Guess who had a birthday?

Hey guys – I’m back! There have been some exciting goings-on around the Bad Mutha Fudruckin’ household, not the least of which being that somebody celebrated a big birthday. On September 1, Dexter turned a 10 years old. Quite a milestone! And to celebrate, CSN Stores (you know, the folks with over 200 stores where you can find anything from a coffee table to a Halloween costume for your dog) has offered to let him do his first product review!

So stay tuned! He’s getting something he’s been yearning for his entire life, and I can’t wait to share with you guys his reaction.

Happy Birthday, Dex! I love you!

Lil Wayne and Juvenile

Me @ petsmartAt my office, we have a cat guy. He feeds and cares for several feral cat colonies around town, and while he is on vacation for a few days, I agreed to take care of them.

He’s had to move one colony deeper and deeper into a patch of wooded area to keep them safe from automobile traffic and cruel people (he found a few cats poisoned a few months ago), so by the time he got around to showing me where they were, I had to don rainboots and a generous dose of Deep Woods Off, and was advised to carry a stick for pushing aside spiderwebs.

The first couple days of cat watch were uneventful; I tromped to the designated spots, left food and refilled water and did a quick head count. On the second day the food had been overturned and a pair of turtles were happily munching on the soggy cat kibble; I was annoyed and ever-so-slightly afraid (yes, I was intimidated by a turtle), but it was tough to stay mad at the turtles, with their mushy cat food-smeared heads pulled half-heartedly into their shells.

I will cut you.

On Sunday, as I was checking on the second half of the colony, I spotted a tiny orange tail peeking up over the edge of a slanted board. Trying to be as quiet as possible, I crawled over to get a better look. Three kittens, no more than 3 weeks old, were huddled together in an orange and calico pile. Mom had already fled at my intrusion. Brushing aside a few more cobwebs, I reached in and scooped up the tiny fur bundles and tromped back to the car. By this time, the kittens were squalling relatively loudly, and I had visions of vengeful cats streaming out of the woods to pull me down and reclaim their screaming young.

SPOILER ALERT: It didn’t happen. My hike back to the car was uneventful.

I scoured the car for something to keep the kittens in, and the best I could find was a dutch oven my friend had recently returned to me and I hadn’t brought back into the house yet. I lined the bottom with a t-shirt and placed the kittens inside.

I pulled into the PetsMart parking lot and reached into the backseat for the pot o’ kittens. I carried them inside, now fast asleep, and made my way to the Banfield vet counter.

Hansel is displeased

Lil Wayne is displeased

“Can I help you?” the receptionist asked, giving me and the dutch oven tucked under my arm a quizzical look.

I tipped the dutch oven enough to reveal the huddle of kittens (thank goodness I had decided against putting the lid on).

“Um, I found these? And I was hoping you guys could tell me how old they are and what they’ll need before I can bring them to my vet tomorrow morning?”

A vet tech took the pot from me and took it back to weigh the kittens and check their temperatures. She came back out a few minutes later to tell me that they all looked relatively healthy, if a little small, and that although they didn’t have any teeth yet, she didn’t think they’d need to be bottle fed. She walked me over to the cat section and pointed out what wet food I should mix with some KMR (a kitten milk replacement) to offer to the kittens. Another vet tech walked by with a small pet carrier and a mysterious bulge in her scrub pocket.

Gretel, a calico kitten

Juvenile

“You’ll need to keep them warm,” she said, patting her pocket. I could just see some orange fluff sticking out – kitten #1 had found a home. She handed me the pet carrier with the two remaining kittens inside, then offered to give me a syringe to help feed the babies. Some kittens never take to the bottle, she explained, because they can smell the latex and don’t like it. Their clinic had better luck just using a syringe to offer formula.

So. There are two kittens currently snoozing on my coffee table under the watchful eye of Ernie. Julie has named them Lil Wayne (orange) and Juvenile (calico). I’ll keep you posted on their progress, but I need some help.

Ernie inspects the new arrivals

Ernie suggests we name them "Sugar" and "Spice," since they look delicious.

Also – homes. These guys are going to need homes. I am at my pet limit, and Hemo wants absolutely nothing to do with these guys. She insists that we are a one cat household, and I agree.

Hey, that reminds me…

…so Allie at Hyperbole and a Half posted about sneaky rage cycles recently, and I immediately had a flashback to a recent event.  This was me:

*slightly torn, but nonetheless clean

The first sign of trouble –

Weird.

It appears that the elastic in the mattress pad has melted in the dryer.  I have never, in 28 years of life, heard of this problem.  Perhaps I’ve been living under a rock.  Yet I am still not ready to admit defeat.  I try changing positions; using the bed/wall/anything for leverage.
Ok, this isn’t working.  I’m breaking into a sweat.  The animals have fled to the backyard as I grasp the crinkly, decidedly non-elastic, mattress pad in my teeth in a desperate attempt to bend the universe to my will.

OK, ok.  Calm down.  Breathe in, breathe out.

Oh no, you didn’t.
Finally – VICTORY!

Kinda.

Sleep karate chopping?

I’ve never been much of a sleep walker.  More of a sleep talker, which I guess can get pretty creepy, too.  One of my best friends and former roommate used to get really freaked out when I’d sit up in the middle of the night and ask for a hairbrush.

“I thought you were possessed by the devil,” she’d say.

Um, sorry Deb.

My sister Elizabeth used to sleep walk and talk, as I remember.  When we were moved from Hawai’i to Virginia, we road-tripped it from coast to coast.  Each night when we’d stop at a motel, our parents would get two rooms – one for them, and one for us kids.  One night, Beth jumped out from under the covers and onto the foot of the bed.  She crouched down in perfect surfer form, arms outstretched, and sang a quick rendition of “Wipe Out” (think Animal from the Muppets).  Then she sorta woke up, looked around, and started crying.

I’m pretty sure my other two sisters and I got in trouble for upsetting her.  Although I have to say that she was about 6 at the time, and I’m sure we were pointing and laughing.

But anyway, I’m beginning to suspect that lately I’ve taken my sleep activities to a whole new level, and the saddest part is that I may have involved little Ernie in these night-time shenanigans.

Sunday evening, while enjoying a delicious gyro with friends at the Greek Fest (where I saw an honest-to-goodness young Michael Bolton – more about this later), I notice a thumb-sized bruise on each of my upper arms.

Huh, I wondered.  I don’t remember getting manhandled this weekend.

Monday morning, poor baby Ernie is moping around the house.  As his usual morning routine includes waking me up around 6:00 with a sneeze to the face, followed by pacing around the house and zooming around the backyard, I suspected something was up.  I checked each of his feet for cuts or burrs, then palpated his abdomen to check for swelling or hardness.  Nothing.

Then I started manipulating his hips, and he started whimpering.  I guess you have to know Ernie to know that this is a big deal.  He’ll cry and get all excited when he sees someone he loves (read: anyone he’s ever met, even once), but he does not cry out in pain.  Even when he ripped his whole toenail off, he didn’t cry.  The only reason I knew something was up was that he was lick, lick, licking his poor, nail-less foot next to me on the couch.

Anyway, back in the present day.  Ernie was slowly walking around the backyard, head down and ears back.  He wasn’t limping, and he successfully one’d and two’d, so I watched him hobble onto the couch and left for work.

By Wednesday he was fine – verdict: muscle strain.

BUT THEN, on Tuesday morning I found a bruise and a cut on my side.  I’m pretty much convinced that Ernie and I have been drafted as ninja enforcers by an organization so secret even we don’t know about it.  It makes perfect sense, if you think about it:

  • I’ve been going to the gym, transforming myself into a lean, mean, fighting machine.  If you could see these biceps, you’d be intimidated.  Trust me.
  • Ernie is very strong and agile, and can be pretty stealthy when he wants to (Dexter…strong, but gets failing grades in agility and stealth).
  • Warm weather + poverty = no AC.  But I do have my bedroom window open to get some air flow at night.  I think it is through this window that They initially made contact.  I also think this is my ninja exit/entrance, as my keys remain where my waking mind left them (plus, ninjas do not have pockets, and jingling keys ≠ stealth).

As further evidence, I present to you the fact that I’ve woken up at 2:50am for the past 4 nights, and haven’t been able to get back to sleep.

I’m pretty sure it’s the adrenaline rush that comes from battling crime in hand-to-hand combat.

Things I’ve learned from LOST

I’m know I’m late to the party, but thanks to Netflix I am 6 episodes deep into the 3rd season of LOST.  I’ve previously shared how Full House burned for all eternity the correct spelling of “congratulations” into my brain, so today I’ve like to share what I’ve learned from LOST (so far).

Lost: Lesson 1

1. iteration, definition of: I don’t know if I’ve ever before read or heard the word “iteration” before the episode where Sayid and the gang first hear Rousseau’s mayday message.  I’ve heard reiterate, but never iteration.


Compression Syndrome

2. compartment syndrome, treatment of : You gotta cut. that. limb. off.  Or die. (see also Carlyle, Boone)


Arzt

3. dynamite, instability of:  Thanks, Dr. Arzt.  Sorry about…well, you know.  Blowing up.

Polar bears are smart

4. bears, polar: They “are, like, the Einsteins of the bear community.”  According to the BBC, anyway.

In which I DANCE!

First of all – I’ve had a lot of traffic over the past week land on this post.  I have no idea why, unless there is an epidemic of insecure mothers desperate to discover that they are not alone.  Honestly, I’m baffled.  But hey – stick around, folks!  I hope you like what you see.

Ok, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, on to more important things.

DANCE!

Specifically, me dancing.  Normally, I am not much of a dancer.  I will rock the heck out of some karaoke, but me + dance floor usually equals flailing arms and an all-around lack of coordination epic in scale.  But I harbor a not-so-secret wish to be part of a choreographed dance.  When I was younger, my sister and I would tape and watch our favorite Backstreet Boys videos and try to learn the dances.

Oh, the shame.

For a more recent example, after watching Slumdog Millionaire all I wanted to do was rewind the end credit dance and keep watching it until I had learned the whole routine.  The friend I watched it with wanted to watch the scene where the kid jumps into the poop pile.  To each his own, I guess (although I’m pretty sure my friend didn’t want to actually reenact his favorite scene.  Well, pretty sure).

Which brings me to the present day, in which I have joined a small boxing gym run by the city.  I don’t do any actual boxing, though.  It is a pretty small space, but it has lots of machines and equipment, and it is very close to my house.  Like, so close that I can see it from my front porch.  Also it is cheap – $50 for a year.

However the BEST part about the gym is that on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights there is a cardio class that is 60% traditional cardio, and 40% “hip hop” line dances.

Yes, it is awesome.

The first time I attended the class, we started out sweating to a Michael Jackson mash-up and I could not stop smiling.  Me and a room full of middle-aged ladies, sweating up a storm and rocking out to PYT.  It was amazing.  Then it was dancing time.

There was a hell of a learning curve – I looked like a drunk chicken trying to step-kick-and-cross, step-kick-then-turn along with those women.  But after a couple of weeks I finally caught on and was rocking out to R. Kelly with the best of’em.

Things I love about our class:

  • the DANCING

Things I do not love about our class:

  • Stony Baloney*

She usually wears a hat, which I couldn’t draw, and has freckles, which I forgot to draw.
Forgive me, Stony Baloney, for this less-that-accurate portrait.

There is a lady in the class whom Julie has nicknamed Stony Baloney.  Stony Baloney is a tiny, older lady with long hair who wears tiny, tiny, Keds to class and totally looks stoned all of the time.  She is kind of a crabby stoner, though.  She knows all of the dances and is not afraid to tell you to move to the back of the room when we are learning a new dance because, “I already know this one.”  Although she is not as grandiose in her movements as me some of the class, she nevertheless requires a LOT of personal dance space.  If a routine calls for three big steps up and you happen to be standing behind her, well, you’re just going to have go around.  Those tiny, tiny, Keds take tiny, tiny, steps.  I don’t know what would happen if I bumped into Stony Baloney by accident, but I don’t think it would be good.

*P.S. I know “bologna” is the correct spelling, but I like “baloney” better.  It at least looks like it would rhyme with “stony.”

F-ing slugs, man.

Thanks, everyone, for your input yesterday and putting up with my melodrama.

I am not typically full of hate.

And really, I was not even full of hate on Saturday, despite all the dog balls.  It was a beautiful day, I had a delicious adult beverage, and I was enjoying all of it with my favorite Ernie.

*dramatic sigh*
Are you done complaining, yet?

Are you done complaining, yet?

Seriously – BORING!

seriously - boring!

Jeez, sorry guys.

Moving right along…the slug problem seems to be under control.  After my salt blitzkrieg last week, I haven’t noticed any fresh slug marks.  Oh, and did I mention I drew a circle of salt around the container?  Well, I did.  Now it’s safe from slugs AND witches.  Who knows what my neighbors think of me, much less the mailman – who, without the benefit of having witnessed my battle with the slugs, can only judge me by the pools of salt/slug remains that dot the front porch and the ring of salt around a chewed-up plant.  I’m putting off sweeping up the salt and dead slugs because I’m holding on to the hope that the desiccated carcasses will serve as a deterrent to other potential interlopers.

(click to see larger)

I will kill a slug.

Also, the NobleWorks.com contest is still running until Thursday @ midnight – each comment you leave (or blog and/or twitter shout out) gets you an entry!

So you think you’re a Slick Rick, huh?

You know what I hate?

Mocking birds.

But I have a new hate in my life, friends.  Slugs.  They haven’t supplanted mocking birds at the top of my list (yet), but as Stephen Colbert would say, they’re on notice.

I was hanging out on the front porch Monday night, talking to my mom on the phone, when I noticed one of the slimey sons of bitches munching on my calibrachoa.
F--- you, slug.Then I spotted another one.  Two slugs = Threat Level Orange.

I can’t allow this.  I won’t live like this!  Those slimey bastards don’t get to treat my plants as an all night buffet.  So I got my gardening shears out and snipped off the branches that the slugs were on, and let the leaves fall to the ground.  I zeroed in on the leaves that the slugs were still clinging to, and stomped on them (slug side down, of course – I’m not an animal).

“Take that, assholes,” I muttered under my breath as I slid my shoes off and returned inside.

The next morning my mom sent me an email with some tips for getting rid of slugs.  Suggestions included salt (of course), beer traps, and sandpaper.  According to the article she sent, slugs won’t crawl across sandpaper for fear of ripping their bellies open.  Oh yeah, that sounds about right.  And I guess they like beer as much as the next guy, and will drown themselves to get a sip.

Stale beer, people.  This makes me hate them more.

So when darkness fell last night, visions of a slug massacre were dancing in my head.  I wasn’t going to waste any beer on those assholes, and I didn’t have any sandpaper.  So salt it was.  I went out to the front porch armed with garden shears and a can of Morton’s.  I spotted the first of the enemy right away.

Snip.  He was on the ground.  Flip.  The leaf was right-side up (no more messing around).  Sprinkle.  Agony for him, glee for me.

I felt a twinge of conscience – was I any better than those horrible boys who pluck the wings off of flies and burn ants with magnifying glasses?  How could I sit there and watch, nay, enjoy the death throes of another living creature?

But then that bastard tried to make a run for it, salt-sprinkled as he was, through a crack in the boards that make up the porch.  So I COVERED him in salt.  I positively mounded it on top of him.

“Not so fast, sucker.  Where do you think you’re going?”

The next 20 minutes are a blur.  I flicked and salted probably 5 more slugs, just off of one container.  I went inside to call my mom and report on my progress.  Basking in the glow of her approval, I ventured back outside to survey the carnage.  Slugs lay writhing in pools of goo and salt.  Life was good.

Then I spotted a particularly long slug making his way up the side of the container.

“Oh, what have we got here?  I bet you think you’re a real Slick Rick, huh?  Take THAT!”

I flung a handful of salt at him, knocking him from the side of the pot.

“How ’bout a little fire, Scarecrow?” – another fistful of salt rained down upon him.

Perhaps by this weekend my blood lust will be sated and I’ll be satisfied with ringing my containers with sandpaper (“the roughest grit you can find, honey” suggested my mom).  Until then – slugs beware.  So help you GOD if I find you in my hostas.

Yes, peacocks.

Yup.  You read that correctly.

Peacocks.

I had a peacock encounter recently.  And not your typical, “hey, I’m at the zoo and even though I really came for the elephants, I’ll check out the peacocks because, well, they are here and right next to the snack bar.”  I mean, I was enjoying a day on the water, playing bocce ball on a sand bar, and 20 minutes later – BAM!

Peacocks.

Let me back it up a bit, so I can properly set the stage.  Imagine if you will, two girls riding in the bed of a truck.  Both girls are soaked to the waist as a result of a likely unnecessary but none the less enthusiastic attempt to “help” trailer the boat.  Both girls are a little bit tipsy.

Suddenly –

Kevin?

Kevin?

It was explained to us that a local horse farm had raised some peacocks, but I guess a few got out and now they roam around this coastal neighborhood.  We could hear them calling to each other, and when Kristin took a crack at answering them, they called right back.

They sound like this.

So although we could hear them, nary a peacock could we see.  Amazing, right?  I mean, these animals are known for their flashy plumage, and they are hidden amongst the pine trees.  Julie and I thought we saw one, but it turned out to be a branch.  Disappointment City, Population: me.

So after crashing through some bushes and peering into some neighbors’ yards, we got into the car, not a little disillusioned.  Planet Earth makes it seem as though exotic animals are under every rock!

We drive about 10 yards down the street, Kristin calling to the birds all the while.  Out of the corner of my eye – a flash of turquoise – could it be?

A PEACOCK!  Just chilling on the roof of an abandoned mobile home.  Another perched in a pine tree in the backyard.  It was a surreal moment.  Kristin and the birds exchange a few words.

Her:  “ca-KAW!”

Them:  “ca-KAW!  ca-KAW!”

Me:  “I wish I had my camera – MS Paint will never do this justice.”

Oh, and Kristin – watch your back.  A little internet research has informed me that you were impersonating their mating call.  So…yeah.  Baby Kevins in your very near future?  Perhaps.

The End of the World (maybe).

Holy smokes – don’t poop your pants (or adjust your sets).  It’s just me, trying to get back into blogging.

Yeah.  I don’t want to be responsible for that.  I mean, I just thought about blogging last week and look what happened in Iceland.  But if I don’t blog, the terrorists win.  So here I am.

Life is good for a Mutha Fudrucker right now.  I’m working to turn my black thumb green – there is now some tangible evidence that I don’t kill EVERY plant I come into contact with.  These plants were all alive, well, they were as of 7:30 this morning.

1.  Sunflower toddlers.  The dogs step on these (a lot) but they keep springing back.  I grew these bad boys from SEED, bitches.  Yeah, I said it.  I planted these (along with the brugmansias) to give Dex some shade, since I took a chain saw to his favorite weedy shade-shrub.  So keep your fingers crossed that they get more than 3 inches tall, wil ya?

2.  Heliotrope.  Where have you been all of my life?  These little flowers smell like the best cherry vanilla Lip Smacker you’ve ever tasted.  I mean smelled.  Fine, I mean tasted.  Don’t judge me.

3.  Million bells.  The name sold me – lemon chiffon.  How could I turn it down?  Instead of eating a key lime pie square every day, I can just look at these for my citrus fix.

4.  Sweet Potato vines.  I don’t know what it is about these plants, but I love them.  The color is awesome and they grow so fast, so easy.

5.  Phlox.  I have these in hanging baskets and I almost killed them once, when I left them to fend for themselves for 36 hours.  Note to self:  these bad boys need to be watered once a day.  But so worth it, because they flower and flower and flower.

6.  Mint.  We’ve actually got 3 varieties here: chocolate mint, orange mint, and plain ol’ Kentucky mint.  I just sit on the porch, rip a leaf off, and press them to my nostrils.  Not too shabby in a mojito or a julep, either.

7.  Nasturtium seedlings.  I’ve never really heard of this flower before, but I snagged these seeds from my sister.  Apparently they are really easy to grow, and edible.  A match made in heaven – I love both live plants AND eating.

8.  Brugmansia.  I bought two of these tree-thingies last year.  They survived being over wintered in my spare room, and I was even able to get some viable cuttings.  I gave most of them away, but now I’ve got a total of 4 of these bad boys.

The most exciting thing to grow in the backyard this year, though is GRASS.  The dogs are rough on the lawn and it shows.  This year I’ve fenced off about a third of the yard in an attempt to grow some real ground cover.  A trip to the local feed ‘n seed and $17 in clover seed later, I’ve got this:

GRASS!  Honest to goodness GRASS!  It’s not the clover I thought I was buying, but it’s not weeds, either.  Well, not purely weeds.  Words cannot express how happy I am about this development.  Dexter keeps sneaking into the fenced-off zone to nap in its pillowy green-ness.  I can’t really blame him.  I can’t wait to prance around in it bare foot.

So yes.  Exciting times for a Mutha Fudrucker.  I’ve also got my vegetable garden in, after chiseling through my hard, clay, soil and amending it with bags and bags of Miracle Grow and mushroom compost.  I’m having visions of skipping through the plants and plucking cherry tomatoes from my monstrous tomato trees, then passing out with a orange mint mojito in my hand and tomato juice running down my chin.

P.S. – Happy Earth Day!  Check out this blog for some tips on being a greener pet owner.