smoking

Die Fluffy, Die!

attack-squirrel-pictures-bazookaClients that make me pull out my hair. Cleaning supplies that mysterious burn me when they shouldn’t. Spiders the size of my head building great masterpieces in the garage in just a few hours. And it was the fluffy little squirrel that made today’s headline…

The truck at the shop, I’m working from home today and tomorrow. I generally do that from the porch or garage, so that I can chainsmoke while I code and wait for my eyes to bleed. I was enjoying the sound of birds and taste of coffee and coding like a beast this morning when Louie showed up. Louie? Yes, because all enemies deserve to be named and it’s a nice solid name.

Now you should know, Bob hates squirrels. When I say hate, I mean with the passion of a thousand burning suns and he has a strainer, bag of peanuts & bungee cords just waiting for the little bastards. It’s an old hate. It matches an old scar on his hand. On the other hand, I’ve always thought squirrels were cute. They’re bigger and bolder than equally adorable chipmunks. I’ve tossed them food and smiled as I watched them play. I had a whole family running around here last summer that offered more than a couple laughs and some concern regarding the one with the stripped tail.

That love died this morning.

I was coding away, all happy in the garage when I peripherally caught motion by the tree. I turned in time to see Louie, the possessed possibly demonic squirrel charging me. Charging? Yes, charging. Running at a full speed, right at me.

I shooed at him loudly. He kept coming.

I jumped up to scare him. He paused… and then started up again.

I flailed my arms around and hollered and looked like a freaking moron, thinking the entire time “Puff up! Puff up! They hate that!”

He. Kept. Coming.

He finally stopped just inside the garage, about two feet away from me. I looked for something to throw at him, briefly considering both the military ammo can on the picnic table and the skateboard. He crept forward.

“Are you kidding me?!” What happened to animals fearing humans? What happened to loud noises and motion scaring them off?

Louie was having no part of it. I yelled again. And he had the balls, tiny as they may appear, to rear up on his hind legs and put up his dukes.

“Oh no, you di’int!” And I grabbed the closest thing to me, threw it with the aim only an ex slingshot champion can claim, and may have yelled some made-up version of the martial arts battle cry.

Louie ran.

I stood there. Unsure of what had just happened. I was attacked by a squirrel for pete’s sake. A squirrel! I feed them and love them and laugh at them and what do I get? I get Louie the Possessed Nut Lover.

I walked over and picked up the shiny red bundle that I had thrown at the little bastard and promptly dropped to the ground in a fit of laughter. Yes, I was attacked. Yes, he scared the crap out of me.

But I took the evil squirrel out with a rubber-banded pack of Magic Cards. My son’s 1/1 Kithkin… victorious again!

Resolutions

Blah blah, new year’s, blah blah blah… whatever! I don’t want to know what your resolution is. I really don’t. I don’t care. It’s a promise to yourself, it’s for you, it’s not about me.

Of course, I am interested in knowing if you’ve ever succeeded in the past.

Not just new year’s resolutions, but self-promises in general. It doesn’t matter if it’s spoken aloud, uttered to a small circle of friends, or whispered desperately in the dark to nothing but the starlight, you’ve promised yourself something. It may have been, “I swear, if the tests come back negative I’m quitting smoking now!” It may have been, “I will not eat another dessert until I lose one size.” Or it could be something profane, silly or pertinent, “God, if you get me out of this, I’ll never fill-in-the-blank again.”

I have failed. Repeatedly. To quit smoking. I successfully stopped chewing my nails right after high school. I failed horribly at dieting, then succeeded. I’ve hit self-promised deadlines for change. But I’ve also missed them… sometimes I’ve been so far off the mark, the mark stopped talking to me.

blah blah, new year’s, blah blah blah… yeah, this is the last coffee talk of 2009. It’s been a crazy year. A good year. And 2010 will be even more so—crazy and good. There are changes coming. Reinvention. Self-promises. For the last coffee talk of the year, don’t tell me a thing. Just think about it. Think about your resolutions, your self-promises. Made at year-end or on a Tuesday in June for no good reason. You’ve made them but have you succeeded in them? Which ones? Why did you succeed or fail? And are you ready to make another one? Because the worst kind of broken promise is the one you make to yourself.

Happy New Year—see you on the other side…

*fade to black*

Bras, Cops, and Stray Dogs

“I had to put my bra on before the cops came this morning.”  Yes, I promised to explain this, but this was actually near the very end of the story, so let’s back up.

I have a puppy.  He’s adorable, wonderful, cute, sweet, fun… and occasionally for sale.  Said puppy, Maximus Somethingus, does not allow me to make coffee, smoke, or even pee in the morning before I MUST take him outside or pay the consequences.  As such, I’ve gotten in the habit of leaving a pair of shorts on the chair that is pushed against the gate and locks him and his little bladder in the kitchen at night.  I put the shorts on, then move the chair and gate, and immediately open the back door to greet the world with one eye open and no glasses on yet to even help that bloodshot orb.

On this particular morning, Max thought it would be a good time to chase those damn birds… no wait, a bunny!… no, look-a squirrel!!  Have I mentioned that puppy has ADD? Yeah. So off down the alley he goes. Running after him with no shoes, no glasses, and let’s not forget no coffee, I take off—screaming his name the entire time, trying to get his attention. And yes, at this point, I should publicly apologize to anyone and everyone that I woke up at 5am that morning.

Get the puppy, scold the puppy, fall under the spell of puppy’s eyes and decide not to put puppy on a leash up front with a ‘free to good home’ sign and go back in to make coffee.  Some coffee and several smokes later, hubby wakes up.  Does his rumble through the house thing and heads to work.  And there’s my cue.  See, because I had the day off.  So the second he leaves for work, and remember my kids are off camping, I whip out the laptop for some much desired alone time.  A whole day to myself to work.  Joy.

Oh yeah, I have a puppy.

I play with puppy and his squeaky, furry duck in hopes of wearing him out, until I realize that he has far more energy than me and he will win this contest.  It’s a beautiful morning and I decide that he and the adult dog, Moose, can be in the kennel.  So out they go.  The cats are AWOL, as usual. I imagine they were having a powwow upstairs trying to figure out just what step they need to sleep on so I don’t see them and they can take me out in the morning by sending me shooting down the flight of narrow stairs and out through the lead-glass front door.  Ok, so the hubby is gone and the pets are happy.  Now then, laptop.

Cue the phone.

I should have known there was a problem when I saw the caller ID.  Jenny-from-the-block [I have a lot of Jennys in my world, they all have nicknames] never, and by that I mean never, gets up before nine.  We call her princess sleeps-a-lot.  But there she is, on my caller ID.  I answer the phone to incoherent screaming and run to the bathroom to see if her house is on fire—she’s across the alley from me.  Nope, no fire.

“What?”  I shout into the phone just as I realize that the streak that went through the alley was her… in a tank top and her thong.  Apparently, she does not have shorts on a chair by the kitchen for just these occasions.

“That damn, good for nothing, my husband is so going to shoot it, freaking dog is back!”

“Oh.”

See, we have this stray dog.  He’s very nice and very pretty—golden lab I’d say but he’s very tall so I think there’s a mix of something in there.  And he’s been roaming the neighborhood.  He’s been roaming it for weeks.  And if it weren’t for the fact that he craps wherever he wants, shreds our garbage cans every week [thus we’ve dubbed him Oscar] and has gotten into my garage a few times, I would let him be.  But we can’t.  Our husbands are armed and angry and we just can’t have that.

“Rotten bastard shredded my garbage again.  He was just in my yard. I saw him doing it!”

So now I’m looking out the window to see if I can see said stray dog.  And lo and behold, Oscar is pissing on my dogs’ kennel.  Bastard.  Now you’ve gone too far.  You are not allowed to mark my dogs’ territory when they are trapped inside the kennel.  That’s just rude.

“He’s in my yard.”

“I’ll catch him, you call Kali!!”  Kali would be our humane officer.  I have her on speed dial.  Don’t ask.

“I have a tie out on the tree in the back—”  And the phone goes dead.  I still don’t know if she hung up or just threw it to the side to chase the dog.

Of course, Kali picks up on the first ring.  And informs me she’s on vacation.  “Call the sheriff.  They’ll come get him and put him at the kennel until I get back.”  Ok, fine.  But first, I should probably put a bra on before the cops get here. [ta da! There it is.] Quick throw a bra on and grab shoes.  Cell phone in hand, smokes in short’s pocket, I head outside as I dial.

No Jenny by the back tree.

And another streak goes by.  She’s chasing Oscar up and down the alley.  She now has shorts on, and he thinks it’s a game.  If dogs could giggle, let me tell you…

“Dispatch.”

“Yes, we have a stray dog that we need picked up.  I called Kali, she’s off and said to call you guys.”

“And your name?”  Which I answered, as well as my address, social security number, shoe size, gross yearly income and highest level of education completed.

I hear, “Got him” as I cross the alley into Jenny’s yard.

“We’ve captured him for you.  But now we’re across the alley,” and I give her Jenny’s address, shoe size and favorite movie.  “He’s tied to the porch with a—”

What is that?  Jenny doesn’t have a dog, so it’s not a leash.

Jenny looks up at me, all proud of herself and says, “Extension cord, baby.”

“Ok, we’ve got him secured with… with an extension cord.”

At which point Jenny yells into the phone, “It’s not plugged in!”

Dispatch now thinks we’re nuts and promises to send someone over. I can hear what I swear is her flipping through a rolodex, as she’s looking up the number for the men in white coats.

Fifteen minutes later, Mr. Friendly shows up.  He not only believes that Oscar has been roaming for weeks, he tells us that he has had other calls from around here, and that just half an hour beforehand, on his way into work, he saw the dog cross the street and head this way.  He informs us that they’ll house the dog and when he’s claimed, the owner will get a fine for “animal at large.”  Great.  Take him now. Please.  I have an empty house and a laptop and a big scary Lumpy that will beat me come Necon if I can’t look him in the eye and say I’ve finished this novella…

But of course, Jenny was up now.  Long before she should have been.  So there was coffee and smokes and lots of chuckles about her streaking through the alley half naked with an extension cord.  I finally got back to the laptop to have an epiphany about the novella hiccup and deal with two short story rejections.  Stray dog completely forgotten until I shared my morning with someone else, who giggled and said it sounded like an opening for a chick lit book.

I fully expect Oscar to return next Tuesday, just in time for the garbage to be put out again.  I think I’ll remind Jenny to leave shorts on a chair.

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