This is Taran. He's a four-month-old ten-pound something mix (rat terrier and beagle, maybe?) that my family is fostering for two weeks with the option to adopt. I really, really hope they decide to keep him. Look at the ears, for God's sake!
Last Saturday, my cousin Sunny got married in a lovely little Baptist church about three hours away. To account for the long drive and the hour time difference, my mom and sister and I left town at 6:30 AM. I'd called Sunny a few weeks before the wedding to RSVP, and she gave me the address of the church so I could plug it into googlemaps. The trip went off without a hitch, really. The weather was pleasant, we had lots to talk about, and we only hit one relatively short stretch of construction before reaching smooth sailing on the interstate.
We got to the cute little touristy town where the wedding was to be held at about 10:45 local time, almost a bit too early for the 11:30 ceremony. We eyed cute little flea markets and touristy antique shops. We exclaimed over a sprawling bright yellow historic house, transformed into a bed and breakfast. We carefully followed the directions to the address Sunny had given us, and ended up on a narrow backroad surrounded by trees, a machine shop, a storage unit, and a barn. Uh...
We'd been traveling along State Road 4, and there were multiple offshoots marked Old State Road 4, so we theorized that we'd taken the wrong branch. We continued on along State Road 4, and finally conceded that we'd definitely, definitely gone too far. Mom reminded my sister that her iPhone should have a GPS feature, and Sis plugged the address in and verified that we were pretty far off course. We retraced our steps, only to end up on the same backroad by the same storage unit. Mayday! I tried calling Danger, who was at the wedding. No answer. I tried calling MacGyver, Sunny's brother. No answer.
While following our course on her iPhone, Sis had noticed an Old State Highway 4 on the map. Theorizing that perhaps Sunny had made a mistake in the address she gave me -- and realizing that we now had about 20 minutes to get to the ceremony and no choice but to take a wild guess -- we set off again. As we drove, we recalled that Sunny had mentioned that the church was just down the road from the fairgrounds. We had left our invitation at home and couldn't remember the name of the church, but with this clue, we were saved. We pulled over at a Shell station and asked the clerk, a nice lady named Peg, if she knew of a little Baptist church near the fairgrounds. Lo and behold, she did! We hauled ass and found the church, walking in just as the bridal party was lining up in the vestibule.
We later found out that lots of other people had the same problem. Sunny's other brother and one of her aunts had ended up at the same storage unit that we located. Three of her friends got so lost that they didn't even show up until the reception was almost over. Lesson learned? Brides, be EXTRA SURE that you have accurate directions to give to your guests. (And the church's listing on the county website has the incorrect address, too, so it wasn't entirely Sunny's fault.) Otherwise, your guests might be standing by a barn in the woods, instead of watching you walk down the aisle. (Or, you know, shopping at a flea market. Not that we considered that as an alternate option or anything...)
I called Evil Ducky after work today to tell her I was running a little late to meet up with her for yoga. "The weirdest thing just happened," she told me. "As I was pulling into my driveway, I noticed something moving around in my backyard. When I went to check it out, it was a HUGE SNAPPING TURTLE! What the hell should I do?"
She wasn't kidding. This was a huge fucking turtle. She wasn't really sure how it got into the fully fenced backyard, or why. There was one low spot under the fence that could've provided an access point, and I suppose the turtle's friends could've played a trick on it. Like, I don't know, told it there were some really tasty tomatoes on the yard, or some really gorgeous lady turtles, and then our poor turtle broke in only to find out he'd been lied to. I didn't have my camera, but Evil Ducky documented the interloper. He looks pretty forlorn, I think, and also sort of annoyed, as if he's saying, "Clyde, you son of a bitch, there are no goddamn tomatoes in this yard."
We decided to wait and attempt to capture the turtle after yoga class, figuring there was a slim chance it would find its way out of its predicament by then. Of course, it didn't. Now, in a strange and interesting twist of fate, just last week I help transport three turtles from my workplace to a pond out in the country, one of which was a snapping turtle. Granted, I did not actually capture that turtle myself, but watched as the reptile intern I'd called in from the local nature center took care of the dirty work. Also, our turtle at work was quite a bit smaller than Evil Ducky's new pal. Anyway, technicalities! At this point, I was the closest thing we had to a turtle wrangling expert.
For scale, here's the turtle with my size 7 / 8 flipflop:
Luckily, this turtle was relatively chill. I lifted him up a little bit by the shell (he didn't even try to take my hand off), and we managed to get him onto Evil Ducky's snow shovel. After rapidly discovering he was NOT going to fit into the large bucket we grabbed from the garage, we wedged him into the Sterilite tub I had in my car, the same tub I'd used to transport the snapping turtle from work, just a week ago. (Fate!) I still can't believe this turtle fit into the tub. It was a very close thing.
With the turtle thus captured and a bit of OMG HOLY SHIT DID WE JUST DO THAT screaming out of way, Evil Ducky drove us all to a nearby park so we could set the turtle free near the lake. She has a photo on her blog of me letting the turtle go. Unfortunately, giant snapping turtles are not very fleet of foot. The turtle sort of tipped over, fell out of the box, landed on his back, flailed, then rolled down the short slope and landed in the water, upside-down. It was pretty much the least elegant, least photogenic, least Animal-Planet-worthy release ever unfortunately not caught on film. No worries, though, he quickly righted himself, blew a few bubbles from his surprisingly adorable nostrils, gave us the finger, and swam away. A bit anticlimactic, but dude. We totally kicked ass.
My hilarious and awesome friend Rachel, previously known as kittyb (and "Brown's mom" and "funny Rachel") has finally started a blog of her own. Trust me, you want to read it. For her first entry on the hysterically titled Turds and Whey, she talks about finding a roach in her hair. And despite the horror, she makes it funny, I promise.
This abandoned house fascinated me for years, even before we lived four blocks away. It always surprised me that it was still standing, situated as it was on one of the busiest streets in town, at the end of a nice block in an established neighborhood. I always wanted to do a series of photos of it, but it took me until this past April to finally get organized and brave enough to go snap some pictures.
And then, last Friday, somebody tore the house down. I drove by on my way to my parents' place, and the house was a pile of bricks and rubble under the treads of an excavator. All morning as I planted my flowers, I could hear the rumble and clang of bricks being loaded into a dumptruck. By mid-afternoon, the lot was cleared, leveled, and covered with straw. I can't say the house is any great loss, but I do regret the loss of the photos I never took. It reminded me of other photos I didn't take, perfect shots that I didn't take the time to turn back and capture. The similarly abandoned house out at the intersection of two of the biggest commercial roads in town, last house for miles around. For years I thought about what a good subject it would be, and then I went away for the summer and came back to an empty lot. The lone tree left standing when an old farmstead was cleared for a parking lot, noble and tragic against the Spring sky. It was gone two weeks later. The most beautiful old tree in Louisiana, draped with Spanish moss in a way that looked almost staged. Why didn't I ask if we could turn the car around for five minutes?
On Thursday, I spent a few hours outside planting vegetables in the garden while Indy hung out and played in the yard. Since his clodhopper paws always seem to find their way onto my plants, I set up the rabbit fencing so that it was looped around the raised bed, almost entirely blocking access to the garden patch. Notice the almost. I figured Indy wouldn't be interested enough to wriggle through the gap between the holly bush, the downspout, and the fencing to get into the garden, but at one point I heard a noise and looked up to find him standing in the barely-Indy-sized space between the fence and the garage. Not wanting him to gallop through the raised bed his way in, I got up to shoo him away.
As he backed out of the gap to return to the yard, he somehow managed to perfectly capture a plastic hanging pot that was sitting nearby, snaring its hanging hook on the leash ring of his collar. So there he was, backing away in terror while this 10-inch pot of half-dead plants bounced along merrily in his wake, attached neatly to his neck. And of course, the more nervous he got, the faster he went, and the faster the diabolical attacker chased him. Chunks of potting soil were flying every which way, Indy's eyes were growing comically wide, his ears were set to Very Very Alarmed. I was laughing so hard I could barely see, but I did the right thing. Instead of pausing to snap his photo, I went to his rescue, then laughed some more as he sidled away, eyeing the hanging pot warily.
I righted the pot and set it down directly in front of the gap in the fence. Strangely enough, he seemed to lose interest in investigating the vegetables after that.
New post and photos (including a few of Indy) are up at the garden blog.
* title from a favorite star myth that I tell the kids at work
As I believe I have mentioned before, I am in charge of the recycling at work. Because we don't have a pickup contract, I have to suck it up like a good little treehugger and take everything home to put out with my own stuff for the curbside collection every other week. If I miss a week or if someone cleans out their files, I end up with an assload of paper to haul. That's what happened last time recycling day came around, and I ended up with a kitchen cart completely loaded with bins. They were two or three deep on the top of the cart, and stuffed as full as they could be stuffed. Because it was windy, I had used heavy catalogs to hold down the top layers. Everything was neatly sorted and contained and ready to go.
We're having utility work done on the parking lot and therefore all the staff has to park really far away from the building. I didn't want to battle the wind and push the ginormous cartload of crap past the construction workers, so I pulled my car up to the front and went back in for the cart. And then, the topheaviness of the cart, the ridiculous wind, and the shallow curb all came together in the worst possible way and -- you can probably see where this is going -- the whole fucking thing tipped over sideways. All the paper bins dumped into the gap between my car and the curb, in the middle of 20 - 30 mile-per-hour wind gusts.
So there I am, on my knees scrabbling after goddamn fliers and envelopes and fuck-all else, dirt blowing up in my face, hair getting in my eyes, hoping my asscrack isn't hanging out of my jeans, trying not to cuss like a sailor out loud and who pulls up? The DIRECTOR. Who then runs around in his chinos and polo shirt gathering up scraps of paper from the landscaping. Meanwhile I'm still shoveling the shit into bins, throwing it into the back of my car, and I'd really just like to set the whole mess on fire and roast marshmallows by the flames and kick a few endangered species while I'm at it. And then? Two construction guys on their way to lunch stop to help. Which, okay, is totally rad and restores my faith in humanity somewhat but Jesus. H. Christ. I don't think I've wished that hard for the earth to swallow me whole since the 7th grade.
(Don't worry, endangered species, I wouldn't ever actually kick you. Or the Lorax. Though I sure felt like I might enjoy it.)
Due to a must-finish task taking much longer than expected, I went to bed about two hours later than I prefer -- which is already about an hour later than I probably should go to bed. Just as I was drifting off, a thunderstorm crept up on the house. I love to be lulled to sleep by the sound of rain on the roof and grumbling thunder, and so I was pleased. For about ten minutes. Then the storm morphed into this epic, Apocalyptic deluge.
I didn't mind, but the dog sure did. He spent the next forty days and forty nights pacing from the bedroom to the hallway to the bathroom to the bedroom to the hallway. He whined. He looked concerned. He pawed at the pet gate. I got up to try to convince him to come in and lie on the bed with us. More pacing and whining. MB got up to try to convince him to come in and lie on the bed. More pacing and whining. Then the cat decided to play along, and he started pawing at the damn pet gate.
So there I am, at this point three hours past my bedtime, listening to a lullaby of GRUMBLE CRASH / whine whine whine / rattlerattlerattle / pace pace whine whine / rattlerattle. And of course instead of enjoying the thunder and the pounding rain, I lay there awake contemplating which pet would make the best pair of fuzzy mittens. I didn't get to sleep until the storm finally passed and the dog finally recollected the tattered threads of his lost shit, and by that point I think it was about 3:30 in the morning.
If you hear any shuffly, moany zombie noises this morning, do not fret. It's only me and my lovely new mittens.
Things are good, but free time has mostly been spent working outside and watching Battlestar Galactica on DVD. I was going to try to come up with a funny story to post, but I've got a card to make for a newish baby and some naturalist group minutes to send out. And then Jonniker posted this on Twitter, and I just cannot compete with this level of Awesome:
Oh! And it turns out my camera is not dead (woohoo!) but the battery seems to be on its last legs (boo!). Hopefully we'll have a few more months together, at the least.