Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween 2014

Sometimes when Opie says "So, what did you do all day?" I don't really know how to explain.

Just found the dog a costume with matching pumpkin socks.

Ran into the Headless Horseman...

And horrified the cat.

Seriously, it's been a BUSY day.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tru-Green Tales

Is it possible to be black-balled from Tru-Green?

If so, I think we’re doomed.  I mean, we’ve had incidents with the Tru-Green guy before but I’m pretty sure today takes the cake.

Here’s what happened:

I was upstairs smack in the middle of a remodeling project (more on THAT later) and the door bell rang. I thought it was just the mailman dropping off a package so I ignored it until it rang again a few seconds later.

So, a veritable vision of annoyed, paint-covered, sweaty glory, I went down, threw open the door and found myself face-to-face with a slightly hysterical Tru-Green employee.

“Ma’am, your dog’s in the yard right now.” He said, looking a little wild around the eyes.

That probably should have been all the explanation that I needed. But I’d been breathing in paint fumes for several hours and I was a little distracted by the fact that my other dog was running around my feet barking like a maniac. So, for a minute, I thought he meant that Bub hadn’t been in the yard a few minutes earlier. That Bub had escaped and had been wandering around the neighborhood like an intrepid explorer dog and this this guy had found him and returned him to the yard and now wanted some sort of reward.

Which was very confusing because Bubba has never gotten out of the yard, he doesn’t even try to leave the yard when the gate’s open and he wouldn’t let some stranger touch him for all the dog biscuits at the Milk Bone factory.

And then it hit me.

“Oh!” I said. “You’re here to fertilize the yard!”

“Yes,” he agreed. “And your dog…he, well he won’t let me.”

“So he saw you try to get in the yard?”

“He saw me!” The guy agreed. “He definitely saw me.”

“Well, this is going to be a pain.” I said.

And sure enough, when I went out back, Bubba was in full-on patrol mode. He was running from one gate to the other, barking, lunging at the fence, and basically trying to convince the neighborhood that he was a ferocious, crazed beast.

When I tried to get him to come in the house, he looked at me like I’d gone insane then included me in his patrol, running to one gate, running around me in a circle, then running to the other gate—completely ignoring commands, shouts and treat bribes.

“This is no time for eating!” Bubba told me. “There’s an intruder in the vicinity—we’re on red alert here!”

This is not why we’re going to be blackballed from Tru-Green. I’m sure that they encounter dogs all the time. They don’t, however, encounter ME all the time.

Especially not an irritated, over dramatic me.

See, just when I thought I finally had Bubba convinced that the danger was gone and he could come inside, the Tru-Green guy peeked around the side of the house to check on my progress.

This, of course, convinced Bubba that the threat level had just been raised to DEFCON 1.

“Resume your positions!” Bubba screamed, charging the fence. “Maximum readiness, we’re at maximum readiness here!”

If I could have gotten past the dog, I might have beaten the Tru Green guy to death with the leash. 

Instead, I went in the house then out the front door and walked around to where the Tru Green guy was still hovering.

“Dude,” I said (which is the most embarrassing part of the story—I actually said dude). “You need to move. You need to be somewhere this dog can’t see you.”

And he looked at me like I was crazy (why does everyone give me that look? It's a real mystery.)

Which is when I slipped into full-on Kimbo mode. “This is a very protective dog!” I shouted, waving my hands in the air “He has killed squirrels and moles by the dozen! He has come face to face with a skunk and lived to tell the tale! And he will die before he lets some stranger in the yard! He won’t let me face that kind of peril alone—it’s too perilous! You need to get out of his sight! And you need to do it NOW!”

I’m not really sure which of us scared the poor guy more, me or Bub. But he went over and got in his truck (pretty sure I saw him on his cell phone and I suspect that the conversation wasn’t about how much he loved his job) and I managed to drag Bubba back in the house.

So, in sum, this was the fastest fertilization our lawn has ever had, Bubba has lowered the threat level to DEFCON 4 but he’s still on hyper-alert sentry duty, and I think I know why we never seem to have the same Tru Green guy twice in a row.

This dog doesn't look scary, does he?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties

I should start by saying I love my iPhone. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I am obsessed with my phone. It’s not only  my calendar and  my address book but I also keep my kindle and audio books on it, it's my GPS system, I have several games on it and  I text like a teenager.

A few years ago I dropped and broke my iPhone 3 months before my scheduled upgrade date and I whined about it so much that even my priest told Opie he should just cave and buy me a new one early (and we weren’t even married yet!).

However, having said that I must add that there is one thing I hate: iPhone updates.

I don’t know why but every time I update my phone it is a huge freaking nightmare (I’m pretty sure Opie suspects user error but is too wise to say that out loud).

Which is why, whenever a new update shows up on my phone, I avoid it as long as possible. 

Yesterday I finally caved and installed the newest operating system.

And it went a little something like this:

Hit update now on settings menu of phone and immediately get message that phone doesn’t have enough memory to update and needs to be connected to computer.

Remind phone that it ALWAYS crashes when we try to update through the computer. Suggest that, this time, perhaps it could be a good sport and just go ahead and update. Press update button 4 or 5 more times in futile effort to force update.

Question marital status of phone’s parents as it inconsiderately refuses to update.

Connect the phone and the computer. Hit “update.”

Get lulled into a false sense of security when screen on phone announces “Updating now.”

Watch “Updating” flash on screen for 35 minutes.

Begin to suspect that phone is lying.

Computer also becomes suspicious of phone, beeps loudly and flashes message on screen that phone can’t update because don’t have latest version of iTunes.

Explain to computer that do have the latest version of iTunes and hit “Try Again.”

Realize that computer has, once again, been sucked into the phone’s nefarious clutches and is refusing to recognize latest version of iTunes.

Curse so loudly that have to spend next ten minutes reassuring lunatic dogs that am not screaming at them, they aren’t in trouble, and are still loved.

Ridiculous cat, it is interesting to note, is not at all disturbed by cursing but is highly offended that other animals are getting attention and immediately attempts to steal the spotlight by climbing up back and trying to balance on my head. Subsequent cursing AT cat does nothing at all to deter cat but necessitates another 5 minutes of canine comforting.

Decide that this is clearly a technical disaster best handled by computer programmer (Opie) and unplug phone from computer.

Immediately get this error message:

Which means that phone can not phone, text, or do anything useful until it has been plugged back into computer and updated.

Remember Opie’s maxim that, in times of technical trouble, step one is always to reboot gadget. 

Reboot phone.

Get message again.

Loudly accuse phone of engaging in Oedipal-like activities and feel nearly overwhelming urge to throw phone across room then stomp it into a broken puddle of communication on the floor.

Realize that A. Opie will probably object to expensive replacement of phone destroyed in temper tantrum and B. Are losing somewhat tenuous grip on sanity.

Check clock to see if it’s too early to pour a glass of wine the size of a human head.

Grudgingly heat up cup of tea instead, go out on porch with lunatic dogs and attempt to get self under control.

Come back in, somewhat refreshed, plug phone back in to computer, get on Apple’s completely misnamed Support site.

Click on “live chat” and get pop up window asking for serial number of phone.  Which, according to support site, can be found on the home screen of phone.

Check homescreen but it still looks like this:

Click on button that says “other options.” Get pop up that says “Send serial number through text.”

Scream “I CAN’T TEXT BECAUSE I CAN’T GET PAST THE ERROR SCREEN!” and try to remember every curse word have ever heard—in a variety of languages.

Check other options which include: call customer support or have customer support call you.


Spend twenty minutes in endless loop of alleged other options—all of which require the use of a phone to implement.

Realize that A. No one actually works at Apple Support and B. Sometimes the medicinal nature of wine supersedes polite society’s arbitrary time restrictions.

Return to computer, much more relaxed, completely uninstall and re-install iTunes.

Update phone.

Get message that update failed and now phone needs to be restored to factory settings.

Which takes about 45 minutes and, though I can use my phone again, means that I have to redo most of my contact list AND (far worst of all) somehow knocked me back TWENTY-TWO LEVELS in Candy Crush.

Seriously, it’s a wonder we have any wine left at all.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Hockey Fan

In addition to his long term obsession with Rock Band, Princeton P. Kitty has developed a deep interest in hockey.

He likes the Stars but he's still a Blues cat at heart.

This is when I remembered to turn on the flash.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Belle's Bakery & Deli

After 8 long weeks, Princess Snowflake Sassypants is FINALLY out of puppy prison. I don’t mind saying it has been 8 weeks of hell. I tried explaining to her that being confined was for her own good, that we had spent a lot of money on her ridiculous little knee and that we really didn’t want to rush back to the surgical specialist for another 

Unfortunately, she was completely unreasonable about the entire situation and lodged daily verbal protests. Loud, unrelenting daily verbal protests, insisting that she could heal just as easily sitting on my lap or being carried around in my arms.

As I have always been one to rule my pets with an iron fist, I stood up to her tantrums for almost ten whole minutes before I caved and just started schlepping her around like some ancient litter-bearer.

Doesn't look like a spoiled rotten princess, does she?

Suffice it to say there was more than one day that Opie got home from work only to find me waiting at the top of the steps. “I need to be where she is NOT.” I would tell him, shoving a small yappy dog into his arms.

But those days are over! We are free! (Cue the George Michael lyrics Freedom! You gotta give for what you take! Freedom!)

And what better way to celebrate my new found freedom than with a cupcake? Especially since a brand new bakey and deli just opened up within a block or two of my house.

I had high hopes for Belle’s Bakery and Deli since I had already sampled one of their frozen chocolate-peanut butter chunks of deliciousness. I went in expecting the cupcakes to be equally amazing.

They were terrible.

Not quite as bad as the black anise cupcakes of death that started this whole search but close.

Dry, crumbly, with frosting that was just weird.

Doesn't look terrible, does it? 

And if you think this is an exaggeration or my typical overdramatization of things, let me just throw this out there:

I had both a chocolate and a vanilla and I didn’t finish either of them.

This is an event almost completely unprecedented in my cupcake history.


So, final verdict

Price: $1.50 – Great if they were halfway decent, about $1.49 more than they were worth.
Size: Average
Cake: Yuck
Icing: Double Yuck.

All in all, the kind of cupcake you eat when you’re confined to puppy prison but no where near good enough to celebrate freedom!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Fear of Flying

Here’s the thing:  I don't fly well.

And when I say I don't fly well, I don't mean that I run around the yard, flapping my arms like some deranged bird, unsuccessfully attempting to fly.

I mean that when I board a giant metal tube and prepare to be hurtled across the skies at hundreds of miles per hour, I get a little nervous.

And when I say I get a little nervous, I mean I’m absolutely convinced that, at any moment, the engine will malfunction and we’ll all plummet to our fiery deaths.

A conviction I feel compelled to share with anyone sitting around me.

Just doing my part to spread sunshine and joy wherever I go.

In any case, this is bad enough when I’m on a regular 747. But now when I travel to Illinois to visit my family, I frequently fly the last part of the trip on this little 10 seater plane:

It’s really convenient but it’s also HORRIFYING.

One of the things that always freaks me out is the fact that, even though regular sized airplanes have lessened the restrictions on leaving electronics on while you’re in the air, the little planes haven’t. 
Apparently the plane’s computer system is so sensitive that the tiniest signal from my phone could rip through the circuitry like a virus and, of course, send us plummeting to our fiery deaths.

So, when I traveled to Illinois last weekend and this young guy (about 22 or so) kept sneaking his phone out to play with it, I almost snatched it from him and beat him to death with it.

“Sir,” the pilot said. “Didn’t you hear the preflight instructions? You have to turn your phone off.”

“Ok,” the guy said, put it in his pocket until the pilot turned back around, then he got it out again.
It was like I was back in a high school classroom…and I began having horribly violent fantasies about hitting him with the phone, pouring water over the phone and electrocuting the moron, turning the phone into the world’s largest suppository and shoving it right up the guy’s…well, you probably get the picture.

Luckily, the pilot confiscated the moron’s phone before I could do any lasting damage.

And, to show you just how clueless the moron was, after the pilot took his phone, the moron looked at me and whined “Geez, that guy’s on a power trip!”

At which point I put my hand in his face like a traffic cop and said “WRONG AUDIENCE DUDE!”

When he started to protest, I said “If I was the pilot, I would have taken it ten minutes ago and I would have SMASHED it." I said.

Then I smiled like I was kidding.

But I wasn’t kidding.

And I’m pretty sure the moron knew I wasn’t kidding because he didn’t talk to me the rest of the flight.

Then, if that drama wasn't bad enough, when I was leaving Illinois and getting ready to board the little plane again, the guy in front of me in the security line got dragged out of the building in handcuffs.

I may never fly again.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Puppy Riding Pillion

I know this picture doesn't look all that great and some of you are probably saying to yourselves "Kimberly, it looks like you took that picture while you were driving your car."

But that's only because I took this picture while driving my car.

Which, yes, is dangerous and reckless and a hundred other things I tell my students, nieces and nephews not to do...but check out who this biker has riding pillion:

That's right. It's his DOG...his tiny little yapper of a dog, complete with helmet  and goggles!!!

And you people think I'm weird about MY animals!

Monday, October 6, 2014


Ok let’s say you have a hairless cat whose tail has occasionally been described as “rat-like.”

And let’s say this alleged cat takes an Olympic-gymnast style leap from his window seat to the floor—only to get the aforementioned tail caught in the cords of the blinds.

And let’s say that he is then suspended from the blinds like some yowling, angry, hairless marionette.

And let’s say that you immediately rescue the cat from his predicament (which he is pretty sure is all YOUR fault) but the second he is free, he runs all over the house in an attempt to hide from you and your tail-damaging shenanigans.

And let’s say that you finally corner him on the DVR:

and realize that his tail is bruised and a little bit swollen.

Do you take this cat to the vet? Can the vet do anything about a bruised tail?

Or do you spend the rest of your morning trying to figure out why these things only happen when your husband is at work and wondering if 11:00 am is too early for vodka?

Asking for a friend…

Friday, October 3, 2014


So, since nursing a rambunctious puppy back to health isn’t drama enough, I’ve been having health issues of my own.

Some of you may remember a few months ago when I had painful attack and had to go to hospital etc. etc. After all that, I had to see a specialist and have an endoscopy (which is another long story in and of itself) and the doctor's conclusion was that I had an ulcer.

“I don't have an ulcer,” I told Opie. "I mean, obviously, I do have an ulcer; they saw an ulcer on the endoscopy. But I don't think all this pain is just caused by an ulcer. I don't think that's possible."

"I don't think you're a doctor," Opie countered.

And he may be right but I do read a lot of WebMd and that's practically the same thing.

So I should've felt vindicated a few weeks ago when I woke up in the middle of the night with another bout of unbearable pain.

Unfortunately in these situations all I can really feel is panic.

So instead of pointing out that after three months of ulcer medicine, I shouldn’t be having ulcer pain, 
I preferred to elbow Opie ever-so-gently in the ribs and announce that I was dying.

And I have to hand it to him—he is really calm in the face of an emergency. If the situation had been reversed, I would have sat up screaming “What? What do you mean you’re dying?” And then I would have called my parents (who live about 8 hours away) and things would have gone progressively downhill from there.

Opie, on the other hand, sat up, nodded and said “You’ve been under a lot of stress lately; it’s probably your ulcer.”

“It’s not an ulcer!” I yelled.

And after about 40 minutes I didn’t really care what it was; I just wanted it to stop. “But I don’t want to go to the Emergency Room,” I said. “It’s too expensive.”

It is interesting to note that when I was relating this story to my mom the next day, this is the exact point she interrupted me and snapped “You just spent thousands of dollars on medical care for YOUR DOG! Do NOT tell me that you won’t do the same for yourself.”

Which is a valid argument and one that Opie has used frequently in the last few weeks.

It is also interesting to note that I seem to have an almost pathological need to over dramatize situations—even situations that are already dramatic. Which is probably why I gripped Opie’s arm and announced again that I was dying. “We’ve had a good run,” I told him. “But this is probably it. So promise me that you’ll move back to St. Louis immediately. I don’t want you here, alone, so far away from your family.”

“You’re not going to die,” he said.

“Promise me!” I yelled. “I can’t bear the thought of you languishing away alone!”

And I continued on like this in a way that I like to believe he finds endearing but others seem to think is completely annoying.

“I promise,” He said at last (and St. Louisians, hold him to that if I do happen to die sudenly). “But you’re not going to die; we’re going to the Emergency Room and you’re going to be fine.”

“Wait!” I moaned. "I need help getting my yoga pants on."

This was a little confusing to him "Didn't you already have pants on?"

"Those pants are horrible," I told him. "I can't wear them in public!"

Then he started muttering under his breath in a manner that made it seem like he didn't find me endearing at all. So I didn’t mention that he's lucky this didn't happen when I was young and in college or I might have insisted on taking a shower and doing my hair and makeup before leaving the house.

In any case, we finally made it to the hospital (even though my hair was a hot mess) and in an exam room for blood tests.

Which never go well for me.  Apparently, I’m a “hard stick” and it takes at least 3 times for any nurse or phlebotomist to find a “good vein” and I end up with marks all over my arms like this:

May I just mention how much I enjoy walking
 around looking like I mainline heroin?

Four “sticks” later they had enough blood to do their tests.

And my need for drama kicked in again. I grabbed the nurse’s arm this time and said “Are you going to give me the good drugs now?"

She didn’t take my histrionics nearly as well as Opie does…and, oddly, he didn’t take this one well.

“Don’t say stuff like that!” He told me after the nurse left. “Now they're probably going to do a blood test to make sure you’re not some prescription drug abuser.”

"She knew I was joking,” I insisted. “I'm sure somewhere in my file it mentions that I'm hilarious!"

“Oh, I’m sure," Opie agreed but it didn’t sound like he meant it.

Even worse. I think he was right because it took a lot longer for them to bring the good drugs and even then they weren't as good as last time.

But they were good enough that I didn’t gloat when the ER doctor came in and agreed that it’s not an ulcer.

What is going on?

We still don’t know. I’ve had tests and more tests and in a few weeks I’m going back to the hospital for another, more specialized probe. All of which I’m sure I’ll share later.  The point, for now, is that I was right.

It’s not an ulcer.

And you know what? Sometimes vindication is almost as good as a cure!