Childish Misconceptions

It seems that Wee Bot believes that pets are no less than tiny people who can’t speak English. Note I say speak English. He seems to think that our cats and dog have a full knowledge and understanding of language, including all the intricacies of complex language concepts. He thinks of them like alien creatures on Star Wars who can understand spoken English just fine, even if they can only respond in their own, native language. He seems to also believe that they can be convinced of social justice issues, right and wrong, personal rights and freedoms, and how one’s rights end where another’s begin.

When he was about five, we would tell him not to play with his toys on the living room floor because the cat would run off with his toys. When he asked why that was, we explained that the cat didn’t understand that it wasn’t welcome to his toys. Rather than heed our warning, he would simply try to reason with the cat and explain to it that the toys belonged to him and were off limits. I figured he would eventually outgrow that and that it wouldn’t take too long. *Sigh.* I’m still waiting that out.

At twelve and a half years old, I heard him admonishing the cat this morning. “Emerson,” he scolded, “Did you just climb up in my lap so you could sneeze in my face? How would you like it if I just came up to you and sneezed in your face?”

“Wee Bot,” I interrupted him over the humming of the espresso machine, “Reasoning with the cat? Seriously? We’ve discussed this.” I was tired and needed my caffeine.

How do you explain to a headstrong child that cats don’t observe The Golden Rule? How do you make them understand that a dog or cat’s concept of social structure amounts to members of the pack and pecking order therein? When you ask a cat a philosophical question and he answers with “Meow,” it doesn’t have a profound meaning behind it, because the cat doesn’t understand philosophy. The cat is not like Jabba the Hutt except with an unfortunate lack of captioning. He very. Simply. Doesn’t. Understand.

Wee Bot is generally a good kid. He is headstrong though. When he decides that he’s going to do something, then by God, that’s what he’s going to do, even if it directly contradicts instructions I just gave him. And, somehow, he thinks that I don’t know what I’m talking about concerning the pets (or many other things in the world, for that matter). He fails to believe that our pets only understand “good kitty” or “food” or “outside” or “treat” or “go do your business.” In all fairness, we have extremely respondent pets, and they act as though they understand far more than they actually do. If you speak to Emerson, for instance, it’s not at all uncommon for him to make eye contact and cock his head and answer conversationally. He has no clue what you just said, but he fakes it well. He’s an extremely social cat. That can’t help matters much.

Add to that Wee Bot is a little immature for his age emotionally. He’s an extremely intelligent kid, and has wit way beyond his years. He makes witty jokes that would sail right over quite a few adult heads. But, he still thinks it’s appropriate to cry over spilled milk, for instance. Literally. We’ve had that very issue at one time or another. I don’t think that it’s ever an easy job to be a parent, but each individual child comes with their own (sometimes infuriating) challenges. I think the best I can do is be patient, steam off a little on my blog if necessary, and direct his issues so that he has to confront them himself. Like I’ve told him about his schoolwork – I can help him, but I can’t do it for him. Only he can do that. If he’s going to be headstrong and think that he’s got the world figured out better than his parents, it’s probably time to get tricky and find a way to get him to learn the truth on his own.

Unlikely & Unruly Pets

In this post, Phlegmmy relates a hilarious story of a run-in she had with a woman and her ill-mannered pet monkey. If you haven’t read it yet, you should. Her story reminds me of some of the more odd pets I’ve seen and the ensuing hilarity of unusual pets.

For entirely too long, I slaved worked in Hell the auto parts business. For any of you that have not worked in auto parts, do yourself a favor and avoid it. As long as there is more dignified work available, like table dancing or animal semen collection, you’re better off avoiding the politics and drama of auto parts altogether.

In auto parts retail, I worked under a store manager that acquired a most unusual pet. We had just weathered a massive rain storm that caused flooding, tree damage, and a general washing out of the entire area. He was doing some post storm cleaning when he saw several tiny rodents in a pile of leaves. Upon first glance, he thought that they were dead baby rats that had been washed out by the storm. Upon closer inspection, he realized that they were squirrel kits. Several of them were indeed dead from drowning, but two of them were still alive.

Oddly, this small distinction washed away his initial disgust and elicited his compassion for the creatures. He put them in a cardboard box with a blanket and a heat lamp and started feeding them some kind of formula. I’ve seen people attempt similar stunts. Heck, I live with someone who is prone to this type of decision. I’ve come to expect the rescued animal(s) to be in poor enough health that no amount of nursing will save them. One of his squirrels didn’t make it, but the other one returned to health and grew up.

These animals required around the clock care, and my manager was committed to the task, even bringing them to the store with him. The surviving one was dubbed “Indiana Jones” by his kids, which was shortened to “Indie” when they discovered the rodent was female. If anyone tries to tell you that squirrels aren’t smart, they clearly have little experience with them. Indie and the manager developed quite the relationship. He had a bad temper and would frequently be set off by her rodential antics. He would yell at the animal at the store, and she would respond by chattering back at him. When he attempted to grab her in anger, she would leap onto his shirt and run around his torso as a squirrel does a tree trunk in the wild. This would only escalate his anger, which only made it funnier to watch. In case you don’t already know, a squirrel is fully capable of running across your chest, around your back, up your neck, down to your ankles, and around again before you have a chance to blink. He was no match for her speed or agility, and she knew it. Part of me wanted to witness the inevitable scene in which she caused him to die from a massive heart attack.

In more peaceable times, Indie would sit on the parts counter and they’d share a bag of Chex Mix or Combos. Customers would approach the counter and point out the animal, “Um… You know that… You know that there’s a squirrel eating your chips?”

“Yeah,” he would answer, “That’s Indie. She’s my squirrel.”

Ultimately, he stuck with his original plan which was to nurse the animal to health, see that it reached maturity, and release it back into the wild. He put food and water out for Indie at first, and she did come back to see him. Her visits got less and less frequent over the next few weeks as her little mind returned to the wild. Eventually, she was reintegrated and didn’t return again.

I’m not sure that the world is a better place for one more squirrel. There are plenty of people that would prefer the world with far fewer of them. I think that Indie was good for my manager though. Sometimes, we need something to love and take care of. I have plenty of negative things that I could say about him as a person, and the tantrums that his squirrel elicited were impressive, but the experience certainly brought out the best in him. Every time my dad complains about the squirrels on his property, I think of Indie and smile.

Blogorado 2011 Recovery

AEPilot Jim warns us about Post Blogorado Depression. I have to admit that I was a little bummed to have to leave such fine company. PBD really hit me though when we walked in the front door. We discovered that our cats had gotten mad at our absence and sought revenge by relieving themselves under our dining room table. Upon finding the mess, I announced to Jennifer, “Alright. Let’s go back.” 😛 We did get the cat mess cleaned up promptly and it appears to have been localized right there.

The Cat and the Rabbit

When I was a teenager, living in my parents’ house, we had a cat. Growing up, we only ever had the one cat, who showed up one day and decided to move in. He was a beautiful tonkinese, and probably influenced me to love them more than any other breed of cat. Prior to that, we were a dog family, and my mom would not have a cat in the house. My brother and I decided that he should be named ‘Cat’ and started feeding him.

Much to our surprise, my mom was utterly smitten with ‘Cat.’ If you’ve ever spent time around one of this breed, you would understand. She promptly corrected the spelling of his name to ‘Khat’, and gave him a prominent place in the household. Rather, he carved out for himself a most beloved place in the household.

He was a lover, but still wild. He was a mighty hunter who culled the acreage of birds, lizards, mice, and pretty much any other hors d’oeuvres he could catch in the yard. This was usually a good thing…

One day, my mom caught me while she was in a frantic state, “Khat is chasing a bunny!” she cried.

“Cool,” I responded.

“No,” she said, “you have to save it!”

“Why?” I asked in my teenage surliness.

She explained, “Because it’s a baby!”

I rolled my eyes and tried to explain that this was the way of nature, and that the baby bunny’s sacrifice would serve to strengthen its stronger, faster bretheren, but she would hear none of it. Since there was obviously no other possible way to console her, I went to the back yard.

So, there I was, chasing the cat, chasing the young rabbit (In vain, as far as I was concerned). I understood that Khat smelled blood. He would not hear my calls, which only made the rabbit run faster, which only made the cat run faster. I knew full well that either of them could easily outrun me. But, as they zigzagged in a chase around they yard, imagine my surprise when the rabbit passed only a step in front of me!

In an instant, I reached my hand down and scooped up the terrified rodent who was shaking hard from the chase. Khat sat down at my feet, cocked his head and said, “Maaaow?!?!?” which directly translates to, “Put that down, I’m going to eat it!” Once the cat was put inside, the rabbit was released into the woods, and its story diverged from mine.

Fortunately, Khat was easier to console than my mom, and he went on to have many more lap snuggles and eat many more yard vermin. Sadly, his early demise was due to some kind of illness that he contracted from eating wild meat. It was fast acting and killed him before he could be diagnosed. You can’t cut the claws off and contain the wild creature you love without taking away their quality of life. I know full well that Khat would likely still be alive if we had confined him to an ‘inside’ cat. But, he would not have been nearly as happy.

People are like that too. We aren’t tame. When we try to tame each other, it might prolong life, but it will take quality away from it. My grandfather turns 90 in the next 12-month cycle. As far as I know, he is still crawling in his attic and climbing ladders to repair his house, and doing other stuff that makes us cringe.

When grandpa was a child, the pediatrician told his parents that he would not live to see thirty due to a congenital heart valve deformity. He warned them to never let him run to catch the bus because his heart would explode. Now, he’s tripled his maximum life expectancy and leads a very active lifestyle. His physician recommended that he have the valve replaced a few years ago. He declined, and cited that God has kept him around this long and would dispense him in His own time.

So, what’s the point? Even though old men shouldn’t climb ladders, you probably shouldn’t keep them from it. Even though cats should probably be allowed to catch their prey, sometimes it should be prevented for the sensibilities of others. Life is complicated like that. Be thoughtful and mindful of what goes on around you. The right decision is not always the obvious one.

Tuesday Thoughts on Guns and Life in General

Last week I wrote about the horrid, pizza-pocket-ish things that I have in the freezer at work. There is but one of these things left, and I can’t bring myself to eat it today. If I weren’t so cheap, I would have pitched the whole box a long time ago. I don’t know exactly how many came in the box, but it feels like a zillion. I did eat one yesterday, and here’s the funny part: We had pizza for dinner last night. These microwavable lunches are so un-pizza-like that they don’t even make me not want pizza. I’m sorry, but that’s just weird. So here I am, not eating lunch yet again. Meh.

It’s been far too long since I last went shooting. I really wish that I had the time and money to have a good range session at least once a week, but unfortunately that’s not really an option right now. I really want to get in some good, outdoor target practice. It’s been since Halloween that we last got to do that! If this year’s seasonal patterns work the way I think they will, we should have some pretty mild weather in January, and that’s exactly what I’ll do. There’s nothing quite like shooting at plastic bottles across a ~200-yard hollow. Just for fun, here’s a satellite view of the place in question (thanks to Google Maps):

Simpson's Hollow

Sometimes we set up at the North end of the field and shoot South. Other times, we’ll reverse that. There’s plenty of room to set up multiple targets for different drills, we’ve shot clays there, and there’s a decent enough stretch for rifle target shooting. Now, I’m making myself want to go right now! Next year, I fully expect to shoot a deer or two in that very place. But, I digress.

We now have less than two weeks until Christmas. Back in September or October, we pretty well decided what we were going to do for Christmas presents. We decided that we were going to have a gunny Christmas. We planned on getting an AirForce Edge for The Kiddo, as he’s really gotten into his air rifles. Jenni has been lusting after a Beretta Px4 Storm DAO in .45ACP. I was planning on getting a Saiga 12 in the whole deal. (And no, I would not name it Abomination.) We set up a budget, and started cramming our savings to make this happen. It would have been really fun, and we would have had a trip out to the farm immediately – possibly even Christmas afternoon – to try out the new goodies, but alas…

It was apparently not meant to be. There was the $360.00 incident with the cat’s tail, and several other (albeit smaller), unexpected expenses that I won’t bore you with that simply busted our budget. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not a bad thing, but still a disappointment. Kiddo will get an air rifle, but it will probably have to wait until his birthday. I think we’re going to get him a new bike for Christmas instead. They’re quite a bit cheaper. As for the two of us, we’ll get each other smaller, simpler presents for now, and maybe we can get each other the romantic gifts of firearms for Valentine’s Day or something.

I’ve been able to cite this disappointment as a valuable lesson to Kiddo concerning appropriate expression of disappointment, i. e. as upset as I was over the deal, I didn’t throw a fit. That’s been really good for his developing mind, and that in and of itself is worth more than a couple of new guns. Plus, it’s wonderful to be in a place in life were we aren’t living so beyond our means that we can’t deal with life’s little emergencies. There have been plenty of times that such financial demands would have put me straight into a panic. “How will we be able to buy groceries if the cat has to get stitches?” – and that sort of thing. Thank God, we aren’t there now!

My employment status is kind of on a knife edge right now, but I’m only slightly worried about that. I know that I could quickly go back to work, and we have survived on far less than Jenni‘s current income in the past. Honestly, if I were really worried, I’d already have a different job by now. The fact of the matter is, although it wouldn’t be fun, the worst-case scenario is really not all that daunting. And, there are a lot of people that don’t have it nearly as good. As weird as it may sound, I’m actually thankful for the disappointment and the bumps in the road, as I’m glad that I got my lot in life as opposed to someone else’s.

So, I guess that’s about it for now. Maybe I’ll take that last frozen pizza pocket thingy to the farm and shoot it. Kind of two birds with one stone, you know?

A Tail of Two Kitties

We had a plan last night that didn’t come together due to unforeseen circumstances. As these circumstances unfolded, they became really funny, even if in a macabre sort of way. The Kiddo is out of school today for some kind of weird reason, so his Granddad picked him up from school yesterday so they could hang out today. They both enjoy that, and it’s certainly convenient for us. We had a parent-teacher conference scheduled for yesterday at six, and I hadn’t yet had the opportunity to meet his teacher. After that, the local liquor store was hosting a wine tasting, although the owner’s first language is not English, and he writes it ‘wine testing’. He’s a great person, and I really like his family, but every now and then, there’s some little piece of Engrish that pops up to belie his near lack of accent. Yesterday, going over the plans for the evening, I mentioned to Jenni that after meeting with the teacher, and getting some wine in our systems, we’d be home alone! So, I proposed we grill some steaks and then have some ‘grown-up’ time (at the risk of giving TMI). She loved the idea, so we committed our intentions.

On the way home from work, we stopped at Braum’s to pick up milk, butter (the real stuff, not that ‘I can’t believe’ crap), some heavy whipping cream, and a couple of steaks. We went on home to put away our perishables, and had just enough time to let the dog out, relax for a moment, and high-tail it to the school for our meeting. I almost got too relaxed and forgot about the parent-teacher conference, but we did make it mostly in time. I like Kiddo’s teacher this year. She’s down to earth, intelligent, and cute! I’m betting that’s why he likes her as well! After chatting with her for about twenty or thirty minutes, we went on to our wine ‘testing.’ We tried about eight different wines from Kalifornia’s Central Coast. I think the Central Coast is why God has not yet allowed that state to fall into the Pacific! After wine, we returned home and grilled our steaks.

Somewhere in there, between the conference with the teacher and grilling steaks, the cats got a little carried away in one of their friendly scuffles. Let me preface the rest of this post: Our cats LOVE each other.

The Meezers 2

We had a little unfounded concern about how Emerson would react to Ferrule when Jenni brought him home. We didn’t know whether he would be aggressive to the newcomer. But, it was clear to Emerson that Ferrule needed a mommy, and so his maternal instincts took over. I know how that sounds, but there’s really no better way to put it. He would bathe Ferrule, and protect him, and it wasn’t at all paternal, it was maternal – pure and simple.

emerson and ferrule in the sink U can haz pass teh sope, plz? K Thx!

They snuggle when they sleep, and put on sickeningly sweet shows in our home. But, sometimes they fight. It’s never seemed ill-motivated, but just some sort of elevated play. Usually, Ferrule is the instigator, and Emerson puts him in his place. They’re not always so nice, though.

11kitty2

10kitty1

At some point in the evening, Ferrule’s claw punctured Emerson’s tail. His claws get caught on stuff when they aren’t trimmed. Apparently, prior to the claw extraction, there was enough pull to put a ~2-inch laceration in Emerson’s tail. Through the fur, it looked much smaller:

before

At first, we saw a little blood on the floor, in droplets here and there. Upon closer inspection, we located the injury and found that he had left quite the blood trail through the house. Of course, Jenni called the pet med emergency number. They advised that we clean the wound with hydrogen peroxide and water, and then leave it open. We were then to keep an eye on it to monitor any changes. After a little while, it was still dripping, so I called the emergency line again. The woman who answered the phone advised that we bring the cat in so they could suture the wound. Jenni wrapped Emerson in a towel so he could go to his nemesis: the car. He yowled the entire way to the clinic, and continued his protests when we entered. He certainly knows how to make an entrance! After some waiting, we were shown to an examination room, and a nurse took his vitals. After more waiting, the doctor came in, and said that he needed stitches. So, they gassed the cat, shaved his tail, and put twelve stitches in his poor tail!

after

That, my friends, is $285-worth of medical care! Ouch! I wish I could get that kind of money for every twelve stitches I put in a holster. Besides that, my stitching is much prettier! Jenni says that I don’t have to shave and drug my holsters, and I said that the vet didn’t have to wet-mold and finish the cat. With Emerson drugged and floppy, we went back home. We have to have the stitches taken out in ten to fourteen days. We put him to bed in the closed bathroom, so Ferrule wouldn’t mess with him all drugged up. Oddly enough, Ferrule seems to feel almost guilty in the whole situation. I suppose if any breed of cat is even capable of such a thing, it would probably be a Siamese variation. Then again, they also seem to be the breed that is most likely to hold a grudge…

Watch your step, Ferrule.

P2091673

Gunsmithing Silliness

So, a few weeks ago, my friend Instinct was asking about the installation of the Meprolight shotgun beads that I installed on our Winchesters. Now, my disclaimer is that I am NOT a gunsmith. I do a little work on my own guns from time to time, but I do not do this sort of thing for hire. I simply am not professional enough with this sort of thing to take on the liability of it. That being said, I told him that it’s really easy. You just get a 6×48 tap and the coordinating drill bit, remove the old bead, drill and tap the hole and thread the new sight in with some Loctite or nail polish on the threads. He said that sounded too complicated, so he shipped the barrel from his 870, ‘Bruce,’ and sight half way across the country to me to have me do the job! LOL! I received his barrel yesterday, and installed the bead last night. It will be shipping out to him today. During the installation, the Evyl Robot Empyre got silly and emailed back and forth with Instinct and a mutual friend, Gatakitty, for the whole procedure. That went as follows:

Jennifer:

Just thought you’d like to know. Bruce has no front sight.

01sightgone

Instinct:

AHHHHHH!!!!

Poor Bruce!!! He can’t SEE!!!!

Jennifer:

So I guess you would cringe to see a drill there in his eye?

02Drilling

Instinct:

LOL

Be gentle! He’s the only one I have!!!

Jennifer:

You know, Bruce has never been to heaven, but now at least part of him has been to Oklahoma.

Evyl Robot:

He’s in good hands. He’ll have a glowing cyclops eye in just a few minutes. Now, the surgeon needs more whiskey

Instinct:

You’re having too much fun with this, Jen 😀

Jennifer:

Yeah. But just tell me you aren’t enjoying the play by play

Instinct:

I am. Now I have a photo documentary of it all

Jennifer:

And now for the tapping.

03tapping

Wee-Bot says hi.

04waving

Jennifer:

Here’s one of your friendly neighborhood evylrobot.

05spybarrel

Instinct:

HI Wee-Bot!!!

So he’s learning gun smithing at an early age 😀

Jennifer:

He’s ready for sight installation!

06barrelhole

Instinct:

Nice shot 😀

Instinct:

Let’s see…. Power tools and whiskey….

Nothing could go wrong with that

Instinct:

Ummmm…. There’s a hole in his barrel…

Jennifer:

No worries! That’s where the sight goes.

Evyl Robot:

…Dear Liza, Dear Liza…

Evyl Robot:

Nah. Nothing could ever go wrong there!

Jennifer:

Indeed. He can take apart a Ruger 10/22 for thorough cleaning.
Ooh! Bruce’s sight hs been restored!

07glowsight

Jennifer:

Mmm. Whiskey

08whiskey

Instinct:

YAY!!!

Best birthday/anniversary present EVAH!!!

Jennifer:

The Wee-Bot and the kittehs approve.

09waving2

10kitty1

11kitty2

Okay, so the kittehs do not approve of pictures.

Jennifer:

Thanks!

Gatakitty:

Oh, I’ve never been to heaven,
But I’ve been to Oklahoma….

Evyl Robot:

Now, I’m gonna tell you… The factory bead did not unthread, but broke off in my vice grips. It is steel, and a PITA to drill. I scuffed the finish a little on the block trying to get it flat. I’m not worried about that since you’re about to duracoat. It is ever so slightly off center – I’m talking about thousandths of an inch. I’m not real happy about that, but it will probably never make a difference. With the finish applied, you won’t see it, and I doubt it will screw with the POI. You should be able to easily tune to it with your rear notch anyway, once you’ve installed it. Honestly, you probably wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t mentioned it, but since you are a friend, I couldn’t just not.

Instinct:

Yeah, kitties have that “I’ll kill you in your sleep for this” look

Instinct:

One day I want to have a place to do man-work and a little evyl minion of my own to help me 😀

Jennifer:

Well Wee-Bot is a good one. And we might rent him out for a nominal fee.

Instinct:

I think I can live with it 😀

There is no rear notch on the Remington so I think I’ll be good

Jennifer:

You’ll be fine. It is better centered than my factory sight was on my Defender.

Evyl Robot:

Whew! I was afraid you were going to ask for your money back! Aren’t you planning on adding a rear?

Instinct:

Can we clone him?

Instinct:

I’ve got a big enough one right now so no need…

OH, you mean on the shotgun. No, probably not

Jennifer:

Nope. He’s a limited edition.

Jennifer:

We like big butts and we cannot lie…

Evyl Robot:

*sigh* God has some sense of humor. My butt doesn’t belong on a white dude my size.

Evyl Robot:

…Ya’ll other brothers can’t deny…

Jennifer:

My jeans say “curvy”

Evyl Robot:

😛

Evyl Robot:

Instinct, would you mind me transcribing this thread to my blog? I think it would make a kick-butt blog entry!

Instinct:

Why would I mind?

And, that’s how it happened. I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!

O-Care

You know, I’m not too big to say I was wrong. Back in November, I was telling everyone I knew how I wanted to be wrong about the newly elected. I thought he was a typical, Chicago-style, deep-dish, corrupt politician that would make promises and back-pedal out of promising that which was impossible to deliver, or just because he didn’t mean it when he promised them. But, this morning, look what I found on my porch:

unicorn

unicorn

OMG!!!! I thought that our undocumented-in-chief would send his knee-breakers to hunt me down for my dissent. But instead, he wins me over, offering me the olive branch in the form of this mythological creature! And, it has healing powers! It’s like the bestest health-care evah! It has healed my soul. *sigh.*

All seriousness aside, I found out by reading my wife’s blog that Chuck Norris is pissed off at the new health care bill. So, to those of us who think it’s another smoke-screened conglomeration of lib-turd pet-projects, no need to worry! They pissed off the Chuck! He’ll doubtlessly be in D. C. to kick some flabby, corrupt butt before we know it! Problem solved!