really really funny stuff · Uncategorized

My Encounter with Gregor Samsa

a picture of a cockroad with the words "not a cockroach" above itI’m the one who let the dogs out.

Actually, I let the dogs out what seems like three dozen times a day, but it’s probably a lot more than that. It’s normally an incident-free type thing: open the back door, let the dogs into the backyard, and close the door.

This morning was not incident-free.

When I opened the back door, a bug that looked very much like a cockroach but moved so fast I couldn’t be sure came running into the house.

I screamed. Holy mother of fuck, what the fuck is that?

The bug was probably just about as freaked out as I was.

It had been sitting on the back stoop, minding his own business, when suddenly this huge thing (the door) came flying at it and two massive animals (each weighing under 10 pounds, but massive compared to him) jumped over it.

I ran to grab a heavy book – a college English textbook, which honestly isn’t good for much else – and by the time I got back, the bug that could have been a roach was hiding under the edge of the dog’s chewy toy.

Clever, right? It was a smart little bug, which made me question its roach status, and I had yet to get a clear look at it.

I kicked the chew toy away and tossed the book where the roach *should* have been, but instead the little bastard was too fast and ran under the black ottoman.

Totally smart.

Totally annoying.

I pushed the ottoman around, still holding the book, and it came out and hide under the big plush green hippo there.

Clearly, this was not a roach. Or if it was a roach, it was the most brilliant roach I had ever crossed paths with.

I decided to reason with it.

I put the book down.

“Just go outside,” I told it. “You’ll be okay, I’ll be okay, and you’ll get out of this alive.”

Maybe it heard me and understood me. Maybe not.

But when I came back with a broom and opened the back door, it managed to get under the sweeping part of the broom and made it out the door.


It righted itself on the concrete of the back porch, and stared at me.

Was it a cockroach? Was it more than that?

I don’t know.

I got distracted because the dog wanted to come back in, and by the time I looked back at where it had been, it was gone.

really really funny stuff · Uncategorized

Dear Lizard – Don’t fight it

lizard on rock
This is not a picture of the actual lizard. I was too worried I would fail and he would die, so I didn’t take a picture of him because I didn’t want a reminder of him and his demise… Photo by Francesco Ungaro on

I’m terrified of spiders. Not shocking news, especially for anyone who reads this blog or knows me in real life.

What I’m not terrified of is lizards.

I love lizards.

I love them so, so, so much.

I love them so much that whenever I find their little desiccated corpses which means that one of them was brutally kitty-murdered, I’m super sad as I toss it into the trash. (Which doesn’t sound like I’m that sad, but, honestly, what else can you do with a little lizard corpse?)

So when the blinds in the living rooms shifted, I almost freaked out and ran away. Then I spotted a green tail sticking out. A second later, a green head popped out.

A lizard!

A lizard in the house…with the murdering kitties. And, to be fair, puppies. The puppies don’t catch them as often, but I do know that a certain puppy quite enjoys the hunt and is happy when she manages a kill.

I had to rescue it before it began kitty – or puppy – chow.

The problem with the lizards we have around are that they are fast, and they don’t like to be captured. If you foolishly try to grab them, they drop their tail and make a break for it while you have that completely natural reaction of “oh my god, there’s a part of a lizard in my hand!”

This time, though, I had a cunning plan.

Waiting to get put back up above the cabinets was a Halloween candy container that had a lid.

I could totally catch this lizard and save him.

The only problem was that he didn’t want me to.

I don’t think that it was because he enjoyed hiding the slats of the blinds – although, since I’m not a lizard, perhaps that’s actually some sort of spa-like experience for them, and he thought I was ruining his perfectly enjoyable afternoon.

I made a few ill-advised attempts to get him to jump into the container.

Hint: lizards do jump, but not into clear containers.

Instead, he jumped down to the window ledge or jumped back up into the blinds.

I knew I only had a few more chances before he would drop to the floor, hide under some furniture, and become kibble for one of the animals in the house.

“Get in the bucket! It will save you!” I told him.

“You’ll die! You’ll die!” Which, if he understood English, he might have taken as a threat.

I don’t think I suddenly convinced him with my yelling. I think he probably just ran out of options since I had been forcing him downward until the container was between him and the floor.

He jumped into the container.

“I have saved you, lizard!” I yelled at him as I rested the lid on top. I didn’t want to push it down – if he had been too close, I might have killed him, which would have made the entire ten minutes I’d spent on saving him into a wasted ten minutes instead of ten minutes that made me a hero.

I brought him outside onto the back porch, which meant the dogs wanted to come along, too. To try to keep him saved, I put the container down on a chair, above the dogs’ easy reach, and opened it.

He looked up at me.

“You’re free!”

He looked up at me.

“Get out of the bucket!”

He looked up at me.

“Let me rescue you!”

He still hadn’t gotten out of the bucket. I began to suspect that perhaps we had bonded, and now he didn’t want to leave me. I couldn’t blame him. I mean, who would want to leave me, especially after I saved their life?

But I knew it was best for him to rejoin nature.

I grabbed the bucket and tried to slide him out.

I guess lizards have super amazing pads on their feet because he didn’t slide. He stuck to the plastic side of the container. He didn’t budge.

“Don’t make me hurt you!” I said.

“Don’t fight it!”


Even as I slid the lizard to his outdoor fate, I couldn’t help but think of a particular episode of “Better Off Ted.” I couldn’t make the lizard watch it – he wouldn’t understand it, plus, having been forced from the container, he’d made a break for it, and I’d already lost him.

So here it is – for you – part of “The Great Repression”


The Dead Cat on the Mantle

Peanut being Peanut and very much alive...
Peanut being Peanut and very much alive…

Chekhov (no, not the guy from Star Trek!) once said that if there is a loaded gun on the mantle in the first act of the play, then it should be fired in a later act.  But I’m not sure the same is true about cat’s ashes.

I know – I’ve started this out (trying to be) funny, but this isn’t really that funny a topic, unless you define funny as awkward and sad instead of humorous.

I’m not new to the world of pets.  As long as I can remember, we’ve had pets.  Goldfish.  Koi.  Hermit crabs.  A short-lived gerbil.  Cats.  Dogs.  And as long as I’ve had pets, I’ve had pets that died.  Often, we’d go to extraordinary measures to save them and keep them alive as long as possible, like our goldfish Melody, named after the character from Josie and the Pussycats, which, looking back on it, it does seem a bit ironic to name a fish after a pussycat, but I was only six or seven.  Anyway.  Melody the goldfish had surgery performed on her by my father.  We netted her and removed something from her side – and she lived!  At least, as long as goldfish ever live.  Then there have been unexpected deaths, like my dog Scrungy who went to the vet for routine surgery for kidney stones, a surgery she’d had at least half a dozen times, and she died during recovery while we were on the way to pick her up.  (Want to feel bad for someone?  Feel bad for the vet who had two little girls in hysterics in his waiting room when they found out their dog was dead.)

I don’t know what happened to my pets when they died when I was a child.  Sure, we flushed the fish.  And, yeah, we buried the gerbil in the backyard.  But the cats and dogs just disappeared after they died.

Since I’ve been an adult and on my own, though, we’ve only had two other animals die – our dogs Teddy and Cecily.  With Teddy, we got his ashes in a plain plastic box and scattered them at a little place we’d know he’d have liked to run, and it just seemed right and appropriate.  (And it taught us to not be downwind when we opened a box of ashes…)  With Cecily, it was far more of a shock because she began having seizures and couldn’t stop.  In that case, we let the body go for mass cremation because I don’t think we were able to think of anything else.

But this time, it was our cat Peanut.  We knew he had problems because a few years ago he’d suffered a stroke and came back from it.  But since then, he’d had at least one other one that we knew about, but possibly more.  It was still an unpleasant surprise when he had another one right before Christmas and didn’t recover.  He kept getting worse until he couldn’t stand or move properly, and by the time we got him to the emergency clinic, his temperature had fallen and he had no control of or feeling in his hind legs.  Whatever it was that had been causing the strokes and other problems had obviously been progressing, and no one had been able to figure it out or stop it.

Peanut in a box on the mantle...
Peanut in a box on the mantle…

A few weeks later, we picked up his ashes.  Unlike Teddy’s ashes, though, Peanut’s were in a very nice wooden box, engraved and, well, pretty.  And I realized – what were we going to do with his ashes?

Peanut never really left the house.  His favorite place was on top of the couch, and I can’t think that’s a good place to scatter his ashes.  And the box is nice and seems almost strangely appropriate for keeping his ashes in.  It’s orange-ish.  And it just kind of hangs out.  Very cat-like things to do and be.

So what do we do?  Is it wrong to keep his ashes in the box?  Do we keep the cat on the mantle?  Because we have a few other cats, and I’m afraid it might get both crowded and creepy if we keep this up.


My dogs

Crayola Silly Scents By Crayonsman (Own work) [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or FAL], via Wikimedia Commons
Crayola Silly Scents By Crayonsman (Own work) [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or FAL], via Wikimedia Commons
They like
to eat crayons.

No matter what I do
to stop them.

A green one here.
A red one there.

A few blue ones
for variety.

They seem
to like yellow,
but never pink.

An occasional purple
seems good, too.

My dogs
they like
to eat crayons.