xoxo

Sometimes I miss blogging. The times that I miss blogging are when I’m driving home from work, stuck in traffic, and the local NPR station is running a story on the aging population’s inability to detect increasing levels of iron in their drinking water.

What?

Why does this story make me miss blogging? Because the reporter keeps pronouncing iron “EYE-rin.” Go ahead, say it out loud. Maybe I’m just a hick from Virginia by way of North Carolina, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard anyone in real life pronounce it “EYE-rin.”

Then I get to thinking about how I pronounce iron. IRE-n. EYE-ern. I was starting to go a little crazy. I needed an audience to bounce my break from reality off of.

HOW DO YOU PRONOUNCE ‘IRON,’ INTERNET?

So yes. I gotta get these thoughts out of my head.

Also, I’m a fan of this blog. And I’m grateful to it, as well – I parlayed this little outlet from a place to keep a friend updated on her rehomed dog, to a part-time job writing for a pet  blog, to a job I love with an organization I adore.

So hello, old friends. Hope we can do this again real soon.

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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.

Two dogs, a cat, and a girl…now with more frog!

Meet the newest Mutha Fudrucker:

What up, ninjas?

(I’m pretty sure she is a girl because I haven’t heard any croaks or ribbits.)

This little Son of a B hitched a ride on one of my dumb canes when I brought my plants inside for winter.  I didn’t notice her until about a month after she’d arrived.  Initially I was a little worried that Hemo would pose a threat to her continued safety, as she (Hemo) was quite a tree-frog hunter in her younger days.  She’d catch them on my apartment balcony and bring them inside (some still kicking feebly) to play with in the living room, abandoning them after she’d become bored and moved on other pursuits, such as knocking over water glasses or creating sand art with her litter.

My worries were unfounded, it seems, because Hemo cares not a whit for the frog.  But THEN I started worrying that she would die of starvation, because (as far as I know) there are no crickets in the spare room.  But she must be eating something because now it is March and she’s been here since November.

Usually she chills on the big broad leaves of the dumb canes.  She used to switch it up; staying for a week or two on one dumb cane, then migrating across the table to the other.  Now she just lives in one plant, but most morning she takes a dirt bath in the dying portulaca.

I got mad skills, yo.

I don’t usually see her move – she’s a ninja like that.  I just turn around, and BAM! she’s on a new leaf.

Ninja frog moves with stealth.

A few weekends ago it was beautiful outside – sunny and (kinda) warm.  I moved her home plant to the front porch to give her a chance to get some direct sun, and even return to the wild, if she wanted.  I observed her moving around the plant for a little bit, and when I went to bring the plant in as the sun was going down, I didn’t see her anywhere on the plant!  I searched around the porch but didn’t see her.  Part of me was sad, but part of me was kind of relieved.  The responsibility for her well-being was really weighing heavily on me.

“Run free, little ninja frog,” I thought.

“Find a Mr. Ninja Frog and makes little Ninja Frog babies!  It’s the circle of life!”

But Ninja Frog strikes again!  That little frog was hiding amongst the leaves the whole time and hitched a ride back into the house.  So now I think I’m stuck with her.

I'm back.

In which Dexter discovers he loves the taste of deer poop.

Work sucks.

There, I said it.  Coming back to work after 16 days off blows.  As I’m sure this is news to no one, we’ll be moving right along.

We had a surprisingly uneventful road trip up to Michigan.  I packed my baby sister and the dogs into the car and, leaving Hemo at home to be looked after by my neighbor/co-worker, started the 15 hour trek to the outer suburbs of Detroit.

Why, you may ask, did Hemo get to stay home, most likely licking her kitty vagina on  my pillows and gorging herself on treats I bought in a fit of guilt?  It is not because she is a poor road tripper – on the contrary, she is an excellent road tripper.  On one trip from NC to MI she sat stoically in her (soft-sided, collapsible) car carrier while Ernie sat on her for who knows how long until I happened to glance in the backseat and shoo him off.  No, Hemo is just a horrible, horrible house guest.  Hissing at babies, scratching couches, peeing in inappropriate places — she has long since worn out her welcome at my mom’s house.

Our ride up was uneventful.  After Dexter stopped mouth-breathing all over my sister and followed Ernie’s example by falling asleep in the backseat, it was clear sailing.  We did have to listen to Jason DeRulo’s “Whatcha Say” about a million times, but the song kind of grew on me and it ended up being not so bad.

The week and a half I spent in Michigan with my mom and her family went by too, too fast.  It was a blur of snow, food, sleeping in, Harry Potter yarn, hot chocolate, food, wine, and delicious food.  Ernie and Dex had a grand time playing in the snow.  It’s a shame the only picture I have of my time up there is the following, in which I tried to get a family portrait of my dogs along with my mom’s pit bull, Callie.  Well, she’s not actually my mom’s dog, she’s my stepbrother’s, but after he bought her and had her ears clipped, his drug habit caught up with him and he spent several years in and out of shady rental homes with no-pets policies before finally ending up in jail (he’s out now).  So Callie lives with my mom and stepdad, and protects my sister from chipmunks.


Wow.  What a photogenic bunch.

Callie (left) Poor Callie, she looks like she is losing a piece of her soul to the camera.  Honestly, for all her 100+ pounds (my sister steadfastly claims that Callie is 90 pounds, but come on…she makes Dexter look slim), she is the sweetest, most insecure sensitive dog I have ever met.  And she smells like Doritos.

Dexter (middle) looks like he just suffered a stroke.  I love you Dex, but you are out of the running to become America’s Next Top Model.

Ernie (right) has not, to my knowledge at least, been taking any steroids, nor was his father a giraffe.  This picture, however, argues otherwise.

I guess they come by it honest, as I have not taken a decent picture since approximately 1983.

Coming up, I have a lot of stuff to tell you, including how my car gave me the middle finger on the Ohio Turnpike and my adventures converting a monstrous butternut squash to monstrous mound of cubed butternut squash.  Stay tuned!

Call out the negotiator

Does anyone else have Tom Petty’s “Something in the Air” stuck in their head?  No?  Just me then.

Moving on…

You know what sucks about the end of a relationship?  A lot of things, I guess, but today I’m specifically talking about the awkward exchange of hostages that occurs after you’ve broken up but you are still losing sleep over the casserole dish you left at his house.  Sure, it’s only a casserole dish and you could just replace it, but it was a birthday present from your mom.  And it has a serving cradle!

So, you make the phone call (or in my case, an email, ’cause that’s how I roll – cowardly) to offer an exchange of prisoners.  You always say that you think you may left such-and-such at their house – but you know.  You have been losing sleep over that shit.

I negotiated for the casserole dish and my crock pot, and remembered at the last-minute my spare set of car keys; the last person you want to call when you’ve locked yourself out of your car is your ex.

Fortunately I had his grill to offer as an exchange.  Unfortunately I also had his pajama pants that, thanks to Ernie, no longer have a crotch and therefore don’t carry much bargaining weight.  Sure, they’re 98% intact, but the missing 2% is pretty crucial.  I was hoping they would have been forgotten, but no.  The man who couldn’t commit a 3-item grocery list to memory has not forgotten about the pajama pants that I borrowed 4 months ago.

A short list of (other) things that suck about breaking up:
a backlog of inside jokes with no one to share them with • showing up at the office Christmas party alone and having to explain why to your co-workers • telling your mom • cooking for one • having to blog about it

Feel free to add your own.

Twig and berries

balls

Balls.

Those are totally balls.

Let me back up and start from the beginning.

The morning of my sister’s bridal shower, my mom’s house was in total chaos. Chicken salad was still being made and frantically chilled, butter chips were defrosting, a complicated showering/blow drying schedule was being ignored, and there were still errands to be run. Since my step-dad had already claimed the coveted (at least, by comparison) job of removing the dog poop from the backyard, I gladly volunteered to run last minutes errands. Grabbing punch supplies from the local grocery store and picking up some balloons? Check and double check.

After throwing a couple of liters of ginger ale and frozen juice in to the trunk, I was off to the balloon shop. I was greeted by the sweetest old lady you can imagine.

Go ahead, imagine her.

Short, wrinkled, slightly hunched, arthritic fingers clutching balloons by their brightly covered ribbons. Can’t you just see her? She sent her equally old and equally adorable husband to the back to get the balloons my mom had already ordered, and I asked her if it were possible to get a couple more plain, white balloons for us to attach to the mailbox at the house.

It would be her pleasure, she informed me. As she turned her attention away from me and towards the task of filling a couple of balloons with helium, I took a minute to check out the merchandise. Even though the candies were marked  .99 cents (usually my pet peeve–it’s .99 DOLLARS, not .99 CENTS, unless you are feeling extremely generous), I wasn’t even upset. Old people are so cute, I sighed.

Mr. Ballo0ns came out with two big clear bags filled with balloons.  He instructed me to take them out of the bag ASAP to prevent them from deflating prematurely.  Roger that.

After I paid Mrs. Balloons, she handed me the two additional balloons I’d requested for the mailbox.  She said a lot of something about how to adjust the height on the balloons using the complicated knot she’d tied in the ribbons, but all I could focus on was her wrinkled old hand holding, nay, cupping, a delicate ball sack she had fashioned from extra balloons to serve as a balloon weight. 

Here, let me refresh your memory:

twig-and-berries2

I think she was playing a trick on me. Either that, or I was on Candid Camera.

Later that night my 4 year old niece was running around the house, rubbing the balloon weights all over her face and unwittingly teabagging herself. I may have peed my pants a little a lot.