Monthly Archives: May 2011

The Great Hunter


So last night The Lovely Rhonda and I had just settled down and were just barely drifty-snoozy sleeping when one of the cats came loping into the bedroom and commenced with yowling and murping very strangely.

We have three cats: Grandpa, Won-Won, and Hermione.  We got Grandpa (original name: Tank) and Won-Won (original name: Heals, also known as Healsy, Mr. Stupid-Head, and Get Off Me You #$%@ing Cat) as kittens from the Humane Society, while Hermione (no nickname other than Oh For God’s Sake SHUT UP) came to us full-grown from one of those adopt-a-cat things at the PetSmartCo.  Grandpa has turned out to be a hunter of birds and has at least three confirmed kills under his collar this spring alone.  Hermione doesn’t get out much; she was a shelter cat her whole two years of life before coming to us and while she sort of knows how to manipulate the dog-door (not the adorable cat-flap I wish we had, for literary purposes, but the very pedestrian dog-door) she doesn’t venture out for long before returning to the house for her domestic and sanitation needs.  So if she is a hunter, it must be of household bugs.

In which case The Lovely Rhonda might have a word with her later, as we have some pesky ants in the kitchen.

At any rate, I thought all the commotion last night was just Hermione being herself, until TLR, who has significantly better vision than I do at night (which is to say, she can see whereas I am blind like the bat) began to say OH NO YOU DIH-UNT.  What’s going on? I ask, and she says, YOUR CAT brought in little dead thing only it isn’t quite dead and now it’s under YOUR dresser.

So, being as I am the designated killer of spiders and so forth, I got up and turned on a light and put my spectacles on, and there it was.  Only it was dead, and it was only in front of my dresser.  Thank Ipthar.

I went and got a paper towel and (because I am a nurse, albeit merely a psych nurse) some gloves, and I returned to pick up the remains of the largest mouse I have ever seen.  Or possibly it was a juvenile rat.  It was not one of those tiny, adorable house-mice you see sometimes; no, this was a sleek, robust specimen of rodent manliness.  I disposed of our houseguest and fortunately the cat took his crazy, wild-eyed predatory self outside for further stalking of the local wildlife.  He is a very affectionate cat and I did not want him to try to rub his face all over mine in case it still had fresh mouse goobers all over it.

Today he slept all day on a dining room chair, exhausted from his victorious night of vermin-massacre.  It’s good to be the cat.


The Droid I was looking for


So we upgraded our phones yesterday.

Little did we understand that upgrading ones phone is much like visiting a foreign country, one whose language one does not speak and whose strange customs one finds not only confusing but irritating.  This might have been best put off until Friday night, when one has time to learn the arcane rituals and sleight-of-hand required these days.

Problem: phone rings, but answering requires crack team of experts.

Problem: multiple screens are confusing to elderly brain.

Problem: touch screen technology meant for skeletal fingers of prepubescent children, not clumsy sausage hands of middle aged women.

Solution: cursing, bitching, and alcohol in reasonable quantities.  Oh, and amusing games to take mind off frustration.

This phone contains more technology than the first moon landing.  I wonder at which point I will be able to reliably answer an incoming call?

Full Circle


So today I got to call some reference checks in on a guy I’m trying to hire for one of the facilities.

He went to the same nursing school as I did and so two of his references are instructors that I also had classes with.

One of those classes was mental health.

Now, I’ve worked in mental health forever, and when I took that quarter I thought, “Oh, this will be a cakewalk, I can just practically phone this one in.”  I mean seriously.  I’ve worked in residential mental health forever.  How hard could it be?

Then I went to clinicals, and something unexpected happened.  Being in an acute care environment, which I chose because I had so much experience in the outpatient world, pushed my buttons like nobody’s business.  I wanted nothing more than to get the hell out of there from the minute I walked onto the unit every day.  I half-assed my assignments and skated through the whole thing like a bad dream, which it kind of was.

Out of respect for the involved party I won’t go into why it was so difficult for me.  At the time I was so mired in it that I couldn’t see what was happening, but afterward when I had got some distance from it, it became apparent just how hard it had been.  I was ashamed and wanted to contact the instructor, apologize to her, explain why I hadn’t been a very good student.

Then I thought that maybe that would look even more pathetic, so I just left it where it was.

So guess who I got to call today.


That instructor.

Over the course of the reference check it came out that I had attended that college, been in her class.  She remembered me.  She remembered thinking that I was not performing up to my potential.  I told her why, and that I had regretted it and had wanted to tell her so ever since.

Leave it behind you, she said.  You’re where you are for a reason.  I’m glad to know you’re doing well.

Fun, friendly and loveing


A letter from Elder Spawn to me:

Dear Mama,

I love you.  I don’t want to move away that why I mite live next door becaese I find it mite be fun, friendly and loveing.  I could visit whenever I want, you could visit whenever you want.  And you can still see me and if I still want to I could come over and play with my toys!  I love you!

Your daughter, (Elder Spawn)!

I’m still glad


Dear Staffing Agency,

I called you at ten o’clock this morning with every confidence that you could get my night shift covered for me.

And at 5:30pm I realized you had not called me back.  I phoned you once again and it was quite apparent by the way you went, “Uhhhh….” that you had dropped the ball.  “Let me make some more calls,” you said.  “I’ll call you back shortly.”

And at 8:30pm, having still received no return call, I gave up, took up the swing shift on her MORE than generous offer to split the shift with me, and went to bed.

At 2:00am my alarm went off, scaring the crap out of me, and I had no choice but to force my very unwilling body to get out of bed and drive — very carefully, obeying all speed limits and signaling each turn, for fatigue makes me paranoid — back to work.


Even though I hate you, Staffing Agency.

That is all.


A Rather Peevish (yet still grateful) Me.



So we visited my cousin last weekend, Elder Spawn and I, and my cousin gave her a few dummy cellphones.  She works for Major Cellphone Provider and they have these demo handsets that look and feel just like real phones but are non functional.  They have pictures pasted on them to simulate what the screen would look like, and they unfold or slide or flip to open just like real phones.  When the company changes phone models the demos are usually just thrown in the trash, but my cousin has saved up a box of them to give to kids.  Little was I to know that the chitlins would go mad with joy to have them!

It’s not like we haven’t had toy phones for them before.  They’ve all had them.  But for some reason, maybe their current ages or maybe because the dummy phones are so realistic, these particular ones have captured their imaginations.

Last night ES gave the other two girls their phones.  Hilarity ensued.  Pretty soon ES comes to me, all smug-yet-modest, fairly smirking with importance.

“We’re twins, me and Middle Spawn.  We’re teenagers and we’re twins and we have boyfriends!”

Oh, I say.  Boyfriends.  How exciting!  What’s your boyfriend’s name?

“His name is Eddie Johnson.  And MS, her boyfriend is Steve Johnson.  And they’re twins too.”

Ooh, twins, I say.  How cool.  So, what makes Eddie your boyfriend?  What do you like about Eddie?

“He calls me ALL the time!  He’s ALWAYS asking me for a date.  I mean like ALL the time.”

At this point she exasperatedly answers her phone. “Eddie!  Stop calling me all the time!  I don’t want to go on a date!”

Later, MS has the same conversation with “Steve” except that “Steve” is apparently not commitment-phobic:  “No, Steve!  I said I don’t want to get married!”

Oh, to be six and five again.  When boyfriends all want to go on LOTS OF DATES, or maybe GET MARRIED!

Perhaps not the smartest cat ever.


So we’re sitting here basking in the bluish glow of our respective electronic pacifiers when the cat enters the house through the dog-door.

I wish it were a smaller such device so I could call it, charmingly, the cat-flap, but we have a big dog.  If we had a cat-flap Otto would spend his day sticking his head through it and straining to reach THE BALL, THE BALL, THE BALL SOMEBODY THROW THE BALL.  In which case I would point and laugh, and take many photos and post them on Facebook for others to point and laugh at.  But the whole point of having a dog-door or cat-flap or whatever you may have is to enjoy the luxury of not having to get up a million times an hour to let the &^%$# dog/cat in/out.  This is especially important to Yours Truly, as my end of the table is near the sliding door.  The sliding door is elderly and doesn’t slither cunningly up and down its track like it once did*, and on more than one occasion I have nearly peeled my own fingernails off attempting to open it from the closest end to me, which is not the end that has the convenient handle for pulling.  So we have to have one big enough for the dog.

At any rate, the cat entered the house and Rhonda said to it, sarcastically, “Oh hello Hermione, did you just come inside so you can take a (dump) in the catbox?”  We then expounded for a few moments, jokingly, on how she would totally do this because she is not smart.  The cat meanwhile disappears into the Multi-Purpose Room.  Whereupon Rhonda says, “She did.  She did just come inside expressly to use the catbox.  That’s it.  I quit life.”

But seriously, who among us wouldn’t rather avail ourselves of indoor plumbing (or the species-specific equivalent thereof) rather than do our business in the woods?  Perhaps she’s actually very smart.

*is it just me or did that sound vaguely naughty?