Words of wisdom: NEVER stick your hand inside the habitat of a mama rat no matter WHAT the pet store people tell you.
My college dorm didn't allow pets, so of course I wanted a pet rat because they were small, quiet, smart, and easy to hide should the resident advisor come around.
The pet store employee told me they had a new litter of baby rats and to go in the back of the store and pick out the ones I wanted. Alone. Unsupervised. Pet Store rule #1: don't leave customers unsupervised in the back of the store.
The baby rats were sooooo cute. There were about ten to twelve of them in a large aquarium with their mama. Since the employee had told me to pick out a pet, I naturally assumed the mother rat was friendly.
I reached into that habitat and the mama bit the stink out of my ring finger. I mean, she latched right on and was ready to rumble. The pain was bright like the sun going supernova and I reacted out of instinct and shook the poor rat off my hand like a terrier. I hated to do that to an animal, but dang, her giant rodent teeth were sunk into my finger.
I held up my wounded hand to see how bad the bite was and blood welled up from my knuckle and dripped onto the floor. The sight of the blood woozed me out and next thing I knew I was falling backwards, my left arm whacking several wire cages on the way down and I fell full out, smacking the back of my head on the hard concrete floor.
I came to with the pet store employee leaning over me. "Are you all right? What happened?"
"The rat bit me." My watch had been sliced right off my wrist during the fall.
Now, here was the amazing part. No first aid was administered, no accident report filled out, no discount offered, and me being young and naïve had no idea that I could scare the bejeezus out of the store manager by threatening a law suit over wrongful injury and misadventure in their store. Like a good little Southern girl I paid for my rats and left with a BITE wound and a big BUMP on my skull.
And then my finger swelled up. Like a sausage. Which wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't been wearing my class ring. My finger was so big the ring was cutting into my flesh. Off to the ER I went.
These days doctors have to report animal bites of any kind to law enforcement. But this was back in the mid-80s. The ER doc looked at my giant finger. "We're going to have to cut your ring off."
"Just get it OFF! I don't care how you do it." I wouldn't normally talk that way to a doctor, but I was feeling desperate and quite anxious.
He cut the ring off. I still have it. Never got it fixed. It reminds me of what a naïve dumbass I was. And you should have seen the look on everone's face when they read my paperwork.
Reason for Visit: Bitten by rat in pet store.
They probably thought the place was infested by rats or something. It's amazing they didn't call fhe HEALTH DEPARMENT.
I was given antibiotics and sent home with my giant finger, ruined ring and a major life lesson. That knuckle was stiff and swollen for quite some time. It's amazing I didn't get sepsis in the joint. My dad was bitten (accidentally) by one of his dogs once and his hand swelled up and he had to go to the ER for sepsis (a serious bacterial infection).
The name of this post is "This Could Only Happen to Me," but now that I think about it, this could have happened to my sister. A basset hound bit her face when she was three, and when she was seven she got a nail stuck in her foot AND fell on some bleachers and cut her shin open to the BONE. She also fell off a ladder onto the high heel of a SHOE when she was working in a shoe store. So, this seems to be a genetic propensity--weird-ass accidents.
Oh, and then there's my brother who got a stick rammed down his throat and his leg sliced open by barnacles and who coughed so hard one time that he ruptured a lung. And my dad whose arm swelled up from wasp stings.
Lordy, it's amazing we've survived to pass on our genes.
My boss wanted me to put together a "poo poo" platter for the staff Christmas party.
"A poo-poo platter?" I was immediately grossed out as I conjured up an image of a platter stacked with reeking dirty diapers.
What the hell?
The hubs and I had moved to Hawaii and were working for the Honolulu YMCA. I was the Physical Education Department Head of the Nuuanu Branch. Nuuanu = New-oo-on-oo, with the "oo" rhyming with new. Hawaiian pronunciation is a lot like Spanish--you sound out every vowel. The Hawaiian language has very few consonants so the five vowels get overused in the extreme. And don't even try to pronounce a word like Kalanianiole. Your tongue will get seriously tangled and you'll have to go to the ER if you ever want to swallow again. There's a hilarious scene in the movie Honeymoon in Vegas where Nicolas Cage is in Hawaii and is trying to tell someone on the phone to go to a particular street that has four a's in a row rather than three. It's funny because it's so true!
So back to the platter of dirty diapers. Turns out a poo-poo platter is actually a puu-puu platter. Technically, it should be pronounced poo-oo poo-oo, but like many words that are used frequently, the syllables have been run together to make it sound like poo-poo. And a puu-puu platter is just the Hawaiian word for hors d'oeuvres.
Well that was a relief. Nice to know Hawaiians didn't eat crap--literally.
And speaking of Honeymoon in Vegas, check out this scene with Nicolas Cage and the Flying Elvises that served as inspiration for parts of my novel The Haunted Houswives of Allister. Alabama (paperback now on sale at Amazon.com).
You know how mothers always want you to have on clean underwear in case you're ever in an accident? When I was in the 7th grade, I passed out during an AMBULANCE demonstration, of all things, fell face first and ate the pavement, and then got carted off to the hospital in the very ambulance used in the demonstration. And the first thing my mother said to me in the ER was not "Are you okay," but "Why did you have to wear that today?"
My underwear, though, was clean. She should have been thankful for that.
I was wearing plaid pants, a t-shirt that didn't match, and what we called Hong Kong shoes which were flip flops made out of bamboo. Or maybe faux-bamboo. Also, being that I was a gawky tween, I hadn't washed my hair in several days and it lay lank and stringy on the back of my neck.
My mom was mortified that I'd gone to the hospital this way. Never mind that I'd scraped off half my face in the middle school parking lot or that I'd passed out for no apparent reason during class. Appearance was everything. I was mortified that she was mortified. Why couldn't I have gotten a call from the psychic hotline that morning to alert me to the impending doom that was to be the most embarrassing day of the 7th grade for me? Why, why, why?
Mr. Butler, my marketing teacher, thought an ambulance demonstration would be a cool teaching moment. Why we were studying occupations during a marketing class was beyond me since marketing is about ADVERTISING, but hey, this was 1976.
The class certainly got their teaching moment that day. I passed out face forward--BAM--and the EMTs whisked me onto a stretcher and zoomed me over the Pensacola Bay bridge to Sacred Heart Hospital. I was lucky I didn't break my nose (that would happen later that summer at the beach) or knock out my teeth (that would happen to my cousin while we were all jumping on my bed--in the DARK) or bust my lip on my braces.
Nope, a GIANT scab formed across one cheek and I was introduced to Neosporin (a wonderous ointment.) They never did figure out why I fainted. Probably locked my knees. The whole episode was far more embarrassing than painful. There's nothing like being the center of negative attention, especially in middle school when life is awkward enough.
But hey, at least I had on clean underwear.
The irony? No one even saw my underwear. I didn't have to get undressed or put on a hospital gown.
Oh, the humanity! Ha!
I'm starting a Fruitcake Sanctuary at Casa Sullivan this year for all of the hated, despised, and unwanted fruitcakes in the U.S.A. Every fruitcake will receive loving attention and unabashed adoration since I'm one of only about two people who actually likes fruitcake.
Please send your unwanted fruitcakes to:
C/O The Downtown YMCA
716 South Perry Street
Montgomery, AL 36104
And just to clarify: I'm talking about the Christmas dessert, not your crazy Aunt Betty.
Locals who know me personally are welcome to deliver their unwanted fruitcakes to my home or business.
Let the Fruitcake Frenzy begin!
P.S: this is a real address, so if you actually do mail a fruitcake, I'll receive it. It's not, however, my home address, so if you actually ARE a crazy fruitcake and not a delectable edible and decide to show up in person or try to stalk me, you'll be sadly disappointed.
P.P.S: There are some YMCAs that house people. So it's not out of the realm of possibility for someone to have a residence address at a YMCA. I just don't happen to be one of them.
P.P.P.S: If you're one of those people who doesn't read blog comments, I'm laughing my ass off over the image of someone mailing their crazy Aunt Betty or Uncle Mortimer to me. [Ding Dong! Here's my family fruitcake; please give them a good home.]
Hahahahahahaha! [yes, I'm sick and twisted--it comes in handy for fiction writing]
I just wrote
this long-winded post about procrastination, and blathered on and on about all my rationalizations for it.
And then I deleted it.
Thank God for small blessings.
Besides, monkey pictures are always better than long winded posts about people's SAD, OCD, bipolar disorders, and just plain laziness. That's why we have sayings like life is like a barrel of monkeys. Because nobody says life is like a bunch of mopey depressives. Or life is like a bunch of manic bipolars.
So enjoy your monkey picture, people!
And happy SEC Championship Day! War Damn Eagle!
Seven years ago I flew out to Los Angeles from Alabama to become a partial cyborg.
Okay, maybe not a cyborg per se, but I did have one hip totally replaced with a titanium implant and the other one resurfaced with a--you guessed it--titanium implant, which may not make me a cyborg, but does make going through the metal detector at the airport a super fun and super slow experience. Since I'm still pretty young, airport security personnel always eye me suspiciously when they have to scan me for metal. It's a trade off: I get to walk, run, and dance again, but I have to suffer the perpetual delay in getting scanned, frisked, and patted down every single time I fly.
But I digress.
I lost a ton of blood during the operation to the point where I went into A-Fib which is short for Atrial Fibulation. Essentially my blood pressure bottomed out to zero and there was nothing left in the heart to pump. The surgeon had already left, but a cardiologist was called in and got my heart started again. Kinda like jump-starting a car that has stalled.
As a consequence of the blood loss, I was super nauseated and I couldn't keep anything in my stomach. But the doctors and nurses thought it was the pain meds, so I didn't get any after surgery. Fortunately, I didn't really feel much pain just lying around in the hospital bed. They finally gave me pain meds on the third day post-op when I went into mild shock and started shaking uncontrollably and feeling pretty darn yucky overall. Amazingly, the meds stopped the shaking and the yucky feeling and I was able to eat and keep down solid food.
So, fast forward now to the flight home cross country from Los Angeles to Atlanta. I didn't want to take the risk of having to throw up on a plane. I hate throwing up. HATE it. So on the off chance that the pain meds might make me throw up while several thousand feet in the air, I didn't take any. The hubs had been super thoughtful and booked us front row seats on a plane that was too small for first class. The idea was that I'd be close the restroom and would have more leg room.
Which was great until I started to feel yucky and shake uncontrollably during the final descent. And since there weren't any seats in front of us, the flight attendant had made me stow my purse in the overhead bin. I could hold a fifty pound Stephen King book in my lap the ENTIRE flight, but I couldn't have my little purse containing my MEDS in my lap. Go figure.
And right before the shock set in, we hit some turbulence and the captain put the fasten seat belt sign on. I asked the flight attendant if I could get my purse to take some medication and she said no. I gritted my teeth and hunkered down to get through the rest of the flight. But as soon as we landed, everyone else jumped up in the aisle and the hubs couldn't get to my purse in the overhead bin. Forget trying to appeal to people's empathy. There was no frelling way people were going to wait a single moment longer than they had to.
So more grinning and bearing ensued and I was counting the seconds before the plane cleared and I could get some #&^ %pain meds in my system.
So, the plane is FINALLY empty and I take my meds. I'm feeling REALLY BAD now and it took about half an hour for them to kick in. I hobble off the plane on my crutches, my hips swollen to the point where it looked like I had on a sideways bustle, and look for the wheelchair we had asked for back in Los Angeles.
"Where's the wheelchair?" I ask a flight attendant.
"There's not one?" she says. "I called for three."
I cuss up a storm in my head. Some lousy person took my wheelchair. Who would do such a thing?
So they call for another one. Now remember that only FOUR days before I'd had parts of my bones cut off and replaced with metal. FOUR days. I could use crutches, but not to hobble the ENTIRE length of the Atlanta airport.
So the hubs and I wait for a wheelchair.
And wait. And wait.
And wait some more.
When one finally arrives, one of the arm rests is dented in toward the seat and I just about have to jam my swollen hips into it to sit down. Of course, this jamming is right on my incision sites and hurts like hell and I start crying. The only thing I hate worse than crying in public is throwing up.
The flight attendant who wouldn't let me get my pain meds from the overhead bin said in this sing songy voice, "Oh look, she's crying."
If I hadn't just had major surgery, I would have leapt out of that wheelchair and kicked her sorry ass from there to Sunday. Of course, if I hadn't just had major surgery, I wouldn't have needed pain meds nor a wheelchair. But still...
So the moral of the story is: take your pain meds before you fly even if you think you'll throw up. Or stash your meds in a fake book on your lap.
The alarm clock that is my dog, Bo, got me up this morning by licking me in the face. After letting him and Moxie out and then in, and feeding them breakfast, I climbed back into bed with several cats and the two dogs and either had the MOST vivid dream or actually traveled to an alternate universe.
I "woke up" a couple of hours later in a strange hotel room with a woman who was a spy and who had had her eyes replaced with a metallic cylinder stuck smack-dab in the center of her face where her eyes once were. She then pulled the cylinder out of her skull--without DYING--and told me she was looking for diamonds.
I "fell asleep again" and was woken up by my husband, which is weird because he's out of town this week. (And weirdos, don't even think about trying to find out where I really live and breaking in because my two pit bulls will eat you for lunch).
Then I fell asleep AGAIN (do you sense a recurring theme in this dream or alternate universe?) and I woke up again in the same strange hotel room, but with all of my actual pets on the bed with me as if they had been transported to this alternate universe, too, and a large king snake beside the bed. I picked up the snake (because that's what I do with strange snakes unless they're venomous) and it was docile. Then I decided it was time to get out of bed and figure out where the hell I was since I wasn't in Kansas, er, Alabama, anymore.
I went downstairs, and by downstairs, I had to climb a ladder to get to the first floor of this hotel room and discovered that the under-the-cage heater of my ball python's cage had caught fire and was burning merrily, but my python was still alive and I took him out. He'd been trying to shed his skin when his habitat caught fire so I whisked him to the bathroom to soak in some tepid water in the bathtub so that I could help him shed. (I've actually had to do this for my snakes. Peeling their skin off is like peeling off a tight glove inside out.) However, I got ready to stop up the tub and there was a nest of snakes in the drain, as well as another nest of snakes and baby snakes in a hole in the fake grass beside the tub. (Hey, I didn't design this hotel room, plus it's in an Alternate Universe where literally ANYTHING can happen.)
Then the hubs showed up again and I explained about the fire in Denver's cage (and which, by the way, I don't use under-the-cage heating elements for my pet snakes) and then the next thing I knew, I "woke up" again in my actual bedroom cuddling a giant teddy bear, with two dogs pressed against my backside and a calico cat curled up in my nook (NOOK: the junction of my hips and legs--cats like nooks of all kinds. It's cosy for them.)
So, all of this crazy morning dreaming makes me wonder if my psyche travels to an alternate universe while I'm sleeping, which in turn, makes me wonder if my alternate self ever travels to my life while I'm awake (and she's sleeping) and thinks, "Whoa, that was a hell of a dream! Pet skunks, life-sized toy lions, and cats with thumbs. It HAD to be a dream!)
I do keep wondering if the chick looking for diamonds ever found them and why she didn't bleed out when she pulled that metallic cylinder out of her face. Oh well, some things are never meant to be known.
Richard the Space Lion with his groovy space boots and saddle
Conversation with the hubs during the holiday weekend:
Me: Did you notice Richard's new look?
Hubs: Yeah, I did. (doesn't sound happy)
Why is your Steiff lion covered in aluminum foil?
Me: He's a space lion.
Hubs: Come again?
Me: Okay, Sabrina kept using him as a scratching post and I wrapped foil around his legs to deter her.
Hubs: (Has a super annoyed look on his face) What a shame . . . [What he wants to say is, "You spent a fortune on that thing and now you've got foil all over it????" I can tell; I've been married to the hubs for almost 25 years.]
Me: (getting defensive) Hey, we could plunk down another three hundred bucks for a declaw, but you said it was cruel to declaw Sabrina. [I should mention we have FOUR declawed cats, all of which are happy, healthy, and FANTASTIC indoor pets. So this "declawing is cruel" stance comes as a big surprise to me.] So I was going for a less expensive option with the foil.
Hubs: You're right. [Shockaroony! Where's a tape recorder when you need one!]
Me: Besides, it's not like we have tons of company. And if we do, I'll just remove the foil. Voila! No more space lion.
Hubs: Okay. (Shakes head. )[I make life so "interesting" for him. If it weren't for me, the downstairs of our Victorian house would be Artist Bear and Steiff free. And most likely we'd have only a couple of cats instead of 6 cats, 2 dogs, 2 snakes, and an exotic critter.]
Which reminds me of another conversation we had this weekend:
Me after reading an article about A-Fib in my fitness journal: Wow, I just found out exactly what A-Fib is. Your heart stops and your blood pressure bottoms out to zero. I died on the operating table during my hip replacement surgery.
Hubs: I wonder if they used the paddles on you like in Grey's Anatomy?
Me: Probably. (shudders at the thought) Wow, imagine what your life would be like if I had died seven years ago.
Hubs: I'd only have two cats.
Me: (Counting on my fingers) No, you'd have four cats, but you wouldn't have the two dogs, two snakes, two extra cats, and Penny. Wow, I brought all of those pets here, didn't I?
Hubs: You certainly make life interesting.
Which makes me think of that Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times. Ha!
[Note: Dear Readers...While there is a time and a place to argue/debate the merits of declawing/not declawing house cats, this blog is not one of them. Thank you!]
Remember Fat Bastard from the second and third Austin Powers movies? The morbidly obese Scotsman who liked to eat babies? Well, apparently he's retired from his career as a spy and now owns a vineyard where he makes Fat Bastard wine. And like a six-hundred pound guy, Fat Bastard Pinot Noir packs quite a punch, especially for a screw-top vintage.
Notice the cute hippo on the label...I find that too hilarious for words. Yeah, I'm easily amused.
I do have to say that Fat Bastard ruined me for the rest of the Thanksgiving holiday. I drank two LARGE glasses (about 3 regular glasses) with dinner on Wednesday night, and while it's a smooth Pinot Noir, I just didn't want any more booze on Thursday or Friday.
So, Fat Bastard Pinot Noir . . . you can find it in the wine section of your local Publix. It's pretty good. And it has a hippo on the label. Anything with animals on it is like a sure thing for me, especially cute animals. A word of caution, though: don't Facebook or answer email after consuming several glasses of wine. I wrote my name as Susab to an eBay customer. They probably think I'm from India. Or just a very bad speller. Eek!
Most meals at Casa Sullivan are eaten at my desk or in front of the TV. It's a time management issue--killing two birds with one stone, and all that.
But on Thanksgiving Day, the hubs prepares a feast and we actually set the formal dining room table with our good china and silver and sit down and enjoy a traditional meal together with the TV off and no work to distract us.
Photo Gallery below; click on each photo to enlarge.
Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!