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Friday, August 31, 2012

I guess I'm just not that sentimental

... about animals, that is.

The other day, someone was talking about how their cat was acting weird, so they took it to the vet and apparently it's going to cost nearly four figures to get the cat back to health. A cool G.

And the whole time I was thinking, seriously? It's a cat! You could buy almost 150 Chipotle burritos for the amount of money you're thinking of dropping on the cat. Wouldn't a new cat be a lot cheaper? I'm sure you could find one that looks almost the same! You could even name it the same thing. Ease the transition.

But of course I did not SAY these things that I was thinking. People seem to like their cats, and are willing to spend money on them. They do not think of the cost of their animals in terms of Chipotle burritos (the only currency I accept).

Thinking about this issue sent me on a little trip down memory lane, which made me realize that while I can be sentimental about other things, like attractive people or good TV shows, I am just not that sentimental about animals.

When I was about 13 years old, I was in a 4-H club raising rabbits. We had a little shed full of rabbits, many of which I had raised since birth. They all had names and personalities of their own. My favorite rabbit was called Cinnamon Buns, and she was my fit-and-show rabbit. Without getting into the weeds about what that is, let me just say that Cinnamon and I were in tune with each other, and we had won many a tall trophy for our skills together.

Well, one day I went out to the shed to give the rabbits their morning feeding. And wouldn't you know it, Cinnamon Buns had chosen the previous night as her time to pass into the next life. I knew she was dead as soon as I looked at her -- she was stiff as a board and didn't come to the front of the cage to greet me. Oh, and in her final throes, she had managed to overextend her jaw and hook her bunny-rabbit buck-teeth around two bars of the bottom of her cage.
She looked kinda like this: 

And her teeth were locked around the bottom of her cage.

I knew this was trouble. I opened the cage and tried to detach her -- no dice. So I stared at the problem like an engineer, thinking of possible solutions, and I knew there was only one. I went back into the house to get the necessary tools.

Mom was in the kitchen making our lunches as usual. I looked at her and, mustering as much gravitas as possible, said, "Well, Cinnamon Buns is dead."  Mom, unlike me, is VERY sentimental about animals, so her face immediately fell and she came over to give me a hug. I told her I was fine, but that there was a little problem. "Where does Dad keep the screwdrivers?" I asked.

Mom knew better than to probe too deeply into why her 13-year-old daughter needed a screwdriver to solve a "problem" with her dead rabbit, so she helped me find a nice flathead screwdriver and sent me back out to the shed to do my grim duty. I knew that with the proper amount of leverage, her mouth would open enough to get the teeth unhooked from the wire of the cage.

I also knew that with too much leverage, her head might rip in half.

I took a deep breath, mentally preparing myself for the possibility that I might turn my beloved darling rabbit from this:
into this:
I put the screwdriver into her mouth and gave it a shove, and thankfully I got her out of there in one whole piece. I then buried her in a shallow grave, opted not to say a few words, and went on to school to enjoy the 8th grade.

Years later, my pet snake Epsilon, who I dearly loved, became ill. He was sluggish and depressed; he wouldn't eat; his skin was in bad condition. I knew something was wrong.

I talked to a couple of friends about it and they suggested I take him to the vet. Boy did I have a good laugh at that one. What kind of jackass takes a snake to the vet?! "Umm, your snake is sick." YA THINK?!

Mr. Pants is every bit as awesome of a snake as Epsilon was.

Then there was the time my mom called to tell me that my favorite cat -- the one that had essentially been 'mine' since we brought her home as a kitten -- had finally been put down. I managed an "awww" and then waited what I thought was an appropriate amount of time before changing the subject to something more interesting.

And don't even get me started on my husband, who once volunteered to finish off a half-dead racoon with whom someone's dog had just won a fight. He took the metal end of a rusty spade we found in the woods and put the little bugger out of his misery. And he was all:

"It's harder than you'd think to chop their heads off!"

I really hope our kids are happy with fish.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Gift ideas for the guy who has everything

I'm always on the lookout for good gift ideas.  Especially for Christmas presents for my dad, since he could be considered one of those "guys who has everything." I pay special attention to SkyMall magazine as a source of ideas for gifts no sane person would ever claim to need.  Except a soda maker -- obviously everyone should own their own soda maker. (sidenote: is it possible to carbonate milk? has anyone tried this? does anyone have a soda maker I could borrow, obviously for something OTHER than trying to carbonate milk? What about coffee? Could I put Irish Cream through there? Would it jam up if I put chocolate syrup through it?)

But whenever I see something labeled "a great gift for the guy who has everything!", it is invariably a completely useless pile of garbage wrapped in a big WTF bow.

That's why I am going to start a company called "For the guy who has everything" and it is only going to sell PERFECTLY USEFUL items that most people wouldn't think of.

For example, a razor with built-in GPS. Why would anyone need one of those? PLANE CRASH, HELLOOOOOOO?!

Or perhaps a vibrating hat. I don't know, it might feel neat. Not recommended for curing hangovers.

An umbrella with a built-in cupholder would also be a lovely gift. Sometimes it's raining and I'm drinking a beer. That's both of my hands accounted for. If I need another hand for something, I'm not about to set down my umbrella and I'm CERTAINLY not about to set down my beer. A cupholder could solve all these problems!!!

You'd better believe I've got other ideas too.

How about a frisbee that has speakers that play Top 40 hits?
The perfect gift for that guy who likes to play frisbee with his friends in really irritating places, like a crowded beach, or a grassy knoll on a college campus where people are trying to study. You know how it is to be that person trying to read a book, but living in fear that the frisbee players will make a bad throw that will nail you right in the face? Well, with my newest invention, "Call Me Maybe" or "I'm Sexy and I Know It" will be your watch-your-face early warning system! (It does nothing to reduce the annoyingness of the frisbee players, but it certainly adds a layer of safety.)

Or how about this scenario:
Ever been drinking wine at a picnic or an outdoor concert or something taking place on grass? And you brought your wine glass because you wanted everyone to think you were classy? And then you set down your wine glass for a second, thinking the ground was pretty level, but IT WASN'T LEVEL and your wine glass FELL OVER?

Well, this has never happened to me, because I drink my public wine out of a travel mug like a normal person. But, I have seen it happen, and I've seen the emotional strain it caused. So I'm going to invent some kind of gyroscope wine glass -- one that can adjust for the slope of the ground so it doesn't just fall over at the first sign of trouble.

Also, someone needs to invent a wine glass that can fit into the cup holder I'm duct-taping to my umbrella. Y'know, for when I forget my travel mug.


Just think of the joy these inventions could bring to the lives of people who've gotten nothing but gift cards from unimaginative loved ones for years! What ideas have I missed?

(and if you're going to suggest an alarm clock that wakes you up by playing really loud farts, don't bother -- I already thought of it)