Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks
Monday, January 31, 2005 Where’s the Fire?
One of the reasons we were excited about moving into this neighborhood back in the early 90s was because there was a Dairy Queen four blocks away. This would be the closest either one of us had ever lived to a DQ, and we’d missed Dairy Queen terribly during the previous few years when we didn’t own a car. We figured that once we had our house on the edge of Minneapolis, with our new (used) car, we’d be going through the DQ drive-thru all the time. And in the summer we’d walk there and back, so as to minimize the effects of all those Blizzards we’d be enjoying.
The first couple of weeks were pretty busy, what with getting all moved in and settled. But during the second month, we spent hours there. Unfortunately, that was during one trip through the drive-thru.
Seriously, this was the slowest drive-thru we’ve ever been at. And that's saying something. Cars are wrapped around the building at all times, and usually one or two of them has run out of gas. People order lunch and by the time they get it it’s dinnertime. You drive to Dairy Queen and by the time you leave it’s Dairy Prime Minister.
Parking and going in wasn’t any faster. Once I went inside to pick up a few treats and when I came back out to my car the license tabs had expired.
We knew this wasn't endemic to DQs all over the country. Rare is the road trip when we spot a DQ and don't stop, and we've never had an experience where the drive-thru was so slow that walking the rest of the way would have been just as fast.
Obviously, it didn’t take us long to give up on this particular Dairy Queen. Oh, we’d still hit the drive-thru every once in a while, but only for something simple like a Misty Slush, and only if we didn’t have anything else going on for the rest of the week. And we don't have any illusions that the loss of our business threatened its existence in any way. Every summer day, the picnic tables on the front patio are occupied by slow-moving families and unhurried suburban teen posses. They mocked us with their ice cream treats and their abundant free time. And the DQ itself mocked us every day, as it stood directly on the way home from Trash's office.
And then, while I was driving Trash home from work one day, we spotted those magic, wonderful, life-changing words spelled out in temporary letters on the sign:
UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT
We hardly dared hope what this could mean. After we got home and had dinner, I went back out to pick up dessert. I was back within minutes.
"Was it closed?" Trash asked from the back room. She couldn't believe it when I brought her sundae to her. "Did you go to a different one?" she wondered.
It's not accurate to say we spent a lot more time at that Dairy Queen over the next month, but it would be correct to say that we paid a lot more visits. We squirted through the drive-thru lane at, if not freeway speeds, at least on-ramp ones. We loved it.
One Sunday evening we even went inside and sat down at tables to enjoy our snacks, because that was still faster than sitting in the drive-thru used to be. We spotted someone we thought was the manager, and when we confirmed it, we gushed to him over what a great job he was doing, how much faster everything was now, how much better the service, haw much better the ice cream now that we were getting it before it had fully reached its liquid state. His mom happened to be visiting the restaurant at the same time, and she beamed proudly over her son.
A week later the place burned nearly to the ground.
The good news is that the store wasn't totaled. Temporary letters went up on the sign, saying that they would reopen soon. And indeed, over the next six months. the DQ wasn't just rebuilt. It was remodeled. Reimagined, if you will. There was an entirely new roof, snazzy ads on the outside walls, and a sparkly new solarium. Not bad work for half a year. Especially considering that I'd been known to wait that long for a root beer float. When it reopened, I quickly hit the drive-thru. While waiting at the window, I could see the new, ultramodern interior, with menu boards mounted on stainless steel rails angled down toward the customers at the registers, and the superefficient layout of the kitchen and dining area. I had plenty of time to admire these things while waiting. In fact, I'm still waiting.
I never found out what happened or what caused the fire. I don't know what went on in that kitchen under the new manager, but in retrospect it makes sense that the combination of deep-fat fryers and cookstaff moving at relativistic speeds is a potentially incendiary combination. It also makes sense that the one manager who had the place operating at something resembling efficiency would have departed in short order, whether it was for being too good for his surroundings or for burning them down. Either way, the effect on us is the same. We're making our own damn root beer floats.
Today's best search phrase: "geeky pop-eyed skinny little dude with superhuman licker." Actually, I think you're looking for Match.com. Good luck.
posted by M. Giant 8:30 PM 7 comments
Get out! Are you talking about the DQ on 50th? That was like five blocks from our old house on York? Worst Dairy Queen EVAH. But when we left, they had not yet burned down...who knew?
There were a few surprises for me when I moved to Minnesota from the east coast. One was tornados in the summer. I knew to expect the winters, but the fact that the summers are dangerous, too? Two was how everyone wrote checks for everything. For movies. For fast food. For purchases under $5. And three was how the Minnesotans love Dairy Queen. For a state that ostensibly has winter for 7 months out of the year (or at least that's what we tell outsiders to keep the population here under control), it seemed a strange love affair. I've never figured it out.
In Texas they call DQ the "Texas Stop Sign." do they use that in other states too??
Greetings. The travails of the single dad got my attention but have to say I did a lot of DQ dietary damage in Minneapolis while living there. I think I know the place as I had a friend about a mile away. Not a profound commetn you might be thinking? Well, you'd be right. Rude but right. Crock on.
I have a "Dairy King" just down the road from me. My po-dunk town in Ohio isn't large enough to support a full-fledged Dairy Queen. And, not only is it an ice cream shop, it's also a motel. Yes, the sign actually reads something like "Dairy King Ice Cream and Motel." It's like having a jewery store with a massage therapist operating inside. Oh wait, we have one of those too.
That sounds a lot like our rock climbing gym/video store.
When I was younger, my family did a lot of travelling, almost all of it by car. (The exceptions were three trips to Los Angeles, one by bus - gack, one by train - not bad, one by plane - enh.) My dad always said that you knew you'd found civilization when you saw a Dairy Queen. It didn't matter if it was smack out in the middle of nowhere with no other buildings around it, it was civilized territory. Of course, now I live in a little tiny town without civilization. We don't even have a Dairy King Ice Cream and Motel.:-(
Saturday, January 29, 2005 Single Dad Blues
I’ve written before about how I like to clean up the place when Trash is out of town. She gets to return to a clean house, we don’t have to spend her homecoming day straightening up, and she has that much stronger of an incentive to come back next time she leaves.
Of course, this is the first time I’ve tried it while also dealing with overlapping writing deadlines, one cat on insulin and another on post-surgical antibiotics and painkillers (Phantom was not pregnant, obviously), and a three-and-a-half-month-old son.
Or, to be more accurate, it would have been the first time I’ve tried it if I actually tried it. Which I didn’t. I basically carved out a block of time long enough to empty out the Diaper Genies, and I’m feeling pretty good about that.
As previously mentioned, I got insane amounts of help from M. Tiny’s grandmothers the past several days. Mom put in lots of overtime during the week, and Trash’s mom and aunt braved high winds yesterday to make the eight-hour drive from Iowa (three hours when I’m driving). Which is really the only reason that the “overlapping writing deadlines” thing in combination with the “three-and-a-half-month-old-son” thing worked at all. You ever see movies or TV shows where people successfully work from home while also parenting? Those shows are lies. Before M. Tiny was born, I didn’t know how single parents did it. Now I don’t know how married parents without vast, incredibly generous support systems do it.
I’m also glad I’ve never complained to Trash about the fact that taking care of M. Tiny seems to squeeze out other domestic tasks during the days when she’s home. In addition to the fact that it would be rude, and that I’m happy she’s doing such a great job with the kid, I look around our kitchen today and I’m really relieved that I’m not staring down the barrel of that particular karmic bazooka.
But even though the house isn’t cleaner than she was when she left, it’s not significantly less clean. At least not in the places she’s likely to look.
Besides, now she has a new incentive to come home that she didn’t have before. It’s mentioned in the second paragraph, in case you’re curious. And it’s working, too, because Trash ended up coming home a whole day early.
Which gave me that much less time to mess up the place even more.
* * *
Hey, wanna see some pictures?
Here, M. Tiny practices one of his newest skills. Have to start him on an allowance soon.
Despite how it may appear, nobody is dangling his pants at him from beyond the left edge of the frame.
Can you stand the cuteness? That’s Phantom on the left and Turtle on the right, who is nearly as big as her sister now (I use the term “sister” as a domestic relationship, not to imply that they are biological littermates, which they are not). Such adorableness! Can it last?
Only to the extent to which one cat attempting to shove her head up another cat's ass is adorable.
Strat says, “I hate kittens so much.”
Today’s best search phrase: “Giant girls and their tiny friends.” That’s touching, kind of.
posted by M. Giant 6:29 PM 4 comments
I can't remember how I found your blog, but I'm addicted. You inspire me... in so many ways.
Eeee! I didn't realize they were CALICOS! I have to calico idiots and they still don't play like that, two years later. Once I caught them in the laundry basket together, but I think they were trying to trick me. So you're ahead of the game. Or my cats are buttholes, whichever.
I think you did the right thing, putting up the soft spongy mobile rather than the one with hard plastic shapes, with pop-culture icons like Christopher Walken and Sarah Michelle Gellar in them. You definitely do not want to turn around for two seconds to find the Poopsmith now has Conan O'Brien in his mouth.
The kid is cute, but can he drive. I guess pretty soon he will have to start kickboxing w/ the crew. Those cats will come in very handy as play mates for M. Tiny. They will be great for a break when he learns a better mode of transportation (crawl or even walk). Anyway just wanted to post a comment and say Hi All. So here goes... HI ALL.
Wednesday, January 26, 2005 Humpblog (1/26/05)
Trash is out of town for the week, so I’m basically a single parent for a few days. A single parent who’s getting a ridiculous amount of help from the grandparents, granted, but a single parent nonetheless.
Trash’s flight left today. Used to be that you could enter a flight number into Google and it would link you to a real-time map of the flight en route, with a little blip slowly traversing the states and a countdown to landing. This wasn’t that long ago, either, I’m talking post-September 11. But I tried it today, and it didn’t work. I can only assume that the FAA put a stop to this kind of thing due to all the random idiots aiming their laser pointes at commercial aircraft.
Doesn’t the FAA see what’s happening? If we change our way of life, the random idiots aiming their laser pointers at commercial aircraft win!
* * *
So the plan last Wednesday was for me to take Phantom down to the Vet-Friend’s office for declawing and de-uterusing. Vet Friend’s office is, unfortunately, located in a southern exurb. I’d have to get up pretty early in the morning, as they say, if I was going to get down there and back and all the way downtown in time for work. That was entirely aside from the necessity of delivering Phantom between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m.
But I wasn’t worried. I’d not only set my alarm clock early, I’d be sure to be the one to get up for M.Tiny’s midnight feeding and changing. Because, you see, while M. Tiny used to wake up in the middle of the night, he’s been lasting longer, to the point where the midnight feeding has become the predawn feeding. I figured, feed the kid at 5:30 or 6:00 like usual, get ready for work, pack up the kitty, and head out the door.
At 7:15 a.m., I discovered that my clock radio alarm had been tuned to a dead channel and had been going off silently for more than an hour. M. Tiny, for his part, hadn’t gone off at all for over seven hours. Basically, at just over three months of age, he’d slept through the night for the first time.
Stupid kid. Now I had to reschedule the cat’s surgery.
* * *
Did I tell you that my author’s copies of The Sisters’ Tragedy arrived at my house last month? I can’t describe the feeling of holding something you’ve written, now bound and printed with your name on the cover. It’s what we writers live for.
Now, I know a few of you reading this have had that high, and you know what I’m talking about .The rest of you? Here’s what you do:
Click on the picture of my book to the upper right. Go to the website. Order a dozen copies. When they come to your house, imagine you’re me. I guarantee you’ll never forget that experience.
No need to thank me.
Today's best search phrase: "Humour embarrassing coffee airport eating stories clean change carry-on." I don't know, maybe Trash will bring some home from her trip. Provided she meets enough Canadians.
posted by M. Giant 7:33 PM 5 comments
I've been reading Sister's Tragedy, and currently what I have to say is:
I didn't know about the Google flight tracking, but you can still do that through CheapTickets' FlightTracker:
Don't get a warm glow about M. Tiny sleeping through the night just yet--certainly enjoy it while it lasts, but something about hitting seven months or so makes them forget everything they know about sleeping...sigh...*yawn*
I can't even imagine the high of holding something you wrote that, well, looks like something someone else wrote because, you know, only other people get published. For me, that's still the case. For you, it's not.
Excellent, from here on in I'm going to stop calling it spaying, and start calling it de-uterusing. It's much more interesting.
Monday, January 24, 2005 Progress Report
Things that M. Tiny can do that he couldn’t do when we brought him home nearly three months ago:
1. Eat two ounces of formula in one meal without complaint. Strictly speaking, he wasn’t supposed to leave the hospital until he’d had two ounces at every meal for three days in a row. However, they released him when the number of meals in a row during which he’d eaten two ounces was zero. Sure, we could have said no, but we wanted him home, and we figured we could manage. Mealtimes were a little stressful for that first week home, needless to say. Now he eats two ounces before his first burp. And another two after that. And, usually, another two after that. After that, all bets are off.
2. Move. Of course he could move before, but it was all totally random flailing, and even that didn’t happen very often. Now his flailing seems to have a purpose, although what that purpose might be escapes us almost entirely. Unless it’s to thump himself in the noggin, in which case he succeeds several times a day. He waves his hands, especially his right one. He gropes for toys dangled within his reach. He does the air-Stairmaster on his back. He tries (unsuccessfully) to step in his poopy diaper, or (unsuccessfully) to kick it onto the floor so it lands poopy-side down, or (successfully) to kick the new one out of position when we’re trying to tape him into it. Which brings us to:
3. Get what he wants. One of his favorite things is bath time. He has somehow figured out that befouling himself will get him dunked in a nice warm tub toot-sweet. So he pees. And then Trash changes his diaper. So then he poops. Trash changes his diaper. While that’s happening, he poops some more. And also more peeing. All while flailing around on the changing table like a Solid gold dancer. And Trash is trying her best to keep everything contained, she’s got a cloth over his dong and a pad under his exit hatch, and trying to maintain containment but there’s too much going on, but at least he’s got to be empty by now and she puts her hand on his belly to steady him on the table while she looks away for a second and when she looks back he’s somehow lying in a puddle that’s soaked him all the way up to the back of his head. So, bath time now. For the fourth day in a row. By the way, I wasn’t more help with this because of:
4. Sleep in a crib. Yes, the little bassinet that he barely took up ten percent of back on Halloween weekend has somehow shrunk to only twice his size. Have to check the warranty on that. So yesterday I hauled the crib up from the basement and got to work putting the pieces together. Assembling a crib is one of those comedy touchstones that I assume I don’t have to waste a lot of time paying lip service to, but I will say that given the fact that this is a crib that was passed down to us by Deniece’s parents and it didn’t come with instructions, I was glad that I’d set aside a whole afternoon for the task. I only wish I knew what all those extra nuts and bolts and springs are supposed to be for. And holding up four segments of frame at the same time while simultaneously installing the mattress springs didn't leave me with many hands free to help Trash with a wiggling baby who was coming at her with every weapon in his scatological arsenal. And of course there was the break I took in the middle of it to help with the bath (see #3). Once that was finished, and I'd tested it by jumping up and down on the crib mattress, it was time to attach all of the mobiles and crib toys and rail-hanging audiovisual gewgaws that we've been holding in reserve. He'd fallen asleep on the changing table while Trash was re-dressing him (again). Then he napped in his vibrating chair while we set up his new crib. Then we put him in it and waited for him to wake up. If you ever want to see a three-month-old make a "what the fuck?" face, that's the way to do it. We figured it was time to let him graduate from the bassinet, because the crib seems more appropriate for a baby who can:
5. Lift his head and shoulders. This just happened this past week. On the changing table, as a matter of fact (he spends a lot of his waking hours there). We were doing "tummy time," which he hates. He'd really much rather be on his back, which is a powerful incentive for him to figure out how to roll over. Usually he just bitches and wiggles until one of us helps him out. But this time, for some reason, he lifted himself up on his hands an elbows and looked at us with a totally horizontal gaze. It was awesome. And he seemed to think so too, because he stayed that way for about five minutes. I think he's figured out that it’s the key to rolling over, so he's practicing it a lot now.
All of which is great, and exciting, and we're happy, and happy for him. But of course it just demonstrates that we've begun the countdown to when putting him down is going to be followed by a lot less sitting down next to him and a lot more chasing.
Today's best search phrase: "M how far would you have gotten if I hadn't called you back 3." I'm sure there's a great story behind that and all, but I have to say that I'm glad they went with "MP3" instead. Much catchier.
posted by M. Giant 8:21 PM 6 comments
These are the best of times and the worst of times. You're really not out of the woods until M.Tiny is about 4 - just so you know.
Oh, good Lord. I remember when the Little Prince was still at that stage.
My gf has three nephews, aged 4, 2 and seven months, so by default, I have three nephews as well. We've all been lamenting the fact that, with the seven-month-old, "the fun is almost over." He's wiggly when you hold him, he rolls around on the floor, and you can tell it's just a matter of time before putting him on the floor and looking at the computer screen for more than 5 minutes will result in a panicked flight-of-the-bumblebee routine through the house trying to locate him.
I too have experienced the stuggle with crib construction--and that was WITH directions.
PICTURES! We want pictures! You can't tease us like that and not provide photographic proof.
You're not fooling me, M. Giant! M. Tiny's ALWAYS gotten what he wanted from you and Trash.
Saturday, January 22, 2005 Gag Gift
After two months, we're still working on getting the cats to bond with each other. Strat and Orca were inseparable by this point in the relationship, but he's quite a bit older now, and he gives off this unmistakable you kids get out my yard vibe whenever Phantom and Turtle chase each other across his line of vision, which is several hundred times a day. For their part, Phantom and Turtle have each other. They were friends before they ever met us, and they're closer to the same age (although Phantom is due to become a woman-cat any week now, which is why she has an appointment on Tuesday). So the two kittens aren't that powerfully motivated to become friends with the other cat in the house. And just like with kids, you can't force cats to like each other. It has to happen organically, and it'll probably be as a result of something you never could have predicted.
For instance, last weekend we were all sitting in the living room when Strat started making that unmistakable hrunk hrunk hrunk noise that usually precedes an argument between myself and Trash over whose turn it is to get the paper towels. But since Trash had her arms full of baby, this particular round was one that I lost by default. So after Strat got done leaving his wet, beige mess on the living room rug, I went back to reading. I like to wait a few minutes before cleaning up cat vomit, you see, because if there's anything more disgusting than picking up kitty puke, it's picking up kitty puke that's still warm from being inside a kitty belly.
Except this time, waiting wasn't an option. Something was happening that meant I had to clean up the hurl right away. It was quickly becoming obvious that by the time the gack was cool enough for me to pick up with a paper towel, Turtle would have eaten it all.
Trash wailed in horror.
So I scooped up Turtle, carried her into the kitchen, and grabbed a bunch of paper towels before putting her down again. Then I literally had to race her back to the puddle of Strat's heave. I've never seen a cat so excited to eat anything in my life. And why not? It tasted yummy like regular cat food, except it was soft, which she likes, and warm, which she apparently also likes, and who knows what kind of sweetening process it had gone through during its time in Strat's diabetic system? What's not to like?
Aside from the horrified noises Trash kept making, of course.
After just a few seconds of pushing Turtle away with one hand while manipulating a stack of paper towels with the other, it occurred to me that I was making my life way more difficult on two fronts. Why not just let these two problems solve each other? We could go back to using all of our paper towels the way normal people do, specifically as napkins. But of course, Trash was in the room, and you know how chicks are.
I did get the mess on the rug cleaned up. The parts that Turtle hadn't beaten me to, at least. As I was washing my hands in the bathroom afterward, I noticed Strat sitting in the hallway, that sort of dazed-tired look on his face that he always has right after a good yack. Turtle came and did something I'd never seen her do. She politely walked into Strat's shadow (she's still a lot smaller than he is) and stretched up to affectionately rub the top of her head beneath his chin. "Thank you for the most wonderful treat a cat ever had," she seemed to be saying. And then she walked away before he could thump her.
It occurs to me that Strat's been doing really well lately. He hardly ever throws up at all. Aside from last weekend, I can't remember the last time I cleaned up cat puke.
He has to be doing better. He has to. Now that Turtle is in the habit of licking our faces in the middle of the night, the alternative theory doesn't bear thinking about.
Today's best search phrase: "funny black people commute in one truck." I think I was behind that truck on the freeway the other day.
posted by M. Giant 7:03 PM 14 comments
Dude, consider yourself lucky. I've been trying to train Tansy to "clean up" Mona's barf for MONTHS now.
I caught my dog eating cat puke the other day, which I think goes a long way toward explaining why her weight-loss regimen is failing miserably.
My elder cat has adjusted pretty well to the kitten over the past 6 months -- she's just sort of "meh", doesn't really play with her but doesn't beat her ass.
You mean your cats didn't do this for you before? Sheesh - we pretty much count on it. There is nothing nastier than cleaning up warm slimy cat puke - years of fostering kittens and living with cats have taught me that unless the pile contains the tell-tale hairball, 'pre-chewed' food will usually, and quite mysteriously (ahem), disappear all on its own.
And sometimes you only need one. When my guy leaves a present on the floor, the result has usually be 'recycled' by the time I get back with the paper towels.
We have 2 cats: one who pukes frequently, and the other one who is fat, I think partially due to the fact that she cleans up the puked food so willingly. Also, the other day, the dog alerted me to the fact that there was a small pile of puke right on the other side of the gate into the cat room. I moved the gate, and he cleaned it up for me. Good dog!! Why waste food, right?
You guys make me feel so much better. The one time I told someone I let my cats clean up each others' puke, he was so horrified I thought I might have lost a friend. When I was a kid, we called our dog over and had her clean up anybody's puke (human, cat, whatever).
It'll get even more amusing as you go along. Someday when M. Tiny is older he'll spew up copious amounts of macaroni and cheese. Cats LOVE that kind of stuff -- er, at least our cat did when my sister ate too much macaroni. Still the grossest thing that I've ever seen.
There are two cats living at my house, Milly and Molly. Molly will hack up, and then a few minutes later, Milly makes her way over and laps it up. She also does the same with her own vomit. I usually am the only one who allows her to do this, mainly because cleaning up cat vomit is no where near the list of things I would like to do. Let the cat eat the vomit, just don't let Trash see.
WAY too much information.
Turtle and Taylor are clearly brothers separated at birth. Taylor loves nothing more than a good puke breakfast; it's like kitty pate. And as of last month, Taylor was diagnosed with OCD for his constant licking -- he's worn the fur off on both of his "elbows" and has started scabbing. The vet wanted to put him on kitty Prozac, but seeing as how I refuse to have the stereotypical California cat, I went about things my own way -- catnip. I sneak Taylor a little of the wacky weed every night, and he's stopped all the crazy licking. And it seems to keep Olive from freaking out so much every morning that she pukes her meal. Yes, all my cats are dope fiends, but it's really worth it. Please give your cats some dope for me.
I second the request for pictures of the cats, and I add to it a request for pictures of M. Tiny. It's been weeks since we've seen him, and I'm going through withdrawl.
I have just discovered that my cats are geniuses. Someone threw up, but did it right in front of our heating register. The result? Dried up cat puke, that was back to crunchy kibble. And then it became a crunchy snack for someone. Fabulous!
Strange...reading Velcrometer doesn't usually induce writing in my desk chair, clawing at my eyes.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005 Humpblog (1/19/05)
Thanks to everyone who left bad jokes and poems in the comments yesterday and today. It’s birthday presents like that that help motivate me to make it to the next one.
* * *
One of our new cats, Turtle, does love to clean herself. I was a little worried that she’s started to get OCD about it. When she wasn’t eating, sleeping, or locked in an epic battle with one of the flowers embroidered into the sofa upholstery, she could generally be found giving herself a bath. But the problem is, she doesn’t have that much surface area (although she has more than she did two months ago), so she runs out before she’s done. Which means it’s then time to chase down Phantom and give her a thorough cleaning, whether she wants one or not. These grooming sessions typically end in chasing and screaming, and then both cats smell like Turtle-breath.
Strat, of course, just thumps her and walks away.
But it’s still not enough cleaning for Turtle. She must…clean…more. Which is where we humans come in.
It was kind of sweet last week when I was working at my computer at home and she hopped up on my shoulders so she could carefully and meticulously clean out my left ear. Icky and off-putting, but sweet. Then she jumped down without doing my right ear, so I felt all asymmetrical and out-of-sorts for the next twenty minutes or so. Trash stopped me before I could open a can of tuna and hold it to the side of my head like a cell phone.
What’s less sweet is Turtle’s new habit of cleaning our heads while we sleep. With M. Tiny already on the very verge of sleeping through the night, the last thing we need is a wee, furry, crazy motor going from pillow to pillow at three a.m. and scraping her damp Velcro-hook tongue over our hair and faces.
Pushing her away doesn’t work, because even though she can catch a dangling shoelace, she hasn’t yet learned to catch a hint. So now Trash and I each stash a spare pillow on the floor next to our side of the bed and sandwich our heads between them until she goes away. Or until we wake up in the morning. Whichever comes first.
We’re exploring new frontiers in bed-head, but we were doing that already anyway.
* * *
Commercials tell us that “Diet Dr. Pepper tastes more like regular Dr. Pepper.” More like regular Dr. Pepper than what? Than anything else, one would hope. But even that isn’t a particularly bold claim. Of course, I understand that what they really mean is that “Diet Dr. Pepper bears a stronger gustatory resemblance to its non-diet analogue than other diet sodas do to theirs.” Which, while true, at least in my experience, it’s not exactly catchy. Which forces the marketing people to leave us all to complete the sentence in the way of our choosing.
“Diet Dr. Pepper tastes more like regular Dr. Pepper” than snot does.
“Diet Dr. Pepper tastes more like regular Dr. Pepper” than it tastes like Webster star Alex Karras.
“Diet Dr. Pepper tastes more like regular Dr. Pepper” after a good, sharp poke in the snoot.
Anyway, I picked up a case of Diet Vanilla Cherry Dr. Pepper the other day. That’s a lot going on in one can of soda. I would have preferred non-diet, but I figured that since Diet Dr. Pepper tastes more like regular Dr. Pepper, Diet Vanilla Cherry Dr. Pepper would taste more like regular Vanilla Cherry Dr. Pepper. If such a thing exists.
Much to my disappointment, it tastes more like Diet.
Today’s best search phrase: “Information on poop monkeys.” I’m just going to save you a little time here and tell you that sea monkeys are way more fun to watch.
posted by M. Giant 6:33 PM 9 comments
What IS it with cats? Chester does the same thing but he only does it to me, not to The Husband.
Dude! Vanilla-Cherry-DIET Dr. Pepper? Why don't they just add lemon and make a clean sweep of it?
Oh, I'd give anything for The Licks. I have to deal with The Knead. Cute at first, but not-so at 5 in the morning.
Oh, man. I had a cat once who was very loving, very affectionate - and was obsessed with cleaning INSIDE MY NOSTRILS.
Happy birthday, belated!
Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper? When did this happen? I used to get cherry vanilla DPs at Sonic, back when I lived in New Mexico, but Sonic does not exist in Chicago, thus I am without the most wonderful drink in the world. Though I'm sure the canned version will suck, I will still buy it when it shows its face.
sorry i missed
M.Giant...belated Happy Birthday!
Ok... that Dr.Pepper post is just scary...
Monday, January 17, 2005 As is now a tradition, I (Trash) am breaking into Velcrometer on M. Giant's birthday. However, unlike years past, I don’t have any funny poems, or terrible puns, or comments by friends. The lack of organization can, I think, be attributed to a number of issues (and one rather large one by the name of M. Tiny), but perhaps you – his readers – might be willing to step in where I have failed.
M. Giant loves nothing more than a good pun – and by good, I mean bad. He also loves terrible poetry. Should you feel so inspired, perhaps his readership might feel led to make use of the comments section in this blog, to leave the gift of bad writing. If you are looking for inspiration, please check out last year’s poems
Finally, a private message for the man himself – so I will, of course, post it here. I love you, darling. Thank you for so many wonderful, wonderful years, and for remaining the most coolio man on the planet. Also, thanks for not sucking as a dad.
Trash, M. Tiny, Strat, Phantom. Turtle, and Orca.
posted by M. Giant 11:26 PM 28 comments
Ahh, happy b-day M. Giant. I suck at puns, but I hope that you have a great birthday!
Happy birthday M Giant!
Happy Birthday, M. Giant.
Happy Birthday M.Giant, and thanks for all the great writing here and on TWoP.
Once while at Television Without Pity
These aren't mine, because I'm not funny and have been hit with Insomnia Jack.
And Dorothy woke up. "I just had a crazy dream with little people, flying monkeys, a crazy old green lady in a hat, and drug-induced hallucinations. And you were, and you and you and you! Auntie, you were there, too, but you were much, much bigger. From now on, I'm going to call you Auntie Em Giant."
Two birds were sitting on a perch. One looked at the other and said, "Do you smell fish?"
What a year that M.Giant has had!
You know how hard this is, in a year with... all THAT, plus a Joke Show?
There once was a man from Minnesota
Happy Birthday, M. Giant!
Not new, but these are favorites of mine!
Hey! The gift didn't rhyme but Phil gave you a great elimination for your birthday! And it is a gift we can all share! Happy Day!
There once was a man from up yonder,
I have no bad poetry. I have a bad knock knock joke that probably won't go over, but it made the D&Ders laugh their asses off, so here goes:
Here's a long, shaggy-dog story with a pun at the end that I will attempt to condense in the spirit of natal felicitations:
I guess it's more of a joke, but still...
Ahhh, Trash's message to M. Giant was so sweet (yes, I cheated) and then, she signed it from Orca, too. Happy and sad tears, all at once.
Ahhh, Trash's message to M. Giant was so sweet (yes, I cheated) and then, she signed it from Orca, too. Happy and sad tears, all at once.
Ahhh, Trash's message to M. Giant was so sweet (yes, I cheated) and then, she signed it from Orca, too. Happy and sad tears, all at once.
Happy birthday, M. Giant! Best wishes. No puns. But best wishes.
Sorry this is late, but here's my attempt at bad poetry:
A ship of marine biologists, out on an expedition, came across a pod of whales. Unable to identify the species by sight alone, the biologists dropped microphones into the water and recorded the whales' calls.
Albeit a little late, here are the top ten funniest puns, as listed by www.punoftheday.com
Saturday, January 15, 2005 Hello goodday
Got this in my inbox this week:
Hello to you, and goodday to your friend the former Secretary of the Exchequer of Nigeria.
We would like to offer you a part/full time jobs
You would, would you? Just to clarify, because there seems to be some ambiguity: would you like to offer me part or full time? Would you like to offer me a job, or jobs? And as long as we're making ourselves clear here, are you sure you're offering a job/jobs and not vacation?
The jobs can be done with group or single person
No couples, I see. Could be kinky.
No age limit, don't need any experience
I must admit, I am intrigued by the prospect of working with otherwise unemployable septuagenarians who have never had a job of any kind.
Must haved computer with internet
Oops, we run into a little trouble there. See, I still have a computer with internet. I've haved it for almost ten years now. If you're asking me to get rid of it, that could be a deal-breaker.
No time limit also no limit for your income
Are you saying that the longer I work, the more I get paid? How do they expect to stay out of the red with a business model built around this crazy moon logic?
The payment will be transfer direct into your account
Again, please say goodday to your friend the former Secretary of the Exchequer of Nigeria.
Any question or info please send your
Name and with the word "Okey" in the subject line
What if I want my question or info before I say "okey?" Is that "okey" legally binding in the absence of a properly appended "dokey?"
Thanks and sorry for disturb.
No, thank you. And sorry for mock.
Today's best search phrase: "Trap tuna in your garage." If your garage is currently in a position where it's possible to trap tuna in it, maybe fishing shouldn't be your highest priority right now.
posted by M. Giant 7:29 PM 0 comments
Wednesday, January 12, 2005 Humpblog (1/12/05)
It’s a little quiet around the site lately, but not because I haven’t been writing. I just haven’t been writing for you.
In case you've ever wondered, writing a recap for Television Without Pity takes longer than you might think. And every once in a while (or on a regular basis, if you're Linda), one of us will get socked with the dreaded "threecap," which is three recaps due in a single week.
(Again, if you're Linda, you may even find yourself facing the equivalent of an incredibly rare "double-threecap," as she did one week last month, which led to her leaving that week's recap of The Amazing Race to some hack.)
I've always thought, “Wow, I could never do a threecap.” Except now I have. You may recall that the show I cover is 24, and a cursory look at this week’s TV listings will tell you that I was looking at my first-ever “fourcap.” Along with a few other projects that have come up.
So as of now, the first two recaps are up at TWoP. You can find them here. I hope that makes up somewhat for neglecting you.
* * *
Training a new cat in on the house rules can be tricky. So can training two. I yelled at Phantom for being on the kitchen counter during her first week with us, and for a while she seemed to take that to mean that she wasn’t allowed in the kitchen at all. Which, since the kitchen is the only way to get from the basement stairs to the rest of the house, made her a little skittish for a while. I fear that may have contributed to her reluctance to come to me when she was outside a few weeks ago.
Training two new cats on the house rules is even trickier, especially when one of them is really dumb.
I don't remember how long it took us to train Strat and Orca not to fight on the bed when we were in it. Ten or twelve years, I'd venture. Now we're starting that process all over with Turtle and Phantom, whose relationship with each other can go from mutual grooming to mutual assured destruction in seconds.
What we always did with Strat and Orca was just kick them off onto the floor. That doesn't work with Turtle. It just gives her a new opponent. She forgets about Phantom, who by this point is hiding under the bed, and hops back up on top of the bedspread to stalk whatever sneaky enemy just booted her off onto the rug. Which, in her tiny, fuzzy mind, is basically anything that moves under the blankets.
Have I ever mentioned that Trash and I both shift a lot as we fall asleep?
Good thing I'm so tired from writing all these recaps.
* * *
M. Tiny went to the doctor today. He's had some odd symptoms lately, and we figured we'd get him seen just to make sure he didn't have anything worse than a mild cold.
As it turns out, he doesn't even have that. He just thinks he's teething.
This kid. So impatient about everything. Always ahead of schedule. He's not supposed to start teething until two months from now at the earliest. But try taking his teething ring away from him two weeks ago. Now he's drooling and sticking his tongue out like he's going to sprout himself a Sunny Baudelaire fang or two at any minute.
No point to this story, really. Just wanted to let you know that if things continue this way for the next couple of years, I could be handing this blog over to him quite a bit sooner than I'd planned.
Today's best search phrase: "Edward is likely the big giant stud." Likely? Likely? Are you kidding me with that? Have you met Edward? Edward is the big giant stud, and there are no two ways about it.
posted by M. Giant 11:05 PM 5 comments
This late night writing stuff is hard work, you go to bed and I will pick up where you left off here on the West Coast.
I have wondered how long it takes to write a recap. I've wondered about the process -- do you take notes as you watch the show, using them as you re-watch and write? Or do you watch it once, without even thinking about TWoP, and save the recapping stuff for later? I imagine it must involve a lot of play-pause-write-play-pause-write-play-pause ... well, you get the idea.
I think I would be lost without TWoP. Since my job is incredibly boring and I'm beinhd a computer all day, it occupies my poor, under-used mind for a while. Thanks.
"Edward is likely the big giant stud"
Those first teeth take forever. And, they can start as early as 3 months, even though the usual age is about 6 months. My 4 1/2 month old has been drooling like the village idiot for about a month now, and not much of a sign of tooth coming yet. I can see them down there, in the gum line, but no snags-a-poppin' yet. I keep hoping it'll be soon, just as a payoff for all the drooling and chewing on my fingers. Plus, there's this whole weird tongue thing, too. She sticks it out and kind of wriggles it. Entertaining, but kinda weird.
Saturday, January 08, 2005 Phantom, Menace
You never know what a new pet is going to bring to the house. Strat brought love and humor. Orca brought love and attitude, and some more humor. Turtle brought lots of love and really lowbrow, slapstick humor. Phantom brought chemical weapons.
While Turtle fell instantly and exuberantly in love with us, Phantom was a slightly tougher sell. She had a tendency to bolt when we approached her, but it was possible to get her feeling comfortable enough that she would come up to you. Whereupon her demonstration of her affection for you would take three simultaneous forms. 1) snuggling. 2) purring. 3) silent farts that would clear out a crematorium.
Turtle and Phantom were getting over colds when they came to live with us. They were well past their contagious stages, and we kept them segregated in the basement anyway. Once a day they would get their antibiotics, and Phantom would go back into hiding.
It’s difficult to describe just what it’s like to experience one of Phantom’s farts. This isn’t your ordinary litterbox smell. It’s not even an amplified litterbox smell. It’s on an entirely different order of magnitude, and potentially from another dimension. If you were to, say, scrape a bunch of slime off the inside of a neglected storm drain, and then marinate that in barbecue sauce that had been used to season a toilet, and then boiled that mixture down to its very essence, mixed it into a five-gallon omelet using expired emu eggs and two-hundred-dollar-an-ounce French cheese, and then drove that omelet around in the trunk of your car in Arizona for July and half of August, and then shat in your trunk, you might come close. But only if the storm drain were downhill from a chicken processing plant.
So we’d go down to the basement for Phantom’s medicine, or just to visit her, and she’d invariable greet us with one of her pocket miasmas that had us scrabbling back up the stairs, out the door, and into a different ZIP code as quickly as possible.
I don’t want it to sound like we don’t love Phantom because we do. For one thing, she’s the only cat I’ve ever met who appears capable of expressing gratitude. One day, after we’d opened up the basement door, she was still downstairs because she was still adapting and not quite ready to explore the house at large yet. I went down to find her, and the combination of her slowly departing cold symptoms with the dust and chill of the basement was causing her to produce so many eye boogers that her left orb was in fact sealed shut. I carefully bundled her upstairs to the bathroom, closing the door behind us so she couldn’t get away. Using a warm, damp washcloth, I was able to carefully get her eye open again. “That was awesome!” she seemed to say with her facial expression, body, language, and an increased volume of purring. And the next thing I knew I was waking up on the bathroom floor with bloody tears crusting on my face.
I’d like to say it’s getting better now that she’s getting older, but all I can say is that it’s getting less frequent. It’s no longer possible to track her progress through the house by following a trail of visible brown clouds hanging at shin level. But the unpredictability just makes it that much more dangerous.
The other day, Trash was playing with M. Tiny. Phantom wandered up, and M. Tiny fell silent and still to watch the kitty’s approach. After a moment, he started fussing and wiggling angrily for no apparent reason. Trash was utterly mystified at the unprovoked change in mood, until Phantom’s gases wafted up to her level. At which point the cause of M. Tiny’s discomfiture became clear. And this is a person who doesn’t mind sitting in his own poop. Phantom, of course, was off befouling the atmosphere of another room by this point.
Now I’m starting to understand why she wanted to be outside so much. It’s not because she doesn’t love us, or appreciate the safety and shelter we provide. It’s that it was the only way she could avoid her own smell.
It also explains why she never stays in one spot for very long around the house. For which we, the recipients of her frequent and highly affectionate visits, are so very grateful.
I just wish that Turtle didn’t adore Phantom so much. Maybe then she wouldn’t be trying to learn how to emulate everything Phantom does, including this.
With a dismaying degree of success, I might add.
Today’s best search phrase: “What does 1.5 millimeters look like?” Okay, I’m holding my fingers 1.5 millimeters apart. Lean in close to the screen. Closer. Closer. Keep coming. No, closer.
posted by M. Giant 11:17 PM 15 comments
I laughed while reading your entry, but trust me - it's in complete sympathy. When our cat Tangerine was younger she was the master of lethal farts. What was both awful and funny about them was that she would just sit there, oblivious, while all the humans commenced with the choking and gasping and trying to escape. Plus there is something about cat farts that seem to make the noxious fumes linger far longer than a fart should.
I had a cat who did that - in her old age, though, not her youth. Once I swear she let one off that was literally visable - no colour, just a tangible field of mind-blowing stink.
I'm there with you, M. Giant. Our Chester not only farts like an old man, but he SNORES. Add that to the fact that he likes to sleep by my head and you will see why I only sleep 4 hours or so a night.
See, this is another one of those times that I remember that I got the best kitten in the world. His kitten farts smell, strangely enough, exactly like popcorn. Mildly stale popcorn, but popcorn none the less. I luuuv Ricky. Which is good because he is currently walking up my arm, around the back of my head, down the other arm, and then back up again.
Oh, I feel your pain. When I adopted my kitten from the shelter, he had an upper respitory infection, and I had to give her antibiotics. Not only did they cause her to fart with amazing toxicity, but they transformed her poop into what can only be described as soft serve ice-cream, complete with swirly on top.
(laughing so hard) With my cat, the toxic smell of her kittenhood was related to litterbox use, rather than farting, and I'd forgotten all about it until now. My roommates and I used to have to leave the house for an hour or so; our friends were always confused when we'd sniff the air, leap up, usher everyone out through the back door (away from the litterbox) and insist on convening elsewhere for a while, but it truly was necessary, because that first whiff promised a nasal assault that would only grow in strength. Like some of the other posters' cats, though, she did grow out of it quite nicely -- I hope Phantom does too!
You might want to take Phantom back to the vet to have her dewormed again. Sometimes a cat needs a few doses to kill off any hangers on.
Oh, man -- I can't get past the 24 season premier. I know, the 2 2-hour season starters might kill you, but DAMN!
My new puppy has the world's worst farts. However, they don't seem to be very frequent at all. He's not even 10 weeks old, and they've already lessened greatly.
Hey, I got my copy of The Sisters' Tragedy in the mail a few days ago. Yay! You will have to autograph it when you're out here next, so it will be signed by the playwright hisself.
Oh M.Giant, I'm sorry to laugh at your pain...but laugh I did. A lot. And I'm planning to laugh more about it later...thanks man, I so needed that. (And as others have commented, a diet change might be in order if it's not the meds working their way out of Phantom's system.)
It's GOT to be a digestive thing. Our old cat, Nermal was the same way. It was the most gosh awful stuff I'd ever smelled. Worse than newborn baby poop - and I thought that was as bad as it can get... have you asked a vet? I really think it has something to do with digestion or the food they eat...
I have to second the suggestion about another round of deworming. It could help tremendously. --Eden
I think you should stop feeding her chili.
As a person with extensive experience with animal farts, I must add that it's not just the smell, it's the density and thickness of the odor. No matter how you move, you can't escape the fog.
Wednesday, January 05, 2005 Humpblog (1/05/05)
Overheard while putting away clean laundry the other day:
“Why are the legs of these pants all knotted up like this?”
“Well, they’re yoga pants, aren’t they?”
* * *
I’m nobody’s brain trust at the best of times, but when I first wake up, look out. Especially now that I’m waking up every night to help take care of the baby. So particularly look out if you are the baby.
Not long ago, I got up, mixed the proper pre-measured amount of water with the proper pre-measured amount of formula, stirred it up well, picked up the baby, settled him in my lap in his favorite feeding position (reclined), picked up the bottle, and inverted it over M. Tiny’s mouth preparatory to slipping in the nipple. Whereupon I realized—too late—that I had forgotten to screw the nipple back on.
Yes, I literally threw my son’s drink in his face.
He took it really well. In fact, he had no reaction at all. He just gazed up at me, silently, calmly, with formula dripping from his nose, mouth, jowls, neck, and pajama top. I was so grateful that he’s not old enough to realize that he’d just been dissed as badly as he’s ever likely to be dissed by an adult in his life. He minded the wiping more than anything else.
Trash took the kid from me before I accidentally set him on fire or something. While she took care of him, I went downstairs, knocked a bunch of shit over in the kitchen, tripped over my own feet, and nearly fell out the bathroom window while peeing.
These are the moments we’ll look back on fondly one day. Perhaps on a day when he's old enough to laugh at me for knocking my glasses into the toilet or something.
* * *
Overheard while putting away Christmas stuff the other day:
“Aw, look at Turtle, sitting in that empty storage bin.”
“Yeah. She’s a box Turtle.”
* * *
Heard on the local 80s radio station during the past holiday season:
“That was ‘The Little Drummer Boy,’ from Bing Crosby and David Bowie. Those two can sing together thanks to modern technology.”
Actually, I was under the impression that they were able to sing together on account of being in the same room at the same time once, back in the 70s. Modern technology was a lot less modern and a lot more literal back then.
* * *
Today's best search phrase: "krispy creme guitar pedal brian may -donut." I thought DragonAttack knew the search phrase contest was long over. I'll have to remind her, I guess. posted by M. Giant 8:28 PM 8 comments
I -loved- the contest. Every now and then I still try to get the day's best search phrase, but now I must weep because I didn't come up with this one.
I'm a sucker for a good pun. And a bad pun. Any pun, really.
I thought since Bing and Bowie's rendition of "The Little Drummer Boy" came out after Bing Crosby's death, I guess I assumed it was one of those computer generated gigs like Natalie Cole singing "Unforgettable" with her father (which if I'm not mistaken came out about the same time). I googled to check your facts (I assumed you'd fallen out the bathroom window on that one) and discovered that they recorded the song together in London for a Christmas special a month before Crosby died in '77. Damn M. Giant, even without sleep, you're good.
Yep, Bing Crosby and David Bowie did really sing together. My parents actually have it on tape so I have seen it with my own eyes. (It was from a different "Best of Christmas Specials" Christmas special done years later.)
I lurved that Bing/Bowie duet - the two of them around the piano, looking so comfortable and crooning so sweetly. o'Course I was only 3 at the time, so I remember it from that best of christmas specials special.
You are what you eat... not you WEAR what you eat.
No, the Natalie Cole thing didn't happen until the late 80s. That definitely wasn't released in 77.
As long as Xmas village survived the M. Giant Kong attack, we can sleep easy. I didn't even get to see it this year. I'm seriously thinking about coming up to your house (I know, it's like 7 hours away, we'll never show up to your baby shower...) and shooting a movie in xmas village using the army men and maybe some other random not-to-scale figures. It could be like Frosty the Snowman on acid. M. Giant, you should get started on the script. You know if I write it, there's gonig to be all sorts of gratuitous nudity in it...
Monday, January 03, 2005 Phantom Come Home (Part II)
We’re grateful to Trash’s sister Lisa for taking Tuesday afternoon off to tromp around our neighborhood looking for Phantom in the daylight, even though she didn’t turn her up. We’re also grateful to Vet-Friend. I don’t know how to build a cat trap, or where to buy one, but VF knew where I could get one. It seems the Humane Society lends them out (well, actually they rent them out, but so cheaply it’s more like borrowing). So after work on Tuesday I stopped by their building. I filled out a lost animal report, checked the day’s crop of strays just to be safe, stuck a poster of Phantom on their bulletin board, and walked out of there with Live Animal Trap #97.
Here’s how it works: it’s basically a long wire cage with a springloaded entrance hatch. It’s about twice as long as a standard pet carrier, because you want the cat to be well clear of the door when it snaps down behind her. The mechanism is triggered when the cat steps on an elevated metal plate to get at the bait that’s placed way inside the trap. I knew Phantom would be heavy enough to spring it, because Turtle is a couple of pounds lighter and she was kind enough to help me test it inside the house before I set it out on the yard. And when I say “kind,” I mean “gullible.”
So I baited the trap with some nice, warm tuna and put it out among the trees next to the garage, where I had last seen Phantom. This was at around 5:30 p.m. I figured I’d have to wait about a half hour.
At 9:30, I spotted Phantom next to our garage. She wandered right by the trap. I shone a flashlight at the tuna from the back window, but she didn’t seem interested. Instead she moseyed into the garage. She came out after a few seconds and started wandering back into the bushes where she’d been hiding the past twenty-eight hours, right past the trap. I figured this might be a chance to catch her, so I jumped into my boots and gave chase. Naturally she evaded me once again.
By this point, Trash was getting concerned about Phantom’s health. Remember, she’s originally a barn cat, so she’s capable of surviving outside. But it was getting cold, so Trash insisted I put a small bowl of dry food in the garage, in case she was hungry but too smart to go for the trap. I did. We didn’t see her again that night, and the trap—which I had moved into the garage—was still unsprung the next morning. I worried that I had chased her off for good, and that she had lit out for the suburbs after all. But then Trash noticed that the dry cat food in the garage was gone. So something was still around. And it was getting into the garage. And it was probably Phantom.
Then I realized that I knew how to make a trap after all. I just had to make it out of a preexisting garage and a length of rope. I’d tie one end to the open garage door (the person door, not the car door), then run the line up the length of our back yard and thread it through the window to my study. I’d watch all evening, and the next time Phantom sauntered into the garage, I’d yank the rope and trap her inside. QED.
I got this all set up, and moved the trap from the Humane Society back out into a shadowy part of the yard because I really only needed to trap her once. By now I’d draped an old beach towel over the trap so as to give it the appearance of a welcoming (and tuna-smelling) little hidey-hole rather than the cold, scary artifact of human cunning it is. The only part sticking out from under the towel was the open trapdoor. I settled down to work in my study in the dark, looking out at the light streaming from the open garage door every minute or so.
At about 8:00 p.m., when Trash was getting ready to watch a CSI rerun while feeding M. Tiny, I shone the flashlight out the back window at the towel covering the trap. I couldn’t see the open door sticking out any more. I slipped on my boots and sneaked outside so as not to alert Trash, because of the way her hopes rose and then crashed every time I went outside and came back catless. I went out and pointed the flashlight under the towel, to see if I had caught a neighbor cat or a carnivorous squirrel. But a familiar half-black, half-orange face stared out at me. I opened the trap door to give her a hug, and she slithered past me and vanished into the bushes, never to be seen again.
No, actually not. I picked up the trap, towel and all, and brought it into the house despite the angry yowling issuing from it. I set it down in the living room, and somehow over the noise from the cat I heard Trash calling to me from downstairs.
“We got her,” I called back.
Phantom didn’t seem injured, or bloody, or even, despite the fact that it had rained all day, the slightest bit damp. Hungry, and happy to see us and Strat and Turtle, but that was it. Now that our prodigal kitty was home, we killed the fatted can of tuna.
And since then she’s been way more affectionate with us. Like she’s had her little 72-hour adventure, and now she’s ready to settle down and be a proper housecat, with all of the ostentatious purring and cuddling and toxic farting that implies.
So now that our family was all back together again, Trash and I looked forward to getting back to worrying about all the stuff in our lives we’d been worrying about before Phantom disappeared. Problem was, we couldn’t remember what any of that stuff was.
All I can say is that the little beast had better not be pregnant.
Today’s best search phrase: “Humour embarrassing coffee airport eating stories clean change carry-on.” Could you be a little more specific there?
posted by M. Giant 7:57 PM 10 comments
I get to comment first! Yippeeee.
Hee! I had the same reaction; I even uttered an "Oh no you did NOT."
Wait, didn't your vet friend get her spayed before you got her? I thought that was standard vet policy. I hope you're going to get her spayed--you don't want her to go into heat in your house. Trust me. Anyway, she's probably not pregnant because cats usually go into heat in the spring.
Aww, you could have even more kitties! Wouldn't that be fun? (Kidding.) --Cori
I can't stop cracking up over the "toxic farting" comment. Our six-month-old kitten just nailed me with one the other day when I swiftly cradled him in my arms. Ugghhhhh.
This was wonderful! Who knew the story of a complete stranger's flatulent feline would, like a certain reality TV show you guest reviewed, hold my interest with such intensity? I do enjoy this site.
Dogs have toxic farts too. In fact, there are times when my dog will be lying next to me on the couch, and all of a sudden he'll get up and sit across the room. Because he farted. And it's toxic. So he waits about a minutes for the odor to dissapate, and then he'll come back and lie next to me again.
Don't count on her not being pregnant. I did some research last year when I took in a seven-month-old kitten who was about to give birth, and the general consensus I found was that all female cats, no matter when they're born, go into heat in their first January. Also, a coworker of mine just had her cat spayed, and she was in heat.
Count me as another one who moaned "No you didn't!" and then sighed with relief. I didn't realize how worried I was about your kitty until I wasn't anymore.
Please, please take her to the vet to get spayed immediately!!! If she is pregnant, it would still be soon enough to abort the pregnancy.
Saturday, January 01, 2005 Phantom Come Home
Before this past Monday night, I’d never brought three cats to the vet’s office at the same time before. It’s not something I’ll be doing again if I can avoid it. To say it didn’t turn out well would be an understatement. In fact, that last sentence was an understatement. I could go on like that all day and not run out of understatements.
Once we got into the examination room, Phantom and Turtle gamely came out of their carrier to explore, and then wrestle with each other. Strat, on the other hand, after a year of blood-glucose tests and the loss of Orca, was so reluctant to come out of his box that we had to take the top off. And then, whenever possible, he curled up in the bottom half with his back to us as if he were actually enclosed. When they were all done and I opened the door to the kittens’ carrier, he darted into it. I rolled my eyes and said, “Fine,” and the vet and her assistant helped me put the other carrier back together and get Phantom and Turtle inside it. Turtle, of course, was sticking her paw out through the gap around the gate and through the small hole made by a missing panel in the top, trying to scratch everyone. She did get the vet tech while the assistant was shutting the gate. It was chaos. I put my gloves on before I picked the carriers up, so as not to get slashed and bleed out on the cats. I checked out, paid, got them all loaded into the car, and drove home.
I was walking from the car to the front door of our house with both carriers when one of the doors popped open. It was the one the vet tech had closed while Turtle tried to take off one of her fingers. In the excitement, I had failed to double-check that it was properly secured. But for now, all I knew was that for a split second, Phantom was out on the driveway. And then she was bolting across the front yard and around the other side of the house.
I put Strat and Turtle down at the front stoop (making sure Turtle was locked in tight this time), went in pursuit of Phantom, and called Trash on my cell phone to tell her to come out of the house and bring in the other two cats. Phantom was out in the open, in the middle of the back yard. Then she dashed behind our detached garage. I tried to follow, crashing through the underbrush in the narrow space between our garage and the neighbors’ fence. I could hear the dry leaves between the other neighbors’ garages rustle as Phantom sprinted through them, and then I couldn’t. I fumbled in the darkness through the bushes clogging the nonexistent alley, all the way to the end of the block. There was no sign of her.
This is a cat who, during her first week or so of living with us, could completely vanish from sight in our basement for as long as 24 hours. I didn’t think much of my chances of finding her outside, in the dark, in unfamiliar territory. And there was no snow on the ground, so she wasn’t leaving tracks. I wished for a flashlight. I would have called Trash to bring me one, but I figured that by the time she got her coat and shoes on and made her way to where I was, it would be just as quick to run back to the house and get it myself. As we learned over the next few days, it really wouldn’t have made much difference either way, even with a burglar-braining Maglite. Phantom was gone.
We were in a nightmare. We were in hell. We’d just lost our second cat in as many months. She’d only lived with us for a matter of weeks; would she find her way home? Did she even know where home was? Or would she take it into her fuzzy little head to try and Incredible Journey back to her old barn in Prior Lake, some thirty miles away?
Making things worse, and yet also somehow better, was the fact that we had old friends visiting from out of town. I haven’t seen them more than once or twice since they moved to New Mexico several years ago. They were in town with their two daughters, a four-year-old and an infant who just happens to have been born on the same day as M. Tiny (although full-term). This was not how we had planned to spend the evening of their visit.
Trash and one of our friends helped me look all over the neighborhood, while our other friend stayed in the house with her kids and M. Tiny. We came up with nothing, except a glimpse of a neighbor’s Siamese. They went inside. We opened cans of tuna and put one each in the front and the back of the house. After a while, I came inside too and sat and talked to our friends and tried to be charming and host-like while Trash changed M. Tiny’s diaper and I tried not to think of Phantom crossing Highway 494.
They left not long after that. At around 11:00, I was at a nearby Kinko’s printing up a bunch of lost cat posters (complete with color photo) when Trash called my cell phone. I could hear M. Tiny crying in the background.
“She’s here!” Trash told me. Phantom had just been eating the tuna in the back yard.
“Go get her!” I snapped.
Trash explained that she had tried to call to our kitty from the back door, but that only spooked her and she had disappeared behind the garage again. And she couldn’t very well leave the kid alone in the house. “Get home,” she told me.
I did. I confined my next search to a smaller area, now that I knew that Phantom was still in the neighborhood, but I came up empty again. She returned to the back yard once more at 2:30 a.m., and again vanished as soon as I stepped outside.
Strat has escaped any number of times. But when we find him, the search is over. “It’s a fair cop; I’ll go quietly” is his attitude every time we catch up with him. Sometimes he’ll even meow to let us know where he is, as with the time I found him up a tree at one in the morning. He’s even spent a night or two outside, but at six o’clock he was back on the front step whining to come in. I didn’t know how to retrieve a cat who disappeared into the bushes as soon as she saw a human. If this were Gilligan’s Island, I could fashion a trap out of bamboo shoots and palm fronds. But it’s residential Minneapolis in winter, and I have the mechanical aptitude of a yak. There was only one upside.
“She’s not going anywhere,” I told Trash. “To her, here equals tuna. If she were a stray, this would be home base for her by now. She’ll keep coming back, and eventually we’ll catch her. Somehow.”
We went to bed. I got up to feed M. Tiny and stare out the back window at 5:30, and didn’t go back to sleep. When the sun came up I went out and had another look, microwaved the now-frosty tuna and put it back out for the fourth time, and spent an hour or so putting the posters up around the neighborhood and slipping copies into every mailbox on the block before going to work.
Trash and I spent the day at our respective jobs, trying to come to terms with the prospect of having three cats: two indoor ones, and one that lived outside somewhere, allowing us an occasional glimpse of her and getting fat on our tuna. We dreaded telling Trash’s sister Lisa and the Vet-Friend: “Thanks for the cats, guys. Sorry we lost one.”
But if we hadn’t told them what had happened, we might not have gotten Phantom back.
More on that later.
Today’s best search phrase: Yeah, I’ve had enough searching for a little while.
posted by M. Giant 8:24 PM 5 comments
So, I take it you got her back?
Eagerly awaiting the conclusion of Phantom: The Return!
Hey, don't freak out too much. I have a whole slew of kitties (there's five; we call them the Kitty Minions), and our senior lady cat is a mad keen escapologist. Schrodinger would have trouble with this cat. But she always gets home safe and in one piece, despite the fact that we live in a patch of Queensland, Aust. that is riddled with big snakes, spiders, huge whopping ass owls and little shits with air guns.
Damn you and your cliffhangers!
Oh Discordia! I know you were in hell...the Middle Kitty got out on moving day, which also happened to be Halloween, and there were a very tense 36 hours while the Rottie belonging to the roommates kept trying to show me where MK was, thus scaring him so bad I couldn't get him to come to me.