Nov 1, 2015

Conversations with my toddler

(B's lines approximated by translation)

B: I would like some tea, Mummy dearest.

M: No you don't. You don't like tea.

B: I want tea.

M: Are you sure?

B: I'm sure. Brew me some, please.

M (brews some tea, adds honey, turns it into a cooler temp, puts in sippy cup, presents to B)

B (with a dismissive wave): No, thank you.  I don't like tea.

...............(elapsed time)..............

B: Banana, please, darling mother.

M: You'd like a banana! Let me get you one! Would you like it peeled or to eat it like a monkey?

B: Monkey-style, dearest mum. That sounds like the most fun!

M: Here you go!

B (takes one bite): Here, Mummy. Here's a banana I got for you!

M: I don't want a banana right now. That one's yours.

B (peels down the banana till the top of it flops over and lands in a pile of cat hair): Oopsies. Your banana fell, Mumsy.

M (picking up the hairy banana chunk): OK. We're just going to put this banana in the compost because *I* don't feel like eating a hairy banana. I'll just eat the small piece that's left there.

B (breaking into sobs): No! No! I WANT that hairy banana! Please, don't throw its battered body away to the compost! Why would you perform such a heinous act!? GIVE ME THE HAIRY BANANA!!!!


I hate daylight savings time changes.... time changes matched almost perfectly with a full moon and Halloween.

Aug 6, 2015

On adopting babies and such...

OK, so once again, I've been gone for, like, a million years, and you're probably thinking I have yet another fantastic excuse or something.  This time, I kind of do.  As most of you know, I was, in my other life, previously a single dog lady.

Now, I am also (I still have aforementioned dog and cats) a single adoptive mother of a splendid baby boy, who is actually now a toddler.  It was a private adoption and I will spare the lad's privacy by not telling you the circumstances surrounding it, but suffice it to say it was a huge life change.  The lad, whom, for the time being, I referred to as "Meatloaf" due to his gargantuan size (he was 22 lbs. at less than 6 months), was born in December 2013 and came home from the hospital with me.

People's reactions varied to the news, but mostly, everyone sweetly said things like, "Holy f***, M!  You f***ing adopted a child!" and other endearing nothings of that nature.

The most common reaction, though, happened something like this:

Person: Hey, M, what's new?
Me: Well, I adopted a baby.
Person:  A baby?  Like...umm... a baby dog? Like a puppy?
Me: No, like a little boy baby.
Person:  A boy puppy?  What did you name him?  Is he neutered yet?
Me: Like a human boy baby.  He's not neutered.
Person:  Holy f***, M!  You adopted a f***ing child!"

This happened far more often than one would imagine.

Because it was the middle of winter in Illinois (the worst winter since 1979, so they say) and because I have a dog, I would put my darling Meatloaf (who was actually a mere Porkchop at the time) inside a sling inside a special "babywearing coat" which cost somewhere between 175 and eleventy billion dollars, zip him under there good, and go cross the tundra to let the dog tinkle.

One of my neighbors spotted me and my bulging (is it just me, or does that word always sound naughty??) coat, and the conversation started anew.  Except this time, when I mentioned I had a baby in my coat, my neighbor expressed her doubts.  She actually asked me to open my coat and show her the baby, which I did, mostly because I was kinda stunned.

Let me tell you something... I am quite confused as to how it is believable that I am crazy enough to walk around with a doll in a $179 baby-wearing coat trying to trick hapless neighbors into thinking I adopted a baby, faking my glassy-eyed "I-haven't-slept-in-6-weeks" look," but apparently it would not be believable that I actually adopted a baby (the kind that you don't have to neuter).

My most favorite annoying adoption story happened when a lady from the bank came to refinance my condo.  As she worked, she asked questions about Meatloaf and about his adoption. Now, at this point, I had already told her that he was eight months old and that I had he had been with me since he was born. As he sat on my lap, cooing, laughing, and drinking his bottle, she looked at me, perplexed, and threw out this gem:

Umm, well, sheesh... I sure hope so! I have changed almost every diaper and filled every bottle since the day he was born. It would be shockingly weird if he woke up every morning and thought, "Well, who the flippin'-flop is this lady?!"

I think at one point, every adoptive parent has heard something similarly bizarre (or they have very nice, tactful, well-informed friends), but glory-hallelujah, you can't make this stuff up!

A delayed welcome to my Fries with Mayo World, little (aherm...) Meatloaf!

Aug 6, 2013

When cries from within the litterbox call

In case you don't remember because I hardly ever write here, I have one Good Cat and one Bad Cat.  You may remember Bad Cat from this episode.  You can rest easy knowing that I accidentally switched back to the brand of deodorant he prefers, and I am once again peeling him daily from his attachment to my armpits.

I digress.

This is actually a very short post.

I have learned over time to psychically predict when Bad Cat is about to pee because he starts to yowl several minutes ahead of time.  Lest you decide my cat has a urinary tract infection and start getting all judgy, I will preemptively tell you that you are wrong so that you don't embarrass yourself later.  He's fine.  My hordes of friends all know about my cat's weird habits.  In fact, when we're in the restaurant and one of my friends has to pee, she will meow loudly in my ear so I exit the booth and let her pass.  Or, alternatively, she will meyowl softly in my ear, which is almost not disturbing at all.

Anyway, Bad Cat had just spent a good half hour working up bladder pressure by antagonizing and violating Good Cat after an unfortunate exposure to catnip.  When Good Cat smells catnip, he's mellow and craves White Castle. When Bad Cat smells catnip, he gets violent, angry, and amorously lascivious, all at once.

He disappeared to the litter box, and within seconds, I heard the screeching meows beginning.  However, unlike in his normal potty excursions, the meowing did not soon stop.  Oh no... it increased in both volume and duration.  It was soon followed by loud thumping sounds, and then... the meowing became muffled.

Concerned, I decided to go take a look.  I came face to face with this disturbing spectacle.

Round and round Bad Cat spun, face buried deeply in his soiled, disintegrated Feline Pine litter pellets.  Like a little kitty cat-litter-face-plow, he plunged his head, eyes open, into the piles, the meows a screeching crescendo from the top of his lungs.

There is no deep ending or moral to this story.  In fact, I have no flipping clue what he was doing or why he thought it was a good idea.  In fact, I may actually have said, "What the...?" and then dropped the F-bomb. In other fact, his eyes may not even have been bloodshot, for all I know, but I think they were.

Because of the catnip.

Feb 5, 2013

Dances With Coyotes: A Public Service Announcement

I won't waste your time telling you why I haven't written in a million years.  No one really cares.  So, moving on...

HyperHund and I spend our evening walks in the hunting training grounds located nearby.  This is basically a tundra with no windbreaks but plenty of coyotes.  This is really fun for us, especially when the sun starts to set and it gets dark and the ice on the lake is cracking and the coyotes are howling from around us in a circular yet invisible formation, and it's all very reminiscent of Simba wandering into the elephant graveyard, except with more coyotes, fewer hyenas, and remarkably few dead elephants.

Our area has been having a minor "coyote problem," with "minor" meaning unprovoked attacks on humans, random eatings of common household creatures, and coyotes trying to break through glass patio doors to reach the aforementioned household creatures.

And yet, tonight, at the hunting training grounds, I saw several cars lined up on the street side, coyotes circling around them, while some random ding-dongs attempted to whistle the coyotes over close to try to lure them to eat delicious snacks from their hands.

I am not sure why they thought this was a good idea.  Coyote need to stay afraid of humans.  No good can come of luring them over with hot dogs.  This reminds me of a story my dad told me in which he saw a family attempting to lure alligators out of the Florida Everglades with pieces of hot dogs held by children.  Also not a good idea, if I ever heard one.

Nevertheless.... not a good plan. I imagine one of several things was going on in these people's heads.

a) They fancied themselves in a Disney movie of sorts, perhaps where all the animals were dancing together in harmony, ribbons inexplicably flying through the air, and everyone singing.  In this fanciful moment, the coyotes would be prancing along in unbridled glee.

(Yes, I realize the lyrics are incorrect. Focus on the prancing coyote.  Cute, huh?)

b) Perhaps they believe that, in feeding the coyotes, they are bonding with them... connecting nature to human... truly bridging the language gap and using almost mystical powers to turn these feral creatures into familiars or totem animals.

I do not want to be the bearer of bad news.  I will be, though, because the truth is that the first sentence in this paragraph is actually a lie.  I'm fine with breaking the bad news. The fact is, the coyote does not love you, care for you, or want you to domesticate it.  Ribbons will not fall from the sky, birds will not help you make your prom dress, no one will sing like Pocahontas. 

No.  The coyote sees you and your hot dog as one thing, and one thing only:

Don't fool yourself.  If the coyote could unhinge his jaw, he would eat you like an egg snake swallows that egg.  He might lure you into a sense of security by prancing with you and singing a Disney song first, but make no mistake... you are not his friend.  Or maybe you are, but in the same way that bacon is my friend.  Incidentally, this should not be reassuring.

Befriending coyotes can only lead to several ends...

The coyote is no longer afraid of people.  Then, he will either get shot, get moved, or you'll notice your furry household friends no longer showing up for din-dins...

This has been a public service announcement.  Please do not feed or befriend the coyotes.  You are not Pocahontas or Dances With Coyotes.  No good can come of this.  Leave the wildlife alone, and keep your processed meat products to yourself.  Thank you for your concern.

Aug 19, 2011

Dog peeing in mayo and frothing blood

Sometimes, for fun and enjoyment, I look in my blogger stats and find out what search keywords led people to my blog.  I have come across some interesting ones, such as "dogs that look like sheep," "funny puggle stories and nicknames," etc.  But hands down the most disturbing one so far has been... wait for it...

"dog peeing in mayo."

What? WHY?  And in case you are lulled into some sense of security thinking that maybe this was some sort of crazy typo someone made, let me inform you that this search string led not one, but two different people to my blog.

This leads me to wonder if there is some subset of people that enjoys watching dogs pee in mayonnaise.  That's actually pretty specific, and trying to watch it happen must be pretty un-fulfilling seeing as, oh, it probably hardly ever happens.  I suppose it could be carefully staged to happen, but still.  Why? (In case you were wondering, I am not going to draw a picture of this, because then whoever was searching for this would actually have found what they were looking for on this blog.  Then everyone would come here just to look at a picture of a dog peeing in a jar, or maybe a plate, of mayonnaise.)

Anyway, on a completely related note, I have been walking every morning with my dog and a group of other people, and they all have bully breeds (one also has a particularly ornery pekingese, but that dog mostly stays out of the fray).  My dog is the sole shepherd in a group of a boxer, a boxer-mastiff, and a pit bull with a head the size of one of those little school buses.  This means that while the bullies are all running around jawing each other and body-slamming, HH is running around them in a circle, helpfully keeping them close together, herding them and barking in a totally-not-annoying way.

You'd think with a group like this in the park, most people would be the least scared of the fuzzy shepherd dog and maybe the most scared of the bus-head pit bull.  And they are... at first.

Sadly, my dog does not make a very good first impression.

First of all, he has repeatedly gotten into burr bushes, which led me to shave him and hack out large chunks of tail hair, which then led him to look more like a mange-ridden coyote than an English Shepherd.

Secondly, my little HH has an almost manic obsession with a certain empty field behind the park, so much so, in fact, that my fellow dog walkers have named it his "Field of Dreams."  I have to leash him as we walk toward it so he doesn't get there 20 minutes before I do.  Then, he pulls on his leash, gagging and grunting in a pathetically valiant effort to get there as soon as possible.

Something about running through the tall grass in a specific field  causes him to go into an absolute frenzy.  He tears through this field with no apparent purpose, mouth snapping wildly as he rips out long blades of grass, with Bus-Head running behind him, not having a clue why this is fun but suspecting that if HH is doing it, maybe he should be, too.

And then, HH comes out of the field, drenched in dew, eyes bulging from his head, jaws open, tongue out, and mouth frothing with.... blood.  Yes.  Blood.  While Bus-Head, Boxer, and Mastiff Mix are being cute in a giant-cranium, thuggish sort of way, my dog is frothing blood.

You might be thinking at this point that I am a horrible dog owner, but really, the Field of Dreams is to blame. The grass is quite sharp or maybe serrated even, and when HH runs through it, tearing it out as he runs, apparently this lacerates his tongue.  Combined with the wet, wild-eyed, mangy coyote look, this really ties the look together in a combination that causes most people to back away from him and straight into a pile of rough-housing bullies.

Who can really blame them?  Those dogs just seem safer, at this point.

Aug 4, 2011

Adventures in veterinary visits

So, I have realized several things here.  One of these is that drawing pictures for this blog takes so long that I would rather completely avoid posting than having to draw pictures and then edit them and then stick them in this blog.  I know that's terrible, because, as you can probably tell, I am a Gifted Artist.  That being said, I will probably not put so many pictures up (like maybe one or two per post, or maybe, like, none), and you can make pictures in your head until I feel like drawing.  The second thing I have realized is that if you have animals, they will inevitably make you broke with vet bills.

My first recent veterinarian visit occurred about a week ago and involved a dog tongue-laceration.  Now, I previously have led you down the road to believing that my dog, though neurotic, is rather intelligent.  Apparently, this intelligence does not encompass the knowledge to avoid running around at high velocities with a pointy stick pointing pointily toward, say, the back of one's gullet.  In this case, my highly intelligent shepherd dog's gullet.  To the untrained eye, this activity may, in fact, seem funtastalicious, but the reality is a bit different.

I realized something was wrong with my dog when he stopped mid-wrestle with the stick, looked at it balefully and backed away from it, then switching the baleful look to me and rolling over to expose his soft underbelly in a motion meant to evoke pity and to psychically imbue me with a feeling that something was very wrong with him.  After he refused to play with Squeaky Toy and eat his breakfast, I took him to the vet.

The vet decided to get a good view in Hyperhund's mouth by somehow grabbing his tongue and his nose at the same time, while simultaneously attempting to shove a flashlight into the depths of his maw.  After a few attempts, mostly resulting in loud dog gagging sounds followed by trails of drool, the nice doctor suggested she sedate him to get a better look.  I reluctantly agreed, though I secretly felt maybe a little happy because that meant I would not have to take HH on his hour walk in the afternoon.

Two hours later, the kindly doctor explained that the dog had a 3" laceration under his tongue, which technically should have required stitches but it was in a bleedy place, so poking needles in there just would not do.  I was told to bring HH home and give him antibiotics.  Because of all the poking of the tongue, he also now had a tongue water blister so he also got a pain-killer.

All was good.  He walked to the car, got in, got back out when we got home, walked in the direction of his bathroom area like he was on a mission to pee, and then kind of stood there, blinking as if trying to decipher what exactly this particular area meant to him.  We moseyed back to the house, mission unaccomplished.

I left him there for ten minutes... ten, I swear... alone, while I went to put the neighbor's puggle outside.  When I came back, the HH has ensconced himself in his happy place, the tiny space under the coffee table behind which all the tv cables lie.  He likes to hide amongst the cables.  Perhaps they evoke memories of wilderness and vines; I really don't know.  Nevertheless, when I came back, he was ensconced.  The problem was not just the aforementioned ensconcement, but also the fact that he was still as loopy as a kid who'd gotten one too many swigs of Nyquil and then been sent for a downhill tricycle ride.  Not pretty.

I could not get him out.

I tried coaxing, pulling his front end, shoving his paws through loops of cables, but no.  Ensconced he remained, glassy-eyed and confused.  Lest you wonder why I am so feeble-minded as to not think about unplugging the flipping cables, I would like to tell you that the cables go behind bookshelves, around corners, and have all sorts of other technical difficulties.

And lest you don't believe me, I would like to include this incredibly pathetic photograph, which I think truly captures the moment well, better than I could even draw it:

See? How much more pathetic can you get than that?  That's so sad I almost didn't post it.  Note the doped-up face and the cables around his body.  So tragic.

You'll be happy to know that I did eventually get him out unscathed (both of us).

I was going to write about my cats' vet visit in this post, too, but I feel too emotionally vulnerable from the sadness of the above picture.  I'll probably post that in another year or so if I remember it.

Jan 25, 2011

Following Directions, Part 2: Bunny-Petting

For those of you who have read this blog before, you may have been wondering why a) I haven't been writing, and b) why there was a blog in July entitled "Following Directions, part 1," and there has  been no part two.  In reference to question a) the grade schoolers are sucking the very life from my veins, and in reference to question 2) here you go.  HA!  Caught you!  Pay attention!  That was supposed to be b), not 2).

Now, being Foreign, my family has always had a strange relationship with our pets, such as eating them in a stew, for example, as was the case with our pet bunnies when I was a wee lass back in the old country.  Needless to say, it was quite devastating and I have spent years trying to make up for this by being a Friend to Rabbits.

You may remember the epic beginning of my relationship with Ernesto.  I'm sad to say things did not improve from there on out.  After our hot date to a hospital in a cornfield, we decided to stick to a hee-haw theme by going to the County Fair, which is just about my favorite place in the world because I can eat funnel cakes, pat pigs, and go feed baby goats (who usually end up trying to eat my hair) all in one afternoon.

Ernesto and I wanted a romantic afternoon of gazing into each others' eyes and patting cute farmland mammals while whispering sweet nothings into each others' ears over the dull roar of large people in spandex and denim combinations shoving food into their mouths and buying cowboy boots to look more westernish.  It was going to be awesome.

Okay.  This is actually a very short story that I am dragging out because teaching grade school has changed my idea of what is funny from actually funny stuff to fart jokes.  Nevertheless, what is coming up is not a fart joke.

Ernesto and I walked into the rabbit and goose tent, where I was instantly drawn to the rabbits.  I have always felt a sense of kinship with the rabbits, since, you know, I ate my rabbit half-brothers and essentially made them part of me.  Ew.  I raced around between the cages, making cooing noises which are supposed to lead guys I am dating to believe that I have kind maternal instincts and am not the type to, say, eat my pets.

We arrived in front of the cage of a particularly handsome specimen of rabbit, which had a silky gray coat and very soft, velvety-looking ears.  He looked at me through the bars, communicating with me with his liquid brown eyes.

I felt as though I were a Wabbit Whisperer.  I knew his soul.  I knew that I must reach between those bars and give him the love he so richly deserved.

Well.  Clearly this was an unfortunate and unexpected turn of events, but I was not one to let obstacles stand between me and my rabbit-kin.

I surreptitiously stuck my fingers between the bars and buried them deeply into my rabbit-hermanito's coat, mentally changing my name to "Dances With Rabbits," and thumping my hind leg in a sort of bonding ritualistic dance.

Yeah.  Let me tell you something about rabbits.  Apparently, someone neglected to tell me that when they are frightened and unneutered, as, incidentally, this one was, they are well-equipped with a self-defense mechanism.

They can apparently power-blast their urine.

No, I am not making this up.  And on this 95 degree afternoon, while wearing a thin white shirt, I became the victim of rabbit urine-blasting.  My brother-rabbit turned around in a tight circle, aimed his rear end at me, and sprayed me with so much pee that I one could logically assume I'd been the victim of a drive-by horse power-peeing instead.

The next moments were unbearably pathetic.  I shudder to recount them, even now ten years later.  I burst into tears, standing there in a dripping yellowed shirt, shoulders heaving. 

The guys who owned the rabbits simultaneously burst into hysterical laughter, and one of them kindly procured a 4" by 4" wet wipe, which he handed to me and laughed even more loudly as I tried to use it to wipe down my shirt front.  Stupid 4-H kids.  Pillars of the community, future farmers of America, my rear end.  

Those kids are bad eggs.

Bring on the stewpot.