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Monday, July 29, 2013

That's Baloney

Today I tried to make a bologna sandwich.

 You wouldn’t think it would be so hard.

Ingredients: bread, mayo, bologna, cheese, kitten

Wait. What?

These days, there’s a sweet, new, innocent face in the house, which makes everything else just a little bit more difficult.

If not impossible.

Sweep the hardwoods? It goes like this: sweep, remove kitten. Sweep, remove kitten.  Looks like if they can make stain remover that gets out Gorilla Glue, they could find a product to remove a three pound ball of fluff from the broom.  Meanwhile, she’s riding the dustmop like it’s the Scrambler.

Do the laundry?  I have to check every load I put in the washer, to make sure she’s not swinging like a trapeze artist from someone’s underpants.  And I’m pretty sure that in her case fabric softener would be overkill.  Of all her mighty 3.2 pounds, three pounds is fur.

The rest is claws.

Don’t even think of putting up the blinds, mixing up a cake, or feeding the Labradors.

The Labradors think she’s Satan.
Does anybody else smell brimstone?
I suggested we name her Stop That, because we say it so often these days, but it turns out she doesn’t respond anyway, so I gave up.

But back to the point. I tried to make a bologna sandwich. After removing the kitten from the table, the bread wrapper, the bologna package, and the cheese slice, I removed the peel from around the bologna from the kitten, and locked her in another room with a kitty snack.

Remember that commercial that says, “My bologna has a first name.” I think the kitten does too.

And I think the Labradors are on to something.



Thursday, July 25, 2013

Back to Nature

One day on my way back to work after lunch, a lizard fell on my head. 

It was one of those clear blue sky meets reality moments.  And while I was somewhat startled, and the lizard showed definite signs of disapproval, we were out of the city limits in the pastoral scenery of the country and that sort of thing is to be expected.  Falling lizards one day, dive-bombing sparrows the next.  Country life is very near to nature, an Old English word that means “creepy things that live outside.”

Once we even found a frog in the bathroom, perched cleverly on the sink like a picturesque soap dispenser. The mosquitoes had their own Air Force battalion complete with Black Ops Special Forces.  We didn’t necessarily all get along, but we agreed that I had the right to seizures when they advanced on my territory.   Eventually I said farewell to Animal Kingdom and moved to the city.

Where I was overrun by ants.

I thought city life would involve theatre, dinners out, and late night discussions over coffee and exotic desserts I couldn’t pronounce.  Perhaps I should have moved to a city with more than two stoplights.  But I like my little town, and the fact that passersby are comfortable stopping their cars to remind me to water my ferns comforts me.  That’s my idea of public assistance.

I set up my home office in a sunny window overlooking a bush I’m pretty sure is supposed to be there.  Sometimes I have a little trouble differentiating Keepers from Weeds.  Generally speaking, weeds are the ones I can grow.

Lounging at my desk one day, I made an observation.  Lounging is a word that means “Working Very Hard While Looking at Funny Pictures of Cats.”  I observed an ant running across my keyboard.  This happened every day for a week, so I did what any responsible person would do.

I Googled Ants.

Everybody has their favorite way of getting rid of ants.  My favorite way is to ask them politely to leave.

The Internet suggested I squash them individually.

Years of technical pioneering and know-how came together for this. For fifty gazillion dollars you can get a degree to master the bits and bites and nanojibbits involved in helping to advance technology and developing a world-wide electronic communication system that allows you to learn how to smush bugs with your finger. 

MIT must be so proud.

It occurred to me that perhaps the Internet had a few bugs of their own to get rid of, so for now I’m going to remain calm.

But I'm going to Google for an image of that bush.  I think it just ate my cat.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What's The Buzz

I can never use my bathroom again.

I go out of my way not to show prejudice to any living thing.  Except, of course, on Monday mornings when I despise every creature on earth equally. 

But in general, I work very hard to have an open mind.  Just last night I had an open mind about chocolate cake.  Chocolate cake has come by a very bad reputation for hip and thigh abuse, but in my efforts to be fair, I had a big piece.  This has nothing to do with my bathroom, but goes to show that I am a reasonable and open-minded person. In an unrelated thought, it occurs to me I might turn off comments to this post as a precautionary measure.

This morning, I took Lucy the Diva Dachshund out the front door to soil my lawn.  It pleases her to conduct her affairs in front of her admiring public, and precludes my carrying her down the steep steps to the back yard, which is a place suitable for the Labradors, who are commoners.  Lucy took care of her business with a painstaking air and waddled back to the door.  I waddled behind her.  We’re built kind of alike, Lucy and I, except she shaves her legs more often than I do and gets to sleep in every morning.

Inside, she always steps just onto the Karastan and waits for her treat, to create maximum carnage with crumb scattering. When I take care of my business, I get a line of angry people waiting in line and banging on the bathroom door.  When she does her thing, she gets the doggie equivalent of a caviar-coated truffle on my one good rug.

I heard a loud buzzing by my ear.

Here is where my prejudices come into play.  Nothing with more or less legs than I have and has not yet incurred a vet bill or required homeschooling is welcome in my house.

This description covers everything from snakes to squids to seventeen-year-olds who live next door and seem to be all feet, and in their natural habitat they are an essential part of the earth’s perfect ecosystem.  In my house, they’re vermin, critters, creatures, and *monsters with fangs dripping blood (*see teenagers).

I tried to comfort myself with the thought that it might be a friendly hummingbird or a spiraling B52 about to crash land on the coffee table.

I heard the buzz again, right by my ear.  I don’t think this is what people mean when they say they’ve got a buzz on.

I’m proud to say I remained calm. I carefully deposited the intruder in the bathroom and eased the door closed.

When the police finally left, I chastised the neighbors for bothering our law enforcement friends with such petty matters, and vowed to pay the Disturbing the Peace fine before rumors could spread.

In the meantime, the bathroom door is staying closed and I’m blasting Flight of the Bumblebee on the CD player until the Captain gets home.

And if he says, “Buzz Off,” he’s sleeping outside.





Sunday, July 21, 2013

Chrome Doesn't Pay

I never thought this could happen to me.  I’ve read about it and heard stories, but it was something that always happened to somebody else.

I paid off my car! From one shiny bumper to the other.  Actually it's been a long time since they were shiny. If Carolina Red Mud is a color in the big box of 64, that's what color my bumpers are.
But they're MY bumpers. Because I paid off my car!
At least, I thought I paid off my car. I went to the website and authorized the amount listed in the PAYOFF block.  Then I did a little Payoff Dance and ate some chocolate. 

Then I fantasized about what I would spend all the extra money on.  Perhaps we’d have meat for supper.  Does meat come in any style other than hamburger?

I might splurge on light bulbs for all the lamps that need something bigger than 40 Watts.  Or maybe I would pay my car insurance on time.

I marked the date on my calendar, so that I would always know when to celebrate.  I paid my car off!

And got a bill the next month that said I was late on my car payment.

Excuse me?

It turns out the PAYOFF block lies. That’s the block that tells how much to pay before the second hand on the INTEREST DUE clock ticks forward another percentage point.

The Solemn and Greedy Car Payment People said I needed to may THIS amount. And they put that amount in a box marked PAYMENT DUE.

But I already did my Payoff Dance, so this made me sad.

So I don’t care if the Car Payment People come carry off the car to their Evil Car Payment Laboratory.

They should get it today.  It’s 92 degrees and the air conditioner just broke.



Thursday, July 18, 2013


We had a storm the other night and the power went out.  We went outside to take a look and the people on one end of the street had power.  We spent some quality time together as a family and when we got home from the restaurant, the people at the other end of the street had power.  So that left a little group of us in the middle of the block who couldn’t watch reality TV.

Nature can be so unfair.

We sat on the porch and watched the rain.

The rain stopped.

We walked the dogs.  The Labradors were excited.  The Dachshund was mad because her feet got wet.  The dogs pooped in somebody else’s yard for a change.  Okay, they didn’t, but it would’ve made the day just a little bit more bearable for us if they had, and everybody’s allowed to dream, right?

We played three games of Sorry.  I won twice so I’m the Champion of the World.

We played with the kitten.  She found the catnip mouse every time.

So she’s the Champion of the World.

It was very hot with no air conditioning.  My son, who is Very Smart, tells me that air conditioners use electricity instead of hamster wheels like I thought.  The kitten was also in favor of the hamster theory.

We opened all the windows and went to bed.

And discovered that animals don’t like it when there is a change in their world.

 We explained to the Labradors that we wouldn’t let any bad guys come through the window and carry them off.   We explained to the kitten that it was not daytime and playtime even though lots of shiny light was coming in through the windows in fancy patterns.

The Dachshund didn’t care. She went to sleep.

And four hours, two Labradors, and a tired kitten later, so did we.

If this were Reality TV, the Dachshund would be the only survivor.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Of Fights and Figs


This post appeared this month on The Stage of Life (scroll down til you see my smiling face) where I serve as Homeowner Editor.  Our recent move - and the hubster's stance on home ownership (under the fig tree with live ammunition)  has given me loads of material for the topic.

I paused in the doorway to admire the new rug, a beautiful name-brand made-of-expensive wool area rug that was almost as attractive as the basement-level price I paid for it at neighborhood consignment shop. It’s not that I’m cheap, but I was pinching pennies long before we found out Abraham Lincoln was a vampire hunter.

I grinned. “It’s beautiful.”

“I know.” Bill’s voice came from the kitchen. It’s nice when the man of the house notices the little touches you put in place to make a house a home.

“It just goes to show that if you’re willing to wait, you’ll eventually reach your goal.” I haunted this shop for months waiting for the right floor covering to go with my century-old hardwoods.

“Absolutely.”  Bill sounded distracted, but how long can a rug, even one with a dashing reindeer motif, hold the attention of a man who can open aspirin bottles without help.

I turned to see him staring dreamily out the kitchen window.

Just outside the window is the reason the Head of Household made this particular household his castle.  A beautiful, bountiful fig tree burst with gorgeous green leaves and a fresh array of fruit. There were hundreds of tender, young figs waiting through sun and moon, rainy days and sunny ones, for the perfect moment when a fast-moving mockingbird did a fast fly-by for breakfast.
The War of the Roses never got as bloodthirsty as the War of the Fig Tree, although Roses probably had more sophisticated weaponry.  The ground under the fig tree bore signs of sponges and scrub brushes that flew shy of their target.

Just then he threw the window open with one hand and drove the broom neatly through the center.

“Excuse me, but are you in training for the Olympics?  Is Broom Jousting the new Basketball?”

A noise drifted in through the window. It was kind of a cross between a chirp and a tweet, as if somewhere an ill-mannered early bird was trying to sing around a mouth full of worm.

Bill side-armed a brand new bar of Ivory soap out of the window and the birdie sounds halted abruptly.

The thing about owning a home is that you have to learn to take care of issues that crop up suddenly around the house.

That’s how we ended up with a front-yard village of bird feeders full of enticing and distracting treats, a twenty-foot net that could install discipline in Lady GaGa’s hairdo over the fig tree, and a happy husband whose soap slinging days are over.