Thursday, May 31, 2012

Nobody likes the moles

Last night I was in the kitten room, aka The World's Biggest Time-Suck, when I heard frantic meowing out in the hallway. I rushed out to discover Sodapop and a giant mole.


Thankfully, he had already killed it, and he just wanted to show me his catch.

This is the problem with pet doors.

I was actually kind of proud of the dude. He's the first of the three to catch anything since I've started letting them outside, or at least the first to bring anything in the house.

Note to cats: Keep the critters outside, okay?

So! Mole was duly noted, Sodapop was praised, and Mole went to the great mole place in the sky, aka, the brushy area off the side yard.

And I woke up this morning to find Mr. Mole, now considerably less flexible, deposited neatly on the rug in my bedroom.

Soda! Stay out of the animal graveyard!

I kind of doubt there will be many more moles. No cat I've ever had will eat them. Somebody told me once that they taste bad. I'll have to take his word for it.

But I am wondering what other critters may be carried through my pet door. Little Girl was a ferocious hunter, and I was always discovering mice and birds and frogs and all kinds of stuff that had been proudly deposited for me to find.

Maybe I should keep a running tally. I could do a chart! The names of the cats, and the species they caught, and ... naw. That's just weird, even for me.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Oh my goodness that TAIL

The FC's best guess is that he's part Siamese and part Maine Coon. I guess the "Coon" part stands for RAC-coon.

He sure is a pretty boy.

Craigslist strikes again!

Ad in yesterday's Pets section of the local Craigslist:

"As fate would have it my van broke down Saturday evening. As my husband was evaluating the damage my 3 year old son found 3 little kittens that someone had so cruely abandoned (box and all) in the woods away from any shelter or food. We couldnt leave them there regardless of whether or not we were walking or not. So now I have 3 little kittens (not sure of their genders) that need GOOD loving homes. These kittens were given a second chance and we are looking for their perfect "forever" families."

The ad goes on, but you get the idea. Unfortunately, two of the several pictures that were included in the ad were clearly date-stamped 05/11/12, two weeks BEFORE these poor little waifs were supposedly found in the woods. Oooops!

You know, I can appreciate a good con as much as the next person. But the blatant stupidity of the scammers on Craigslist is just ... disheartening, somehow. Buck up your game, liars! Yeesh.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

More stuff bugging me.

So, I'm back to work after an awesome four-day weekend, and I'm feeling a little cranky, so here's what's bugging me lately:

Clients whose companies have long-ass addresses. I'm, like, "Hey, Bob, I'll need your mailing address for my records," and he's, all, "Sure! It's Robert J.Q. Altermain, and my company is Peterson Qualiata Sheldon and Napolitano LLC, 75 Preston Square Tower, Fifth Floor, Suite 201, 84657 South Beaufort Springs Street, Poughkeepsie, New York. Oh, and the zip is 13250-6732." Sheesh. Whatever happened to 75 Oak St.?

See also: People who get all cutesy when giving out their phone number. Instead of saying, "It's 591 (pause) 4322, they'll say, "It's 59 (pause) 143 (pause) 22." I want to PUNCH these assholes. Get with the RHYTHM, dammit.

People who call their pets their "fur babies." I'm sorry, I don't like it.

People who stand too close behind me in line. Jeezus Christ, standing two inches off my back will not make the line go any faster. What part of that do they not understand? Oh and for the love of Pete, take a damn bath.

Bloggers who usually post every day, but then put up a "very special post" and leave it hanging there for weeks. It ain't that special, honey.

See also: Bloggers who refer to themselves in the third person. Yuck.

Weed-n-Feed. I want my grass to grow slower, not faster. The LAST thing I wanna do is FEED it. That's just counterproductive.

How about you? Anything bugging you?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Where you beeeeeeeeeeeeen?!

Busy weekend. Beautiful weather, lots of hiking, installation of an AC unit in the foster room to keep the babies comfy, one shift at the adoption center, gardening, let's not leave plenty of sleeping out of the picture, and, of course, kitten-sittin'.

How about you?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Wait ... he's got WHAT?!?! Part 2

Ah, PonyBoy. The cat of many surprises had yet another one up his sleeve last night.

We went back to the vet for a re-check. Eye? Looks good. Just continue with the sixty-dollars-a-month eyedrops, thankyouverymuch. Ears? Free of infection, if still gunky and in need of once-a-week cleanings, which should be entertaining. Temperature?

Well, the vet tech went to take his temperature and discovered he has ...

a tapeworm.

Oh sweet Mary Mother of God, the cat has a TAPEWORM.


You know what? At this point, I'm half expecting him to sprout rainbows out of his nose, because God knows HE'S GOT EVERYTHING ELSE.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How to beg

One of the things I do for the animal rescue group for which I volunteer is go around to local businesses and ask them to let us hold fundraising or adoption events at their stores.

While I am fairly outgoing, I am not really fond of sales, so it took me a little trial-and-error to find the best approach. Here is what I've learned about how to ask someone to help you:

1. Be brief. I go into a store, go to a register (standing in line if necessary) if there is no customer-service area, and ask to speak with a manager. Once I meet the manager, I can tell him/her who I am, who I represent, and what we would like from their store, all in under 20 seconds. I do not call or email first, because that just enables the manager to stall. Face-to-face, BAM, is the best way to go. And shake hands first.

2. Take materials. As I am doing my initial who-we-are, I hand the manager a rescue group flyer. This gives him something to look at while I am talking and prevents an immediate brush-off. Once I finish up that initial 20-second intro, I give him a picture of one of our previous events, explaining our space requirements. While he's looking at the photo, it buys me a little more time to explain further who we are and what we're asking for. But I don't go on all day. Managers are busy dudes.

3. Be friendly and casual. THIS IS CRUCIAL. If you are nervous and jerky, it stiffs the whole thing. I walk into a store like I don't give a shit if they help us or not (which is true; if they don't, someone else will), and it helps.

4. Explain how helping you will help the store. In my case, I talk about how we bring extra customers into the store, how it's good public relations to help out a charity, and how people always fondly remember the store where they first saw their new pet.

5. Know your shit. If the manager wants some details (How long has your group been around? Who's in charge? How many animals do you adopt out each year? What's your non-profit status?), you'd damn well better have the answers or you're gonna look like a clown.

6. Be polite and follow up. If after the initial pitch I get a brush-off (I'd have to check with my supervisor; we're too busy this time of year to do anything like that; I'd have to clear it through corporate), I ask when I may check back. "If I stop back in a few days/a week/a month, would that be all right?" Because you almost never get an immediate "yes", as it seems NO ONE WANTS TO MAKE A DAMN DECISION, it's important to follow up. That said, if you get an immediate "no way", you need to respect that and not keep pestering. I keep going until I get the "no." Until I get the "no", I'll keep following up. And not by email or phone. IN PERSON. And SMILING.

7. Oh, and for the love of Pete, DRESS NICELY. I always wear either a skirt or a dress, and if I was a guy, I'd damn sure wear a dress shirt and a tie. Show some respect. It matters.

Okay, I think I've about covered it. Dress nicely, be casual, be brief, and follow up. The follow-up part is really important. Last night, I had a store tell me "yes" right off the bat, and that's the FIRST TIME that has ever happened, so remember to follow up!

There ya go. How to beg.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Okay, first of all, scroll down, because I put a post up this morning before BIG! NEWS! came my way.

Now. Are you ready for my BIG! NEWS!?

As some of you may know, I let my cats outside. *ducks* And that is why I had to adopt Pony and Soda from a rescue group quite a ways away - all of the local rescue groups insist that you keep adopted pets inside. Pony and Soda were already indoor/outdoor cats when they came into the care of the far-away rescue, and so that rescue group was willing to allow me to adopt them.

Actually, I HAVE been keeping Soda and Pony inside - I wanted to get the situation with Pony's eye cleared up before letting them out. But tomorrow is (hopefully) his last vet checkup, and if all is well, this weekend I will start letting them out.

But I had a dilemma. I have a foster, Tinks, who, due to belonging to a local rescue group, must remain inside. And I knew that, realistically, there was really no way to keep him in while letting my two out. I mean, Tinks is already scratching at the doors, along with my guys, trying to get out. And Tinks was an outdoor cat before he came into rescue care. It's inevitable that he would slip out while I was letting the other two in or out.

So I emailed the FC, explaining that as far as I could see, there were three options.

1. They could move Tinks to another foster home, so as not to risk him getting outside.

2. I could keep him as a foster, with the understanding that he may get outside.

3. I could adopt him myself, with the understanding that he would be an indoor/outdoor cat (if he so chose).

I explained that I would be perfectly fine with whatever they decided. The FC asked for a few days to think about what would be best for Tinks.

And guess what they decided?

... drum roll please ...

Option 3!

Welcome to the family, Tinks.

Ha. As it turns out, rules (adopted cats must be kept inside at all times) are evidently bendable when they've got a cat who is no longer a kitten, has been up for adoption for months, is extremely shy, and who did not work out at his one attempt at a home placement.

Can you believe nobody wanted this guy? Me neither.


A man who lives a few houses up from me walks for over two hours every evening. The only reason I know this is because my living room picture window faces the street, and there are some nights when I happen to see him on his way out of the neighborhood, and then again on his way back. Sometimes when he's on his way out, I'm doing my Jillian workout, which makes me feel like, "Hey, kindred exercisers!", and sometimes when he's on his way back I'm watching crap TV and drinking beer, which makes me feel like crud. And actually, now that I think about it, Jillian has pretty much been put on the back burner lately, what with mowing and gardening and kitten-ing and all, so ... yeah. I fail at Jillian.

I'm not sure if he does a set route or if he mixes it up. I know that at least some of the time he walks West Hill, because sometimes I see him there if I happen to be out walking.

I just ... I can't really imagine doing two hours of walking every. single. night. There are lots of weekends when I do lots and lots of walking, but there are lots of days when I don't walk at all.

And, well, it's not like he needs the exercise. He's a slim guy. But you know what? For all I know, he started out at, like, four hundred pounds and lost the weight by walking.

Walk on, walking dude. You put me to shame.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Further proof that I'm an idiot

Friday night, I stopped at the grocery store after work, and there was this old dude lying on the ground outside of the store. And he was trying to get to his feet, but he couldn't get up. And his cane was beside him on the ground. And people coming out of the store were walking around him to get to their cars.

There was a cart boy just kind of, like, standing there, so I asked him what was going on. "I don't know," the kid said. "I just got back from a customer's car and he was just lying here. And he can't get up."

I called 911. I explained the situation. The dispatcher had me ask the dude some questions, which the guy was able to answer (No, he hadn't fallen, he wasn't sure what had happened; no, he had no history of seizures; no, he wasn't on any medications; etc.), and said he'd send some paramedics.

Once the old dude had been able to get himself into a sitting position and it was clear that he wasn't, like, about to DIE or something, I started chatting with him. Just to, I don't know, pass the time, as the dispatcher had asked me to wait with the old guy until the ambulance came. He said he'd lived in Chicago and California and came back to the area to care for his parents, who had since passed away. He was a retired social worker and he didn't much care for the local weather and blah blah blah and the ambulance got there.

"Sir," one of the paramedics said, "What happened? Did you fall? Are you dizzy? Have you ever had seizures?"

"Hell, son," the old dude said. "I'm DRUNK!"

Yeah, I'm not too smart. I called 911 for a wino.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Look who came to dinner

Five, six-week-old kittens, (and no, these are not the ones I bottle-fed last weekend, in case you're wondering - these guys are a month older) who are, thankfully, eating semi-solid food and are no longer on the bottle.

Jeez, they're cute. Welcome, guys!

Try not to kill each other while you're here.

(And if you're keeping track, that brings the current cat population in my household up to eight. My two, foster Tinks, and this latest foster litter. I'm afraid I may now officially be a Crazy Cat Lady.)

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Difference

Pony and Tinks with a new toy:

Soda with the same new toy:

It's like having a junior Godzilla as a cat.

and he's like this for everything. When Pony makes biscuits? He's all, *knead* *knead* *knead*. When Soda makes biscuits? He starts out with *knead* *knead* *knead*, and then he's digging to China, and pretty soon he's got his back legs churning, and it's just about then that he explodes and goes tearing off into another room as fast as he can run. It's like total-body-workout-biscuit-making.

He's just ... exuberant. Or crazy. Either one.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Recently Read

As usual, skip it if you wanna.

1. Long Past Stopping by Oran Canfield – Memoir of a ex-junkie, detailing his efforts to get clean. He found himself fascinating, but I didn’t. He was also kind of hung up on the misdeeds of his dad, the creator of those abominable “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books. News flash, kiddo: Lots of people had sucky dads. Get over it.

2. Saving Cicadas by Nicole Seitz – Novel about a family road trip told from the point of view of a young girl. Simplistic and childishly written. I mean, granted, if you’re writing from a kid’s viewpoint, you’ve gotta dumb it down some, but other writers have handled this angle a lot better. I didn’t finish it.

3. It Takes A Village Idiot by Jim Mullen – About a guy who moves from NYC to the Catskills. It was just too … snarky. Normally I’m a fan of snark, but this dude’s humor was just grating. He had the attitude of, “I can portray these innocent, hard-working people as total dipshits as long as I portray myself as a dipshit, too,” which … no. I wonder how many of his neighbors are still speaking to him.

4. Movie review time! “Pressure Cooker” is a doc about inner-city high school students preparing for a culinary scholarship contest. Interesting.

5. The Land of Decoration by Grace McCleen – Novel about a girl who thinks she can perform miracles – Interesting.

6. Dewey, the Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World and Apparently Went For The Guinness World’s Record for Longest Book Title by Vicki Myron. You DO know how any book about a cat ends, right? Yeah. Oh, and in an effort to pad out the life story of a CAT into a full length book, the author also included her own life story, which, well, if you can’t say anything nice and all that so I’ll stop now.

7. A Recipe for Bees by Gail Anderson-Dargatz – Novel about … hell, I don’t know. I got about thirty pages in when I realized I still had no idea who any of these characters were, and when one of them supposedly fed day-old kittens “canned cat food by spoon” I gave up. Christ.

So! Anybody read anything good lately? 'Cause it's been pretty slim pickins for me lately.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Monday, May 14, 2012

I don't know why this is still bothering me, but it is ...

Hmmm, so nobody wants to hear about kitten poop, huh? Go figure! You know, when the FC dropped them off, she neglected to mention that they were right at the age when they start pooping withOUT the help of a person, meaning it was quite the surprise Sunday night when I checked on them only to find that ALL FIVE looked like they had been in a mud-wrestling match, and ...

shutting up now. Changing the subject. Just one more pic:

HA! No poop! Fooled ya!

Okay, so back a little bit ago, we had the yard-sale fundraiser for the rescue group, and it was a big! success!

And of course, lots of our customers wanted to bargain, as is the way of yard sales. "Will you take two bucks for this?" "How about fifty cents for this?" And you know how it goes - as it got closer to the end of the sale, I was more willing to accept a lower price, because it meant less crap to pack back up. And I was more willing to bargain with fund-impaired little kids than their dipwad parents, especially if the kids were polite.

And then this one old guy came up, like, really old, like, walking with a cane old. (And I cannot for the life of me figure out which of those commas should be semi-colons, and I don't have time to look it up right now, so Grammar Police, please forgive me.) (Also please forgive the "likes".) (Please.)

ANYway. Old dude comes up, and he wants to know if I will take five bucks for a large hand-crocheted blanket that we had tagged with a ten-dollar price. It was still early in the sale, and that afghan obviously took someone a loooooong time to make, even if it was of cheesy seventies-grandma-style, so I explained that the sale was for charity and told him no, the afghan was ten bucks.

"Oh, COME ON," he said. "I'll give you five."

"Can you do seven?" I asked. "It's for homeless cats!"

"I only have five," he said. "I can pay five bucks."

Did I mention he was old? And walking with a cane? Yeah.

"Okay," I said. "Five bucks it is."

You know where this is going, right? At this point he pulls out a wad of cash that would choke a flipping DINOSAUR and peels off five bucks, then stuffs the giant wad o'cash back in his pocket. And I ALMOST told the old f*ckwad where he could cram his five bucks, except, well ... yard sale FOR CHARITY and all that.

And you know what? All this time later, the thought of that old bastard with that giant wad of cash still pisses me off.


So. I did that.

Bottle-fed a litter of kittens, that is.

It's exhausting.

It seems like you are ALWAYS feeding them, or cleaning them up, or mixing up formula, or washing their blankies and cleaning rags, or getting ready to gear up and do the whole thing over again. And while it was kind of fun to do it for a weekend, and get to see their adorable little faces screw up in concentration when they latch on to the bottle, and watch them lurch out of their carrier zombie-style toward me when it's feeding time, I have no idea how people do this for an extended period of time.

Moms everywhere, I salute you.

The FC had asked if I wanted to keep them longer, and I had to tell her no. If I didn't have to work (and therefore need a certain amount of SLEEP every night); if the kittens were a little older and didn't need to be fed every four hours; if there was only, say, one or two instead of FIVE of them; if I didn't already have one cat (Pony) on several different kinds of meds that need to be administered twice a day; if they had a mama nursing them so I didn't have to bottle feed; well, you get the picture.

Hopefully I'll have more kittens to foster soon; maybe I'll even have these guys back for a bit once they're a little older. And am I glad I said yes? Absolutely. Now I know the most efficient way to get poop out of white fur!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Kitten Sh*ttin'

*Warning: This post contains lots of kitten poop.*

So, I was feeding the herd this morning, when Leah, or maybe it was Bilpah, did a little poop. "Awww!" I thought. "Baby's first poop!" So I cleaned her up, and she pooped a little more, and I cleaned THAT up, and then plopped her in the laundry basket. (Kittens come out of the crate, are fed, burped, and pee-ed, and then placed in the laundry basket, so I can keep track of who's been fed and who hasn't. It's a SYSTEM, dammit!)

So I took another kitten out of the crate and started feeding her, and I had one on my lap waiting to be burped, when I looked over to the laundry basket and ... POOPAPALOOZA!

Leah, or maybe it was Bilpah, had laid down a HEROIC poop in the laundry basket (first time at bat, and she hit it out of the park - you GO, girl!) and then somehow managed to CRAWL in it. And she had managed to inflict some collateral damage on Jacob, who was ALSO in the basket, and all I could think of was, "White fur ... why did they have to have WHITE FUR ..." and

all you moms out there are laughing your asses off at me right now, right? You're all, HAHAHAHA, how does it FEEL, Rocky? How do YOU like it?

And you know what? I have NO IDEA how you do it. NONE. I hope all your kids did right by you today, because goodness knows you deserve it, and from the bottom of my heart,

Happy Mother's Day!

p.s. Sorry about the post title. If you think I could pass up THAT chance, you're out of your mind.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Meet Leah

Or maybe it's Jacob, or Rachael, or Zilpah, or Bilpah. They're kind of hard to tell apart.

(And NO, I did NOT name these cats. Sheesh.)

So far so good. The first feeding was pretty much a messy fail on my part, but the FC was here to see me through it, and everybody got full bellies. The second, all-by-myself feeding went fine, although I've gotta tell ya, even a two-week-old can travel when she wants to. Those teeny things can wriggle! And I've got a feeling that the middle-of-the-night feedings may be a little less sanguine, but we'll muddle through.

Happy People Say Yes! Ha.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Bottle Babies

I got an email from the FC the other day. Would I be available to kitten-sit this weekend?

Oh boy, kittens! Sure! They can stay in the spare room!

Reading the email, I learned that there are five of them.

ummmmm ....

Five, two-week-old, orphaned kittens.


Who need to be bottle-fed every three hours. Around the clock.

Hoo boy.

Yeah ... I thought about it for a minute. Mainly, I wondered if this lady was out of her mind, entrusting five teeny-weeny kittens to ME. Me, who has never bottle-fed or burped or pooped a kitten before. (When they're that small, you have to MAKE them poop and pee. Did you know that? It's GROSS.)

So I closed my mail, and I was thinking about her request, and I was stalling for time, and I started browsing around my bookmarked sites, still mulling over the invitation, and I came upon Britt. And she had a post up about the 7 habits of happy people. Now, I consider myself a pretty happy person, bitch-fests posted here notwithstanding, but I thought I'd read the post anyway. And the first habit of happy people?

Happy People Say Yes.

When an invitation to try something new comes their way, they say yes.

And I thought, absolutely. You never know unless you try, right? And maybe it'll lead to something great, or maybe it'll just be a happy one-off, or maybe you might not like it at all and never ever want to do it again, but you've got one more new thing that you've tried. One more new thing you can say to yourself that you did.

And so I emailed the FC back, and I said yes. Yes!

This weekend, I will have five bottle babies staying with me.

The FC sent a picture:

Wish me luck!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Invasion of the giant woodpeckers

Seen in my neighborhood:

Well, at least it isn't one of those lady-in-bloomers-bending-over atrocities.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Hahahahahaha I love it

So! Barack Obama voiced his support of gay marriage today. And it cracked me up, because it's like he just flung a giant F*CK YOU at all the right-wing, tea-party, intolerant assholes out here.

It's, like, he held it in as long as he could, until he couldn't anymore, and then it was all YES I support gay marriage, you ignorant douchebags.

The only thing that could have made it better would have been if he had gone on to say, "Oh, and by the way, I also support jacking taxes on all you rich Republican f*cktards who scream about how hard you worked for the money, when you know damn well that you inherited that money from Daddy, who got it from Grandpa, who was the last person in your family to actually do any f*cking work. And you know what I'm gonna do with that money? Health care for everybody! Whoopee!"

and then he'd go on, "And then I'm gonna fund the f*cking SHIT out of Planned Parenthood. I'm gonna find a way to over-ride all those ignorant laws you jackoffs keep putting on the books limiting a woman's right to reproductive health care, and you know what? YOU KNOW WHAT? Every. single. f*cking one of you dipshits who helped push those laws through their state governments are going to get an ultrasound of the sort you want these poor women to have to go through before they can get their abortions. Don't have a vagina? No problem! We'll go up your ass!"

and then he'll say, "And all those banking giants that were "too big to fail"? The ones that we bailed out and then allowed to keep on with their corrupt, evil, money-grubbing ways? Yeah, that shit's over. Bye-bye, asshole bankers! Have fun in prison when we prosecute your asses for f*cking over mortgage holders for the last ten years! And we WILL prosecute. I'm gonna put new teeth in the regulatory laws and hire some real ball-breaking lawyers, and you mother-f*ckers are done done DONE. And the Feds are gonna take your yachts and your mansions and your Porsches that you kept buying as the shit swirled around the drain, and we're gonna sell that shit, and you know what we're gonna do with the money? Yeah, you guessed it - we're gonna throw some HUGE mother-f*cking weddings for a bunch of gay people!"

I mean, it'll never happen, but a gal can dream, right?

Basement cat v. ceiling cat

Ah yes ... the elemental struggle ... basement cat v. ceiling cat ...

Who will win?

Basement cat? Or ceiling cat?

Today, it's a draw.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

... and after I got the pallets I had to clean out the shed ...

... So I started to haul stuff out. Lawn furniture. Garden hoses. Rakes and shovels and tarps and all the other crap a shed holds.

And then I got to an old, lined grill cover, wadded up in the back corner where I had tossed it some time before. As I started to pick it up, I noticed holes. Holes that had been chewed through the cover.

Oh boy, I thought. Either something IS in there, or something WAS in there, and either way I'm about to find out.

I gingerly lifted up the first fold of the cover to find ...

... mice. An entire neighborhood of little gray mice, their eyes shining up at me.

Awwwwww. Cute little mices!

Thankfully, there were no newborns in there. That grill cover would STILL be in that back corner, probably with bowls of food and water for the mama next to it, if there had been babies in there. But thankfully, judging by their size, these were all AT LEAST teenager mice, and thus they were about to be re-introduced to the great outdoors.

I carefully folded the cover back up, picked it up, and carried it out to the brush line., mice and all. I hope they enjoyed their little ride! I opened to cover up, to be again faced with a bunch of little mice looking up at me with their bright little eyes. Little mice who were not inclined to leave their cozy fleece-lined grill-cover home.


I folded the cover up, AGAIN, and left it at the brush line. I backed off and watched as a few of the mice gingerly made their way out of the cover and bounced off into the brush. When I went back the next day, all of the mice had gone.

Bye-bye, mice! Enjoy your new woodland home! I'm glad you weren't, like, bats or something. Because that might have freaked me right out.*

*I used to be pro-bat. I actually still am, sort of. I mean, they eat lots of insects blahblahblah. But have you ever seen a bat up close? Like, looked one in the face? I did, a few years ago, and I will tell you right now, they are some scary-looking creatures. So, bats? From a distance, fine. Up close, not so much.

Oh, and that goes for the giant wolf spider who was also residing in the shed. Jeezus Christ, spiders are not supposed to get that damn big.

And don't worry, no spiders were harmed in the cleaning of the shed. Mr. Wolf Spider hung out for awhile watching me work, until I got a little too close for comfort, at which point he stomped off to parts unknown. Which means that, technically, he's probably still IN the shed, but as long as I don't have to actually SEE him, I'm fine with that.

Monday, May 07, 2012

... and then I had to go find some pallets ...

So, after my swallow-strafing adventure on Saturday, I went in search of wooden pallets.

Back in September, when the flood came, my shed got hit. I'm estimating it got about three inches of water, although I don't know for sure, because I evacuated and did not come back until the waters had receded.

I really didn't keep anything important in there, anyway, just a bunch of your typical shed crap, and nothing got ruined. Still, I thought it might be a good idea to put a couple of pallets in there, so I could at least get the crap up off the floor.

So after my swallow-strafing on Saturday, I went off in search of pallets. A local business had advertised on Craigslist that they had free pallets, but when I went there, they were out. I remembered seeing pallets in front of another local store, but they didn't have any on Saturday. But on my way back home, I saw a bunch of pallets to the side of a random store. Hmmm ... I pulled over, jumped out of the car and scoped out the pallets. Yep, they were pallets. Then I went into the store to ask if I could take a couple of them. And I immediately felt a little out of place, as the store was ...

... a paintball store. I found myself surrounded by thirteen-year-old boys, all of whom were taller than me, and most of whom were desperately trying to avoid making eye contact with this ... this ... mom-looking creature in their midst.

"Sure!" the guy behind the counter, who appeared to be about sixteen, said. "You can take a couple of pallets!" Gallantly, he even helped me load them into the back of the car. Maybe he gets a merit badge for helping an old lady load up her car - I hope so.

So! I had my pallets. I took 'em home, hauled 'em out back to the shed, and started clearing all of the crap out of the shed. Which is when I discovered what was living in there ...

Saturday, May 05, 2012

I got strafed by a swallow on the Bunny Trail

So, I'm out hiking this afternoon, minding my own business, and I'm walking through this little meadow on the Bunny Trail, and all of a sudden I hear this "fffFFFFFFT" right next to my ear. And I jerked my head up, and it was a swallow! Dive-bombing me!

"Shit!" I thought. "She's probably got a nest around here."

By then she was circling around for another shot at me, so I did what any big wuss would do. I dropped to my knees and covered my head with my arms. HEY! I don't know what talons hitting the side of my head at sixty miles an hour would feel like, but I'm betting not so good.

The swallow backed off after one more attempt at my life, and I made it out of the meadow. Who knew a simple walk in the woods could hold such peril? Christ.

Dutchman's Breeches. My mom used to say that these were her favorite flowers when she was a kid:

Mr. Frogger:

Some kind of snow-flake powder-puff little flower:

The woods are greening up:

Tons of Mayapples:

Sadly, I did not get a picture of the killer swallow.

Friday, May 04, 2012


Okay. so in that last post and in the comments, we got a little bit into the "feeding frenzy" for kittens that happens this time of year, and how when kittens are available, the cats who are older, even marginally older, tend to get passed over.

I call it being "lapped" - once young kittens are on the scene, any cat not ten weeks or younger goes straight to the back burner.

Meet one lapped cat:

This is Tinks. He is gorgeous. He is friendly, after a lot of work by the FC (Foster Coordinator)that was needed because his start in life was less than ostentatious and he had no reason whatsoever to trust people. He is, as best as the FC can figure, part Maine Coon and part Siamese. He has brilliant blue eyes. When you pet him, it's like petting a damn cloud. And he purrs and purrs and purrs, and he gets along with other cats, and he does not freak out in thunderstorms, because we had a rip-snorter last night and he just ignored it, and ...

and he's too old. He's eight months now, and he's just gotten lapped by Cute Adorable Kitten Season. Please rest assured, that until we find him a home, he will always have a place to stay with me, and I wish I could say that for every cat out there.

This time of year will lift your spirits and dash them. Lift them with the gift of litters, hell, of snowdrifts, of teeny adorable kittens to care for until homes are found for them; and dash them with cats like Tinks; like Bella, who is now two; like Wanders and Stickers, who are now eleven; all of whom are in the foster system, just waiting for homes, and all of whom just got lapped by Cute Adorable Kitten Season.

Oh, they all find a home, eventually. Well, most of them do. And they're in foster homes while they wait, not in cages at a shelter, which is a huge plus for their well-being. But it's tough to see these cats, these ones cast aside by their former owners, waiting and waiting for home.

If you really want a kitten? Hell, get a kitten. Get two, actually, so they can keep each other company. Enjoy the SH*T out of them. But keep in mind that kittenhood is fleeting, and cats live a long time, and just because a cat isn't eight weeks old doesn't mean it's useless.

- stepping down from soapbox -

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Hahaha, here we go with Craigslist again.

Okay, first off, scroll down to see an earlier post about a woman trying to unload kittens on Craigslist. At least, I think that's what she's trying to do. The listing is so poorly spelled, it's hard to say for sure.

Now, from an ad posted today on the local Craigslist:

"Hi there! I'm looking to have the total of twelve kitties my two cars had adopted to good homes."

Okay, she starts off pretty well, although I'm kind of surprised that her cars had kittens. But later in the ad, she describes them as "pretty stick kittens". At first I thought, oh no, she's trying to give away sick kittens, but in the photos they all look healthy, so maybe she meant "slick"? I really have no idea. And there is no email, phone no., or other way to contact her in the listing, which several people pointed out to her in subsequent postings.

And then someone asked,

"Where exactly did you get these kittens?"

at which point another helpful Craigslist viewer chimed in,

"Didn't you read the ad? Her cars had them."

Thank you, Craigslist, for my laugh of the day.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Okay, shit like this just drives me crazy

Ad on the local Craigslist, copied verbatim:

"free kittens the mother is a american short hair don't know who the father is there redy to go. there are 2 males that are black and white and one tiger striped femle the eat hard foor and drink water and they are manley litter traind they have to be showen the litter box some times but they are verry qute. thay are 8 weeks old if instren call (***)***-**** ake for hannah"

Look, I would never pretend to be some Grammar Authority, and I'm sure I make my share of typos, but ... really? Really?

"there redy to go"

"the eat hard foor" - whaaaaaaa?

"they are verry qute"

Oh, I could go on, but WHAT'S THE DAMN POINT? Ads like this are a dime a dozen. I swear, I don't know what the hell is happening, but it ain't good.

*shakes head*

"ake for hannah"

Well, I guess we'll just have to assume her name is hannah. Hell, it could be Sheryl, and she just doesn't know how to spell it.