Happy Birthday. It’s a rat!

Not exactly the post I planned as my reentry into regular blogging, I tell you!

Mrs Widds and I took a couple of weeks off recently to go do touristy things in the Kootenay Rocky mountain region of BC. I have pics of glaciers and snow-capped mountain tops, and we both realised we absolutely love breathing the air at 2000 meters above sea level.

So, that was going to be my lead-in story, however, the best laid plans of mice (rats, actually) and lesbians …

We’ve been aware of the pitter-patter of tiny clawed feet in the house for a few months now, but we thought that turning the house upside down looking for the little bugger would’ve scared it off.

Nope.

We’re not heartless beasties so before we left, we set out a bit of fruit for it, just in case it decided, for some unknown reason, to stick around.

We arrived home from our adventures to the gutted skins of two bananas, and knew we’d have to take drastic steps.

We bought this:

Threshold of Doom on the right with sneaky trapdoor open

Threshold of Doom on the right with sneaky trapdoor open

‘Critter’, as we now called our diminutive (and as yet of undetermined species) houseguest, turned out to be smarter than the average bear, and eschewed falling for the old pile-of-nibblies-at-the-end-of-the-trap trick, so we resorted to the trail-of-seeds-to-the-opening-of-the-trap trick.

Side note: Mrs Widds has a thing about rats ever since one of her cats, long since departed via the Rainbow Bridge to the Summerlands, gifted her with a very large and very dead rat … on her bed … while she was sleeping … about a centimeter from her face.

Let’s all have a skin-crawling shudder at that image shall we?

**shudders**

Therefore, I was the designated remover of whatever species ‘Critter’ turned out to be.

For two nights Critter snacked on the dwindling number of seeds in front of the trap but didn’t cross the Threshold of Doom. It was all part of my Plan though.

Last night, having got Critter accustomed to finding food near the trap, I only put seeds inside it. Critter’s fate was sealed!

Overconfident, Critter crossed the Threshold of Doom and the trap snapped closed behind it .. just about the time Mrs Widds got out of bed. (She’s an early riser. Me? Not so much)

I felt a gently tap on my shoulder, and woke to the immortal words, “Happy Birthday. It’s a rat!”

To her credit Mrs Widds spoke softly, in spite of what she felt about the slithery, snickerly, squirmy, freaked-out RAT, bouncing around inside the trap, trying to escape.

I got dressed, released Critter-rat outside and fell back into bed.

I am 56. Bring on that second Saturn Return

Dandy-Lion Wine Part II

I posted about our adventure with dandelion wine at the beginning of May. Since then much has occured that had nothing to do with our fermenting experiment, so it continued on its own merry way, until a week or two ago when we unwrapped and sniffed, and strained, and tasted, and rewrapped.

It didn’t smell exactly off, more like an orange that’s just about to keel over and let mold devour it.

Straining the pulp

Straining the pulp

We strained it a couple of times to remove as much of the broken down orange and lemon bits as we could. Then we let it settle for a couple of hours and skimmed a snifterfull off the top.

We each took a mouthful and after letting it sit on our tongues for a moment (to appreciate the ‘full bodied’ flavour) we swallowed.

To say it had a kick like a mule was like saying Voyager I passing into interstellar space was just a bit of a space jaunt.

I felt my knees go numb and sat down, somewhat abruptly.

I think it needs to age a little more.

Not the Green Hat again!

Not the Green Hat again!

 ***

 and, a Widdercat pic for LondonMabel

I know. Sleeping again. What can I say? I was an old cat.

I know. Sleeping again. What can I say? I was an old cat.

The Suckitude of Grief and Soggy Toast

It’s been a very ‘interesting’ two weeks-ish. We have Widdercat’s ashes back, (they’re sitting on our altar) and, in the mysterious ways that cats have, although she’s not physically with us anymore, (unless you count the ashes, which is interestingly morbid) the big hole she left in our lives is lessened.

On the other hand, grief sucks. It turns me inside out, gives me headaches when I have big sobbing crys. I feel as though I’m the only one in the entire cosmos who’s feeling this bad. (seriously, the rest of the world ought not to be allowed to just continue turning and have the temerity to look exactly the same when I do eventually surface)

On occasions, it’s also funny.

I don’t know if the ‘baby brain’ of pregnant women and new mothers is a myth, but I can personally attest that the ‘grief brain’ is alive and well. Take breakfast the other day.

I had just turned the dishwasher on. It’s one that connected to the kitchen sink hot water tap. I then set about preparing my breakfast of eggs on toast, one of my comfort foods. We’d recently retired our old frying pan and bought a shiny new ceramic one that was just for the frying of eggs. It takes some time getting used to the whims of new appliances, and after a few not-so-dazzling efforts on previous mornings I was determined this time my eggs would be perfect.

The scene is set. The play begins …

I plop the bread (Mrs Widder’s 1-day-old bread, ‘cos it’s a mortal crime to toast fresh bread the day it’s baked) into the toaster and prepare my plate. Usually I run a bit of hot water over it to warm it up, (there’s nothing worse that your eggs-n-toast cooling too fast on a cold plate) but of course the hot water tap is currently occupied.

There is still some hot water in the kettle from my tea so I pour a bit onto my plate and set it to one side while I cook my eggs in our shiny new frying pan. I sense that this time they’re going to be perfect, and I’m right.

The toast pops up … I throw it on the breadboard … turn the heat off under my eggs … butter the toast and quickly throw it onto my plate before my eggs get too hard …

… with frying pan and eggflip in hand I turn to deposit the eggs on the toast when I realise …

SOGGY TOAST!

By the time I toast some more bread my perfect eggs are somewhat past their former glory.

:(

I told this story, along with other non-funny stories of my journey through my grief, (they did ask first. I was merely being obliging) to a not-quite-an-acquaintance who then commented with the best of intentions that they didn’t really get why I was so upset, after all she was just a cat.

This person is still alive only because it was a public place and I couldn’t immediately think of anywhere to hide the body.

I’m willing to bet if they had an animal in their lives at all, they’d consider themselves to be ‘owners’ of a ‘pet’ rather than sharing their life with companion of a different species.

However, the incident made me realise what a wonderful genre Speculative Fiction (SF, Fantasy, Paranormal, etc) is, and how glad I am it’s my genre of choice for the writing and reading of. I think that more than any other genre, it has raised the awareness of other species as being more than just ‘pets’.

***

In among all of the turmoil of these last weeks we did have a peek at our dandelion wine. I’ll tell you all about that in my next post.

Fare Thee Well, Old Friend

Widdercat had a very bad fall this morning and broke one of her back legs.

Surgery would’ve been too much for her poor body to contend with.

She died this afternoon.

She was one hundred years old.

Our hearts are broken.

Her favourite faceplant, in her favourite nest

Her favourite faceplant, in her favourite nest

Bon Voyage Robin

There’s a candle on the altar to guide your Path.

 

Old Friend

This summer is hard for Widdercat.

In spite of our efforts to cool the house, the prolonged heat leaves her drained of energy on her best days, and almost comatose on her worst.

The four-legged full arm stretch, with neck extended

The four-legged full arm stretch, with neck extended

She sleeps so deeply that we peer at her tummy hoping we’ll see it rise and fall, hoping she still breathes.

There is no movement for so long that our hearts contract.

At last she breathes, and so do we.

She looks amused to see our hovering concern so she stretches out a paw to acknowledge our attentiveness, to reassure us.

Two paw stretch with delicate head droop

Two paw stretch with delicate head droop

Her time with us is measured in units of unknown length – months, weeks, days, become irrelevant.

Only the next breath counts.

Underneath her favourite tree, before it got too hot

Underneath her favourite tree, before it got too hot

Mash-ups

A mash-up is when two (or more) segments of stuff  – in this case two of the great movie franchises of the 20th Century – are combined to form something else altogether.

Another form a mash-up can take is superimposing one thing on another, thusly:

 

Dandy and Judel

Dandy and Judel

 

Hermy and Harione

Hermy and Harione

 

Brangelina

Brangelina

I have no idea who created these but they’re a genius. And isn’t interesting how the women look a whole lot better than the guys?

 

This isn’t a mash-up, but it’s too cute to be ignored. Grrrrowrrrrr!