Posts Tagged ‘Insanity rules’

A Cat, A Trap, and a Saber, Or In Which One Thing Leads to Another

September 6, 2011

I headed home a few days ago after being out and about, and as I turned down my little road, there was a woman walking on the side of the road near the shade tree club.  The club had done a good business that day, what with it being Labor Day, or UnLabor Day, at this particular club.  The woman was carrying a can of beer, unopened, and was strolling about on the side of the road, trying to evade a black cat. 

Now this just looked like a story waiting to be told.  The cat kept following her, and she side-stepped, and stopped, and started, and generally was unsuccessful in eluding the cat who seemed intent on staying with her.  I rolled down the car window, and asked if the cat was hers.  I didn’t recognize it as one that frequents my feral cat feeding station.

She said that the cat was not hers, but had recently started coming to her house and sitting on her very porch, and she fed it.  I asked if I could take the cat to get it fixed, not that it appeared broken, and she said that was fine because the cat was not hers.  I told her I’d go right home and get a trap. Which I did. 

I just happened to have some delicious canned cat food in the car, because after all, it’s hurricane season, so why wouldn’t I have canned cat food, a plastic shower curtain, a car vacuum cleaner, a saber, and a brick in my car.  I baited the trap, and the friendly cat walked right in.  The woman said that there were cats, lots of cats, that lived on the end of the next road over, where some woman who fed cats moved away, and there must be a hundred cats there.  I asked her if I could catch them and get them fixed – would anyone mind?  She said she didn’t think that anyone would care, and we agreed to meet the next evening to drive over to check out the cats.

I got Mr. FussyPants cat relocated to a crate until I could get him to the spay-neuter clinic, and the next evening I headed over to Sondra’s house, for that was the name of the side-stepping lady.  We drove to the end of the next road which opened out into a little enclave of houses, trailers, and double-wides.  Sondra’s niece lived near the end, and the niece said that the cats didn’t belong to her, but to go check over at Mr. Lemuel’s house at the end of the road. 

It was getting dusk, and Sondra said that Mr. Lemuel was close to a hundred years old, and indeed the house had a long ramp leading to the screened-in porch on the front of the double-wide.  I waited on the ramp while Sondra knocked on the front door, and while we waited, I could see someone in a what was probably a bedroom move a curtain to one side to peer out.  I imagined that they would be startled to see a white woman standing on their ramp at dusk. 

An elderly woman with a walker answered the door, and Sondra introduced me, and I explained that I lived nearby on Resurrection, and did she have cats that I could have fixed?  She said that she didn’t know how many cats there were about, and that she didn’t want them returned.  Sondra, by that time, was into the mission, and she told the woman that the cats wouldn’t be able to have any more kittens, and the woman agreed that I could set traps there, have the cats fixed and vaccinated, and then return them.  She seemed happy that someone had come to help.

I had brought my remaining three traps, and I showed Sondra how to bait them, and we placed them under the back porch after watching at least six cats scatter.  The smallest trap seemed to be malfunctioning, but I set it out anyway with the thought that at least a cat could go inside and enjoy the canned food without getting trapped, and Sondra and I headed home.

This morning at early light I drove back to Mr. Lemuel’s house.  I took along a flashlight, and wondered if it would scare the old folks if they looked outside and saw a crazy white woman with a flashlight walking through their backyard to look under their back porch.  I parked in an obvious spot in front of their house, and walked to the back of the house, calling softly for the cats, in case the people in the house could actually hear without hearing aids, and could tell that a harmless crazy was outside their house.

When I got to the back porch, one trap, the little malfunctioning one, was missing.  The two remaining traps both had frightened cats in them.  The biggest trap had a skinny young calico who looked too lightweight to trigger the trip plate, but indeed she had, and the next trap had a handsome fluffy gray tabby.  But where was the remaining trap?

I got down on all fours, wishing that I had brought the camera, and looked under the porch.  The third little trap was full of a large orange tabby who, in his haste to get out of the trap, had jostled and rattled the cage until it wiggled a full five feet under the porch.  I was glad that I was wearing my dirty jeans, and not my clean scrubs because it was looking like I was going to have to crawl under the porch, when I remembered my saber.

In 1977, Mr. X and I were in an antique mall in Cookeville, Tennessee, when he saw a cavalry saber that he just had to have.  It was $25.00.  When he moved out in 2002, he left it behind, and during the course of the separation and divorce never asked for it during the settlement, and it became my property.  I had it evaluated in 2003, and the evaluator thought it was from 1902. 

I had it appraised two weeks ago, and the appraiser said that it’s quite possible that it’s really not from 1902.  It’s possible that it’s from 1872. 

I went back to the car, wondering what the neighbors were going to report about the woman with the saber and flashlight.

The saber, scabbard and all, was the perfect tool for manipulating the trap out from under the porch. 

Three cats, in unison: "What is wrong with white folks?"

Ticked Off, or Not for the Faint of Heart

August 19, 2011

Hundreds of ticks on the tile floor. The bloody-looking substance is, ummm, *blood*.

A fellow stopped by the vet’s office today so that his new hunting dog could get a rabies vaccination so that he could hunt her the next morning.  He had just gotten her that very morning, and apparently didn’t look closely at his purchase.  Also, the vet inoculated her without noticing that she was covered in ticks. 

I was doing paperwork at the desk, while the hunter and the vet chatted about hunting, and one of them commented on the small black specks of dirt on the floor.  The small, black, MOVING specks of dirt.  That popped when you stepped on them like peanut hulls on the floor. 

The vet grabbed a bottle of flea and tick spray, sprayed the floor, and the bloodfest began.  Ticks began to pop and die on the tile floor. 

The hunter made his apologies for bringing the dog into the building, and he began to ruminate about where the dog had been and what she had infested with her tickiness.  “She bin in my truck box, but she ain’t bin with my otha dawgs.  I keepum reel clean on concrete flores.  I’m shore sorry I brung her in.  You ownt me ta sweepum up for ye?” 

We said, no, no, that’s fine, we’ll sweepum up, which was code for “get the dog out of the building”.  I looked at the dog, uncertain as to how two grown men missed the tickfestation, and I saw clusters of seed ticks, like tiny clumps of grapes all over her body, in particular her face and ears. 

I started to scratch MY head, Pavlovian-like, in response to seeing all the ticks.

Thank goodness I had already eaten lunch.


Dogs Just Wanna Have Fun

April 19, 2011

Sugar’s been having a dog problem lately.

It’s springtime, and unsterilized animals are out and about looking for love.  Sugar got home last Tuesday, and found an unneutered pit bull in his fenced yard.  Honestly, how do these things happen to him?  This is the second time a dog has gotten into his yard trying to live there.  Benjamin dug his way under a weak spot on the fence line about 5 years ago and settled in nicely, which is another story.

The latest guy was not one bit interested in leaving.  He seemed oblivious to the other dogs who were frantic in barking at the newcomer.  Fortunately, no one started a fight, and Sugar got all the dogs in the house except Rosie.  Blue wanted to make sweet passionate love to Rosie but she kept eluding him.  I finally got a slip leash around his neck, and we got him out the open gate.  He still wouldn’t leave, but ran up and down the fence line searching for a spot to get in.  Or over – he wasn’t picky about how he got in as long as it happened.  Sugar kept attempting to chase him home, but Blue, for that was his name, was not having it.

Later that evening, Sugar heard someone walking along the back of his property calling, “Blue.  BLUUUUuuue.”  It was a young woman, Blue’s owner, and Sugar gave her a leash to get him home. 

Blue came back the next day.  Sugar called the owner who promised him she was going to put out a tie-line between two trees.  Sugar suggested getting a neuter in addition, but the girl’s boyfriend didn’t want a neuter, neither for himself or the dog.  Sugar and I talked about what to do with the dog, and it seemed like the dog was going to end up at the shelter or the hospital or the graveyard from running wild, following along behind his hormones.  I thought that the dog needed to go to the shelter for quarantine in order to make an official statement, and if the owners wanted to reclaim him, they would reclaim a vaccinated, *neutered* dog.  That’s the way the game plays around here with animal control.

The next day Sugar heard the boyfriend because, after all, Blue was back and the owners were out calling for him. 

The next day, the girl said that she was going to take him to live with her sister.

By last Sunday, the dog ran when he saw Sugar, although Sugar had stopped yelling at the dog to go home, and the owners had stopped returning Sugar’s telephone messages to get the dog. 

This morning, Sugar called with a report that Blue had spent the night outside his house, leaning against the fence and howling.   Blue would sleep for a bit, then wake up and howl a lonesome, mournful howl.

Today, when Sugar came home from work, Blue was IN his house.  Not in Blue’s house, but Blue was in Sugar’s house.  He had gotten under, through, or over the 5′ chain link fence and was mingling with his new friends.  Sugar leaves a door open in nice weather for the dogs to come and go, and Blue had made himself quite comfortable. 

I took a break from work, headed to Sugar’s house, and we managed to trap Mr. Blueballs, and transport him to the shelter.  But before we trapped him, I took this picture of a happy dog enjoying the day. 

The black dog in front of Blue is Pup Pup. The dog on the left nearest the gate is Honey, and the brown brindle is hotstuff Rosie.

Sugar talked to the girl this evening when she was out calling the dog, and before he had a chance to tell her what we had done, she said the dog was so much trouble, and she didn’t have anyone to help her, and she was just going to take him to the shelter…

Well, Now, That Makes Sense

March 22, 2011

Back in the day, I searched out genealogy records using the library, books, microfilm, and microfiche. I made copious copies of things even remotely related. For instance, on my father’s side, some Wilkins person married some Rawls person.

Last night, while looking for some stuff relating to Miss Willie, I found the following copy…

Monday June 1st 1844

It appearing to the satisfaction of the court from the examination of testimony and an inspection of the person that John W. Wilkins at this time a citizen of Henry County is insane pauper and that he has no Estate to support himself but that he is entirely destitute of any means of support and without any family or commission within the knowledge of this court.  It is ordered by the court that these facts be certified and that the sheriff of Henry County deliver the said John W. Wilkins to the keeper of the Lunatic Hospital at Nashville forthwith.


I can say that I am not descended from this person.  But honestly?  I had always thought the insanity came from my mother’s side.


What Was Lost Is Found, and What Was Found Is Lost

February 23, 2011

This morning I headed out to work, after doing a bit of satisfactory blogging.  The day promised to be a pretty one, and the redbud trees bloomed out on either side of the two-lane highway heading into my little town. 

I passed by Sugar’s house on the way, like I always do, and a bit further along, closer to town, I saw the shape of a large dog lying half-on, half-off the road, on a little bridge that goes over a swampy area.  It was unsettling to see that she was deceased, and also that she looked like one of Sugar’s dogs, Rosie. 

Rosie is a brown brindle that just came running up Sugar’s driveway a few years ago.  We didn’t know she was a brindle because she had no hair, a condition caused by one of the most excessive cases of demodectic mange that I had ever seen.  I had stopped in to see him, and was standing in his driveway talking to him when his dogs starting making a fuss at the fence.  This pathetic dog was running up the driveway to the fence to say hello.  He took her in, had her treated, and she became very comfortable at the Little Big House.

But this morning, things were not looking so good for Rosie.  I went on to work, explained the situation to my employer, and headed back to Sugar’s house to see if by some stroke of luck Rosie was there.  I drove to his house by an alternate route so I didn’t have to drive by the dog’s body again, and pulled into his long, shaded driveway and drove up to the gate.  All the dogs came out to say hello, all except Rosie.  I counted the dogs, looked them all in the face, and still came up one short. 

I set the trip odometer so that I could see how far Rosie had traveled when she was hit.  By the time I got back to the dog’s body, I had gone more than a mile.  What had made her travel so far from home?  Why had she dug out from under the fence?  I pulled over to the side on the road, still on the bridge, and put on my flashers.  I had some blankets in the back of the car, and I used one for a sling.  It was Rosie, alright, but I didn’t remember that she had a streak of white on her chest.  In any case, she died quickly.

I took her body back to work and prepared it to be picked up for cremation.  Then I announced that I had to go back to Sugar’s house and walk the fenceline to see where she had dug out and block it up so that no one else could get out.  Sugar was at work, and I didn’t dare call him.  While I was driving, I was rehearsing what to say, when to call, and how to break it to him that Rosie had gotten out somehow, and had gotten killed, and that I had taken her body back to the vet’s office where it would await pick-up for cremation. 

I pulled into his driveway again and drove up to the gate, and looked at all his dogs frolicking about in the springtime sunshine, and I counted heads again and looked at their faces.  No Rosie.  I walked the fenceline and saw absolutely no spot where she could have gotten out.  I headed back to the car and stopped to say good-bye to the dogs, who seemed inordinately happy in the face of tragedy, and said, “Good-bye guys.  I’ll see you later.  Good-bye… Rosie??!!”

For there at the gate with the other dogs was Rosie, stretching, and yawning, and blinking her sleepy eyes.  She had been asleep in the house the whole time.

My Left Arm

January 26, 2011

This month is my anniversary.

Congratulations, you say!  But anniversary of what? 

Ten years ago, I came home from work, and Mr. X announced that we would need to move.  His sales were drying up and it was time to make a move to a better opportunity. 

He contacted a realtor and put the house on the market.

A few days later, I came home from work, and Mr. X was packing up books from the living room bookshelves.  He had the family Bible, and he said that we should throw it away because we weren’t using it.  I was clearly horrified at the thought of throwing away a Bible, and this was our special family Bible that my mother had given us, and it had family genealogy recorded inside.  I dismissed his comment as a deepening spiral in his apparent mental illness.

We sold the house, we moved hours away, knowing few people there, leaving our home that our children were born into, and started over.

Almost exactly one year later, he announced that he would be leaving, and packed his things and left in 45 minutes.

Today I record for you how Mr. X was like my left arm.


How Mr. X was like my left arm, and indeed I am right-handed:

  • Sometimes it helped out, although it performed clumsily. 
  • Mostly it just hung around waiting on someone else to get the job done.
  • Wanted to be thought of as essential when in actuality its main purpose was to hang around and act important.
  • It’s been around for so long, it seemed like part of me.
  • I could get another one.

How your husband leaving is like someone cutting off your left arm:

  • It hurts.
  • You miss it, if for no other reason than it was a part of you that was yanked from your body.
  • It really didn’t do that much anyway.
  • You look around, the damn thing’s gone, and you go ahead and figure it out by yourself and probably do it better, smarter, faster than before.
  • There’s going to be a big mess to clean up.
  • You can get another one.

The Best Call Last Week

December 28, 2010

Every day we get crazy calls at the vet’s office.  Sometimes I have to put the person on hold (Could you hold just a moment please?) so that I can catch my breath (I need to put you on hold so I can roll my eyes and curse a little.).  Sometimes I just pause, let the message sink in, inhale, and reply.

Caller:  “Oh, hello, thank you for being there today!  I know it’s right before Christmas, but my cats really have a problem.  They’re very lethargic.  I think they’ve been poisoned.”

Me:  “That doesn’t sound good.  They need to be seen immediately.  The doctor is on his way back from lunch.  By the time you get here, he will be able to see you.”

Caller:  “Oh, I can’t come now.  I have two men here who are installing my new countertop.”

Me:  Silence.

Me:  “Can you hold please?”

A Chilling Experience

December 18, 2010

I’ve been hanging out a lot with my friend, the hot Canadian. The weather here has been pretty cold, and the past week has been nippy at night. 

Last Tuesday, on December 14, 2010, to be exact, a chilling thing happened.  I was lying on the couch, gazing at the Canadian’s face, and he.stopped.putting.out.  Just like that.  It was about 9:30 PM, and the weather forecast was a low of 18 degrees.  I waited for him to come back on, and waited some more.  Then I realized that my Canadian was not coming back, with the same certainty that when your husband says, “I’m leaving now.  Good-bye.”, he is really leaving and you’d best move forward.  I headed for the bed, buried myself under an electric blanket, and waited it out until morning.  I convinced myself that I come from hardy pioneer stock, and a little cold wouldn’t hurt me.

I woke up around 6 AM.  I knew this was the time because I heard that big truck going by, the one that always goes by at 6 AM, and I knew the time not because I got out from under the covers and looked at the clock in the kitchen in the frozen tundra that was now my RV.   When I stuck my hand out from under the covers, the cold bit my hand and made me withdraw.  I made a plan to reach out from under the covers, really fast, and grab the hair dryer hanging in the bathroom, plug it in, dive back under the covers, and wave the dryer around, both under and out of the covers.  That helped, enough so that I could get dressed and head to the Family Dollar to buy a heater. 

The Family Dollar had no heaters, so I headed to the nearest Wal-Mart, about 20 miles away.  They had heaters out the wazoo, and I bought two tower types with oscillation.  As soon as I got back to the RV, I plugged one of the heaters in, and the temperature display started to register, and I watched with horror as the temperature inside the RV showed 60, slid its way down to 50, then 40!

Later that evening, I was talking on the phone to Sugar, and he asked if I was staying warm, and was the Canadian working okay?  I told him what happened to my guy the Canadian, and Sugar told me that he had a Christmas present for me, direct from Canada, in the form of one hot Canadian, bought as a back-up for Canadian #1. 

If anyone needs to borrow a heater, just call me.

This Post Lacks a Good Title

December 9, 2010

I work at a vet clinic on the west side of a street that travels north/south.  The street is only a block off the main thoroughfare, which is a simple four-lane highway that also travels north/south.  It’s easy to see things outside here at the veterinarian’s office.  There are four enormous plate glass windows in the office/reception area.  So, all the while sitting at my work station, I have a large view of the outside.  A lot of folks use our street as a short cut, both by car or on foot.  We’re a bit isolated.  There’s woods across the street and to one side of the clinic.  The other side of the clinic has an earth-moving business next to it, but that business is almost defunct, and weeds and kudzu vines cover most of that lot.  There’s one other business that’s within view, and it’s a cabinet/woodworking business that’s across the street from the earth-moving business.  Often there’s no one at that shop, which is located in an old dairy building with no windows.  The back of the clinic is the railroad track, and trains speed thr0ugh every few hours, shaking our building.  If you travel south along our street past the wooded section, you’ll come to a storage unit business, a liquor store and beverage shop, a doctor’s office, and a Family Dollar, then the street makes a sharp left-hand turn and intersects with the main street.  From my work station, I can see people traveling along, everyone with a purpose. 

Yesterday a client pulled into the parking space right outside the two plate glass windows that flank my work station.  When he entered the office, he asked what was wrong with the man lying in the street.  We all looked at him, puzzled, like he had just announced that a meteor had landed outside.  Surely that was not possible.  A man?  Lying in the street?  The temperature the night before had dropped to twenty-one degrees, and it didn’t feel much warmer, even at 10 AM. 

He insisted that it was true, and said that there was another man with him.  See?  Right there, he insisted.  We looked out, and, sure enough, there were two men across the street, along the side in the shady part where the woods shaded the pavement.  One man dressed in brown lay along the roadway, and the other, a tall man, was walking away from him, headed north.  I grabbed my coat and headed outside and called out to the walking man to see if the other man needed help. 

He seemed startled that I spoke, and said, “Oh, no, he fine, he just fine.”  And he hustled back toward the other man, still lying on the ground, and he called out to him, “Michael!  Get up!  You got to get up, man!”  The man on the ground did not move, and the other man tried to help him stand, but it was no use.  The brown man just wet-noodled back down to the ground. 

I went back inside and tried to figure out what to do.  If I called the police, they’d haul him off.  He appeared drunk, but what if he was sick?  And if he was drunk, how did he get drunk so early?  The liquor store had only opened one hour earlier, and that store was as far away as the length of a football field.  How did he get drunk and collapse on the side of the road?  The tall man was trying to cover up for something. 

There are local derelict-type people in this town who make a profession of drinking.  They are very serious and dedicated to their craft, and you could set the clock by them as they headed south to be at the liquor store when it opened at nine.  I decided to call my friend Dot, who owns the liquor store and feeds a feral cat colony there.  I explained to Dot what was happening, and she said that the man had rheumatoid arthritis and that the cold weather “just kills him”, and that she did not know why his friends insisted on bringing him to town.  She said that she would come get him.

I suppose she did pick him up.  I suppose she took him back to her store.  Is it just a matter of time before he gets back onto the street and gets run over?


September 6, 2010

Remember this product? Remember that the marketing forces stated that it’s not aerosol? Inquiring minds want to know.
We went to another Kroger, this time in Savannah. Sure enough, on the back of the can we find that the can is recyclable and that the product contains no CFCs. Still didn’t buy it.

(Edited on 9/6/10:  On this day, we went back to the original Kroger.  There were 5 cans on the shelf.  Four of the cans had an expiration date of 9/6/10.  Do you suppose they’ll recycle those cans?  Throw them out?  Give them to lucky employees?)