Saturday, November 19, 2011

Did I Mention the Mollusks?

Every morning when Boo claws my eyes open and leads me, bleeding and blind, to his empty bowl, I take a moment before pouring his Friskies to see if he has any houseguests.

The reason I check is I don’t want to step on them, and the reason I don’t want to step on them is not that they're dead (like the crusty mouse Boo left in our bedroom which I finally threw out the window) but that they’re alive.  Maybe not vivaciously so, but technically so: alive and vile and squishy to boot.

Yes, Dear Reader, these houseguests are slugs. Tiny slugs (praise the powers that be) but slugs nonetheless. And while they never show up in my part of the house, this is small comfort when I see them sitting--unless they are standing—let's say occupying--Boo’s private space.

As small as they are, I loathe them and fear them and have done so acutely for all of my life. Indeed, next to The Priest and The Barbie Doll, you could say The Slug was the baniest bane of my childhood. Back when there used to be regular rain (and not one long heat wave interspersed now and then with a festive tornado), hordes of huge slugs seemed to rule the whole world, or at least every sidewalk I had to travel to get from my house to my school.

To keep from making even the slightest physical contact with one, I had to suffer looking at them, which was almost worse but not quite. My one solace came when I realized that slugs didn’t run. Later I drew even more solace from murdering them with Morton’s Iodized Salt.

Since I’m way too evolved to salt a slug now, I use a paper towel (and I fully admit I could not live without them) to escort them outside and hurl them back into what they call Nature. And then I pray they’ll never return.

But oy! Answered prayers! Why don’t I have those? The horrid creatures always return and I have no idea how or where they get in. Through the floor? Through the wall? Through the mollusky mail? (And why do they come? They don’t touch Boo’s Friskies. With what would they touch them? Have they mouths? Have they heads? Aren’t they really just tentacled feet?)  Moreover, when they’re not there displaying their actual selves (which, praise god, is most of the time), they leave their calling cards in long silver trails to make sure Boo knows that they have dropped by.

But wait a minute—aren’t silver trails exclusive to snails? Do they visit too? How do they get inside with those houses?  And if snails do come, what can be next except Puppy Dog Tails? And then, what? Little Boys? Why not grown boys?  

By which, Dear Reader, you know I mean cowboys. Elderly cowboys in freshly- pressed Wranglers. One who might know how to get rid of slugs. Now that’s a guest I’d be happy to see. And thankful as well, as in Happy Thanksgiving.  And may you all have one, with nary a mollusk, just fabulous turkey with succulent stuffing, and friends (if you have them, more wine if you don't) and always forever the best pumpkin pie!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Living In The Animal Kingdom

Firstly, I'd like to thank all the kind persons who wrote me about that heinous raccoon. Secondly, let me just say that, happily, he hasn’t been back. Or that, if he has, he must have dined first because he ignored both my garbage and Boo’s horrid food. (Which in itself is sort of like garbage, no offense meant to Boo--I’m just, as the vernacular has it these days, sayin’.  Which doesn’t quite work when you split it up, does it, so here it is one more time: I’m just sayin’.)

Since I’m still waiting for that magnetic cat door to happen, Boo and I have had to regress to our pre-cat-door life, when Boo got in and out through our bedroom window. Of course, the raccoon could certainly get in that way too, but I always close this windowat night in hopes that he won’t. In hopes that everyone won’t, if it comes to that, but, as the vernacular also has it these days: Let us not go there.

Naturally, as soon as I began to relax about the raccoon, a brand new animal entered our house, and it did not need an open cat door to do so. That’s because this animal was a flea.

General Flea and his army (ten million at least) marched into my house in silent black waves and bit every single part of my body. And since I’m pretty much allergic to all signs of life, the bites swelled up into vibrant red welts. So itchy and ugly and leprous was I that for the first time ever I was actually glad The Cowboy was not on his way over to see me as he would surely have hollered and hightailed it back outta Boringame fast.

“Has Boo had his Frontline?” Hank Fitz wanted to know. He meant the supposedly non-toxic stuff I squeeze onto the back of Boo’s neck every month. It’s supposed to ward off all buggy evil to the tune of four million dollars a squirt.

“Yes,” I said. “But I don’t think it works.”

The truth is it probably works fine when it actually gets onto a cat, but when I apply it alone, which is of course every time, most of it gets onto the floor as Boo springs forth and goes into orbit.

“Perhaps it’s time for a new application,” said Hank. “I’ll come down tomorrow and you can hold him down while I squeeze.”

It’s amazing what two people can do in one second what one person cannot do in one year or for that matter ever but don’t get me started. Let me just say that when Hank Fitz (surely the most uxorious of all my P. Husbands) arrived he had a box of Flea Fogger Time Bombs in hand. After we Frontlined Boo and tossed him outdoors, we shut all the windows, set off the bomb, and flew like crazy bats from the house.

“The label says not to go back for two hours,” Hank said.

“Good, that gives us just enough time for lunch at Duarte's."

Since Duarte’s is in Pescadero, we actually needed more like four hours, which was fine with me as this  gave the fleas even more time to die.

And now let us all hail Hank Fitz, for one week later I no longer itched, and another week later I had no more welts. And just when I began to relax about both the raccoon and the myriad fleas--well, I think you can guess--another animal entered the house.

Not of its own volition, mind you.  Boo brought it in, and not in his fur. I saw it this morning when I awoke.  It was on the rug under our bedroom window, all curled up—and I do not mean as in with a good book.

“God DAMN you,” I said to the murderous Boo, as he lolled around on his nonchalant back. “Why can’t you be like a regular cat and leave your victims outside the front door?”  Outside being the operative word.

It's a stiff bloodied thing with a tail like an earthworm, and I am waiting for a husband to dispose of it for me.  Which, lest you think otherwise, I do realize means I'll be decorating it for Christmas.