Saturday, August 30, 2008

Pooch loves Pigface and there's an enchanted acorn hat

I had just made my way up the hill and started across the green lawn, shiny with dew, which lead up to the magic castle where the Bubble Gum King lived. He had stolen my enchanted acorn hat and wouldn’t give it back. At first I had thought that the hat had simply been misplaced or eaten by giant beetles, but then the herald had shown up, reading loudly from a fancy scroll. “The Bubble Gum King has stolen the enchanted acorn hat and won’t give it back. Nanny, nanny, boo hoo.” Being the heroic no-bullshit gal that I am, I was going to save it from his grasp.
Anyway, that was the plan until something hit me on the back of the head.

Next thing I know, I’m in bed and its 3:35 in the morning. I couldn’t see Pooch, but I could feel her stare drilling into the back of my neck. Sighing loudly, I rolled over.


The rubbery spikes of Pigface the squeaky toy dug into the small of my back and I had to shift a little. Pigface is a pink mockery of nature, a round freak with the body of a puffer fish and the face of a laughing pig. The spikes used to be in an assortment of different colors, but after spending hours and hours being carried around in the dog’s mouth, it was now simply just pink. Pooch loves Pigface. And when Pigface squeals it’s quite obvious to her that it’s in distress. Horrified, Pooch grabbed her beloved toy and dived into bed where she commenced the necessary licking and sympathetic whining that it took for the thing to feel better about itself.

In the meanwhile, I took the opportunity to crawl back under the duvet and concentrate on going back to sleep. I was nearly there when Pigface came flying towards my head again. Then Pooch got up on her hind legs and put both front paws squarely on my face, managing to squish my mouth and my nose together. Clearly she was serious about the whole getting-out-of-bed-thing.

Reluctantly, I complied and was rewarded by a happy roar and dance from Pooch which sent Pigface flying into the kitchen, and that in turn had Pooch flying after Pigface to make sure it was alright.

Usually there’s some sort of reason for why Pooch would throw a hysterical fit this early in the morning, so I staggered into the living room to check around. After concentrating for a couple of minutes, I managed to persuade my eyes to open enough for me to have a look around. And indeed, in the middle of the room, was The Reason. A big, wet pile of Reason.

Next time the Chinese students from across the street offer you an eggroll, just say no!” I yelled back across my shoulder. “Or at least try to not swallow the whole thing at once.”

I cleaned up the mess, threw it in the garbage and left the bag in the hallway. Hell, if the upstairs people can keep their trash out there until it stinks like the inside of a bin, then my little bag could certainly stay there until morning.

It was now 3:58 and I was looking forwards to crawling back into bed, only to find that this might be a bit more tricky than I had anticipated. Sprawled out on my bed, lay The Pooch, on her back with her front feet tucked under her chin, her back feet straight out and her head on my pillow. She was snoring gently and her little toes were wiggling in her sleep. I always have trouble waking Pooch up when she’s all cute looking. So instead I slipped under the cover, very gently so not to wake the sleeping doggie, and ended up sleeping rather badly on the edge of the bed with barely enough duvet to cover ping-pong ball and no pillow to speak of.

I will be hitting the coffee hard today.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Eggbert and The Styrostinkers!

A week ago the unthinkable happened: I turned on my computer to find that the screen was black as pitch. Then a little, blue square appeared and in it were the words “no signal detected!” With an exclamation mark, as if this failure to detect a signal was very especially panic-inducing. I tried turning the machine off and then on again. And off and on. And off and on. Off. On.

“No signal detected!”

Something was very wrong, so I made a decision. I would call customer service. Even though that meant making a long-distance phone call with my cell phone, something which most students on a budget tighter than Boy George’s pants in the 80s, would be reluctant to do.

Two minutes later, there I was, sitting on the kitchen chair, staring at my blackened monitor and listening to Shakira sing how fortunate it is that her boobs are tiny so that they’re not mistaken for mountains, occasionally interrupted by a man’s voice saying: “thank you for holding. You will be serviced soon.”

I had a friend once who claimed to have dumped her boyfriend for saying that.

While we waited, Bergerac (my brain) and I started to conjure up images of me pushing setting Shakira’s hair on fire, and just as we were getting really good at creating scenarios, we were interrupted by Bob.

“Hello, this is Bob. How may I help you?”

I explained my problem to Bob and pictured him sitting in his office chair behind a desk with his headset, while nodding solemnly as he listened to me speak.

“I see,” he said after I was done. “Is the computer plugged in?”

The idea that the computer would, in fact, not be plugged in, was so far from my mind, that Bergerac needed some time to mull the question over before I could say yes.

“Are you sure?” asked Bob. I noticed that the tone of his voice never changed. Again I pictured him sitting there, behind his desk, but this time he was Data from Star Trek. And I was standing behind him, arms raised above my head, ready to beat him to death with a mallet.

“No, I’m a dribbling idiot. Of course it’s plugged in,” I said.

“Very well. Please turn the computer off and on and blah, blah, blah.” Said Bob in his ever-unchanging tone of voice.

He didn’t actually say that last bit, but that was what I heard. After much back and forth and blah, blah, blah, it was agreed upon that the computer would go to the computer hospital in Big City.

This immediately brought about another problem: Eggbert (my computer) needed something to travel in. Since I’d thrown out the packaging that the computer originally came in, I needed new stuff. I hadn’t thought that would be too much of a problem, but I completely forgot that everything is a bit complicated when you’re living in Big Hellhole, Hickville. After three hours of wandering the streets, hitting one store after another, I had to admit that it was a lost cause. I would have had an easier time striking gold.

Bob, of course, had secretly scurried down here and abducted all the cardboard boxes and Styrofoam, at the same time erasing people’s memories of them ever being there to begin with. He was being a very naughty little android.

What’s that? Ridiculous? It most certainly is not. However, the idea of living in a town where there is no cardboard or Styrofoam truly is. Now what? Paranoid? How dare you?!?

Moving right along…

Just as I was about to give up, I did manage to get a hold a sack of little marbles-like balls made of Styrofoam, each about the size of 1/2 ping-pong ball. They were crunchy with old age and smelled funny, kinda like Pooch smells when she’s tired. Pooch has smells for everything. But I digress.

I wrapped the ailing Eggbert up in generous amounts of bubble wrap and put him in a cardboard box that I found in the back of my closet. Then I filled it up with ping-pong stink-balls. Finally I closed the lid.

It didn’t fit. Eggbert was too tall, causing an odd looking bump on top of the package. But I didn’t have another box and waiting for Eggbert to shrink or the box to grow seemed like a futile idea. I also noticed that the box itself wasn’t in the very best of shape. It was time for lots and lots of tape. Soon I was whizzing around the box, Styrofoam stinkies flying everywhere and the tape making swooshing noises. When I was somewhat satisfied that the computer would stay put and the box wouldn’t fall apart, the package consisted mostly of tape. I used the whole roll.

Only then did it occur to me that there was no way in hell anyone would be able to get it open again without using some sort of saw. After which they’d be attacked by stinkies loaded full of statical electricity and a merciless taste for technical engineers. But it was too late to turn back now, so I got on my cellphone again and called a cab to take me down to the post office.

There I put Eggbert on the rattling conveyor belt and as he slowly floated down past the black plastic curtains, I hoped that he would be okay and that he’d be home soon to distract me from school work and household chores. Until then I’ll be working on my thesis and picking styrostinkers out of my hair.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The art of injury

For the first seven years of her adorable life, Pooch was a very cost efficient doggie. This made me happy, as I am a chronic student and therefore as broke as an investment banker during the great depression. She didn’t require much veterinary attention. She had no interest in food, other than what it took to keep her alive.

As of the last year or so, though, that has changed. She injures herself. She eats. Probably because you burn off a lot of fuel when all your energy is directed towards hurting yourself. Of course, when you insist on running everywhere as fast as you can with your eyes closed, it usually results in injury of some sort. I suppose I should be surprised that Pooch has lived to be eight years old.

Last week we visited the veterinarian, yet again. This time it wasn’t an injury that brought us there, though. It was those stinky, brown blobs that have been coming out of Pooch’s ding-dong every now and then over the past couple of months.

“You’ll need to bring in a urine sample,” the vet told me on the phone.

And so, being the devoted dog owner that I am, I search my cupboard to find something in which to gather up Pooch’s toilet treasure. It took me a while. My cupboard is an unbelievable mess. For instance, I had no idea peanut butter could grow such a thick and glossy fur. I named it Johnny and threw it in the trash. Then, as luck would have it, I stumbled upon a lovely, little Tupperware box which was now given a purpose that the creators probably never thought off.

I was very happy with my cunning pee-harvesting plan. However, Pooch refused to cooperate. I always imagined that Pooch pees on thing that she consideres to be hers by right.

“The oak tree… MINE! The neighbour’s fence… MINE! The neighbour’s underpants that blew off the clothes line… MINE! Ludo, the sleeping cat…. MINE, MINE, MINE!”

But never, unfortunately, has Pooch wanted to own a Tupperware box. As soon as she sat down to do her business, I would slide the box underneath her and immediately she would stop, looking at me as if I’d suddenly grown tentacles and turned orange. Every time I managed to get half a drop at the very best.

Desperate to squeeze som wee-wee out of the doggie, I patiently led her all around the neighbourhood in search of things for her to do her business on. I don’t mind telling you, I got some very strange looks. Not just from Pooch. But eventually I did manage to get about a tablespoon worth, with some help from the rain.

Then mum called to remind me that a urine sample needed to be kept cool, or it would give a false reading. Suddenly I was torn between having to get a whole new sample tomorrow or putting the one I already had in the fridge. Neither option seemed appealing. Reluctantly I wrapped it up in umpteen plastic bags and stuck it on the top shelf. Instinct told me to move everything else on the top shelf to some other shelf, but the fridge was full. There was no place for anything to go.

The strawberry jam never hurt anyone. The butter never said a cross word to anyone and the half carton of juice was completely innocent. But now they are all pariah – outcast.

Because the universe is a bitch with a very developed sense of irony, Pooch’s tinkle turned out to be completely normal. There were also several absolutely regular blood samples and a completely necessary ultra sound test, for which the poor doggie had to have her tummy shaved, which made it all itchy and nearly drove her nuts. Her temperature also needed checking, they said. That took two vets and a muzzle. Pooch hated them both with the fire of a thousand suns, but then they gave her chicken and she got over it.

Dogs tend to find it kinda hard to scratch their stomachs, so if it’s itchy, all they can do is spin around in circles and shriek. Which she did. Lots. Which in turn nearly drove me crazy.

Anyways, they couldn’t find anything wrong with her, so the stinky blobs of death remain a mystery. I’m working on a theory, though. It’s got aliens in it.