Month: June 2021

Mail Mischief (Sigyn Speaks)

Oh, goody! A catalog came in today’s mail! I just love catalogs! They’re so full of possibility! For a short, shining moment, you can dream about having anything you want!

The church goods catalog has Christmas things already! I’m so excited! Christmas is my very favorite holiday. Except for Easter. And Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving’s good too!

Oh, how fun! Come look, Loki! They made a Nativity set in the shape of a tree! Isn’t that clever?

I wonder what’s on the front of the book?

Sigh. Loki, I know that, as a Norse god, you don’t really get the point of Advent and Christmas, but would you kindly take the Mail Mangling Curse off the mailbox? Please and Thank You.

: (

Okay, Loki, That’s Enough (Sigyn Speaks)

One of the best parts about going to church is the singing. I love to sing! They took the touched-by-everyone hymnals out of the pews when the pandemic hit, but they’re nice enough to make song sheets every Sunday, which is very sweet of them.

If you know the tune, it’s very easy to sing along.

Oh, goody! The closing hymn today is number 7 on the songsheet, “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling“. I like that one!

Umm.

Number 7 is actually “On and On“…?

(flip, flip) Oh, here it is!

Hee hee hee! It’s number 7 too! It looks like someone got a little confused numbering the songs. Bless their heart!

Uh, oh.

What is number 4 doing up above one of the number 7’s?

The whole handout is wonky!

The front has 1, 2, and 3, which is fine, but, inside, the numbers go 6, 5, 4, and 7, with the other 7 and 8 on the back!

Loki! Did you do this?!”

“We had an agreement! I don’t try to convert you, and you don’t mess with things in my church! What do you have to say for yourself?”

“I gave the human female a compulsive earworm, and now whenever she gets to this part, she has to sing ‘grapefruit‘ instead. It’s really funny.”

“NOT HELPING!!!”

: (

Mischief Update: Let’s Revisit Hel Week, Shall We? Part 2: Non-Condestruction-related Items

It wasn’t all home improvement here last week, no indeed. At any given time, I have many, many plans afoot, irons in the fire, and nasty twinkles in my eye. In non-condestruction news:

We were treated to a truly Ragnarok-adjacent thunderstorm here. No hail this time, but it lightninged (Look at that! The spell-checker likes that word!) non-stop for about two hours, with torrential rain and strong, gusty winds. Flannel Cat, of course, retreated behind the sofa. The human female stayed up to watch the show—and to make sure the roof stayed on.

The next morning, the yard was full of yard salad.

Pleas note that most of that is not from the humans’ own trees! When Sigyn and I went for a walk in the neighborhood, we noticed even bigger casualties.

That juniper looks positively bloody inside!

Great Frigga’s Corset! Look how close that water oak came to falling on that house! Bet that made a terrific noise, too! Makes me wish I hadn’t let the humans cut down the big dead one in their backyard. I bet it would be on the roof by now and they’d be negotiating for a new one from under a tarp instead of just some hail-pocked shingles and warpy gutters!

Gravity remains in effect in the bathroom

I am pleased to report that Flannel Cat’s trip to the vet went quite well. She was home and in fine fettle by the end of the day. The loss of a tooth did not seem to bother her much at all. She was most enthusiastic about the temporary substitution of gooshy food for kibble on her daily menu. Taffy Cat took about six days to stop hissing at her for smelling Wrong. In the end, the humans purchased some of the bottled-kitty-happy-pheromones and put it in a diffuser, which seemed to help. It also helped that Flannel Cat will go miles out of her way to sleep on anything that is even a fraction of a millimeter fluffier or softer than its surroundings, so her camping out on a worn T-shirt belonging to the human female, thus:

made her smell enough like Eau de Human Female (ugh!) to be acceptable. The Terror Twins can now be in adjacent zip codes without further contretemps.

I have no doubt that they will soon be back to their ridiculous lounging configurations.

Behold the two-headed beast
Can’t make the bed if it’s occupied

The canvas shopping bags are more coveted even than the cushion, so they must share if both are to recline upon Nirvana. Never mind that 4/10 of Taffy is hanging off.

You’ll recall that the initial trip to the vet with both cats–AKA the Feline Rodeo–resulted in the human female being on the receiving end of a bloody but shallow scratch from Taffy Cat.

Initially it didn’t hurt at all. After a few days, it had begun to twinge. It didn’t look infected, but being who she is, the human female opened a Google search for “cat scratch fever” and started taking notes. Soon, her whole wrist was quite painful and eventually she decided retaining the function of her extremities was more important than the embarrassment of seeking medical attention for something as trivial as the above. Since her primary care doctor was unavailable until the middle of July, she saw someone else, which was was a bit less mortifying. (She was relieved; I was not. I had been looking forward to watching her usual doctor struggle to suppress the epic eye-roll the human female surely deserved.)

And how did that turn out?

Sometimes she’s not as stupid as she looks.

>|: [

Mischief Update: Let’s Revisit Hel Week, Shall We? Part 1: Condestruction-related Items

I’m sure my many fans and minions want to know the status of all last week’s mischief projects. I thank you for your interest! I have endeavored to not let up the pressure too much, lest the humans grow complacent. I shall answer the questions I know you have.

Do the humans have a new roof yet? They do not! Roofer #4 was incommunicado until the middle of this week and was not returning calls (roofers are a bit busy right now.) He finally surfaced long enough to reassure the humans that he is “working on the paperwork” to submit to Usually Sounds Amiable, Although… In the meantime, roofer #5—who was contacted weeks ago, before the advent of roofer #4— came out to take a look. He pointed out that the humans’ current roof has something called “double felt”, whatever that is. That will make it more expensive to remove. He submitted an estimate some two thousand dollars higher than roofer #3’s, the one that USAA wouldn’t fully cover. Between hail storms and other disasters and my own stockpiling lumber and other goodies for the building of my own palace, the prices of construction materials are going through the roof (Bwhahaha–couldn’t resist!), so that the price of the project is rising by the hour and there isn’t even a firmly fixed insurance settlement yet!

But at least the water-damaged ceiling is fixed, right? It is not! The water removal equipment is gone–they picked it up on Monday, despite the fact the water-sucking folks said they’d pick some of it up on Saturday. The house is strangely quiet without two fans and a dehumidifier running around the clock. But there the work has stalled. The company charged with restoring the ceiling and carpet in the craft room, Attempts Total Involvement, or ATI for short, came out on Wednesday. Where the humans expected ceiling repair and replacement of the cutaway carpet pad and a steam-cleaning of the rest of the carpet, ATI has other notions. They’ll fix the ceiling all right, and then paint it. That, they say, will make the walls look funny, so they purpose to paint the entire room. I could have told them that the humans painted everything with the cheapest, untinted titanium white they could buy, and that the ceiling would certainly match the walls if they just used that, but if there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s keeping mum if it can make my day a bit more interesting and the humans’ a bit more frustrating. ATI also wants to take up the entire carpet pad, which means the room must be emptied. Everything must go–the dollhouse, all the quilt fabric, the stitching supplies, the sewing machine, multiple boxes of stuff-and-whatnot, tens and tens of linear feet of botany and art and craft books, and the bookshelves themselves, a prodigious heftage of planks and cinderblocks. There is, I hardly need point out, no place in the house to put all of this. ATI says they’ll pack it all up, but no one has the vaguest notion of where it’s going to reside for the duration. I have not offered the use of my pocket dimension, the place I stash all my goodies, so the humans will have to work something out on their own. The human female will have to pack the breakables herself. You can’t really hurt quilt fabric, but dollhouses are quite… smashable. Sigyn is most worried about the miniature lab glassware that lives on the windowsill. She’s offered to pack it up herself. I shall stand ready to rescue her should it become necessary.

What is the prognosis for the antique sewing machine, the one that got avalanched by wet fiberglass insulation? Unclear. The gentleman at the repair shop seemed entirely unfazed when given the description of what the poor thing experienced. Makes me wonder what Midgardians do to their machines that would render him so unflappable in the face of such a tale of misfortune. What nightmares has he beheld??

What about the sewing light? Did the new bulb work? Ehehehee! As of yet, there *is* no new light. The humans called on Thursday. The person who answered the phone said they’d have to speak to the person who helped them originally, and he promised to pass along a query and have him return the call. (Too many ‘he/hims” in that sentence, but you get the idea.) There has been a suspicious silence since then… It is slowly dawning on everyone just who sits on the board of Obsolete Technology Troubles…

But at least the new AC works, right? It does indeed. I find the sub-90°F temperatures indoors most salubrious and Sigyn and I no longer have to camp in the freezer. The human female sent in the paperwork for claiming the rebate from the city for installing energy-efficient equipment. The AC installer said last week that the inspector “will likely be around tomorrow,” but that didn’t happen. The human female called the AC company this week, and the AC company set up the city inspection for the next day (Tuesday). Tuesday came and went in its own desultory fashion. No inspector. The human female called the AC people, who looked into it and promised a visit from the city on Friday. Friday, of course, being the day the humans were planning a quick trip to the Big City to the South. The human male ended up going to the Purveyor of Pens with one of his friends while the female stayed home to let the inspector in. The inspector has just been, and the unit passes, but apparently the AC technicians forgot a little thingish thing that keeps a wire from rubbing or misbehaving in some other unsanctioned and undesirable fashion. The inspector helpfully left a memo as to what needs fixing:

Perfect! Clear as mud. So someone will be coming back out at an as-yet-unspecified date to crawl up into the attic once again. That wobbly pull-down ladder has never felt so loved and needed as it has in the past fortnight.

How long do you think I can s t r e t c h all of this home repair out? Should there be a betting pool? I think maybe there should be a betting pool—and one of the items should be “guess the date on which Usually Seems Amiable, Although… gets fed up with the humans and cancels their homeowner’s policy.

>|: [

The Week From Hel, Day 5: Finished…For Now

The whole household was up early today, to get ready to take Flannel Cat to the vet. She can’t have breakfast, and she’s not a fan of the carrier, so she’s not terribly happy. The humans have donned long sleeves to try to get her in the carrier (more Feline Rodeo!), since she left some super scratches on the human male the other day, when he was trying to gather her up and keep her out of the condestruction-fu on Tuesday.

Two and three quarters of a mile of piteous mewing later, and toothache kitty has been dropped off. Next stop–the Super Special Lighbulb and Battery Store. Can they order a replacement bulb that will fit the stitching lamp? They say they can. But we’ll see a) if they can actually get it, b) whether it will fit in the lamp, and c) it actually works. My money is on the silly thing continuing to strobe.

Now to return the Unhappy Bulb. The humans have tried putting in in and taking it out several times, to no avail. Bad bulb! No biscuit!

Well, rats! I was hoping the crap crafts store clerk would tell her she couldn’t return it, not even with the receipt, because she had opened the package. But there was a new person manning the till and she called for instructions on how to do the return, and they gave it to her. No fair.

Now we’re headed for the library. For reasons passing understanding, the human female’s urge to collect small, brightly colored bits of paper again. Foolish woman, you do not need another hobby! She went online and discovered that the local library has all the stamp catalogs that she’s too cheap to buy. You’d think reference books like that would not circulate, wouldn’t you? But no, there they are on the shelf. Took her a while to locate them, though, since they’re not on the shelf marked “Stamps, Photography, and Coins.” The human male is asking her if she really wants to check out ALL of them. Well, yes, she says, she does. That has earned her a monumental eye roll, but the checkout clerk seems to be happy enough to let her have them, so it looks like we’re losing a dining room chair for the duration.

Clara B. Mounce is rolling in her grave.

(later) It’s time to go collect Flannel Cat. Sigyn is extra glad to learn that she only needed one tooth out and came through the extraction $urgery ju$t fine. The vet says that she (the cat, not Sigyn) will need pain med$ and a antibiotic$. Please, oh, please, oh, please let the vet send the humans home with a bottle of that nasty, banana- or bubblegum-flavored amoxicillin liquid that they make for toddlers! I really, really want to see the humans trying to get a ml or two of that into the cat! Banana goop everywhere!

Curses! Foiled! The vet has offered a long-lasting antibiotic $hot instead and the humans leapt at the chance. But they do have the pain meds, and ehehehehe! The bottle is leaking all over the human female! Good show. I was afraid this wouldn’t be fun.

Two and three quarters of a mile of scratchy-throated meowing and we are home again. I’ve told Taffy Cat that Flannel is an impostor and not to be trusted, so there is a great deal of suspicious hissing going on, which is annoying and alarming to the humans, bewildering to Flannel, and vastly amusing to me.

(later) I have relented a bit. The AC repairman has sent the humans the missing paperwork. Nothing from the roofer, however.

(later) Time to give Flannel her pain medication. Does she want to come out and be fussed over?

She does not! Okay human male, get your long sleeves on while the human female draws the medicine up in the syringe.

Or tries to. The humans have found my last bit of mischief for today. The pain medication was dispensed in a teeny little bottle, with a supplied (needle-less) syringe for measuring doses. And the syringe doesn’t fit in he bottle! Not only that, it splattered out a good portion of its contents when the human female opened it to try! The human male is rummaging through his ink sample bottles to find a wide-mouthed one to transfer the liquid into.

And so we conclude with a smaller, shorter, less frantic version of the Feline Rodeo until the patient is safely corralled and hugged and the medicine administered. A few more hisses from Taffy and we are ready to put this week to bed. I’m sure it’s one none of us will ever forget.

No, wait. The porch light just blew out. Now I’m done.

>|: [

The Week From Hel, Day 4: No, It Doesn’t End

Still no word from the roofer or the adjuster on the roofing claim, and still no paperwork from the AC technicians. Can you say, “holding pattern”?

The humans have some errands to run today. Going anywhere is like gearing up for an expedition to the Gobi Desert. Water? Check. Phone, just in case one of the adjusters or contractors calls? Check. Pocketful of fountain pens? Check. Sunscreen? Might not need it; they’re indoor errands. Mask? Check. Glasses?

Uh, oh.

That’s not a missing screw, it’s a broken arm! If you think this looks familiar, you are absolutely correct. When I find a good bit of mischief, I’m not too proud to reuse it. The human male’s glasses broke in exactly the same way in December of last year. They were replaced. They broke in exactly the same way again in April of this year, when it was just outside the 100 day guarantee, so he had to buy a new set of frames then. He and the human female are quite frustrated. I can practically see the steam coming out of their ears! No little clerk had better try to make them pay again!

Eehehehe! I have trained the clerks at the optometrist’s shop well. She agreed to replace the frames for free and said she had them in stock. Then she said no, she didn’t. They were the wrong size. Raise hopes; dash hopes–always a recipe for fun. She’ll have to order them in, which will mean another trip to the mall at some future date. When the humans suggested that having the same critical failure each time probably indicates a faulty product that Corporate might want to do something about, the clerk rather condescendingly pointed out that they were the least expensive frames in the shop and they “couldn’t be expected to last like the pricier pairs.” Apparently a lifespan of two months is deemed adequate for the money-conscious.

Back to the house, after purchasing the lone replacement bulb in the city.

The human female has been in contact with the fine folks at Obsolete Technology Troubles, and they have given her instructions about ripping a part out of the lamp itself so that a new bulb will fit. Yes, let’s involve tools! This sounds to me like a prime opportunity for mischief, so let’s take a look.

Well, I’m no task lamp technician, but even *I* can see that that metal bar is going to make getting a new bulb in more than a bit tricky. What does the part where the bulb actually has to go look like?

Great Frigga’s hairpins! That is one very fancy, proprietary socket! And you can see how the bulb toasted its label over its lifetime.

Let’s try the new bulb.

How lucky do you feel?

It fits! Does the lamp light?

It does! But–ehehehee! It has a dizzying, stroke-inducing, high-frequency flicker that would drive the human female crazy in about fifteen seconds. Tsk, tsk. Looks like you may need to do the modification the OTT representative suggested.

The human female is requesting clarification with regard to just what part needs to come out.

Yes, yes, just grasp with a pair of needle-nose pliers and yank.

The human female has pulled. And pulled. And pulled. The little metal piece is very slippery and it’s hard to get a grip. The human male is trying now. Ouch! This is now officially a properly-mischiefied project. In this duel, first blood goes to the lamp! While the human male avails himself of antiseptic and bandages, the human female is going to get a bigger pair of pliers. Grr—1, 2, 3–yank!

It just looks like a troublemaker, doesn’t it?

No, not me–the piece of metal, stupid.

So, does the bulb work properly now? It does not! Which raises multiple questions–Do you have a bad bulb? Will a new bulb ever work in the old lamp? Or have you just ruined your lamp forever by ripping out that little metal piece???

Well, you have other things to think about. You need to prepare for the restoration folks with their water-remediation equipment. Time to move the treadmill so they can get to the craft room through its own door and not by traipsing through the bedroom

Now we know where Taffy Cat’s pom poms all ended up. Also all the dust and cat fur on the planet.

Maybe this other pom pom is better?

And where does the treadmill need to go? The garage is the logical place, but it really doesn’t fit through the door to the garage without mashing fingers.

I know! Since you won’t be using your stitching corner any time soon, you should just park it in front of the sofa!

There! Hardly noticeable at all.

(later) The we-make-it-like-it-never-happened folks have come and gone. The wet sheetrock has been removed from the ceiling.

Looks like a bit more of the tape and plaster came down. The folks who put up the new ceiling are probably going to have to cut some more sheetrock out. You know, so some more insulation can fall down.

There is a fan in the attic, drying out the insulation. There is a fan in the craft room.

There is a big, portable dehumidifier in there, too.

I’m sure they want you to say it like “Dries Air,” but you can’t tell me you’re not reading it as “Drizz Air.” And what happened to the other 1,199?

It has a long, long drain hose that snakes its way to the human male’s bathroom sink.

The gurgley noises are freaking out the cats…

You will also have fun trying to keep the cats out of the craft room, since the door has to be open every now and then.

Well, That’s a good day’s mischief. Not every day can be like Tuesday, so I’m reasonably satisfied. After all, I just made a mosquito bite the human female on her elbow. Indoors.

Icing on the cake!

>|: [

The Week From Hel, Day 3: One Step Foward, One Step Back, One Step Sideways

Well, the humans survived yesterday. By the end of it, they were so exhausted and ready to get out of the House of A Thousand Repairs that the thought of cooking dinner was not to be borne, and we all went out to the cute little Central American Cafe that Sigyn and I enjoyed so much before. We met up with friends, who also had a Crummy Day.

All of the fun, Wooden Fruits of Unusual Size seem to be gone, but the very tropical-looking tablecloths are new.

Should have brought sunglasses.

The menu has the same items–in fact, I think the menus are the same actual menus. They are certainly looking a little worse for wear.

As all good meals should, this one began with chips and salsa.

The human female, predictable as ever, went right for the peanut smoothie.

Between the two of them, they made short work of the thing, which made my sweetie very sad.

Fortunately, the food arrived at that point, and equanimity was restored.

Then we all went home, bathed, and fell into bed and slept like dead logs.

Today we are in sort of a holding pattern.

The new AC unit appears to be working, though it is overriding the schedule the human male set up, which is odd. If only there were a manual! The promised manual has not been sent, and there has been no further communique from the AC repairmen.

We have heard nothing from the new roofer.

The water-damage-restoration people will be here to assess wetnesses (so many s’s!) this afternoon. The humans cannot schedule the actual repair of the ceiling and the cleaning of the carpet until the restoration is finished, so all of that is on hold as well.

The human female looks particularly lumpy and gruesome today, since as we were leaving the cafe last night, I induced one of the many, many mosquitoes to bite her twice, once in the corner of her eye and once just below it. She’ll itch for a about a week and then go back to ordinary levels of lumpy and gruesome.

(later)

The restoration folks have come and gone. They will bring their equipment tomorrow. Now, how much mold can I induce to grow between now and then? I ought to get busy.

(later, again)

Compared to yesterday, today has been rather peaceful. The human female is going to spend the evening relaxing with her stitchery.

Blip!

Or not. That “blip” was the sound of the specialty bulb in her task lamp burning out. Without it, she has no hope of seeing tiny stitches on black fabric.

And here’s my big surprise for the day! The light manufacturer, Obsolete Technology Troubles, no longer makes the lamp or the light bulbs that go in it. Searching online turns up multiple discussion threads about the fact that they still sell 18 watt fluorescent bulbs, but that the new bulbs have a different base, so they don’t fit in the lamp “without some modification.” That sounds ominous…

There is *one* bulb in town–or rather, in the town just to the north. The humans will hurry out to the crap crafts store to buy it tomorrow and try to make it fit. Now, I’m not saying I’ll make the human female buy a whole new lamp just because the bulb burnt out, but yes, I plan to make the human female buy a whole new lamp because the bulb burnt out…

>|: [

The Week From Hel, Day 2: In Which Everything Happens At Once

Oh, my friends, it is another scorcher!

Heat Advisory! For the whole week! I’ve timed the AC outage well! You know it’s going to be a hot day when it is 80F by 8:00 a.m. Lately it’s been 80 by 6:00 or 7:00. (The other day it was 80 at 4:30 a.m. I’m getting good at this weather thing!)

Well, we should have some relief by this afternoon. In theory.

Meanwhile, the human male is doing the grocery shopping and the human female is doing some house chores. She’s currently in the craft room, looking for something.

Tap. Where did she leave those stamp collecting supplies? Tap. She could have sworn they were right here. Tap.

What is that tapping noise?

Look up, woman, look up.

Drip. Wow! Well, that’s not good. Better blot up the carpet, hose it down with Lysol, and put out some buckets and towels.

Ehehehe! It’s just one of the $urprise$ I have planned for today!

Time to call the insurance people! Ususally Sounds Amiable, Although… is not a bad company, but you have to watch them. The helpful agent on the phone says that if the humans send photos, she can start a claim for them. “While we have you on the phone,” says the human male, “can you please check what the status of the claim for the hail-damaged roof is? We’ve heard nothing for days and days.”

Ah, that. I’ve been amusing myself by watching the roofer and the insurance adjuster play a very satisfying game of “ball’s in your court” for weeks now. The insurance company sent out a sub-conracted claims adjuster who looked at the roof, said nothing, and provided a payout figure that the insurance company sent half the money for, with the rest to be paid upon completion. The third roofer the humans had look at the roof seemed reasonable, and he seemed to know what he was talking about, but when he sent in his bid for approval, it left off a lot of things the insurance company said they’d pay for, and what he wanted for the roof itself was quite a bit more than the insurance was willing to pay. Just the roof would take nearly the whole payment, without any provision for gutters or flue caps or other dull but necessary roof… things. The humans called the Usually Sounds Amiable, Although… and asked if the payment could be adjusted to cover the actual, current price of roof repair in the local market. After much hemming and hawing, USAA said that the humans could talk to the claims adjuster. The claims adjuster said he needed a detailed, line by line bill from the roofer before he could even begin to contemplate making changes to the payment. The roofer said he didn’t know what the adjuster wanted. This went back and forth multiple times. In the end, the human male provided the adjuster and the roofer with one another’s contact info and told them to sort it out. Since then, it has been preternaturally silent on the roof front….

But now the helpful USAA agent is saying she can send out their Preferred Roofer to have a look at the roof, something they refused to do when the humans asked about their recommendation before the claim was even filed. And since the water in the craft room ceiling is likely from the defunct AC, the AC repair people can inform USAA about the cause of the water damage so that claim can proceed. Sounds like progress, doesn’t it? Hold onto that thought…

(later) The AC repairers/ installers are late, but they are finally here.

Look at it, Sigyn! Isn’t it lovely?

16 whatever-the-unit-of-measure-is of cold, quiet comfort!

Its innards are so shiny! The old unit is out (last accurate thermostat reading was 90F in the house).

Now all they have to do is get the new one up the stairs…

into the attic.

Look at the unit.

Look at the stairs…

Measure the unit.

Norns’ Nighties! The new AC is two inches wider than the opening to the attic! The workmen are going to have to go and get some tools to make the opening bigger and then come back. And the fan they want to use to cool the attic while they work?

…Doesn’t seem to be working. (Folks, the only thing working here is my mischief!)

(a bit later) All right, the AC folks are back. After a hunt for the proper breaker to throw so that no one is electrocuted (always good to avoid), they are at work, and Moderately Alarming Noises are emanating from the attic, along with Spanish-language rap music.

Knock knock!

The roofer is here to wander all over the outside of the house and offer his considered opinion.

Meanwhile, the craft room ceiling…

Tsk, tsk! That’s getting worse, isn’t it? Look at that bulge! Look at that crease! I do believe that some of that might actually fall down! Wouldn’t that be exciting?

The roofer has finished his examination. Sweet Sif on a Cracker! This is so much better, mischief-wise, than I hoped for! This fourth roofer says that roofer the humans were going to use (the third roofer) missed quite a few things in his quote. He also says that roofer flat-out lied when he said he could put on a new roof without taking down the gutters, since they’re attached to the actual edge of the roof. He also says the outsourced adjuster missed a whole bunch of things–didn’t account for the pitch of the roof (extra $teep), miscalculated the feet of guttering needed, didn’t take the $kylight into account, etc., and so forth. Basically, neither of the parties knew what they were talking about and—

The AC people have just come in and asked to look at the room under the AC unit! That sounds ominous. The human female has gone to show them the room while the male chats with the roofer and–

Bwahahahaha! Oh my pointy helmet! One of the AC repairmen dropped a piece of wood and it went right THROUGH the soggy ceiling, taking a long strip of taping with it and blanketing the room in a snowfall of wet blow-in fiberglass insulation.

It is everywhere–the walls, the carpet, the light box, the human female’s prized antique sewing machine, and even poor William the giraffe.

Yuck! Everyone is suitably horrified, and I’ve got one corner of my cloak stuffed in my mouth so no one can hear me laugh.

Time to take action. Luckily, the roofer has some moisture-proof sheeting in his truck that the AC repairmen can take up into the attic to cover the hole, so that more insulation doesn’t come down.

The human male is on the phone to USAA to let them know things are much, much worse than first reported, and the roofer is finishing telling us about what he wants to do and has delivered his final assurances that he can work with the insurance company directly to Make a New Roof Happen, although the humans can’t even hope to get on the work schedule for four to six weeks. Also, (boo!) there is nationwide unavailability of green shingles, so the chances the humans will be able to restore the house to the splendor appropriate for a Norse god are pretty slim. Oh, well. It’s a rare plot for world domination that doesn’t hit a few snags along the way.

The human female has put on gloves so she can start picking up all the wet fiberglass. There is a lot of it, and it is getting the carpet wet in places it wasn’t wet before. Another fun aspect of this whole endeavor is going to be keeping the felines out of the way as people go in and out. Fiberglass on kitty paws is not a good thing. And then there’s the whole tracking-it-through-the-house thing.

Oh, and the sewing machine is going to need a thorough cleaning, and–

—The vet is calling. Flannel’s blood work is all right, but she does need a tooth to come out and when do the humans want to schedule that? The human female, standing in wreckage, sweating, still covered in mosquito bites from last week, and staring at the remains of her craft room, says, “Let’s go ahead and do it on Friday. Might as well shovel all the sh*t into one week and have done….”

Mark your words.

(later) It is 8:00 p.m. The AC installation is complete, and the job boss swears he will have the receipt and the manual to the humans tomorrow, as well as providing information about the source of the ceiling leak to USAA. The house is beginning to cool down. Most of the wet insulation is up off the carpet and other things have been moved out of the way. The bank account is $ignificantly $maller (and with another deductible to met, will be $maller $till). Everyone is exhausted.

I think, hour for hour, dollar for dollar, for sheer amount and number of types of mischief, this may be my best day on this benighted rock yet.

I can sleep easy, knowing I did my best.

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The Week From Hel, Day 1: It’s Getting All Muspelheim Up In Here

Looking back at recent posts, it’s been tra la la la shopping trip, tra la la la cooking, hum te tum traipsing about in wildflowers, and general jocularity. Time to put an end to that! I’m going to see how much pure, raw mischief I can cram into a single week. And how expensive I can make it! Hold onto your hats, kiddies. Loki’s getting that Special Naughtiness Tingling in his horns!

We begin.

It’s summer. It’s hot. The humans are wimps. None of this is news.

What is news is that my special weather/household mischief looks like this:

See that? The state-of-the-art programmable thermostat is set to 77 degrees F, but it’s actually 80 in the house. And getting warmer, as the outdoor temperatures creep up to the high 90’s and the Heat Index approaches 110F. Something, somewhere, is wrong with the HVAC.

And, of course, I induced it to start these shenanigans last Friday night. The humans had nothing for it but to tough out the weekend with fans and cold suppers and cool showers. Monday morning has brought the opportunity to call the repair folks and get laughed at because–haven’t you heard?–there is a national shortage of cooler parts!

Oh, the humanity! You have never heard such meeching and moaning as is going on in here! You’d think the humans were going to expire, the way they’re carrying on! Sigyn, and I, of course, can be magicked small enough to fit into the freezer. This has several advantages:

  1. One cannot hear the whining from inside the freezer,
  2. Once the freezer door is shut, there is virtually no chance of glimpsing the human female wearing shorts, and
  3. The freezer is where the ice cream lives.

I know some of you will be curious. Of whom is the portrait hanging above the thermostat?

That is the human female’s grandmother, a truly formidable female who grew up poor, worked summers on the farm and winters in the logging camps of snowy Quebec, worked into her eighties with no complaint, and who used to sit in the shade in 100+ heat and opine as how it was nice to be warm.

Mortals used to be made of sterner stuff. I will rule this rock in no time.

Obviously, it’s time to call the repairman. Someone will be out this afternoon, but first things first! It’s time for that dreaded yearly event….

…drumroll… (Why do humans drag out the percussion when they want to create suspense? In Asgard, we just beat our drinking vessels on the table to heighten the excitement)…

Taking the felines to the vet for their checkups and vaccinations!

I have recently become familiar with the Midgardian spot called “rodeo,” in which capricious animals are chased around, caught, confined, ridden, etc. before crowds of cheering fans. In addition to the excitement of the “sport” itself, many spectators are there for the thrill of knowing that at any minute one of the participants may be gored, bucked off, trampled, or otherwise broken, bloodied, or otherwise rendered unfit to continue.

Crating two agile felines is essentially equivalent. You’d think that two normal-sized humans working together could handle two small mammals under ten pounds apiece, especially if taken one at a time, but you would be mistaken. I’ve been coaching them, and this should be anythign but simple.

Yes! Neither Flannel nor Taffy is having any part of it this morning. The humans have shut all the doors so that the felines have no recourse to spaces under the beds or behind toilets, but that doesn’t mean catching them is any easier. They can still get up in the window among the smashable plants or streak for the crannies behind the sofa.

Great Frigga’s hairpins! They’ve got Taffy in the crate! No, wait, she’s out! Stuffed back in again! And she’s out again! Eehehehe! That beast can turn around in half her own body length, and she’s all muscle and claws. There! Finally! One down, one to go!

Flannel is struggling, but it’s the piteous mewing that is really making caging her difficult. She has perfected the “But I thought you loved me?” look down to a fine art. I’ve been practicing with her, and it has paid off.

Two and three-quarters of a mile of yowling in stereo later, here we are at the vet.

Taffy, who fought with all her might to keep from being put in the carrier, has lost no time in getting out and looking for a means of escape.

Flannel’s feelings have been deeply hurt, and she wants the humans to know that she may never come out again.

(a bit later). Well, both furry minions have been vaccinated. Flannel needs some bloodwork done (more guilt-tripping, sorrowful looks), and she may need to come back later in the week to have some dental work. We are done here for today, having parted with a Prodigious Amount of Cash.

But we may need to seek some medical attention for the human female.

Later. It is penitentially hot in the house. The fellow from the AC repair firm is up in the attic, looking at the unit, and making expensive clucking noises. Ehehehe! What is the prognosis, my good man?

Insert ominous, sucking-air-through-teeth noise here.

Sleipnir’s Fetlocks! My mischief really is working overtime! The air conditioner seems to have lost at least half of its coolant, and it’s the “old”, environmentally-unfriendly sort of coolant that can be replaced–for a hefty fee–but which is being phased out. And then it would still be an old AC unit, subject to total failure at any given moment.

The alternative is a new system. The one that is actually obtainable is, of course, the most expensive option, though there will be a small rebate from the city and a possible tax credit next year (if I don’t meddle with the tax laws before then, which is, of course, highly unlikely…) What’s it going to be, humans? You have to decide Right Now!

I knew it! They’ve opted for the more expensive option, thinking that this will mean they’ll be cool, comfortable, and environmentally friendly very quickly and for a long time to come. As I said, wimps.

Still, it will be nice not to have to sleep in the freezer.

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Making Do in a Comparably-Sized City to the South

The humans’ favorite international market closed down recently. The human male was saddened, because that’s where he purchased his favorite ginger beer. The human female was saddened because that’s where she liked to get the German candy for her family for Yule. The schadenfreudy part of me was happy at their sadness, but Sigyn was saddened because she likes to go and poke about and try on jewelry and meet new friends, so I was a little disappointed as well. I don’t like it when Sigyn isn’t happy!

However! As luck would have it, it was only the local branch that closed. There are others alive and well, so today we have all jumped into the car to visit the Comparably-Sized City to the South, a place we have not greatly explored before, where there is one we can all enjoy. (We have other errands, but this is the only one I care about…)

And here we are! Sigyn, predictably, has made a bee-line for the first individuals she doesn’t know, because Making New Friends is the best thing ever.

Sigyn really likes their colorful skirts! Shall I buy you one, dearest? Only don’t ask me for a one of those huge pom-pom hats. I think it would overbalance you right onto your sweet little face.

I don’t know who this orange fellow is, but I bet he and Sigyn will get along swimmingly.

Now we’re looking at comestibles. The human male has found his ginger beer, and some of the cookies the human female likes have mysteriously leapt into the cart as well.

Sigyn thinks we should get these because they remind her of her friend Muffy.

Ugh. Friends don’t let friends eat rice cakes.

Let’s buy these!

The human female despises licorice, and I once heard her say that salted licorice was one of the worst things she ever put in her mouth. So, yes, let’s buy some! I want to see her loathing of stuff at war with her pathological hatred of wasting food.

The human male says these must be for me.

Bah! Very funny, mortal. Very funny.

I know where you sleep.

Sigyn has wandered into the housewares section of the store.

I agree–that is a very pretty plate. It doesn’t “go” with a thing in the house, but if you like it, I will buy it for you and it can have pride of place on whatever wall you choose. (We could do with fewer of the human female’s knick-knacks about the place, anyway!)

Oh, now what’s caught my beloved’s eye? Colored pencils? Those are always a draw (pun intended) and–

Sigh. I thought we were past the whole glassware thing? Hang on, sweetie. Loki’s coming.

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