Archive | March, 2012

Sara the Potbellied Pig (Also, an Ode to The Neverending Story)

28 Mar

Asshole Example Two: Sara the Potbellied Pig

As I stated in my story about Allie the Irish Setter, one of my many duties at Dr. Costly’s animal hospital was feeding Sara the Potbellied Pig. A pig! I loved pigs! I was overjoyed. Could this job get any better? I didn’t think so. I learned of my Sara Duty about fifteen minutes into my first day. It was easy, Dr. Costly said. Sara, like a cool older sister, lived in her own barn out back of the vet’s office. After I let the vet’s dogs out and fed the horses, I was to fill up a large silver bowl with a hard cereal-like pig food. Okay, I could do that. “Just remember,” he told me, “never, ever, go all the way into the barn when you’re feeding Sara. Keep the barn door open and lean in and put down her bowl quickly. If you want to take her out, you can do that later, after she’s eaten.” Whatever, dude. I was, like, fourteen. I had this handled.

I carefully went through my mental list of what I was told to do. Bullet, Rosie, and Allie the bird murderer, Dr. Costly’s dogs, were happily prancing around, marking their territory. I dragged hay and water over to the sweet, old, swayback horses the vet had adopted when others had no use for them. Next up, Sara. Yes! I filled up her huge bowl carefully as slow-motion images of Sara and me jogging through a field of daises as Born Free played danced in my head. A pig, jogging? Whatever, it was my daydream.

I walked slowly to her barn so as not to drop a piece of her food. I wanted her well-fed and happy and to instantly like me, New Food Giver Person. I balanced the bowl against my flat chest and unlatched her barn door. Man. It was really, really dark in there. It smelled like hay and maple syrup, an altogether enjoyable combination.  But I couldn’t see anything. I opened her door a little wider, and in small, dusty shaft of light saw other metal bowls like the one I was carrying scattered empty all over the place. What a mess! No wonder Dr. Costly needed me. I’d show him right away on my first day, in my first hour, that I was neat and efficient and wouldn’t be leaving dirty dishes scattered around like the skeletons around the Sphinx in my favorite movie of the time, The Neverending Story.

Trust me. There are skeletons all around these guys.

I walked in, still seeing no pig, to get the bowls. And that’s when it happened. The barn door creaked shut, and I was submerged in total, complete, I know-what-it-is-to-be-blind darkness. I didn’t let myself freak out. I slowly walked towards where I thought the bowls were on the ground, but wasn’t even sure I was going in the right direction. I decided I needed to put the bowl of food I was carrying down, get back to the door, and free myself from this dark prison. And then I heard it. Snorting. Heavy breathing. I spun around, and then spun around again. It was like surround-sound pig grunts. And she sounded BIG. This was not the cute little pink curly-q tailed animal I was expecting. This pig was not going to be friends with a spider like Charlotte. This pig, I suddenly knew, wanted to kill me. I started slowly walking to where I thought the door was, shaking and still holding that stupid bowl of food, now in my right hand, dropping pellets of it as I walked. I was inadvertently leading Sara to her prey, like a bread crumb trail of death. And then, when I thought her wet, snorty noises were the scariest thing in the world, she went silent, and I knew that was worse. I was born in Texas. When all the birds get quiet, the tornado is about to hit. Well, it got quiet in that barn. “Sara? Sara?” I asked. And the next thing I knew, I felt a horrendous pain in my right hand. I screamed. She was upon me! And BITING me. Actually, just one bite, huge and strong and crushing, clamped over the fingers of my right hand and the side of the bowl. “Let me GOOOOOOO!” I pleaded. “I’ll give you the foooooood! SARA! I wanted to loooove you!” This wasn’t a pig. This was the freaking Nothing from The Neverending Story. I was sure of it in that split second, and I was horrified. Wouldn’t you be?

The Nothing. AKA the Thing of My Childhood Nightmares.

Finally, The Nothing the pig released her grasp. I dropped the bowl instantly and bolted straight into the darkness until I slammed hard into the barn wall and felt my way for the door. I came tumbling out into the sunshine and grass and lay down. Bullet, Rosie, and Allie all sat there, staring at me with their heads cocked curiously to the side. Thanks for the help, guys. Awesome. I looked at my fingers. There were covered in a sticky saliva and blood mixture, and had a clear set of square teeth marks on them, mainly on the center knuckle of my middle finger, which was practically crushed. It killed, but I didn’t want to get fired in my first hour on the job, so I hosed off my hand, wrapped it in a towel, and went inside. I made it about a half hour before the vet saw me and asked to see my hand. “Pigs have TEETH!” I informed him. Turned out, he knew that.  He immediately called my mother and had her take me to get a tetanus shot. And he fed Sara, who I came to learn was a TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY POUND PIG (I was a strapping 84 pounds at the time) himself from then on. There was no running through daisy fields with her. Because I was the Childlike Empress. And Sara was an Asshole.

The Childlike Empress

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Allie the Irish Setter

27 Mar

Asshole Example One: Allie the Irish Setter

An Allie lookalike.

The summer when I was fourteen, I got a job at a local veterinary clinic. I was technically too young to work legally in my state, but to me, spending a day taking care of animals was not work, it was awesometime, and I begged and begged until my parents signed some paper saying they gave me permission and I wouldn’t work over a certain amount of hours a week child labor blah blah blah boring. My title? Kennel Girl. I was ecstatic. What a glamorous title. I wanted a t-shirt that said that. A Hypercolor one. Obvs.

I grew up in a tiny town covered in cow farms. The office was set on acres and acres of land that was covered in stables and dotted with horses, goats, and sheep. The office itself consisted of a tiny waiting area, two exam rooms, an operating area/back room, and a kennel (for sick dogs and cats and also for boarders). Upstairs was a rundown two bedroom apartment. Originally, the vet, whom we will call Dr. Costly, lived in the upstairs apartment, but over the years he had gotten married, had a daughter, and built a large home a few hundred feet away on the same property. His dogs, two ancient Rottweilers named Bullet and Rosie and an absolutely insane evil genius Irish Setter named Allie had essentially taken over the upstairs apartment.

My job was to be the first one there in the morning. I’d go straight upstairs and let Bullet, Rosie, and Asshole, I mean Allie, out to run in the fields (well, Allie ran, Bullet and Rosie basically stared at her like she was an idiot while they gracefully wandered around, terrifying sheep.) I also fed his horses and warily eyed Sara, the potbellied pig, when I was outside, but details on Sara will come at another time. Once back inside, I’d feed the three dogs in the reception area and then clean out the cage of (and feed) Baby Bird, a tiny little blue budgie that had been abandoned at the office and adopted by Dr. Costly. Baby Bird’s cage hung above a gleaming metal table in the back room that we used to groom and examine dogs. Then I’d clean the office, walk every dog in the kennel, clean the cages and feed all of the cats and dogs. All before the vet arrived to open for the day. I loved it. Every second of it. Until.

Budgies!

One morning, like many others, I was happily going through my routine, dancing around the office, cleaning up crusty food and animal pee as happily as Cinderella getting dressed with the help of her woodland friends. I heard some weird clickety-clakety noises coming from the back room when I was up front vacuuming, but between the dogs barking and the cats caterwauling and the vacuum vacuuming, the clickety-clackety noises didn’t really resonate.  As I was finishing up, Dr. Costly came in and wished me a good morning. I wished him one back and continued doing what I was doing. Until I heard him call out to me these fateful words: “Um, where is Baby Bird?” Where’s Baby Bird? Where did he think Baby Bird was? It’s not like she got around much, I mean, we let her flutter here or there sometimes, but odds are if you were looking for Baby Bird, you’d find her in Baby Bird’s cage. “She’s in her cage! I just fed her,” I replied confidently, thinking Dr. Costly must be a blind moron. “No, she isn’t,” he said. “Can you come in here, please?” Oy. This is not good, I thought. Where is that damn bird?

Hesitantly, I walked to the back room, and sure enough, Baby Bird’s cage door was wide open, all dramatic-like, taunting me and rubbing in the fact that it was indeed sans bird. Shit. “I really don’t know, sir, she was just there!” I said, in Shaky Voice.  “Okay, sometimes she unhooks the latch, let’s look for her, I’m sure she’s somewhere.” Dr. Costly reassured me. He went into the kennel to check out the animals, and I stayed there, looking around the room, checking for the tiny bird in things like closed drawers and my lunch bag like a complete dumbass. And then tripped over Allie, who was being so uncharacteristically quiet that I hadn’t noticed her.

My last words of innocence were “Allie, what you got there? Huh, Allie-girl? What are you playing with?” She then turned her beautiful brick-red, silky face toward me and belched, and I swear to you on nachos, just like in a cartoon, she burped out little blue feathers. She burped Baby Bird into my face. And that’s when my eyes zoomed in on her nails, and then I turned and saw the metal table, and all at once I knew that the clickety-clackety noise I had ignored had been Allie, climbing on the table, Jurassic Park Velociraptor-style, to bird-murder Baby Bird. And that, I can safely say, is why Allie the Irish Setter is an Asshole.

Animals are Assholes, an Introduction

27 Mar

Introduction: Upon meeting me, you find out very quickly that I love animals. Adore them. In fact, I’ve been accused of liking and caring about animals more than I like and care about people. Which isn’t true. I just like and care about them more than I like and care about most people. See what I did there? If you don’t pick up on this part of my character by context clues (I don’t often get far into a conversation without bringing up some type of animal), you’ll likely figure it out quickly by my actions. I might dart away from you mid-sentence in the street in order to pet a dog being walked, regardless of the owner’s interest in having me do so, or I might fall off a bar stool in an attempt to lean over to pet the ornery bar-cat that’s circling my legs. (Not that that’s happened. You’re so literal. I said it might happen.) And animals, almost always, love me right back. In fact, the few times I don’t go chasing down a dog on walk, they often pull their owners over to me, as if being dragged by the force of a magnet of loooove. (Awesome analogy. Must find ways to use that in everyday conversation. )

However, it’s dawned on me (a little late, I must admit), that sometimes animals are assholes. There, I said it. They can be real, 100%, you-just-hurt-my-feelings-you-little-brat and possibly scarred me for life (literally), capital A, Assholes.  Let me illustrate this with a few real-life experiences over the next few days of posts.

Tasty

26 Mar

Long day at work? Hungry? Need a drink? Look no further, my friend. BEHOLD: the Bacon Martini:

Ain't it grand?

Aren’t they pretty? Bacon. Vodka. And bacon vodka. Yes, my friends, we live in a world where bacon-flavored vodka is a thing. It’s a beautiful day.

A Week in the Life of my Phone

22 Mar

A phone-photo essay…

Costa Rica, in drink form

Watermelon birthday huka

Hotdogs, anyone?

What I see when I wake up at 3am because I feel like I'm being watched. CreepyPhe.

Cactus & crystal

Mani-purr

Things you find on my kitchen counter.

Who needs vases?