Friday, September 28, 2012
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Someplace where I would have to mow the lawn ALL. YEAR. ROUND.
Oh HELL no.
Here we are, at the end of September, and I have to go home and mow tonight. And I'll have to mow a few more times after that, because mowing season in these parts doesn't end until mid to late October.
And then? It's over. NO MORE MOWING UNTIL APRIL. And the angels sing.
By this time of year? I am DONE with mowing. I am so flippin' sick of mowing that I would gladly set the lawnmower on fire, if I didn't know that I'll have to use it again NEXT year. And while I am no fan of winter, at least I don't have to mow the damn lawn then.
So. It looks like I'll have to give up my dreams of a Southern old age. *sob* Because there is NO FREAKING WAY I'm mowing all year round.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
I was fine - FINE! - until I was handed the cordless mike.
And then my hands started to shake.
So there I was - Shakes the Clown - grabbing the mike with both hands like it was a life preserver or something as I gave my little talk.
But! I got through it!
And hopefully we will get some more foster homes out of the deal.
Up next? Radio. Bwahahahahaha.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Monday, September 24, 2012
Namely, speaking to luncheon groups at local senior centers about fostering for the animal rescue group.
Ha! Yeah, I've really gone and done it this time.
You see, our group is desperately in need of more foster homes. And more volunteers, in general. The problem is that these days everyone is so damn busy. So I got to thinking, who has time on their hands? Who is not tied up in a nine-to-five every day?
Senior citizens. Oh, I mean, I know that they're busy, some more so than others, some probably busier than I am, but I thought they would be more likely to have the time to volunteer. Because I'm good at stereotyping like that.
And so I suggested to the FC that we go to local senior centers and give a little talk about volunteering for our group. And I volunteered to give the talks. Because I am insane. The last time I did any public speaking was in high school.
But heck! I figured, I'm used to talking to people at adoption events and at the pet store. It'll be just like that, only with a microphone! (I have never used a microphone before in my life.) And I'm a ham, and God knows I never shut up, so I should be all set! Right? Right? Riiiiiiiiight?
First talk is on Wednesday. Wish me luck.
Friday, September 21, 2012
Thursday, September 20, 2012
So! I decided to take the window AC unit out of the foster room last night. The nights are getting cold, and you could practically see the heat escaping out of the house through those flimsy little accordion-side-thingies, so it was time to pull the AC out of the window.
I briefly considered buying one of those trailer-trashy silver outdoor cover things and leaving the AC in the window all winter, but sh*t, even I'M not that lazy. Besides, it was only held in by three screws. How hard could it be, right?
Yeah, you see where this is going.
I removed the screws, pushed up a little on the window so I could pull the unit in, and
right out the window it went. I swear, that thing flung itself out the damn window.
as it hit the ground.
And I will tell you what, Frigidaire makes one fine piece of equipment, because I brought that baby inside, pounded out the dents, plugged it in, and that sucker fired right up. Of course, I'm sure it also helped that we got a metric ton of rain the other day and the ground outside that window was about as firm as a marshmallow, but still.
Frigidaire. Sparing village idiots from the embarrassment of having to replace a brand-new AC unit because they let it fall out the window. Thanks, Frigidaire!
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Hmmm. Well, at least he's honest ...
Truth is, I can't think of any Republican president in recent memory who really gave a sh*t about poor people. Oh, they'd pay the concept lip service in public, but in private? You know damn well they all wished the poor people would crawl off and die someplace and stop being a pain in their a**.
Mitt Romney just said it out loud, that's all.
Trouble is, the President is supposed to care about everybody. Not just people who look, act, and make as much money as he does. We only show true compassion when we care for the least of us.
And I think that people who would vote for Romney, a man who has flat out SAID that he's not interested in 47% of the population? Are kind of a**holes, themselves. Hope you never find yourselves in tough times, guys. Because your potential Prez would throw you right over the damn side. Hope you can swim!
And that's all I'm gonna say about THAT.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
I was taking my time, trying on several watches (that I needed like a hole in the head) (yes, I bought one. Seven bucks!), when I noticed that all of the other shoppers had cleared out. And that was when the elderly lady running the table leaned toward me and said, softly, "Oh! I don't like those people!"
Confused, I said, "Um ... those people?"
"You know!," she said. "Those ones!,"nodding her head toward the women wearing the robes, who were walking away with their children. "They never want to pay full price! They're rude! And if I stand my ground, they bring their mothers back with them!"
At this point, I was just kind of speechless. I know, right? When the hell does THAT ever happen? But really, I had nothin'. I probably should have pointed out that ninety percent of the flea market customers will haggle price, are rude, and would probably drag family members to the table if they thought it might get them a better price. And as far as that goes, ninety percent of the flea market customers are ALSO chainsmoking toothless hillbillies, which the women in the robes most decidedly were NOT.
I just ... I wasn't about to start trying to preach tolerance at a flea market to an eighty-year-old woman who was adamant in her beliefs. The LAST thing I need is to show up in the Police Blotter section of the Pennysaver because of an argument with a grandma at the junk show.
I just wish I had said something instead of "Um ... have a good day ..." as I walked away. And I wish I could figure out what I could have said to maybe change that woman's mind.
And maybe I'm just prejudiced against cranky-assed close-minded grandmas, the same way she's prejudiced against women in robes and headscarves. Maybe we both need to learn a little tolerance.
Nah. Just her.
Monday, September 17, 2012
She smokes. And I'm sure some of you are thinking, "Didn't you ask her not to smoke in your home?"
And no; no, I didn't. After smoking myself for thirty flippin' years, asking another smoker not to smoke in my home would be being an a**hole.
So! I grabbed my old ashtrays, which made the move to this house with me (just in case, dontcha know), out of the far corner of a kitchen cabinet, battened down the hatches, and prepared to be tempted to smoke again.
And I can honestly say I didn't want to smoke at all.
Oh, I was fairly sure that was how it would be. When I quit, after all, even though it was during one of the most chaotic times of my life, I QUIT. I had a hard time the first few months, not because I wanted a cigarette so badly, but just because I was so damn EMOTIONAL, but honestly? It was like a switch was flipped. I quit when I had four-and-a-half cartons of cigs in my house. I just ... stopped.
In case anyone's wondering what particular method I used: Cold turkey. With the help of this book.
Done is done.
Saturday, September 15, 2012
Friday, September 14, 2012
I ... if it had been a small dog, like a Pomeranian, would I have stopped? Absolutely. But this was a big dog, obviously not real well cared for (matted fur) and ... I was afraid. I was afraid of getting bitten. (And yes, a Pomeranian can bite just as easily as a big dog, but I feel like I'd have a fighting chance against a Pom. You know?)
All the way in to work, I thought about turning around and going back. And I didn't. I flippin' agonized all the way in to work about going back and helping that dog, and I didn't.
When I got to work, I checked Craigslist to see if there were any missing dogs matching that description in the area. Nope.
And then I called dog control for the town where I saw the dog. I explained the situation, and the dog control officer said he'd check into it.
And this is where FOR ONCE I am glad to pay taxes, because bless his heart, that dog control dude called me back not half an hour later, to let me know that he'd been out to the site. He hadn't seen the dog, but he'd talked to a homeowner near the spot where I'd seen the dog. The homeowner hadn't seen the dog either, but he suggested it might be a coydog, which ... no. Coydogs are all one color, and this was a multi-color dog.
ANYway, the dog control guy said he'd check with some more neighbors, and visit the area periodically to see if the dog was around. He said he'd call me if he found anything out. Thanks, dog control dude!
So. This morning. I am on my way to work. I get near the spot where I saw the dog yesterday, and my eyes are on superpower-scan, searching for the dog. Looking ... looking ...
BINGO. The dog came out of the brush by the side of the road and made a half-hearted run for my car. But! This time, he circled back to a camper parked by the side of the road.
Ah-ha! That camper had been parked there for about a week, and I knew there were people staying in there because I had seen them. Obviously, the dog belonged to the camper-people. Problem solved! Well, except for the fact that the dog was running loose and chasing cars.
So I got to work this morning and called dog control again, all ready to spread the good news that I had found the owners of the dog.
Except! It turns out that after I talked to dog control dude yesterday, he had gotten MORE calls about the dog running loose. More people were concerned about the dog. So he went BACK out to the site, and found the dog! and the camper! The dog ran away when he tried to get near it, but there were food bowls outside of the camper, so he figured that was the owners. Except no one was there at the time, and he still needed to address the issue of the dog running loose (the town has leash laws), so he actually went back through the tax records and tracked down who owned the property the camper was parked on. He contacted the owner of the land, who explained that he was letting friends camp on his property. Friends with dogs.
Is this War and Peace yet? We're getting close ...
Okay. So. Dog control dude finally gets in touch with camper people, who explain that while they do HAVE dogs, THAT particular dog is not theirs. It just started hanging around while they were camping there, and they felt sorry for it, so they started to feed it. But they are leaving at the end of the weekend, and no, they don't really want ANOTHER dog.
So. This morning, Dog control dude is going back out to the site. He is going to make one more attempt to catch the dog, and then he is going to set a Havahart (live) trap. He explained that sometimes it takes just a day and sometimes it takes weeks to get a dog in the trap, but eventually the dog will get hungry and go into the trap, and he will get the dog, and then they can get the dog any necessary medical care and start trying to track down the owner.
Bottom line? There are a whole bunch of people who are concerned about this dog and want to see it find its owner, or at the least a loving home. Hmmm ... I wonder how my cats would feel about a dog ...
ahahahahahaha KIDDING I am KIDDING. I don't DO dogs. Although if there's anybody out there who would like a medium-sized, multi-color dog, let me know ...
And I still feel kind of bad that I didn't stop, and I think from now on if something like that happens again I WILL stop, but as it turns out, I wouldn't have been able to get ahold of the dog anyway. Have I rationalized enough yet? ...
And I have asked the dog control dude to keep me posted, so I'll let you know what happens! Aren't you glad? :)
UPDATED TO ADD: They got the dog! The dog control dude just called - He went back out there this morning, and managed to approach the dog and get a leash on it! It's an Australian Shepherd. It's an intact male, and the camper people have a female basset hound, so that's probably why it started hanging around. I asked what would happen to the dog now, and the dog dude said it will be kept at a local animal hospital/boarding facility while they try to find the owner. Unfortunately, the dog had no collar or microchip, but they will put ads in the paper and on line, looking for an owner. If no owner steps forward, they will then ask around (don't laugh - this can be highly effective!) to see if anyone wants the dog. If that doesn't work, they'll put him on Petfinder and other sites. Dog dude reassured me that the dog will not be put down, and that they will find him a home.
Anybody want an Australian Shepherd? I've got a lead ...
Thursday, September 13, 2012
B. Keep going.
Enquiring minds want to know.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
"Oh, God, raccoon again," I thought, but then I remembered that the pet door was closed, and I went back to sleep. I briefly considered the fact that all of my pots and pans are kept in cupboards and therefore could not have crashed to the floor, but ... meh. It was the middle of the night. Back to sleep.
The next morning I went out to the kitchen to find that something had upended the dish drainer, full of dishes, onto the floor.
Okay, so the way I see it, we've got two possible scenarios, here:
a. One of the cats, for whatever odd reason, hopped up onto the counter and shoved the dish drainer onto the floor. Was there ... a mouse in the dish drainer? Because given what happened when Texas was here, that's plausible. And I can think of no other reason for a cat to suddenly decide to trash the kitchen in the middle of the night.
b. I've got a poltergeist.
I'm telling you right now, it had BETTER be option (a), because I've LIVED in a haunted house before, and I'm NOT going through that again.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Let's see. The weekend. There was the afternoon I left some cat food cans in the dishwater to soak. Later that day, I was rinsing the cans and chatting with Texas when I made that final sweep through the dishwater with my hand, as you do, to check and see if there's anything you missed. And I came up with ... a dead mouse.
"Oh!" I gasped. And Texas, who was in the living room behind me, said, "Rocky! What's wrong?"
"Oh ... nothing," I replied, grabbing a bowl to put the mouse in until I could toss it outside. Successful recovery! Although later that night, I did confess to her what had happened. Because that's what sisters do. We share. Ha.
And then there was the morning when Texas bent over to pick up what she thought was a clump of leaves on the floor, which turned out to be ... a dead bird.
*sigh* Those cats!
And I guess we don't need to talk about the baby snakes in the garage.
And continuing with the domestic mishaps, there was a rather ... unfortunate chicken dinner one night, when I tried to substitute onion soup mix for italian salad dressing mix in a recipe, with predictably odd results.
And I made sure to explain that the syringes in the kitchen drawer were for treating sick foster kittens, not because I had become a heroin addict.
And my jaw kicked up at one point so strongly that I was fairly certain I'd be spending at least part of Monday in the dentist's chair, but thankfully that little problem seemed to resolve itself.
Although now my lower front teeth ache whenever I drink hot coffee, which ... yeah. I have no idea.
So! It was an eventful weekend, saddened by the fact that the family had gathered together due to the death of a loved one. The last time all of us were together was at my father's memorial service, thirteen years ago. We've got to stop meeting like this.
My family - Five daughters, one son, one mom.
As you can see, Texas is not the only
Monday, September 10, 2012
As you may recall, I was wondering how the cats would do with a strange person in the house.
Ponyboy was fine, greeting Texas at the door when we got back from the airport. (Finally - her travel day last Thursday started with a bomb scare and ended with a four-hour delay in Detroit. Poor Texas!)
Sodapop was the next to come around, even sleeping on her bed the first night she was here. And Tinks? Well, by this morning, Tinks was rubbing against her and letting her pet him.
My sister, The Cat Whisperer.
Thursday, September 06, 2012
She's jetting across the country as we speak, and will be here in time for supper tonight.
Granted, it's for a sad reason - the memorial service for our sister-in-law - but gosh, it'll be good to see her. I haven't seen her in four years - not since 2008, when I went down to visit her.
And I am fascinated to see how the cats react to another person in the house. I'm pretty sure that Ponyboy and Sodapop will be okay, because they grew up in a hectic household, and they are pretty good with my neighbors. Well, they're not exactly friendly, they're more like cautious, but I'm sure they'll be down with Texas.
Tinks, on the other hand? Tinks, who runs in abject terror from anyone who tries to get near him (except for me, and sometimes including me)? Tinks ... is gonna be an experience. But you know what? He needs to get exposed to other people. He needs to learn that not everyone is out to get him. Because if anything ever happens to me, and the cats need to find new homes (yes, this situation has been provided for, but still - you never know what could happen after you're gone) - a cat like him, a cat who is afraid of people, is not easy to find a home for. So I'm hoping to use this experience of Texas' visit as a leetle learning experience for Mr. Tinks.
So! Welcome, Texas! We can't wait to see you!
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
I went on line and started looking for replacement caps and found one at Lowe's that looked like it would work. And it was in stock at my local store! So I trucked over to Lowe's and ... no gas cap. I mean, they HAD gas caps, but not the one shown on line that would work for my mower. And, being Lowe's, OF COURSE there was no one available to help me.
You know, Lowe's always had pretty sh*tty customer service. But once Home Depot came to town, several years ago, Lowe's seemed to step up their game. Lately, however, they've been backsliding. You could grow OLD in that store trying to find someone to help you.
ANYway, I grabbed a "universal" gas cap and took it home and of course it didn't fit. So I went back on line, just to prove to myself that the gas cap I had seen earlier was not an illusion.
Nope. Not an illusion. On line and in stock at my local store. So, desperate times (I had a baggie rubber-banded over the top of the gas tank) (NOT the best option when you store your mower in the same general vicinity as your pilot-lit gas furnace) calling for desperate measures, I got tricky. I ordered the part on line and chose the "local store pickup" option.
Ding-ding-ding give the lady a cigar! Twenty minutes later, the local Lowe's was calling me telling me that my part was available for pickup.
Back to Lowe's. I returned the old cap, picked up the new cap, and asked the gal at the customer service desk WHERE, exactly, that particular gas cap was located in the store.
"Aisle 24!" she chirped. So I headed for Aisle 24, determined to find out how I had missed seeing that gas cap when I was there the FIRST time.
Bottom line? That gas cap is obviously stocked somewhere in the store, because they pulled it off the shelf when I ordered it on line, but it was NOT in Aisle 24. And it was not in any aisle that I could find, because I SEARCHED that goddam store. With no help from store employees, of course, because as usual they were nowhere to be found.
But! I took the new cap home and ... it fit! Yay! And someday, I will discover the elusive Aisle of Mystery in Lowe's, the aisle where they stock all the stuff YOU CAN'T FIND.
Tuesday, September 04, 2012
"(Insert name here) decided to end his life in the place he loved best: his home and sanctuary in the (insert town name) wood. Born in the Bronx, he spent his early years negotiating difficult circumstances with defiance, energy, and determination: jumping off the docks into the river, visiting Edgewater and smelling the vibrant life there, catching trains and riding the length of Manhattan Island, sleeping on rooftops and trying to find ways to survive. He was always proud to be a Bronx native; one of the family residences on Bruckner Boulevard was razed to make way for the Triboro Bridge. He spent too many of his teen and young adult years bouncing from institution to institution, struggling with his addictions and mental health issues. Sometime in the 1970s, his brother Frank convinced him to try living in (town name). After many therapeutic interventions and 12-step meetings, Dennis found life-long sobriety in August 1980. In 1982, he moved to a remarkable retreat and safe place in the woods overlooking the (name) River. He loved living there; he could listen to and feed the birds, cut firewood with an old-fashioned handsaw, try to find ways to live with his many ghosts, demons, hopes, and his firm moral and spiritual code. Dennis was a bundle of complexity and contradictions: incredibly smart yet often irrational, he was a charming and charismatic child-like spirit who could quickly turn angry and afraid. He possessed a searing intensity and determination yet often couldn't complete the simplest tasks. He felt that he had a very limited capacity to "be in the world," as he would say; he characterized himself as a hermit, a cowboy, a spiritual seeker, a rebel, a recluse—but never as a comfortable member of society. No amount of rational conversation or pleas could change his beliefs. He was doggedly determined to live his life on his own terms in the best ways that he could. He lived alone since 1996, although he had a close, long-time friend who tried to help him and care for him, as well as relatives, neighbors, and others with whom he developed superficial but deeply important relationships. Although he depended on minimal social services for his very basic needs, he never wanted to feel indebted to any person, agency, or government. So despite his meager resources, he paid enormous interest to clear an old loan for an aborted semester at college circa 1980. Because he knew that cigarettes were destroying his health, he quit smoking forever in 1997. In fact, other than a very rare round of antibiotics and occasional OTC pain-relievers, he shunned all medications. If he had accepted help and used prescription anti-depressants or other medications to help him cope with his mental and emotional illnesses, he might still be alive. But he chose his path carefully and deliberately. He saved enough money to pre-pay for his final arrangements because he did not want to burden us with those details of his death. Dennis loved so much about his life: the full moon, the changing seasons, the river, the birds and rabbits and deer and hawks. Yet he carried on a relentless battle against the flying squirrels who reside in the attic and the rodents who pilfer bird feed. Dennis adored 50s bebop and rock, classic cowboy movies and TV shows; he also venerated series such as The Sopranos and Deadwood. He tilted at too many windmills for too long, and he refused to concede a defeat that would have been enormous if he had lived to the point where he could no longer care for himself. Because he wanted a simple, unencumbered life and wanted to live as frugally as possible, he gave up car ownership many years ago; he rode his bicycle to the Forks—in all weather--for his newspapers, milk, bread, and his mail. For several years until shortly before his death, he depended on the EC County Rural service to take him to a grocery store so he could buy what he needed to survive. Dennis so appreciated the lifeline that the EC Country dispatchers and drivers provided. He came to see them as friends and he valued his interactions with them. When the powers that be decided that EC County routes would be almost eliminated (not "cost-efficient" to provide essential services to the most needy among us), Dennis was shaken and scared because one of his few safety nets had been severed. We will never know why he chose to end his life when he did; we know that a constellation of forces contributed. But he would want folks to know that he did all that he could to live and die on his terms. He often quoted the Bible - "let the dead bury the dead"— so he did not want us to mourn him or memorialize him publicly. We hope that he would understand why we are publishing this obituary as a way of honoring and remembering him. Special thanks and deep gratitude to Dennis' neighbors, and to the people who helped him survive as long and well as he did, especially the dispatchers and drivers of EC Country. Thanks to the first responders, especially the State Police investigators, and to Tim and Donna of the (Name) Funeral Home, who helped us through these horrible first days. In lieu of flowers, consider donating to the Independence Center, the EC Country bus service, or a mental health or suicide-prevention organization. If you cannot contribute, please take time to look up at a full-moon or take a walk in the woods or provide a helping hand to someone who needs it."
Okay, (a) way too long; (b) an obituary is not the place to bitch about bus service; (c) he SAID he did not want to be publicly memorialized. Way to go, buddies! You just couldn't resist getting in one last dig at the bus service, couldya?
Sounds like an eccentric (read: "pain in the ass") old dude who drove the people who tried to help him nuts. I've known a few of those.
Monday, September 03, 2012
And I'm working away, unpacking flower vases and VHS tapes and old cameras and all of the stuff that gets donated to rummage sales, when I come across a little statue.
You know, one of those reproduction-of-a-famous-statue statues, about 8" high. The ones you run across in antiques stores all the time. Think Michelangelo's "Moses", writ small.
I took a closer look at it, because it wasn't immediately apparent to me which famous statue it was actually imitating, and saw that it was two men wrestling. Violently wrestling. Hmm? I thought ... I'm really not familiar with this piece ... and I looked a little closer, and ...
hahahahaha GAY P*RN! It was two men, well, doing what gay men do.
Somebody donated gay p*rn to a charity fundraiser. Classic!
So I'm debating whether or not to put it up for sale (there would be CHILDREN at the sale, dammit! Think about the CHILDREN!), when the VFW bartender came in to get a first shot at the sale. She was trying on halloween costumes and laughing about this and that and generally having a good ol' time, and when she paid for her purchases she gave us a donation.
"Thanks so much!," I said. "Why don't you pick out something else, on the house?"
"Well ...," she said. "I don't know what to pick ..."
And because she just seemed like a gal with a sense of humor, I was all, "You know, we DO have this statue that we don't know what to do with ..."
I showed her the statue, she burst out laughing saying she knew JUST the person to give it to, and left.
I hope that statue now has a happy home, wherever it is.
and I STILL can't believe somebody donated p*rn to a charity sale. Jeez.
Saturday, September 01, 2012
Ah, sweet, sweet fame. :)
Bottom line? One kitten adoption, one new foster home volunteer family (SO hard to come by), and two hundred bucks from the rummage sale. We done good.
Oh! And ask me about the p*rnographic statue I sold to the VFW bartender. It's a good story.