Sunday, March 23, 2008

i can NOT believe this

I hadn't really planned on getting back to the plant and animal sagas so soon but fate has intervened. Must itemize.

farming
I have a blanket requirement for anything rooted in our yard–No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service. It's harsh and Darwinian but folks, them's the rules. I am happy to say we have survival-of-the-fittest azaleas, mae-west-tough gerbera daisies and hardy sago palms. Well, one hardy sago palm. The eastern sago flanking our walkway stopped producing its crown of new leaves many months ago, whilst its stronger western sibling strutted in place with healthy, gorgeous new fronds. I recently decided it was time to sit shiva for the sick cycad.

Then last week, lo and behold, there were signs of life from its barren center. Swear-to-godlessness, this ancient plant resurrected itself for Easter. In time to join the riot of color in the yard: fuschia azaleas and carmine gerbera daisies.

For some reason, I also planted herbs for cooking last week. Donning a gingham dress and marrying a Mennonite could only be more out of character for me. But I'm not that addled yet, only giving in to some dormant, tentative connection with Mother Nature. Really, it's just a phase.

livestock
Okay, okay. I'll admit that part of my aversion to pet ownership is selfishness. Too much maintenance, too much stink and too much adjustment to my life. And part of it is financial, so shoot me. I hesitate to pay for my own shots and grooming (and don't get me started about the anal gland treatments). Then, there's the guilt. Social animals ought not be isolated. The trade-off of assy-dog tongue licking my face is just not enough for me to justify all that danderrific trouble.

SO. Yesterday there was a young female black lab roaming down our street. Our daughter was outside on the porch communing with nature to spite me. [Have I mentioned she's a vegetarian? Don't think the Fates are not enjoying the hell out of this.] Anyway, the girl-child committed the cardinal sin and made eye contact with the canine. EYE CONTACT. After all I've tried to teach her. She called us from outside to say, "uh, Mom, we have a situation out here." Sonofabitch, I'll say.

To make a tedious rant a little shorter, we are now trying to find the owner of this damn dog. She is extremely sweet and timid to the point of ridiculous. Every threshold, every doorway is a portal to the dreadful unknown. Every step up or down is fraught with dog demons. The linoleum is terrifying. The porch, a nightmare. I named her Phobia which Barbara modified to Phobias, pronounced like Tobias, in honor of the Arrested Development character played by the brilliant, caustic David Cross. He, of the Never-Nude Phobiases.

We've flyered the neighborhood. Posted to the Craigslist Lost & Found. Will call local vets and stuff tomorrow.

In the meantime, we coexist. She's affectionate, house-broken, not much of a barker* and not too inclined to jump up on people. The occasional ankle lick and the regular, though abating, dead-weight-drop-to-the-floor fear response hasn't worn on my nerves too much. Barbara and the girl-child take care of the feed/eliminate cycle. Please, by cracky, let someone be searching for her.


If that wasn't enough (and it definitely was) on the way home from the grocery store this morning, a pigeon dive-bombed into our car grill (I was looking in my brain files for the word kamikazied but could only find kawasakied because The Bloggess has thrown a wrench in my limited japanese-influenced vocabulary). The pigeon-explosion moved quickly across the hood, up the windshield and shot over the car roof where, I assume, it landed in the road behind us. Relax. It was completely obliterated. It could have been run over 100 more times and it wouldn't have felt a thing. I'm grateful on an almost ecclesiastical level that the exploded missile did not take a curve through the open window into my lap. That, my friends, would have been three showers, a steamcleaner and the end of my to-do list for the day.

ghosts of livestock past
Just a few brief notes on the history of animals crossing my path.

There was a period of time, maybe for six months or so, that animals came to my yard to die. Nothing mystical here, just my luck. A cat crawled under our car and died. A dog dragged its sick carcass into our flower bed and promptly expired. An injured squirrel hauled its bloodied body onto our porch and gave up the ghost. Most people would have taken this as an omen–a cosmic message about doing some community service at the SPCA. Not me. I just hoped it wasn't like dog urine. You know, an irresistible marking of territory that beckoned to dying animals for miles around, "come here to die...everyone is doing it."

When I succumbed (doesn't "succame" sound pornographic? suck-came) to the big-eyed, pet-pleading machinations of my partner and children years ago, we got a small blonde cocker spaniel. (Raise your hand if you've heard this story. My apologies.) I named her Suburbia. For two reasons. One, that's where she lived. (Hello, why do they call it a "Scottie"?) And two, Faux-Wood-Paneled-Stationwagon seemed too cumbersome. Besides, Suburbia had a nice hispanical femininity to it.

Then, the guilt seeped in. Dogs are social animals. Not intended for 9-10 hours of solitude each weekday. So, we got a companion animal. A black and tan cocker that we hoped to breed once, so the children could witness the goddamn Miracle of Life. Enter puppy #2. Bourgeoisie. Bourgeois for short. Damn, but I do love a theme. We eventually pimped her out and sold most of her babies, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Suburbia and Bourgeois established a pecking order and companionship. Suburbia was in charge and Bourgeoisie did a lot of averting her eyes and groveling. Occasionally, they escaped the yard together. Which had me running up and down neighborhood streets yelling, "Surburbia!" "Bourgeois!" like some nutjob evangelical existentialist.

All in all, a checkered past. When the last of the cocker spaniels died, we'd had 13 or 14 years of petdom. I was ready for 13 or 14 years of petlessness provided the dear woman, who loves me in spite of my hardheartedness, was agreeable. Chorus of fallen angels, she was. We have lived in this state of whimper-free bliss going on three years now. I'm not going back without a fight.

*Well, unless you're an inanimate object. Like a stone gargoyle, for example. Then, you are going to get barked at. If Epiphenita is trying to have a long-distance conversation with her parents, you're going to get the deluxe barking special.

7 comments:

Beyonce said...

Hey Epiphenita,

I have a solution for your "dog situation," but it may sound cruel. All you need is some ground beef, a very large sack, a few heavy rocks and some rope. Here's how it works...

Place your DAUGHTER into the sack with the heavy rocks and tie the sack closed with the rope (this will prevent any other stray dogs from being "found").

Then place the daughter-filled sack in a safe place and, for the love of God, do not forget to feed and water the sack.

Take the dog and affix a note to the collar saying something warm and cuddly like "Please love me, I'm a good dog."

Then take the ground beef and place it on the doorstep of a delightfully charming single female in your neighborhood who is in need of some unconditional love.

Let dog run to doorstep and begin eating.

Ring doorbell.

Run.

(Problem solved.)

Dr. Ding said...

I disagree with the Beyonce's jelly. That is some draconian fucking jelly right there.

I want this Pet Situation to continue unabated so that I can keep laughing at the "hispanical"ly-named dog's hijinks and y'alls reaction to same without interruption. Basically, you will need to keep sufferig just for my own personal amusement.

Side note: I always thought that if I ever lost my mind and decided to reproduce, that I'd name my girlchild "Dysthymia" or "Dysphoria", which are basically clinical descriptors meaning "chronic depression" and "grumpity-assed" respectively.

I will be saying a novena for the fucked Sago.

Epiphenita said...

Beyonce, honey, you are a sick fucker. But clever. The girl child is too wily and resourceful for all that. However, I am considering getting her some Doggie-be-gone cologne.

Dr. Ding, your amusement is shared by the many. I woke up to dog-midwifing nightmares this morning. Don't ask. My subconscious is in an uproar.

I love your baby names and your technical definition for Dysphoria. It would be great if you had figurative twins.

The sago could use a novena or two or fifty, however, save a dozen for Phobias' rescue. Jesuscristo, I need to find her owners and beat the living shite out of them for unsettling my life like this.

Jenny, the Bloggess said...

"Come here to die. Everyone is doing it."

I want that on a shirt.

Also, this post makes me smile the smile of a woman who misses Arrested Development. Also, it hurts...because of the stitches. But is worth it.

I'm still high. Can you tell?

Menchuvian Candidate said...

I'll admit it; I was tempted to respond to the ad. But I kinda suspect you'd figure out I wasn't legit. Ah well...

I realized the other day that by the time the TQ is grown, I will have spent 30 years being a parent. 30 years of my weekends being decidedly not free. No wonder I felt more that a small frisson when the last houseplant died. I have to take my freedoms where I can find them.

Epiphenita said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Epiphenita said...

Jenny, I really can't tell that you're high. Probably because you're one of the rare sorts who is as funny sober as you are when you're high. I've had that surgery, by the by. It sucks but not as much as an adult tonsillectomy. Sorry, I didn't mean to sound like I was playing the my-pain-was-worse-than-your-pain game. That's obnoxious. There's no pain like the present pain.

MC, dear, it would have been wicked mean to get my hopes up but I do appreciate the comic gesture. My ideal life would not involve anything dying when I left home to travel...or costing me a cent to prevent such death. The old hardwoods don't need watering, the dishes don't need feeding and the pots/pans can go years without being walked. Those are some precious domestic companions.