If my children acted like this…

Presumably two legged children present the same feeding time issues as four legged children. Based on the social media posts of my breeder friends, I know their kids are at times….. difficult. Stay at home orders are not making this better.

At any given meal time but especially at “lunch”: One child is screaming that he is starving. He actually does this any time I am in the kitchen.

One child is interested in eating, but often needs reminded that we are on a schedule and she needs to put aside whatever she’s doing to come eat.

One child thinks eating is…meh, literally has to be carried to most meals. There she eats two bites then runs off.

As always, kid number four shows up appropriately, eats, and leaves.

Sookie: the good child

In other childish behavior, Ohio was hot in April, but is currently freezing. I’m tired of tucking in my tomatoes for yet another freeze warning. I’m also tired of people protesting wearing masks. As predicted in my head, Americans see a terrible situation and then choose to act like spoiled children entitled to do whatever whenever. Damn the “rules” even if there is a world wide pandemic on.

If my children acted like this ….

We’re struggling…I guess

I like writing this blog, but being locked to my computer for school office hours and then additional hours to prep and generally deal with stuff does not make me want to revisit my screen even for enjoyment. I have to make myself walk away from all the to-dos.

I try to escape outside at least once a day. In typical fashion the weather has gone from warm enough to open the windows back to “it might snow.” The social media posts of my friends who have run 5 miles daily then done a lifting workout don’t inspire so much as they shame me for not wanting to do those things.

Maybe if I did those things and escaped the screens sooner, I’d sleep better. However everything from the committee that I don’t want to be on to my online purchase keeps the voices chattering. I awake blearily to the next day.

I was going to do so many ridiculous things…

At first this whole school closing thing felt like an impending snow day. The storm was coming, we knew it was going to be serious, but there was still that slightly contained giddiness of “Holy shit! I’m gonna get to sleep in!” There was no way they were going shut us down, maybe we’d get an extra week tagged on to spring break. But shut down? No way.

Then within the space of about 45 minutes from the governor’s decision to the official district email, they shut us down on a Friday the 13th no less.

Briefly, unrealistically, time opened up and I was going to do so many ridiculous things. It was going to be hiking and new restaurants with Bloody Marys.

Unfortunately, it rained 3 inches overnight and created flash flooding, and restaurants are now only allowed to offer carry out or delivery. No sitting and enjoying.

A new tattoo sounded like a good use of time. Maybe some bees around some existing flowers. Nope. On the 18th they shut down all hair and nail salons, and tattoo parlors.

Ok. Cats. What about adopting another cat since I am now going to be home for an extended period? I mean I can’t really take a new cat to the vet because my vet is only doing virtual check ups or hand offs in the parking lot. However all of my favorite shelters have closed to visitors unless there was an adoption already in the works. Probably for the best.

Birdie says that there are more than enough cats on these sheets.

I also have an overwhelming urge to buy toilet paper, but clearly that’s not happening.

Back in the good old days of March 12 when Target still had paper towels at the end of the aisle.

The reality is that time hasn’t really opened up. When I wake up at 3 am to go pee, my brain starts making lists and running what-if scenarios. Which might be part of the explanation for why I-on total going to work auto pilot- backed my car into my garage door as enthusiastically as possible. I self-isolated by trapping myself and my vehicle in the garage.

We got out, but I’ve put in as many hours this week as normal setting up e-Learning and trying to wrap my head around how to move forward in an engaging way when none of my instructional cat videos will load to our online classroom! Our tech people are on it; they’ve had the lion’s share of organizing, building, and teaching the teachers.

I can’t complain that I get to keep working when that is not the case for so many. I’m not sick and I don’t know anyone who is…yet. But I did cancel my normal spring break time when I would have been hanging out with MomBert because I was increasingly paranoid about infecting her as well as the looming possibility of a state wide or national lockdown. These cats won’t feed themselves.

Meanwhile my students are looking at a blackhole for the end of their school year. Spring quarter at a high school is an unending shit show of state testing, awards ceremonies for every group in existence, Senior-itis at its peak, prom, and graduation. Very few of those things are projected to happen now. They may end up with a certificate in the mail and a gathering of 10 people or less to celebrate unless those get outlawed.

At least when the weather changes, I might be able to practice some social distancing with a hike.

******By the way this was supposed to be a light, jokey post about how all my trivial plans were systematically shut down by the government, but that went sideways about as quickly as a quarantine order. Sorry.

A Moment in Narnia

Walking in the woods when it’s snowing always makes me think of the book The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The woods are especially quiet and it brings to mind the initial emergence into Narnia as snow falls onto pines surrounding a very out of place lamppost.

The winter hikes are not always quiet, hundreds of people participate. However on this one, we got moments of magical quiet.

Quiet perfect for getting distracted by shiny decorated bird nests. (Ignoring the fact that the bird is decorating with sucky people’s trash. It ruins the magic.)

Peace of Mind (pieces of my mind)

Early in the fall, I had a porch pirate incident. This has never happened to me before; it was exhausting and upsetting. I received a text notification that my package had arrived, and made happy little plans to use the contents when I got home. Of course by the time I got home, packages and text messages had slipped through the Swiss cheese that teaching high school has made my mind.

I didn’t realize that anything was missing until two of my neighbors started pounding on my front door. One neighbor had captured video of my package being stolen. I learned that this neighbor has at least four cameras mounted to cover all angles, must watch them all day long, and that I should wear pants when I walk to my mailbox from now on. The neighbor recognized the punk ass pirate as a neighborhood resident, but wasn’t sure where on the street “the kid” lived.

Hello, non-emergency police dispatcher. I explained my situation and what info I had.

Police Dispatcher: “Ok, we will send out an officer and the two of you can go to the house to confront the thief and get your package.”

Me: awkward pause

Police Dispatcher: “Ma’am?”

Me:“What exactly do you me ‘the officer and I” will go to the house? I don’t have a badge.”

Police Dispatcher: “Do you want us to dispatch an officer or not, Ma’am?”

Me: “So what happens when I ‘confront’ this person, giving him a visual on who I am, and he comes to my house later tonight and assaults me for calling the cops?”

Police Dispatcher: “Do you want us to dispatch an officer or not, Ma’am?”

Me: “YES.”

The officer who drew the short straw was extremely kind, patient, and put maximum effort into my ridiculous problem. Here’s the ridiculous part.

Police Officer: “Ma’am, can you tell me want was in the package and how much it was worth?”

Me: “Yes, it was a half pound of German Red hard neck garlic worth about $20.” (I was going to come home and plant it, dammit!)

Police Officer: gasping for breath, holding stomach “I’m so sorry for laughing.”

Me: “No, dude, it’s either that or cry.”

The officer watched my neighbor’s footage, took screenshots, and proceeded to talk to people on the street until he hit the correct house. The pirate’s mother and twin brother gave him up immediately. Apparently he has issues and this type of behavior was not new to them. Long story short, the idiot pirate and his twin brought the package back to my house after the pirate got home from work. Per the officer’s instructions mom was supposed to come along and witness the interaction, but she could not be bothered (gosh, why does your kid have problems?).

As soon as I saw him, I went into perky teacher mode. Yelling would have zero impact. I’ve had this dipshit in class every year. He reeks of cigarette smoke, looks like he just rolled out of bed in dirty, baggy clothes, and may or may not be high as fuck. Roll the dice. He says things like, “I’ve just got a lot going on right now. I know I need to make better choices. I want to be better and get myself together. I didn’t mean to do it. It will never happen again and I’m really sorry.” Translation: he’s sorry he got caught and has to have this conversation with me because I seem crazy as fuck and won’t stop using his name in every sentence and asking him about his life choices and support systems. It won’t happen again until makes the next stupidly impulsive choice. Rinse. Repeat until he makes the choice that gets him hard jail time or dead.

I explained to Captain Pirate Dipshit that he had made me feel unsafe in my own home and ruined my evening (this ate up 6 plus hours of my life) over a 1/2 pound of garlic. I explained that I would now lay awake at night wondering if he was going to break into my house to kill me because that’s how my brain works. He just kept repeating his stupid litany of “sorry” and “never again.” We might as well have been discussing the bare minimum homework assignments that he would need to do to barely pass the quarter. Deja vu.

The experience left me feeling twitchy and paranoid. I started sending packages to work or to my mom’s house because I could no longer shop online in peace. The only delivery left to steal was the 50 pounds of cat litter from Chewy.

I decided that I would install some Ring cameras so I could feel slightly more secure and watch my stuff get stolen. The cats, of course, were great helpers.

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It took a small part of the evening to set everything up with wifi and app connections. I left the cameras sitting around inside to get a feel for their range and to play with features. For example, Olivia was not comfortable when a static version of my voice came out of a camera in another room.

Sookie looked into the camera like she had just found all the life answers she needed. In the overnight footage, she sat in the same spot in front of the camera from 4 am to 5:30 am. At least one of us feels better.

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While I do feel somewhat better with the cameras installed, the Ring app has not really brought me peace of mind about my neighborhood. The app notifies you about reported and suspicious incidents from other Ring users in your vicinity. I learned, daily it seemed, that the first most popular activity in my neighborhood was trying car doors to see if they are unlocked at 3 in the morning. The second most popular was randomly ripping down people’s Christmas lights. Every perpetrator in the videos looked like they shopped in Captain Pirate Dipshit’s closet. What the fuck is wrong with people? Do they have a lot going on right now?

Adventure Buddy says I need to turn off the notifications before I lose another piece of my mind.

 

 

 

 

The Horror of Disconnection

It was a dark and stormy night…is how this tale of horror should begin, but it was actually a bright and lovely morning.

I awoke without Wifi.

Nothing on my phone would load which wasn’t startling given its antiquity. (It’s paid off dammit.) However my computer with whom I had planned to spend some morning coffee time would only say that its broadband link had been garbled and funkled; I should check to see that the wire whooozits were tight.

The stomach tightening realization that I would have to DEAL WITH SOMETHING before peacefully going about my day sank in. I unplugged, re-plugged in, and held buttons down to restart all the blinking things that seemed relevant before dialing the dreaded 1-800 number for customer service.  A robotic Ken doll interpreted my graveling morning voice to determine that I had a “connection problem” then made fake automated typing noises to somehow reassure me of his competence. He let me know that my whooozits provider was funkled across a broad area, but was on the case and that I should not try to contact any humans as they were not privy to more details.

Did the gods of the internet not know that I had things to do today! There were cat pictures I needed to view on Instagram. What if someone’s status on Facebook had been updated overnight? How was I supposed to play Words With Friends while pooping? Should I just go back to reading a book on the toilet? Auughhhh! What. About. My. Pokemon. Game?

Incredibly annoying all around! Almost as annoying as my daily activities being dictated by some invisible doohickey that I don’t really understand. I just know it makes my trivial stuff work, but that somehow I was doing okay without its existence like twenty years ago.

However the part when humanity truly suffered was when I had to wait until everything re-connected to post this adorable photo.

This is pre-vacuuming today. The carpet is a slightly different color now. 

A PSA from W. Charles Marmota

Animals don’t like fireworks.

That should be the logical, common sense end to the discussion, but noooooooooooooooooooooo.

Fireworks are loud, flashy, and unpredictable. None of that is appealing to animals. Fear makes US unpredictable and we really tap in to that flight instinct.

Let us stay home. Crowds create anxiety, people suck, and it’s July so it’s as hot as Satan’s balls in polyester booty shorts. If you HAVE to take us with you to big crowded events, then this might be more about YOU, and you might be a douche bag. Find some other way to get attention from strangers. (I’m talking to you as well, lady who brings her parrot on  a baby stroller to festivals.)

Let us stay home. Better yet, bring us indoors. Let us panic within the safety of solid walls. Protect us from the neighborhood asshole who thinks it would be funny to light firecrackers near us…or worse.

Overall we prefer May the Fourth.

Keep us safe.

W. Charles Marmota

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Almost literally pouring cats and dogs at least in underground piping!

It’s been a busy week for one of my favorite shelters, Colony Cats and Dogs.

Monday, they helped to initiate the rescue of a dog trapped underground in a sewer pipe. They speculate that the dog was chasing critters into the pipe and got lost then trapped.

Tuesday led to more underground drama…with another happy ending which is a good thing or I think I would be a mess.

At about 11:30, I saw that the shelter had posted a video of their surveillance footage on their Facebook page. (Follow the link for videos) Around 4 am that morning, someone had left three very spry and curious kittens at the shelter’s door without containment. The kittens jump up to interact with the big cats behind the glass then, according to the volunteers, one stayed behind and the other two set off to the right of what is essentially a strip mall and giant parking lot full of businesses.

For once, for whatever reason, I decided to respond to the call for volunteers who could come search for the two wanderers who had  a 7 hour head start. I checked in with a volunteer who was cleaning the still closed shelter. She was a little hesitant as I’m not an official volunteer, but I’m familiar enough with the shelter and have adopted from there plus I was a warm body willing to aimlessly walk around in the rain looking for something the size of a softball.

She showed me the one kitten they had, a hissy little ball of fluff in the back of a giant carrier, and sent me on my way. I decided to walk around even though she suggested driving and said others had been driving around the area stopping at dumpsters, hoping food smells would attract the kittens.

I more or less decided to take a lap around the shopping center, checking out landscaping as I went. This plaza has an open courtyard midway with large hostas and dense shrubs which seemed like a good place to check out. I worked my way along the plant bed, and had  success when I bumped into some rain-soaked hostas. Two little bodies shot out from under the hostas, through a clear patch and under a shrub.

HOLY. SHIT.

Brain went into panic mode. What to do? I pulled up Facebook and called the shelter where, of course, no one answered the phone. I tried a mother cat calling kittens video, but I only got sad little squeaks in return. It was an awkward spot and I was afraid that my flailing attempts to grab them would send one or both of the kittens shooting out into a busy parking lot next to an even busier road.

So I ran. I don’t run. I joke that I only run if bears or killers with chainsaws or bears with chainsaws are chasing me, but that I would eventually give up. Fortunately, the volunteer I had talked to and another woman saw me coming and frantically waving. Yes, I had found the kittens!

I followed them through the back alleyways behind all the shops as a quicker way back to the courtyard where we formed a human perimeter around the shrubs. I could see the little gray and white kitten crouched at the base of a shrub across from me. The volunteer scrambled down, grabbed it, and handed the squalling, soaked kitten to me.  I, of course, was ready to go full Lenny, tuck that kitten into my bosom and love it, until they directed me to put it in the carrier. The carrier, that was probably the more responsible route.

Mysteriously the black kitten was no longer there. In a matter of minutes, it had pulled a vanishing act. I was even second guessing what I had seen as people started to question me about finding BOTH the kittens there. But I remembered noticing its mittens as it scurried behind its sibling, an intrepid tuxie. When you’re permanently dressed like James Bond, you tend to also act like him.

Of all the kittens, it had to be least noticeable black one. Of all the weather  conditions, it had to be raining wavering back and forth from mild to pouring. As more volunteers arrived, we spent the next two hours repeatedly combing through the same bushes, crawling through mulch and grass, sure that the kitten was hidden in plain sight. (The dead mummified duck in the second set of bushes surprised me every time.)Crawling under larger bushes, dumpsters, and a concrete thing that I don’t know what it was for but there was A LOT of shit, including a cat bed, down in it. A volunteer with a heat sensor showed up and ran it over the dense bushes. We did expanding laps around the shopping center, and reconvened to theorize on kitten logic. Plates of smelly food were put out, live traps were discussed, but no one was really sure how to proceed. The rain made all of the open downspouts in the area an obvious and  horrifying possibility as to where the kitten could have gone to in such a short time.

I trudged back around to the shelter with the group feeling like a quitter, but completely unsure of what to do next. I was soaked from shoes to underwear and on the verge of  publicly crying if I stood there talking to people much longer. No matter how miserable I felt, that lost, wet, hungry, scared little furball wherever it was hiding was worse.

Home again, I took an extremely hot shower, put on dry clothes and tried to occupy myself while checking the Facebook thread every few minutes. Should I go back? What could I do? I resolved to go back in an hour if nothing had changed. Basically, my mind would be able to only contain one kitten and nothing else for the rest of the day. Then one of the searchers I had talked to, posted that they had heard some meowing in the courtyard area. Yes, I would go back! Except that they were now sure it was coming from a drain pipe. I was among the frantic back seat drivers, commenting and questioning what could be done!

For the second time in two days, a local fire station stepped in with Colony Cats to save a furry life. I watched video from a conveniently dry and unheroic spot in my house as the rescue was made. I am certain I recognized the boots of one of the early searchers who crawled around on the ground with me, and who, I’m pretty sure, said she was supposed to go to work that day. I know she was as soaked as I was when I last saw her; I don’t think she made it in to work.

I’m so grateful to have been able to help a bit and incredibly grateful that this worked out and that Piper, Pearl and Puck who have their own Facebook page now are safe and already have people clamoring to adopt them. Could time and resources have been saved if I had made a grab for two kittens on my own? I can’t know. Could the person who dropped them off have done so more responsibly? Ab-so-frickin-lutely!

Cole and Marmalade posted a story about the kitten rescue and the dog rescue the day before! They’re kind of a big deal in dorky cat obsessing worlds 🙂 If you’ve made it all the way through my picture-less ramblings, reward yourself with their article which has all the adorable rescued kitten pictures and associated videos your heart can handle.

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Stuff like this makes me hug my warm, dry, VERY well-fed “kittens” extra hard.