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.
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…
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!
Gaming weekend has come and gone, and it’s time to turn from levity and laughter resume the relentless march of mischief.
Sometimes, mischief means doing nothing. Or, rather, seeing to it that nothing happens.
NOTHING has been enough to dissuade mosquitoes from biting the human female. She want for a walk today and ended up with a nice big nibble on one ear.
NOTHING has happened with regard to the roof. The roofer won’t even return the humans’ phone calls. Who has “late August” in the roof betting pool?
NOTHING has been decided about a replacement for the female’s defunct illumination device from Obsolete Technology Troubles. The human female’s floristy friend offered a bulb but, of course, it’s not remotely the same size and shape as the female needs. No light = no stitching, so nothing is happening on the embroidery front.
NOTHING seems to be dissuading the human female from eating up all the snacks left from gaming weekend. People more or less divvied up the chips and cookies that were left on the last day, but somehow, all the chips came back to this house. She gets so cross when her pants don’t fit–it’s such fun to watch her fret!
The human female adjusted the cooling box because the ice wasn’t freezing very well, the ice cream was a bit too soft (blasphemy!), and things in the main compartment were freezing up. All her fiddling has done NOTHING to fix the problem, which leaves her to ponder why frozen yogurt is delicious and fun when purchased from a frozen yogurt shop, but a right pain in the fundament when it comes out of the refrigerator at home. Also–frozen mushrooms? Bleargh.
NOTHING has been knocked out of the dining room window recently, which is good. What is going on is the Terror Twins rubbing all over the African violets there so that the leaves are extra-furry. Many of the leaves that hang over the pots have been broken off over the pot rim, and one of the culprits (I believe it to be Flannel Cat) has taken to eating the blossoms as well. So NOTHING is blooming.
What’s left of the one surviving hollyhock in the front yard? Essentially, NOTHING. It succumbed to heat, spider mites, and over/underwatering. A moment of silence, please, for the human female’s dreams of creating an English cottage garden. And what’s happening to the spot in the side yard where some winter-killed grass is missing? NOTHING. The human female is afraid of fungicide…
Remember thefun I had with the song sheetsat Sigyn’s church? Guess what I made wrong with them this week? That’s right–NOTHING! I fixed it so that there weren’t any at all! Either they didn’t get put out in the pews or there weren’t any at all. I wasn’t there to see it, since I’m not allowed in the church, but I heard about it, about how the whole congregation just stood/sat there silently while the choir carried bravely on by itself. Awkward!
And, finally, I have the pleasure to report that NOTHING (more) has yet to be done with the craft room ceiling. The project manager from Attempts Total Involvement was round the other day to take a look at the tarped-up hole, shake his head, and deliver some Unwelcome News to the humans. The job, if and when it does happen, will take a week, not the two days they’d been told. I say “if and when” because the calendar is full, full, full, and once the humans get on the schedule, there will be about a four week wait before the workers can start. And last, but most definitely not least, what will ATI do about boxing up all the books and fabric and whatnot for removal from the room while the work is being done? That’s right! NOTHING! Despite what they’d been told, the humans have learned that ATI will only move/manipulate, not pack, so it’s up to the human female to pack it all up.
So now the humans are on a mad, frantic search for any available, preferably free, boxes, enough to take care of all of this:
Plus the contents of the closet’s lower shelves and all the things under that table to the right and all the tchotchkes on the window sill. The humans spent a great deal of time the other day, making the rounds of the copy shops (copy paper boxes are ideal, since they have lids), the liquor stores, and various other places, asking for whatever boxes they can spare. And what did they find?
I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count…
The humans didn’t have a gaming weekend last year, but the festivities for this year are very definitely on. All the invitees are either fully vaccinated or, like Sigyn, magically protected, or, like me, naturally immune from the Plague by virtue of my innate godliness.
So here we all are now in the neighborhood party room. The human male has a brisket in the smoker outside, the usual assortment of fruit, chips, cookies, sandwich makings, and other comestibles are in the tiny kitchen area, and the ice chests are full of ice, drinkables, and one very thumpable watermelon. (I have enspelled the watermelon to be almost seedless. The humans will have neither the fun of spitting multiple seeds at one another nor the blithe unconcern of not having to watch out for them in every bite.)
Sigyn is making herself a snack. I hope no one else here had plans to eat any Cheetos, because the Bag Has Been Breached. From the rustling noises I hear coming from inside, it appears that my beloved has tunneled to the bottom of the bag and is eating her way out. Dreams do come true!
While Sigyn is thus orangily-occupied, I think I shall check out the games to see if there is anything interesting going on.
This one appears to be about world domination and resource hogging management.
I could get into that.
Over in the corner, some folks who are not gaming at the moment are assembling a jigsaw puzzle.
Hmm. Flags of many nations. Too many flags, some of them really gaudy. Things will be much simpler once I subjugate unite the various states and factions of Midgard into one glorious realm ruled by me. I suppose I should start working on coming up with a flag of my own. Green, obviously, but what should be on it? Golden horns? A knife? Or perhaps just my august visage? >|: [ That would certainly be easier to draw for schoolchildren learning about my brutal conquest magnificent transformation of this heretofore dreary little realm. I shall have to think about this some more.
In the meantime, I’ll just go hide this piece somewhere so that the puzzle can’t truly be completed…
I think I’ll hide it under the vegetables in the mini-fridge over there, where it will likely never be found. This is not an especially vegetable-eating crowd…
Sigyn has completed her own conquest of Cheetoland and has been magically de-cheedled. Now she’s playing some game on a phone with the Blue-haired Goddaughter.
I can’t remember what it’s called. Bowling for Mutants, I think…
Norns’ Nighties! I think I need to go investigate something potentially very interesting that is going on at that table over there…
I think I will just help myself to one of these little beauties right here…
Some interminible period of scooping, leveling, pouring, mixing, and dithering later, the human female is reasonably sure she has put in eight cups of flour. The dough seems awfully soft and sticky, but it’s supposed to be that way at this point.
Sigyn, if you fall into that, I’m not sure if it will be easier to clean you off or let you be and summon a doppelganger.
Just kidding! You’re irreplaceable and I love you.
Now the dough gets to rest for three hours in the freezer or over night in the fridge. Since I want cookies TODAY, freezer it is.
Covered with plastic wrap, it can be walked on. (stompity, stompity, stomp.) Footprints are fun!
Because the human female is too bone idle to roll and cut cookies, she and Sigyn are making the dough into balls and rolling them in cinnamon sugar.
Be assured I’m doing my part, too.
About twenty cookies fit on one sheet.
They look like meatballs at this stage, don’t they?
Bake, bake, bake, bake, bake… Peer as much as you like, but be careful not to burn your nose, my love.
Pans and pans of cookies are coming out of the oven, one after the other.
They’re taking over the table, like a sweet little army of calorie bombs.
(thirteen or fourteen dozen later) The cookies are all made, so now there’s nothing left but the clean-up. Which I won’t do, of course, but I have nothing against supervising and making snide comments.
There is no centimeter of this kitchen which is un-gooped. Human female, sometimes I think a palsied gorilla wearing boxing gloves could do a neater job than you!