Month: January 2022

Let Us Annoy the Humans

The humans have been trying to eat more fruits and vegetables lately. The shopping comes into the house and it’s oranges and apples and spinach and cucumbers and tomatoes and snow peas and carrots and where is my beef, mortals? A god cannot be expected to live off rabbit food.

I’ve got to clear some room in the cold box for things that are actual food. (Bacon. Cheese. More cheese…) The bulkiest thing in here is the lettuce, so if I can find somewhere else to stash it…

There. I think it’s safe to say we won’t be having salad tonight! Anyone for pot roast?

>|: [

The ‘Key’ Is to Keep Them Guessing

It’s no secret that I mess with the humans’ mail. Every piece of political literature, every add, every tax bill, every begging letter from a charity I let through on principle. Checks, letters from loved ones, presents, mail-order goods, etc.–the odds are about 60-40 that those will ever actually show up. Why, right now, the list of missing items includes the humans’ pension checks from last December and several orders of stamps, one of which was mailed last July.

Not to mention the human female’s sister’s gifts to the human male from Yule before last. The humans are owed so many letters and parcels that they’ve forgotten some of what is supposed to be coming! It’s all surprises! They get really excited to find something in the mailbox or on the front step.

Sometimes, the postal person will leave a key in the mailbox, one which will open a larger, parcel-sized box in the multiple-user-postbox array. Finding one of those keys in the mailbox means something good is sure to be here!

Today is one of those special, key-in-the-mailbox days.

Except it’s three keys, and they look like they’ve been through a war.

Yes indeed, three mysterious keys, all dull and dirty. Come on, humans, open the parcel box! I want to see what you got.*

Eehehehehe! Oops! I mean “Great Frigga’s Hairpins!” The keys don’t fit the parcel box! They don’t seem to open anything. How are we meant to recover the loot if we can’t open the box?

(later)

The male, after a good long while trying to reach an actual human capable of speech and reason via telephone, has gone to the post office and has managed to confirm what the humans suspected. Those are not parcel box keys. The Helpful Clerk tried to explain to him that those are his mailbox keys for his new mailbox and—

At this point, the male informed her that he had been living at the same address for twenty-two years and it was most certainly not a new box.

Oh. Then they must be for someone else then. Well, duh.

So many questions left unanswered! What sort of mail person doesn’t recognize a user box key? Why were they in the humans’ mailbox at all? Why are they so dirty and dull? Who was actually supposed to get them? How is anyone supposed to get their new mailbox keys if they are left in the locked mailbox? And where is the missing fat parcel of Japanese stamps?

The world may never know.

>|: [

*So if it’s any good I can steal it.

A New Year’s Resolution: Update

Many people, my beloved Sigyn among them, that I might be more popular this year, have more slaves followers or minions, if I learned to smile a bit more. Smile? Really? Me?! Look, people, I’m not here to make friends–I’m here to conquer!

But what if they’re right? Should I try it?

Hmmm. It’s a radical departure from my normal modus operandi, but I guess it couldn’t hurt

Here goes!

How is it? Does it say, “Trust me”? Is it glibly reassuring but still commanding and dangerous and noble and outrageously handsome? What does everyone think?

I’m not sure it’s the right look for me…

Plus I think I sprained something.

>|: D

If You Give The Human Female a Car…, Part II

The human female has called one of the collision repair auto shops recommended by the dealership. She is speaking to what sounds to be a nice Russian man, trying to explain to him just what is going on with the door locks on the car.

Aha! Кажется, у нас назначена встреча на завтра утром, хотя они очень заняты.

Uh oh. The human female is thinking. This is never a good thing. Here is her reasoning: If there is a door sensor problem because the door has become a bit pushed in, then building up the door a bit so that it contacts the body panel sooner or harder as the door is closed might fix it. And if that is something that can be done without taking the car to Sergei and Company, so much the better. All right. It’s you talking, which ordinarily means gibberish is happening, but I can see how that makes sense. But just how are you intending to build up the body panel?

Sweet Sif on a Cracker! Human male, come and get your woman, because I think she has finally lost it.

She has exited the house carrying a spoonful of peanut butter and a strong magnet.

Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot. She has opened the driver’s side car door and–I kid you not–has applied peanut butter to the door-is-closed sensor.

How on Midgard is that going to—

Ooohhhh. Now I see what she is doing. She has shut the door and opened it again, and now there is a dot of peanut butter on the door where it contacts the sensor.

Now she is wiping the peanut butter off the spot and sticking on the big, chunky magnet, effectively making the door thicker!

But does it work? Pushing the lock button on the fob. . . Click! Tug. Tug. Tug. Tug. All the doors are locked! Mortal, you may not be as stupid as you look after all!

She is so proud of herself that I’m sure she’s going to be insufferable for a week. She’s even calling the collision shop to cancel her appointment. She’s not speaking to her helpful but harried Russian comrade, and the fellow who answered the phone is asking her with whom she spoke yesterday. And he’s laughing, because apparently everyone says the guy sounds Russian but

هو في الواقع من لبنان

I can’t believe she actually pulled it off. I can’t let this stand. I’m going to have to get involved.

(later)

All hail Loki, god of comeuppances. I really couldn’t let her have fixed everything so easily. She has taken the car out this afternoon to go do some work at the food bank, and just now when she got out of the car, I made sure the seat belt retractor was a little s l o w, and the door shut on the buckle tab. Ehehehe! Now she knows why her door is a little pushed in just there, because I make that happen a lot!

The peanut-butter-scented magnet is still in place. Will the doors still lock? No! That one door is back to being petulant and wonky! Ehehehehe! Now how smart do you feel?

Oh, and be sure and take all your belongings into the food bank because this is a sketchy neighborhood and your vehicle is unsecured.

(later still)

She is home from the food bank and is determined to deal with the door once and for all. It is bitterly cold today, windy and threatening sleet, so I am greatly amused as I watch her fumble once more with peanut butter and a magnet. Heh. It’s not working today, is it?

Wait, what is she rummaging in the garage for? Mortal, just what do you intend to do with a coping saw? Isn’t that a little drastic?

voop-a, voop-a, voop-a. Silly woman has cut herself a three-inch piece of 1″ x1″ wood (an old tree stake, I believe) and wedged it into the malfunctioning door handle so that the locking tab cannot spring free.

But what’s the other magnet doing in there? Oh, just taking up a little more room. That is the kludgiest kludge job I have ever seen! Did it work?

Thunk. It appears to.

For now. . .

>|: [

If You Give The Human Female a Car…, Part I

I have had SO much fun today. And the mischief’s not over yet!

I got the idea last week when Sigyn showed me the children’s book called “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.” In that short, highly improbable tale, the feeding of said rodent initiates a long chain of increasingly preposterous situations. How, I asked myself, could I assure that something similar happened to the human female? Not, of course, that I wanted anything to do with an actual mouse. But it didn’t take long for me to figure what I could use.

Automobiles are such chancy things. Rife, I say rife, with possibility! The human female’s vehicle is some fourteen years old–nearly as decrepit and she and twice as gray as she–and I have had fun with it before. (I especially like that half of it is usually gross and sticky, since it’s parked under a hackberry tree which I yearly fill with aphids…)

So, first I showed the human female a video in which a gullible young man appears to “prove” that one can open a locked car merely by pulling on the door handles. Since the human female is equally gullible, she actually went and tried it—and Thor’s Bitty Ball-peen!— she didn’t even have to yank on the fourth door’s handle. The third door opened on the first pull! She told her mother and sister, who were rightfully skeptical, but she insisted that it was a super magic trick!

That was entertaining for a day or two, until I launched phase two. Now not only would that door unlock at a touch, it wouldn’t stay locked at all.

And then the key fob remote stopped locking the entire car. Unlock, yes. Lock, no. Not with the remote, and not by hand. Push the lock button down…slowly it pops up. Down. Up. Down. Up.

And then the “driver’s door ajar” symbol started showing up on the dash. And the “you’ve left your keys in the ignition” buzzer started sounding whenever the keys were in but the car wasn’t running, as if the driver’s door were open.

Clearly, she could not leave an unlocked car sitting out, so her clunker went in the garage and the human male’s was relegated to the driveway.

If you give the human female a car problem, she’s going to want to take it to the shop. At my urging, the human female got up early the next day to take her misbehaving auto to be repaired. Unfortunately, getting her vehicle out of the garage between the other car in the driveway and the fence and shrubs bordering the driveway proved to be a bit too complex for her. I sat in the passenger seat, helpfully poking her shoulder and telling her which way to turn the wheel. It’s not my fault she has poor spatial perception, so I felt no guilt at all when she rubbed the pretty blue car with her ugly silver one and left a very noticeable, if shallow, scrape.

What a clumsy moron.

If you take the car to the shop and ask them to fix things, the techs are going to want to check it over thoroughly. The helpful techs at the shop diagnosed a faulty key fob battery right away. But since that wouldn’t explain the unlockable door and the “door ajar” issue, they delved a little deeper.

If the techs check the car over thoroughly, they will also find things wrong with it. While they were looking things over, they discovered that that the vehicle was in need of new power steering fluid. They also pointed out that three of the four tires were afflicted with dry rot, a not uncommon occurrence when a car sits out in the hot Texas sun all the time.

The techs did also diagnose the cause of all the door lock and open door problems–faulty contact between the driver’s door and the “door’s closed” sensor on the car body. If the car thinks the door is open, it’s going to do all sorts of funny tricks. However, they told her, addressing this issue would require taking the car to a body shop and having the panel in the door pulled out just a bit so it would make better contact when the door was shut, something they weren’t really equipped to do.

If the techs find things wrong with the car, you are going to want to fix them. Knowing how important being able to steer is, the human female agreed to having the power steering drained and filled. She was less inclined to buy new tires from the dealership, knowing she could get similar quality for less elsewhere.

If you want to fix the things wrong with the car, you will have to find the place to take them to have them fixed. It was amusing watching the human female try to get here to the tire emporium. She hadn’t been to this location before, and the human male tried to give her directions. He kept insisting that she needed to “go over” a certain road, and she just couldn’t picture it, since she couldn’t remember an overpass along the route. (She is notoriously confusable in traffic) She got here all right, and discovered that the male mean “go past” rather than “go over.” I love it when they bicker.

If you find the place to take the car to to have things fixed, they will find more things to fix. So now we are sitting here in the tire emporium waiting room, waiting to have all four tires replaced. Because, of course, you can’t have three new tires. They should always be replaced in matched, safe, pairs. Nice, matched, safe, expensive pairs.

(later)

If you have the things fixed, you will still need to go home. Ehehehehe! You’d think that would be enough mischief for one day, wouldn’t you? I mean, multiple auto shops, multiple repairs, spending the whole day on what was supposed to be a simple errand. Ought to be enough, yes? Snort! Have you met me?

After having the tires fitted (and having to remind the clerk to give her the warranty paperwork), the human female still has to drive home. She made sure to double check with the male what she needs to go to get back to the house. And we’re off!

Stop sign. What’s the street? Is this our turn? Yes, the sign says, “Arrington,” so this is where we turn.

Except–Great Frigga’s Hairpins! This isn’t Arrington, is it? This is the feeder road for the main highway and you now have no choice but to merge into rush hour traffic! Nope, you can’t chicken out and turn around. There’s a big, impatient SUV behind you! Go, now! No, wait. Now. No, wait! Yikes. I should have noticed, when I was turning that street sign around, that the feeder road comes up over a hill just here, meaning that the traffic just sort of appears out of nowhere. This human is going to get us both killed. Okay, NOW!!! Gogogogogogo!

(just a bit later)

Whew. Safe at home now, thank the Norns. That last little bit of signage mischief was almost our undoing. Time to pour myself a restoring beverage, put my feet up, and bask in the glow of a day well-spent, right?

Wrong! There’s still the car door to fix!

(To be continued.)

>|: [

A Truth Universally Acknowledged, Part II: The Excruciating Execution

The human female has taken the first few stitches in the new project, starting with the little triangular pediment over the front door of the larger house. And now the window to the left. And now…

But wait. Does that window look funny to you, mortal? It does, doesn’t it? It’s not square. Ehehehehe! She has discovered another bit of my mischief. That fabric she pulled from her stash, the one that’s labeled “evenweave”, isn’t. No, indeed! It’s about 29 threads in one direction and 26 in the other, instead of 28 both ways. There is no way to make any part of the design come out right if she uses this fabric.

The part that tickles me is that she tried using this brand of fabric before and was halfway through a friend’s wedding sampler when she figured it out. She should have known this might happen! Now, foolish woman, can you keep this sort of thing from happening again?

Crude, but probably effective.

All right, she’s pulled a piece of 16-count Aida fabric out of her stash and has started over. Little triangle pediment over the door… Window to the left. Now wait just a minute—are you sure you counted correctly? I think your window is a little too high.

Rip, rip, rip.

Third time’s the charm, right? Here’s the little window, and…why isn’t it square? I thought we fixed that problem? Oh. You put in an extra row. Great Frigga’s Hairpins, woman, you did that to yourself!

Rip, rip, rip.

Fourth time lucky! Look! A pediment and a most of a window, minus one row and the windowframe.

It’s properly aligned. It’s square. Well done, mortal! You’ve managed about forty stitches!

Sweet Sif on a cracker! The infernal woman has been thinking and thinking and staring at it and has decided that she wants the windows to be lighter. That symbol is going to be the color she picked in the rest of the piece, but the windows need to be lighter. DMC 926 is just “not good enough.”

Rip, rip, rip.

Sigyn, I have an idea. Let’s you and I go get some bricks and mortar and timber and roofing slates. We’ll start building an actual house and see who finishes their cottage first, us or the crazy lady who just lost a needle in the sofa..

>|: [

A Truth Universally Acknowledged, Part I: The Prepwork

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the human female is not in want of any new projects. She is already mired in projects enough to perpetually occupy someone with twice her acumen and six times her available waking hours. So what does she do?

Why, she starts something new, of course! A new stitching project. This, when her craft room already houses so many UnFinished Objects (UFOs) that I refer to it as “Area 51.”

What has caught her eye this time? It’s this design, from Riverdrift Needlework.

I have no idea why. It doesn’t have flowers, and it doesn’t look like her usual thing at all. But she had a little leftover Yule money and she downloaded the .pdf pattern.

It was at this point that I got involved.

She’s trying to open the pattern now, but it’s telling her she needs a password. Look, I’m trying to keep your precious sampler file safe, all right? Ehehehehe! She knows the company emailed her the password when they sent the email with the receipt. She just has to dig through the fetid and festering swamp that is her inbox to find it.

Armed with the password, she has opened the file. She thinks she can get round the password in future by saving the file with a different name. Pitiful mortal! I’ve made sure that every version of the file will locked. You’ll just have to hang on to that password.

Time to print out the pattern.

You’re right, Sigyn. In shades of gray, it’s a bit hard to tell some of the symbols apart. (I did that!) If she wants to not go crazy stitching, this won’t do. She’s going to have to bestir herself and go someplace with a color printer to be able to make any sense of this at all.

(later)

Sigyn is excited, because a good portion of the pattern is red.

Or is it? I had a little tweak of things. The human female is checking the colors called for, and the lighter “red” specified unquestionably on the very, very orange side.

You can call DMC 351 “red”, but no one will really believe you. Certainly, it’s not a color the human female wants to use, since she’s hoping the finished piece will look a little Yule-ish. This is going to necessitate a trip to the craft store to look at all the floss and pick out something more akin to what she has in mind.

(later again)

That was fun! The “red” was indeed orange, the gray looked purple, and the brown called for was much too green. They were out of one of the colors specified (though she probably has it in her stash), and one of the colors she selected was the last of its kind and is missing the band with the number, so she’ll never be quite sure what it is.

This is the final palette.

Looks all right, I suppose. Am I done making mischief?

Oh, no. Not by a long shot. I’m just getting started.

>|: [

Tasty Snack—Or Exciting Research Opportunity?

Sigyn, do you know what’s in the gray bag on the kitchen counter?

(peering inside) Ah. This will take a bit of explaining. You see, the human female’s sister loves to wrap and package things. Give her a box, some wrapping paper, and LOTS and LOTS of TAPE and she’s happy and out of mischief for hours. She’s also very good at finding unusual things to use as packaging material. This is some of the fallout from Yule. She gifted the human female a set of apple-shaped canisters, and she padded the box with a whole quilt batt–which can be used for future quilty projects–and with bags and bags of…

It’s an interesting choice. Cushiony, not too expensive, and a helpful reminder to the human female to be mindful of her avoirdupois. And no one said we can’t have any, so I think it might be snack time!

But hold up a moment, beloved. Are we sure all bags are the same? That first one is plain popcorn. But this one looks a little different.

Oooh! Kettle corn! For thirty extra calories you can have some sugar with your gluten-free goodness. Is that what you want, or shall we keep digging?

Uh oh!

I know that popcorn is full of fiber and carbs, but I’m not sure I want to know what else is in this bag:

Specially made with multi-ocular, furry blue monsters and only the choicest spider webs? How many calories does that add? And if you are what you eat, what happens when you ingest this stuff? Let us say I am…cautiously concerned.

There’s only one bag of this kind. We must not waste this singular opportunity. I say we force-feed it to the human female and see what happens. If it turns the human female into a furry blue monster, I can sell her to a sideshow and make a ton of money. If we take notes on the process, we can even call it “science” and probably even get a publication out of it.

My mama raised no dummies. Well, all right. She did, but let’s leave Thor out of this.

>|: [

Maximum Daily Allowance of “Country”, Part II: The Inexplicable

This restaurant chain is famous not only for its hashbrown casserole but for the “Country Store” attached to each one. Now, I wasn’t born on this rock, so correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t you expect a “Country Store” to carry basic groceries, farm and garden supplies, fence posts, baling wire, and maybe some dry goods like calico and denim?

Snort! No. This here Em-po-ree-um is a temple to the God of Stuff No One Needs But Which A Certain Sort of Person Likes.

All that is unusual, extremely colorful, or just plain inexplicable is to be found here.

Case in point, Instead of a homespun frock for a young lass, there is this:

Sigyn is entranced by the rainbow color and the sparkles and the organza. I think it looks like the Bifrost threw up.

Dearest, do you want toucans? Because they have toucans.

They would certainly make any meal more colorful, but how are they “country”? Unless, of course, your country is a small banana-laden entity in the Southern Hemisphere, in which case, spot-on.

This set of condiment shakers is even more bizarre.

But I don’t know everything. Maybe there is someone somewhere with an undersea-themed china pattern who desperately needs a set of squid-and-puffer fish shakers.

Sigyn thinks that if we are doing fish-themed, she would like this very much.

But what is it? I think it might be a purse, but in this place, anything is possible. It could be a grits-cozy.

My beloved’s magpie eye has been snared by a very glittery spacecraft.

And it’s electric, so the glittery goo swirls and eddies shimmers and it’s hypnotic and…. Look away, dearest, look away!

Great Frigga’s Corset! This brilliant bromeliad is not much better.

This truck is definitely less glittery.

But the driver looks as if he has only one destination in mind. Uh, no thank you on that lift, my good sir.

Shhh… Sigyn, do you hear that? What is that soft, weirdly hypnotic snoring sound? Sigyn? Sigyn where’d you go?!

“It’s so fluffy!”

Sweetie, we do not need a battery-operated fake sleeping and snoring puppy. We have two kibble-operated real sleeping and snoring felines at home.

I’m going to go look over at that shelf of medicines and cosmetics. Oh, ho, ho, what have we here?

Badger balm. You know. For if your “badger” is achy or has trouble sleeping.

Sigyn, I think I have had enough badgers and squid and glitter and things that light up but shouldn’t. Are you ready to go? Sigyn?

Sigyn?! Now where did she get off to?

Ah. Worshipping at the altar of fudge.

>|: [

Maximum Daily Allowance of “Country”, Part I: The Vittles

The humans don’t go out to eat much anymore. Plague, and all that. Today, however, they’ve arranged to meet up with an old friend and try a place for which the human male has a gift card.

I have heard…things about this place. It is supposed to be “homey” and “folksy”, which makes me deeply suspicious. I don’t do “quaint” and have a low tolerance for “Aw, shucks.” Also, this is apparently where one goes when one wants to eat Delicious Things Which Are Not Very Good For You. Still, I have the constitution of a literal god, and Sigyn is under my protection, so we can tag along and eat whatever we like.

And here we are! The tales of rocking chairs on the “porch” appear to be true.

And this one’s big enough for two!

Great Frigga’s Hairpins–could the menu be any kitschier?

Grits. I just know there will be grits inside somewhere.

Oh, and look—there is a second menu just for breakfast.

I bet that’s where the grits are.

Yes. Or should I say, “Yup.”

Folksy misspelling and all. And, Norns save us, it gets worse.

If there’s one thing worse than plain grits, it’s “fixin’s.” I am allergic to “fixin’s.” Sigyn, please, let’s order off the lunch menu.

While we wait for our meal to come, we can play with the brain-teaser puzzle on the table. The point of the game is to jump one peg over the other, removing each jumped-over peg until only one peg remains.

The point of Sigyn is to look cute. And I want it on the record that the human female has never once solved a puzzle of this sort.

She’ll have even less luck once I steal one of the pegs…

Our lunch is here. It’s a cold, blustery sort of day, so we are sharing a big plate of chicken and dumplings. Excuse me. “Chicken n’ Dumplins”

It tastes all right, but it’s a rather unappetizing color. As are the “green” beans, which in no way resemble the menu photo.

Oh, well. It’s hot, it’s filling, and—gift card, remember?—it’s free. I’ll be jiggered if I don’t aim to eat all I kin afore I have me a mosey ’round the place so’s I can take a gander at all them gew-gaws set out fer city folks to buy.

>|: [