Friday, October 15, 2010

Some stories

Lumps and Bumps

With Dozer less than a month away from his 10th birthday, I've become super-paranoid about his health. Most recently, I observed two new lumps under his skin, and went into a panic.

He's prone to fatty lipomas, which are harmless lumps, so I should have realistically determined that these were likely just more of the same. But no, I obsessed. Every day, I poked at them, and made Byrd poke at them, and talked about how large they were getting, and how they could be cancerous.

Several days of this was enough to work Byrd into a panic as well, and he finally told me to take Dozer to the vet and get the lumps checked out.

So I did, and sure enough, they were just a couple of lipomas. And small ones at that; the vet had trouble finding them, and when I ran my hand over the spots and guided him to the lumps, he muttered, "Geeze, you're good at finding these."

Okay, so maybe I sit down with my dog every single night and give him a thorough rubdown for lumps and scrapes and other things. I'm sure that's something every dog owner does, right? Right?? I'm not obsessed. I just care. A lot.

The Mouse in the House, Part V

If you recall some months ago, we had a mouse in the house, that caused a bit of chaos. Well, technically, Byrd caused the chaos by tearing the kitchen apart.

After that mouse, we saw signs of another mouse in the house (mostly in the form of chewed-on fruit in the fruit bowl, and Star barking into the kitchen late at night), so I put the live trap out on the counter. Sure enough, within a few days I had a mouse in my live trap. Then a few weeks later, another. Then another. Each time, I walked out to the far corner of the yard and let the mouse free.

Every one of these have been little Deer mice or Texas mice--cute little field mice with big round eyes and chubby bodies. They aren't the big, slinky, traditional "house" mice. We've never had a mouse problem prior to this year, so I started wondering where on earth all these mice are coming from. And why were we only getting one at a time?

Last night, I investigated a racket coming from the kitchen and discovered that the mouse trap had been tripped yet again. And this was no placid, terrified mouse. This was a lively one. The trap was scooting all over the counter.

I carried the trap out to the front yard, rather than the back yard, and flipped it open. Another Texas mouse. When I dumped him out into the flower bed, he sat there and stared at me. His look said !@#$@# It's cold out here. I went inside, set the trap up on the counter out of habit, and went back to bed.

Four hours later, the trap was alive again. I stood there in the kitchen, at 4 am, in my bathrobe, and watched the trap jiggle across the counter. I'd never caught two mice in one night. Much less two very brazen, noisy ones.

Then I realized that there was a distinct possibility that this was the same mouse. It certainly had the same spirited personality inside the trap. It also knew exactly where to go for delicious peanut butter.

In fact, how probable was it that all of the mice I'd caught thus far were in fact the exact same critter? It would certainly explain how each new mouse seemed increasingly familiar with the nooks and crannies of our house. It would also explain this mouse's lack of timidity around (and inside) the live trap. And it might even be the reason why I caught this mouse in record time--because he already knew the fastest way back inside.

So this time, I left the mouse in the trap until morning. In the morning, Star and I went on a walk.

Star carried the mouse trap, with the mouse, in her backpack. I found it incredibly ironic that the mouse she always tried so hard to corner was now actually a foot from her face.

Totally oblivious to the fact that she's carting around her nemesis.
"Achoo!! What smells like rodent?"
We walked a quarter mile down the street, to the cow fields at the edge of town. From here, there was no way in hell that this mouse was going to find its way back to my place. I put Star in a down-stay and opened the trap at the cattle fence. It was a beautiful day, sunny, with a breeze, and the smell of cow patties and hay wafting across the thick grassy fields. This is where a Texas mouse should live.

But the Texas mouse had other ideas. He refused to come out of the trap. I knocked the trap on the ground until he tumbled out. He whipped around and raced between my legs, then started climbing--up my pants. His fur was matted with peanut butter and he looked desperate and pitiful. I knocked him off my pants into the deep grass, grabbed Star, and ran out of there before the mouse could jump into her backpack for the return trip.

Star either did not notice the whole affair, or did not care. She was in 100% Angel Mode for some reason. I'm lying down, being good... The grass smells like cow... Why are you jumping about? What? Are we leaving already? Make up your mind. Yes, okay, I'm getting up. Ow, hang on, I've got a burr in my paw.

And we walked back home, with me checking the backpack occasionally to make sure we didn't have a rodent hitchhiker.

Class and Work

There's no story here. Two jobs plus two math-based (blargh) college classes plus website duties make Jen a dull girl. The good news is that I'm working from home for both of my jobs (for now), so I don't have to waste time on a commute, and I can juggle priorities easily.

That's also sort of the bad news, because I have a very hard time putting down the work in order to do normal things like eating and sleeping. The work is always there, calling to me, and I have to leave home to get away from it.