Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I kinda hate meetings.

I can pretty well be friends with anybody, unless you're a planning-meeting, and then I hate you and we will never be friends.

I don't know what it is about meetings and maybe it has to do with whether I'm left-brained or right-brained. You know those tests you can take to figure out if you're in your right mind? Well, I'm not, but I'm not in my left mind, either. I'm a big squiggly blob right down the middle of my brain in the frontal lobe that hates planning-meetings with the fire of a thousand suns.

If you do a google-image search on right brain left brain you get all sorts of returns that are kind of similar to this:
very informative but also kind of confusing. can I just be the side that's brightly colored INSIDE the lines?
Yet, EVERY TIME I see one of those charts I am endlessly thankful that having equal traits on both sides is a relatively easy problem. It's a lot easier to cope with than, say, the problem of being named North West.

So, really, left-side/right-side mumbo jumbo doesn't do a lot for me. And neither do planning-meetings. In fact, a planning-meeting is essentially a demonic floor-puddle from the pit of hell itself in which I am forced to step sock-footed. Have I ever written about my peeves? Stepping in a puddle while wearing socks is top of the list.

The difference between a planning-meeting and an informational-meeting can't be understated. A planning-meeting, especially a poorly-conducted one, usually serves no purpose other than to run late and have everybody sit around fluidly thinking out loud. Informational-meetings, on the other hand, are just about a teaspoon more tolerable and I can get through them without feeling rugburned on all sides, as long as they only last about 20 minutes. I don't mind an informational-meeting every now and again as long as it has a worthy reason and serves an obvious purpose, but in order to qualify as something I willingly choose to spend my time on, the following criteria must be met:

1) It must be short.
2) It must be to the point.
3) It must have a goal, fulfill a purpose, be productive, AND efficient all in one.
4) There must be snacks.
5) You must either provide childcare I approve of, or be coloring-book-and-lots-of-interruptions-and-potty-breaks friendly.
6) See number 4. Preferably cookies. And a big drink from Sonic.
7) Why are we having this meeting again?

One of my friends gave me this magnet for our fridge. I look at it daily to remind myself how much I dislike meetings just in case I ever forget and accidentally find myself in one.

the picture of the duck is just a bonus.

My best form of planning is to either think it all through myself or talk it all through at a non-meeting [that is, we just happen to be together with no agenda in mind] with up to eight thousand people until they start to annoy me, and then I need to get back to thinking it through myself. When I 'talk it through,' I really mean have a wild conversation where ideas overlap, people have to shout to be heard, and usually somebody is laying in a pool of their own blood by the time it's over. That's basically a normal conversation any day of the week with my Gigantic Family, or anytime we discuss Christmas plans, and unfortunately Hyperbole is usually right in the thick of it. I say 'unfortunately' because this is one area where she inevitably starts to annoy me right away. I am having my own private, unofficial planning-meeting tomorrow night with Hyperbole and her short-little friend, Steampunk. There's no way around it, really. Hyperbole texted me and asked if they could come over and I had a slight panic attack before replying. I mean, I guess so. If there are no other options laying around. Can't I pick being slowly being eaten alive by vultures? Or being poked in the eye with a hot stick?

My survival tomorrow night is determined by the fact I already have my coping strategy lined out. It goes like this:

1) The meeting is at my house.
2) I will have cookies.
3) Hyperbole will bring me a big drink from Sonic.
4) I can tell her to leave when I just can't take it anymore.

As a last resort, if she won't leave when it's time for her to go, I will either go over and spontaneously puke in her lap or claw her eyeballs out and throw them at her. Win-win. She wants to leave, I want her to leave, I still have part of a drink from Sonic to work through, and I can still finish off the planning-meeting by myself in the big squiggly blob right down the middle of my brain. Boom.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

playing cat and mouse

We got a cat.

I have liked, for lack of a more accurate term, approximately two cats in my lifetime. They're both dead now, and I did actually feel a little sad at their individual passings, so I leave that fact in your hands to prove that hell can in fact freeze over, pigs can indeed fly (unless they are mucking around in a river and incapable of much else), and hope might actually float if the boat is watertight and it is a seaworthy craft.

I don't like cats. I'm a dog person, but our last dog died too, and I'm the sort that takes a good 30 years or so to grieve before I'm ready to bring another dog into my life. And I'm only 29, so obviously I'm not ready for another dog just yet.

Freckles' first pet was a fish named Judith. Judith was a nice little fish that was an orangey-pink cichlid and in fact, the sickliest cichlid I've ever seen because she up and floated to the top of the tank within about 2 weeks. Just a tip, here? If you're ever someone's birthday pet, especially a 4-year-old little girl's, don't go and die within 2 weeks. Not the best idea, really. Still, the funeral was nice.

The girls happened to be playing dress up when Judith the fish was buried, and Scout, who was 2, kept repeating solemnly: "Beesh. Die. Beesh. Die." You can't really see Judith in this picture, but Freckles is digging a hole while Lumberjack has the Beesh on a plate.

Our backyard is home to a happy little family of wild bunnies, and frankly, I don't need any more pets than their magical presence provides. They are loved from afar, and that is good enough for me. We're ant-farm people. We're goldfish people. We're backyard-bunny people. We're not cat people.

But we get this boy-cat who Scout immediately names Rosie, abandoning his previous (though hardly more masculine) name of Snowball. We got Rosie not as a pet, as the children believe, but primarily with the utilitarian function in mind of mouse catcher. It was also a mercy move, as Snowball previously lived with Whirligig's mother and she needed to decrease their 2-cat household by one, and somehow do this without breaking Whirligig's heart. So Snowball came here, changed his identity, and I expect as long as I never have to talk to him we will all be quite the happy family. He looks mean as hell.

When you live in a 100 year old farmhouse, it's pretty hard to dissuade the critters who also live here that it's really not their home anymore. It's been in the family for decades. Their family, that is, and they intend to stay. Things live in the walls here. One day Freckles said, "Go get Daddy. There's a bear in the wall." I suggested to her that it might be a squirrel, but she said, "No, Mama. Squirrels don't have claws." Now: I know that Freckles knows that squirrels do, in fact, have claws. I simply know that what she really meant was Squirrels don't have claws like that, and, frankly, I was inclined to agree with her.

But this story is about mice, not about squirrels, or bears, or other demons in the walls. In our first few months of living here, we caught and killed countless mice. One night, Lumberjack was at work and there were 2 mice landed in one trap and I simply could.not.bear. to move them outside. So I called up Hyperbole, because I stop at nothing in my rights as an older sister, and had her complete the task of bludgeoning the mice to death with a curtain rod while I sat atop the kitchen island garnishing the situation with plenty of dramatic squeals.

Before you accuse me of having no business even living in the country if this is how I deal with mice, I would have you know that among the creatures to get in our house there was also once a SNAKE, in our very living room, and I picked it up with my very hands and moved it outside. No gloves, no heart palpitations, no trembling. Snakes are okay. Mice are not.

In recent months, we have found two entire mice (on separate occasions) drowned in the toilet. How they came to be there, I know not, but I suspect foul play, or a love triangle gone sour.

Furthermore: one cold night back in January, again when Lumberjack was at work, I had the misfortune to realize a mouse was caught in a trap near my bed. My plan of attack was to first throw a towel over the tunnel-trap to keep the mouse from moving it further than the 12 inches it already had. Then I bravely took an ammo box and lobbed it at the towel pile. I felt very satisfied and courageous until I heard the mouse squeak, at which point my only recourse was to balance myself atop the ammo box and jump up and down several times. This actually happened, by the way, and if we used snap-traps like my sister in law Ranger J prescribes I wouldn't have much of a story to tell. When at last I crawled back into bed and covered myself with my children as a shield, I continued to hear more mouse-chirps and that sent me over the edge.

Near hysterics at this point, I called up my older brother, begging him to come over and dispose of it. I simply was not going to sleep in any room with a half-dead, mostly-crushed, paralyzed mouse who might still attack me. So, said brother came over, considerably disgruntled in spirit, and found I'd managed to fully contain the mouse inside the glue trap before said bludgeoning occurred, which also happened to be effectively flattening, then took it outside where he peeled it apart and found that there were actually TWO MICE together in there. And then he formally killed them. Lumberjack, by way of text, wanted to know how long they suffered before actually dying. [He is extremely considerate and humane in his disposal of any animal, even if it is unwanted.]

And now that I've brought up Lumberjack's merciful spirit toward suffering animals, it leads me to show you Exhibit A:

That, my dear ones, is a mouse Lumberjack rescued from drowning and set it up with a veritable feast of cheese bits and strawberry caps. This incident remained unknown to me until I was flipping through pictures on our camera and came upon these. I demanded to know when he planned on telling me about this event. 
He said after rescuing it from a barrel of water it looked so roughed up that he just couldn't bear to kill it off because - 

"There's such a thing as kicking something when it's down, honey, and can't you just see how pitiful and soggy this poor mouse looked? After I fed him I set him loose in the wood pile, and gave him very clear instructions about not ever, ever coming inside."

And in return I mustered up, "Oh. What a sweet, sweet thought you had there and I'm sure you think it's very cute. Did you also include in your very specific instructions to not ever make little mouse babies, considering of course we have every reason to believe this mouse is going to listen to you in the first place?"

"No. I forgot to tell it not to have children."

Let it be known, friends, when you have a sister who has sworn off mouse killing with a curtain rod, and a brother who has sworn off coming to your aid at 11:15 in the evening, and a husband who FEEDS THE ENEMY, there's little else to be done but to get a cat. 

Our Rosie better catch some mice or I will like him even less.

Monday, June 17, 2013

pig in the front yard

 This is me and my dad. He is very wise. He once defined Bohemian as a person who might steal their neighbor's pig, roast it in the front yard, and then invite the neighbor to the BBQ.

I think that's very brilliant, really. So, naturally, anytime I'm invited to a BBQ my first thought, if the hosts seem like that sort of people, is if food I'm about to consume is stolen property. Naturally.

Also, pigs in the front yard have nothing really to do with pigs in the river but I can tell you that my blog name does also have to do with a neighbor's pig that started off in someone else's yard and later wasn't there anymore. Isn't that a marvelous coincidence, that I'm talking about pigs being all over someone else's property in two separate stories! I'm not sure I'll ever really tell the whole story. Generally I believe that it is better to over-tell a story than to under-tell it, but some mysteries are best left to the imagination. I will let you in on a little secret. The pig in the river didn't turn out to be someone's front yard barbeque. 

I don't really know how to finish this blog post. I realize it's kind of a bunch of random words strung together. Always hard to finish that kind of story. So here's a picture of me in Yellowstone in 2009 pretending to eat a bison turd I found. BISON TURDS ARE EVERYWHERE IN YELLOWSTONE, so it's not too remarkable I found one and picked it up.