Whatever happened to hibernation?

Forgive me if I am a bit cranky, but that is what the exotics pets said to me. The elder, smart-arsed cat said I am essentially a turnip.

The time is now eighty-two minutes since I emerged from my bedroom the first time, wearing too little clothes to stay warm.

So far I fed two ungrateful pet skunks – twice.  Sort of fed one cranky, finicky, decrepit old cat. Missed the boat in caring for my beloved, lame Newfoundland dog.

Oh… and I dressed – twice. The lovely new Edenpure heater being set too low during the coldest night of the year was the catalyst for all my problems.

Usually, I release the skunks from their den-carriers then shuffle barefooted around the kitchen with my strappy nightgown hanging off one shoulder. The goal being to feed my sweet little princesses in the timely fashion to which they are accustomed.

Rule number one with exotic pets, very old dogs and grandfather-like cats is to never break routine no matter how cold you are or unglamorous you look.

Today, I let them out and poured granola, shivered unnervingly, and went into the bedroom to dress.

Two skunks followed, complaining and eventually digging my bare feet to hurry me along.

“Mama is sure taking her own sweet time today,” Blossom said as I brushed my hair. Lacey shook her head and went back to bed to wait while Blossom continued to hurry  me along.

"What do these two know of time?" asked the twenty-four year old cat.

Snuggies, the twenty-four year old cat, rolled his eyes. “What do these two know of time?”

I was all dressed, loving my soft pink velour pants, the long-sleeved tees, my brown wool sweater and socks. Slid into my slippers to protect toes from Blossom’s skunk digs and off we galloped to the kitchen for her really late breakfast. Milk on my granola to soften. Plated up their lightly scrambled egg, milk and fresh blueberries. Coaxed Lacey back out to eat.

Pet skunk care tip: Mind you, always make sure skunkies are eating when doing anything where you do not want them to assist. Like feeding the dog, which is another story altogether. Also feeding the cat, doing laundry or going outside. I repeat, hyper-energy, super intelligent exotic pets must be eating.

My pet skunks were eating.  So fed the cat on a plate next to them, took dog food to 130-pound Newfoundland dog on doggie sleeping porch. Intent now is simply to go watch skunkies and cat eat while I eat, pick up plates and intervene as needed. Then take dog outside. Then work. Not bad for twenty minutes out of the bed.

You can feel sorry for me anytime here. I used to be a Pollyanna. Today changed me forever. The reason I am cranky.

Was heading in the door to supervise their breakfast, but my snowplow guy showed up three hours early. Good thing I’m dressed then.

The ice mound PlowGuy made on my flowerbeds.

Wade out door through snow I was going to shovel when doggie went out. Am in my soft slippy slippers.

Give my plow guy the garden parameters for the year. “Don’t pile snow on flower beds, please, flowers need spring sunlight, not ice piles with a Newfoundland dog on the ice piles on the flowers.” As we laugh and shake on it, I slide onto my arse under his truck. Unsmashed, I come in with snow in my slippers, cold socks, wet pants. So much for gratitude. At least the snow is clean. Pants will be dry in a few…. hours?

Dog says he is ready to go out. “Wait for plow guy to finish,” I say, knocking snow from slippers. I strip my pants off one frozen leg and peel embedded snow off the hem.

Do I hear the cat upchucking? Are the skunks in his food already?

Oh man, lots of windows. Snowplow guy can see me. I cover my abundant bikini-clad arse with the not-large-enough blue dog bowl. Wade through skunks to get in the door.

Shuffle through the kitchen with a pant leg dragging. No puke. (No no wait for it.) Pick up cat dish he only licked sauce off. New brand for him but the only can in the store last night… we live in the middle of nowhere… really. Not even the skunks wanted this food.

In the bedroom, I take off my lovely soft pink velour pants. Notice cat’s upchuck streaked across the dragging pant leg.

Eh.

Now you can say it.

Back to the kitchen with an armload of pink and white laundry.  From this angle, I see the cat puke in middle of kitchen floor. The sunlight enhances its aura. Drop laundry to go for cleaning bottle and paper towels before skunks track it too. And notice my first tracks of cat puke leading all the way to the bedroom. And back through it.

Step out of my fresh slippers and into more cat puke. Strip off that sock. I clean it all up and scrub the path only to feel through my other sock that I have stepped in it a third… or is it the fourth time.

You can call me a turnip anytime now. Take the second pair of slippers into bathroom to wash then redress. I’m okay. Life is good. Back to kitchen.

Remember, never break stride, never give them a chance, never ever turn your back.

"We were playing in cat puke. Why does that bother you so much?"

Yes, skunks tipped over the can of pukey paper towels they did not want, digging for anything good in the bottom where there was nothing at all. I could have told them that. As far as the upchuck…. they didn’t want the food, didn’t play with the puke when they had the chance. Now they have tracked the mess in a circle. At least they were busy in one place.

I tucked one shocked skunk upside down under my arm, busy with the other getting her hands and paws washed in the sink. It can be done. Dry her, wash and dry the other. Tuck them in the den-carriers and shut the door.

Where is that cat before he barfs again?

The dog has stopped barking at snowplow guy. I go out to admire plow guy’s handiwork. Help my lame old dog to stand by using a towel for a lift. I smell it. I smell it, I smell it. Poor old guy was barking to go out more than at plow guy’s truck. Poor dog pooped in his bed. Washed his hiney, my hands, took the bedding out to freeze since my laundry will go in first.

Then I find cat upchuck on the bottom of the laundry pile I had dropped onto the kitchen floor. I look at the cat.

Lacey would have been grooming Joseph, had she not been on time out.

Now, honestly, the twenty-four year old cat is most of the time quite confused about where you are when you call or feed him, he is pretty much blind, cannot really hear. Definitely cannot smell or taste. We know that because he would never have eaten the sauce or any canned cat food which he spent a quarter-century refusing, preferring instead premium dry food, steak, shrimp and salmon.

Today he looks at me. Yes, he is sitting on the sleeping porch daybed rolling his eyes at me. “Mom,” he says, “Wasn’t it just yesterday you said, with sarcasm, to your sweet husband something about ‘live and learn’?”

"Like I will remember that," said the ancient smart-aleck cat.

“Next time puke in your litter box.”

“Of course, like I will remember that. Just gag me.”

“Living with my great-great-great-grandfather could not be more enlightening,” I said.

I went back inside and let my skunks out of their den carriers.

They charged to the kitchen like they had never been fed.

“Mama sure took her own sweet time getting us up today,” Blossom complained to Lacey.

I gave each of them a spoonful of my soggy granola.


Skunk Medicine: There’s A Skunk In the House! and other Tail-raising Stories –pet skunk memoirs  —  On Amazon in paperback

A Breath Floats By Paperback —Novel with three pet skunks and two Newfoundland dogs in story Amazon.com paperback, Amazon Kindle version, or as an ESSA Books e book for $8.

Visit Women’s Fiction Blog – more short stories – quite often about skunks, dogs, cats. Plus myths, dense observations and the lies we are told – written by a woman.  Need I say more.

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Some people just can’t stand to eat off the same plates as a skunk.

Frankly, I don’t see the problem. It’s not like the plate remains unwashed.

"Really, are they are going through the wash next?" asks Sagie who is washing dishes for Mama.

Unless the skunkie fools you into thinking it is washed. They will lick a plate for ten minutes and it will shine when it has not been into a sudsy dishwater bath. But we skunk people know that and we wash everything.

My family though, my dad namely, has issue. And I can see the point. But these are not dogs or cats doing what dogs are cats do. They are tidy, polite little domestic skunkies.

One Thanksgiving we had everyone to the cabin. One of the last years we were all together, we meaning all of us in the family and both my pet skunks, Jeronimo and Sequoia.

After dinner, I made a feast plate for my skunkies. Brought them out to the kitchen to eat their dinner where everyone could enjoy how cute and sweet and cuddley. Skunk people are like new parents, they never get over the pride and bragging.

Sequoia and Jeronimo usually ate off stompable, unbreakable plastic plates. But all skunk holiday feasts are served on white antique stoneware china from England. Remember the lead in antique china is real, so don’t do this often. But we humans had antique china, so did they, the skunkies. Dining with all but the candles that might set ablaze their little tail feathers.

The next holiday my sister admitted how cute they were. But Dad had a problem. She politely, diplomatically asked if I have plates for the people from which the skunks did not eat.

Since those are their special plates and I have modern day white stoneware for everyone else, rest assured, Dad did not eat from a skunk plate.

But really, only skunk people know. These are special creatures. Intelligent. Resourceful with their surroundings…..

Skunks wipe like people. Skunks do not lick their hineys. They might scoot on the nearest rug to wipe…. but they do not lick. So the plan is to place right by the litter pan the washable rug you want them to use for wiping. But no, skunks do not lick. They wipe and everyday they brush themselves and brush their teeth too. They sit on their fat flat haunches and groom their hiney fluff with their little hands. So cute.

"Can I have your bean?" "No."

Skunks do not eat gucky stuff. Unless of course, we are feeding them crickets and grubs. That more real version of skunk dining is not happening in my house, I kiss my skunks. They must be content with steak and chicken, shrimp and salmon. Proteins that I, too, am willing to eat.

Thanksgiving dinner, skunks eat turkey (no ham or pork, please) and stuffing and yams without sugar. They eat corn on the cob, French bean casserole, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. They should never eat too much sugar at once but they will eat all you give to them.

Want the Thanksgiving dishes from prep-cooking to be pre-washed before they hit the dishwasher or after they are inside said dishwasher? Skunks can handle it. Just don’t put in knives or fork tines facing up.

Turn a flock of skunks loose on a huge bowl where pumpkin pie filling was mixed, fifteen minutes of licking and it is good to go. Yes, you will want to consider sugar, salt and seasoning intake. No raisin cookies or mock mince meat, since the raisins in those cause renal failure in animals. No asparagus which causes grand mal seizures.

But these domestic skunks, they are thorough if nothing else.

Skunkie moral of the story: I’ve got nothing. Except you want a dish washed right, give it to a skunk.

Thirty pet skunks stories, all about the boys.

 

WOMEN’S FICTION OR MYTH — We must never use dog poop to take out our frustrations on anyone.

A LADY-LIKE ESSAY

ladylike-essay-on-dog-poopFirst, what to do with the neighbor’s dog poop?

  1. Recycle coffee cans for neighborly gifts.   Fill them with dog poop destined for the dump where it acts as compost heat. Of course, when the sun beats down on a coffee can with a plastic lid, the ripeness is overwhelming and you might want to think twice about that lid ever coming off while in your yard.  Deliver it to proper owner.
  2. Keep composted cans for our hydrangeas, mix with coffee grinds and cottonseed meal.  Wear an oxygen mask.  Cover fertilizer with decorative gravel or woodchips.
  3. Wing dog pile at side of neighbor’s garage. When it sticks you know they might get the idea.

An explanation may be in order. I will try to advocate this fine idea without giving away my brother’s identity.

  • When the dog poop does not belong to your dog – that means we can all recognize what comes out of our dog and we find a dog pile in our yard that is not like the other.  This usually happens in a pattern. Neighbor’s dog visits, does business, goes home. Neighbor does not wonder why his dog is constipated. They know full well dog is fine, they can see piles over the fence rotting in your backyard.
  • But that’s okay, the neighbors know it will all come back to them. That is because when you go out and scoop your own dog piles you throw their dog piles back over the fence. You used to gingerly drop them over the side into a polite little mountain. But then you just started winging the pile to randomly fall where they may, after all that is the way you find them. One day you have had enough shit and give it a whirl off the shovel. Splat. On the side of the garage it sticks. Oops.
  • What would you do? Scrape it off with a long stick? Use your power washer? Leave it? My brother smeared it with the stick, not intentionally, he did feel badly. Then he left it there all summer, seems the neighbors never came to that side of the garage to notice, never missed that pile at all. Finally, I want to belive with all my heart, that my sister-in-law, dear long-suffering woman, wearied of looking at it every evening when she retired to an iced tea on the patio.  Perhaps she hosed it off.  Perhaps bro did.

Garth and SusannaWhat to do with your own dog’s poop?

  1. Pick up before the lawn crew arrives. We only have the giant-sized to worry about.  Nice tidy poop from eating highly digestible dog food.  We always tred to get every bit, especially before the lawn crew comes to mow.  Still, there was once a pile missed and the youngest guy mowed it.  He’s mowing with a potentially deadly machine, for crying out loud.  How can he miss a rock?  Would he mow a rock?  A Newfie dogpile is not boulder-size, but definitely noticeable.  The lawn crew owner complained because his tractor and trailer and inside his truck was tracked up with dog poop.  Don’t look at me.  I wouldn’t have done it.  If the kid had mowed a rock, he would have worse problems than smeary dog poop.   Now we mow our own lawn.
  2. Install a second septic system just for the dogs. This is for townspeople with Newfoundland-sized dogs.
  3. Little plastic baggies, turn wrong side out, pick up stuff, turn right side out and zip closed. This is for city dwellers who walk dogs in the street while wearing their career threads.  Biodegradeable plastic is environmentally-correct.
  4. Country dwellers. Some fill wheelbarrows and actually use their dog poop on the compost piles that feed the fruit trees. I wouldn’t want it on my vegetable garden, but this is ponderable use of fine energy, at the very least.  Very eco-friendly.   farm
  5. Country dwellers. Throw it onto the farmer’s field at the roadside without the plastic holding bag.  Extremely eco-friendly.  But the farmer might have an opinion.
  6. Wait until it freezes then rake it into piles and pick up.  Beginning of September is when it starts at our house.  Hubby tried it a few times.   Oh yes.  The one in charge of these piles is usually identifiable as a husband or teenage son-in-training to be a husband.  Picker-upper must have unfailing hope anda positive attitude.  a)  Must hope for no rain.  stars mom and daughterb)  Must hope for no leaves on the piles of poop so the unaware woman of the house will not skate through the poop.  c)  Must hope for no leaves on the piles so the woman’s young children will not dive into the leaves and dog poop.  No, we would not want that.  d)  Finally, the person in charge of the piles who decided to let them freeze before scooping must hope for a very short autumn to pull this off.    This only works once a decade really.  Once the visualization of the wife skating free-form through a pile of wet leaves over a few piles of dog poop, well there is no getting that out of your mind.   So the person in charge keeps seeing it happen and there is no hope of it never happening again.  Even in this rare form, it is still the power of attraction.  The Law of Victimization.  The Power of Humour.  Or whatever you want to call it, it’s still your ass.

Essa Adams is a publisher and writer, her latest novel … with two Newfoundland dogs and a second septic for the house …  is published under the penname Thayne Hudson.   A Breath Floats By is available from Amazon, with more information at ESSA Books.   She is author of pet memoirs,  Skunk Medicine: There’s a Skunk in the House! and Other Tail-Raising Stories.  She publishes the Women’s Fiction Blog and Pet Skunk Medicine blog where one will find excerpts, short pet stories, a bright array of essays and rants.

that happy bloated pms feeling

Feeling a little heavy?  PMS make you want to crush someone’s lovely ornaments this holiday?  No, it’s not always a pretty picture. Thank goodness for all the extra sacred chocolate hanging around.

My sister concluded that menstrual cycles seem to flow with the holidays, though this may seem improbable. But then, it is the Winter Solstice, and even I have cramps though I have been menopausal for a few years…. again…oooi.

Sometimes we need to recycle laughs. Here’s one I would read every year of my life and enjoy. Pass it on to a woman – or man – who needs a reality check. This too shall pass. No, really.

—An actual letter from an Austin woman sent to an American company, ******* and ******, regarding their feminine products.  She really gets rolling after the first paragraph. It’s PC Magazine’s 2007 editors’ choice for best webmail-award-winning-letter. I’m just glad these days are done for me.


Dear Mr. Thatcher,

I have been a loyal user of your ‘A*****’ m*** pads for over 20 years and I appreciate many of their features. Why, without the LeakGuard Core or Dri-Weave absorbency, I’d probably never go horseback riding or salsa dancing, and I’d certainly steer clear of running up and down the beach in tight, white shorts. But my favorite feature has to be your revolutionary Flexi-Wings. Kudos on being the only company smart enough to realize how crucial it is that maxi pads be aerodynamic. I can’t tell you how safe and secure I feel each month knowing there’s a little F-16 in my pants.

Have you ever had a menstrual period, Mr. Thatcher? Ever suffered
from The
curse’? I’m guessing you haven’t. Well, my time of the month is
starting
right now. As I type, I can already feel hormonal forces violently
surging through my body. Just a few minutes from now, my body will adjust
and I’ll be transformed into what my husband likes to call ‘an inbred
hillbilly with
knife skills.’ Isn’t the human body amazing?

As Brand Manager in the Feminine-Hygiene Division, you’ve no doubt seen quite a bit of research on what exactly happens during your customers monthly visits from ‘Aunt Flo’. Therefore, you must know about the bloating, puffiness, and cramping we endure, and about our intense mood swings, crying jags, and out-of-control behavior. You surely realize it’s a tough time for most women. In fact, only last week, my friend Jennifer fought the violent urge to shove her boyfriend’s testicles into a George Foreman Grill just because he told her he thought Grey’s Anatomy was written by drunken chimps. Crazy!

The point is, sir, you of all people must realize that America is just crawling with homicidal maniacs in Capri pants… Which brings me to the reason for my letter. Last month, while in the throes of cramping so painful I wanted to reach inside my body and yank out my uterus, I opened an Always maxi-pad, and there, printed on the adhesive backing, were these words: ‘Have a Happy Period.’

Are you kidding me? What I mean is, does any part of your tiny middle-manager brain really think happiness – actual smiling, laughing happiness is possible during a menstrual period? Did anything mentioned above sound the least bit pleasurable? Well, did it, James?  FYI, unless you’re some kind of sick S&M freak girl, there will never be anything ‘happy’ about a day in which you have to jack yourself up on Motrin and Kahlua and lock yourself in your house just so you don’t march down to the local Walgreen’s armed with a hunting rifle and a sketchy plan to end Your life in a blaze of glory.

For the love of God, pull your head out, man! If you just have to slap a moronic message on a maxi pad, wouldn’t it make more sense to say
something that’s actually pertinent, like ‘Put Down the Hammer’ or ‘Vehicular Manslaughter is Wrong’ — or are you just picking on us?

Sir, please inform your Accounting Department that, effective immediately, there will be an $8 drop in monthly profits, for I have chosen to take my maxi-pad business elsewhere. And though I will certainly miss your Flex-Wings, I will not for one minute miss your brand of condescending bull sh*t. And that’s a promise I will keep.  Always.

Best,
Wendi A******
Texas

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The Freezing Fake Christmas Ladybug

Gracie: The Freezing Fake Christmas Ladybug

Read Gracie: The Freezing Fake Christmas Ladybug and enter the book-giveaway for December!