Friday, February 17, 2006

I Am So Glad That Today Is Almost Over

I did not have a great day today.

It started off well enough. I didn't have work today and that's always a good thing, right?

So, in all fairness, I did not have a good evening today. Let's rewind to...let's say about 3 o'clock. No, wait... I actually have to rewind back two days.

As you might have read in the previous post, I have been working on a little painting project in my living room. Well, it's coming along alright but it kind of stalled out and here is why. I picked, mustardy yellow color for the walls. I know, mustardy yellow doesn't really sound appealing to me either but it's not that bad. I think it's called Golden Valley or something like that but, really, Golden Valley doesn't give you the same understanding of the color as mustardy yellow does, I think.


I got the walls painted and I was thinking it needed a little something else for some pizzaz. So I figured I could try the old world look and rub a stain over the paint. You see, I have plaster walls in my living room and they are all full of cracks and such. None of which I bothered to repair because this whole paint job was really more of an emotional thing rather than an actual home improvement where you get into doing the job right. All I wanted was instant gratification.

I should have known better.

So I bought my stain and figured I could just rub it onto the already painted wall, wipe it off, and all of the cracks would be accented just so.

I was wrong.

You see, even though my walls are full of cracks, it would seem that the stain doesn't necessarily understand what it's supposed to do. Hello, Stain? Crack. There.

Nope. It all just wiped right off. So...get this...I had to PAINT the cracks back on my wall with the stain. How crazy is that? I mean, if I didn't want the cracks to show, I'm sure they would be there glaring like the freaking crack of dawn! But no! Now that I want the cracks to show, no dice.

So, I paint all the cracks on. And I do the rub-it-in thing, trying to make my living room wall look like some villa in Tuscanny. And it turned out ok. For what it was supposed to be. And then I brought my hubby in to see what he thought.

Me: So, what do you think?
Hubby: What do you think? Translated: Hoo boy. I don't think I know the right answer to this question.
Me: Well, I guess it's what I was trying to do.
Hubby: Mmmmm... It looks good.Translated: I hope she's done asking questions.
Me: I'm just not sure if it fits the room or not.
Hubby: Yeah, that's what I think...I'm not sure either. Translated: If I get the next question right, maybe I'll get sex tonight.
Me: I was shooting for that "Old World" look but I just don't know if it fits...
Hubby: That's it! I was trying to place it and you just placed it for me.

Quiet time staring at the wall...

Hubby: It would look really good in a pizzaria.

So, I decided to paint it over. Luckily, I only painted one wall with the "Old World" look so I only had one to repaint. Unfortunately, I was out of paint. The next day, I went back to Sears to get another quart of paint and, wouldn't you know, they don't sell that kind of paint in quarts. So's I have to buy a whole gallon. Except I can't because, wouldn't you know, they are out of that particular tint base.


Fast forward to today.

Hubby decided to go skiing with the kids this afternoon. I, on the other hand, am of the opinion that if I want to freeze my patooty off, I can stay at home and do it for free. So I hatched a plan of sorts. I happened to have a $50 gift certificat for the Allentown Mall that's been hanging around since Christmas. I figured I could drop hubby off at the ski place and then go and spend my certificate. After that, I would go to the Sears in Allentown and maybe I could get another gallon of paint. And after that, I would kill some time at Borders because I LOVE BOOKSTORES! And then I would go to Friendly's and eat an ice cream while reading a book until it was time to pick up Hubby from skiing.

So that was the plan.

It all started to unravel just after we made the turn into the ski area. Once you turn off the road, it's about a quarter mile or so until you actually get to the lodge. We had only gone about 300 feet off the road when we spotted a chicken on the side of the road. A live chicken. Just doing chicken things. On the top of a mountain. In the middle of the woods. A chicken.

So I had to pull over.

It took us about 15 minutes, one bag of chocolate covered popcorn and a lot of strange looks from the folks coming to and leaving the ski area until we had the chicken. In the end, it was my Hubby's skillful weilding of a large stick that enabled him to squash the chicken enough for me to grab it.

Hubby: So...what do we do now?
Me: We take it home of course.
Hubby: I knew that.

We drove up to the lodge and Hubby stayed in the car with the chicken while I went in to try and score a box. I went to the ski store and asked a nice lady if she might have a box about so big as I gestured with my hands. She checked a back room and then another place and then another back room and finally came back with a box that was woefully inadequate. I said "Oh, thank you so much but that one is too small. You see, my husband and I found a chicken..." To which she cheerfully replied "Well, why didn't you say that to begin with?" And I'm thinking "Um, because you would think I'm a freak?" But I just laughed "Ho, ho...yes, a chicken..." And she went and found a suitable box for chicken transport.

I boxed up the chicken, kissed my Hubby goodbye and headed to the mall.

Now, for those of you who may never have had the chance to go to the Allentown Mall, or actually the Lehigh Valley Mall, it's one of the bigger malls in the area. It's got two whole floors of stores. Whoowee! I started on the second floor and worked my way around the mall, checking out the stores that I thought might have something I would like, and tried to make a decision. I ruled out clothes because I just didn't feel like trying anything on. I decided I would spend it on something that I normally wouldn't buy. I narrowed it down to a pair of boots (not really clothes, right?), a comforter for the bed and a nice ski jacket. Ok, so the jacket falls into the clothes category. And considering I just gave up an evening of skiing because I don't like to be cold, it probably doesn't seem like a wise choice. But maybe, just maybe, if I had a nice warm jacket in trendy colors, I would go skiing. Right?

Now, I've been hankering for a pair of tall black leather dressy boots for a few years now. I always have trouble finding ones I like because they have to look nice but also not hinder my ability to kick the crap out of an attacker or, at least, run away from an attacker of whom I failed to kick the crap out. Of. Oh, and they have to have a front made for people who's big toe is the longest toe, not the middle toe, like most women's footwear is these days. So, finally, after a really long search, I found a pair. And I really mulled this one over in my mind before I actually sent the shoe lady to look for my size. As luck would have it, they didn't have my size. They didn't have my size in the runner-up boot either. Finally, I picked one more and...nope. Ok, so no boots.

I went back to look at the jacket. I tried it on. I tried it on in a bigger size. I tried the other one on. After way too many minutes of this, I decided that, no, I don't need another jacket for not-skiing and I would go for the comforter instead.

Buoyed by my new ability to make a decision, I trotted off to Strawbridge's. I picked out the comforter - a lovely thing in a deep red color, so sexy, so chic - and carried it to the sales desk. They were having a huge storewide sale and I wasn't exactly sure if it was 40 or 50% off. The clerk rang it up and said it would come to $74. Not bad for a $250 comforter. And then I said "Oh, by the way, do you take mall gift certificates?" And she said "No, we do not."

With those four words she just stamped the last 3 - count 'em - 3 hours of my life with a big WASTE OF TIME stamp. I burst into tears and walked away, back to my car.

That still had a chicken in the back seat.

I jsut spent three hours in one of the largest malls in the area and could not spend $50. On anything. I am such a failure at being a girl.

I went to Sears and did manage to get my paint, but at this point in the evening, it was so late that I only had time to quickly go through the Wendy's drive thru - no Borders, no Friendly's - and go pick up my Hubby.

Just as I was heading out of Allentown he called.

Hubby: Hey.
Me: Hi. How was skiing?
Hubby: Ok. Some blood. But not on my head.
Me: Oh? Where?
Hubby: My arm. How's the chicken?
Me: Good enough. I mean, she's not dead or anything.
Hubby: Ok. Are you on your way?
Me: Yep. I'll see you soon.

So I picked up hubby and we headed home. We were pondering the circumstances that would bring a chicken to the top of the Blue Mountain and then decided that it must have been hiking the Appalachian Trail. Then we tried to think of a name for her. Hubby said it should have something to do with skiing so we settled on Suzie Drumstick. As in Suzie Chapstick. Yuk, yuk, yuk.

So we finally made it home and I carted the chicken inside. I let the two beagles out. I did a quick scan for Geri-dog, our old dog, in case he wanted to go out too. He, however, was sound asleep in the hallway. The whole time I'm thinking to myself "Man, it's really cold in here."

I went upstairs to take out my contacts and when I went to wash my hands there was no hot water. Great. The stoker went out. I told hubby and he went to have a looksey while I got changed into some nice, fresh cozy pajamas.

By the time I got back downstairs, Geri-dog decided that yes, he did in fact have to go pee and well why not just pee all over the floor instead of going out in the cold. I came down and found a small lake in front of the door.

Me: GAAAAAA!!!! Couldn't you wait two more seconds? You were fast asleep for cryin'' out loud.

All of this has little effect on Geri-dog because he's deaf. He just wags his tail, happy with his empty bladder.

I grabbed a bucket and sponge mop and mopped up Lake Geri-dog. Then I took the bucket in to our laundry room so I could empty it into the utility sink. I was just telling hubby to "Watch out 'cause this is going to be really gross" when the bucket started to topple.

Topple, topple, topple... I made a desperate attempt to grab it, got it upright, and then it slipped and landed SMACK! square on it's bottom in the utility sink. The force of the impact sent all the dog pee water into the air and then it came down, mostly on me.

And I just put nice, fresh, cozy pajamas on.

And I couldn't buy the comforter I wanted.

And they didn't have the boots in my size.

And I have a chicken in my laundry room.

Oh, yes, and the stoker is out. So, hot water for a shower? Afraid not.

Monday, February 13, 2006

A Rather Long Post About Cats

If any of you have recently checked out my seestor's blog, you would see that she gave me rather lovely birthday tribute. Thank you, deeeer seestor, for that. It was a pleasant surprise.

Other than that wonderful gift, you are probably all wondering "What does someone like Mz. Qintessence do on her birthday?" Well...let me tell you...

I painted my living room.

Ok, it's not that bad - I actually wanted to paint my living room for my birthday. When hubby asked what I wanted as my present I said "Paint for the living room." And so, my birthday wish was fulfilled. I'm not quite finished with the project yet as it involves a kind of Basse danse of furniture and drop cloths. Hopefully by the end of the week...

Also, we went out for dinner and a movie. Awwwwwww........

At any rate...

Ok, it would seem as though I have some questions to answer regarding an indordinately large amount of expired felines that were, at one time or another, under my care.

It's true. I am a killer of cats.


These were all accidental.

I know, you're probably thinking "Sure they are. One accident, maybe, but..."

No! It's true! I swear. I like cats. I really do. I would even go so far as to say I love certain cats. And this, you see, is where the problem stems from.

I like cats to the point of taking them in and trying to give them a good home. Maybe not necessarily inside my house, but a good home nonetheless. Over the years I've let me get my abacus...approximately 26.75 cats. Not all at one time, mind you. It's been over a span of 15 years.

So, you can see, when working with such a population, there are bound to be a few...accidents.

Our first cat, Zagnut, was a shelter cat. We got her when we found a mouse in our house. Our kids were still toddlers and, given the propensity for disater in my family, I didn't want to put out poison or traps. So, what's the next best thing? A cat, of course.

We picked her out at the local shelter because she looked pretty lively.

Yes. Well, she certainly was at that.

She was lively to the point of killing everything in the neighborhood. At that time, we lived in a row house. I remember my neighbor telling me that the neighbor next to him was getting a little upset because she liked to feed the birds and, well, I guess her yard was like Game Lands for Zagnut. One day, I was going out into the yard to hang laundry. The bird lady was visitng with the middle neighbor and they were sitting on his back porch. I stopped to chat awhile and, wouldn't you know, that's when Zagnut appeared with a rather large bird in her mouth. She stood on the wall between our porches, commanding everyone's attention, and then gracefully leaped down onto my neighbor's porch and trotted by the bird lady. I was mortified.

Eventually, Zagnut began to stalk bigger game, namely us. She would lie in wait in the dining room and when I had to dash through say, to check something in the oven, she would leap out at me, grab my legs and bite me, and then take off wildly out of the room.

Even though she tried to kill us on a regular basis, we loved our Zagnut. Unfortunately, she was too good of a hunter for the neighbors and we eventually put her into foster care with my sister. Zagnut settled happily in with her family, stalking them, until one day when she disappeared into the streets of Philadelphia. I have no doubt that she is now involved in some savage crime ring in the city.

Our next group of cats arrived after we moved into our present house. Again, it was a mouse issue that started the whole thing off. This time, I decided I would keep my eye out for a Siamese cat. Hubby and I both grew up with a Saimese. Siameses. Siami?
Anyway, I found an ad in the Allentown paper for a pair of 1 year old Siamese cats. Jackpot.

We went to a small apartment occupied by a young hippy-ish couple and came home with Simon and Simone. Who immediately got down to business and had a litter of kittens a few shorts months later.

Kittens I did not want. Fortunately, I was able to find homes for all 4 kittens. Also fortunately, I was able to make an appointment with the vet to get Simone spayed.

Unfortunately, no one told me that cats immediately go into heat again after they give birth.

Litter of Kittens - take 2.

This time, Simone had her kittens in one of the rooms upstairs. We tried to keep them contained to a bedroom and were doing pretty well with it until that one fateful evening (of course these things always happen after the vet's office is closed) when I was in the kitchen and heard a dull whap! in the hallway. As it turns out, one of the kittens wandered out of the room and slipped through the railing of the steps and down he went.

We named him Freefall.

This is the kitten I did mouth-to-muzzle resuscitation on. He wasn't doing too well and I spent that night with the little guy sleeping on my chest. (My husband has since tried to squeeze through the railing as well but no dice.) The next day I took him to the vet's office. The vet gave him a looksie and shot and said he should be fine. I really didn't want to go into work that afternoon but, alas, an injured kitten would not fly as an excuse. When I came home, Freefall was gone. As in dead.

I dreaded breaking the news to my kids because we had all been pulling for little Freefall. Finally, I couldn't avoid it any longer and I told them.

Me: Listen you two, I have some bad news. Freefall didn't make it.
Kids: blank stare
Me: So, um...we're going to have to bury him.
Kids: blank stare

And then finally...

Son: Couldn't we make a stew with him or something?

We did keep one of the kittens from this litter. Hugo lived with us for a few years until, again, one fateful evening...
This was just a few days after my father died so, you'll have to forgive us, we weren't really thinking clearly. We were all getting ready for something or other - I can't even remember anymore - and I had some clothes in our then malfunctioning dryer. The problem with the dryer was that you had to run it for a cycle - during which the clothes wouldn't really dry - and then let it cool for a bit and then run it again. And, of course, the quickest way to cool the dryer is to let the door open. And, of course, cats like to crawl into dark, warm places.

I think you can all see where this is going so I'll spare you the details.

Suffice it to say, Hugo was definitely dry-clean only.

It was somewhere in this whole mix that my daughter - the lovely little imp - tried to pet some wild kittens after soccer practice one day. She got close enough to get bitten and then to watch the kittens scamper off into the woods, leaving us to wonder "Just when do we start the rabies shots?"

As it turns out, you start them within 10 days. Because, you know, you can't take your kids anywhere when they are frothing at the mouth.

In hopes of avoiding RABIES SHOTS!!!, I borrowed a trap from the local animal shelter and tried to catch the kittens. The first night, I caught the mom. I didn't know what to do with her so I brought her home and put her in our chicken pen. From which she promptly escaped. Well.

The next morning, I checked my trap (at least once every 24 hours like a good trapper should) to find a little white kitten with gray spots. Bingo! For my daughter said it was a white kitten that bit her. I proudly brought the trap and kitten home, knowing I could now spare my daughter that fate that every child fears - "Don't touch that cat! It might have rabies! Then you'll have to get RABIES SHOTS!!!" dum, dum dum...

So I show her the kitten and she tells me "There were two white ones. I'm not sure if this is the one."

Sigh. Back to the woods.

The next night I caught a possum. Opossum. Which, for some reason, started a thing in our family where we say "Possum, possum, O! possum!"

Anyway... it was becoming uncomfortably close to the 10 day mark so I finally had to take dear daughter for her rabies shots. As it turns out, it's not nearly as bad as it used to be. No shots in the stomach any more. Now it's just a shot in the butt, one in each arm, and a great big one to the wallet. Because for some reason, Blue Cross & Blue Shield don't consider a pre-emptive strike on a disease that will most certainly kill you in a rather uncomfortable way something worth covering. Go figure.

And, wouldn't you know, the next morning the two remaining kittens were in the trap.

So that is how we got Ed, Rascal and Fang. Go ahead and guess which one bit her.

Since they were so young, I couldn't get a vet to spay or neuter them right away. And since I was concurrently dealing with the Siamese plague in my house, I decided that the wild kittens could, indeed, stay wild. I took them for their shots and figured I would feed them - thusly winning their trust - and would then take them to get fixed when they were old enough.

As it turns out, Fang was the only one willing to give her heart in exchange for food. Ed turned out to be a huge cat, quite capable of taking down cows at the neighboring farms and, while he would let us pet him, there was no way you could pick him up and get him into a cat carrier.

Rascal - the little hussy - was super wary and even more prolific. I did eventually catch her, but not until she added another 2 litters of kittens to the population.

She was also very crafty at hiding her kittens, assuring that we wouldn't find them until they were quite mobile and just as wary as she. It took a lot of time - and a lot of dollars - but I eventually caught all of her offspring and managed to get them fixed. Not wanting to dump them all on the local shelter, we decided to keep them as our farm cats. They always had a building to sleep in and plenty of food, and still had the joy of being a wild cat. It almost brings a tear to the eye...

And let me tell you, nothing brings tears to the eye like getting a cat fixed and finding it several weeks later, run over by a car. Because that's what invariably happens. Either that or you accidentaly close a car door on their head. Because that happens too. At least to me.

So, after what we now refer to as the "dryer incident", we got two more inside cats from the local SPCA - Fred and Sonya. Fred is a great, big bray cat with very yellow eyes and he is evil personified. Catified. Whatever. Sonya is a dainty calico whom we refer to as the silent film star due to her habit of making meowing motions at you with no sound attached.

Here they are...

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Miss Sonya


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The Evil Fred.

And two of our, six I think...outside cats.

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Fang and Oddball

By the way, when I mentioned we had 26.75 cats, Fang is the 0.75. She is the 3 legged cat, a result, I think, of either a fight with another animal or a fight with a trap.

And last, and least in a way - size wise, anyway - is Victor, our 3rd inside cat. He was really supposed to be an outside cat but he's just so darn little and so darn cute that we took him in. Too bad we didn't know before hand what a little bastard he would turn out to be.

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Victor the Little Black Bastard - all dressed up and no place to go

So you see, dear readers, that while I must admit some felines have met an untimely demise at my hands, it was never on purpose. And, when you average it out, hopefully I've done less harm than good.


Sunday, February 12, 2006

Vice President Bing Bing Bing!

Ricochet Cheney.

In case you haven't heard, our illustrious Vice President

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Big Dick Cheney was out hunting quail and "accidentally" shot an attornery in the face.

Yes, you heard me.

He was able to mistake this...

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for this...

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Go figure.

This ought to really make us look good in the eyes of the rest of the world.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Hi...remember me?'s another meme thing.

And really, it couldn't have come along at a better time for just this very morning I was looking in my medicine cabinet crying "Oh Muse! Where are you?" But alas, the medicing cabinet was empty. Well, empty except for various hygiene type items that, while they will keep one's self spic and span, do nothing for the muse. Cleanliness may indeed be next to Godliness but certainly not museliness.

And so, I can thank my dear seestor for giving me a kick in the patoot.

Four Jobs I've Had

1. Concession stand at the cinema in the local mall. Not nearly as exciting as you would think. The best perk to this job was making the cheese for the nachos and cheese. I always added a lot of jalepeno pepper juice. Yum!

2. Taking pictures of children on Santa's lap - also at the local mall. This is the first and only time I ever met someone who actually ate cranberry sauce on turkey. It was Santa Claus and he put it on his turkey leftover sandwich after Thankgiving.

3. Substitute teacher. I'm still in therapy for this and I can't really talk about it just yet.

4. Making plastic plumbing parts. This was my graveyard shift job. It was loud, smelled bad but I think it helped build character. At the very least, I know a lot more about plumbing parts now.

Four Movies I Could Watch Over and Over

1. The Sound of Music - I can also sing along to all of the songs.

2. The Nightmare Before Christmas

3. Bringing Up Baby

4. Raising Arizona

Four Places I've Lived

1. Frackville, PA - My hometown.

2. Philadelphia, PA - a brief college tour

3. Mahanoy City, PA - block parties

4. Barnesville, PA - Sanctuary!

Four TV Shows I Love

Ok, for obvious reasons, these will all be older shows...

1. Cheers

2. The Brady Bunch - Why just this very day I had the opportunity to say "Baby talk! Baby talk! It's a wonder you can walk!"

3. Taxi

4. Looney Toons

Four Places I've Vacationed

1. Niagra Falls - where I had the bejeezus scared out of me just looking at it.

2. Grassroots Music Festival

3. Cape Cod

4. Ireland

My Four Favorite Dishes

1. Garlic with pasta - yes, in that order

2. Garlic with brocolli

3. Garlic with garlic

4. Garlic with garlic and cheese

Four Websites I Visit Daily

1. My Seestor's Blog




Four Places I'd Rather Be

1. In a hot tub.

2. In a bookstore with a good cupa.

3. Greece

4. Italy

Four People I'm Tagging

Well, I only know a few with blogs that I can tag so...

1. d.b. echo...sorry

2. cousins...make your hubby do it too. That way it counts as two for me!


3. Kenny! Ha! I know you're out there. And don't give me the old "I don't have a blog" excuse. You can post your answers in the comments. Better yet, start a blog!