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Seagulls, AKA Sky Rats

4 Apr

Animals are Assholes, Example Three: Seagulls. All of them.

This will likely come as no surprise to most people, but seagulls are jerks. However, they are impressive jerks. Summers spent on the Jersey Shore while growing up provided me with ample seagull-watching time, and I came to the conclusion at a young age that seagulls were basically these evil-genius, thieving, Sky Ninjas, expertly swooping and dive-bombing out of nowhere, stealing poor, unsuspecting grilled cheeses out of the chubby hands of Canadian tourists who wore knee socks with sandals.

Innocent woman. Thieving seagull.

I’m going to ruin the ending here, but let’s just get this out of the way right here and now: When I was a little, weird looking, huge-eyed girl, I was attacked by a flock of lunatic, flesh-eating seagulls, and you’re just lucky I’ve lived to tell the tale. But before we get there, let’s talk about a few other seagull experiences I’ve had. We will go backwards in time.

One summer, we arrived at my grandmother’s beach apartment to find that a seagull had made her nest on our balcony, complete with two eggs. My father threatened to drop the whole thing off the seventh floor balcony, but he succumbed to the pleas my friend and I screamed at him. Soon enough, they hatched, and we had two teeny, fuzzy seagull babies bopping  around on the other side of the sliding glass door. We loved them. And named them Beavis and Butthead. Actually, if I am going for accuracy here, my father named them Beavis and Butthead. Unfortunately, the mama seagull did not understand that we were giving up a prime beach-front and pool-front balcony for her little brood, and she would swoop and scream and attack if you so much as cracked the sliding door open. I understand she was doing her mama bear thing, but seriously, lady bird, you took over our spot. After avoiding being killed by mom bird for a week, we left them there on the bird crap covered balcony and headed home. I like to imagine that perhaps B & B grew up to be the only non-asshole seagulls in Wildwood, but I doubt it.

Baby seagulls: Misleadingly cute.

The previous summer, I had taken three friends with me to the shore.  We were thirteen and we were super cool, hanging out on the boardwalk in our tie-dyes and jelly shoes. One innocent afternoon, the four of us were on the boardwalk when one of us had the great idea to get funnel cake. If you don’t know what funnel cake is, you need to reevaluate your life. It’s fried dough! Covered in powdered sugar! Leave it to the Italians to create something so miraculous. Anyway, we acquired the delicious funnel cake and we walked and ate it as we headed back to my grandmom’s apartment.

Funnel cake = heaven.

Suddenly, we felt a breeze on our heads. I distinctly remember my friend, holding the plate full of goodness, look up slowly. She literally did a triple take, and I looked up to see what she was gawking at. That’s when I saw them: approximately one million seagulls were silently hovering above our heads, flapping their demon wings, waiting for the right time to attack. My friend made her move; she started a slow jog, still bravely defending the fried delicacy. The birds called her bluff though and swooped, fanning up her perfectly 90’s hair sprayed hair. They would not be daunted. I’m not sure if this part is true or not but I distinctly remember screaming “Ruuuuunnnnn!!!!! Save yourself!!!!!!” with the same intensity used by Mel Gibison to yell “Freedom!” in Braveheart. And run she did, after she launched the paper plate up into the air at the birds. As she took off screaming down the boardwalk, the three of us left behind found ourselves covered in powdered sugar and funnel cake bits. We threw up our arms to protect our heads from the attacking birds as cake rained down on us like debris from a bomb blast. People stood and pointed, laughing hysterically, obviously not knowing the grave danger we were all in. We took off after our friend, slipping and sliding in our plastic shoes, and funnel cake was ruined for all of us for years to come.

The scene of the bird crime.

I could go on and on about these sky rodents, but let’s get to the party, shall we? When I was a wee thing, my parents decided it would be fun to sit on the beach after dinner and feed the birds. How sweet, how fun, how picturesque. What should we feed them? Doritos sounded like the logical choice. Who doesn’t love Doritos? Well, I’ll tell you who does love Doritos: seagulls. So there I was, happily sitting on the beach with my boy’s haircut and awesomely ugly bathing suit, innocently tossing the tasty finger-staining chips into the wind and into my mouth. One seagull arrived, and then another. I started to get a little bit nervous as the numbers started doubling and quadrupling, but my father egged me on.

“Keep throwing them! Toss them away from you. Higher into the air!” Alas, I could barely hear him over the wing flapping and ungodly sqwaking emanating from the now hundreds of birds. They were everywhere. And they were attacking me, hurling their heavier-then-you-expect-bodies into me, trying to take the whole bag out of my hands. It was like The Birds, but with more sand and processed fake cheese. I was surrounded, I was terrified, and I was bloody. I’m not sure if it was claws or a beak, but I ended up with my mouth and chin completely scraped up. Finally, my parents shooed the killer flock away from me before they picked all the meat off of me and just left behind a pile of Dorito-stained bones, but the gig was up. I now knew, and you can see it in the look of terror in my eyes, that seagulls were straight-up assholes.

Post attack.

Check out the look of fear. And the facial wound. And the killer hair cut.

Photos are borrowed from (in order): North News Pictures Ltd, montereydailyphoto.blogspot.com, columbiajobbing.com, doo-wopdiner.com, My dad.

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

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?

Fake It Till You Make It, the Happiness Edition

28 Feb

I haven’t written much lately, basically because I’ve been in a fairly foul mood. I’ve been pretty damn sad about something specific for the last couple of months, and a lot of times feeling like that takes a paintbrush to the rest of your life and gives it a grey, cloudy wash. It’s like your life has suddenly been painted with the muddy brownish-grey water in the jar used to clean the brush, instead of with the vibrant indigo and turquoise and vermillion watercolors on the palette. And who wants to read someone else bemoaning their life, especially when we all have our own stuff to deal with, and there’s countless people in this world who would gladly trade lives with me in a heartbeat? So here is an attempt at cheering myself up, by cataloging things that have made me happy recently.

The more neon sneakers are, the faster they make you run. This is a fact.

My new sneakers. Because they are awesome. I’m not usually a pink girl but I can get behind most things fluorescent. Subtly is not my thing. These could only be hotter if there was glitter involved somehow.

If I could just get this burner lit…

Phe. Because she is awesome, and is apparently attempting to cook me dinner.

This picture of my mother in college. Because she looks so young and happy and mischievous.

Reece Witherspoon, because I have had an influx (five in one month!) of people (total strangers) telling me I look like her. She is not someone everyone thinks is pretty, but I always have and I’ll take it as the compliment I think it was intended to be.

Send me on my way.

My upcoming trip to Costa Rica to celebrate an old and dear friend’s wedding with my old and dear sister (kidding about the old part, Heidi! It just wrote itself.)

Muhahahaahaaa

And this koala. And if I need to explain why he makes me happy, we just do not have the same sense of humor.

So there’s that, my attempt at reminding me of some of the little, good things going on. Here’s to faking it till you make it, the happiness edition.

Gravity is No Friend of Mine

28 Feb
Friends don’t let friends drop drinks on bridesmaid dresses.

Yes this is me. Me BEFORE my friend’s wedding. And yes, I was a bridesmaid. Those who know me know that gravity is not my friend and tends to rip things out of my hands on a regular basis, but this debacle was more ill-timed than most. Cheers to blow-dryers, flowy dresses that hide stains, and champagne. Because as soon as I dried the champagne off the dress, I was very happy to have a glass of it.

Happy Valentine’s/Crazy Cat Lady Day!

14 Feb

Valentine’s Day. It means so many different things to people. To some, it’s a day to celebrate their love for That Special Person. We hate those people.

For others, it’s that day where obnoxious couples flaunt their relationships in the faces of single people everywhere, filling up restaurants with their glittery-gaudy-cotton-candy-smelling-unicorn-frolicking-love, leaving poor single people eating spam and refried beans that they found in their kitchen cabinet under a layer of dust. Or something. Not that I speak from experience or anything. Really. No idea where that mental image came from. Anyway.

For me, Valentine’s Day has been all of the above at some point or other, but for the last decade and then some, it’s mainly been known to me as one thing: Ophelia’s Birthday Yes I Celebrate My Cat’s Birthday Shut The Fuck Up Day. YAY!

So, on this twelfth Ophelia’s Birthday Yes I Celebrate My Cat’s Birthday Shut The Fuck Up Day, I will be spending the evening with sweet Old Lady Phe.

Yes, I am 31 years old, newly single, and will be spending Valentine’s Day evening (hey, why isn’t it Valentine’s Night? That’s when all the action is. Petition!) on my couch, with my cat, celebrating her birthday. And that is one of the more pathetic sentences I’ve ever written about myself or anyone else. Seriously, what else could I say or do to come off as more pathetic? Nothing. There’s nothing else that could make me look more like a sad crazy cat lady. Unless… Phe Photo Shoot!

Valentine's baby
Valentine’s baby

Tramp Stamp Phe

Rabbi Phe Says "Shalom"

This post brought to you from my underwear basket, where Phe has taken up residence.

Note from Landlord, Translated

13 Feb

Under my door tonight was the following note:

February 10, 2012

Dear Residents,

Please be advised that on Tuesday, February 14, there will be no hot water from 11am-1pm due to plumbing repairs.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your cooperation.

Sincerley,

Name of Management Company

Okay, you think. No problem. I shower at 7:45AM, and I’m not home again until 6:30PM or so, earliest. No big deal, right? Oh innocent one, let me teach you the ways of NYC apartment living if you aren’t already horribly familiar. To do that, I will translate the note for you:

February 10th, 2012 (See, we wrote the 10th even though it’s the evening of the 13th, because we totally have to tell you a few days early if we’re shutting off your water and we totally didn’t do that)

Dear I Can’t Take the Time To Write The Names of Each Resident Separately Even Though There’s Only Like Eight Apartments In This Building,

You totally better shower TONIGHT. And by shower tonight, I mean take a good, long shower. Shave your legs, and shave them again. Wash/rinse/repeat repeat repeat, beyotch, and kiss that shower goodbye. Oh, you drink water too? Better start filling up bottles. Or buckets. And the toilet… hmm. Do you have a boyfriend with whom you’re comfortable enough to do your “business” at his place? No? Gym membership? No?! You live in Manhattan, fatass, how do you not have a gym membership? Well, now I know why you don’t have a boyfriend. Anyway. This is probably going to fuck up your whole flushing-of-the-toilet situation. Sorry about that, that stinks. (Get it? STINKS? ROTFLMAO). So yeah. Tomorrow, Tuesday, from 11am – 1PM, your apartment is a water-free zone. And by 11am-1pm, I mean you’re gonna start looking like shit by Thursday unless you bribe a friend to shower at their place.

Sincerley (Really I don’t give a shit! Ha, another shit joke, get it?),

Your Landlord