled into a church parking lot where my mom deftly maneuvered the snake off the car with the cunning use of her hands and a stick. I hopped around like a maniac with a racquet ball racquet. Initially I think I had equipped it for protection but in hindsight I wonder if I was hoping for a pick up game of racquet ball.

Anyway, my mom put the snake down and it slithered away, not even giving us a backwards glance or a snide comment. I mean he had just landed on my car and caused a general panic. A slow-burning, minute panic, but a panic nonetheless. It seemed like the snake had owed us something.

And that was it. I hadn't really thought about the entire incident until just a couple of days ago when I was driving again.

I had just dropped the kid off at my mom's work and was making my getaway by pulling slowly in front of a fast moving car, which I was watching with great interest in by rear-view mirror. When I was finally able to re-direct my attention forward there was a mouse crawling across my front window.

I didn't really think too much of it until the thought hit me: there's a mouse walking across my car window. I hit the windshield wipers to no effect and called my mom to rehash old times.

Presumably the mouse fell off the car, which I saw him almost do once with a look of absolute terror on his face, or he crawled under the hood so he could come through the air conditioner vents at me. Judging by the way I jumped when the straw wrapper on the floor brushed my leg I'm inclined to think I believed the second option a little bit more.

My question, however, is: where was the snake when I needed him? It's been almost a year since the great snake debacle, but I needed the snake to go after the mouse. If this trend continues my car is going to turn into the old women who swallowed a fly.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Things that are bothering me today...

For my two loyal readers it is no secret I haven't posted in forever. I have no good reason, but if I were to make one up I would say I have been traveling cross country to surprise people with lawns full of pink flamingos. They were all well-received and much appreciated.

In actuality I have been trying to move and spending every other day at home watching Pixar movies. I know, I know - I could have it worse, but after so many days it does get old. As a form of release I have decided to discuss a few things that are bothering me today.

Two-year-olds make a big mess everywhere they go. I have spent a fair amount of time today traveling between the kitchen and living room and cleaning up as I go. It starts with gathering of kiddy cups and shredded paper from the living room and removing them to the kitchen followed by gathering clean laundry in the kitchen and taking it back to the living room. In between trips I manage to successfully clean out the hall separating the two rooms and Jack gets out the vacuum.

I enter the living room to find the clean laundry covering up all his toy trucks so they can take naps, so I pick the clothes and trucks back up and bring some pilfered silverware back to the kitchen. Jack loves silverware. Once I re-enter the kitchen I find all my plastic-ware has been brought out and filled with water for the pets.

I head back out through my clean hallway to find Jack has packed up his toy trucks and moved them into the hallway as it is now a clean surface for him to play on. This continues until I put him down for his nap.

Another thing that bothers me: Birds insist on exploding outside my house. On multiple occasions I have left to retrieve my mail only to find bird feathers strewn around my property. Due to the number of other critters I find cavorting around my land I am sure there is no force field detonating birds on impact, so why the hell are they always exploding?

While I'm on the subject of what's going on outdoors I'd like to mention my neighbors. On both sides the neighbors have this compulsion to mow once the grass can tickle their feet over the sole of their flip-flops. Now, personally I don't mow because of circumstances I don't wish to control. And because I refuse to I don't pressure my husband too hard about it when it's really hot, which it has been lately. Unfortunately, when it's not hot it's raining so the lawn can get pretty long between mowings, and look remarkably worse because of the show-offs beside me. I hate lawns.

Yeah, I could continue, and I really want to, but Jack's back up so it looks like the cleaning marathon begins again. Huzzah!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Derby Duldrums

Sure, the idea of a wonderfully tacky hat really excited me. The weeks leading up to the Kentucky Derby had me thinking about the perfect hat to wear in my mother's living room sipping on a mint julep and cheering on my horse of choice. I had built up the notion and the fantasy of the Kentucky Derby inside my head 'til I could barely think of anything else.

After the fact... well, the hat was very nice. I hate whiskey and my horse came in 14th place. I chose Dean's Kitten because I like cats. It should have been a cat race. Cats racing would have been a lot more fun to watch. Cats sleeping would have been more fun to watch.

I had no idea the race was so short. I guess I had the thing pegged to be like a NASCAR race where the horses go around 500 times. That would've made what I had built up in my head closer to reality. Fiery wrecks, horses flipping over each other, and fast-paced pit stops where they change the horses' shoes and spray water in the jockeys' faces would also have complimented the show and greatly enhanced my enjoyment. Well, if my (super-awesome) hat didn't keep slipping down over my eyes by the weight of its sheer awesomeness.

But, all was not lost. Or it wasn't a total loss. I mean I got to wear a hat, right. I decorated tge hat with stands I made for puffballs to sit on so they could watch the Derby through their little googly eyes. And in turn the puffballs had on tiny hats with puffballs on them. I need to get a picture, but that will have to wait. I left my camera at my mom's house. But soon so soon.

To be continued, then... with pictures.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I'm Not Really Feeling the Birds

OK. I haven't posted anything in a while. Sorry and all that blah blah blah. Now that that is over let's get on with things.

Spring has sprung and since we live in sweet little Springfield that means snow storms followed by temps in the 80s, and I don't mean all decked out in neon clothes with its hair teased to the ends of the earth because temperatures don't have hair - though many do have an affinity for neon clothing.

Another important part of spring that I have noticed sprunging all over the place are the birds. This is the time of the year when birds go out of their way to impress other birds, and nothing says "Check me out I'm prime mating material!" like trying to get yourself hit by a car.

I see it all the time - Birds flying across the street at low levels or hanging out in the middle of the street waiting for a car to swerve out of its way. And all so he can go back to the others and say, "See that? Those big things that have killed generations upon generations of our kind are afraid of me! Have my children!"

Such bravado. Such arrogance. And yet all the silly female birds fall for it. The cycle continues and we are stuck with new generations of birds showing off.

I suppose there is the argument that if the bird survives he might just be the fittest, but what that bird doesn't realize is there is a difference between daring feats of aerial acrobatics aimed at me and the same things aimed at just about any other driver on the road.

So, I guess really what I wanted to say is: Spring has sprung, and the birds are dumb.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Mop, The Mouse and The Bottom Line

OK, so a number of recent circumstances have forced me to rethink my stance on cleaning.

First, I found it difficult to stand in my kitchen without shoes on because of the ick and grit. In my defense with the constant onslaught of rain and snow this region has seen a certain amount of ick is to be expected what with dogs and people tracking in mud and, of course, ick.

I started by sweeping, then moved on to vacuuming, then used the vacuum hose, then swept, vacuumed, and hosed again.

After the preliminary steps were fulfilled I moved onto the mop. This started out promising as I reached for my trusty, rarely used sponge-on-a-stick mop. In a moment of delusion I decided to change out the mop head. Bad idea. The other mop head I own turned out to be a tad too big, and I mangled the mop stick wresting the old head off.

This left me to do the only rational thing: use the mop head by itself and mop everything old school. I got down on the same level as the ick and the grit and scrubbed like I've never scrubbed before, which was only partially true because this is how I clean my hardwood in my bedroom.

Still, it was exhausting, and I know when I let the dogs in and they make a mess, which they will, I am going to be heartbroken.

The second recent event was the mouse. I am not afraid of them or worried about them in a stand on the chair screaming way, but I do have the tendency to over-react, I mean really just stupid-crazy over-react.

Hedwig, the impossibly unphotogenic cat, entered the living room and I said to my sister she has a mouse in her mouth, referring to Hedwig not my sister, since I would like to think if my sister had a mouse in her mouth she wouldn't need me telling her.

I reacted calmly until I realized how life-like the toy mouse was.

If memory serves me my thought process went as followed: I need something to put this mouse in - I have a cup - it still has liquid in it - oh here's another cup - I'll pour the little bit in - shoot, there was a lid on the other cup - OK I now have an empty cup - where's the cat - aha, put cup on cat's head hold in mouse - ooo cat doesn't like that - now I've lost the cat and the mouse - ahh mouse went behind couch - put couch in middle of living room - no mouse hmmm - where is mouse - cat has left obviously bored with this game - sister has a stick - my stick now - beat on everything in house yelling "No Mouse Go Away Mouse" and various obscenities - should work - shoot I'm missing Ice dance - have I hit over there yet - what's the cat looking at - should I yell more obscenities at the mouse...

At one point my sister asked what I would do if the mouse jumped out at me and I told her the truth: I would scream like a little girl. And then the chase would begin anew.

I guess the bottom line is cleaning is completely different from staightening up. I vacuum a lot and I organize a lot, but when it comes down to really giving the place a good once over and all, well, not so often. But not anymore. I can change and make this place a little cleaner. I just know it. That was a great pep talk, now where's my bed?

Saturday, January 16, 2010


If you listen to the news eventually you will stumble upon a story or two about people who end up driving into a lake or off a cliff because they put too much faith into their GPS device. Upon hearing such stories I have usually come to the conclusion that these people are idiots - plain and simple. However, certain recent events have come to light forcing me to rethink this.

Situation 1: My mom has had a Garmin GPS device for a couple/few years now and since we are awful at following instructions we are quite familiar with the voice-over summoning up all the pissiness she can muster to spit out the word "recalculating" because we screwed up once again.

Recently, we were out looking for Christmas lights suggested by the local paper (who, with their great insight, included addresses but no directions.) During our excursion she (the Garmin) told us she was recalculating numerous times. As a family we decided that the lady recording the voice-over was given the direction, "They're ignoring you again" for her motivation to sound pissy.

Then we broke her heart. She had to tell us to make a U-turn. That did not make her happy. Not one bit.

Situation 2: Once while driving home from Kansas City, my sister and I looked at the screen which gave all the indications that we were driving through a lake. No roads, just water everywhere. My sister and I screamed and turned the machine off because if we were actually in a lake turning off the Garmin would have fixed everything.

Situation 3: More recently my husband, sister, and I were driving to the Arch in St. Louis. Had we listened to the Garmin's cryptic directions to "turn right on the road" she would have led us up the steps leading down to the river front and had us park underneath the Arch. We outsmarted her and didn't listen, but this was the event that tipped me off that there may be something else to people following the Garmin to the ends of the Earth.

Like many put upon machines, GPS devices are retaliating and doing it to the best of their ability. By forcing the unsuspecting drivers into lakes, off cliffs, into fields or even under the Arch she is really saying "I won't be ignored, ______!" This is payback and payback feels good.