Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Good or Bad Mama - You Decide

Our suburban backyard backs up to a protected wooded area that's part of a creek's watershed. Because of this, we get all sorts of wildlife. Along with the usual bunnies, squirrels, skunks, raccoons, and groundhogs, we're blessed with deer, wild turkeys, snakes, toads, and the occasional red fox.

The Oracle was mowing the lawn last week, our first cut of the year. Our grass was pretty high.

A couple days ago, I noticed this:




Great, I think, Knucklehead killed something. I don't like dealing with dead things of any sort, and neither does The Oracle. Really, who does?

I know of no one except the guys who ran the crematory at a cemetery where I worked as a file clerk. The older of the two worked the job until he died. "Alfie" was an eccentric, extremely jovial man with a twisted sense of humor. One memorable Easter week he greeted the office staff singing, to a jolly little tune, "We can't cook the ham 'cause there's people in the oven//We can't cook the ham 'cause it's much too hot!" Odd as he was, he treated his customers with dignity.

Unfortunately, Alfie's many health issues got the better of him, and his replacement upon his death was an extremely creepy dude of unknown origins. All I know is that his parents adopted him as a young boy from a far-off country. I can't remember the guy's name, so I'll just call him "Weirdo."

I don't remember much of weirdo during my tenure at the cemetery. I do know they found ladies' underwear in Weirdo's locker, and some speculated that it came from the clientele since Weirdo had no girlfriend. There were times he was found on his knees in a secluded area in the cemetery, holding his head and screaming at the top of his lungs. Maybe it's just a migraine, but why hide in the woods?

I digress. Back to dead things in my back yard.

I nudge the ball of fur with my foot to see what I'm dealing with, and I'm greeted with this image.

Can't tell what it is? Look again.


Yep! Baby bunnies!! They're only slightly larger than my thumb. And before you have a hissyfit at the sight of my bare hands touching the babies, that bit about animals sensing your scent and rejecting their offspring is a myth.

Now I'm all freaked out, thinking Knucklehead scared off the mama. Why on earth did mama bunny put her babies here in my backyard with a big-assed dog?

In a tizzy, I called E. I got her voicemail, thank Heaven, because she was at work and I'd be bothering her. Still, that phone call stirred enough brain cells to remind me of the place I should call, the wildlife rescue in my area. I called, half expecting to get an answering machine promising a return call the next day, but I was pleasantly surprised to reach someone.

The young lady there told me that the mama bunny returns to the nest to feed her babies at dawn and dusk. I asked her why mama would pick our yard with our big dumb dog, and she said it may be the fact that Knucklehead unwittingly keeps other predators away.

So now my goal is to keep Knucklehead out of the back yard during feeding times. I'll check the nest periodically to make sure the babies are doing all right. I tried to pick one up to look for a "milk line," but he/she wiggled away and I wasn't going to freak the babies out by poking around too much. The nice lady told me that too much stress can kill them. I figured that if the baby has enough ambition to run away from me, it's being fed.
I can't wait to show Precious Daughter! (I can't show Mighty B. because he won't have the sense to leave them alone.)
Edited to add: Not an hour after I published this post, the kids were playing outside and Precious Daughter starts screeching about baby bunnies. I hadn't told her about the nest, and I just KNEW Mighty B. had found it. Sure enough, he's next to the bunny hole, jabbing at it with his sneaker, and the little bunnies' heads are popping up and down like a mini game of Whack-A-Mole.
I screech at B. to get away. I hurry over and desperately try to cover the hole, but the grease on my hands from the roasted turkey pieces I was dissecting is grabbing the bunny fur instead of putting it back on the hole. I'm spewing expletives and yelling for The Oracle. For unknown reasons, Precious Daughter reappears with a roll of paper towels. At first I think, "why that?" until I realize that I can use the paper towels to shove the fur back over the hole.
The babies were quite agitated (I would be too!) and I was afraid they were going to abandon ship. When I checked about an hour or so later I noticed that the nest had settled down and I didn't see any fugitives wiggling in the grass.
I just hope they're not literally scared to death in there. You can do that to rabbits.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Kryptonite Likes Basketball

The Oracle is an avid fan, and the NBA playoffs are in full swing. Put Kryptonite on the floor, and she gives the game her undivided attention.

She complains when they go to commercial.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Phew!


It's been a busy weekend.

Friday night, Mighty B. had his first-ever tee-ball game. I have a great picture of all the kids sitting on the bench in uniform, but since I don't want to go posting pictures of others' kids, you'll just have to use your imagination. This is Mighty B. in his uniform:

I find blacking out a kid's face creepy, but it's not my kid and, well, you know.

The game was fun to watch. The kids were so excited and they had a wonderful time. The coaches worked really hard to keep them focused on the game, which was no mean feat with five-year-olds abandoning their positions to swarm the ball wherever it went. The funniest play of the day was Mighty B's teammate chasing down the ball he hit instead of running to first base.

While watching practice last week, The Oracle saw the coaches work their magic and noted that coaching tee ball is a lot like herding cats. I give these coaches a lot of credit. I'd never have the patience.
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On Saturday, we went to my father's. Due to a number of circumstances, this was their first meeting with Kryptonite. Ironically, I don't have blognames for my dad and stepmom. The kids call them Hon and Pop, so that will have to do for now.



My father absolutely cannot smile for a camera. He smiles when he laughs, but he can't force one when he has his picture taken. It drives Hon crazy. My friend, M, also has this strange trait. I like to think that it means they can't insincerely display what they don't feel.

A prayer or two for my dad is appreciated. He's having a heart catheterization done today (right now, in fact) because his latest stress test showed changes from the one prior, and he hasn't been feeling well. He has a bit of history in this area, so I'm concerned. (**Updated to add: the procedure found a blockage for which they inserted a stent as well as a couple other things. Hon says he's doing better already! Thank you!)

In the above picture, Kryptonite is resting on Hon's shoulder. Hon prefers not having her picture taken if she isn't wearing cosmetics. I think she's silly, but with the way I usually dodge the camera I respect her wishes. My kids don't care if she's made up or not. Aunt V., my sister, is in the background.

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On Sunday, we finally got to introduce Kryptonite to The Oracle's sister, who drove up from Texas. She also doesn't have a blogname. The House Fairy invited us to dinner and even took the time to make the kids' favorite veggies, and Mighty B. still ate little more than a handful of peas.




This picture isn't the best (should've closed the blinkin' drapes to avoid that flash), but it will let you put faces to names. Seated on the left side of the sofa is DEB (Depression-Era Baby). Aunt F. is holding Kryptonite, and The Oracle is to her left. Standing behind DEB is the House Fairy.


I like this picture of DEB. She has a l ittle animation to her expression that reminds me of her old, pre-stroke self. Gosh, I miss that part of her. She has made an amazing recovery in a lot of ways over the last 18 months, but a good chunk of her spark is gone.

If anyone can point me toward some sort of freeware that wipes out red-eye, I'd appreciate it. My camera has a red-eye reduction setting, and it's turned on, but I still get the stupid red-eye in my pictures. I avoid the flash whenever I can, but I had to use it here. Red-eye infuriates me!

Monday, April 13, 2009

WHY Do They Do This?

Why do doctors overbook themselves? Mighty B. had an appontment with the ENT because the tubes we had put in his ears when he was four are still there. It's been a year and a half. Our pediatrician says there's a risk of damage if they're left in too long.

Our appointment was scheduled for noon. The kids are off today for Easter break, so Precious Daughter as well as Kryptonite went along for the ride. We were running a little late, which curbed my temptation to stop at the drive-thru for some lunch on the way. When you're late for a doc appointment, I swear they punish you by making you wait.

We arrive, and the waiting room is jammed. No kidding. One chair out of two dozen remains, and I take it, putting Kryptonite's car seat at my feet. The kids parked themselves in the kiddie corner and began playing with the loathesome germ-laden toys.

We weren't taken back to an examining room for nearly two hours. By the time the doc entered the room, Precious Daughter was nearly crying from hunger and Mighty B. was afflicting all present with his typical hunger-induced obnoxious behavior. Kryptonite, also famished, just buried her face in my shirt and went to sleep. She refused to drink her milk cold, and I couldn't warm it up until I was in the examining room.

The doc isn't in the room with us ten minutes when she announces that one of Mighty B.'s tubes is in the ear canal and jammed in wax (ew). She could pull it out, but it would be painful. Since the othe tube is still intact in the ear drum, it must be removed surgically, so she'll clear out the first ear at the same time.

Greeeaaat.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

B Truly is Mighty

I'm sorry it's been so long. On 3/28, B contracted strep. It hit me the next day. B missed four days of school the following week, and neither of us felt any better until the antibiotics were coursing through our systems. When I finally felt good enough to post, the USB cable for the camera went missing. I finally unearthed it today, and now I can share some fun news.



At the end of my last post, I predicted that B would be free of training wheels in two weeks. I shot the following video a mere four days later, 3/27, and B was already incubating the strep bacteria.



video


He has yet to try this on his bike (instead of Precious Daughter's old one), but I imagine he'll give it a go very soon. His bike has a large frame, and it's a long way for his foot to reach the ground so he doesn't fall when he hits the brakes.

Mighty B never ceases to amaze me.