A Shot Of One-Liners

Just found out that I qualify for the Pfizer vaccine….
….Apparently if you buy 20,000 Viagra a year, you’re a preferred customer

To err is human….
….To blame it on someone else shows management potential.

The main purpose of a child’s middle name….
….Is so that they can tell when they are really in trouble.

I dumped my girlfriend….
….He said, ruthlessly.

Be careful with the chainsaw….
….He said, offhandedly.

I finally heard the joke titled ‘From Minutes to Hours’….
….It’s about time.

Three things I want to do before I die….
….1: Swim with piranhas.

I got kicked out of the hospital….
….Apparently the sign STROKE PATIENTS HERE meant something quite different.

If it weren’t for Arabs, we wouldn’t have 9/11….
….Instead, it would be IX/XI

To err is human….
….To forgive is against company policy.

A man has his will….
….A woman has her way.

Behind every great man….
….Is a woman, rolling her eyes.

Behind every great woman….
….Is a load of dirty laundry.

Give a man a gun, and he’ll rob a bank….
….Give a man a bank, and he’ll rob everybody.

Some puns make me numb….
….But math puns make me number.

I wanted to be a monk….
….But I never got the chants

I went to this horrible bar called The Fiddle….
….It was really a vile inn.

My friend David had his ID stolen….
….Now he’s just Dav.

I was kidnapped by mimes….
….They did unspeakable things to me.

The meaning of opaque….
….Is unclear

I was going to get a brain transplant….
….But I changed my mind.

So what if I don’t know the meaning of the word ‘Apocalypse.’….
….It’s not the end of the world

A relief map shows….
….Where the washrooms are.

Another Near Cats-Ass-Trophe

Our beautiful boy was kidnapped.  Our beloved baby was snatched from us, causing 48+ hours of anxiety and worry, waiting for a ransom call for our feline hostage.

You’d think we’d know better.  You’d think that we’d learned from experience.  He wasn’t really kidnapped.  We ‘misplaced’ Mica, our oldest, and prettiest, Bengal cat.  The only time I left the house one night, was at 1 AM, to pick up the newspaper from the driveway.  I saw the cat perched on top of the humidifier, at 3 AM.  I say that it was the son’s fault.

I went to bed at 5 AM.  The night-shift-working son came home at 8 AM.  He says that he came in, locked the door as usual, and didn’t go out again.  It must have been me.  While we think that the cat is gorgeous, he has medical conditions that we dose him with four different medications for.

The son went to bed at 1 PM, which told me that it was time for me to get up.  I went to the kitchen and got juice and pills for the wife, and dropped a capsule in a shot-glass with a bit of cooking oil, for the cat.  I hold him, and the wife shoves the capsules down his throat.

I went back to the laundry room, where he has taken to sleeping on a pillow that now has to be washed.  He was not there.  Oh well, he’ll be back downstairs in the wicker basket on top of the storage cupboard.  He was not there.  I opened closets and cupboards.  He might be sleeping in the storage area under the stairs, where I can’t see.  He might have taken refuge behind the gas fireplace in the basement.  He might have climbed up on the suspended ceiling in the rec-room.

Two of his meds are to keep him from getting hyper.  Soon, he’ll be out, pacing and yowling.  By 7 PM we had to reluctantly admit that he’d somehow got outside.  He has no interest in the deck beyond the French doors.  One way or another, he must have got out the front door.

“Lost” cats remain around their home for a couple of days.  I put the wicker basket with a cat bed on the front porch.  “Put out something with your scent.”  The son added a pair of my socks from the laundry, and I shucked a sweaty tee shirt.

I put a water bowl and a plate of cat food beside it.  The wife felt that was a horrible idea.  Skunks…. and racoons…. and…. and…. hyenas will come to eat it and attack the cat.  The next morning, when the veterinarian suggested it and she authorized it, it was suddenly a great idea.

She even thought of a great addition to it.  Roll up the garage door a few inches – enough for a cat to get in, but not dogs or neighbor kids – and put food and water out there.  I got to check each door every five minutes quarter hour.  Now the list of chores begins.  Our pets are all micro-chipped, so call our vet.  Call the nearest animal hospital, in case someone brings him in.  Call the Humane Society and report him lost.  Use their online form to add a photo to the ‘Lost’ notification.  Get the daughter to put up a notification on Facebook and a couple of other social media sites.

The wife used the above photo to produce a “Lost Cat” poster, and printed a dozen copies.  With the help of the son and a roll of packing tape, we plastered 6 community mailboxes within a couple of blocks, and light poles at street corners.  Took a copy to the animal hospital.

Not only is he a handsome cat, but Bengals are expensive and valuable.  We were lucky to get ours at deep discounts.  Anyone who enticed him into their home might want to keep him.  The posters said that we loved and missed him and wanted him back.  They also added that he had health problems, and required medications.  Such a cat is far less likely to be kept.

All day, I wore a rut to the front and garage doors, checking.  I finally got to bed at 7:30 AM.  At noon, my first action was to open the front door to look.  I must have whipped it open a bit vigorously.  Something brownish streaked from the food dish, past the end of the garage.  Was that Mica??  I unthreateningly followed onto the common driveway with the other half of our semi.

Dogs are dumb enough to come if you call their name.  Cats…. not so much.  There I stood, like a fool, going, mrowr – mrowr – mrowr.  I looked all around, but couldn’t see him anywhere.  I got down on hands and knees, and looked under our car – Nothing.  I turned my head and looked under the neighbor’s car – and two bright eyes below two perky ears looked back – and answered, mrowr?  Mrowr?

I carefully backed toward the garage, constantly talking to him.  Slowly, he emerged, and slinked under the door.  I quickly went inside, and opened the inner door.  He’d skipped the food and water, and was sniffing at the junk along the far wall.  I sidled past him, pulled the cord to disengage the door, and pushed it down tight.  SAFE!!!  Now we have to undo all that we have done – call the vet’s, call the animal hospital, call Humane Society, get them to remove notification, pull down all the posters – I’m too busy stroking Mica.

Two days in the wilds of suburbia to get him all hyped up – two days without medication to take the edge off – he was a bit wound up.  After a couple of rounds of fresh food and water, we finally got him back on his meds cycle.  Always a bit stand-offish, for the first several days back he was never more than arms-length away.  Even now, he’s a far more sociable cat.

And The Truth Was Not In Him

I CANNOT TELL A LIE

….But I can stretch it over Toronto’s CN Tower.  Here’s a chance for you to do the same.  Take the following list of questions, and provide interesting, entertaining and informative answers which might have people questioning your sanity, as well as your veracity.

What is the difference between a gooseberry and a grape?

A gooseberry is like a grape, but with a bad case of mold.  Cannibals won’t eat clowns because they taste funny, but if you swallow a gooseberry whole, it will tickle your palate all the way to the bottom.

 What is meant by skid row?

That’s what happens when I don’t change my underwear every day.  One little brown stain in my BVDs, on laundry day, is forgivable, but when there’s a whole line of them, the wife says that I am going to involuntarily take that ‘Eat A Tide Pod Challenge.’

 Why do elephants have big ears?

The better to hear you with, my dear Red Riding Hood.  I am the elephant in the room.  You should just put down the basket of bananas that you brought, and leave quickly, before you get stepped on.  Don’t worry about making it back home safely, through the deep, dark woods.  There was a pervert, transvestite wolf here when I arrived, all dressed up in one of Granny’s nighties, but I didn’t see him, and accidently sat on him.  FYI: Granny’s gonna need a new bed too.  Sorry!

 What is green and travels at thousands of miles an hour? 

The Canadian Federal Liberal eco-energy plan.  Cover up five acres of soya-beans with ugly solar panels.  Generate electricity at 12.3¢/Kwh.  Sell it to the Americans for 3.8¢/Kwh.  Put huge, ugly wind turbines in dairy pastures.  Reduce milk production and farmers’ income by 20%.  Generate electricity at 11.7¢/Kwh.  Sell it to the Americans for 3.8¢/Kwh.  Continue until the country is bankrupt, or the infrastructure has collapsed.

 What is the difference between minimum and maximum?

I thought a mini-mum was a young, sexy female parent, with a high hem, and a maxi-mum was an older, more sedate one.  The difference between minimum and maximum is actually a very fine line that either of them might cross on a 4-hour drive to a vacation campsite, with two young kids in the backseat.
Are we there yet?
I gotta wee!
How long have we been driving?
Bobby’s lookin’ at me!
I gotta go poo-poo!
Billy shoved me!
Do cows have batteries?
I went poo-poo in my pants.
You don’t mind if I practice my soccer kick on your seat, do-ya?
Drive faster honey.  Risk a speeding ticket!  If we’re not there in five minutes, I’m gonna bury one or both of them behind a big cedar tree.

 What is a pantry?

It’s not spelled right, but this is a pan-tree – with a cooking utensil hanging from every branch.

 What is a carnivore?

I am a carnivore, whenever the carnival comes to town.  The rides are fun, but I head straight for the food lane – hot-dogs, hamburgers, French fries, caramel corn – are all okay, but they have Deep-Fried everything – corn dogs, cheese, ice cream, Mars bars.  I walked past one booth, and the sign just said ‘FRIED’.  I asked the guy, “Fried what?”  “Nothing,”  Just a big catcher’s mitt of fried dough, like John Pinette’s beavertails. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6y0GhNFcY6k  I had two, with cinnamon and powdered sugar coating, and some Maple syrup.

 What is another word for oriental?

I officially admit defeat!  I can’t think of a serious, or humorous, way to define “Oriental” in a single word.  I am just waiting to see what other people do with the prompt.  I could do a bit about Orientals’ North American driving looking like they learned to pilot vehicles with rickshaws in Tokyo, or tuk-tuks in Indonesia.

I could riff on their hive-mind, and the likelihood of them ignoring American social patterns to get a great education, and a 6- or 7-figure job, but I don’t want to be counter-cultured, or even doxxed, by a squad of #YellowLivesMatter ninjas.

 What is the difference between pussy willow and catkins? 

This is FHRITP Grab Her By The Pussy-willow Trump,

and these are my cat-kins.

 What is a felony?

I’m not sure, but if a person who commits burglary is a burglar, and a person who commits a felony is a felon, then God is an iron.  It is a great irony that, as God has created us, everything that we like, enjoy, desire, strive for – is bad for us.  W.C.Fields said that everything he liked was illegal, immoral or fattening.  Salt, that makes things taste good? – causes heart problems.  Sugar, in candies and yummy do-nuts – rots teeth and causes obesity.  Smoking ruins lungs. 

Alcohol ruins marriages, friendships, and livers. Drugs…. Don’t get me started!  I can barely handle reality.  I don’t know why anyone would want to do drugs.  Sex – causes abortions, STDs, bar fights, battered wives and divorces, but we keep striving for them all.  Is resisting temptation supposed to be good for us??!  Why couldn’t He just create us, already loving broccoli, liver, and Disney movies?

Smitty’s Loose Change #13

I just won the jackpot – and I don’t even gamble.

I notice things.  I find money, because I look where people will lose money.  The $100 bill that I picked up from a grocery store checkout line floor, had been stepped on by the two customers in front of me.  I check the overflow chutes of the coin-counting machines found in many grocery stores.  I found 40 pennies in one, before Canada stopped minting them.  I still find the occasional few, because the machines have been set to reject them.

I recently left my neighborhood store, and glanced at the chute as I passed.  There were coins in it.  Not just a couple of pennies, or a bent dime, or a foreign coin that I could add to my collection.  The chute was full.  I bent over to see what they were…. and they were Loonies and Toonies – Canada’s, one and two dollar coins.

I quickly looked around, to see if there was someone cashing in a machine receipt – someone who would yell, “Get away from there!  That’s my money!”  No-one was paying me the least attention.  I took a large handful and dumped it into my shirt packet – and another large handful – and another large handful.  I scraped the last of it together and poured it into my pocket, affecting an off-the-shoulder look as I scuttled out.

I hoped to beat my $100 dollar record.  When I got home, I sorted it out.  21 Toonies = $42, 33 Loonies = $33, and 4 quarters, totaling $76.  Not a bad reward for just paying attention.  The next day, I only found two dimes.

***

Newspaper article headline
Should Kitchener aim to end all traffic injuries?

Nah!  Let’s maintain the ‘Run Em Down’ protocol we’ve always had!

Duh.  While that headline may seem rather silly, what the article was (delicately) asking, was, how much tax revenue can we afford to spend, for how much reduction in injuries.

***

How can you tell when a Christian Apologist blogger is lying?
That’s a trick question.  They’re always lying!
The liars are the majority, who won’t enable comments.  They make strawman claim after special pleading claim, but won’t engage in debate, or allow Atheists to offer counter-arguments.

The ones who are even worse than this, are the ones who edit out comments they don’t like.  I found a Christian trivia post which asked, “Who did Paul say should not be allowed to continue to Cyrene, because he had left the group?”

Knowing what would happen, I gave two answers.  Howard Stern?  Ray Comfort, because he went out for more bananas?  (If you don’t get the Ray Comfort joke, Google it.)  Sure enough, when I returned the next day, I had been excised.

***

I heard a TV weather forecast during the cold snap around Christmas.  The announcer warned not to travel to Canada’s Prairie Provinces, because the temperatures could go down to Negative 35.  I’ve never heard that expression used before.  It sounds like we owe somebody some weather.  Technically, it’s correct.  Plus and Minus are mathematical terms which indicate actions.  Five, minus (take away) three, equals two.  Have any of you ever heard a weather forecast which included the term “negative” temperatures.  My new online friend from Kenya is exempted.

***

After claiming victory over an infestation of rats, Oh Rats!, they came back for a second round.  I tried to turn the central air-conditioner on, and found that they had chewed their way in through the tiny hole that carries the tubes to the outdoor unit…. and the control wire.  😯  😦  After that repair, I sprayed the hole full of expanding, hardening plastic foam.

I had replaced the flexible dryer hose with another plastic one, because the path the tube takes from the machine to the outside vent is quite twisty, and complex.  To prevent another attack from that direction, I hired Dryer Vent Wizard to install solid, aluminum tubing.

The installation tech was, indeed, a wizard.  When he moved the dryer, leaving a hole in the floor, to the basement, Mica, my Fred Astaire-dancer, Bengal cat showed up to supervise.  Workers like this now all take pictures with their smart-phones, as proof of work done.  We didn’t even know that Mica was there.  He leaned up, took a photo, showed it to us when he finished, and sent it to us by email.

Tell Me If You’ve Heard This One – II

Love English

I’ve been reading again, everything from the Dictionary, down to the laundry label on my jeans, and tea leaves. You will run into a very strange man – but it will just be the full-length mirror in the bathroom.

For no good reason, this is another list of a few more interesting but non-common words that have wheeled through the skateboard park that is my mind.

Bookworm

asseverate – to declare earnestly or solemnly, to affirm positively

brisance – the shattering power of high explosives

cavil – a trivial and irritating objection, to raise such an objection or to find fault unnecessarily

daubery – unskillful painting or work

eristic – someone who engages in disputation, a controversialist, a troll

farouche – fierce, unsociable, shy, sullen

glabella – the flat area of bone between the eyebrows

hie – to speed, to go in haste

illation – drawing a conclusion

jussive – expressing a mild command

kerf – a cut or incision made by a saw or other instrument

lepidote – covered with scales or scaly spots

marmoreal – of or like marble

nictitate – wink

orison – a prayer

picaresque – roguish

quondam – former

redintegrate – to make whole again

scandent – climbing (like a plant)

telluric – earthly, terrestrial – see also Tellurian

univocal – having only one possible meaning, unambiguous

vulnerary – useful for healing wounds

wedeling – a series of alternating turns made at high speed, especially skiing

xeric – relating to an environment containing or characterized by little moisture
the basis for the Xerox machine, which uses dry ink

yaffle – to speak vaguely, pointlessly and at considerable length

zymosis – an infectious or contagious disease
Placed on this list 6 months ago – long before COVID19

 

WOW #53

Hillbilly Couple

Englishman Umbrella

The smartest British archeologist on the Time Team talks like an American redneck. Lost letters, missing punctuation, and strange pronunciations (even for a Brit) litter his speech patterns, which were already set, in up-country Yorkshire, before he got an amazing education.

If he and his trusty trowel happen upon a particularly interesting/significant find, he is apt to burst out with

STONE THE CROWS!

An exclamation of incredulity or annoyance.

There are some words and phrases which dictionaries just cannot prove the origin of, like “rule of thumb.” That problem interests me, because this one is so new. The British OED claims that it is an American culturalism. Merriam-Webster insists that it is a British phrase. When they can’t fault each other, they blame it on the Australians.

There have been a few attempts to explain the origin of this odd phrase. A croze is the groove at the end of a wooden barrel that holds the end plate in place. It has been suggested that the expression was previously stow (or stove) the croze, that is, break open the barrel. I can find no supporting evidence for that idea though and have to consign it to the realms of folk-etymology. The more prosaic suggestion – that it alludes to the practice of throwing stones at crows – is much more likely.

I’ve found mid-20th century references from England that describe it as an Americanism and American newspaper articles that call it ‘an old English phrase’. The dates of those are more or less right but not the locations – the phrase appears to have originated in Australia. Most of the early citations in print come from down under. It has a sort of Australian twang to it and is in common with several other similar phrases, all with the same meaning: starve the bardies [bardies are grubs], stiffen the crows, spare the crow.

Crows were unwelcome guests at sheep farms as, given the chance, they will kill and eat newborn lambs, so the association with annoyance isn’t hard to see. The link in meaning to surprise isn’t obvious, but then there’s no particular reason to expect to find one. Stoning crows was a commonplace enough activity and calling it up into a phrase could have been done for no reason other than that the person who coined it just liked the sound of it. There are other expressions of surprise or annoyance like I’ll go to the foot of our stairs, strike me pink, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle or if that don’t take the rag off the bush. None Most of these don’t have any sensible literal meaning and stone the crows is another to add to that list.

Take the rag off the bush” actually dates to before households had laundry dryers, or even outdoor lines to hang it on. Large items like bed sheets or blankets were often draped over shrubs or bushes to dry in the sun and breeze. If a strong-enough gust of wind came along, it could blow the ‘rag’ off the bush, and down the street, into the dust or mud, and it would have to be washed (by hand) all over again.

’18 A To Z Challenge – L

 

Challenge '18letter-l

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anything worth doing is….worth overdoing.
If you’re like the wife and I, when you reach our age, you’ll have too much of everything – except money.

The wife’s adopted totem is the

LADYBUG

which is why she used to blog under the pseudonym, GranmaLadybug.

We (she) have ladybugs of all sorts and sizes.  On the metallic whiteboard in the kitchen, where we write shopping lists and notes, she has 12 little-fingernail size magnetic ladybugs, along with a 1½ inch plastic one.  On the side of the filing cabinet in the computer room, there are 6 thumb-nail sized magnets.

The little timer in the laundry room is a 2-inch ladybug.  We have a 2-inch fabric one that is supposed to be a pin-cushion, but sits on a display shelf with other curios.  There’s a 3 inch wooden one, stuck to the fridge, and a 4 inch stained glass one on the wall above the computer.

I found a 3 inch plastic child’s toy one in a mall parking lot.  When you squeeze it, it lights up, and we hung a 4 inch framed cross-stitch version beside the kitchen whiteboard.  She has three sets of ladybug earrings, and a ladybug pendant necklace, some ladybug stickers, and a ladybug stamp that she adds to birthday cards and personal notes.

The grandson and fiancée bought her a wooden step-stool with painted ladybugs all over it.  She set up my new computer so that I click on an icon labeled Archon to fire it up, but she’s not fooling me.  There’s a ladybug above my name.  There used to be a 6 inch ladybug whirligig in the garden, but after years of exposure to plastic-destroying ultra-violet radiation, the madly spinning wings have disintegrated.

Aside from being cute, ladybugs are useful.  They eat things like aphids, which suck the sap out of the gardener-wife’s pretty flowers.  Until recently, all local ladybugs were a good solid red color.  Like the Asian zebra mussels which now infest the Great Lakes, and the Asian carp in the Chicago River, that we’re trying to keep out of the Great Lakes, we now have Asian ladybugs.  They’re more Crayola crayon orange.  If one should happen to land on you, they can give a nasty little bite.

When President Kennedy was assassinated, Texan VP, Lyndon Johnson took over, and we found that his wife was known as ‘Ladybird.’  I thought nothing of that cute name, but recently found that, especially in the Southern United States, it means the same as ‘Ladybug.’  In the heat of the South, they must grow them big, to call them ‘birds.’

I recently took an online IQ test.  I only scored 133, disappointingly below the 140 level needed to get me into Mensa.  Ahhh….I wouldn’t want to be a member of a group who would accept me as a member.  One of the ‘questions’ was a picture with the black outline of a Victorian woman in a bustled dress with a parasol.  Beside it was the black outline of a crow, or raven.  This represented….?  A: mammal, B: reptile, C: bird, D: insect.  Hmmm…a lady, and a bird.  I picked D: insect, because I speak a little Redneck.

I hope I haven’t bugged you with my Babylon babbling.  I hope to see you here again, soon.  😀

Helicopter Parents

Helicopter

Helicopter parents, stop hovering and come in for a landing.  You’re not doing your children any good.

After a bit of anecdotal research, a local community service group is organizing Basic Life Skills seminars for youngsters this summer.  Parents who do everything for their children forget that they’ve never taught the kids how to do things for themselves.

A smart and accomplished 17-year-old neighbor did not know how to use a can opener.  An otherwise bright 15-year-old nephew tried to microwave a plate of spaghetti, with a fork in it.  A female Uni student singed her eyebrows off, when a baked potato exploded in her face.  She thought that the fork holes that her mother put in them were just for decoration.

One young lad used the dining room table as a makeshift bench, to cut a piece of wood, forgetting that, in cutting the board, he would also cut off a giant slice of the table.  His sister once called her dad to ask how she would know when water on the stove was boiling.  He hung up on her.

Courses will include
How To Iron Clothes.  Turns out that there’s more than one way to mess this up.  One college lad tried ironing his shirt while he was wearing it.  Another used the new couch as an impromptu ironing board, and melted the foam in two of the cushions.

How to set a table properly:  Also, how to wash dishes by hand, and load and unload the dishwasher – and what soap to use.  One woman says that a couple of college interns at her work have poured dishwashing detergent into the dishwasher.  “Bubble for miles!”

How to use a paper map:  One woman was driving her son across town to a soccer meet, when both their cell phones died.  They dug a street map out of the glove compartment and, with a little help from her, managed to get where they were going.

How to order food (like pizza) using a landline phone:  This will ensure that they know how to use the land line, how to politely order something over the phone, and how to interact with a delivery person, and calculate a tip.

How to mow the lawn:  Also how to identify/pull weeds, and plant/water flowers.

How to do the Heimlich on yourself:  There is nothing scarier than choking while you’re alone.

How to cut up common fruits and veggies:  And how to do it without requiring medical attention.  This course goes over basic knife skills – also, how to wash fruit and vegetables properly.

How to shop for groceries:  How to compare prices, the value of store brands, how to choose fresh produce, how to interact politely with a cashier, and how to bag the groceries without crushing the bread.  One woman waits in her car, and sends the kids in with money, and a list.

How to write – and mail – a thank-you note:  What to write beyond, “Thank you for the ______.”  How to address the envelope properly, write the return address, stamp it and mail it.  One office manager says she has college-aged interns who don’t know where to put the stamp.

How to do laundry:  What to wash in hot or cold, where to put the detergent, the magic of drying things slightly, then hanging them up (no ironing), how to fold clothes for a trip.  A young woman who moved to Arizona to attend University, was so befuddled by laundry, that she shipped it home – to Minnesota – by train.

If you haven’t taught your kids these things, and many others,

How to turn off water to an overflowing toilet
How to plunge said toilet
How to turn off water to an entire house
How to make a few simple meals
How to relax when you can’t sleep
How to be a good guest
How to politely address adults
How to recognise the smell of propane and natural gas, and what to do when you smell it
How to show good etiquette
How to resolve a dispute
How to make an important decision

it’s time that you started.  I’ll be here when you get back.

’17 A to Z Challenge – V

Challenge2017

letter-v

 

 

 

 

Rat

Varmint – Vermin – Victor/Victim
VINDICATION –VICTORY!

When we last left our stalwart hero, the Pied Piper, he was valiantly attempting to rid his home of rats….

Back last June, when I chose these ‘V’ words, I wasn’t sure that I could achieve Victory – or who would be the victor, and who the victim.

I checked the air intake tube for the furnace, and found Ping-Pong-ball-sized stones piled above the steel grate, to prevent just this problem. Next, I checked the dryer vent.  This entailed emptying and moving a steel shelving unit in the basement.  Back in the corner was the 4-foot aluminum carpenter’s level.  I stood it against the wall, just outside the utility room door.

The dryer duct is expandable aluminum, hardly stronger than a potato chip bag, against the power of sharp little rats’ teeth. That corner was covered in dryer lint.  I used a shoe-box side and duct tape to close the gaping hole, and folded a small piece of chicken wire double, and screwed it over the outside vent.  That should keep any more from coming in.  Now I just had to deal with any left inside.

I put a trap outside, below the dryer vent, and 2 days later, caught a female, hopefully, trying and failing to get in. A week after, I drowned one in the peanut butter/swimming pool trap that I built from SightsNBytes direction.  Another week, and the Tonka Toy, Hungry, Hungry Hippo trap caught another female.  Just how big is this guy’s harem??

I removed the adhesive trap, because footprints proved it wasn’t sticky enough. One of the traps disappeared, even though I tie them down to prevent that.  I found a Dollar Store that had the old, reliable wooden trap – for $2.  The $12 special, now baited with soft chocolate cookie, nails yet another female.

New plastic and metal containers are bought. The amount of food disappearing goes down – but there’s still that occasional ‘gnaw, gnaw, gnaw’, some nights.  Wile E. Rat is still down there.  One day, an unmoved box of macaroni is emptied, and there, behind it, is the missing trap.  It’s down a shelf, and 6 feet away, on the other arm of an L-shaped shelving unit.

One day I go down to get something from the freezer. Dancer-cat rushes ahead and jumps up on it for his usual ruffling.  As I walk over to him, I ALMOST STEP ON THE RAT, padding across in front.  Later, Mr. 20/20 Hindsight Son asks, “Why didn’t you just stomp on him?”  Uh…. because he startled me, I hadn’t thought of doing that….and because I didn’t have my slippers on.

The next day, we go down again, only this time dancer-cat stands peering over the end of the freezer. Sure enough, there under the bottom shelf is Mr. Rat.  My well-shod feet are just waiting – but he won’t come out.  Would the cat go in??  I place him on the floor, but his way is blocked.  I move a box….and the rat is gone.

Later that evening, I go back downstairs. There’s that carpenter’s level.  I might as well put it on the workbench, because I’m going back in that corner to empty the cats’ litter tray….AND I DAMNED-NEAR STEP ON THE RAT AGAIN.  Here he is, almost in the middle of the floor.  I have the level.  Do I want to risk a $50 tool?  Hell, yes!  But the rat quickly scuttles under the work bench.

While the cats seem to have little or no interest in the rat(s), the dog does. He’s part terrier, and they’re bred to dig out rats.  Only, this one just goes downstairs and barks, usually when someone’s trying to sleep.  He’s deaf as a post, and has cataracts so bad that he bumps into things.  I think he just barks at the odors.

I was working on the computer one day. The wife later said she’d heard the dog in the basement.  I went down to the main floor, just as he jumped up on the couch.  We put a blanket there, and let him, but he acted guilty.  When I looked, he had one of his chewy toys in his mouth, which are not allowed up….but this toy had a tail.  Future evidence showed that he caught a rat in the same place he chased one a month before.  But is it the rat?

Rats piss and shit wherever they go. I can vacuum up the solid – several times Dust-Bustering the shelves, but the urine reeks.  We have a spray bottle of Febreze-like liquid.  It’s supposed to absorb odors.  I sprayed under my workbench.  I sprayed the linty corner – behind the steel shelves – behind the beer fridge and water softener – behind the freezer – under the storage shelves, and on the now-open spaces, avoiding all food….and went upstairs, a couple of weeks later.

The wife had started a load of wash, but with her recent knee operation, it was up to me to move the heavy wet laundry from washer to dryer. I went into the main floor powder/laundry room and flicked on the light.  Dancer-cat Micah jumped up on the dryer.  That’s not normal, but he’d been a bit more sucky than usual.  I flipped up the washer lid, and turned to open the dryer….and the cat is paying no attention to me.

There’s Mr. Rat, sitting on some hand towels, on a 4-foot-high shelf beyond the dryer. He’s always stayed in the basement. Oh yeah, I sprayed the shit outta that.  How did he get up here?  The dryer duct – gotta check that again.  What can I hit him with? What can I hit him with? There’s the wife’s ‘laundry stick’, for dunking or removing clothes from hot water.  It used to be the heavy wooden handle of a barbecue brush.

I can’t get at him because he’s tight to the shelf above, and the cat’s in the way. There I stand, with the raised baton in my hand, like an orchestra conductor.  He‘s not moving, because the cat will chase him (maybe), but the cat is interested.  Bit by bit, the cat oozes forward, until their noses are inches apart – slowly, the cat raises a paw….

Just before contact is made, the rat jumps. We have a sponge/ squeegee with a 3-foot handle for cleaning outside windows, leaning against the wall.  He jumps to that.  Then he lowers his nose to look for a safe landing spot – and I clop him a good one on the back of the head.

Holy shit – rats are tough! I expected death, or at least unconsciousness.  He performed a mid-air 360° tumble, and landed, squealing and thrashing, in a 14-inch-high, narrow, plastic garbage pail.  Can he climb out?  Can he jump out?  I’m not waiting to find out.

Quickly I grab the edge with my left hand and, still holding my Ninja club in my right, I head for the nearby front door. With both hands full, I don’t know how I got it open.  I told myself that I shut it behind me, so that cats couldn’t get out – but how?

I was just going to throw him into the middle of the road, but if he got in once, he might get in again.  This is a fight to the death! I run down the driveway, and set the pail on its side on the sidewalk.  He’s safe in there.  He ain’t comin’ out.

I dumped him out onto the concrete, and immediately administered several blows. I may have broken a front leg or two and/or some ribs, but I slowed him down.  Then I got 5 or 6 to the head. Do. You. Know. How. Many. Nachos. You. Ate? Broke the wife’s stick, and had to glue and tape it back together later.  Went to go back to the house, and here’s two cats leaking out the open door.  The next day, I took a photo in the rain, for proof.

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And so, peace has descended upon Casa Archon. No more missing/spoiled food.  No more furtive movement.  No more squealing, rustling or gnawing.  I am the Victor!   😎

 

Screw You

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This is another in the series of ‘Old Shit I Own.’ Do any of you know what this thing is, or what it was used for?  It’s another piece of long-lost memorabilia I discovered in the protracted Autumn Housecleaning.

The younger ones in my readership may find this hard to believe but, there was a time, not that long ago, when homes were not provided with numerous electrical outlets – or power points, or even wireless recharging of all those indispensible electronic gadgets.

This is a screw plug. It was used in rooms of homes where there might not be even one wall-socket electrical outlet.  You unscrewed the light bulb from an overhead fixture, screwed this in instead, and had a place to plug in things like my Mother’s washing machine, which rolled out to the middle of the room on little wheels.

Double socket

The problem then was, all work had to be done during the day, or the room would be dark. That problem was quickly solved by the development of the above little gadget.  You could screw the bulb back in to see what you were doing, and insert the socket on the other side of the Y.  I used one of them for a while, until I managed to install a light fixture over my basement workbench.

I know I am truly older than dirt, and born and raised out on the frontiers of the universe. I was too young to do so, but I have seen people using telephones which were a big box on the wall, with a speaking funnel on the front, and an earpiece dangling from the hang-up hook on one side.  You picked up the earpiece and turned a little crank on the other side, which attracted the attention of a real, live, operator.

CFL Bulb

Edison’s incandescent light bulbs, with an output of 60 watts or more, have been outlawed in Ontario, and replaced with CFL Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs, or now the LED style which produces more light and less heat, and save power. The only thing more ancient than incandescent, may be wall sconces with flaming torches – and you can’t plug a radio into one of those.