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Archive for the ‘Animals’ Category

Today I had the pleasure of bringing Eartha back to the vet for her extractions. She had two teeth in bad shape and the vet suggested making the appointment right away, so being the dutiful cat mommy I set up the appointment. I knew I was going to be in trouble when I had to take away her food and water at 9 pm last night. Eartha gets in trouble on normal nights when she just wants fresh food… let alone being deprived for half of a day. I fed them yesterday evening and she was taking her time picking at the food, so when I took it away at 9, I don’t think she had eaten very much. I prepped myself for the impending wrath by closing the bathroom doors (the night before I awoke to a crash when she knocked the magazine rack off of the toilet tank) and the the bedroom doors. When I came downstairs this morning, she had knocked all of the books off of the coffee table, but luckily the glass candle holders were still intact.

I dropped her off before 8:30 this morning, and she protested vocally in the car, but it was nothing compared to what I would hear when I picked her up. It’s been a while since Eartha behaved really badly at the vet- maybe it’s just been a while since she’s been there so I forgot how bad she gets. When I arrived back at the vet, the first thing the receptionist said to me when I identified myself was, “She’s really pissed off. Is she good for you? Because the tech is afraid to take her out of the ‘recovery cage’. Maybe you should come back and try to get her into her carrier.”

Okay. So I paid the almost 500 dollar bill and went to the back. Apparently, every time someone walked by Eartha’s cage she would screech ferociously at them and lunge forward while punching her paws through the cage in an attempt to make contact with her ‘enemies.’ They tried to quiet her down so she wouldn’t totally freak out all of the other animals by covering the front of her cage with a towel. Well, as soon as I came back and they removed the towel, I got screamed at. By the cat, that is. This was not one of those scenes where Eartha is ill-behaved and then I show up and she is all purrs and sweetness. No, she wanted to attack me just as much as she wanted to attack everyone else. The noises coming out of her were so ridiculous that the tech and I just stood there for a minute in disbelief, almost laughing.

Since my presence didn’t seem to help the situation, the tech finally took a deep breath and said, “I’m going in.” She grabbed a towel, wrapped it around the shrieking cat and deposited her into her carrier, with nary a scratch. After this whole ordeal was over and Eartha was calming down on the car ride home, I was trying to describe this whole experience over the phone. Any impersonations I attempted simply did not do her vocalizations justice. So, when I got home I went on youtube and found this:

And there you have it. That is exactly what Eartha sounded like, except she was being way more violent by lunging at us and trying to beat her way through the cage. I find it amusing that an asthmatic cat with respiratory problems has the lung capacity to create such impressive noise. I noticed when I found the youtube video that there are a lot of comments on it from concerned people who think the cat must have been abused, but clearly they don’t have a cat like Eartha. When I got her home, I let her out of the carrier and she attempted to scurry away, but I guess she was still a little drugged and had trouble staying upright. Great. So now I had a drunk, angry, hungry cat. I put down some wet food for her and she attacked it like a competitive eater. She kept going back and forth between the wet food and dry food like she couldn’t decide what she wanted more. I’m amazed that she didn’t barf it up. Around dinner time I squirted the pain meds into her mouth and she has been pretty quiet ever since. Hopefully she will be back to her old self tomorrow.

Oh, I also made a SLAMMIN’ birthday cake tonight for one of my friends at school tomorrow- but I’ll wait to post about it until tomorrow when I can take pictures of it in natural light. Until then, goodnight!

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Sunday I drove down to my brother’s house so I could go on a quest for the perfect bridesmaid dress for his wedding. His fiancee was nice/laid back enough to give us a color and let us choose our own dresses, so it was fun- trying on lots of dresses. This is the one I went with. Apparently David’s Bridal is now guilty of vanity sizing- because the last time I checked, I wasn’t exactly fitting into a size 6- let alone in a formal wear store where things traditionally run small. But fit into the size 6 I did, miraculously. Hopefully it will need to be taken in a little bit by the time of the wedding. Did I mention that I still haven’t made it to the gym to pick up my key tag and free tee shirt?

Anyway, once we were back from the bridal appointment, we decided to order pizza and wings from the pizza place down the street. It never occurred to me why I didn’t eat wings during my childhood… but it could be partially due to the fact that NJ wings are not great. Now, I’m making a blanket statement here- I’m pretty sure that I did see Aaron McCargo on the Food Network touting the virtues of some wings in Cinnaminson, NJ, but who knows what a person from Buffalo would say about those Jersey-style wings. Stick to cheesesteaks  and panzarottis, Aaron.

It is also possible that the Sal’s pizzeria in Mt. Holly just has really crappy wings. My dad says that you should never order pizza from a place called ‘Sal’s’ because every town has one, so how good could it be? He may be right. The first thing I noticed about these wings was that the blue cheese dressing was conspicuously absent, despite early protests from my brother that they came with it. Upon closer inspection, the blue cheese dressing proved unnecessary, because there was little to no sauce on these wings at all. I think they were fried, but not particularly crispy, and they were sitting in a shallow puddle of nondescript liquid. The first wing was downright disappointing but by the fourth or fifth I just gave in to their mediocrity.

The next morning on my way home, I stopped at McDonalds to get an egg Mcmuffin, no meat:

I’ve always found the McDonalds muffin to be superior to the Dunkin Donuts variety, since they use a whole egg rather than a pasteurized scrambled hockey puck. But I digress. As I was ordering my muffin, I thought to myself… “I should see if I can get a Shamrock Shake. This might be my only chance. I don’t want to waste it.” And yes, I was able to have a mint flavored shake with my breakfast. You know you’re in NJ when you can not only get a Shamrock Shake but you can obtain one before 10:30 am. It felt wrong, but so good at the same time. I did politely decline the whipped cream and cherry topping, as I prefer to experience my Shamrock shake the way God intended. It’s bad enough that it was in a clear cup and I could see the little pool of green flavoring at the bottom that hadn’t been properly mixed in and made my first few sips taste like toothpaste.

My trip to New Jersey was capped off with a trip to the gas station for cheap full-service gas and a shopping spree at Trader Joe’s. All in all, a short but eventful journey to the Garden State.

Today I taught a make-up lesson, got my bangs trimmed, got my taxes done (I’ll be receiving a refund for the first time in years- three cheers for buying a house!) went to Target and attempted to pick up a refill on Eartha’s prednisone. When I got to the vet they told me that Eartha was due for a visit before they would refill the prescription. Le sigh. So I get to bring her in tomorrow. Joy. Get the butchy rawhide gloves ready.

Tonight I’m going to ‘fondue’ night at a friend’s house. I’m in charge of the dessert fondue, so I got some stuff to dunk in it and I figure I’ll just make a chocolate ganache and add in some liqueur. Nothing too fancy. The thing I really want to try before the vacation is over is macarons. I’ve got a couple different recipes and I have also been looking online to see if it is possible to make them using pasteurized egg whites- because that would be sooo much easier than separating all of those eggs. Any thoughts?

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So after I captured the bat and finished writing about it, I was seriously jumpy and felt the need to sleep on the couch with every light in the apartment on. It wasn’t the most restful night of sleep.
Then this morning, I go outside to check on my little ‘friend’ and I see that he is still alive. Great. So I end up bringing the bat-filled shoebox to school where I ask my friend Nate (a fifth grade teacher who has various wildlife in his classroom) if he has a spare cage or something. He ended up poking holes through the box (go ahead, laugh) so the bat could breathe.

Then I figured, we might as well let the kids see it- how often do they get a chance to see a bat, close up through a clear shoebox? Some of the kids had even done animal reports on bats, so that was kind of cool I guess. The only downside was that children were running around school all day saying that I had been bitten by a bat. Great….

So I finally get in touch with the Health Department in Goshen and they inform me that they don’t deal with living animals. I was going to have to find a way to kill the bat before I brought it in. Now I just start to feel bad! What did this bat do to me? But as we all know, I am highly paranoid and need an official state document to stop worrrying.

The Health Department guy rather callously suggested that I drown the bat or find some ether. Ether?? Where the hell am I going to get that? Nate did volunteer to drown the bat for me but I decided instead to do the humane thing and bring it to the vet. My vet reluctantly agreed to euthanize the bat, so I brought it over on my lunch break. I waited for 35 minutes and had to write a check for 50 dollars.

Then I didn’t have time to drive to Goshen, so the bat had to go into the refrigerator in the lunch room at school. (It was in a plastic bag.) I called the Health Dept. people and they informed me that the office would be closing early at 3 pm instead of 5 and I should keep the bat in my freezer until Monday. I politely responded that my refrigerator was for food, not dead and potentially rabid wild animals.

After some moderate begging, I convinced them to stay an extra half hour so I could get this bat out of my hands. So that’s that. I dropped it off and I should know by Wednesday if I have rabies. Niiccce.

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I cannot believe it. What the hell do you think flew into my window this evening at about 2:30? Yes, good readers. It was another freaking bat. Only this time I have no idea how it got in there in the first place. I checked my windows and none of them had any suspect openings. At first I didn’t even realize what had happened- I just heard a crash and figured it was the cats. Then I turn on the lights to hear the familiar flapping.

Luckily this time I had this:

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A friend gave me this handy magnet from the health department. So I knew what I had to do. I had to trap the bastard. (Because there was no way going to
A. sleep all night with a bat in my apartment or
B. let someone into my house (which is extremely messy) to trap the bat for me.

So, this time I attacked the bat with a broom rather than a pillowcase. When it landed on the floor I whacked it a couple of times and held it down while it chirped its rabid little chirps at me. Unfortunately, it was still spry enough to take flight. Then I couldn’t figure out where it was for a while, only to realize that it had settled on a shirt which was hanging on my drying rack. After whacking at it a couple more times, I managed to cover it with one of my plastic shoe boxes. I slid the lid under the box and then I had a nice little bat terrarium.

The worst part of the story is not that I am now suffocating this animal in a plastic shoebox. The part I am sad about is that my Dirty Dancing tee shirt is a casualty of this fiasco, as the bat landed on it and it is now also in the shoebox. I suppose I can ask for it back from the health department after they test the bat for rabies.

The only thing that really skeeves me out is that I can’t figure out how the bat got in, so I can’t prevent it from happening again… ugh. Who wants to go back to sleep when another bat could be around the corner??

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So, I think I’ve told some of you about the time I thought I had rabies (I won’t explain the situation- it’s all below… and it culminated in me sending a frantic e-mail to the rabies laboratory of the NY state health department. (I know. I’m a lunatic.) Judge not, I say. If you had read about rabies on the internet too, you would have been just as freaked out. (I dare you to do it.) Anyway, I found the e-mails, and here they are. Enjoy. You can make fun of me later.

Mr. Rudd,

A week ago a bat entered my house through a window- I was in bed but not
yet asleep and I heard a rustling noise- when I turned on the light the bat
flew into the room. The bat flew around my living room for a while before
it flew out the front door- my cats have both been vaccinated for rabies,
but a relative of mine who works for the humane society informed me about
aerosol rabies. After reading about rabies cases in bats, I have become
thoroughly paranoid.
The bat flew in my window and did not officially enter the room until I
turned on the light, so it didn’t land on me. Also, it was around 12:30 am
and the bat was flying normally (I don’t think it ever actually landed) and
was not making any noises.

I live in Orange County, New York in Central Valley. Could you please tell
me of any confirmed cases of rabies (bat or otherwise) in my area and also
please inform me of my risk or need to be treated? This has happened to me
once before (at my childhood home in southern New Jersey over seven years
ago- what are the odds, right?) and I wasn’t worried then because I hadn’t
researched the risk of rabies. As I said, I did not touch the bat, but I am
extremely paranoid at the chance of rabies. Any information you could
provide to calm me down would be much appreciated.

Thank you,
Michele George

And here was Mr. Rudd’s speedy reply (I’m sure I made it onto the office bulletin board as the crazy-girl-of-the-week winner.)

Michele,
Please calm down !     From what you have said,  you have absolutely
nothing to worry about.  Aerosal rabies concerns have caused many a
sleepless nights due to what essentially is a hugely distorted
interpretation of the facts.   Aerosal rabies has only bee reported in a a
number of cases that can be counted on one hand.  All of these cases
involved a cave environment that included 40 million bats in one cave,  or
laboratory-generated high concentrations of  aerosal virus.   You DO NOT
get aerosal rabies from one or a few bats flying in a room.
There are rabid bats in Orange Co,  as there are in every county in the US.
Bat rabies is found in a very small percentage of the bat populatuion,
wherever you find bats.
You must have direct contact with a bat for rabies transmission.
If you have any further concerns please call me at the number listed below.
Sincerely,

Robert J. Rudd
Director
Rabies Laboratory,  Wadsworth Laboratories
New York State Health Dept.
(518) 869-4527  (office)
(518) 527-7369  (cellular)
(518) 869 – 6540 (fax)
rjr06@health.state.ny.us

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