Pet Pourri

“What the hell, Ellen?” John said as he walked into the family room. “There are two kittens in our bedroom. Would you mind telling me what’s going on?”

Ellen clicked her tongue. “Oh, don’t get your bowels into an uproar, John,” she said calmly. “Mrs. Ferguson from down the street, well, her cat had kittens and she came over today and said, knowing that we don’t have any pets, perhaps we might like one.”

“But there are two there,” John said.

“I know,” Ellen cooed. “Aren’t they the cutest little kitties you’ve ever seen? And you know we’ve been talking about getting a pet. It’s serendipity, isn’t it?

“First of all, Ellen,” John said, “I never agreed to us getting a pet. Second, if we were to get a pet, my preference would be to get a dog, not a cat, much less two. I hate cats.”

“But John,” Ellen said, “dogs require much more work. They need to be taken out for walks all the time. But you’re never around, what with all the traveling you do for your job and the long hours you work when you’re not on the road. So the task of walking the dog would fall upon me. The wisdom of having kittens is that they’re much easier to take care of. They somehow automatically know how to use a litter box and you never have to take them out in the freezing cold of winter or the heat and humidity of summer for them to do their business.”

“Well, the answer is simple, then, Ellen,” John said. “I don’t want a pet and I certainly don’t want any cats underfoot. So call up Mrs. Ferguson and tell her to take back her damn kittens.”

“I refuse,” Ellen firmly stated. “You’re never home, we don’t have any kids, and I want — no I need — these kitties for company and to take care of. I’m not giving them back.”

John shook his head. “Fine,” he said,” consider my letting you keep these kittens to be my propine to you. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to clean up their litter box.”

Written for these daily prompts: The Daily Spur (tongue), Ragtag Daily Prompt (kitties), Your Daily Word Prompt (serendipity), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (preference), MMA Storytime (wisdom), Word of the Day Challenge (propine).

“Propine” is a word I’d never heard before, but according to the Word of the Day Challenge prompt, it means to offer as a present or a gift. Were it not for that word prompt, my last sentence would have read, “…consider my letting you keep these kittens to be my gift to you.”


So my wife and I are in the midst of a competitive game Rummy 500 when our cat jumped up onto our dining room table and sat down right in the middle of the “playing field.” I went to pick up the cat to remove him from the table, but unbeknownst to me, he extended his claws and caught them on a cloth placemat upon which my iPhone happened to be sitting. DFD5765B-7610-4476-9159-14B7B0DD7B86As I lifted the cat from the table, the placemat to which his claws were attached also lifted, and my iPhone went flying across the room landing hard on the wood floor.

I dropped the cat and reached for my iPhone. I picked it up and carefully examined it. The good news: the screen and body were intact and everything looked copacetic. Phew.

But about an hour later I got an email from my son asking me why I hadn’t responded to his text message or answered the phone when he called. I called him and said I never got a text or call from him. He said that he’d text me again, and when it never showed up, I called him back to say I didn’t get it. Then I told him to call me back, hung up my iPhone, and waited. Nothing!

Anyway, the bottom line — and it’s a weird one — is that everything works on my iPhone, including its ability to make phone calls and to send text messages. Everything, that is, except its ability to receive phone calls and text messages.

Time for a new iPhone, I suppose.

SoCS — Spaying, Spraying, and Splaying

“The vet said we need to bring our cat in this week to have her neutered,” Molly told her husband.

Bill did a spit-take and let the coffee he was sipping spray all over the kitchen table. “Then the vet has to come to our place and do it,” he said.

Molly looked at Bill like he was crazy. “Oh for crissake, Bill,” she said. “You know that veterinarians don’t make house calls in order to spay cats at people’s homes. You need to bring the cat to the animal hospital for that.” Then she handed him a paper towel and told him to clean up the mess he made on the table.

Bill grabbed the paper towel and dabbed up the coffee. “Well then, you’re going to have to get her in the damn cat carrier,” he responded. “Whenever I would try to cram her into her carrier, she would splay her four paws wide and I never was able to get her in it.”83800A0C-0CFE-4F04-85A9-56532446CFB0Written for today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt from Linda G. Hill. Our task was to write a post using “spay,” “spray,” and/or “spray” in it. Done, done, and done.

Fandango’s Friday Flashback — May 29

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 29th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.

This was originally published on May 29, 2010 on my old blog. We were still living back east when this took place, but we would shortly be moving to San Francisco.

Batman Returns

B7513E75-04DC-4CD1-804C-A1B14E5F7FD4Last fall I spent a considerable sum of money for what is known as a “bat exclusion.” A bat exclusion is a process designed to remove all bats from a property and to plug all possible entry points for future generations of bats. This process was initiated for our 110 year old Victorian-style home after we discovered a bat flying around overhead in the master bedroom. As a precautionary move, we had to undergo a series of painful rabies shots. It’s not that either of us was bitten by the bat or that the bat flying around the room had rabies. It was a just in case kind of a thing.

I also engaged Leo, aka “The Batman,” the guy who performed the bat exclusion, to install a bat condo (see the photo below) in our backyard so that the bats, in search of a place to hang out (literally) during the day, would go to the bat condo rather than seeking out the comfort of our attic.DB6B9945-6388-45AF-86C9-6535F8033FA5By the way, even though Leo is often referred to locally as “The Batman” because he specializes in bat exclusions, he is nothing like any of the various actors who have portrayed Batman in the movies. He actually more closely resembles The Penguin than Batman.

So what a surprise it was the other day when my wife heard our cat running around like a mad person (or a crazed cat), making a racket in our entry foyer. She discovered that he was pawing at and playing with some kind of creature. She called out to me and, of course, I came running to see a dark brown blob on the lower landing of the stairway.

At first I thought the critter was a mouse. Then it looked almost like a frog and I wondered how a frog got into our house. But then it spread its wings and attempted to fly, not very successfully, as the cat must have inflicted some harm to its flying ability. My wife grabbed the cat and I grabbed a plastic bag into which I scooped up the wounded bat, took it outside, and dumped it on our front lawn.

What I should have done, though, was put the wounded bat in a cardboard box and taken it for testing to see if it had rabies. I don’t know if, in the processes of toying with its prey, our cat may have been bitten by the bat…or if he may have bitten the bat. And not knowing if the bat had rabies, my wife and I ended up taking the poor cat to the vet to get a rabies booster shot. He wasn’t very pleased by that experience.

The Batman is now scheduled to come back to our house on Tuesday afternoon to see if there are any new signs of bats hanging out in the attic or elsewhere in our house.

I wonder if there are bats in San Francisco.