Received Achievement: Defender of the Cadbury

My family–that’s me, Wife Unit, Nublet, and our two Maine Coon cats, Fat Cat and Flat Cat–rent a small 85-year-old house that’s got “character.”  When somebody in, say, Southern Living talks about a house having “character,” they’re probably talking about its history, its charm, its “feel,” if you will.

When you’re talking about a house with “character” in the real world that I occupy, though, “character” means stuff like:

– a surprising number of corners that aren’t quite 90 degrees
– becoming one with nature because the doors and windows don’t seal very well
– getting to know your neighbors, mostly of the four-, six- and eight-legged variety

That last one is the key to this tale.  And it’s not helped by the fact that my wife and I are both longtime thirty-second degree Grand Weasels of the Ancient and Illuminated Order of Slobs.  When you’re dealing with the sheer amount of feces that life’s slung at us the past four years, there are things that slip through the cracks (or, in our case, roll down the slant in the living room floor and fall through the furnace intake grate), and keeping the Bunker of Love neat as a pin is sometimes one of them.

(That having been said, we love the house.  My wife has her own bead studio in the attic, we have a sunroom dedicated to our computers, Nublet has a yard to play in, it’s got nice big trees for shade, and it’s in a neighborhood that, when it’s not undergoing a rash of break-ins, has real charm and nice people.  Downsides?  Well, there was the slight matter of suffering through the hottest summer in 120 years with no central air conditioning, but, hey, that builds character.  Or something.)

Anyway.  So there we were last night, the Wife Unit and yours truly, on our respective computers in our rather cluttered sunroom.  We’re in the process of doing some spring cleaning, so the room was a bit more cluttered even than usual while things were being sorted out.  But, we’d called it an evening after some good hard work, and were off saving the world (in her case, playing Dragon Age) or just chilling out (in my case, noodling around on Youtube).  Nublet was in bed, and the house was blissfully quiet.

I heard a bit of a commotion from behind us, in the living room, but didn’t really pay it any mind…I figured it was just the cats having a bit of a “discussion,” as they do occasionally.  Fat Cat and Flat Cat are not blood relatives but we’ve had them both for seven years, and like any brothers, they have their spats occasionally.

A quick bit of background here:  Fat Cat and Flat Cat aren’t their real names, but they’ll do for here, and the pseudonyms are accurate.  Fat Cat was our first pet after getting married, bought from a reputable Maine Coon breeder, and he is, well, not to put too fine a point on it, fucking huge.  Yes, we have let him get too fat.  Yes, he was huge even before he got fat.  He’s a Maine Coon.  They do that.  He’s about thirty pounds, and while he’s not exactly nimble, he’s not as immobile as you’d think a thirty-pound cat would be.  He’s also lazy, arrogant, entitled, and dumber than a bag of hammers.

Flat Cat is our second cat.  We got him not long after we got Fat Cat, but Flat Cat is a rescue Maine Coon.  For a Maine Coon, he’s positively scrawny.  We’ve been repeatedly assured that he’s healthy as a horse, but he just won’t gain weight.  He’s skinny, solid gray, with the fluffiest, most pettable long fur you can imagine.  He’s also scared of people and as insecure as the day is long.  Oh, and he lost his tail when he was a kitten, so he just has a tiny little nub at the back, like a Doberman.  It’s tiny, but it’s very expressive.

So.  Back to the commotion.  All of a sudden, here comes Flat Cat, rocketing into the room at warp speed.  He slams on the brakes, scrabbles on the hardwood floors, does a Jeremy Clarkson Top Gear powerslide around a garbage bag, and comes to a stop in front of a pile of clutter soon to hit the garbage can, ears and nub twitching madly.  We both stop what we’re doing on our computers and look at him, because this is odd behavior for Flat Cat.

Suddenly he lunged with his paws (this cat has absolutely gigantic furry tufted paws, made bigger-looking because he’s skinny) at something under a box.  I looked at Wife Unit.  “Guess he’s found a palmetto bug?”, I asked, referring to the big brown redneck roaches that are prevalent around here.

“Maybe,” she replied, squinting to see.  “Or it might be a…”

Just then, Flat Cat popped his head back up from behind the box, and trotted out of the room, holding in his mouth a small, gray, furry shape.  With a tail.

“…mouse.”

Now, it’s not all that unusual for us to find mice.  A few months ago, we caught Fat Cat nomming on something we thought for a split-second was an olive, until we realized it was actually a mostly-defleshed mouse skull.  We’ve also seen live ones running around on two occasions…one even got caught between the panes of a living-room window, thus turning into a live-action mousequarium for the cats until it eventually got out.  (Better than “Animal Planet,” even.)

What we’d never seen before is Flat Cat, our shy, skittish, cowardice-is-the-better-part-of-valor cat, go after one.  We always figured he’d make a good mouser, since he’s fast, he’s got massive paws, and he loves to play with stuff on the ground (as opposed to Fat Cat, who always likes to bat stuff hanging up in the air).  But he never showed the least inclination to do it…until last night.  So needless to say, considering that (a) we don’t like mice, (b) we get mice in the house sometimes, and (c) two mouse-hunters are better than one, we were pleased at this turn of events, and cheered Flat Cat from afar.

About three minutes later, I heard the characteristic “pwumf-pwumf-pwumf” of Fat Cat’s paws on hardwood.  (Yes, you can hear him walking on the floor.  He’s about as stealthy as a rockslide.)  I looked down in time to see Fat Cat glide by me and flop down in the floor between me and Wife Unit…carrying a mouse.  Flat Cat’s mouse.  Flat Cat trailed behind him, but when he got about two kitty paces away, Fat Cat turned around and started growling.  It was a deep, low, menacing “get any closer and I will rip your whiskers off and shove them up your ass” noise that would be more at home coming out of a Rottweiler, not a flabby gray-and-white tabby cat with his pudgy face full of dying mouse.  (Fat Cat, obviously, is upper management material.  He let Flat Cat do all the hard work, like actually moving, to get the mouse, and then once the situation was in hand, he swooped down to reap the rewards and take all the credit.)

After a minute of alternately growling, nomming, and batting the dying mouse around, Fat Cat picked it up and pwumfed back out of the room to the living room.  By now, we figured we had to put an end to our own little episode of Mutual of Omaha’s “Domesticated Kingdom”–partially because we really didn’t like seeing the mouse suffer (hey, they’re vermin, but they’re cute furry vermin with twitchy noses, you must admit), but mostly because we didn’t want Fat Cat taking the corpus delecti and losing it in our laundry like he did the last time.  So I distracted him with a potato chip while Wife Unit scooped the mouse into a box and dumped it out in the front yard to bleed out.  (What, you thought we were going to take it to the emergency vet or something?)  So both cats were petted and praised as if they’d scored 1600 on their SATs…although Fat Cat, as the manager, did score a little bit of potato chip.

The true end to the story, though, didn’t come until this morning.  As I was staggering to the shower to get ready for work, Wife Unit called to me from the kitchen.  I wandered in there and blinked as she shoved something in my face.  It was small, and ovoid, and wrapped in blue foil.

It was a Cadbury creme egg.

More precisely, it was a Cadbury creme egg with the foil torn off one side and little mouse toothmarks in the exposed chocolate.

She then said, in what we’ve grown to call Reasonable Voice, “that little rodent fuck.”

Now, my wife is a reasonably mild-mannered human being.  She’s got a temper, as do we all, but it doesn’t show very often.  (She also doesn’t curse very much, especially f-bombs.)  However…if you even think about messing with her Cadbury creme eggs, she will shank you like it’s the showers at San Quentin.  I don’t even get Cadbury privileges in my own house.  If she’d found that egg last night, I would’ve had to explain to the neighbors why my beloved was jumping up and down in the front yard at 10:30 pm screaming “DIE YOU FURRY EGG-EATING PIECE OF SHIT!”

Mice in the house?  We live with it to a point.  Mice touching the Cadbury eggs?  Shit just got real, yo.

New look, same management

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started blogging on WordPress about three years ago.  I’ve always liked to write, and I guess like a lot of people, I’ve always had the sneaking (and almost always incorrect) suspicion that people might be interested in my opinions on things.  So I started this blog, and then after a year and a half it just kind of, well, died.

There’s a few reasons for it.  Foremost among them was the success of Achtung Panzercow.  Amazingly, people did actually want to read what I thought about World of Warcraft in general, and protection warriors and tanking in particular.  It’s not like I’m famous or anything, but I figure that getting several posts linked on WoW Insider, which is a fairly big fish in the WoW gaming Internet community, and picking up over 225,000 hits in not quite two years, means that I must be doing something a little bit right.  In contrast, my humble little personal home here was averaging, oh, I don’t know, about five hits a day.  Stuff that 5 people read versus stuff that 500 people read.  Hmm, let me think where I should put my time and effort.

Secondly, I got burned out on politics.  I didn’t mean for Moose Droppings to become a political blog, but with the 2008 election in full swing, and my side (conservatism) getting a Compton-style beatdown, there was a lot to talk about.  Unfortunately, very few of my Internet-based friends other than my wife agree with me politically, and some days I just felt like a lone salmon trying to swim upstream, with no backup.  So after we entered the era of Hope-n-Change, I took some time off away from caring about politics, and just never really bothered to come back here.  But now it’s 2010, and things look a hell of a lot redder from where I sit than they did a year and a half ago.  That doesn’t mean I’m going to be as political as I was in ’08.  I know that, given my hardcore social and fiscal conservative beliefs, compared against the beliefs of people who will visit here, most will not agree with me.  That’s fine, I’m not going to change what I think.  But politics aren’t what I’m about.  They’re just something I talk about from time to time.

Finally…I look back on some of the stuff I wrote in 2007 and 2008 and I cringe.  Not that it was particularly awful or anything, but some of it was really whiny.  There’s a reason for that, we were going through some pretty rough times back then.  My wife and I ended up peeled away from both our families for reasons somewhat beyond our control, and found ourselves in a strange town neither of us wanted to be in, with little to no backup, right when we needed that backup the most.  The multiple shocks of losing her mother, losing her grandmother, moving here to Durham, and other family issues inside of a year sent my wife into two years of clinical depression that she’s just pulled out of, now replaced by total exhaustion as we both fight to raise a smart, high-energy, headstrong child without any chance to catch our breath or get our mental energy back.  We’re still broke.  Our cars still barely run.  We’re still shoveling money toward our debts as fast as we can and they never seem to go away.  Every time something good happens, something bad seems to follow it and overshadow it.  That’s a state of mind not exactly conducive to writing entertaining or funny (or even accurate) blog posts that people might actually give a damn about reading.

So why come back and start my non-WoW blog up again?  Honestly, I really don’t know.  I’ve got a couple of ideas about things that don’t really fit over at Achtung Panzercow, so where else am I going to put them, right?  I thought about blowing every single post away and starting Moose Droppings over completely fresh, but in the end, I’ve decided to leave the old stuff up here.  I don’t know how frequently I’ll update, or even what I’ll write about.  You may find my views don’t agree with yours, and if that’s true, I hope you understand that nothing here is personal (if it ever is, trust me, it’ll be very obvious) and everyone is welcome.

So welcome to Moose Droppings 1.1.  It’s not a whole new version…more of a graphical update.

One thing you never want to hear…

…the grinding sound of a car that’ll turn over, but not start, when you don’t have enough money to pay the bills you’ve already got.

Yep, the Divine Teabag has hit us in the face again.  Wife Unit’s car won’t start and is quite possibly an ex-parrot, leaving us with my rusted, dodgy, 162,000-mile-veteran truck as our sole means of transport for the forseeable future.  Apparently every piece of good news–Wife Unit getting beadwork up on Etsy, and getting in a local Ren Faire at the end of this month–has to be balanced by a much larger piece of bad news, in this case, a broken car with what sounds like serious-to-terminal engine problems.

All in all, it’s just another brick in the wall.  I just wish the wall wasn’t made out of poo.

We’ll be back after this brief message

Just a quick personal note here, for them what reads this here blog thang occasionally:  My wife, the lovely and talented Wife Unit, is attempting to sell some of her handmade beaded jewelry.  This stuff is handwoven by her own two hands, from just loose beads, thread, wire, imagination, and time.  She’s been doing it professionally, selling at craft shows around the Southeast, for about twelve years, and since we lost our business website last year (love ya, Network Solutions, mean it) we’ve not had an Internet presence to sell it.  So she’s put some shinies up on her LiveJournal for y’all to ooh and ahh over, and hopefully buy. 

If we sell enough, we’ll be able to afford the entry fee into a local Ren Faire in a couple of months and sell more there.  If we don’t, we can’t.  Simple.  Our theory is, we’re not going to get jack shit out of the $850 billion porkulus bill that Obama and Congress are about to shove down our throats, so we’ll just stimulate ourselves.  And no, you may not watch.

Please go visit The Magpie’s Nest and see if anything strikes your fancy.  Details and contact information are over there.

Thank you.

Scenes from a Food Lion parking lot

So things have been pretty gray and nasty here at the Landfill of Love the past few days.  The weather in Nifongville has been crap…it can’t decide whether it wants to be 40 degrees or 65 degrees, but no matter what it is, it’s been cloudy and rainy.  All in all, miserable, and our moods have matched.  Call it winter depression, call it post-holiday stress decompression, call it what you will.  But we’ve all been a little cranky and blah in general.

And this afternoon was no exception, until…

A new blog

Inspired by Anna over at Too Many Annas, I’ve decided to start up a second blog dedicated solely to my addiction to World of Warcraft.  So head on over and check out Achtung Panzercow, currently under construction.

So here I sit…

…at 1 o’clock in the morning, looking at my brand-new copy of Wrath of the Lich King, shiny little DVD poking out of its paper sleeve, account properly upgraded, patches pre-downloaded and ready to go.

Meanwhile, my computer is downloading the 1.9 GB content of the Lich King expansion from Blizzard, which even on a good cable connection like mine, will probably take another hour.

Why?

Because my freaking DVD-RW drive door won’t eject so I can’t put the DVD in.

WELCOME TO MY WORLD.

PS:  The download just stopped at 432 MB out of 1.9 GB.  Go me.