Just a bit of fun I had, taking the advice of a friend who told me that when I’m stuck in a “non-writing” phase (I refuse to call this “blocked”, anymore – sounds too damned permanent), I should rewrite other people’s stories.
I didn’t like that idea.
Then, while cleaning out the laptop, I found a link to a news story that I somehow saved for reasons unknown about how to avoid wildlife collisions on Northern Ontario highways. Why I saved the link, I haven’t a clue, but when I re-read the story, “Why did the chicken cross the road?” kept popping into my head.
So, I re-wrote the news story, and I’m still laughing. Yeah. Doesn’t take much to amuse me, does it?
Chicken collisions – reduce your risks!
ANYTOWN, ON – Anytown OPP is cautioning motorists on the increased incidents of chicken collisions on area highways.
Collisions with chickens can result in serious vehicle damage, personal injury or even death.
In 2008, Anytown OPP detachments cluster responded to 222 motor vehicle collisions involving chickens and to date in 2009, a total of 101.
Chickens are unpredictable at all times.
However, there are two peak times when the risk of a collision is highest: May and June when chickens seek road salt in ditches and try to escape biting insects and during the fall mating and migration seasons.
– Scan the road ahead from shoulder to shoulder. When you see chickens beside the road, slow down and pass carefully as they may suddenly bolt onto the road.
– Watch for the yellow chicken warning signs that indicate an area of increased risk. Slow down when traveling through these areas.
– Use high beams at night where possible and watch for glowing eyes of chickens.
– Stay in control. Watch your speed and take extra precautions when driving at night as chicken visibility is greatly reduced. Slowing down will give you that extra second to respond.
– Never swerve suddenly. This could cause your vehicle to go out of control or head into oncoming chickens.
– Brake firmly if a chicken is standing on, or crossing, the road. Never assume the chicken will move out of your way.
– Stop as safely as possible if a chicken is crossing the road. Remember, if one chicken crosses the road, others may follow.
If possible, avoid driving during dusk or dawn when most chicken collisions occur.
Swerving to avoid hitting a chicken may result in a more serious collision.
If hitting a chicken is unavoidable, remember to stay in control.
Watch, steer, brake and stop.
* * *
…and yes, folks, I am aware that Michael Jackson is no longer with us. I’m less upset over the fact that he’s dead than that he’s hogging all the limelight when Farrah Fawcett died on the same day. I was more a fan of hers than his.
With apologies to his family, his friends and his fans, I thought the man/boy was a freak.
* * *
Oh, and THIS?! You MUST click it. Read it. Die laughing. It’s SOOOOOO much more funny than chicken collisions.
Isn’t that a “deer” little picture? That’s actually what Ruby said to me when she passed it over her coffee cup, laughing, but I’m stealing it for myself…
I got to see a lot of Ruby’s old photos last night; most actually had The Lady Herself in them. Mushy’s instincts are quite correct: she surely was a “looker” in her day.
It’s unfortunate that she won’t let me post any… Ah well… on with the story.
That man – whose name I’m not allowed to publish, and I won’t make one up because his real name was just so spectacular that I couldn’t possibly come up with a better one (I swear there’s a hobbit somewhere with the same last name, and no, it’s not “Baggins”, but wouldn’t that have been groovy-cool?!) – owned a cabin right beside Northland Lake. The photo was taken somewhere ’round about 1942-43, if Ruby’s guess is correct.
The deer was a “gift” from a couple of men who “found” it in the bush, wandering around without a mother.
“Hmmmphf!” says Ruby. “No doubt they shot her and then found the baby.”
Ruby says Mr. Hobbit – there, I’ve named him anyway, haven’t I? – was a real nice fella. She and her brothers and sisters and all their crazy teenaged friends used to go visit him. They would swim in the lake in summer, and skate on it in the winter.
He never let them on the lake after the sun went down, though, afraid something might happen to one of them, and no one would find them in the dark. So, after sunset, they would all crowd into his little cabin, and he would wind up the old victrola so they could dance.
Or he’d pull out his fiddle and they would dance to that.
Nice guy, Ruby says. It was Mr. Hobbit that gave them the deer to take home. “Followed us home right smart,” as Ruby tells it. “It was a tame little thing.”
Ruby’s Mom, now (She of the No. Forearms.), wasn’t so fond of having a deer around. I would have thought she’d worry about the gardens, but no, it was the railroad tracks that scared her. Ruby’s dad was the Line Foreman in Northland, remember, and their house was right beside the tracks. Ruby’s Mom was sure he’d be killed (the deer, not Ruby’s dad – although she probably worried about that, too).
That deer entertained them for most of the summer. It lived outside, but was not in the least bit adverse to coming in for dinner. Ruby always knew when her dad was up in the morning, because once it saw movement in the house, that little deer would be at the door hammering on it with his head. Her dad always gave him breakfast, too.
The bigger the deer got, though, the more Ruby’s Mom worried about him playing on the tracks… she finally convinced the kids to take him back to Mr. Hobbit’s cabin. They didn’t want to, but they did. None of them wanted to find that deer lying bloody on the railroad tracks some morning.
Ironically, after he had been back with Mr. Hobbit for a week or two, a couple of “rough” boys started trying to catch him. Trying to get away, Ruby’s little deer broke a leg on the rocks by the shore.
Mr. Hobbit had to shoot him.
I swear Ruby had tears in her eyes when she told me this story. She very nearly wouldn’t let me take the picture with me, for fear I’d forget to bring it back to her.
No, not me, silly! Myself, I am quite content with singlehood, as of yet; it’s Ruby that told me this story, and isn’t it high time for another one from our favourite Little Old LandLady?
Yes. Yes, it is…
We were watching a ball game… the Jays were playing; Ruby’s favourite team, and for once they were actually winning while I was watching, which is unusual, because I generally jinx them into doing stupid things that cause them to lose the game…
During a lull, Ruby started to talk – took me a bit to realize she was speaking to me and not the umpire – my first clue should have been that she didn’t start the sentence with, “Idiot!!” (Ruby rarely calls me that).
“Remind me to tell you a story when we go back to the kitchen…”
Me: “Oooh! What kind of story?”
“It’s a cute story. Funny, but cute, I think.”
Me: “Yeah? Is it about you?”
“No. Shhhh, now!”
So, I had to shhh for about 15 minutes. I got up to get another cup of coffee. Ruby doesn’t drink coffee in her living room. She says she forgets about it, and it gets cold. Usually by the time she gets her coffee on baseball nights, there’s only enough for a 1/2 cup left, but she doesn’t seem to mind…
By the time I’d jinxed the Jays badly enough for Ruby to give up on them, I was wired on caffeine and worked up about the upcoming story…
Me: “So, give it up.”
Ruby laughed. “Well, like I say, it’s funny, but it’s cute. *I* think it’s cute, anyway…”
And then, of course, she took a long pause while she sloooooowly wandered around her kitchen, sloooooowly getting cream for her coffee, and sloooooowly adding the sweetener (after first discovering that her little sweetener container needed to be refilled and sloooooowly refilling it), and then sloooooowly stirring it all up…. I was ready to strangle her before she finally started to talk.
“Have you met my niece, Carol, yet?”
Me: “No, I don’t think so.”
“Well, Carol has a friend that lives in the middle of the bush somewhere down in Southern Ontario, I don’t know where for sure, but she doesn’t live there all year ’round, anymore. She comes and stays at Carol’s place in the winter. Her name is Dahlia.
And last winter, Dahlia got using the internet, and got herself into one of those chat rooms…”
Now, as we all know, Ruby does not like or trust the internet, and I was really surprised that she actually knew what a chat room was at all. So I waited for her to start shaking her head and talking about how Carol’s friend got herself into something she shouldn’t have, and wondered how this story was going to turn out funny or cute.
“And, of course, she met this guy…” Ruby chuckled again, and stirred her coffee some more, making me wait it out.
Ruby laughed out loud. “I was thinking the same thing, when I heard about it! I guess she started chatting with this fella, and after awhile, he was the only fella she was chatting with… His name was George. Well, you can guess where this is going, can’t you?”
Me: “Yes, I can. She fell in love and ran off with him, didn’t she? Did he take her for her cabin in the woods and she ended up destitute?”
“Now, don’t go gettin’ ahead of me; you’ll ruin the story!”
So I shut up again.
“So, Dahlia and this fella started talking about meeting up, and I guess that’s when Dahlia got a little nervous about what she was doing, and she talked to Carol about it.
Carol read all the letters, or what-you-callems that they’d sent back and forth so far, and she told Dahlia that the fella seemed like he was on the up and up, but then again, who knows for sure? So, Dahlia decided to stick to chatting with him for a bit longer until she knew a little more.
After awhile, though, she decided to take a chance and meet with the guy. Carol said that Dahlia could tell him her address…”
Me: “WHAT?! You’re not SERIOUS!! OH. MY. GOD.”
Ruby laughed, and laughed, and laughed.
“That’s about what *I* said! Now, let me finish the story!
So, they set up a date and time that this George-fella was gonna come to town and visit Dahlia, and Dahlia got more and more nervous as the day got closer. If I’d been Carol, *I* woulda been the one that was nervous-”
Me: “Yeah, me too!”
“-but Carol didn’t let on that she was when she told me this, anyway.
So, anyway, the day comes, and Dahlia was so worked up that she darn near hit the ceiling when the doorbell rang. So it was Carol that answered the door.
And she took one look at the fella standing there, and said, ‘GEORGIE!! What are you doing in town?!’
It was my nephew, George, Carol’s cousin, standing there! At first, Carol didn’t put two and two together, figuring Georgie had just come to visit ‘cuz he happened to be in town… but, no, it turned out that OUR Georgie was DAHLIA’S George all along!
Me: “So did they hate each other?”
“NO, they didn’t hate each other! They got along just fine, and as far as I know, they’re still seeing one another. Turned into quite the match, I believe.”
Me: “Oh. So, then, he didn’t take her for her cabin in the woods and she ended up destitute?
“NO! Now you be nice, or I won’t let you blog this one!”
It was a wicked week. Ups, downs, and a few upside-downs, to boot.
On the “up” side, the Lily-Dawg has her new home. As I write this, I imagine she is either paddling in the creek or lazing on/tearing through the back field of “her” farm, located down the line toward Teeny-Tiny Town…
It’s possible, too, that she’s slobbering into the wind with her head stuck out the passenger window of her new owner’s car. The new owner, you see, prefers dogs to people, and the older dogs are spoiled right rotten. Lily, at 10, is now the second of what The Dog Lady considers to be her “older kids”. And the “older kids” get the Extra Special Treatment, which includes rides in the car. Every time The Dog Lady gets into the car.
The Dog Lady came to my work to get her. Kyla tearfully brought Lily over, introduced her to her new Mom, and ran her through her groovy-cool set of “gimme the treat” tricks. The Dog Lady was especially tickled with Lily’s high-five. And then, she promptly renamed the dog “Lillers” and removed the leash, saying, “Now, let’s get rid of this nasty ol’ thing, eh?”, to which LilyLillers readily agreed, very much approving of the disgust with which The Dog Lady threw the thing into the trunk – most likely never to be retrieved again.
When she went to let her into the back seat, though, the Other Older Kid told her to piss off. LilyLillers was unperturbed, however, and simply called shotgun.
It was unbelievably excruciating to watch Ky wipe the tears away as best she could, and turn her back on the dog to walk away. LilyLillers had a hard time at first, too, trying to scramble over The Dog Lady to get out the window and back to her kid. She settled down quite happily again, though, as soon as Ky disappeared around the building. That somehow made me feel worse.
And Sheikh the cat, who went from avoiding the dog to stalking the dog… to shooing the dog away from her own water dish so he could drink first… to doing this really hilarious “duck-down walk” while following the dog around very closely, making it necessary to continuously bob his head so as not to get hit with her tail… to sleeping beside the dog… is moping around, demanding to know where his dog is…
I kind of miss her myself. All her F-ing hair is still here, however, so I expect I’ll get over that.
Meantime, I’ll just keep picturing LillersThe Lily-Dawg slobbering into the wind with her “laughy-face” on….
* * *
One of the “downs” of the past week was the mysteriousness going on at the J.O.B…. what with secret meetings, and the near-completion of several construction projects, and confusing replies to the “what’s going on?” questions… which all ended up being boiled down to most of the staff being laid off in a couple of weeks’ time, when a form of automation process kicks in… no more dancing in the parking lot. Sigh…* Those remaining will be trapped (trapped, I say!) behind glass.
No one’s saying yet, who’s staying vs. who’s going, but some have already put their notice in (thankfully for me, because the fewer there are when the axe falls, the better my chances of avoiding it, I think).
I’ve continued to apply for jobs in my New Weird Field as they come up over the last eight months, but generally don’t even get an interview. There are too many people in administration et al, who have been laid off, but at least have actual working experience, applying for the same jobs, I think. When I do land an interview, it invariably goes very well, but again…. I have no “real” experience in any of the fields I have accreditation in.
So, I’ve begun to apply for other “crap pay” jobs. And I’ll be crying on Louie’s shoulder over it all, mooching for more hours, just as soon as…
As soon as…
As soon as…
(Yeah, this is a hard one… the “upside-down” part…)
Just as soon as I go talk to the mortgage holder of the house that’s not supposed to be mine, because my “legal” papers, once translated to plain english only stipulate that The Sire agrees not to try and get money out of me for the place.
Worse, the mortgage holder is a credit union; the only type of banking institution that can legally suck my wages away whether I can afford it or not. Which I can not.
My new lawyer told me, “Now, when you go down there, and they ask you for your work number, for God’s sake don’t give it to them! Hopefully, they won’t find out where you work until you can get the place cleaned up enough to live in. It doesn’t look like you can afford both places…”
When I morosely pointed out that in a couple of weeks, I may not have a work number to not give to them, he jumped on it, very pleased, apparently.
“Good! You won’t be lying when you tell them that you’re looking for employment. With luck, they won’t foreclose before you can get things straightened out.”
I asked him if there was any way at all out of this, other than taking over the house….
“Weeeeellllll….. you could do what The Sire’s doing, and just ignore it altogether – they may not look for you if they can find him…. but when they foreclose, it will affect your credit something awful.”
“So, that’s a ‘no’, then, huh…?”
“You could claim bankruptcy…”
And that’s a ‘no’, folks. Not doing that. Nope.
And worse…. if all goes well, and I take over the payments, get caught up on the defaulted payments and overdue taxes and insurance, and then sink a shitload (more likely two shitloads. Three even.) of money into fixing the place up to sell, I can’t sell it unless The Sire signs off, or I can get a court-order.
And worser, even…. if I do all of that successfully (read: when pigs fly and other miracles), he could legally walk right back in and take the house out from under me, simply by beginning to make the payments himself, again. I don’t think he’d do that; I really don’t – but the thought that he could…
You see, the part in my “legal” papers that states that I give up all rights to the house, its contents, and any or all income or profit from its sale, is already in plain english and means sort of, almost, not-quite-exactly that. The house is “ours”. Or the house is “his”. It ain’t never “mine”, even if I get stuck paying for it. The only way around that is another court-order.
And, hopefully, that will be the silver lining I’m looking for… followed shortly thereafter by the sale of the F-ing money pit.