Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Coins Causing Chaos

It's been a learning curve filled with experiences in which I find myself looking around to see if I'm the only person who seems unsure of unfolding events. 

Sometimes, I have obsessive tendencies. These tendencies show up in interesting places.  If I'm with someone else, I will parallel park the car in one attempt and we will go off on our merry way. But if I'm parallel parking on my own, it's a different ballgame.

Recently, I parallel parked my car. It went along the lines of the following: First attempt at parallel parking, I step out  and walk the perimeter of the car in a counter clockwise direction. I pause to investigate the distance between my wheels and the curb. Approximately 6 inches, not good enough. (Yes it is. I am ridiculous.) Back in the car I go. Second attempt at parallel parking. I pull the car all the way out and park again. Get out, walk in a counter clockwise direction, investigate the distance between wheel and curb, 4 inches. (This should be good enough.) I get back in the car. Do it all again for the third attempt at parallel parking. The wheel is now kissing the curb. (That's too close, Goldilocks.) Get back in the car. Do it all again. Fourth attempt at parallel parking! Wheel is approx 1 in from the curb. Start to get back in the ca- STOP! 

I make eye contact with a man in a truck. His eyes bewildered, head tiled slightly, with the most puzzled expression on his face. I can only surmise that he has been watching this entire ordeal, growing more concerned with each parking attempt.

Head down, I scurry away from the car, embarrassed and kicking myself for not letting it be the first time I parked the car. The Beatles were right. Let it be.

Later that evening, I went to grab a few items from the grocery store known as Smart&Final.

In line, I stood next to a teenage boy who worked at the Finally Smart. A blond haired man came up to the this boy and said,

"Excuse me, I put my coins into the Coinstar and now the screen says, 'Error, Contact a Store Employee for Assistance'. "

The teen-aged grocer glanced in the general direction of the Star, "Huh, something must be wrong with it. Someone will have to look at it."

The blond man returned to the machine and the boy dutifully returned to unboxing sports drinks. After a few minutes the coin-less man returned to the same stock boy,

 "Excuse me, the Coinstar still isn't working."

The boy looked up, wide-eyed, processing this new information. In doing so, he began nodding his head affirmatively and said, "Yeah, somebody said it wasn't working earlier today."

....stunned silence... The boy failed to realize that the somebody who said the machine wasn't working was the same blond-haired man that stood in front of him now.

Undeterred, our problem-solving friend, grocery boy called over to one of the cashiers, "Marissa, the Coinstar machine isn't working." Marissa, a similar age to our friend grocery boy responded, "I heard someone was having trouble with it earlier today."


Stock Boy: "Huh - so, what are we gonna do?"

Marissa: "Someone will have to take a look at it."

Stock Boy: "Yeah..."

With this they both turned their heads, looking over in the machine's direction. During this time, I  scanned the two of them for physical signs of being under the influence of some type of mind altering substance because that would help me to make some sense of what was transpiring.

Here's the saddest part: I don't know how the Battle for Coinage resolved because during this time, a young mom and her two daughters stood ahead of me in line. The elder daughter looked to be approx. 8 or 9 years with younger sister of age 4. The two girls worked together to unload the contents of their basket onto the belt.

I noticed that the youngest has accidentally left an avocado in the basket - a mistake that could be disastrous in terms of guacamole to chips ratio. "Don't forget your avocado!" I cheerfully reminded the little girl.

"Oh, thank you!" the mom responded graciously. She nudged her youngest daughter. "Say thank you to the nice woman" the mom instructed.

The youngest came up to me slowly, very slowly. She lifted her two little arms as high in the air as she could reach, look me directly in the eye, and proceeded to double hand slap my belly..

WHAT IS HAPPENING? I looked over at the mom who was busy explaining to her older daughter to put back all of the many different chocolates she grabbed from the case. I looked to the cashier and grocery boy who were fixated on the CoinStar. I  had no witnesses to confirm that yes, that just happened.

Hands still on confidently on my midriff, the youngest daughter's smirk turned into a full on Chesire cat grin. This was the grin of a girl who had double-hand-belly-slapped as a thank you before.

The girl brought her hands to her side. I broke our gaze, took a step back, and stood there, lost for words.

(Thinking about it now, I can only be happy that her little hands didn't reach any higher than my torso.)

As the mom went to pay for her groceries, her two daughters discovered the many, many bags stacked along the bottom of the checkout aisle. In an effort to grab ONE bag, the youngest daughter pulled what I can best estimate to be 52 plastic bags onto the floor. Rather than scoop them all back up and place them in their original spot, the two sisters took care to pick up the bags one at a time and gingerly place them on alternating shelves

Realizing that I had spent too much time at the Final, I walked over to assist the girls. I streamlined the process by scooping up the entire remainder of the bags and plopping them down onto the closer of the two shelves. The older sister looked at me with a worried expression, "But now the stacks are uneven. We have to fix it."

I thought to myself, "You should help me park my car."

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Rachel Rents a Bicycle

Dockless bicycles are the latest thing in San Diego. These are bikes located randomly throughout the city They don't require a docking station.You download the app, scan the QR code on the bike, the bike unlocks and off you go. It costs $1 per 30 minutes. Easy, right?

I read up on these bikes prior to renting one. Because, of course I did. I learned that the chief complaint is that these bikes ride with little regard to traffic, nor do many adhere to the laws of the road. I want going to add to that statistic. I would be the most courteous biker in the town.

The rental went smoothly enough. I used my phone to scan the QR code with the app, the bike unlocked itself, and I was off. I was off straight down a hill that had a four-way stop at the bottom hill... Don't get ahead of me.

This hill was (and still is) steep. You know when your going downhill on items that roll or glide and you start to get that "Oh no, I am going a little too fast, but I've still got this"? Yeah, that was my first thought as I was picking up speed quickly. I squeezed the handbrakes harder and harder until it dawned on me, "This bicycle is not stopping."

With a car directly behind me and the four-way stop approaching quicker than I would have preferred, I started to drag one foot along the road. When that didn't cut it, I planted both feet and dragged as hard as I could, thinking, "I HAVE TO STOP!"  as if internally yelling commands to myself would be the difference between my success and an untimely hospital visit. The stop sign grew closer and closer. I grit my teeth and dragged my feet with all my might until I finally I came to a stop - right before the stop sign - much to the relief of the three other cars at the four-way stop who had suspended their morning drive to serve as potential eyewitnesses for the police report that would come along with the loss of control of a lime green and electric yellow bicycle, barreling through an intersection, and finishing with the inevitable crash. .

I am not exaggerating when I say, we ALL breathed a collective sigh of relief when I came to a complete stop. All of this in the first 5 MINUTES of my journey.

The next portion of the journey varied between uphill, level road, and GENTLE downhills. I could handle this and successfully made it to the grocery store.

I placed the bike on the sidewalk, out of the way of pedestrians, and pressed the lock button twice. The bike locked itself and a-shopping I went.

I left the grocery store with two reusable bags, filled with groceries. The bike was still sitting outside, so I figured why not rent it again, because apparently I hadn't had enough two-wheeled adventure for one day.

The first VERY FULL grocery bag went into the adorable basket on the front of the bike. The second I slung over my right shoulder, unevenly distributing the weight and making more of a challenge to maneuver the bike. A challenge, yes, but one I could surely overcome.

Currently, downtown San Diego has at most a handful of dedicated bike lanes. But with the influx of bike riders and it being illegal to ride electric bikes on sidewalks, a change had to be made.Their solution? Paint the bike lane symbol on one of the car lanes, insist that everyone "share the lane" and hope for the best. Do you know how many people I gave the "I'm sorry" wave to as they sped around me? Neither do I because I lost count.

Not only did I wave my apologies, but I also used the power of the wave to indicate my turning actions. As a bike doesn't have blinkers, you use your arms. But any time I lifted my left arm to indicate, the bike would tip to the right as the groceries on my right shoulder embarked on a game of chicken with gravity.

And it wasn't enough to merely gesture with my left arm to indicate a turn. No, no,no. That wasn't enough for me. I wanted to make sure everyone on the road. their passengers, and relatives knew my intentions. So I combined the graceful arm motions of light attendants as they indicate the locations of the six main exits of the aircraft and coupled it with the magic that is Spirit Fingers introduced to us by the 2000 classic, Bring It On, starring Kirsten Dunst and Gabrielle Union.

I eventually reached home, parked the bike on the sidewalk,  pushed the button to lock bike, and deleted the bike renting app from my phone.

Friday, April 25, 2014

All the Single Puppies

I have a tendency to change song lyrics. I don't mean to do it at first, but once I start, I end up modifying the whole song, giving it new lyrics which match a theme. Years ago, when Beyonce released "All the Single Ladies" somehow my brain though, "this would be an excellent song about PUPPIES!"

Without further ado, I give you All the Single Puppies, a parody of All the Single Ladies.

All the single puppies, (all the single puppies)
All the single puppies, (all the single puppies)
All the single puppies, (all the single puppies)
All the single puppies,
Now put your paws up!

Up in the park, running 'round, doing my own puppy thing,
Decided to sniff, now you wanna flip, cause another puppy noticed me.
He's licking me, I'm licking him, don't pay it any attention,
Just ate some snacks, yum, yum snacks,
Don't you bark at me.  
Cause if you liked me, then you should've given a treat to me,
If you liked me, then should've given a treat to me,
Don't be mad when you see that puppy likes me,
If you liked me, then should've given a treat to me. 
Bark, bark, bark,
Bark, bark, bark, bark, bark, bark,
Bark, bark, bark, 
Woof, woof, woof,
Woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof,
Woof, woof, woof,  
I got a collar on my neck, a nice shiny tag,
and I'm rocking a matching leash,
I need no permission, did I mention,
Don't pay him any attention,
Cause you had you turn,
And now your gonna learn
What it really feels like to miss me. (Bow wow)

Cause if you liked me, then you should've given a treat to me,
If you liked me, then should've given a treat to me,
Don't be mad when you see that puppy likes me,
If you liked me, then should've given a treat to me. 
Bark, bark, bark,
Bark, bark, bark, bark, bark, bark,
Bark, bark, bark, 
Woof, woof, woof,
Woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof,
Woof, woof, woof. 
All the single puppies, (all the single puppies)
All the single puppies, (all the single puppies)
All the single puppies, (all the single puppies)
All the single puppies,
Now put your paws up.  
Bark, bark, bark,
Bark, bark, bark, bark, bark, bark,
Bark, bark, bark, 
Woof, woof, woof,
Woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof,
Woof, woof, woof.

Thanks to Rishka for this FANTASTIC single puppies pictures. Look, on the left, it's LILA!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Talk Show

As you may have surmised, I have a lot to say about a lot of things. In my opinion, most of the things I have to say are both interesting and comical. This makes me the PERFECT candidate to host a talk show.

MANY, MANY, MANY, many, many, many, MANY, MANY talk shows fail due to low viewership. Why doesn't anyone watch? Because they aren't interesting. Sure, they may be good for the first few days, maybe even weeks, but after a while the host runs out of things to talk about. For me, this isn't the case.

Talk shows aren't just about one person talking to the camera the entire time. No, talk shows require multiple people talking. Who else would be on the talk show? Ms. Diver.

Together, we would make a FANTASTIC talk show.

What proof do I have of this, you ask? Well, the other day as we were lunching, that's right, lunch is not only a noun, but also a verb. I love that fact because I love to lunch. "Shall we lunch?" is one of my favorite things to ask. It is best asked with a British accent such like that of Dame Maggie Smith portraying Dowager Countess Grantham on Downton Abbey. 

Oh, don't even get me started on how much I ADORE Downton Abbey. LOVE IT! Dame Maggie Smith as Dowager Countess Grantham and her one liners that deliver wisdom with a ZING! Too good.  

Source: tumblr
I mean, just read that quote. "Vulgatiy is no substitute for wit." That is so true. Rappers and singers can put all the cuss words they want in a song and that doesn't make me think, "Wow, how original and inspiring." But when they make a clever play on words or one that you makes you think, that's a good song.

A great example of this is Childish Gambino and their song, Freaks and Geeks. I'm not going to link to it due to its explicit nature which is a shame. I really wish they didn't drop so many f-bombs and n-words because it takes focus away from their absolutely brilliant lyrics. I was floored with their line "took the G out from your waffle, all you got left is your ego." 

How brilliant is that? Seriously, that is awesome. So much so, I need to break this down to truly appreciate this word play. 

"Took the G out from your waffle" - alright, so waffle means running your mouth without really saying anything, just babbling on and everyone knows what being a G is.  (Mom, it stands for gangsta or gangster, think Al Capone.) But the BEST part of this is the play on the brand, Eggo Waffles. If you remove a 'g' from Eggo, you're left with the word 'ego'.

I mean, really, it doesn't get much better than that.

BUT back to the point, Ms. Diver, Ms. Hamilton, and I were lunching the other day. Ms. Diver looks at me and says, "I'm going to try this. I'm just going to throw this out there and you join when you can."

With that, she begins to sing, "Come and - "

Two words. Two words was all I needed to know where this was going. And so I joined in as we sang the chorus of the following:

Ms. Hamilton perplexed by our singing asked, "Is this a thing that you two do? Have you both done this before?"

Ms Diver responded, "No, but I had a feeling though it would work."

In addition to the chorus of the fantastic Gullah Gullah Island Theme Song, I continued singing the verse, "Just put your foot in your hand, that means hurry up, don't miss the good things that we've planned." Apparently, I was the only one of the three of us that remembered that portion of the song. But that was okay as I was then joined by Ms. Diver as we completed the melody with, "so come and let's play together in the bright, sunny weather, let's all go to Gullah, Gullah Island, Gullah, Gullah Island, Gullah Gullah Island."

In case you were wondering, Gullah Gullah Island was a show on Nick Jr. when Ms. Diver, Ms. Hamilton, and I were kids. I also just learned it was the first show designed for children that featured a black family, which is awesome. I think the most interesting thing about that fact is that as a child, I never thought "Oh wow! A black family!" Instead, when once I learned to read and saw that they all had the same last name, I thought, "They're a family in real life? A real family who sings on a TV show? Can my whole family be on a singing TV show?" But no, to this date, my family had not been on a singing TV show. Sad.

So why am I telling you about this? Well after the grand finale of our impromptu duet, Ms. Diver mentioned, "you should write about us on your blog." And although that may have been said in jest, I followed through.

I think Ms. Diver and I would have a wonderful talk show. Ms. Hamilton, whom (it is whom, right? Because you know HER and when it's him/her, you use whom and if it's she/he, you use who. Back me up on this or correct me because I'm not sure.) most of you know as the JV field hockey and lacrosse coach would be fantastic on the show. She would be the person who would just shake her head at Ms. Diver's and my antics. To be fair, they are pretty incredible antics.

Our show might not be syndicated world-wide, country-wide, or even state-wide. However, I think it would be a great thing. Perhaps, I should start an online petition or kickstarter to call for the need for us to host a talk show.

And how do I know we'd never run out of things to talk about? Because Ms. Diver does incredible things like going to see Cher, having Semis perform at Carnegie Hall, travel the world. And I do things like go white water rafting, kayaking, hiking, dog related activities, rescue animals in bizarre scenarios, y'know, the usual. Since we do such different things, the discussion topics are endless.

Oh, how I desperately want this to become a thing.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Cheques or Checks?

At some point between November and March, I lost my checkbook. This didn't seem like the end of the world as I use approximately 20 checks every 5 years...at most.

However, when a doctor told me she only took cash or check, I was dumbfounded. Who doesn't accept credit card? Regardless, I was out of luck. I don't carry around cash or checks. I am a the definition mugger's least favorite person. If someone mugged me, they wouldn't get a single valuable thing from my wallet.

Just to prove my point, here are the items in my wallet:

  1. My Driver's License
  2. 1 Credit Card, 1 Debit Card
  3. My Health Insurance Card
  4. 1 penny that is stuck in the corner of the zippered pouch
  5. Expired Coupons
  6. Loyalty Member Cards - Panera, Rite Aid, Safeway, Lakeshore Learning Center
  7. Gift Cards with less than $5 on them
  8. My Red Cross Blood Donations Card
  9. A receipt

Yep...that's it. By mugging me, the mugger would get exactly $0.01 IF they took the time to get the penny out.  Combine that with the fact that when threatened, I tend to kick, and I have a mean round-house. (Thank you years of karate.) Mugging me isn't a very lucrative or wise plan.

Since I rarely carry cash, I knew I needed to order checks from the bank to pay for the doctor. Plus, I figured it's always good to at least have access to a check book.

To get checks, I needed to go to the bank. Easy enough, I drove to the bank, and entered.

Teller:       Hello, how may I help you.
Me:          Hi, I would like to order checks.
Teller:      How many would you like?
Me:          I don't know. Maybe 50 checks?
Teller:      And how will you be paying for them?
Me:        (Sarcastically) Can I write you a check?
Teller:     No, the check company only takes cash or credit card.
Me:          Ha - oh, you're not kidding. You're telling me the company that makes CHECKS doesn't accept CHECKS? 
Teller:    No, they take too long to process.
Me:       I feel as though that may be foretelling of the future of checks.
Teller:    -silence- Credit card or cash?
Me:       Credit card.
Teller:    You will receive your checks in the mail in 2 - 4 weeks.

Ok, cut to 3 weeks later. The mail arrives and I open a small package. Inside are my checks, finally. However, it seemed like they sent me more than 50 checks. No, this was much more than 50 checks. They sent me 10 checkbooks and EACH one had 50 CHECKS. I was now the proud owner of 500 checks. 

500 checks?! What in the world am I going to do with that many checks? At the rate I'm going, those checks will last me until I'm 150 years old. (This is correct, I did the math. Every 5 years I will use 20 checks, so 20/5 = 4 checks per year, 500 checks / 4 checks per year = 125 years worth of checks. 25 years old + 125 years worth of checks = 150 years old. MATH IS WONDERFUL.) 

I called the bank to clarify my new possession of 1 and a half lifetime supplies of checks. They informed me something went wrong with my order, so they just sent me the STANDARD NUMBER OF CHECKS that they send to people AND they expect I would need to reorder in 5 years. Which leads me to my next question, WHO IS USING 100 CHECKS PER YEAR in this day and age?

500 checks is only supposed to last me 5 years? 20 checks lasts me 5 years. That gives me a 480 check surplus. I am at a loss. Part of me wants to write VOID on those 480 checks and then make 480 tiny paper airplanes.

The main problem with that plan is I only know the first three steps of making paper airplanes. I first learned these steps when I was in second grade. It was after school, but for some reason some of us second-graders sat in the cafeteria watching as a teacher taught us the steps to making paper airplanes. I am positive this teacher immediately regretted her decision as once some of the students learned to make these airplanes, any scrap of paper was commandeered to be artfully folded into something resembling an airplane. Afterwards, these airplanes flew threw the school causing quite a ruckus.

To show us how to make a paper airplane, we were to follow along with the teacher.  First, she took two corners of the paper and folded them to the middle of the page. Easy peasy.

Step two, she folded the paper in half. Got it. Step three: she folded down the beginning of the wings. Step four -

I don't know step four because after step three, my paper slightly resembled an airplane and I thought, "I HAVE AN AIRPLANE! THIS IS THE COOLEST DAY EVER!" With that thought racing through my mind, I jumped out of my seat to send my airplane soaring through the sky. 

I ran, holding my airplane up, then released it. My airplane promptly nose dived towards the floor. But, at 7 years old, that was good enough for me.

Now that I'm thinking about it, perhaps checks should be shredded considering they do include your bank account number, routing number, address - y'know, all that stuff that would be on a hacker's Christmas/Chanukah/Eid  list.

So no tiny paper airplanes then.  Lame.

I guess I am stuck with these checks.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A "Tail" of Two Mice AND GusGus

By now, you now of my mouse debacle.

However, there was one crucial member I left out of the mouse brigade, GusGus.

GusGus is shorter than the other two mice, he is also a bit chubs. Ok, he is very chubs. GusGus LOVES to eat. I don't blame him. He is a mouse. What else is there to do in the life of a mouse? You can only run through so many mazes before it becomes a bit redundant. What else are you going to do? EAT.

One evening after returning home from work, I turned on the kitchen light to reveal GusGus chomping away at a large crumb. The moment he became aware of my presence, he dropped his crumb and worked his way to the mouse hole.

Normally, the mice bolt towards an exit. It happens so quickly that at times, I can barely register what is happening before the mouse is out of sight.

With GusGus, I had PLENTY OF TIME to register. GusGus' little belly dragged against the floor. He shuffled along, putting forth an enormous amount of effort, desperate to make his escape.

The Original GusGus from Cinderella. Source

Imagine you are watching a race.  The starting gun sounds as a herd of racers take off, dashing down the track. You look back to see one kid left behind. He is giving his best, but has managed to only traverse mere feet away from the starting line. He isn't running as much as he is shuffling. All you can do is hope he somehow finishes. While all of this passes through your mind, the others races complete the run.

Now, EVERYONE is watching the one kid. Talk about an anxiety attack. At first, everyone cheers him on, but the encouragement proves fruitless as he speed remains that of a turtle. The cheering stops. Now it's plain old AWKWARD. You look away, stare at the sky, anything that will help distract from this painful scene.

You look back, positive that he is almost finished the race. NOPE! So again, you look away, attempt to make small talk with the people around you. Finally, the kid closes in on the finish line. Again the cries of cheers fill the stands as people celebrate this kid's determination, but mostly are cheering that the awkwardness is over.

GusGus is that kid. GusGus worked so hard towards escaping that even Lila found little appeal in hunting him and instead, she stopped, stood next to me, and together we watched him escape.

That''s right, even Lila thinks chasing GusGus is a joke. It wouldn't be a chase so much as a walk over and stand next to him while he wobbles slowly on the floor.

My friend, Tana also lives in the apartments. She doesn't have a single mouse. Why? Because she has TWO cats.

I need to borrow these cats, but I am not sure for how long. I'm guessing the mice would quickly learn of our feline residents, but what would happen when the cats leave?

I'm sure the mice would eventually venture out again, risking their tiny critter lives. I assume once the smell of cat wore off they would return. SO, what if I took some cat hair and placed strategically in corners frequented by my mice? I think that is a brilliant idea.

Although, I have to obtain cat hair. I am not sure how to go about this process. Cats are not usually the biggest snugglers. It is also VERY DIFFICULT to reason with a cat. At least when it comes to Lila, I can say, "Lila" in a very serious tone with my attempt at a deep voice, and she immediately rolls over.

If I say a cat's name in a serious tone, the cat completely ignores me. Cats are so sassy. I can see it playing out like this:

Once I unsuccessfully attempt to reason with the cat into giving me it's cat hair, I will rely on catching the cat. I can already imagine my endless hours of me chasing a slinky, maneuverable cat around the house. Cats possess the ability to leap from refrigerators, dart into tiny spaces, and jump onto counters, knocking over anything and EVERYTHING in their path.

That is rude, cats. You knock over things, break things, and don't even bat an eye lash. A cat will knock over a vase, watch it shatter into a million pieces, then look at you with it's cat-ferocity as if saying, "What." Not, "What?' No, that would imply the cat was confused by their actions. No, cats know exactly what they did and they don't care. They are the honey badgers of the domesticated animal world.

Meanwhile, I chase the cat and given my determination to catch the cat, as by that point I'd challenge myself to catch the cat, I plow through any object in my way. As a former soccer goalie, diving onto the sofa or even the floor in a vain attempt to grab the cat surely results in a few broken household items along with some injured body part.

But I put injury aside. When it comes to a challenge, as I've said many times before, this is my life -


Although, usually I am the one issuing the challenge to myself.

By this point, exhaustion is sure to set in. I fall to the ground. The cat glares at me. I crawl towards the cat, saying, "it's ok" over and over again. The cat lets me come near enough and I snatch her by the leg. I've made her a girl cat. 

She smacks me in the face, claws extended. Her sharp swipe tears through my skin. Blood drips down my face. I release her leg and wince as I wipe my forehead, covering my hand in drops of blood.

The cat retreats to a tiny nook, possibly under a bed, in the dead center where my arms are unable to reach. But of course, I still try, laying down on my belly, shuffling my body, underneath the frame of my bed. At this  point, I realize I am stuck. There is nothing left for me to do, but try and grab the cat.

As I extend my fingers towards the hostile scratcher, she hisses, a warning that I need to back off. Too bad I am stuck and unable to back off. I stop trying to grab her and instead we stare at each other. Her, hissing, me, frustrated. My continuous wiggling proves useful as I back out from underneath the bed. Of course, I manage to hit my head as I break free. Poor brain. It deals with so much.

"Fine! You win!" I call out to the cat as I leave the room. I approach the spot where I managed to grab her leg, and lo and behold, there is a tuft of cat fur. CHALLENGE COMPLETED!

I grab it and shout out in victory, completely oblivious of my open wound's determination to bleed. I plop down on the sofa, victorious.

And with my luck AFTER all of this subsides, Joey returns home from wherever he is. Because of course, he isn't there when I am having INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES. 

He will look at the dried blood on my face and ask what happened. All I will say is "THE CAT."

Knowing Joey, his response will be along the lines of, "soooo, we still have mice."

"Go ask GusGus" I will respond. "Oh, and don't go in the bedroom, there is a very angry cat under the bed. I'm not sure how to make her leave."

Yes, I can very easily see this playing out - how? Because something VERY similar has happened before. I was left wounded by an angry cat who didn't want to play. She managed to cut open my forehead with her claws. Lovely cat.

Therefore, I guess we are stuck with the mice until the exterminator shows. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A "Tail" of Two Mice

At the end of November, Joey and I moved to a new apartment and by new, I mean built in the 1950s.

Around the end of December, I noticed little brown droppings. Horrified by my new discovery, I vacuumed every nook and cranny of the apartment.

EVERY NOOK AND CRANNY - I moved bookshelves, our 5 person sofa which weighs 300 pounds, moved our shoe rack, curtains and morphed into a vacuuming fiend. I would find every piece of tiny mouse poop. 

Knowing that mice are nocturnal, I went on with life as usual. Until I noticed a new trend emerging from Lila's usual habits. She would go to a dark closet, sit down, and stare at the ground. If a dark closet was unavailable, I found her sitting behind the sofa and staring at the ground.

I started to worry. Was Lila depressed? Bored? I enrolled her in Doggy Daycare, hoping her playtime there would cause her bizarre habits to subside. Yet, she still spent evenings in the closet. I shared my concern with Joey, who assured me Lila didn't show the usual signs of depression. As we talked, Lila sat, alone, in the closet, focused on the carpet. I called her name. She didn't even flinch. Joey called her name. No response.

Finally, I got up and walked over to the closet. I turned on the light to reveal that Lila wasn't depressed; no, Lila was staring down a hole in the corner our of closet floor. A hole that most likely leads to a tiny underground Ratatouille-sized family of mice.

My neighbors have informed me that they too battle the mice. One neighbor in particular is Eileen. If you've ever seen Ratatouille, the old woman Mabel in the movie is my neighbor, Eileen. Eileen is 82 years old and always has her hair in curlers. In addition, Eileen's favorite outfit consists of the following: a pink and white nightgown complimented by heavy industrial boots. According to Eileen, she frequently falls asleep in her recliner with the tv on in the background, then wakes up at bizarre hours, like 2am. I love Eileen.

I am not sure if Eileen owns any weaponry, but it wouldn't be a big surprise if this scene played out in our complex. Although, rather than target the ceiling, Eileen would target the floor.

Last weekend, Eileen had a gentleman caller. However, being elderly and easily confused, the gentleman caller first came to my apartment in search of Eileen. He knocked on my door and stood in bewilderment as I greeted him.

"Did you just move in?" he asked.
"I moved here in November." I replied.
"What happened to the old lady that lived her?" he asked loudly, which indicated he may be hard of hearing.
"I don't know."
"Ok," he responded sadly. He turned away and made his way up the stairs.

I closed the door and it dawned on me.

"Wait!" I swung the door open, hoping to catch the man. Luckily, his age slowed him down and he was only 20 feet away from my door. "You're in the wrong apartment building! She lives in the next building. She's still there!" I continued, excited to be able to help.
"Really?" he said, eyes lighting up.
"Thank you!"


ANYWAY, after I discovered the mouse tunnel in our closet, I stuffed the hole with an old t-shirt. Then I put a box on top of the t-shirt. This is obviously not a long term solution, but so far, it's working. I then carried Lila out of the closet. That's right CARRIED. I had to physically pick her up and carry her out of the closet. She is so infatuated with our critters that any time she hears a sound coming from the kitchen or closet, she bolts from the sofa, her usual spot, runs to where she thinks the sound came from and STARES, waiting. 

The pathetic part of this is that usually she focuses so hard on the spot where she believes the mice will appear that she completely misses them running behind her.

The most mice we've seen at any one time is three. The first time we saw a mouse, I decided he needed a name. Normally, I choose the name, but this time, I asked Joey for his input.

"What should we name the mouse?" I asked Joey
"Hector," Joey replied without batting an eyelash.

I am so PROUD! Normally, whenever I try to give a name to a random animal, Joey acts perplexed. It used to be that when I told him that I named a random critter, he would respond, "Why would you name it?"

It has taken nine years of being together for Joey to realize when it comes to me, it's usually easier to go with the flow. Rather than question my desire to name every animal that crosses our path, he MIGHT AS WELL  give his input on a name.

So Hector it became. Whenever we saw a mouse in the house, (nice rhyme) we would announce Hector's visit. We saw Hector by himself three times. I am very well aware that it could have been a different mouse each time, but I choose to believe it was Hector. LET ME BELIEVE!

This was fine and dandy until last week. Last Wednesday night, I walked into the kitchen and turned on the light. The room illuminated to reveal Hector frozen still, STARING AT ME. 

His stiffened stature caused me to freeze as well. This means at 9:00 pm on a Wednesday night, I was caught in a STARING CONTEST WITH A MOUSE. I didn't dare call out for Joey and startle Hector. I wanted to catch and free Hector and his family in a wild meadow filled with flowers, sunshine, and happiness.

"How can I catch him?" I thought to myself. "I know, I LIGHTLY BOP HIM WITH A BROOM. I won't hit him hard enough to do damage, just enough to stun him."

FLAWLESS PLAN - aka dumb plan.

All I needed was to reach for the broom, let me move my arm ever so slightly to the left to grab the broom and I'll -

The moment I tensed my arm, Hector took off into a newly carved hole under our cabinets.

"Oh well," I said out loud.

I took a step further into the kitchen and was cut off by another mouse who ZOOMED past me into the hole.

Ok, I am not one of those girls who screams when she gets scared. I don't scream and pretend to be scared merely to gain attention. Like when you are at the ocean, standing in the sand and a crashing wave makes its way towards you, DON'T SCREAM. That is stupid."OMG THE WAVES ARE COMING! AHHH" Those girls drive me crazy. Either a) let the water touch your toes, you will survive or b) MOVE OUT OF THE WAY. 

When I see girls/women doing that, I stare at them with frustration. They are giving women a bad name. We are NOT a weak gender that requires rescuing. We can manage on our own. Sure, we LIKE when someone comes to help us, who doesn't? Yet, women need to stop perpetuating the stereotype that we can't handle life without a strong, rugged man saving the day. I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T, do you know what that means? U

Ok sorry, side tracked. I have MANY more thoughts about that and also my issue with society perpetuating what men and women should look like and act like. If you're a kind and respectful person who is trying to be a good human being, you're awesome in my book.

ANYWAY, even though I am not one to shriek, the second mouse startled me so much that I let out a quick shriek. I immediately covered my mouth, surprised that sound managed to escape. Joey called out from the bedroom. I explained that alongside Hector, we now had Gladys. That's right, I named her Gladys.

So that is my life's current situation. I am trying to handle living with mice - as in, I want to catch these mice and free them, but I think we may need to call an exterminator.