Archive for April, 2010

How My Mother Invented the Hamlick Maneuver

April 20, 2010

*As told by BigBroBob to his grandchildren.*

Tennessee has a wonderful history of inventions. Now, has anybody ever heard the story of the great Hamlick Maneuver? It was during the Civil war, no that was another story… OK. This is the story of how the Hamlick Maneuver was discovered, and it came from your family. So when people tell you about the Hamlick Maneuver, you say, you know who invented this. It started one time when we had a little piglet running through the house. Now I can remember it started to choke. And my mother, the dashing person she was, she put on her hat, and she ran over, and she grabbed that pig right by the feet like this. She picked him up, and was trying to help the pig. And the pig was screaming. And she kept going and going. But she couldn’t help him. Do you know what she did next? She flipped that pig up in the air & caught him right like this. And then, she fell, and as she fell on the floor, she squeezed the pig, right like that, and the biscuit went right out. And that’s how she invented the hamlick maneuver. Well, she was going to put a patent in on it, but we had a Danish exchange student. Well, he was there. And you know what he did, he went back and he patented it. And now it’s world famous. And if you ever hear anyone say “Heimlich” maneuver, you say Hmm mmm mmmm, It’s Hamlick maneuver. And my great-grandmother invented it. The Hamlick maneuver.

Mr. Packetthead

April 19, 2010

The fateful day: July 5, 2005

On July 4, 2005, I was at work.  It was a hot day, typical of the area, humid and bright.  It was a Monday afternoon, and I was at work at the luxury boarding kennel in B’ton.  A sheriff’s car raced into the parking lot, right into the spot in front of the vet’s office next door.  I thought the car was going to shoot straight through the vet’s front door.  The officer ran out, pounded on the door of the vet’s office, and ran back to the back seat of the car. 

I went outside to see what the vet emergency was, and the officer was applying cold packs to the near lifeless body of a large Rottweiler.  I called the emergency number for the vet, and told the officer that we had to get the dog inside to the shower.  The dog was too heavy for us to carry, and I ran back inside the kennel to get a crash cart.  By that time, all the kennel staff was standing around, in shock and unable to move or comment.  They could only watch as the drama unfolded. 

We loaded the dog on the cart.  He didn’t move, and his head and paws flopped off the cart as we clattered into the bathing room.  The dog’s body was hot, and failing.  I hosed him down with the shower control set at the coldest setting in an effort to cool him down. 

But it was too late.  His core body temperature was out of control, and as I hosed his body, he slipped away, and his eyes gradually receded back into his head. 

Some people were in the lobby to follow the progress of the story.  They had been in the area on vacation for the holiday weekend, and they, like others, were out and about.  They had stopped at a Dairy Queen, then the gas station next to it, then wandered to a plant nursery next to the gas station.  The nursery was closed, but they wanted to get a closer look through the fence.  It was a pricy, showy establishment, with expensive shrubbery, plants, planters, fountains, and hardscaping displays.  That’s when they noticed the dog lying still at the end of a chain, in the sun, with his overturned food and water dishes.  It was probably 100 degrees in the shade, and the dog’s black coat soaked up the sun like a death shroud. 

The people called 911.  The officer had to climb over the fence, cut the dog loose from the chain, and push the body over the fence.  The dog seized twice, and when the officer applied the first cold pack, steam came off the dog’s body.  The nearest vet’s office was next door to the kennel, but closed, like most places, for the long holiday weekend.  The vet came as soon as possible, but the dog was deceased, a welcome relief to a probable three days of a torturous death alone at the end of a chain, in the heat, protecting the valuables of a luxury nursery.  His name was Pansy. 

The next day I was driving home, and at the edge of my crappy little town, I saw something in the middle of the road by some roadkill.  At first I thought it was a fawn.  It was so thin and leggy.  When I got closer to it, it looked at me as I went by, stepping almost into my path.  I drove past, pulled over, turned around and went back.  I got out of the car, spoke to the dog, and reached over and scooped him up with one hand. 

A trip to the vet found that he weighed 17 pounds, was infested with fleas and intestinal parasites, and his ears were bloody, open wounds from the biting flies. 

I didn’t intend to lose 2 in 2 days.  I didn’t want another dog, but this guy needed help.  He was near death.  He was wearing a small harness that was almost growing into his skin.  His long bones showed signs of malformation and malnutrition.  And five weeks later we have this…

Packett: "Nobody knew my ears were this big! She could have named me Dumbo!"

Big Angry Feral

April 17, 2010

Two weeks ago, I determined to set the cat trap again.  When I checked the trap the next morning, I thought that I had trapped the same cat as last time.  When I checked his ears, I saw that neither ear was tipped.  Bonus!  A big angry feral.  He must have been a brother to the last one, because he was just as ferocious.  He thrashed about in the trap, causing it to bang against my legs and leave bruises. 

Big Angry Feral: "The better to eat you with, my dear."

Another sucker for canned food.

Mr. Angry and I headed out to the local Spay/Neuter Clinic.  I was glad that he was not contained in my patented cardboard box system (patent pending).

I picked him up later that afternoon, he still in the trap, woozy from the anesthesia, and missing several items that had served him well.

Big Angry: "Come closer so that I can hypnotize you."

Big Angry: "I resent being profiled as big and angry."

Later that evening, when he was fully recovered from the anesthesia, I positioned the trap so that Mr. Angry could head into the woods.  He was happy to make an exit.

Big Angry: "It's been real, and it's been fun, but it hasn't been real fun."

He stopped about 20 feet away and got his bearings.

There he is, right in the middle of the picture. Can't see him?

There. How's that?

If you click on the above photo to enlarge, you can see his eyes reflecting the flash of the camera.


April 17, 2010

Oh look. There's glass all around the back of my car...


What the...??


Car: "I was just sitting here, minding my own business, when this mower went by."

But the cat food is unharmed.

If I Had Wanted a Lecture, I Would Have Stayed Married

April 9, 2010

I am not good with confrontation.  I avoid it at all costs.  I think it comes from being a middle child, a peacekeeper except when I wanted to start some crap myself. 

My loyal 4 fans will know that I live in an RV, by choice.  I still own a home that I rent out.  Last year I had to evict my first renter, a very nice lady who worked 1 1/2 jobs, and then she lost the 1 job so was only left with 1/2.  Not enough to pay the rent.  Painful, painful to be a landlord and have to evict a nice person with a run of bad luck.  Oddly enough, she wouldn’t return my phone calls, so I had to go to the house and hope that she would answer the door.  She did, and it was awkward being the “bad guy” even though I’m a “good gal”.  I asked her what her plans were on moving.  She replied that she didn’t have anywhere to go.  I replied that she was going to have to leave or the sheriff would be escorting her out.  So we went to court, on Good Friday, awkwardly enough, and she had to be out by Monday, the day after Easter.  My annoyance at having someone evicted when they should have left on their own is this:  if I’m paying the mortgage, then I want to use the garden tub.  I’d still like that back rent you owe me, please.

My next renters are from upstate New York.  Now, I’ve met a few folks from upstate NY, and I’m even related to some of them, and they are a nice sort of people.  But these specific upstate New Yorkers must be of a mutant sort.  They think that the world owes them a favor, and they are ungrateful all the time.  Mad when they get overtime because that makes them tired, and mad when they don’t have overtime because they NEED the money.  Pissants.  I think that they were run out of NY.

So the lease is up at the end of this month for the mutants.  We discussed the new lease, I presented it to them, and then nothing.  I waited.  And I waited.  And finally today, the head mutant presented the lease, signed, but with additions of their own inked in.  I said,  “No thank you.  If this lease isn’t the way I want it, I walk away from it.  And if I lose the house, so be it.  You do not get to tell me what your terms are.  Go rent somewhere else.”  I spewed a little more legitimate points that I have with them, and Mr. Mutant said, ruthrawls, that’s just water over the bridge.  I prided myself on not saying – moron, water under bridge, water over dam.  I spewed a bit more, about how they were disrespectful to me, and late on the rent, and I made all my points rationally and calmly.  And not once did I have a panic attack or vomit or break down.

So he agreed to see things my way, or buddy it would be the highway, and then he informed me that his unemployment runs out the end of this month.

Moral of the story – never rent to a used car salesman.

Can anyone say magistrate?

The Tree Inspector

April 4, 2010

Jackie inspects a tree.

Here’s our girl Jackie, the one-eyed gambler.  Apparently the lack of one eye does not deter her from her job as tree inspector.  She is getting bolder and bolder about leaving the safety of the shed, and she prowls out and about enjoying the day.

Left to her own devices, she harms nothing and enjoys everything.  It’s been an interesting development to watch her explore her surroundings, like a tourist on vacation, seeing the local sights, enjoying the local cuisine, and absorbing the local flavor.

That we all should enjoy our lives like a tourist.  That’s the best wish that I can send on this Easter morning!

Donkey Ho-tey

April 2, 2010

Donkey Ho-tey

Last Sunday, Sugar and I went to see Sir Richard of Garnett.  It was time for his dogs to have their monthly flea and heartworm prevention.

When we pulled into the yard, there was business as usual.

Sir Richard milling about

Sir Richard was working on another fencing project.  A few months ago, he enclosed the front yard and the back yard for the dogs, since one of the friendly villagers said that if Sir Richard’s dogs came their way ago, they would be shot.  Nice.  Sir Richard has since decided to enlarge the fenced area to include the side yard, a large and ambitious project.  But since Richard has basically nothing except time, this project is not one bit daunting to him. 

From front door to back door. There's a cat on the back porch. I swear there is.

Richard lives in an amazing house that is approximately one-hundred years old.  It must have been quite grand once upon a time, but has since fallen on hard times.  The original owners were named Richardson, no relation.

Front porch project.

Future porch ceiling project

Richard has been renting this house for several years.  The landlord makes no improvements, although Richard is a talented construction person/carpenter and could easily improve the property if the appropriate materials were provided.  No materials are forthcoming, so it is what it is.  Richard doesn’t make complaints for fear of being evicted.

So anyway.  We pulled in the parking spot to the left of the house, and were greeted with the braying of a burro.  I promise.  A real burro, or donkey, as you would have it.  Ah, photo opportunity.

The burro was fenced-in at Richard’s next door neighbors.  They are collectors.  Months ago they had a herd of goats, several chickens, and several dogs and puppies.  Today the goats are gone, and some of the dogs are missing.  They have given us permission to re-home some of the puppies in the past, but they just seem to replace them with new additions.  And now, a burro!

Another local named Rabbit won the burro for $250.  What kind of raffle was that?  The story is that Rabbit wants the collectors to keep the burro for a while.  Rabbit doesn’t have a very good place to keep a burro.  We trapped a bunch of feral cats there a few years ago.  Those animals were starving.  One trap had 3 cats in it – they all went in together for the food.  Now that’s hungry.  The other trap had a female Jack Russell Terrier, Miss Biggity, unspayed of course, but Rabbit doesn’t want her to be spayed.  And it’s not like we could whisk her away and have the surgery done without him knowing it.

Richard said that he has named the burro Ho-tey.  I didn’t take the bait, but waited for him to finish the story.  He said sometimes he calls him Ho-tey Donkey, and sometimes he calls him Donkey Ho-tey. 

Did you get it?  I didn’t at first.   But now I want a donkey.

The view from Richard's porch

Across the way is the Chisolm house, built in the early 1900’s.  Some early movers and shakers of the community built the home, and it stayed in the family until about 15 years ago. 

What does one call a screen door without a screen?

Marsha the Dog enjoys the day

Richard's recording studio

Richard prepares to play an original CD.

Marsha loves original music.

Little Bear settles in for the concert.

Creecher prefers the couch on the back porch.

Heaven likes the porch, too.

Hank hopes for a treat.

Lucille, the ancient pit bull with no teeth, rests her weary bones.

And the snowdrops at the front walk welcome the spring.

A nice day.  And I scored several clumps of snowdrops destined to be moved to make way for the new fence.  Bonus.

Happy Easter, Happy Spring, Happy, Happy Everything!

April 1, 2010

Sylvia welcomes April by taking a bath in the woods.