Handi-Squirrel!

I don’t buy most of my cat nonsense. People just give it to me because… I am one dimensional and have no other interests? Any who I think they mean well. They like me. They know I like cats.

Students that I take to a summer camp felt the need to spend their pennies on me at the college bookstore and bestowed a cattitude of gifts upon me. One was this cat paw finger puppet.

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Boop!

Here’s the thing, these kids know me. We have spent a ton of time together, but they still did not think the implications through. Teenagers. Sigh. Eyeroll.

I immediately put the finger puppet on and excitedly said,”OMAHGAWD, you guys are going to spend the next year with this thing creeping into your peripheral vision! Imagine working in class and the paw taps you on the shoulder to be like ‘How ya doin’, buddy.'”

Their faces said that sadly they had not considered any of this, but they were already down the rabbit hole so they pulled up Amazon and showed me that they could have bought a full cat puppet for all my fingers at the bookstore. While that was nice, the “Handi-Squirrel” listed beside it was even better!

Me: “NOOOO! I NEED THAT!!!” When are these kids gonna learn?

Best $6.95 EVER.

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Imagine this as a first day school accessory! Not everyone was on board though. My campers had no comments when I sent them a picture of the squirrel’s arrival. Olivia Wigglebothum was not having it.

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Bird was trapped by her ruptured ACL. Squirrel luv Bird.

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In this sequence it appears that the squirrel took down Miles like a lion on an antelope, but there was less of a struggle.IMG_8019

Miles and I can both attest that the tiny squirrel claws are good for head scritches.

 

Tales of the World’s Longest Yard Sale, Day 1, Year 5: We hit a nerve…or two.

This year’s longest yard sale starts tomorrow at the butt crack of dawn. I won’t be there but I wish you treasure hunters well.

MomBert and I had our big junk adventure this June in Nashville. I read a random article (this is not the original random article) about the Top 10 flea markets in the U.S., she said that it said to budget two days, and we went! Elkhorn, Wisconsin was the next closest choice.

The Nashville Flea was good, but it wasn’t “budget two days good.” One vendor told us that the REALLY big show -the “you can’t get off the highway exit for an hour” show-wasn’t until October, a detail our original article did not mention. Regardless, it was a solid flea market with multiple covered open buildings, tents, and multiple air conditioned buildings. Plus they had food trucks that went beyond “fair food.” We went for the panini truck; kind of wished I had gone with the Asian noodle truck. We  were there by 8 am and left around 2 pm, having done a couple of laps.

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This person’s shop is called Dead People’s Things. Truth in advertising, love it!

Other highlights were stopping at the American Pickers’ store in Marathon Village. It was a tiny space, but good for t-shirts and a bumper sticker for the cat carrier. It was cool to see items like Gypsy Grandma and the Wolf Boy that I recognized from episodes, but most of the antiques that were for sale were way out of my budget.

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We also kept up with eating local by hitting the Loveless Cafe twice. Worth it! I think dinner there may have even been better than breakfast. Catfish, greens, fried-green tomatoes…yummmmm. Of course, the biscuits were amazing and their peach jam tasted like my aunt’s homemade peach pie.

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Even though we left Nashville a day earlier than planned, we used that time to casually meander back to Ohio and hit EVERY antique mall we saw a sign for on the way.

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Our Nashville treasures. Ross looks stunning. I’m now up to three tiny velvet sombreros.

Despite a daily tension headache from negotiating Nashville’s highways (Siri and I will never be the same), we were in much better shape than we were during last year’s yard sale.

Last year was the longest yard sale‘s 30th Anniversary so we kinda hadda go!!! Whoooo!

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Miles is psyched!

However, I spent last summer doing physical therapy because my left arm was shooting electrical bolts and keeping up a fairly constant state of pain mixed with weird numbness and an inability to sleep in any of my favorite positions. It turned out that I was not developing superhero powers, but have bulging discs hitting nerves. Driving or sitting in a car for more than 15 minutes exacerbated the pain as did carrying any type of purse or bag. Yea! Let’s go yard saling. Seriously, I was the driving force on this mission because I’m an idiot who wanted an adventure. Meanwhile MomBert’s sciatic nerve was on fire so sitting in a car plus walking excessively had her aching. We were a hot mess.

Due to our aches, pains, and lack of planning, we decided to keep it simple and stay in state just making a day of it. An hour’s drive west on 70 got to Route 127 and the sale route north.

We originally did the Ohio portion in 2015, coming south from Addison, Michigan and ending around Cincinnati. The same spots like the Darke County Steam Threshers Woods were still hosting tent cities .

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Our day started rainy and dark but soon brightened up without getting blistering hot. We stopped at Niekamp Farm Market which we had missed on our original Ohio trip. Plenty of vendors and a  market to snack in!

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It was windy.

We visited my favorite giant chicken in Franklin, Ohio.

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But were slowing down by the time we hit the Lakeshore park in Celina. I highly recommend this stop for the number and quality of vendors, plus the lake is pretty. However we were both in pain, and had yet to eat lunch even though it was edging on 2 pm.

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My theory was if I could just lay on  a hard, flat surface and do some stretches, I would maybe stop being electrified.

We took 127 on into Celina and stopped at Bistro Brew Nation for a much needed rest and lunch. Another highly recommend. The walls were covered with local art, none of the chairs and tables matched, and the pizza selections were delicious.

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Back on the road, we ran in to this handsome devil again around Hopewell. Hellooooo, sailor! Two years later, and he was on the same table in practically the same spot. I regret leaving him behind once again.

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Someone buy him, please!

Buy 4:30 pm, we had made it to the Van Wert Fairgrounds and we were freezing! I have been constantly rained on during the sale, and sweated balls during the sale, but I have never been so cold that I was looking for a table selling sweaters. Fucking Ohio.

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Freezing and little to show for it.

Van Wert was the end of our day. It was cold, vendors were closing, and we had a two hour drive to triangulate our way home. It was a good time.

I raise my fanny pack to you, yard salers! May your bargains be many, and your porta potty trips few.

I have to burn the garden to the ground…again.

I just wish they came with a warning sign.

Every time I encounter a huge spider in my garden it’s by pure, unobservant accident. I was happily squishing Japanese beetles off my grape vines, which they seem to like even better than the roses this year, when I looked down and saw that I was only inches away from a 2-3 inch monster. (I got out a ruler, but her web anchors are all over the place and there was no way to get close-ish without destroying them and angering her.)

What I’ve learned is the my fight or flight instinct seems pretty delayed. This spider made my ass cheeks clinch up and my entire body lock into place while I silent screamed at it. Then I fled.

To get my camera, of course, because it totally makes sense to take pictures of terrifying, mutant spiders.

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Totally snacking.

The silver spider lining is that there appeared to be some Japanese beetles wrapped up in her web. If she’ll eat those, that would be amazing because no one else will touch them! I even went so far as tossing a few live ones in her web and hoping to see a strike. She did not bite, and the beetles did not stick very well. She needs a denser weave to really nab their shiny shells, but here’s hoping.

Like the previous garden spider, I can monitor her from a window of the house. This time though, it’s only from about 5 feet from the living room window.

This picture makes me want to throw up on myself, but it does give a lovely illustration of her furry bits and pieces. I may not be eating from my grape vines this year.

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Well, so much for her soccer career!

Saturday night I went to sleep to a cat that used all four paws. Sunday morning I woke up to a cat who was like “I ONLY NEED 3!”

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“Seriously, Mum, it’s all good.”

I spent my first hour awake watching The Bird sass everyone, chase Miles to bite his hind legs, and then roll around in front of me so I could admire her ability to do all of this while holding her hind leg off the ground. To Med Vet or not Med Vet? She seemed like her normal self and the internet articles were wavering about how dramatic a limping indoor cat’s problem could really be, most suggested waiting.

I opted to wait it out for our regular vet on Monday. Birdie and I have certainly spent our share of hours in waiting rooms outside of regular vet hours. Since adopting her, we’ve dealt with:

This furry girl is a mess sometimes.

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By late Sunday afternoon, the limp was still there and she was in the “I feel icky” spot as well as other out of the norm sleeping spots. She couldn’t jump up into the window nappers and squeaked with discomfort when I placed her there. She seemed to be able to get comfortable on firm surfaces like the floor.

Around midnight, I felt her come to bed via the cat ramp, but every spot she tried to settle in resulted in squeaks and growls. In retrospect, I should have read the signs: “hiding,” constant purr, hissing, and realized that she was in pain. At least Med Vet could have hooked us up with drugs.

Monday morning, the limp was prominent and the appetite was more or less gone. Thankfully we got  a vet appointment. (I promised her that nobody would stick anything up her butt.)

This is a montage of her reactions:

  • Cool. I’ve got this as long as I keep purring and headbutting. (The vet wasn’t in the room yet.)
  • Full on fear.
  • Resolved to suffer through this manhandling, but will cut a bitch if the opportunity arises.
  • Contemplation of the diagnosis: Will I ever play soccer again?

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Diagnosis: ruptured ACL       Cause: Running and jumping… being a cat.

Vet squeezing Birdie’s joints and leg: “Ahha, just what I suspected.”

Me: “WHAT?!”

Vet: “Oh, just give me a minute. Is there stuff to jump off of at your house and does she run around like a maniac?”

Brain: “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING? HAVE YOU EVER MET  A CAT?” (This was not our normal doctor.)

Me:”Yes, there are four cats. The house is basically theirs.”

Vet: “Do you know what a ruptured ACL is?”

Me: “Yes, it’s what every fucking athlete in my classroom and large dogs get while playing!”

Since we had reached an understanding, he proceeded to tell me that Birdie could not “cat” for 6-8 weeks and that this won’t heal, it will just become tolerable and she’ll probably develop arthritis. I must have had a dissatisfied look on my face as he kept repeating himself, but I was thinking ahead, visualizing our house and all the items to jump from, and the fact that there isn’t really a room where I can isolate Birdie. Plus she would absolutely lose her mind if I locked her in a room by herself.

Yadda yadda yadda, this was not a typical cat injury (Your cat is a freak show) and while HE did knee surgery on dogs all of the time, he’d have to refer me to…wait for it… Med Vet if surgery became a need.

He was much kinder and understanding than I paint him, but I was/am frustrated for my girl who can’t seem to catch a break.

We dosed up on pain meds before leaving and are relying on the anti-inflammatory that Bird is already on for her itchy butt.

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How to eat when high.

She’s had a fairly tolerable evening and is asleep behind W. Charles. Usually when she’s high, she spends a lot of time pacing, but tonight there have been extended times of actual relaxing. The drugs do make her a little paranoid though. A stoned Bird will defend my folded laundry from all! Sookie sitting down across the room from her, warranted a hiss and fully arched back. Birdie then wen t behind the tv cabinet to growl at the wall every few minutes.

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This laundry is ready to put away! Paws off!

Meanwhile, I’m working on rearranging my house into that M.C. Escher painting where everything leads to stairs. If there are steps to all her favorite spots, she’ll certainly use those instead of jumping. Right??

 

You’re Gonna Freeze Your Balls Off…

It feels like it has been a while since we had to contend with negative wind chill temperatures and actual accumulations of snow. Olivia Wigglebothum brought the Polar Vortex in 2014 which was exciting. However last winter was so mild that my parsley overwintered. Fucking parsley.

This winter, I have to figure out how to dress like I’m harnessing my cat sled team for tundra travel, but spending the majority of my day inside at work looking “professional.” Mostly I want to go into hibernation mode. According to people who live in REALLY cold areas, “there is no bad weather, only bad clothing” and Ohioans should figure out how to dress for the weather and get over it. I feel like these people don’t get punched in the crotch enough.

Because I seem to advocate for crotch punching and profanity, a friend shared this app with me: What The Forecast?!! I set it on “obscene” and proceeded to share my forecast and freezing giggles with everyone. It was free fun!img_3906

The same friend and I signed on for our metro parks‘ winter hikes series. We did it last year, but last year was parsley-growing mild! What seemed like a good idea a month or two ago now seemed like a bad dare when Saturday morning’s forecast looked like this:

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I sent her this forecast hoping she’d call my bluff and suggest that yes, we would be incredibly stupid to go for a hike in the woods. Even if there was soup at the end.

Unfortunately, we know that, unlike hibernating bears, we are not living off our body fat so much as adding to it during the winter. So we layered up like the little brother from A Christmas Story and chose the two mile option for the first hike of the season.

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It was so cold that my phone died.

Given, I did have Pokemon Go open (we were in a metro park there were balls to get!), was trying to take a photo, AND got a text message at that exact moment which was more than my phone could take. Solution: tuck it into my ample bosom to warm it up.

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Before my phone fainted from hypothermia.

It’s nice to be in the woods even if it is on a march with a hundred other people, and the sound of squeaking snow under boots is the equivalent of nails on chalkboard to me. Somehow I could still hear the birds, mostly blue jays, over the squeaking. Being among the trees is calming. It doesn’t take too much effort to find something beautiful in nature. Eventually, I got used to walking with my glasses frosted over.

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One of the perks of the winter hike series, besides getting some exercise, is the volunteers at the end. Each hike ends with volunteers serving hot cocoa, soup, and other treats. Last year, we practically had a full meal after one hike. This hike ended with veggie soup and a fire pit where it was comfortable enough to loosen up some of the layers. We learned last year that it is good etiquette make a small cash donation at the end of each hike, supporting the park programming. This time we signed on as “Friends of the Metro Parks.” Twelve more hikes to go!

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My “resting soup face.”

A new twist to this year’s hike series is donations to the Mid-Ohio Food Bank. The parks are encouraging hikers to bring non-perishables and personal care items to each hike for the donation boxes. We’re all just a jar of peanut butter and tube of toothpaste away from helping out.

If you’re in the Central Ohio area freezing your balls or lady parts off, check out the hike series.

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Cue the sad music

I was trying to get some work done, but could hear the periodic rustle of paper in the living room somewhere out of my eye line. This could be one of the cats shredding important documents for me, or someone playing in the gigantic Amazon box that has been in the living room for months now.

The box has been a source of great entertainment. It’s fun to jump in and out of, especially with toys in one’s mouth. Olivia Wigglebothum’s newest dinner time game is to drag our string toy around while I eat. She jumps with it into the box, and then proceeds to shred the Hell out of the butcher paper as if hiding the string. The paper which started as several feet of solid wrapping is now the consistency of something you might put in a gerbil’s cage. To add interest, I recently cut a door and some “windows” in one side of the box. These are good for stealthy exits and for smacking the other cats.

However the rustling I was hearing was not the enthusiastic leaping and tearing about associated with the box. These rustles were the equivalents of dramatic, long-suffering sighs of tragic discomfort.

Birdie.

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Birdie had crafted a nest in the paper and was allegedly sleeping in between sadly rearranging her position. No one sleeps in the box! However Birdie was busy channeling her former homeless self. She’s a “domestic short hair” like everybody else in the house, but somehow she managed to poof out her fur as if she was battling the cold, cruel winds of central heating.

I swear she got into my Sarah McLachlan cd‘s. (I don’t allow the cats to watch those commercials.)

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It took me a moment to figure out WHY she was impersonating a sad street cat. Birdie is in a  deeply emotional relationship with the duvet on my bed and I had the gall to strip the bedding and wash the duvet cover in a fit of tidiness.

Since putting the duvet on the bed for cold weather, Birdie’s life has a new purpose. She talks to the duvet, she kneads it, she burrows into it, she creates little valleys and pockets to sleep in. I’ve never seen her happier than when she sleepily looks up from its polyester-filled folds. (This does not bode well for her warm weather emotional state.)

Washing and drying done, I made the bed. I selfishly wanted clean bedding for myself. I always forget that none of this is about me. Birdie and duvet reunited.

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