Aug 27, 2011


Jim has been adamant.  No more cats.  Every time I bring it up he just points to the door sills.  Miss Tinkerbell left scratches on nearly every single one of them.  Pine is very soft wood that scratches very easily.  Although, I guess to be fair I really should call them gouges and not scratches.  I never caught her in the act but it was clear she would stretch to full height on her back legs, dig in all of her claws and sharpen away.  It looked like a wolverine had been let loose in the house.  

After my daughter moved out and took Tinkerbell with her I was with Jim 100%.  No more litter boxes.  No more cat hair.   Then I started to miss having one around. They can be fun, especially the young ones.  There's no creature on earth more appreciative of a good scratching and petting than a cat.  My desire for a cat only got worse once I started volunteering at the shelter and saw how many homeless cats fill the cages.  Easily 4 - 5 times more than the dogs.  Poor babies. 

I started to test the waters...... all those poor homeless cats.  No way.  Then I tried the "birthday" thing.  Saying I wanted a Siamese kitten for my 49th.  No.  I promised to keep the soft caps on the claws.  No.  I begged.  No. FINE, NO CATS!

Then, as luck would have it, a friend of my daughter's was looking for an emergency kitten sitter.   I offered to take the cute little furball in.  I thought that Jim would change his mind about cats once he got some kitten time.  They're so much fun.

It worked.  Jim loved the kitten and the kitten loved Jim.  Jim loved to play with the kitten and we both loved watching the little guy run all over the house playing with anything he could get his paws on.  He'd run under the bed and hang from the box spring upside down like Spiderman waiting for someone to walk by so he could grab their toes.  

I started picking out names for the new little Siamese kitten I was going to get, Seymour, Biscuit, Ritz.  Then the kitten made a fatal mistake.  While I was getting ready for work one morning I left the kitten in with a sleeping Jim.  The kitten started to do mad dashes across the bed, clawing over top of Jim every time.  Zoom, zip.....  It was over.  One thing I've learned is Jim gets cranky when you mess with his sleep.  Jim's resolve to never own another cat returned with a vengeance.  

We returned the kitten.  I was a little sad to see him go but as I thought about it I realized visiting kittens are one thing but a long term commitment to a cat is another. Too bad you can't just rent a kitten once in awhile.

Aug 4, 2011

Substantive Mediocrity

I learned recently there is a well known and often studied sociological phenomenon called "illusory superiority".  It leads humans to think they are better at something than they really are.  It's the reason that nearly everybody you ask  (86%) will say they are an excellent driver.  Even when we know for certain that many of us are not.  I mean many of you.  I am an excellent driver.  

I suspect this phenomenon is also the reason that I've always thought I'd be one of the people to make it through an apocalypse.  I thought I had survival skills.  Now, I know most people don't rate, or for that matter even consider, their ability to survive an apocalypse.   But it's always been one of my favorite entertainment genres. When I read books like The Road, or watch movies like 28 Days Later and TV shows like the Walking Dead I imagine myself in these situations.   I have always assessed my skills pretty highly.  However, after my latest fishing experience I'm not so sure now.  It seems I'm lacking the most basic skill set necessary --- catch food, kill food and clean food.  Though I still rate my ability to eat food pretty highly. 

Our company summer cookout this year was held at a trout farm.   The fishing doesn't really offer challenges to the true fisherman.  Throw your hook in, wait 30 -90 seconds, snag a huge rainbow trout.  Good for kids with little to no patience or those who just want some fresh trout and aren't necessarily there for the fishing experience.  I don't like fish.  I rarely cook it.   My husband loves fish.  I decided to give him a rare treat by catching and cooking some fresh trout.  Well, to be honest my plan was always to ask somebody else to catch it for me.  The worm business really grosses me out and there's no way I'm grabbing that slimy, squirming fish.

So an awesome co-worker/friend of mine caught two beautiful rainbow trout within a matter of 2 minutes.  Plop, into the bucket they went.   Fortunately for me this trout farm will kill, clean and prep the fish for you for a fee. All I had to do was carry the bucket up to the cabin for processing.  Being very aware of my own limitations I quickly realized that as soon as one of those fish flopped around in the bucket I would scream and drop it.   The fish would spill out all onto the ground and there would be no way I could actually touch one to get it back into the bucket. What to do?  What to do?

I asked another co-worker/friend to carry it up to the cabin for me.  He gladly obliged.  We got to the cabin and the fish were dumped into a plastic bin sitting on top of a scale for weighing.  The fish were easily 3 - 4 feet off the ground.  I was a good 5 - 6 feet away from them.  All of a sudden they started to flop around.  I screamed.  One of the fish jumped out of the bin and onto the floor.  I screamed and ran around the other side of the counter.  The fish squirmed its way around the counter and was making a bee line straight for me.  I screamed and started running towards the door.  Finally one of the trout farm employees nonchalantly scooped the fish up.  Ha ha - all very funny and amusing.

Fast forward three hours and here I sit with my raw, processed trout.  This primal feeling, brought on by the thought of cooking a freshly caught fish for my man disappeared as quickly as it came when I realized the stupid things still had their tails, spines and skin, ewww....  I couldn't bring myself to touch them in order to prep them for the grill.  I had to ask for Jim's help in turning them over and putting them on the fish rack.  

That's when the whole apocalypse thing hit me.  I'll need Jim if I have any hopes of surviving.  I couldn't do it on my own.  Now I am asking myself all sorts of other survival questions Could I start a fire without a match or lighter?    Am I physically fit enough to outrun a zombie?  How far could I conceivably hike in one day?  How long before my lack of food catching skills and dwindling physical capabilities move me from "help" to "hindrance" in people's minds?    A dear friend of mine insisted my managerial abilities will be useful in a survival situation.  I'm not so sure the ability to flowchart, mediate and delegate will be quite as marketable as putting food in people's bellies and kicking zombie butt.