Some days it just seems like all my efforts are for naught. I spend hours and hours working with the Terror Twins every week, coaching them on how best to shed, shred, rummage, decapitate violets, refuse food, etc., etc. But do they profit by my instruction?
They do not!
One of them–I’m not sure who–did this this afternoon.
I mean, the hairball’s a decent size, and it’s got two hairball trailers, and the overall length of the splatter is nearly record-breaking, but Odin’s Eyepatch! The human female’s very expensive custom orthotics were right. there. And you MISSED them.
Knowing that this cannot be accomplished without a certain measurement, they have both asked the assistant to note down their inter-pupillary distance.
See how official this looks?
PP? DD? DP? PD? And 55 what? Feet? Furlongs? The human female is notoriously beady-eyed, so likely it is millimeters, but again, please note the result of a minute longer in the chair.
(later) The human female has ordered some prescription sunglasses online, as a test case. If they suit, she can order her main glasses and so can the male.
(later again.) Interesting mail came for each of the humans today. Bills from their health insurance.
See that $9.67? That’s for measuring that beady-eyed squint. It’s not covered by the insurance! The human female could choose to protest, and I think she probably will, but I don’t imagine it’s going to do any good. Look, woman, you having that done meant *two* people had to stand next to you and look at you and your face very closely, and for longer.
If you ask me, as hazard pay it’s not nearly enough.
>|8 [ (I would look awesome in glasses. But look magnificent in anything…)
What most people misunderstand about magic and mischief is this: More is NOT always better. Bigger is not always better. Any idiot can blow something up, and it doesn’t take finesse to turn someone into a toadstool. As I’ve said before, it’s all about the timing, and the fine touch.
Let me show you how to unravel a day.
The human female has dragged herself out of bed and thrown on a t-shirt and yoga pants (something no one wants to see), fully intending to do some time on the treadmill (since it is eleventy million degrees and 103% humidity outside, with a 60% chance of rain and a 100% chance of mosquitoes). However, as she’s waking up and bringing the mental and physical systems online, she’s discovering that I nudged a microbe or two her way. She’s got a headache, a sore throat, and that creepy back-of-the-neck-feeling that presages a day or three of low-level miserableness. Because she’s cautious the worrying sort, she’s forgone the treadmill for trying to find a place doing free Plague testing near the house.
Tsk, tsk. The local news website hasn’t been updated since February, so she’s looking on her own. Place #1 has a privacy clause that lets them use everyone’s personal information in any way they like. (They work for me.) Place #2 doesn’t have any open appointments until the end of the week. (Also thanks to me.) Place #3 is on the other side of the next city over. Place #4 is a tent in the parking lot of a department store, but it’s close, and they’re doing appointments. There you go, woman! There’s your chance. No, no time to change! Who’s going to see you anyway? It’s a drive-through!
Here we are, in traffic on the busiest street in town. Great Frigga’s Corset! The obnoxious notes of the human female’s ring tone are blaring from her backpack! To leave it or to pick up? To leave it or to pick up? She’s got to decide. It might be the human male, out doing the grocery shopping, asking a mundane question about, oh, I don’t know, bananas or something. It might be the debt collector that has been calling the female looking for the male to ask him about what they say he owes on a truck and won’t believe her that they are looking for Mr. Middle Initial T and not her Middle Initial C. husband. But it might be important…
See? Long red lights are a good thing. She just has time to answer. Ah. It is the human male. Now what sort of fruit-related—
“Hey! It’s me! The brakes are failing on the Honda an I’m headed to the dealership!”
“Oh, no! Should you pull over and call for a tow?”
“I think I can make it.”
“Okay. I’m almost at the testing place. Let me get my nose swabbed. It’ll take a second and then I’ll meet you there.”
Norns’ nighties! This day is just getting better, isn’t it?
Ehehehehee. The testing kiosk is not drive through, it’s walk-up. The human female has to subject the public to her yoga-pantedness. Ehehehe! And the kiosk lady’s microphone is broken. (I was here earlier.) She’s holding up post-it note signs with instructions and she and the human female are engaging in a sort of deranged pantomime and trying to pretend the human female isn’t standing there half-undressed and feverish and sticking a glorified Q-tip up her nose and swizzling it about.
Back in the car. Which way are you going, mortal? Your best bet would usually be to go down Road A, but–as you know from your traverse of it last week—there is some mysterious project going on that has lanes closed and trucks and big diggers and men and flags and cones, if not any actual work being performed. (Me again.) No, you’re better off taking Road B, which will bring you around to Road C, where the dealership has a side entrance.
Augh! No, you moron. Not thatside entrance. Not the one with the gate across the drive. You know, the one they closed when they expanded the dealership and created a new entrance on the access road. Now you’re boxed into a 10′ by 20′ area that backs out onto a busy, busy thoroughfare. Fenrir’s Fleacollar, woman, who taught you to drive?!
Whew. All right, she managed to turn the nerdmobile around, dash out, go forty feet, and turn into the driveway that works. And there is the human male. Looks like he made it in one piece. Let’s have a look at the car.
Hmm. An Ominous Puddle. Now, it’s quite usual in this part of Midgard for autos to make puddles in the summer. Something about the air conditioning condenser, blah, blah, condensation, blah, blah. I can teleport, I can’t be bothered with the details. Just know that AC puddles should be under the right front/center of the vehicle, not the driver’s side wheel.
Eeew. The tech is sniffing the Ominous Puddle. His pronouncement? Brake fluid. As in, the very last of it. That was close, humans! The car is in good hands (I hope), so can we go home now? All of this carefully-timed mischief is making me hungry, and there’s a grilled-cheese sandwich calling me.
(later) The auto shop has called and the human female has been awakened from her brief, headachy nap. We are now back at the dealership awaiting the diagnosis and verdict.
Ah. Ahahahahahaha! I knew all along what the problem was likely to be, but this has worked out better than I hoped. You see, the vehicle recently had some scheduled maintenance, and I “helped” the mechanics with some of it.
That bit, right there. But just as the mechanic was going to remove his 10 mm wrench from the little nut that seals the brake line, I told a very funny joke, and he was distracted. He left the wrench in place and signed off on the job as complete. That little wrench has been affixed to the brake line for two weeks, not sticking into the brakes, not jamming into anything, not making any funny noises, just gradually vibrating as the vehicle moved and loosening the nut micrometer by micrometer. And today, when it involved a runny-nosed human female in exercise wear and bad hair, cold items from the grocery rapidly becoming warmer in the trunk, and temperatures bordering on the Saharan, the nut turned the last little bit of the way and let all the brake fluid run out.
To say the staff at the dealership is apologetic would be an understatement of elephantine proportions. Not only is today’s complete brake flush and fill on the house, but they’ve refunded the price of the original service.
And as I understand it, the tech who made the error gets to pay for that out of his salary. As it should be!
What? You think *I* should be held responsible? Pffft! I can’t help it if I’m supremely hilarious and he was eminently distractable. Nope.
You see, though–this is what I’m talking about. Human male killed in a fiery no-brakes crash? Not funny. Human female with actual Plague? Not funny at all. Everyone sweaty and inconvenienced and select individuals embarrassed and/or a bit poorer and all the plans for the day gone whoosh right out the window? Sublime.
I’ve been so busy with condestruction and other general mayhem that I forgot to tell you about the place where we ate on our recent visit to the Comparably-Sized City to the South.
The humans have made it a point not to eat indoors in restaurants for much of the past eighteen months or so, but they’re vaccinated now and this place was far from crowded, so they decided it was safe enough.
Sigyn was intrigued by the colorful menu
There were a number of Very Fancy Drinks to be had.
The humans, being boring, chose water.
All good meals should start with spring rolls and peanut sauce, if possible.
When I take over the planet, I shall insist upon it. There is no peanut sauce on Asgard. I think that’s part of Thor’s problem, to be honest.
Philately is not an inexpensive hobby. The human female tells herself that she’s not spending huge sums, that she’s not collecting stamps that are hundreds of dollars apiece, not entering online auctions that will require her to put a kidney up for collateral. That may be true, but may I point out that a dollar here and a dollar there eventually add up? If you keep up the e-baying, you will eventually reduce your financial soundness to the point where you can no longer house me in the manner to which I would like to become accustomed, and then I will be forced to take drastic action. (Just how attached are you to that iPad of yours…? And what do you think I could get for your grandmother’s antique teapot?)
In the meantime, let us examine where the stamps are coming from. Various people who know she likes plants on stamps have given her things from their mail from time to time. When she worked at the University, interesting people with international contacts kept her liberally supplied.
As I understand it, these are all destined to attend a “Soaking Party.” That means she will be putting them in a shallow pan of water to float them off their various envelope scraps. It also means that I will be inviting the felines to said party. The mixture of cats, water, stamp glue, and bits of paper should be vastly entertaining.
There is also the aforementioned e-bay. This is one of the lots she recently bought and has been working to catalog.
Look–it’s a garden even YOU can’t kill!
There are various other online Purveyors of Philately, and several online stamp collecting clubs. The club the female has joined lets members put up stamps for sale on approval. Basically, that means they scan and post pictures of what they want to sell, with the stamps usually going for a small fraction of their worth as noted by stamp catalogs.
She has one of the approval books open now.
Ah. Stamps from a place in Midgard called “Japan.” The human female says they are known for having very colorful, often very cute stamps–as well as many stamps with plants on them. The postally-used stamps offered here are going for about ten cents apiece.
Sigyn thinks she should buy the ones with the fruits and veggies on them. She’s right, mortal. You could start a collection and call it, “Weird things I ate on my imaginary trip to Japan.” Imaginary, as in “I spent all my money on stamps and had nothing left over for airfare.”
Two packets of stamps she bought on approval a bit ago have both arrived on the same day.
Whose envelope is better, Sigyn? I think I have more of the Japanese stamps she wants and that you like too, but I can see that you have something from Malta, and that top stamp says, “Norge,” which means it’s from a bit of Midgard where I’m pretty famous. Maybe we should switch…
I am sad to report that the human female’s case of Stamp Pox has progressed beyond my wildest imaginings. I noted some weeks ago that, since her stitching light committed suicide, she had revived her old hobby of collecting little bits of colorful paper.
She has been working every evening, cataloging ones she has and making lists of ones she’d like. She already has more than any sane person should. Take this lot, for example.
Great Frigga’s Hairpins! Those are gaudy! The designer never met a neon color he didn’t like. Sigyn thinks they’re wonderful. *I* think Sigyn should take the magnifying glass she’s holding and maybe focus a little sun on them and see what happens…
These are a little better:
Especially since I see at least two poisonous plants among them…
There are sooo many more stamps than are housed in the binders! The human female has a whole sorter file thingy full of ones she needs to put in her spreadsheet.
Said spreadsheet looks like this:
Odin’s Eyepatch! I can’t believe it! (Well, yes, I can.) She is actually recording the scientific names of the plants on the stamps. Woman, you know, don’t you, that you are taking an already nerdy hobby to exponentially nerdy lengths?
Not to mention staying up waaay too late as you fall down website rabbit holes trying to identify the plants.
Ehehehe! As she’s sorting and documenting, she’s discovering that she has duplicates of some. Guess she liked them well enough to buy them twice! The duplicates go in this box for eventual trading or making into bookmarks or other craftification.
Or, you know, we could take the ones that still have stick-um on them and see how well postal adhesive sticks to cat fur…
Who doesn’t like apples? (Well, other than the human female’s Knittery Friend, who is allergic.) I myself like a good, tart pome. I’m definitely more ‘Granny Smith‘ than ‘Golden Delicious.’
My beloved, on the other hand, prefers a more nuanced taste and enjoys apples where the acid is balanced by sugar. She and the human female like old sorts like ‘Orleans Reinette’ and new varieties like‘Kanzi.’
We are trying a new apple today! I believe it is the 125th apple in the human female’s apple notebook.
Idunn’s Little Apples! This is no shrinking little snack-sized midget! This is a whole meal! What is it’s name?
You can’t be serious.
Hunnyz’?Really? Norns preserve us, it’s one of those modern apples with a trademarked name and a marketing campaign. And it’s put out by an outfit called “GeeWhiz” fruit.
Note, if you please, that that second “n” has to be backwards. It’s very important! I may be ill…
Well, the proof is in the sampling, so we’ll wait for the human female to peel and cut it…
Huh. No aroma whatsoever.
Mmmhmm. Friends, stoopid name aside, this is a very good apple! Crunchy, juicy, and delightfully crisp without being hard. Sweet, but with enough acid to balance it out and fill the mouth with flavor. Nothing shy about this one!
The human female is jotting notes in her little apple notebook:
“I don’t know if it rates a star yet, but 9/10, would narf again.”
I wrote last week about how sometimes the Art of Mischief demands that you keep things from happening. Conversely, a great deal of mischief is possible if you schedule everything to happen at once. It doesn’t even have to be new mischief–just pile on the old a little deeper for maximum chaos. This past week, I’ve done a bit of both.
I’ve let it rain at least a little every day but one so far this month. The lawn is approximately at better-rent-a-goat stage, so the human female is going to get twice her normal workout when is finally dry enough to mow. I figure three changes of battery in the mower, two tumblers of ice water, and lots of extra sweat. (Not pretty, but it annoys her, so I let it go.) I got a little excited when I heard her brand of sunscreen has benzene and can cause cancer, because that would shake things up around here, but it turns out she doesn’t use the aerosol kind. Hmmm. I wonder what sort of carcinogenic goings-on are in that tube of expired stuff she’s been slathering on?? One can hope.
I’ve written here before about how fun it is to play with ceiling fans, either having the blades break or sabotaging the pull-chains. I decided to revisit the pull-chain trick again, having the bedroom fan chain break exactly how it did last time. Fixing this requires disassembling the lamp, fiddling with the ball chain and connectors, and then reassembling the whole thing. It doesn’t take much to discombobulate the setup—I’ve found that softening just one of the connectors enough so that it can’t hold the chain is more than sufficient. There are currently two connectors in the fan pull-cord, a plastic one, which holds, and a metal one, which doesn’t. The humans tried swapping the two so that at least the metal one would be outside the housing so that it could be reached, but it turns out that the plastic connector is just >||<that much too big to go back and forth through the hole in the housing as the fan is switched on and off. Even if the little plastic grommet in the housing is removed. They tried it three or four times, standing on the bed and trying to coordinate four hands, the shade, the cap, the knob, and two chains, all the while being overseen by two Feline Project Inspectors. The result?
Broken fan chain (on the right), and what’s left doesn’t turn the fan on or off when tugged. The humans will have to weather (pun intended!) the steamy summer nights with no breeze until the ordered stainless steel chain arrives and they can make another attempt at repair. They’ll wake up cranky and snappish and I will chuckle into my morning cocoa.
The human female has been wearing the same jeans for about three years. They weren’t attractive to begin with, and now they are positively disreputable. I’ve seen to it that her preferred brand and style is no longer available in town, so she ordered some online. She chose her color and selected the next size up from the ones she has (because ice cream). It was so easy! Fast forward about thirty-six hours and she gets this little gem in her inbox:
No explanation–which is probably their polite way of saying, “We know who you are and we’re not sure we want our brand on your backside.” Since that was the only item in her order, she’s back to square one. Now let’s see if the funds are returned to her PayPal account. Wouldn’t it be hilarious of they weren’t??
The human male received paperwork for applying for a student loan. Someone, somewhere, has moved him from the “recently retired” stack to the “new student” stack, and the paperwork just keeps coming. I wonder if I can take out some financial aid in his name without him knowing? I have one or two things I can think to spend it on.
I have introduced the cats to the joys of sleeping in the laundry basket full of freshly laundered towels. First one, then the other, then both. Methinks I see a repeat load in the future.
The chill chest is still freezing fruit and yogurt in the main compartment,despite all attempts to adjust the baffles and/or baffle the adjustors. I’ve told the human female she should quit whining, since it means that breakfast smoothies will be nice and cold without having to add so much ice. And since I’ve talked the blender out of wanting to crush ice without getting chunks stuck under the blades, this is a good thing. She should THANK me.
I kicked the mango on the counter, so when the human female cut it open it was all fermenty inside. It went right into the compost heap. I expect we’ll have drunk opossums tonight. Or maybe raccoons. I should make some popcorn so that Sigyn and I can sit and wait and watch the fun.
Last month, the human female tried to get in to see her doctor about that cat scratch that went rather urgently bad. She was told she couldn’t see her primary care physician until the end of this month. Nope, no openings at all! She had to see someone else. On Thursday, the human male called to schedule his annual physical. He was able to get one first thing the following day–with the female’s PCP! Woman, have you considered that your doctor may herself be sick? Of looking at you???
After a month of being incommunicado, the roofer resurfaced to assure the humans that he is very, very close to working out a deal with Usually Sounds Amiable…Although. Suuuure he is. As a god, I can hold my breath pretty much indefinitely, but even I’m not fool enough to try it in this case. Those of you who had “July” in the roof betting pool can pretty much count on sucking it up.
Attempts Total Involvement, who told the humans it would be at least a month before any work could start, suddenly did an about face and told them they could start as early as this week, which gave a window of about four days to pack up the entire craft room. The human male had other things to do (smart man), so the female spent half of Friday ferrying open-topped or unboxable things to the guest room:
…and boxing up books and other boxables to be left in the craft room for the movers:
Most of those boxes are full of books. I tried hefting a few cartons, and I think there’s the distinct possibility that the the human female did some passive-aggressive packing and made them extra-heavy, as punishment for a) not doing the packing and b) messing with the timeline so much. While I myself did not handle any of the books (I don’t like dust or paper-cuts), I did goad her along and stoke her foul mood as she boxed things up, such that the contents of any given box are not sequential from the shelves. “Just pack what fits,” I told her. When it comes time to put her library back on the shelves, she’s pretty much going to have to unpack all of them at once.
And there you have it. Remember, minions: Plan ahead now for mischief and merriment in the future!
We’re still here with all the other folks (and dogs!), looking at all the things here that are NOT vegetables, meat, or eggs. There’s a bouncy castle over on the far end of the lot that Sigyn says she would like to try out. I know you would, my love, but the kiddies bouncing around in there right now are much bigger than you, and I’m afraid you might get hurt. But we can go look at other fun things!
Things like this:
It’s a sampler of some of the pecan varieties grown in Texas. The human female says that the last two in the bottom row are what the native pecans look like, and the others are kinds that have been bred to have bigger nuts or tastier insides or thinner shells. The University has a whole Pecan Short Course that they teach for local growers every year. Too bad this booth isn’t giving out samples of all of these. One of each kind would just about make a pie!
Sigyn has made a butterfly line (like a beeline, but squigglier) to a booth that has bedding plants.
The human female says these fancy, jumped-up daisies are Gazanias, which I think sounds like something you say when someone has sneezed. She’s going to buy a couple to put in the front flower bed, where–knowing her horticultural skills– I predict they will sit without ever making another blossom.
The human male has encountered a rather humorous boo-boo on a hand-lettered sign:
Ooh la la! Ce vendeur a de beax macarons! And they have samples! Which ones should we try? Sigyn is interested in the strawberry-rhubarb but I’m leaning towards the pistachio.
By Fandral’s grande embonpoint! Those are delicious! I think some need to come home with us…
But right now, I think we need a different treat. The day is growing rather hot and I some cold refreshment is in order. Luckily, there’s a deliciously convenient pushcart right at the end of this row of booths…
New Rule: All ice cream sandwiches should be made with snickerdoodles on the outside!
Well, Sigyn, we have visited all the booths at least once, tasted some fun things, bought some good things for dinners to come (samosas–also yum!), talked to some interesting people (the lamb lady is originally from Argentina!), and had a delicious treat. I think it’s time to go home and maybe have a little nap…
The macarons the human female bought turned out to be neither strawberry-rhubarb nor pistachio, but since lemon goes very nicely with natural vanilla bean ice cream…