Monday, October 31, 2005

He's invaded more than the kitchen 

I had a dream involving this guy last night.

Peter Pettigrew

Creepy huh? You know, there are more famous rats out there than you'd think.

Rodent activity in our kitchen has increased dramatically since Orkin came out last week. Misty suggested that they must have sprayed the place with cheese. I'm pretty annoyed with the situation, but she is really on the warpath. Since finding evidence (read: droppings) that the rat had been on Emily's high chair, the gloves have come off. Misty has vowed that she will catch the rat by Wednesday. She went out today and bought steel wool, foam sealant, poison, and more traps. Plus Orkin is coming back tomorrow.

In my opinion, we shouldn't be buying any poison or traps. With as much as Orkin charges, they need get in there and find that critter. Their services are supposed to be guaranteed, after all.

My idea is to use infared goggles to spot rodent heat signatures in the walls and shoot them right through the plaster. Of course, I don't have infared goggles or a gun.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The ballad of Nicodemus 

Do you remember that cat I mentioned a couple weeks ago? The one that Misty adopted from the clinic to catch mice. Yeah, we haven't seen her since the first night we brought her home.

For the past couple days this week, I've been hearing noise coming from under the refridgerator. Since there was a mouse in the grill this summer and we've seen dead mice in the driveway a few times (courtesy of other neighborhood cats, not the aforementioned deserter), it wasn't a stretch for me to guess that we had mice living under our fridge.

I got a coat hanger and swivled it around, but all that came out was a plastic lid and a bunch of dust bunnies. No mice came out, though. I ignored the noise and went to bed.

Yesterday I was getting set to mow the lawn when I heard the sounds again. I hadn't put too much effort into my search before because Misty had been standing there, and I knew she'd freak out if a mouse ran across the floor (it sure was funny when she discovered the one in the grill, but she's refused to use the grill ever since). This time, though, I was home by myself and feeling a little more determined.

I pulled the fridge out from the wall. As I did, a rat ran out. To me (who did not expect to see a rat), he seemed huge, though I'm sure he's not as hefty in reality as I now imagine him in my head. He scampered across the kitchen floor and up under the edge of the cabinets below the sink (where I assume there's a hole, but I'll be damned if I'm going to stick my head down there to check).

Now I understand why Misty has refused to use the grill. For the rest of the day, I did my best to avoid the kitchen. When I did go in there, I made sure I was wearing jeans and thick, leather, rat-stomping shoes. Misty wanted to cook chili for dinner, but I insisted on going out to eat instead. When she asked if I'd wash the dishes for her, I refused. I'm not hanging around in that kitchen if it's not absolutely necessary.

Like the image of the rat in my head, I know that my cautions are unnecessary. I know he's not going to come out while I'm around unless (like before) I start to uproot his home. I know all the crap about "he's more afraid of you than you are of him." Let's just call it even. I'm not scared of rats, I'm scared of a live, free-roaming, wild rat in my kitchen.

On the bright side, I don't think it's been there for very long. Not only have I never heard it before this week, we've never seen any droppings before this morning. Hopefully, this is just one rodent who snuck in to escape the cold.

Orkin is headed over this morning. Their coverage includes roaches, ants, fleas, spiders, earwigs, centipedes, etc. in addition to rodents, so that sounded pretty good to me. It's funny; one roach or even one roach every week wouldn't prompt me to call an exterminator. I'd just put out bait and make sure the house was cleaner. But one rat, and that whole do-it-yourself attitude goes out the window. I'm not messing with this.

If you'll excuse me, I'm off to watch The Secret of Nimh while I wait for Orkin to arrive.

Friday, October 21, 2005

I am now Spanish 

I got a promotion at work today. I'm now the Señior Editorial Producer. I've been working toward this position for a long time, and I'm very pleased that it has finally happened.

Basically this means I'll be responsible for more editorial coordination of the site and I'll have a bigger role as a liason with's affiliate newspapers. There are other duties too, of course, but considering that most people, upon hearing that I work for, assume either that I write for The Birmingham News or that I work for AOL (neither of which is the case), I figure you people are confused enough without me trying to go into detail.

And though it has nothing to do with the promotion, I also earned another benefit at my job this week. Since I've reaced my seven-year anniversary with my company, I now get 20 vacation days per year. It's weird to think that I may actually encounter difficulty in using that much vacation time, but rest assured — I will find a way.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Fall festival follies 

Today was the annual fall festival at day care. Last year we missed the event because Emily was really too little to partake in any of the activities, but this time she was ready to mingle with the big kids.

When Misty and I arrived after work, we collected Emily and headed out back to the playground were the festivities were taking place. There was a moon walk, a dj and all sorts of games for kids. Emily received a paper lunch bag with her name on it for Halloween treats, but instead of putting candy in her bag, she preferred to run around putting her bag into the buckets of candy. She had her own system. In fact, running around was pretty much all we did at the event as Misty and I wove in and out between other parents and children, frantically trying to keep pace with our little bundle of energy.

At one point, Emily decided she was going to try the plastic bowling game, but again, she had her own way of doing things. Instead of rolling the ball, she'd just run up, grab a pin (knocking down the other pins in the process), and run off with it. Once Misty was successful in capturing Emily and returning the pin to the game, Emily would begin the cycle anew.

Several times Emily stepped up to the entrance of the moon walk, gazing wide-eyed at her friends inside. When we tried to get her inside it, though, she had a coniption. It seems that her love for the moon walk rivals her love for the swing set at Cahaba Lily Park.

It only took about 30 minutes before the task of chasing after Emily grew weary. There was a painting station at the festival in which Emily showed keen interest, and we didn't want to press our luck for too long. We tried eating a burger, but it was nearly impossible with a kid who wanted to simultaneously eat, run, play games, and be held by her mommy. I was amazed that I manged to emerge from the event unscathed by red punch.

Afterward, we stopped across the street to visit Misty's mom, but Emily chose (and I use that word intentionally) to have a crying fit. She's so advanced to have entered her terrible twos six months early. We left after less than five minutes because nothing was convincing her to calm down.

At home, at least, she was much better behaved. She ate most of her dinner and used the fork all by herself. Luckily the dinner-bath-books-bed routine has held up rather well for us, but I wonder how much longer it will be before Emily sees fit to restructure things.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

My day's descent 

Yesterday was supposed to be a good day. It started out in the right direction, at least. Misty and I dropped Emily off at daycare and we went for a hike. Afterward, we enjoyed breakfast at Tip Top Grill overlooking the edge of Ross Bridge. We had a great time and enjoyed the relaxation.

I should have picked up on the subtle shift in the day's activities when we went shopping at Michael's. At Bed Bath & Beyond, though, I became suspicious. By the time we left Sam's, I felt like Christopher Boone after he'd passed three yellow cars in a row. My fate was sealed — it was going to be a bad day.

At first I thought I just had a sinus headache. Such headaches are a common occurrence for me, and I hoped that some Tylenol and a short nap would knock it out. I slept only about 30 minutes, though, and when I woke the pain had grown to a migrane. It hurt against my forehead, behind my eyes, in my ears, on top of my head, and in my neck. I popped a couple more Tylenol and tried to take a hot bath. Unfortunately, lying back only made the pain worse, so I ended up just sitting in the water noting how dirty our tub was.

Misty and I had planned to take Emily to get her Halloween costume when we picked her up from day care, but I had to back out. Instead, I stayed home and threw up a few times. Doing so made me think I might have caught a case of flu, but I guess my body was just trying to shift the pain someplace else.

While my wife and daughter ran their errands, I tried to sleep. I managed to do so, if only lightly. I could hear what was on around me, but I was well enough out of it to ignore everything. When Misty and Emily got home, they came upstairs to check on me for a minute. I remember them coming in the room to get some laundry, but not much else. However, I distinctly recall what happened when they went downstairs. I heard Emily start yelling, "Daad! ... DAAAAAAAD! ... MAAAAT!" On one hand that made me feel a little better, knowing that she missed me. On the other hand it made me feel worse that I couldn't come down and play with her.

Eventually, after Emily had gone to bed, I gingerly made my way downstairs to eat dinner with Misty. She kindly kept the lights dim and talked quietly. At first I wasn't sure if I'd be able to eat, but the meal she made was (as always) delicious, and it helped make me feel a little better.

Today, thankfully, the only remnant of my migrane is a general weariness. When Emily stars screaming "Daaad!" this evening, I'll be right there to blow bubbles for her to chase, build Lego creations for her to knock down, and read Please, Baby, Please a dozen times in a row.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Night and day it's Cinderelly 

I'm flipping through the coupons from today's newspaper, and there's a bundle from Proctor & Gamble with several ads featuring a tie-in with Disney's DVD release of Cinderella.

On the page with coupons for Ivory, Joy, and Basic paper towels the text reads "The Royal Treatment - You don't have to spend a fortune to make your home dazzle."

The next page has coupons for Gain detergent and fabric softener, and the text is "A fresh way to get your clothes Magically Clean."

Finally, the page with the Cheer coupon reads "It doesn't take a magic wand to Keep Your Clothes Looking Like New."

It's a cute campaign, but I'm not sure Cinderella is the best spokesmodel for Proctor & Gamble's products. Case in point: "The Work Song."
Cinderelly, Cinderelly
Night and day it's Cinderelly
Make the fire, fix the breakfast
Wash the dishes, do the mopping
And the sweeping and the dusting
They always keep her hopping

See what I mean?

Hecklers, mark your calendars 

There was some exciting next last week that I forgot to share. I've been asked to sit on a blogging panel at the next meeting of the Internet Professionals Society of Alabama. All I know about it right now is that Jeremy Flint (of Red Hot & Daily) is moderating, and the author of Tales from My Tiny Kingdom is also going to be a panelist. This should be fun!

Update: Terry Oglesby of Possumblog will also be on the panel.

Saturday, October 15, 2005


To Jeff the Captain of the Starfish Enterprise: When you die, I'm going to do this for you.

And bring me the passengers; I want them alive! 

At about 10 minutes to 4:00 yesterday, I called Misty at work to be sure she was goign to be on time picking me up. She'd driven today, and she'd gone to the gym during her lunch break, so I'd been stuck in the office for nine hours. I was ready to get out. She assured me that she'd be leaving "on the dot."

The dogs have been boarding at the clinic since we went to the beach last weekend, and I knew Misty had planned to bring them home that afternoon (they hadn't come home yet because they needed haircuts and baths, but Misty has to give clients priority, so our dogs often end up waiting a few days). I had a headache, though, and wasn't in the mood to deal with those two idiots clamoring all over the back seat and crying the whole way home as we drove through Friday afternoon traffic. "You're not bringing the dogs home, are you?," I asked hopefully. Luckily, Misty assured that they would be staying at the clinic another night.

A few minutes later, Misty arrived at my office. As I got in the car, I expressed my relief that the dogs weren't there. Then I heard: "Meow."

She did it. She brought home that cat.

On the bright side, though, it is not going to be called Sucka MC. Misty told me that she'd instead named the cat Padmé. Or, more specifically, Padmé Amidala Skywalker Cuthbert. Her theory is that by being named for Darth Vader's wife, the cat will exude a presence that will eradicate all mice from our home.

Or another way to put it is that she'll tear the house apart until she's found those mice!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Blonde. James Blonde. 

So Daniel Craig is the next James Bond. I'm not all that interested.

However, what I do find amusing is this bit:
Rumored to have also been in the running were British actors Clive Owen, Ioan Gruffudd, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Gerard Butler and Ewan McGregor. Irishman Colin Farrell and Australians Hugh Jackman, Heath Ledger and Eric Bana were also mentioned.

What a ridiculous list of names! Clive Owen is the only reasonable actor for the role in the bunch. It's amazing enough that people would speculate about Wolverine and the Hulk, but Colin Firth? Hugh Grant!? How fucking dumb are these people?

How about Daniel Radcliffe while we're at it?

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Bob Mould had a song about this 

We just returned from our first-ever family vacation.

Yes, we went to Denver last year, but that was for a wedding, not an official vacation. And yes, Misty and I visited New Orleans a couple months ago, but that was just the two of us; Emily wasn't there.

So this weekend was our first vacation trip as a family. We spent two days at the beach in Panama City for a fun and exhausting time.

It will take a while to get all our photos posted online (and many will never be posted as they feature self-conscious parents in swimwear), but here are several that I've managed to get up so far.

Click to see more photos