feline felonies

The Transformation Is Nearly Complete

I was laughing the other day, listening to the humans grumble while cleaning up simultaneous barfage from both cats at once. Then I had the notion that it would be even more amusing–and an actual kindness to the humans– to turn the felines into something useful, if only for a little bit. If the furry minions weren’t cats, what could they be?

Flannel Cat, obviously, would make an excellent sofa cushion. Warm, soft, squishy. Not very bright.

Or maybe packing peanuts, because you can always get more into a box than you thought.

“If I fits, I sits.”

Taffy Cat, on the other hand, has done so well with the training I’ve been giving her that there’s really only one option.

“You don’t need both of us.”

“I can make pieces smaller than cross-cut.”

“My work here is done.”

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Mischief Update: A Smattering of Mischief From All Aspects of Life

I feel as if I’ve not been posting often enough lately about making the human female miserable. Too many posts about strange Midgardian shops and food and nature and flowers. (Love you, Sigyn, but face it. Posies are not what I’m here for.)

But I have been far from idle. Let me fill you in about all my various naughtinesses.

The house: Repairs from last year’s hailstorm damage are at last complete with the installation of a new skylight. However, the final chapter of the long saga of condestruction has yet to be written, because Roofer Number 5 has yet to a) ask the humans to sign the conditional check that Usually Sounds Amiable, Although… mailed to them and/or b) write a check for the difference between the payout and the actual costs. There’s also the fact that the human female hasn’t yet found all of the little goodies from the installation of roof and gutters. Why, just last Saturday, when she was weeding around the house, she came up with these.

There are plenty more for her to find when she mows for the first time. Can you say, “Whannnnnnnggg!!!”? The lawn mower is going to!

Oh, and speaking of weeding, I’ve set up a battle for the ages in the side yard. It’s Mint vs. Bermudagrass vs. the human female and her St. Augustine grass army. Right now it’s each faction for itself, but I predict the Bermudagrass and the Mint are going to make common cause and form a botanical Axis of Evil which will be all but invincible.

So, yes, the house repairs are essentially done. It has all left the human female twitchy quite leery of bad weather. Which means that I’ve arranged for a line or two of really nasty weather to go over the house each week. Don’t worry about me, though. I can teleport myself and Sigyn to someplace safe every time the radar looks like this:

So many tornado watch boxes!

and I refuse to join in the exciting-but-not-at-all-fun activity of sitting in the closet with the cats and everything precious when there’s an honest-to-Thor tornado in the vicinity. Actually getting the cats in there is a three person job and there are only two humans. It’s like an insane hybrid between Twister (ha!) and Sardines. Yeah, no thanks. The mortals can cower amidst the hangers and mismatched shoes. I’ll go relax on a beach somewhere.

It is definitely Spring, and that means not just scary storms–it also means pollen. Every day, the human female’s car gets yellower and yellower. I wish she’d park it in the garage and put the male’s car in the driveway, because it is blue. Blue and yellow make green, which I’m sure would be particularly aesthetically pleasing.

Ah. The human female’s car. I get so much mileage (snort!) out of it. She got the flat tire fixed, but yesterday the Tire Pressure Monitoring System light came on. She thought that meant she had another leak, but she eventually smarted up and consulted the owner’s manual. It’s wor$e than an impending flat, because if it’s just the TPMS light without the little flat-tire-and-! icon, it means the TMPS system itself is malfunctioning and will not warn her of any problems with the tires. Fixing it is sure to involve computer chip$ and diagno$tic te$t$. Meanwhile, the passenger side rear door lock is still non-operational. The handle is wedged in the lock position with a big wad of paper. There is a huge bag of plastic wrap from the Food Bank in the cargo area–plus some in the front seat—that all needs to go to the recycling center. I tell you, the vehicle is super-classy from bumper to yellow bumper.

I have been finding the Food Bank to be a very fertile ground for mischief. I’m not allowed to take photos in there, but let me tell you, it’s a big metal building full of fun. The human female comes home each week filthy, sweaty, tired, and reeking of various effluvia. If there’s something that stains, you can be assured that I’m shoving it in her path. One week it was slimy cucumbers and furry peppers that needed to be culled from among good produce. Another week, it was a can of Alfredo sauce that had somehow been breached. The contents were unbelievably stenchsome and gray and crawling with…things. This past week, it was leaky bags of flour and sugar, sticky containers of applesauce, and some broken glass that led to a bandage and some bloodshed. And yes, I was responsible for the fact that, during the sorting of donations, there was nearly a whole pallet full of canned corn and almost nothing to vary it up with. Scale that wasn’t weighing properly? Also me. Ripped bag of jelly beans turning the floor into a rainbow colored minefield? Me again! It’s a rare week she doesn’t break a nail or three or throw her back out, but she keeps doing it. So far, she’s not signed up for any warehouse shifts, and I really, really want her to, because if watching her try to steer a pallet jack is funny, just think of what I could do if they let her drive a forklift…

I continue to wreak havoc with the mail. Last week, not one, not two, but THREE packages that were logged as “delivered”, weren’t. The human male had to go down to the post office twice, chasing after them with the postmaster herself. They had been delivered, all right, to a differently-numbered box in a different multi-box unit, on a different street entirely. But I’m not completely heartless. some of the mail is getting through!

She probably doesn’t have to worry about getting selected to sit on a jury, though. This part of Midgard has trial-by-a-jury of one’s peers. The chances that the defendant is going to be a lumpy, aging, klutzy plant nerd with the reasoning powers and emotional control of a backward toddler are vanishingly small.

I also made sure she got the invitation to a luncheon honoring a friend of hers for various charitable efforts. Yes indeed, the human female and her $75.00 per plate were specifically requested to attend.

Other tidbits: I have fixed it so that the human female’s mouse won’t work when she works plays on the laptop whilst sitting on the sofa unless she moves it to the opposite side of the laptop, forcing her to mouse with the arm that gets tendinitis if she mouses with it. I have also seen to it that the new operating system on the laptop provides a very, very annoying plonky sound effect whenever she downloads anything. No amount of following directions on how to get it to stop doing that has worked so far. If she figures it out, I’ll just make something else start making noise.

Oh, and then there’s the labels. The human female identified a number of plants for a colleague and typed up the labels for mounting. She used a template she’s used for years, one that perfectly sets the labels up eight to a sheet, complete with Texas county maps where she can color in the county in question. This is what they looked like when I got through with them:

I continue to work with the Terror Twins. The other morning, I had both of them harfing up breakfast at the same time! I had a very kibbly obstacle course there for a while, and it was such fun I think I’ll do it again next week. Flannel Cat, especially, is very prone to submitting her meals for review if she’s kept waiting for them. And I’ve trained her to eat just a little at a time so that her leftovers have to be picked up and rendered inaccessible by Taffy Cat (because Taffy is a Hoover and rivals Volstagg for sheer capacity.) Of course, Flannel will then ask for the rest of her meal later in the day, requiring that the other furry minion be distracted or sequestered behind a locked door so that Flannel can dine in peace. But Flannel finds Distracting Entertainment—such as The String!!distracting and will frequently abandon food dish in favor of pouncing. Given that and the fact that Taffy will start clamoring and climbing on the humans a full two hours ahead of mealtime, the feeding nonsense can occupy a good portion of the day.

I do try to see to it that the humans have to spend a further good portion of the day on the telephone, trying to mitigate one or another of my nefarious schemes. The human male has gone multiple rounds with SuddenDrop, their internet provider recently. The humans, angered by an unannounced 20% rate hike on their bundled cable TV and internet, ditched their cable entirely and promised the company they’d cancel the internet the minute that fiber internet becomes available. The current provider responded by capping their download allowance without telling them. That was right about the time the human female’s computer decided it didn’t want to recognize its charging cable unless the moon was in the right phase and she held her face a certain way. Downloading all the software on the new laptop put them well over the cap on data, and they got billed for all of the extra bytes. All of them. Surprise!

The human female spent a good deal of time on her phone. Something that should have been a one-phone-call finagle—getting a nursery in her mother’s home town to plant a tree in her mother’s yard—turned into a multi-day, multi-call, multi-text operation. Every time she called, she got a different person and had to explain what she wanted all over again, and the person who knew about pricing didn’t have the schedule, while the person who could schedule the job didn’t know if they had the tree she wanted in stock, and the person familiar with the stock is not the one who could handle the billing. Despite asking the nursery to call the mother to arrange a good time for planting the tree, the nursery merely showed up with it, ready to plop it in the ground. It’s in now, and since I actually like the human female’s mother, I’ll probably let it live.

Whew! See what I mean? Busy, busy Loki. That’s all for now. I’ve got to go convince one cat that she’s starving and the other that there is some paper that desperately needs shredding.

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Employee Development

I write a lot about my furry minions and the mischief they perpetrate at my request. They have some delightfully devilish natural inclinations, but I also like to encourage them to try new things. What kind of a boss would I be if I didn’t foster the development of new skills?

I’m especially pleased with how Taffy Cat is progressing. With her long, lithe build, she is just the right shape for conducting archaeological investigations.

Exploring the middens left behind by primitive civilizations is important and rewarding work—especially if they microwave turkey bacon and dispose of the paper towels.

She is also turning into a very enthusiastic and creative Document Security Specialist. She learned from Flannel Cat but has far surpassed her instructor in a very short time. No paper is safe from her! Leave something lying about, and there is a near 100% chance that it will come under her scrutiny and be reduced to very finely cross-cut shreds. Everything is fair game for chewing and spitting out. Grocery lists, calendars, memos-to-self, edges of papers peeking the littlest bit out of books. On the chairs, on the floor, on the dining room table; it doesn’t matter. Have teeth, will travel.

Observe the start she has made on the envelope containing the human female’s latest botanical manuscript.

The envelope is certainly now unsalvageable, and she is just one or two good mouthfuls from embarking upon the document itself.

And the human female writes in the margins

Methinks that beast deserves a raise!

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Progress, But Still Room for Improvement

Perhaps you recall that the my efforts to train the felines to barf in such a way that soggy bits of half-chewed kibble actually land *in* the humans’ shoes have been less than entirely successful. Thus, I have made it a point to have weekly practice sessions with the aim of improving their aim. Behold the results of a recent attempt:

Tsk, tsk, tsk. Very sloppy. Taffy Cat, this has all the hallmarks of your work, and I can see that you were trying, but this is not your best effort.

You didn’t manage to get the kibble into the human female’s shoe, and what you did get on the shoe was only a few drops of hork-juice.

How are we to know whether her hikers really are waterproof unless you get them thoroughly soaked?

Flannel Cat, I notice that you have eschewed shoes* entirely this week, but I can give you partial credit for tagging the quilt on the humans’ bed. Any pukeage that results in a wash load is good in my book.

So, continue to practice, both of you, and for now I want you to run some laps. No, not right now. Wait until about 11:30 tonight, when the house is quiet, so that the galloppy thud of eight little feet and the scrabbling squeal of sharp turns on laminate flooring are louder and more disruptive. Bonus points if you take the laps across the bed with sleeping people in it. Got that? Good!

Now go sit in some clean laundry and rest up for tonight.

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*But she HAS chewed shoes, because Crocs are just that delicious and make funny squeaky noises when you bite them.

Mischief Update–Bits and Pieces

If this were a meeting run according to Rules of Order rather than a Manifesto of Mischief, we would start with Old Business. Ongoing projects, as it were.

The humans still do not have the new gutters that Roofer Number Five promised. Nor have they received word whether Usually Sounds Amiable, Although… is going to pay for the hail-cracked skylight. You’d think the roofing company would want to finish this job, seeing as how they haven’t been paid yet. I think I can stretch this situation to January if I try, so there’s my first New Year’s Resolution right there.

I may have overdone the mischief with the bedroom ceiling fan and the constantly-breaking chain. It broke one too many times and humans got rid of it, bringing home a nice, more powerful, quieter model with a sturdy chain. Just so you know, Sigyn is wrong–my pout is adorable, thank you.

Over the weekend, I got my hands on the humans’ light-up magnifying glass.

A corroded battery weakened the plastic bit you see in my hand. It won’t hold battery #3 in place anymore. The human female tried superglue, putty, and wedging things with little bits of cut-up rubber band. All failures. I could magic it back together, but that would defeat the whole purpose of breaking it in the first place.

I continue to not go anywhere near housework. The felines, however, have been quite helpful recently. Here they are folding clean laundry.

That’s one load that’s going to get to go for a second ride…

The cats are pleasant enough to look at as they are, but I’ve been experimenting a bit with some shape-shifting spells. What do you think, one head apiece or…

Is the two-headed model better?

They do like to conduct mischief in tandem. Covering laptop bags and backpacks with Specialty Fibers is a favorite activity.

I have been working a bit on the canine front as well. At my behest, the neighbor’s off-leash mutt charged and barked and growled at the human female when she was three feet from her own front door. I’ve also chipped away at a different neighbor’s fence boards so that at any given moment, one or both of their barkers may be running loose in the alley, to the detriment of hygiene and vehicular safety.

Pervasive Number Confusion (AKA PNC), the humans’ new bank, continues to set low expectations and fail to meet them. The other day, the humans received an Important Paper Letter in the mail letting them know that they could choose paperless statements. The humans are already paperless.

Balancing the checkbook is going to be easier this month. There will be fewer deposits to add in, since the humans’ monthly retirement checks from TRS failed to show up in either paper or electronically-deposited form. (You will recall that they were receiving actual checks while waiting for the Direct Deposit paperwork to kick in.) The human female contacted TRS, which lived up to its full name of They’re Really Swamped by sending back an e-mail that said that, due to high query volume, someone would probably be able to get back to them in five business days. Or perhaps it’s PNC’s fault? Or Usually Smashes Parcels Significantly? I might know…but I’m not telling! USPS, meantime, has been cheerfully delivering the humans’ mail to other addresses. It’s such fun when things arrive that are correctly addressed but which have been marked “redeliver” by whomever they ended up with first. Funny how the unwanted catalogs and junk mail seem to find the house on the first go….

Ugh. That’s enough for now. It’s October weather out there, and this poor Frost Giant is going to go sit in the freezer for a while. (So don’t be surprised later if the ice cream’s gone.)

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That Was Predictable

Sometimes mischief is unavoidable. When Loki makes plans, it can be very, very hard to thwart them.

Other times, my mischief is detectable from a mile away, and anyone who was trying at all could derail them, if they were willing to expend the effort.

It’s just that, usually, most mortals can’t be bothered to expend the effort.

Case in point. When the humans were finally able to get the roofers to come out and install the new roof, they were advised to remove everything from the walls, since the vibrations from all the shingle-nailing can send pictures and whatnot crashing to the ground.

The humans have a lot of DVDs. They long ago overflowed the designated shelves and had piled up on top of the shelves in touching-the-wall, teetering stacks many Sigyns tall. The human male took the stacks down and put the DVDs in boxes. They overflowed the boxes and formed teetering stacks much closer to the ground.

Because the humans are procrastinators, they have not yet sorted all of them out and returned that corner of the habitation to functionality. They should have known I couldn’t pass up the opportunity…

It was the work of a moment to enlist the aid of one of my furry minions, and less than a moment for said minion to up the chaos coefficient of this domicile.

There is now a nice scatter of cases all over the floor. Well done, Minion! So well done, in fact, that you deserve special recognition. Let us zoom in on the scene to observe my congratulatory placement of a magnet taken from the cold box.

Give credit where credit is due, I always say!

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I Have Trained the Minions Well (Wordless Wednesday)

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Home Again, Home Again–Mischief Update

*Yawn!* Yesterday was a long day of driving. I’d like to know whose idea it was–it surely wasn’t mine!–to put the human female’s mother’s place in a different time zone, so that about twenty minutes into the already-long trip it is suddenly an hour later already. We returned home a via different route, one that goes past a rather scenic dam-made lake and not through an hour and a half of stop-and-go traffic associated with the Big City to the West.

So here we all are again, back in the heat and swampy humidity. I’ve healed Sigyn’s broken arm and she’s as chipper as ever. I so hated seeing her in that awful cast!

The humans noticed immediately upon pulling into the driveway that the roofer had not made good on his promise to fix some small areas of roof/gutter intersection that weren’t nailed down properly. A call to him has brought a further promise to send someone out to attend to that this week, weather permitting. And the gutter replacement? No sign of it.

The lawn looks like the Pampas of the Argentine. Of course, I’ve seen to it that there are a few bare spots where take-all patch has done a number on the St. Augustinegrass, so the effect is somewhat patchy. Still, mowing will have to happen soon or else the humans will get a nastygram from the City. The human female need not worry, however, about mowing down the blooms of her perennial, autumn-flowering schoolhouse lilies because they are nowhere to be seen. Did they flower while she was away, or are they late this year? I know, but I’m not telling!

The house also needs some attention. The houseplants are gasping for a drink, various cats have been sick in various spots (the cat sitter cleaned up, but you can still see where), and the dust bunnies have mutated into dust rhinos. There is laundry to be done, along with grocery shopping, and the kitchen window is just begging to be cleaned. (Don’t look at me. I don’t do windows.)

I have been playing hide and seek. I hid the female’s watch before we left on our trip. She tore the house apart looking for it but did not find it. Her mother gave her a spare one and she has put a new battery in it. Of course, once she’d spent the money to do that, I poked the old one out of hiding. The male found it in the box of “tech” they’d taken on the trip. Such tech! You would not believe the number of chargers, cables, adapters, hubs, etc. that those two own! The human female never can find the charging cable she needs, or the one that gets photos out of her phone. If she has the cable for the tablet, the one for her tiny fan is missing. If she knows where the fan cable is, the one for her phone has gone AWOL. The red one goes with her blue camera. The white one goes with the blue iPad. The blue fan has a black cable. It’s diabolical! She’s tried keeping them in designated spots–it’s like she’s never even met me.

Today I have hidden the human female’s spectacles. She knows she had to have them to see the TV last night (catching up on the news) but took them off to work on her computer. Logically, then, they should be somewhere between the living room and the dining room table. It’s been immense fun, watching the humans turn the house inside out, rummage through the garbage already in the bin, riffle through piles of paper, grope around in the sofa and then move it away from away from the wall (look! cat toys! more dust rhinos! that leg weight you’ve been missing!). I know where the glasses are, but I’m not telling. Maybe I’ll nudge them into her path tomorrow. Then again, maybe not. First her watch, now her glasses. She feels lost without either. Next, I think I’ll hide her library card. Then a shoe… Or car keys… Or maybe a pair of the shorts she wears so often… There are so many options!

And then there is plumbing. One of the felines was sick this morning–ate too quickly and harfed up all her kibble. The human female grabbed a tissue, scooped it up, and disposed of it in the commode. Imagine her panic when it wouldn’t go down!! She sprinted for the plunger, still in her pajamas and socks. The plunger proved ineffective, but she did manage to reach an arm in (ugh!) and pull out a wad of clog. More plunging. Now, all of this frantic plunging and groping splashed water all over her, her socks, the floor, and the toilet. Reaching into the cabinet under the sink to get the disinfecting cleaner just knocked two bars of soap into the cats’ water dish, putting *more* water on the floor. The human male, coming to help and to bring her the long plumbing snake I’d hidden in garage, walked through the water on his way out of the bathroom and left tracks throughout the house. She did eventually get the clog resolved, and then they both spent a good chunk of the rest of the morning mopping, scrubbing, disinfecting, and then cleaning the rest of the floor, themselves, the plunger, the cats’ bowl, and the various towels used in the operation. Tomorrow, I will induce the other feline to gobble her breakfast and then re-present it for inspection, and we’ll see what happens next.

The human male has sent his misbehaving camera off for repair, but now his computer display is strobing and there’s a funny line down the middle. . . It’s still under warranty, but he’s going to have to travel to the Big City to the South to have it looked at, and if it’s anything beyond a minor repair, it’ll have to be sent out for service. Before he can do any of it, he has to back up everything on the machine which will take (peers at status bar) approximately eleventy-three hours and fifty-four minutes.

That will give him plenty of time to get the insurance thing straightened out. The humans have their car insurance and credit card with Usually Sounds Amiable, Although… They’ve arranged to have their insurance billed to the card, which they pay off every month, rather than getting a separate insurance bill every month. Recently, that arrangement has become unarranged, and individual bills have been arriving. The male has called and called and emailed and emailed, and each time, he has been assured that everything is back the way he wants it. Another monthly insurance bill has arrived today and he is on the phone–again–trying to make it past the phone tree to bludgeon some cooperation out of them. We’ll see how that goes.

(later)

He was finally able to talk to a live human being who assured him that yes, insurance was being billed yearly to the card, but that their “new and improved” billing systems is programmed to send out a bill to everyone every month anyway. No one, not the customers nor the help line folks, likes the new system. Well, rats! I thought it was some of my best work!

Aaaaad, Taffy Cat is on the dining room table again!

So, as you can see, settling back in and situation normal!

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Mischief Update: Of Shell Games and Suspicious Crashes

If you were expecting an update about completed construction–really?! In this town, with these humans, over a holiday weekend? With me involved?? Surely no one is that naive.

Status of roof: Still up in the air. As roofs generally are. Ehehehehe. No word on whether/if Roofer Number Four has convinced Usually Sounds Amiable, Although… to do the work he outlined for the price he’s willing to charge. Clock is ticking. Will there be any wood, felt, and shingles available when some agreement is reached? That is a very good question.

Nothing more has happened with the ceiling in the craft room. If my plans work out, the humans will get about half an hour’s notice from Attempts Total Involvement that they have to get all the breakables out immediately. The human female has been putting off that little chore, so it’ll be fun to watch her scramble. Still no word on where all the books and shelves are supposed to go, either.

The sewing machine has been cleaned and returned. The humans are just this minute hunting up the screwdriver to put it back into the cabinet—

Norns’ Nighties! What was that awful noise?!

And why do the felines look so guilty? Oh, I bet I know what happened. One or both of them jumped up on the cabinet and walked out onto the extended table. I’ve been working with them on stealthily going where they’re not supposed to, and the lessons seem to be paying off! I think they need a refresher, though, because if they’d done it properly, it wouldn’t have landed on the laundry basket. It would have fallen forward, gouging the laminate flooring and the armoire and breaking the table. The only fallout from a dump-over in this position is literal fall-out. The humans are going to be sweeping and magneting up pins for a good while. Between that and lowering the very heavy machine precisely into the cabinet, if I’m lucky, someone will need a bandage before the day is out.

The specially-ordered lightbulb for the human female’s big sewing lamp came–and it is exactly identical to the one from the local crap craft store. And this one not only strobes, it emits a high-pitched hum guaranteed to drive her ’round the bend (okay, further ’round the bend) in under a minute. It’ll have to go back. I have offered to write a Strongly Worded Letter to the fine folks at Obsolete Technology Troubles. She’s hoping they offer a replacement lamp, but I bet I can word it in such a way that they offer only a grudging not-apology and something useless like $5.00 off something she doesn’t want. In the meantime–No stitching for you!

So, yes, I’ve been busy. My best work here, though, is not in tipped furniture, flickering bulbs, or scheduling woes. Oh, no no no! It is with accounting. Numbers are a very, very fertile ground for mischief.

The Water-sucking People billed Usually Sounds Amiable, Although… directly. USAA paid them, minus the deductible. Attempts Total Involvement have sent USAA a bill for work which has not even commenced yet, and USAA has paid them, minus the deductible. That’s right! They’ve deducted the deductible twice! The human female paid for the sewing machine cleaning out of her own pocket and sent USAA the receipt. You’d think that USAA would add it all up and just have the humans pay ATI the deductible minus what was spent on the sewing machine and then pay ATI the remaining bit of the deductible. Loki-Logic, though, dictates that USAA is going to send a check to reimburse the human female for what she spent on the machine, issue a check for the full amount to ATI, and have the humans write a check to the Water-sucking People for the amount of the deductible. Meanwhile, the advance on the roof claim just sits in the bank, waiting for some sort of agreement to be reached!

That whirring noise you hear is the human female’s head spinning. If we wrapped that noggin in copper wire and gave her some magnets for earrings, we could hook her up to the power grid and make up for some of the whopping power bill that the old AC racked up as it was dying while trying to cool the house in the middle of a heat wave.

The final, finishing financial finagle was to make sure the humans received their own Strongly Worded Letter, letting them know that their claim for “damage to their AC” has been categorically and very pointedly denied, disallowed, and disapproved.

Which would be truly crushing, you know, if they’d actually made that claim. But no. I saw to it that that thing died in such a manner that every last cent for its replacement came out of their own linty pockets. Belts will be worn a little tighter this season.

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