That Awkward Moment . . .

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When you’re trying to shove your phone into a ziplock bag so you can run in the rain and the puppies snap to attention because, in their world, ziplock bag = liver jerky.

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Schmoopie’s Critterful Moment

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So, not infrequently, my critters get up to shit. And by shit I literally mean they usually do so in some inappropriate place, at some particularly inconvenient time, and the household devolves into madness as humans scramble for cleaning products/cats/dog/etc. Mercifully, this usually happens when we are both around, though I think I can claim without a martyr’s complex that when it happens with one person present that person is usually me. It’s just statistics: I’m with the critters all day, so I’m more likely to be the lucky one. This should not be a surprise, since I basically started this blog to record all the daily and apupcalyptic weirdness in which the critters are perpetually ensconced.

Yesterday, I went for a run while Schmoop hung with critters. The general mood, at the point I left, was increasingly bizarre, so I skipped out the door (and into the rain) gleefully, knowing that I would have a bit of a reprieve. Tra la la!

When I returned, a scant half hour later, the smoke alarm was blaring, a beagle was tearing through the house, and Schmoop was in the kitchen yelling at Karmann to move. From the strained timbre of his directive, she was noncompliant. I froze, wondering if my entrance had been heard above all the excitement, and calculating the likelihood that I could slip back out silently for “another run” by which I mean a trip up to the bar for “a beer” by which I mean many beers.

Just as I was slowly backing away, Schmoop came dashing out of the kitchen and up the stairs, grumbling as he passed that Cal had shat on the stoop and he’d just come in from a doggy potty break wherein Karmann had pooped and then, upon returning to the warm, dry indoors, parked herself right at the top of the basement stairs, indicating that she, you know, needed to go out, and could I deal with at least one situation. Apparently this all went down while he was in the middle of making me dinner.

I took the dogs out while Schmoop dealt with the smoke detector, which had no good reason for going off save that Calvin had pooped right beneath it. So either our smoke detector is a poop alarm, a sentient and malevolent device that seized upon a moment of human frailty, or the batteries died. WE MAY NEVER KNOW.

This episode came at the end of a very nutty few days of twice-daily prednisone for Karmann’s Addison’s. Said therapy clearly helped her, with the super added bonus of turning her into a kinetic pee machine, and thus the household hominids were especially delicate.

Nutter is feeling boatloads better on the once-daily dose, and is finally capable of doing something other than staring at us, pacing, and peeing–she can now rest comfortably AND ALSO be frisky when the situation demands it. And she’s convinced that most situations demand it. Going to the kitchen? PLAY! Going to the bathroom? PLAY! Going upstairs? PLAY! Brushing teeth? PLAYPLAYPLAY! Which leaves me to wonder about how long she’s been feeling under the weather. Because the dog I have now is the Karmann of two years ago: high energy, insanely affectionate, ready to go in .005 seconds. For those of you who have only spent time with Karmann in the past year, and are inevitably thinking, “but that describes the Karmann I know, so what could have changed . . . ?” I can say only that you have seen nothing. NOTHING. This Karmann–2 years ago Karmann–is nuttier than you could possibly imagine. She is indefatigable. She actually bounces. She is made of such raw energy that you can almost see her molecules vibrating. Come see her now. Better yet, come take her for a weekend. I’m exhausted.

Her improvement has also had a, um, wonderful (?) effect on Cal, who was so stupendously happy last weekend that he spent Sunday leaping for kisses and wagging his butt and dancing for grandma before all the amazing excitement made its way to his colon, where it was transformed into another round of frantic liquishitting. Even bouncing, kissing happiness causes systemic skepticism in the beagle. I have no idea how to maintain a perfectly unexciting yet casually pleasant household, which seems to be the only state in which he can function normally.

This past week we also (finally) managed to feed whole, bone-in pieces without initiating doggie world war. Usually, feeding whole chicken wings or thighs–the pieces we’ve previously tried–results in World’s Sweetest Puppy Karmann turning into a crazed and evil hellhound who resource guards THE WHOLE ENTIRE HOUSE from Calvin. So we stopped trying. Goddess knows we have plenty of inherent crazy in this house without having to bring it in from outside. And then, this week, we found the answer: duck necks. Karmann likes duck well enough to eat it, but not well enough to commit beaglecide. Score! The only downside is that Mort patently refuses to eat duck in any form, and we have to cut them into large chunks for Karmann, lest she redecorate the living room with duck necks. I will roll with these challenges if it means I have a non-murderous form of zoobie cleaning available to the puppies.

In Running for Critters news, I ran 9 miles last Sunday and I ran in the rain yesterday–and probably will have to do so again today. I don’t want to brag but that pretty much makes me a super heroine.

Happy New Year

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We just spent a large portion of our last day of 2013 as we spent so many moments before it: stupidly trying to do things to benefit the critters by employing incomplete information and inappropriate tools. An auspicious ending indeed!

Chicken thighs: all the points
Czech-made hand crank meat grinder: NONE POINTS.

Ok, so we knew it was missing the end blade bit that chops up the mung so the mung doesn’t totally clog the grinding plate, thus rendering the equipment less a “meat grinder” than a “meat smoosher and regurgitator.” But we could not have foreseen just how vitally important this bit actually was. Nor do I think we could have reasonably expected the small-hole sausage grinding plate to wave the white flag in the face of bones, skin and cartilage.

I mean, who could have anticipated that???

But my real problem is the country of origin. I myself am 25% Czech made, with an additional 25% of my overall parts sourced from Croatia. And knowing my grandparents as I have, I’m a bit saddened that my meat grinder–which cost my mother FIVE WHOLE DOLLARS five years ago (which, adjusting for inflation is, what, like, $5.03 in today’s currency?) could not dig deep and call upon its region of origin to help it get by, with its crank handle firm and proud, using only the parts available to it.

Bubba Eva and Grandma Millie would be so disappointed.

It took us so long to grind 5 thighs that Cal was all:

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And the other critters were like, “That raw chicken does smell delicious–and I do want to shove my whole face in it–but why don’t you just come get me when it’s time. I’ma be napping in the living room. Ok? Good. Peace.”

Meat Pickup. GONE AWRY.

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“I was promised beef heart with dinner. Tonight.” *sigh*

Let’s play a game.

Imagine you’re parked in the lot of a fast food joint (you pick which) waiting for . . . Something. You’re a kindly-looking middle-aged fellow in a pick-up truck, which suggests that something is probably not your crack dealer, so pick something else. Maybe you’re waiting to meet a friend for a road trip caravan. Your truck is running, because it’s fricking freezing outside, and you’re reading a newspaper. You’re minding your own business and having a lovely Friday morning.

And then a car pulls in next to you. A Mini, driven by a smallish thirty-something woman in a fuchsia puffer coat, pink hat with ear flaps, and turquoise fingerless mittens dotted with rhinestones. She is wearing sunglasses, and she is looking at you.

You know that she is looking at you because there she sits, nose-in her parking space whereas you’ve backed into yours, and her body is physically turned so that she can look at you. No. She isn’t just looking at you. She’s watching you. And occasionally glancing at her phone to check the time. She, too, seems to be waiting for something. But whatever she’s waiting for . . . involves you.

You take a quick inventory of any college flings that might have unknowingly produced such a pink and besparkled offspring, but you come up blank. And so you briefly allow yourself to consider that perhaps your loving wife has kept a secret from you. Perhaps something from that year you spent as special attaché to Southeast Asia after Nam. But no. Ethel would never. So then who . . .

That feeling you’re feeling? That prickly-necked inclination to giggle in the face of an incongruous fear?

That’s probably very similar to the feels that we’re happening to the kindly-looking middle-aged fellow in the truck next to me this morning, as I sat watching him, assuming he was also there for the slightly surreptitious meat pick-up.

But he wasn’t. Oh no. He wasn’t . . .

REWIND.

I recently switched The Critters to a raw diet. I’d been kicking around the idea of raw feeding since my pre-dog days, but some recent health problems with both my and not-my critters finally gave me the pants kicking I needed to go down that particular rabbit hole. I should note that I really like doing things that require some level of obsession, and so the kind of simmering white noise of “where do you get your meeeeeaaaaat???!?!!!???” that seems to play heavily in the raw feeding groups is totally my jam. So when I was informed, by the amazing dog behaviorist/trainer that is helping me to save my dogs from myself, of a raw meat coop thing that met behind a McDonalds to swap cash and checks for meat I was in. I was SO IN. I eagerly placed an order and penciled in the pick-up date: 12/13. I put this in not one but two calendars because I really didn’t want to forget.

So when this morning rolled around I awoke anxious. Excited. Not only is it my lucky day (Friday the 13th) but today is THE day.

Meat pickup day.

The whole thing is entirely innocuous: it’s people buying meat from people who produce meat. But it’s meat purchased for critters, in a town I’ve never been to and, lets face it, I don’t get out much, so the idea of a meat deal behind a Micky D’s is HIGH INTRIGUE. What will the meat people be like? Will there be sidelong glances around the parking lot? Or attempted grace and ninja heaving of 40lb boxes of chicken thighs into the vehicles of the willing? It certainly seemed like a pretty excellent adventure for a cold Friday morning, anyway.

It was with that sense of adventure that I donned my pinkest outerwear and my sparkliest fingerless mittens and coerced a reluctant beagle into his crate with peanut butter, chicken, and the promise to return posthaste.

Off I zoomed to meet my destiny! I allowed 10 extra minutes. Just in case. I didn’t want to be late.

But destiny would have to wait.

Because after 20 minutes of staring at Truck Guy–waiting for some universally understood “MEAT IS HERE!!!” sign–and a couple awkwardly vague texts to aforementioned amazing dog behaviorist/trainer, I was delivered unto the knowledge that meat pickup day was actually on Saturday.

Which, you know, was totally cool because I really just wanted a sausage biscuit anyway sooooooooooo . . . Whatevs. *sniff*