The Good, The Bad, &The Guilt

Today has been…all three.

The Good: I volunteered earlier this week to do a “Parade of Homes” this morning for the local Builders Association, taking tickets, welcoming people to one of the houses on the tour, for a 4-hour stint. 

I and another of my coworkers were paired together, and we had fun, chatting with the folks that showed up, even though it was cold, sitting at a table in the house’s open garage (a brisk 46 degrees, with a nice breeze dancing in from one corner occasionally, thanks!). We had a pretty steady stream of people from the opening time of 10, and were supposed to be relieved by our replacement at 1pm.

The Bad: Our replacement never showed.

About 1:45, we finally got ahold of the organizer of the volunteers, & let her know that we couldn’t stay anymore (my coworker had a child that wasn’t feeling well, & I had other plans as well for my afternoon) , & she was very gracious & thankful that we’d even stayed that long.

So, we packed it in, & left.

When I got home, I started working on my kitchen again. I’m preparing to re-paint, & need to scrub walls, so went & bought a cheap sponge mop at the dollar store, along with a degreaser spray for the walls. 

Then, I decided it was time to clean my ferret, Vinnie’s cage, & give him a bath.

Bath given, I turned him loose on the floor, & started cleaning his cage. He usually runs around like a Tasmanian devil possessed after a bath while I clean his cage. 

Not today.

The Guilt: While replacing the newspapers at the bottom of his cage, after scrubbing, I heard a strange noise in the kitchen.  It sounded like he’d gotten stuck somewhere, & was scrabbling, trying to get out.

He wasn’t stuck.

He was by the cat’s water bucket.

And his back legs were not working.

His back feet were twitching, like he was trying to make them work…but he couldn’t get his hindquarters up off the floor to work like normal.

And I hadn’t noticed when it set him on the floor in the towel.

He was fine just yesterday, what happened?!? 

How could I not notice there was something wrong?

Did he fall somewhere in his cage?

He hasn’t been out of his cage for the last couple of days, and it’s a large, 3-level cage that stands 6 feet tall. He could’ve gotten stuck in the wire-works, somewhere….

And I didn’t see it.

Ferrets are relatively quiet animals, not making much noise, Vinnie quieter than most, he hardly even chatters when he’s excited.

But, how did I not notice this??

Many domesticated ferrets die of cancer as well…

Is this it??

I feel horrible, guilty, and sad.

I know, that if there’s no visible improvement by the beginning of the week, that I’ll have to take him to the vet.

I’m pretty positive that there won’t be improvement. Things like this usually don’t work that way.

You can figure out the logical conclusion.

And that makes this guilt even worse.

Excuse me, I have children to call…

It’s That Time Again

The full moon is right around the corner.

Know how I know?

Stuff keeps going missing.

Little things, like my fingernail clipper, and my ear buds for my phone, a small ziploc baggie of hematite rings, & a stretchy headband I wear when I work out.

Now, I know I’ll find these things sooner or later, tucked under a chair, or peeking out from under one of the blankets on my bed, or maybe when I move the couch to mop this weekend.

And how do I know this?

Take a close look…

Those are teeth marks on that emery board.

Every month, right around the full moon, this happens.

The culprit?

Yes, Sally Jane. You. Don’t try to pawn me off with that “Who me?” look.




OnlySon’s cat.
Irritating evening yowl-sounder.
Dog teaser.
Early morning tail-in-face flicker.
Catnip addict.
And when she visits the cat box….
The repository of dead, rotted souls.

Ah, gawd. The stench.

Eats the exact same food as my other cat, and yet… something inside this feline has died, and revisits us every time she evacuates her bowels.

Errrrrgh….*choke, gag*


It is a little after 5 AM. 

I’ve been sitting here, staring into my laptop’s screen for a little over an hour now, trying to catch up on my blog-friends’ lives (which I’ve sadly fallen horribly far behind on in the last few weeks).  My new kitten, Sally, is curled up on my lap, after finally giving up trying to get me to play with her instead of the strange, flickering box I seem to be obsessed with.  YoungerDaughter and OnlySon are, of course, sound asleep and know nothing of my late-night “sleepus interruptus”.

I blame the strawberry lemonade.

Last night, after YoungerDaughter came home from work, we decided it was too freaking hot to breathe, and didn’t want to fire up the Flaming Box of Hades (the oven, to you non-pagans), but we were famished and needed sustenance.  McD’s it is! 

Now that the boil order has finally been lifted for most of our fair city, the fast-food joints here in town can get back to serving liquid refreshment that doesn’t come in a can or sealed bottle. 

Ahhhhh, the blessed Frozen Strawberry Lemonade…..

How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways:

1.  That I’m willing to endure the immediate BRAINFREEZE I get when consuming this delectable dessert-in-a-cup, because I can’t stop myself from diving head-first into the sweet and sour AWESOMENESS that is this slushy heaven.  It’s worth the momentary cessation of brain functions to get that first hit of cold, summery, fruitjuice love.

2.  That I’m also willing to endure the ultimate, incapacitating HEARTBURN.  That which woke me up at 4 AM today, and still holds me tightly in its grip.  No, it’s not angina or a stroke.  I had some strawberry lemonade, ok?  Yes, I know it causes me pain, but that which does not kill us…. right?  Right.  Totally worth it.

And the warmth of my 7-week old Patchwork Sally on my lap is the perfect cure. 

Shhh, this is my sleepy face…



Yup.  Totally worth it.

Maybe I should try to catch a couple more winks before the sun actually hits the horizon.

Mmmm… or maybe just a couple more blogs.

True/False or Total Bull

And…… the winner is…… Thoughts!

The #2 story is the true one.

The farm we lived on when I was a kid, was about 50 feet from a main highway, and we had a lot of roadkill, including many of the cats we kept to keep down the vermin population in the barn.

One of the cats had kittens just a couple of days before getting killed on our highway, and Boots (the black and white one) and Rocky (the one getting nibbled) were the only 2 that survived until I could find them in the barn.  I proceeded to bring them in the house, and against my parents’ wishes, stated that I was going to make them live.  My folks thought I was crazy, that there was no way I’d be able to take care of 2 newborn kittens, all by myself, and they were not going to help me.  They were pretty sure the kittens would be too frail to make it.

But, I talked my mom into taking me to the local farm-supply store, where I was lucky enough to find 2 tiny baby-doll bottles that had rubber nipples on them, and I proceeded to care for the boys, keeping them in a cardboard box, next to the radiator in my room.  Luckily, it was summer-time, so I could care for them throughout the day, and every night, I got up and fed and washed them off, just like their mama would have done.

The boys lived, becoming monster tom-cats.  Boots was more of a home-body, and was kind of the “Grand-Poobah” on the farm, often found babysitting the new kittens.  He didn’t care whether they were his offspring or not, he just cared that they cuddled up next to him and kept him warm in the sunshine.

Rocky was a roamer, but he always returned to the farm for visits.  Rocky and Boots got along perfectly, as though they knew that they were brothers, and didn’t have to fight over anything.  Strange for tom-cats to get along like that, but they did.

The rest of the stories?  Totally made up, with help from YoungerDaughter.  I did used to try trick-riding on my horse, but I was too chicken to stand up without something to hang on to; I did watch a lot of Star Trek, but never wore dresses if I could help it as a kid; and I was on TV in college, but for the Concordia Christmas Concert on PBS, not for any dating show. 

So, there you go.  A little truth, a lot of false, and a HUGE load of BULL… er… cats.

Have a great weekend, my friends!

The Horse Napper

We had horses when I was younger, and I was completely mad about them.  I spent every spare minute I had, out in the pasture, sitting with them, brushing them, riding them.

When we’d go to friends homes that had horses, that’s where I’d disappear to, not caring if the animals were friendly or not.  Even if they weren’t, I’d still be found, staring longingly through the fence at the beautiful beasts on the other side.

And, if there were babies, I was crouched in the middle of the pasture, patiently waiting. 

I’d wait for hours if necessary, quiet, head down, non-threatening, with possibly a little bit of tasty grass clutched in my sweaty hands. 


And, many times, it paid off.  The foals would approach, cautiously, fearfully, tentatively.

And once in a while, I’d get one to relax enough, to trust me enough, to let me be his or her pillow.  Stiff-legged, I’d sit, totally blissed out on the smell of horses, sunshine and dust.  Back cramped and a smile wide enough to split my face in half, petting the softest hides on the planet, to my young, horse-crazed mind.

The picture above is not my first shot at horse-napping, nor was it my last.  It was just the only one that got captured on film. 

I’m not especially known for my patience, in fact, most of the time, I’m the one chomping at the bit to get moving, get it over with, rip the bandaid off all in one go.

But I will wait for some things.  Patiently, quietly, with sweaty palms and heightened awareness.  When it’s something I truly want….. I can wait.

The Dog Dyed

My grampa on my dad’s side passed away when I was very young.  But, I still remember his quirky, soft-hearted sense of humor.  He was a soft-spoken man, with a pocket full of pennies whenever us grand-kids would come to visit – I was only about 5 or 6 when he passed away, so all I really remember is his soft manner, his smile, and him always having pennies for us to spend at the candy shop, and always having cookies for us in his cookie jar.

But, over the years, my dad has told us many stories about him, and one of my favorites is his story of the Easter Egg Dog.

Grampa had a dog with unruly hair.  It wasn’t any particular breed of dog, but rather a mangy mutt, with hair that tangled so well, that Grampa liked to shave him in the spring.  That way, he wouldn’t have to deal with his pup getting cockle burrs caught in his hair through the summer, as well as generally looking very disreputable.

Dad says that the dog – hated- getting shaved.  Because there was no adorable “puppy cut” for Grampa’s dog, this was a sheep-shearin’ extravaganza.  Dad says that Gramma could probably have knit another dog out of the hair that Gramps shaved off every spring.  But the dog was mortified to be shorn of his beloved locks in public.  Grampa would get out the clippers, shave the dog almost bald, and turn him loose.

The dog would limp around as though Gramps had cut off his legs.

Then he’d go lay on the porch, and not move.  Only getting up to take care of life’s necessary functions like eating and poo-ing.  For weeks, this would go on, till the dog would finally decide that his hair had grown back enough to be acceptable, and would recover.

Until Easter rolled around.

Dad told us that Grampa loved decorating for Easter. 

Er, he loved decorating the DOG for Easter.

I would imagine, from Dad’s descriptions, that the dog looked something like this when Gramps was done with him:

He’d pick a different color every year, and use the food coloring, mixed up in a big batch, probably with water.  And the dog would come out looking like a pastel marshmallow Easter peep.

They say that dogs are color-blind.

No matter.  The dog knew what had been done to him.  The laughter that would be aimed at his pastel posterior as he walked down the street, head hung in shame, told him that he looked ridiculous.

The dog found solace in mud holes, covering up the “princess pinks”, and the “yes, chickie yellows”.  The “irish green” and the “passionate purples” would be only found, huddling under the porch of Grampa’s house, waiting for the first good rain to either bleed the color from his fur, or to turn the backyard into a big enough mud hole to keep him incognito for a good long time.

I wish I had pictures.  OH, how I wish I had pictures of this!  Because, in today’s weird world of pet-bling, there is a new trend.

Dyeing your pet’s fur to look like something else.  And while there are still people out there that will turn a bingo-dauber into a weapon of cat destruction (OtherHalf’s friend did this once, the cat almost begged to be killed out of the shame), some people have turned this into an art-form.  If you want to see… google “Dyed Dogs”.  You’ll go blind, or have a few laughs, either way, there’s too many pictures out there to post here.

But YoungerDaughter wants one of these:

A Chow.  Dyed to look like a Panda.

Talk about an identity crisis!

Poor Panda/Pooch! 

But you know?  They are kinda cute…..

Oh… JILLLYYYY!  Hey!  Hold still while I get out the hair extensions! No!  No BITING!

Don’t Drive Angry!

There seems to be a nasty trend with this little rodent. 

No, not Bill – Bill’s cool.  

I mean the furry fiend sitting in front of him behind the wheel.  This little dude is pissed.  And he has been driving angry for most of his career as the prognosticator of prognosticators.  I think maybe he needs some therapy, and someone should be looking into how he got a license to predict the weather in the first place!  I rather doubt he actually has a degree in meteorology.  Unless one was given to him as a “honorary weather dude”, which hardly seems right.

According to Phil has been angry for a long, long time:

“Of the 114 predictions on record so far, Punxsutawney Phil has predicted an early spring 14 times (12%). As to his accuracy, according to the StormFax Weather Almanac and records kept since 1887, Phil’s predictions have been correct just 39% of the time.”

So, not only does he seem to hate Spring – he’s also wrong a lot.  This begs the question:  Is Phil happy at his job?

Granted, this little furry dude is pampered for his whole life.  Phil lives in the Punxsutawney library with “his wife, Phyllis”, and is taken care of by his handlers, who are members of the “Inner Circle”.

And every summer, he gets a sip of a “magic elixir” which is purported to give him an extra 7 years of life.  This little dude’s been doing this for over a hundred years.  That’s a long time to hold 1 job.

And the retirement plan kinda sucks. 

Cause it doesn’t seem to exist.  Ever.

You know, looking back on the life of Phil, maybe he’s not so much angry, as he is simply tired.  I know I would be after doing the same job for that long. 

Maybe it’s time for a replacement?

How ’bout…….  Punxsutawney Pete, the Pussycat?

Ok, simmer down, and hear me out!

Cats already have 9 lives – so there wouldn’t be any need for a magic potion to keep him alive.  He’d be good for a looooong time.

Cats like – no scratch that – cats love to sleep.  They can hibernate for almost forever and not get bored. 

Cats often jump at shadows, so… there’s that.

And, instead of only speaking Groundhogese?  Cats speak a language that almost anyone can translate.

“Rrrow?”  – Did you hear me?  I’m talking to you!

“Meow.” – I’m hungry.

“Meeeoooow” – I need to go outside.

“Mrrroooowww” – Pet me.  Now.

“Rrrrrrrooooowwww — hissssssss!” – No.  Not only no, but  NO.

“Prrrrrrrrrrr” – Yeeeesssss.  You may worship me now.

I rest my case. 

Cut poor Phil a break, guys?  I’m sure that he’d love to be a retiree in some community down in Arizona or Florida, where he can rest and relax with Phyllis and his friends in the pinochle club.  After all these years, doesn’t he deserve a nice retirement package?

And I’m sure that there are a lot of other well-deserving critters out there that would jump at the chance to get their claws, paws and furry butts on the big stump!