Sunday, May 30, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

NOLA Sketches

Here are sketches from when J and I were in New Orleans for the second weekend of Jazz Fest.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day

On Mother's Day Sunday, my sister, brother and I drove up to Chattanooga to take our mother to lunch. Dad actually paid the bill. We tried to pay, I swear we did, but Dad about had a heart attack demanding that he get to pay when my sister picked up the check.

I love to make Mom laugh. She's a great audience. She doesn't laugh at everything, just anything that's really funny. I didn't plan to make her laugh on Sunday. I tend to get nervous and fill my side of the conversation with endless rimshots. I decided today to just have normal conversation and enjoy the day with family.

But then, Mom inadvertently set me up for a great comeback. She was telling us about a bar mitzvah she and Dad had recently attended for the son of one of the more well-heeled members of their shul. Mom loves to describe the food at any social gathering she attends. Well, this one had an incredible spread thanks to the boy's parents' deep pockets. Mom's journey through all the tables of catered food went on and on in great detail.

The most magnificent item at the party was a large chocolate cake in the shape of a torah.

"What did the top of the torah cake say?" Mom asked. "I can't remember."

"You wouldn't believe what we paid for this cake?" I suggested.

"What?" Mom asked.

"On top of the torah cake," I explained. "Maybe it said: You wouldn't believe what we paid for this cake."

Mom put down her fork and laughed. That made my day.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Alice and her Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

WARNING: This is a cute cat story.

Our cat Alice’s day started out badly. She wanted to go out and we wouldn’t let her because she had a 10:30 appointment at the vet to get her yearly vaccinations and checkup. I could have taken her in earlier, but the vet was located in a busy traffic area and I wanted to wait out the morning rush hour.

Meanwhile, Alice spent the morning doing her best to communicate her desire to be let outdoors. When I picked her up to put her in the cat carrier, she figured out why. Howling and struggling to get free didn’t prevent her from finding herself locked inside the carrier.

There was very little traffic on the way to the vet. In fact, it was so light, I got to the vet much sooner than anticipated. We were way early for the appointment. Alice and I had to sit in the waiting room for almost thirty minutes.

While we were waiting, an old man with a fat bulldog named Sophie struck up a conversation with me. I can’t remember anything he said. The old man was a bit befuddled, but seemed harmless. He had a long rope attached to Sophie’s collar. Sophie was very enthusiastic and he struggled to hold on to her. She had a lot more muscle than he did.

Alice’s name was called and we went into the examination room. I had to pull Alice out of the carrier and then she curled up next to me and hid her head in my hand. She really hates going to the vet.

The tech weighed her, took her temperature, and stuck a plastic stick up her ass. The stick was to get a fecal sample, but Alice’s colon was clean.

After the tech did her thing, we waited a long time for the vet. Alice burrowed her head back into my hand. Finally, the vet arrived. She was very nice. She examined Alice and asked about Alice’s lifestyle. Was she an indoor or outdoor cat? I explained that Alice went both ways and loved eating crunchy things whether it was dry cat food or chipmunk heads. I mentioned that recently my wife saw Alice slurp up a baby snake like it was a pasta noodle.

The vet gave Alice her shots. The needles didn’t bother her, but one of the vaccinations made a loud noise. Alice freaked and had to held down.

“I’m concerned that Alice might have worms,” the vet said. “We didn’t get a fecal sample, but I recommend we give her a topical dewormer just to be on the safe side.”

And that’s when Alice crapped on the exam table.

“Looks like we have a fecal sample after all,” the vet said. Then she and I laughed at Alice’s timing. Mention deworming and the cat craps on cue. Alice was not amused.

The vet took the fecal sample to put in whatever machine they use for testing. She suggested I go back to the waiting room until the results were ready. Alice gratefully got back into her carrier and we went out to the waiting room.

As we waited, one of the exam room doors open and Sophie the fat bulldog came rushing out, trailing her long rope behind her. The old man was holding the end of the rope. Sophie was pulling him along until the exam door slammed on his hand. He had a cellphone in his other hand.

“Sophie! Stop!” the old man shouted. Sophie didn’t stop.

“I have to call you back!” the old man shouted into the cellphone.

As the old man was fumbled between putting his phone away and trying to regain control of Sophie, she zeroed in on Alice’s carrier. Sophie stuck her nose into one of the slats on the side. The box bounced as Alice growled and took a swipe at the nose pressing into her box.

The old man managed to yank Sophie away, but Alice continued to make that horrible noise angry cats make that says don’t fuck with me, man or I will gut you like a trout. I’d never heard her make that noise before. I didn’t even know she knew how to do it.

Alice quieted down. As luck would have it, a parade of dogs showed up for appointments and every one of them tried to look inside Alice’s carrier. Alice hunkered down in the back corner of the box and tried to make herself invisible.

We waited a half hour for the fecal test results. By then, I was starting to get annoyed and wanted to make that angry cat noise. A tech came out and asked me to take Alice back to the exam room. When I asked why (if she had worms, they could just give me a pill to give her at home) but the tech didn’t know.

Alice and I went back to the exam room and waited some more. The vet arrived and apologized for the long wait.

“Alice has a parasite that comes from eating earthworms,” the vet explained. “We have to give her a special dose to kill it.”

“So, that wasn’t a baby snake she slurped down,” I said. “It was an earthworm. Alice, that’s disgusting.”

Alice was unrepentant as I pulled her out of the carrier so the vet could squirt a clear liquid down her throat.

“Sorry, but this stuff tastes really awful,” the vet said as she crammed a plastic tube into Alice’s mouth.

I wondered how the vet knew what the stuff tasted like, but didn’t feel like asking her.

Alice was done. All we needed to do was pay the bill and go home. There was a back up at the front desk and we waited and waited until it was my turn to pay.

Luckily, the drive home was quick and easy. Alice was quiet the whole way. When we got home, she ran into the yard, hopefully not to find an earthworm to snack on. She came into the house later and was very loving. I think she was grateful that she shouldn’t have another day like this one until next year.