grrgoyl: (jayne calm)
Ahhh, July Fourth...the holiday when everyone in America but me (and [ profile] swankyfunk) get the day off to celebrate the birth of our country, and when the stupider Americans lose various digits after buying illegal explosives that shouldn't by right be sold to anyone but professional event coordinators.

Normally Independence Day is only a source of moderate irritation to me. But that was when I didn't have to work the kennels. This year the Fourth fell squarely onto my shift. Imagine taking care of 16 dogs. Now imagine doing it in Baghdad.

I could see a few public displays far off in the distance. These were not the problem. The problem was at least two neighbors behind the hospital setting off large (and quite illegal) shows of their own, only a few blocks away, not to mention still more across the street at the Taco Junior. I watched a few rockets with trepidation, as they seemed likely to land right on top of me.

Some dogs were completely unfazed by the noise, like this monster of a Bassett hound, Waylon Elvis.


Others didn't play it so cool, like Sharkey, a standard Schnauzer who attempted to climb on top of my head in terror. Or Sissy the chihuahua, who needed desperately to pee but had to do so while running back down the stairs. Poor things.

As much as I pride myself on having mastered the attitude of calm assertiveness preached by Cesar "Dog Whisperer" Milan necessary to be a pack leader (actually had it even before we started watching him), that only takes you so far when you're essentially a complete stranger to the dog, unfortunately.

I hustled through everybody as fast as I could, promising to make it up to them in the morning. Back inside, I followed Tery's advice and set up a radio in the ward to play soothing music for the dogs, although it took the better part of a quarter hour for us all to agree on a station. Finally I found the auditory equivalent of Xanax (lite jazz) and went about my work.

There seemed to be an abnormally high amount of emergency traffic whizzing by all night. As each one passed, I made a silent prayer that it represented another idiot mutilated beyond recognition. The air inside the hospital had the metallic stink of gunpowder even with all the windows shut.

By about 11 p.m. it seemed to be mostly over. I poked my head in the ward and actually heard some dogs gently snoring over the sound of the radio. Well, that wasn't TOO bad, I thought.

In the morning I got a bit of a headstart, looking forward to giving the dogs some extra quality outdoor time after our hectic evening schedule. My plan was working well until about 4 a.m., when, to my complete incredulity, the people behind us decided it was the perfect time to set off some residual mortars they had left over. Setting off personal fireworks at dusk on the Fourth of July is annoying, but at least in the celebratory spirit of things. Doing it at 4 in the morning is just you being a douchebag.

"God DAMMIT!!" I screamed at them, but they either didn't hear or didn't care. So, whereas I tried not to rush the dogs through as I had done previously, they still had to perform under a certain amount of duress. Why can't I work at a cat hospital?

But there was good to all this: A) At least I was making time and a half holiday pay. B) At least Honus, the beagle who makes my life hell even without a good reason and who had been boarding just the weekend before, had gone home. And C) I had my favorite dog, the dog I would steal if I thought Tery wouldn't notice, Baby Face the greyhound, who chatters her teeth when she sees me, stretches like a cat and just wants me to wrap my arms around her in a big hug. I love her so.

This is her idea of posing

I also had this pair, Megan and Morgan:

Cerberus sans a head

They're Rottweiler/German shepherd mixes (how many different guard dogs can we squeeze into one body?) and obviously twins. The only difference between them is 3 pounds and the color of their collars, with no indication anywhere of which is which. Smart, huh? They snarled and barked quite savagely at me the first weekend they arrived, but now we're best of friends.


Our neighbors are still annoying, surprise surprise. Reggie has all but vanished since our little run-in, but occasionally we'll see Clarence, his father? older brother?...I don't know, but he's far less pleasant than Reggie and uses the balcony for EVERYTHING. He'll come home at midnight, get on the phone and carry on a conversation, you guessed it, out on the balcony. Tery told me he had a knock-down screaming fight with his girlfriend (?), on the balcony. It's like the 1000+ square feet of condo he's got behind the balcony simply doesn't provide the living space needed (despite being devoid of furniture). Thank god they're only renting -- if they owned, I wouldn't put it past them to stick the toilet out on the balcony just so he could feel a breeze up his ass when he takes a dump. Am I hostile? Sure. But some things are better not done in full view of all your neighbors, no matter how nice the air feels.

THIS JUST IN: Apparently they feel their balcony also makes an ideal staging ground for Roman candles. They set off two of them FROM THEIR BALCONY before Tery threatened to call the cops and they stopped. The city of Aurora won't even permit full-size barbecue grills on balconies, why on earth do they think it's okay to set off fireworks?? The HOA has been notified, I'm sure there will be a nice little fine in it for them. Neighborhood police, springing into action!

Then there's Tracey, our beloved FCW. We're still trying to give her the benefit of the doubt, even in the face of increasingly odd activity. Like the night Tery noticed she had filled the stairwell landings with computer monitors, so many Tery wouldn't have been able to leave if she needed to. Clunky old CRT monitors that she got from god knows where, to do god knows what with. Then Tery said 15 minutes later they had all been whisked inside her unit. Strange. Possibly suspicious.

She also has attached a little trailer to her Chevy sedan for transporting who knows what. Which wouldn't really bother me except when she isn't using it, she has it propped up between the curb and her car. Which also wouldn't bother me except that when she goes out she leaves it there so no one else can use that spot (our complex doesn't have assigned parking, which I thought was a good thing until now). And of course it isn't a spot out along the periphery of the lot where no one else ever parks, but a real primo spot practically in front of the mailbox. I guess she just isn't happy unless she's pushing legal boundaries somehow, though granted I prefer this parking infraction over the meth lab.

Tery tells me she noticed a towing company's ticket on her windshield, and although it apparently didn't do much in the way of immediately rectifying the problem, I feel better knowing someone else is stepping up to the plate. It's exhausting being the only stool pigeons in the complex.


Now, to finish on a happy note, I give you the boys:

grrgoyl: (ferrets attack)
Bah, more neighbor woes.

Reggie (of the murderous dog and the fresh beats) loves to entertain in this hot summer weather. Sunday his guests were out on the balcony for a good five hours or so, growing increasingly drunk and loud by the minute. I didn't have to put up with it as long as Tery (her own fault for refusing to attend Pridefest), so by the time I came home she was already well fed up. The guests in question seemed to be exclusively female, young, and with a marked volume control impairment.

We listened to them chatting and laughing so loudly that we couldn't hear our own TV. We tried making fun of them, mimicking their screeching outbursts, but, as is the case with the totally inebriated, they remained completely oblivious.

I tried consoling Tery that it could be so much worse, that they could be blasting music on top of the screaming, but she would have none of it. My little Tery, who wouldn't speak up if she were being murdered, had reached her limit.

So I attempted diplomacy. I went outside and very politely asked them to please keep it down, as the level was becoming quite disruptive (important to note is that Reggie was inside for this). They appeared to comply, but ten minutes later, as in the case of the totally inebriated, my civil, reasonable request was forgotten and they were screaming again. I stormed back out to retrieve Kitten Mitten, growled in frustration "Fucking PEOPLE," whereupon Reggie suddenly appeared outside, acting befuddled that there was a problem. I slammed our sliding glass door, but it seems my admittedly childish performance did the trick and the party was over.

Tery wanted a letter written to the HOA stat, not just for the noise but because earlier in the party one of the guests was freaking out about something and screaming long strings of profanities at the top of her lungs that could be heard by anyone with an open window -- another infraction of HOA rules. I was not so eager to start another mini-war like we had with Tracey, so again pointed out the lack of music and the relatively early timing of the incident (9:30 pm. If it were after 10, yes, they would be in clear violation).

The next day as I came up the walk, Reggie was kneeling on the ground playing with a little boy (presumably his son?) I approached him and attempted to explain how I had first asked politely to keep the noise down, a crucial fact I was certain he was completely unaware of. His answer was "I'm with the little one right now. We'll talk later." I see. When he has a little one we should all be responsible adults. I'm assuming therefore the little one wasn't around last night when his guest was cursing like a sailor about god knows what.

A few minutes later he came to my door. We had a long talk. Some key points:

While I agreed that he should certainly be allowed to entertain guests, I felt the noise level had gotten a bit excessive. He disagreed, couldn't believe they were louder than our TV. Furthermore, if it were truly that bothersome, we could have just closed our windows. "Your peace is found in your home" he pointed out. Oh, that's beautiful, brother. But it's a bit hard to find peace while sitting in a puddle of sweat in 100-degree heat while the rule-breakers are outside enjoying the evening breezes. He did agree that he didn't realize how hot it truly it is on the third floor (standing and talking for ten minutes with me set him straight on that account nicely), so hopefully that will make him a bit more sympathetic to why we don't just close our windows, never mind the inherent injustice in the proposal.

Argument #2: He works very hard and has a right to relax how he sees fit. Apparently he thought Tery and I were trust fund kids who hadn't yet earned our right to not be disturbed by his relaxation. He was quite astonished to learn that I work two jobs, and that just because I work from home doesn't automatically mean I own my own business. Yes, feel free to make assumptions about my life. You know NOTHING about me.

He asked why I complained about his dog when Tracey's continue to sit on her balcony and bark at anything that moves all day. Again, feel free to assume that this neighborhood's history began when you showed up. I told him about the meth lab (not the best selling point if he's looking for somewhere nice to raise his kid, for the first time possibly working in our favor) and that we go back a long way with her. And be fair, we complained before we realized the dog wasn't staying permanently.

He asked halfway through the conversation if we were planning to sell soon. I couldn't figure out the reason for the question unless he was trying to determine a.) whether we owned or rented, and b.) if there was any chance of us leaving so he could do whatever he wanted without anyone complaining (the only other neighbor that might have backed us up was the Alcoholic, who would have lived above him. Now there is a pair of very nice people renting there who probably aren't eager to make waves before they finish unpacking). Sorry to disappoint: Yes, we own, and furthermore it would take us a lot longer than 20 minutes to move out if we were leaving. We'll be around for a long time after you move out, Mr. Can-Only-Afford-Lawn-Furniture-And-All-The-Forties-You-Can-Drink-Every-Night.

He promised to try to be more considerate from then on, pointed out that the people below him have a brand new baby so they'll be even quieter, so we'll see. I felt the matter had been dealt with, however, Tery saw it as "Mr. Man" coming into our neighborhood and talking me out of righteous outrage. I disagreed, but then my brain, which is so much more comfortable with anger than compromise, wouldn't let go of his "I work hard so my method of relaxation takes precedence over yours" attitude. I composed an objective letter to the HOA (okay, I couldn't resist a wee bit of sarcasm re: us not working hard enough to earn peace and quiet) just for documentation sake. So if there are any future problems we're covered.

I wish to god our other neighbors would speak up, but the elderly woman downstairs is in a rest home never to return, our neighbor below us literally wouldn't say shit if he had a mouthful (though we can easily imagine being interviewed by the 10 o'clock news after his surprise killing spree), then there's Tracey who's only home at 2 am and probably not exactly waiting for the chance to jump to our aid, and a bunch of renters who probably aren't even aware there are actual rules about disturbing noise levels. Making us once again the neighborhood police.


Speaking of neighbors, a different one asked me to house-sit for her while she took a weekend trip to Oregon. She had seen me walking with Francesca Sofia outside and figured I like cats. She seemed like a nice, normal woman so I agreed.

Serves me right for making assumptions. She has five cats, a rabbit, and not nearly enough cleaning products. Plus she wanted me to feed the squirrels and birds outside, which I think understandably has taken bottom priority in my list of chores. Five cats and one litter box -- and it's not even a proper litter box but rather one of those large tubs you store sweaters in. And it's the scented kind of litter, which I think smells worse than the actual waste. "Nasty, nasty, nasty" is all that goes through my head as I scoop it into the large litter bucket she stores it in until it's full. The cats seem generally happy with this arrangement, except for one who will only pee on a paper towel in front of it. N, N, N.

Five cats and they'll only drink out of a tiny saucer placed in the middle of the bathtub, which needless to say is bone dry every time I go over there. Those cats have her trained really well. Five cats, three of which are long-haired, so every day there are fresh piles of vomit everywhere on the floor. Nasty, nasty, nasty.

Plus she's the "daughter my mother never had," as Tery put it. She lives alone, so she hoards crap; she insisted she was selling it all on eBay, but I mean literally you couldn't walk through the place when I visited. Before she left she at least cleared a path for me. Triple nasty.

My payment for all this was supposed to be a gargoyle she had seen at the "Merchandise Mart," whatever that is (sounds like a flea market). She indicated a fairly large size, but then on Sunday she called to see if I minded her staying until the end of the week, an extra three days. So I'm hoping for maybe two gargoyles for my trouble. Tery is supposed to get a bottle of wine out of it for helping me.


Finally, Gideon the ferret had to be put to sleep. After a year of battling adrenal cancer, he finally wasn't getting better and Tery decided it was time. Don't be sad for me -- after having as many ferrets as we do, I've learned to distance myself when I see the end coming. Tery thinks it's awfully cold-hearted of me, but can you blame me for not wanting to get too invested only to be utterly devastated once every six years? (average lifespan)

She swore she'd wait until Gideon's ashes returned from the crematorium, but then she saw a little guy up for adoption at the local shelter. She went to visit him and it was love at first sight:

Ferret LOLZ

What is this little scamp's name, you ask? I'm glad you asked.

Malcolm Reynolds and Washburn "Wash" White Whiskers -- because every Firefly captain needs a pilot

As with every other ferret I've ever seen, getting along is never an issue:

Muskrat Luv
grrgoyl: (Detective Prairie Dog)
Conversations from the Kennels

Tery called me on Friday from the hospital, telling me what kinds of changes had been going on behind my back. "I almost don't want to tell you this..." she began.

"What?" I asked nervously, trying to envision what new imposition I would be forced to endure.

"They've put a bookcase downstairs in the hall. Right outside the kitchen."

"So what?

"Well it's kind of big, and I don't want you running into it. I told Tabby 'the first time Elaine bangs her shoulder on this, it's outta here.'"

A) She's confusing me with herself, who is far more resistant to change than I. B) Working only two nights a week, I feel the least entitled to dictate how things gets arranged. C) Most importantly, I don't know what kind of dynamic whirlwind of activity she imagines me engaging in, but apart from the night of my first seizure dog, everything else I do with the supremely unhurried pace of the truly unsupervised. I amble. I saunter. I occasionally trot, but very, very rarely. The chances of me barreling smack into a large, stationary object are extremely slim.

Second, our cat Alsatia needed some (more) dental work done. Older animals do fall apart at a frightening speed. She was doing well, though, and the plan was for her to stay on IV fluids overnight and I could take her home in the morning. Dr. L asked Tery, "Will Elaine be able to remove the catheter?" This is funny, because the last 10 times animals have been left on IV fluids with me, something has always happened by morning necessitating me taking out their catheter -- usually it will "blow" (meaning it's slipped out of the vein and is just pumping the fluid under the skin), or the animal will chew it out; both things that technically aren't my fault, but I still feel mighty incompetent all the same. So it seems for me the challenge is keeping the catheter IN, not taking it out. I'm a pro at taking it out. I could join the Olympic catheter removal team, I'm so good at it.

Therefore it broke my heart a little come morning when Alsatia's IV was still running perfectly, and I had to remove it anyway. But she was certainly happy to leave.

Then I came home Sunday morning to discover we have ANOTHER neighbor with Christmas lights on inside. Are they dead too? What was it about this past Christmas that's making it so damn hard for everyone to let go? It's MARCH, people. Time to MOVE ON.


Toys for Grown-Ups

Tery, to my surprise, suggested we apply our considerable tax refunds towards a new stove. Nothing wrong with our old one, it's just the last almond-colored hold-over from the original set circa 1980. Normally I would insist on waiting until it actually died, but she reminded me that she cooks all my dinners so it was in my best interest that she was happy.

It's "silver mist" rather than stainless steel -- the look of steel, but without the easy scratch- and fingerprintability. The matching over-the-range microwave will be installed later this week -- Tery wasn't so sure about this purchase, but ever since realizing it was an option suddenly our current microwave takes up too much counterspace, and causes random obscene outbursts of rage from her while she's cooking. For me it's worth every penny if it cuts back on the side helping of stress and bitterness our meals are sometimes prepared with.

I couldn't have been happier with our salesman, Ken. He approached us immediately, making it clear that he wasn't going to disappear without warning. He looked like a poor man's Kevin Murphy. He joked with us and always stayed within range, a far cry from our usual treatment. Usually salespeople take one look at two women wandering through major appliances and assume we're just daydreaming or something (I'm sure Tery's two days' worth of hair grease doesn't help matters either). He gave us respect and attention, however, and we spent $1200 in his department (the most I've ever spent in one go and walked out the door emptyhanded -- "Where's my instant gratification?!" I lamented to Tery).

He was just too cute. Down-to-earth and dorky, he talked to us like we were old friends. I used the word "fortuitous" for some reason, and his eyes misted over. "Say that word again," he asked me. "Fortuitous?" I smiled. "That's a great word. I need to use that word more often," he said.

I wrote up an almost embarrassingly glowing piece of feedback for him on; I figure I never hesitate to complain about bad employees, it wouldn't hurt to spread some sunshine as well. I read it to Tery. She rolled her eyes over the phone and asked me when our wedding was. She'll never understand my love for geeky, awkward men.

It was delivered by two enormous guys. I'm sure between the two of them the strain of lifting it was equal to what I feel carrying a 40-pound bag of cat litter alone, but I still felt a ridiculous compulsion to apologize for them having to haul the old one back down the stairs. I don't know why, in situations like this I always feel like I'm inconveniencing people when really all they're doing is their job. Silly.


Malcolm Reynolds: Our Weirdest Ferret Yet

Here's another video, blessedly free of my look-how-cute voice:

Malcolm is our ninth ferret. We know a thing or two about ferret behavior. In all those years of ferret ownership, never once have we observed this. When you give him a fresh bowl of water, before drinking out of it he scratches around the rim, then plants both front paws in and paddles in it, scooping large amounts of water out. He doesn't do it if the water's been standing, and he doesn't do it if Gideon is with him. I asked him, "Little Man, do you think your brother and sisters want to drink that water after you've stuck your grubby paws in it?" Like most babies, he hadn't given it much thought.

Finally, two gay boys. Again I say that people can learn something about getting along with each other from ferrets.

grrgoyl: (max elevator)
Still nothing much exciting to write about. Tery came home this morning -- goodbye to my clean house, but goodbye also to eating macaroni & cheese casserole for the sixth night in a row. I can safely say right now if I never see macaroni & cheese again, it'll be too soon.

I saw Be Kind, Rewind with [ profile] dopshoppe. Jack Black is the screwball friend of Mos Def, playing a cross between himself and Dignan from Bottle Rocket. He accidentally becomes magnetized and erases all the VHS tapes in Danny Glover's mom+pop store where Mos works. Thinking on their feet, they decide to create homemade re-enactments of the movies, which catch on quickly and become hugely popular in the neighborhood. Unfortunately the FBI puts a stop to these shenanigans before they're able to raise the money needed to save the building from demolition. This movie was enormously funny before abruptly turning into a sappy, predictable paeon to small-town America being methodically eroded away by big business and soulless developers, which it seems to me we've heard many times before. *yawn*

Run Fatboy Run arrived and I excitedly brought it over to watch with Ryan and HIS BOYFRIEND JOHN. Big mistake. I always forget how distracting things are with those two. When they aren't chit-chatting about things completely unrelated to the movie, they're focused instead on their chihuahua mix Ren playing with their new chihuahua puppy Louie. Hence we missed entire scenes, but fortunately the movie isn't really that deep. Simon Pegg vows to run a marathon in a misguided attempt to win back his ex-girlfriend from veteran marathon runner, Hank Azaria (who, like Jason Bateman in Juno, plays a complete asshole totally against type). What few bits we did manage to see were very funny, and I look forward to subsequent viewings to piece it all together.

I had forgotten The Darjeeling Limited came out today. There are few films I'll run out and pay full price for sight unseen. Wes Anderson's fall firmly into that category. I also look forward to seeing this one.

Oh, and PS: Tomorrow night I'm going to see Cloverfield again with Tabby (her first time) and I CAN'T WAIT.


In my mind I had a lot more pics to offer, but I guess not. You'll have to be content with these three:

To my everlasting chagrin, Tery loves the NASCAR. Fortunately her friends at the bar were too drunk to take offense at my characterization of them. Yeeeeeeeeeeeehawwwwwwww!

This is a daycare I pass on my way to work at the kennels. Tery agrees with me the wording could be a little better.

I woke up one morning with all the animals in bed with me. What at first glance looks like one of the Kitten's paws is actually a (temporarily) defeated Malcolm resting underneath her. They're lovers AND fighters.

I've decided Malcolm (Reynolds) is the best name ever for this little guy -- he's a good (little) man at heart, but sometimes he just aims to misbehave.
grrgoyl: (Office Vampire Jim)
In lieu of anything exciting happening to me this weekend, I have instead a picture post, because those are always so popular.

This is Caesar, easily the most ginormous German shepherd I ever did see, a monster the size of a pony.

Caesar is dangerous
Caesar earned himself not only a "Will Bite" sticker, but the never-before-seen "Approach Slowly" sticker.

For me, Caesar was a sweetheart.

Caesar is cutie
Not posing well, but not attacking either. The length of his body took up most of the room.

Caesar acted like any other dog around me, even let me pet him a bit as he walked past me. He was also kind of excitable unfortunately and barked at every noise in the street, and his bark was so deep and ferocious-sounding that at first I felt I'd better investigate, before realizing he barked at every little thing. Did make me feel pretty safe though. I don't think anyone would fuck with a dog making that kind of sound.

Then Tery told me Monday that he got out of his kennel and up to the ground level Sunday evening. He didn't escape the hospital, but spent most of the time opening doors with his mouth and rifling through other dogs' medical records, according to the security camera. She figures he must have been a police dog at one point. When the day shift arrived, it took some doing to get him back downstairs because everyone else is terrified of him and he kept cornering them in rooms. I sighed heavily and asked if she wanted me to come in to handle it, but they eventually got him under control.

He got all the way upstairs because, despite Tery putting a latch on the door to the basement, I'm the only one that bothers to secure it when I leave. Every time I DO secure it, the stupid day shift somehow fails to notice and wrenches the door open, ripping the latch off the door jamb. Twice Tery has replaced it. Now it's on there, but hanging by a wing and a prayer, so I'm not sure it would've done much to stop Mr. Caesar, who is, as I said, a monster and evidently quite smart besides. This intelligence level propels him past Beowulf as my favorite shepherd; also since he evidently doesn't think that much higher of the day shift than I do.

At the same time I had Dino, a shepherd puppy.

Dino is cute but a pain in the ass

Dino was in for Parvo, and was adorable on Friday, when he was sickly and groggy. However on Saturday he felt MUCH better, and was constantly emitting the ear-piercing barks that I always forget shepherds are known for since they thankfully usually grow out of it. Any extended period of time with this little fella had to be spent wearing sound-cancelling earphones used by airport ground crews. Yowieowieowie.

Lastly, I made this extremely brief video. Apologies for the quality, blame the Motorola Razr. And apologies to [ profile] kavieshana for the look-how-cute voice:

This video serves two purposes: First to show you this little girl (whose name is Navi, for the less observant among you), who goes into these unrestrained paroxysms of joy every time I open her cage. Secondly and more importantly, however, I wanted to capture the mournful, Chewbacca-like howls of Truckee, a shepherd mix behind me who only made these noises if I paid attention to another dog, making a direct video of him impossible. He sounded so much like Chewbacca at times that it made me laugh.


Finally, a little closer to home, I give you these two of Tiny Baby Ferret Who is Tiny, Malcolm:

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Alsatia has a very low tolerance for ferrets. At this point she had become exhausted trying to fend him off and just accepted it.

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Tiny Baby Ferret loves Greenieā„¢ dog treats. Nomnomnom! Try pulling it away at your own risk.
grrgoyl: (Tinies)
This has to very quick because I'm flying to San Diego in an hour or so.

I was going to post a humorous video of Duncan stealing tampons (qty 16) and packing peanuts (about a saucepan full). However, I've been forbidden to do so in the wake of his death.

Please don't comment to say you're sorry to hear the news. In my experience I'm perfectly fine until someone expresses condolences.

Two days ago he was acting lethargic. I didn't think much of it (I never do) until Tery came home and was concerned. He reluctantly drank water, only to vomit it all up again. Not good. We figured he had an obstruction and Tery was going to bring him in for an x-ray the next day. We've had ferrets with obstructions before and always had time to get it treated. Duncan was so healthy and strong we thought we had plenty of time.

Not so. We found him the next morning. We suspect now he might have had a bowel perforation based on the suddenness of it, and if so he wouldn't have had a chance even with hospital care. Tery took it very badly, blaming herself, insane with grief. I cried a bit, but truthfully, I felt a bit relieved. When I said he was the worst behaved of all our ferrets, that wasn't an idle statement. Utterly resistant to training, refusing to heed us when we tried to stop him from doing something dangerous, completely incorrigible (and not in a cute, rascally way) -- in my opinion, it was only a matter of time before tragedy fell. Either that, or he'd live to be 20 just because he was such a bastard.

Don't comment to say you're sorry, because I'm not. All of our other ferrets have been sweet, adorably sweet and lovable -- every last one a poster child for what great pets ferrets are. Duncan I think would have always been just a little bit wild, a little bit unpredictable, no matter how hard we tried. No, I don't think he deserved to die because of this, but the fact of the matter is if we hadn't come along, he would have been put to sleep as unsellable at the store so we gave him a short time in a good home at least.

On that note, I begin my vacation.
grrgoyl: (Tinies)
Oy, what a weekend. Friday my biggest challenge was two hypothermic cats, Baby and Marmalade, who both required alternating every-2-hour temping and syringe feeding (which has recently been changed to "force feeding," which is what it's always been but I guess now we're calling a spade a spade). Temping I can deal with, but force-feeding is by far my most hated duty. When a cat doesn't want to eat, it involves a lot of snarling, spitting and tempers lost by both parties. I've got to scruff the cat with one hand and try to force its mouth open and shove the syringe down its throat with the other -- only to have the cat refuse to swallow and dribble most of my effort down its chest and all over me when I'm lucky, and try to reach out and get a piece of me when I'm not. I feel like a massive failure writing in the chart "Gave 4 cc" when all the day shift notes are closer to 10-20 cc, but then again the day shift has multiple pairs of hands.

So anyway, Marmalade (female of unknown age, dehydrated) didn't mind being syringe fed but hated being temped (like most cats). Baby (15-year-old male black & white in renal failure) couldn't stand anything by mouth, but when that thermometer showed up he would stretch out his back legs luxuriantly to give me easier access. I've never seen a cat welcome a thermometer quite so...eagerly.

Saturday evening the hospital called Tery to warn us that Baby's owners wanted me to call with an update that night. Ugh. One of the things I love the most about this job is precisely NOT having to speak to customers. The warning additionally stated that they were a little "intense." I had no idea what I was going to say. What owners don't understand is that even healthy cats, when stuck in a cage all night, are not terribly animated. When a sick cat hasn't moved for a few hours, it's pretty hard for me to determine if it's worrisome or merely ennui. Tery said it would be enough for them to know that I was there all night with their pet, that that's a huge comfort for most people.

I tried to get it over with first thing and called about 15 minutes into my shift. I spoke with the husband, who seemed perfectly reasonable. I answered his questions as best I could without sounding completely clueless. I made it clear I wasn't a doctor, could only provide basic medical care and information, and that a doctor would be in first thing in the morning that they could call. But then he said his wife was at work and would want to call me later with more questions. The phones are turned over at night to an answering service, and I had been warned by Tery not to give out the back line or else they'd be calling night and day. Not expecting this turn of events, I panicked and gave him my cell phone number. BIG MISTAKE.

The wife called an hour or so later. Again I answered her questions as best I could, then endured while she offered suggestions on feeding Baby (she swaddles him up in a blanket like a baby). Then she went too far and advised me that sometimes the IV line gets twisted up and the fluids don't get to the cat, make sure I keep an eye on that. Oh HELL no, I know you aren't telling me how to do my job. You've done your bit, you got the cat to the hospital. Now please have a bit of faith and let us take it from there.

I got rid of her only to have her call back an hour later to see if there was any change. This was when I first started to realize what a mistake I'd made. She insisted I put the cat on speakerphone so she could say goodnight. "Hi Baby, it's mommy. Sleep well, my Baby. Jesus is praying for you, my darling, Baby Jesus is watching over you tonight." Lady, your cat A) doesn't have a soul and B) might possibly be gay. The Baby Jesus doesn't care about him (hey, I'm just repeating what Christians believe, don't jump in my shit). The cat just stared blankly at the wall, but I had to pretend he had shown some kind of reaction to her voice.

She left me alone the rest of the night, but I left a note for the doctor to please make sure she knew not to keep calling me, because she seemed like the kind of person who, if she couldn't reach anyone the proper way, would use whatever number she had. I wasn't wrong. She called me in the middle of the night last night and left a voicemail asking about Baby. Which means either my request was shrugged off as silly or the woman was given the message and she ignored it. Which kind of grates my cheese; as Tery said, people are intimidated about bothering a doctor during off-hours, but anyone else is fair game.

This would all be much funnier if Baby wasn't put to sleep a few hours ago. The woman didn't take it very well, predictably. I don't mean to sound uncaring, but the cat was 15 years old, a pretty good run for a cat. Try keeping ferrets that live 6 years if you're very, very lucky. And I believe at some point taking extra measures to keep an animal alive is done more out of selfishness than for the animal's sake. Plus this woman is obviously a freak and the cat might be counting the hours before he could make his escape permanently.

(Speaking of ferrets, Itty Bitty Giddy has gone over the loft balcony edge a third time. The first two times he had something stuck on his head (grocery bag, yogurt container) but this time his vision was unobstructed. However, Duncan Munchkin was in the vicinity. Consequently we're considering changing Duncan's name to "Damien.")


Also Saturday night I was going to have workers in the building stripping and waxing the floors upstairs. This made me a trifle nervous until Tery said the odds were very good they'd be Mexicans with very limited English, which would match my very limited Spanish perfectly. I spent the entire drive over trying to construct and practice a request to let me know before they left ("Me dices a que hora vas, por favor" -- anyone have any idea how close I got?), all for nothing; not only did one of the guys speak passingly decent English, but they weren't done at the end of my shift and I ended up leaving them. Disappointed at my missed opportunity to practice some conversational Spanish, I had to content myself with commenting to his shivering, silent assistant in the parking lot, "Muy frio!" "Si, si, muy frio" he replied, slightly surprised. Snap! I am SUCH a geek.


We got our tree this weekend. We also went in search of new lights for Tery's seasonal balcony display. Her two-part plan: To outdo the Alcoholic (whose decorations consist of a single strand of blinking lights and oversize stars -- boring) and win the yearly HOA contest (we won last year, a $50 gift card to Target -- not too shabby). As we stared at the 80-foot wall at Target, an older man accosted the minimum-wage stock boy unloading a pallet from the backroom. "Do you sell strands of lights?" The kid was perplexed. "Strands of lights?" "Yes, strands. You know." The kid was puzzled, as were Tery and I. The only clarification for what he sought was, "You know, the kind you hang on the tree. Strands of lights." The poor kid answered, "Well sir, these are ALL strands of lights..." We didn't hear the conclusion of the conversation, we had to run away before we started snickering out loud. By the time we worked our way back, the kid was gone (quit, Tery said. "December 2nd and already I'm getting idiotic questions") and the guy was still eyeing the wall confusedly.

"Strands of lights" is the running joke this season.

Speaking of the 80-foot wall, not only was the kid unloading the pallet smack in the middle of the aisle, but there were about 10 other customers besides us shopping there. Do you think it ever occurred to the lady pushing the shopping cart with her kid that maybe it WASN'T the best route for her? She wasn't even shopping for lights, just passing through. People are such fucking idiots.


Oh, speaking of fucking idiots, [ profile] kavieshana brought it to my attention that LJ has introduced a way to put ratings on LJ entries that might be unsuitable for younger viewers. Just another way to save parents from the responsibility of monitoring their kids. First, when I was a kid, an R+ rating just made things more enticing, not discouraging. Second, LJ (and the world) in general is unsuitable for younger viewers. I'm getting sick and tired of everything being sanitized for everyone just in case a child looks in the wrong direction. Raising your kid is YOUR fucking job, not mine. It's YOUR fucking responsibility to keep your kid out of my content, not vice versa. If this job is too much for you, use a fucking condom or quit your whining. Okay, think I'm done.
grrgoyl: (Dylan parka)
Follow-up on trying to reward the kind stranger who brought our little boy home to us -- with no idea where he lives, and only the vaguest physical description (Tery was too gobsmacked to find Gideon being held by a stranger on our doorstep), it's proving far more difficult than we thought to track him down. We abandoned the door-to-door tack after going through mostly two stairwells of units, and have now resorted to posting signs asking him to stop by again this writing, in four stairwells. It's like he's an angel that appeared out of nowhere exactly when Gideon needed him, and then evaporated into the ether when his work was done. I ask every single person I meet about him, and no one has any idea at all. Our second theory is that he's a Journeyman.


Our sink was dripping. It would probably have been a simple fix, but Tery and I both reasoned that after 20+ years (the age of our condo), it would be nice to get a new faucet. Installing it proved trickier than expected, however, when trying to match up the 20-year-old piping to the new fixture. Rather than risking pulling out something we couldn't put back in again, we decided to call a plumber. He arrived yesterday, looked at the sink, and asked, "Where's the rest of it?" He was referring to a small disc-like piece that was apparently critical in installing the faucet. I knew exactly what it looked like, it had been kicking around on the counter all weekend, mocking us. Now it was time to fulfill its destiny and the little bugger was nowhere to be found.

He left apologetically, but there really was nothing more he could do at that point. As soon as he left I remembered that I had taken the trash out that morning. I ran out to the Dumpster armed with a painter's extension pole because I remembered the bin was empty and the bag would be out of reach. In the interim someone had dumped a huge, heavy Persian rug on top of it, but that's not the funny bit. I fished it out and hoisted it over my shoulder to bring back to the house, which was unfortunately witnessed by our UPS man. This guy already has a negative opinion of us ever since I dropped his clipboard stylus near some ferret poop in our entryway (yes, it's disgusting, but you know how your own messes (or those of your animals) don't bother you as much as someone else's. Anyway, we've been fastidious about keeping the area clean ever since). Now here he was watching me pull garbage out of the Dumpster and take it back upstairs with me. We'll be lucky if he ever delivers to us again.

It was worth it, however, when I found the missing piece at the bottom. I caught the plumber just before he left the parking lot, the faucet was installed and all's well that end's well. Except for the permanently emotionally scarred UPS guy.


Lastly, here are some pics for [ profile] kavieshana, who has never seen ferrets with cats before.

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Sharing a companionable meal together

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Friends with Benefits

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And of course vacationing in Aruba togther

Lastly, and a little unrelated, here's Duncan enjoying some apple pie:

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That wicked gleam in his eye is because he thinks he's getting away with something bad
grrgoyl: (AD Chicken Dances)
Hoo boy, rough weekend at work. I had my first death Friday night (well, first witnessed death). A 5-month-old Boston terrier puppy named Sally. She wasn't right, anyone could see that. Slept face down with her head shoved in a pillow at a painful-looking angle. The diagnosis on her chart was the unhelpful but common disease "ADR" (Ain't Doing Right). Then I heard her whining and looked in to see her stretched out on her side and retching. I called the doctor on the case, Dr. E (who is the head medical director of the hospital as well). From the sound of her voice, despite being only 11 p.m., I either woke her or she was a bit tipsy. Long story short, by the time she slurrily drawled out a course of action, poor Sally had joined the choir invisible.

I've never seen a dead animal before, at least not one that I had to touch. I was strangely unmoved by it -- she just looked like she was sleeping (except for the tongue lolling out). Cleaning her up and bagging her, wearing rubber gloves and a surgical mask, I felt a little like Dexter, with the same clinical detachment. I felt some guilt, like I could have done more to save her, but apparently her death came as a surprise to no one but me.

Last night I had a cat, Maggie, who was remarkable only for the fact that the owner had had her for 16 years and never realized she was a he. This fact was only discovered when they tried to place a urinary catheter. This job just gets stranger and stranger.

But back on Friday night, Saturday morning I came home exhausted after only getting a 15-minute nap all night. I stumbled through the front door at my usual 5:30 a.m., my arms loaded with large items like a 12-pack of toilet paper, cat litter and laundry detergent. All the animals were arranged to greet me in their usual welcoming committee formation. I did my usual dance to avoid stepping on anyone, put down my groceries, and fell into bed.

At 9 a.m. our doorbell was rung. Tery peeked out to see who it was, but didn't open it. They rang a second time more insistently, and that time she pulled the door open to reveal a man standing there holding Gideon. !!!!!! He said he had found him wandering around and remembered we had "strange animals." (Hey! We don't keep boa constrictors, for heaven's sake!) We thanked him profusely and took our little boy back inside, trying to imagine the journey that must have commenced after I locked him outside 3-1/2 hours previously. We're extremely lucky to have him back, and plan to get the guy a grocery gift certificate in thanks.

For Gideon's part, he just ambled into the bedroom as if nothing at all amiss had happened, ate some, and crashed hard for the rest of the day.

Lucky Boy

Duncan Munchkin seemed happy to have him back. We had to admit that had it been him, who is getting better but still holds the crown as the most badly behaved ferret we've ever had, the temptation would have been strong to deny ownership. Oh, and we have to call him "Duncan Bearclaw" now because he's becoming quite a bruiser, and pound-for-pound is more muscular than me.

On the downside, I will now have to suffer at least a few months of having to provide physical proof to Tery that everyone is inside and accounted for after every shift. C'est la vie.
grrgoyl: (snarry imaginary)
The Search for John Gissing: Arrived. It came via DHL which, you'll remember, isn't my first choice in a delivery agent but it wasn't up to me. After yesterday they're even less of a choice. I toodled on over to the tracking site to check its progress, and you can imagine my astonishment when I saw it was marked "Delivered" and "Signed for" already. WhatWhatWhat???!!?! I immediately headed to the mailbox only to discover it sitting on my doorstep. Which means someone climbed 3 flights of stairs and put it there (or tossed it over the railing from below) but couldn't be bothered to ring the doorbell and deliver it properly. What is wrong with them? This isn't brain surgery. "Abandoned" is not a synonym for "delivered." Thank god it wasn't something truly valuable like, say, a passport.

Passport: Arrived! Just when I was ready to lie and claim I was traveling sooner than I was. I can't help but think it's no coincidence that my earliest date of travel on the application was July 23, which if it were would be cutting it very close indeed. I had hoped its delivery would coincide serendipitously with a sudden drop in fares, but no dice. Amusingly, the passport was packaged with a pamphlet cheerfully proclaiming, "With a U.S. Passport, the world is yours!" because you're an AMERICAN and therefore foreigners must defer to YOU. Or so I preferred to interpret it in my current bitterly anti-American state of mind.

Creepy old neighbor Louis: Is still spending every day out on his balcony. Which I don't care about except every time I pass the window, he's looking straight up into our house. When it gets this hot, I don't much care to wear clothing, and I don't want to don a shirt just to walk around my living room. So he gets a little peepshow every now and then, which I guess is incentive enough to keep him staring hopefully. Ewww. But when it gets this hot, my comfort takes first priority, even if it's giving an old man his jollies.

Speaking of crazy neighbors, I got cornered into a conversation with The Alcoholic, who can't believe Tery and I don't use our air conditioning every single day (we don't break down until it tops 100 degrees). She uses hers at the first hint of mugginess, she told me proudly. A bigger sweatphobe I've never seen. I explained that we're New Englanders and used to 100 degrees plus 95% humidity, so it really doesn't bother us that much. I gave the excuse that we're nervous about running out of freon and needing it serviced. 5 minutes after we returned to our respective homes, she called me excitedly, telling me to check the user manual for our AC unit. Hers doesn't specifically mention freon servicing, so she reckons it doesn't use freon. Yes. She believes she has the world's first totally environmentally friendly air conditioner, that she bought 10 years ago. I didn't waste time trying to correct her, as it's not likely to change her usage anyway. But this didn't do much to raise her intelligence in my estimation.

Harry Potter: Finished "Half-Blood Prince" (again) and am more excited than ever for "Deathly Hallows." Meanwhile Tery is more stubbornly in denial than ever. We were talking about something and she made the comment, "Whatever, it's just Harry Potter." She HATES that Harry is so popular because she is, as my tag so aptly describes her, a joy-sucking robot. Which is perhaps for the best, so we aren't fighting over the book when it arrives. I'm holing up all day Sunday and Monday, NO INTERNET/NO SPOILERS whatsoever, then Monday night plan to see Order of the Phoenix in IMAX with my friend Rebecca. I also expect to gloat my face off to her silly sister-in-law, who refuses to believe that Snape is anything other than pure, unadulterated evil -- no complex motives, no hidden layers, just straight up exactly what Jo has made him seem to be. That will be fun.

Gideon: Has an adrenal tumor (common among ferrets). Unfortunately the gland in question is wrapped by the vena cava so it's a very complicated surgery. Tery brought him to the premier vet specialist in Colorado, Dr. Fitzgerald:

Gideon's brush with celebrity

Some people might recognize him from an Animal Planet show called "Emergency Vets." He didn't want to do the operation at first, until he met Giddy and had to admit he was a great little guy and worth trying to save. He's still strong and healthy enough that he shouldn't have any complications. We'll see. Fortunately too Dr. Fitzgerald's hospital recently joined the VCA family so Tery can use her 70% employee discount.

That's all. Internet radio silence begins Friday evening just to make double sure to avoid spoilers. Will resume communication Tuesday morning. Over and out.
grrgoyl: (ferrets attack)
Cat door training is progressing slowly. Not surprisingly, lil Duncan Munchkin mastered it within less than a minute. Ferrets ARE the problem-solvers of the animal kingdom. Take note, you hatahs: I mean YOU, Rudy Giuliani. Tery stumbled on this anti-ferret rant on YouTube:

The man is seriously unhinged. Based on the passion and irrationality of his tirade, I can only surmise his mother was killed by ferrets. This lunatic ran an entire city?

Regardless, even with the cats watching Duncan hop in and out with reckless abandon, when it comes to their turn they just sit there mewing helplessly. I'm not sure if it's a case of intelligence or willful ignorance so they can keep us waiting on them hand and foot (paw and paw?) We're still working on it.

Update!: Don't click unless you're a rabid fan of cats and already bored out of your mind. But there IS a happy ending.


Speaking of celebrities, I need Paris Hilton to shut up. She's out of jail and now all the headlines are about her "ordeal." Bitch, please. I remember none of this foolishness when Martha got out. I also wonder what became of her "medical condition" that she developed in one day. Couldn't have been that bad if she was able to overcome it and finish her sentence when the judge called "bullshit."

Someone else I need to shut up is Rosie O'Donnell. First her thing with the Donald, then her thing with her View costar. Now she's making broad general statements like "don't trust dem backstabbing breeders" (so much for taking the higher road about labeling an entire orientation) and using her child as a political pawn on her blog. The only reason I know all this is because I get the day's headlines on my home page. Rosie, STFU. You're an embarrassment.


I received an email yesterday from announcing my imminent refund for my Hot Fuzz order. This confused me, as I've been sleeping with it under my pillow every night for over a week now. Sure, it would be nice to get it free through some computer snafu, but I really don't need that black mark on my karma. I emailed begging them not to refund me, for the sake of my conscience. It turns out it's just a $4 refund because they dropped the price, so they were sending me the difference. Well. That's not something you see every day. Have I mentioned lately how much I adore them?


Tery really wants me to attend a hospital staff meeting next week to go over some policy changes and gripes that are cropping up again. Seems people have been attacking Kristie, the overnight girl during the week, much the same way I was attacked when I first started. Small misunderstandings and miscommunications escalate rapidly into hateful notes and general resentment between parties that never see each other face to face. I agreed to go, on the condition that I could sit beside Kristie to present a unified front. That's in fact what I'm calling us: The Unified Front of Overnight Workers (UFOW).

Finally NECA Snape has arrived on the shores of eBay. Soon little NECA Harry will have his favorite snarky playmate. *rubbing hands gleefully*


grrgoyl: (Default)

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