“Normal?” – Not My Relatives! Wanna Pet My Kid’s Skunk?

steve-o and astro

Yes.  It’s a skunk. Yes. It is sleeping atop my offspring.

I am more of a dog person than anything.  I like cats too, and I have cats, but to me there is nothing like the relationship one can have with a dog.

I have no idea what got the POMC started in on skunks, other than he really doesn’t connect with cats, and he’s somewhat freaky about dogs. He was dog bit rather severely when he was nine.  His right hand might look normal now, but that dog chewed it up like burger meat and he has permanent nerve damage.  Dogs have pretty much given him the creeps ever since, which really sucks.

ferret

He had ferrets in high school, much to my mother’s disgust, because ferrets have a funk.  Even I can smell ferret funk, which means they must smell pretty nasty to most people.  Odor aside, they just never really thrilled me much.  I’ve heard them described as “cat snakes,” which is about right.  Dinky, sneaky little bastards as far as I’m concerned.

skunk

In the skunk’s defense, he is de-scented and the only thing about him that really smells is his shit.  Skunk shit is nasty, nasty, nasty.  The skunk himself, however, is very clean and doesn’t really have a smell to him.

Even so, I’d rather deal with a dog or a cat.  Skunks have sensitive digestive systems and special nutritional needs. They have to have their food specially prepared (sort of like feeding a toddler) unlike a dog or cat who can eat prepackaged dog or cat food and be cool with it.  It’s also a real pain in the hiney to find a vet who will deal with skunks.  Their anatomy and physiology is nothing like dogs or cats, so the vets that will work with them generally cost up the wazoo.

exotic vet

Most vets don’t want to see anything that isn’t a cat or a dog.  I can’t say I blame them.

Skunks are a vector for rabies in the wild, which is enough to scare off most people from owning them.  However, the truth is that the only way for any mammal to get rabies is to be bitten by something with rabies.   Domestic, captive born skunks don’t have rabies, and won’t get rabies unless something with rabies bites them.  Captive born and kept indoors, skunks are just as safe to keep as a pet (and not a rabies risk!) as an indoor cat.

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Harmless as Jezebel? I don’t give my indoor cats rabies shots because there’s no way for them to get bitten by something that’s rabid.

Lucy

The dogs do get rabies shots because a.) they go outside and therefore in theory can be bitten by something rabid, and b.) state law requires it.

I am one of those weird people who can really go off on bizarre tangents at times.  I bought – and read with fascination-  this book some while back- Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus..  It’s a compelling read on a rather off the wall subject.  I will have to let the illustrious offspring borrow this one if he’s in the mood for some enlightening late night reading. Of course my tastes in literature are mostly non-fiction (science and history) and often tend to gravitate toward the macabre.

I don’t think I have one “normal” relative.  Not one.  My son passes for normal most of the time, but they are all certifiable.

Mom is probably the one that’s the closest to the cuckoo’s nest- she’s bi-polar with a heaping helping of anxiety, OCD, and extreme naïveté to go along with it.  Jerry is a laundry list of fun beginning with adult ADHD, Helpless Man syndrome, and ending with a rip roaring case of what I call “functional drunk.”

Dad’s gotten a lot more fun since he’s gotten old. It wouldn’t surprise me that like his own father he decides now that he’s 70 years old that, “I’m not old. I’m middle aged.” Nobody had the heart to tell Grandpa when he turned 70 that it was highly unlikely he’d see 140, but he did live to be 91.   I guess it’s all about your attitude.

There’s a phenomenon with some older people where their frontal lobe (the “traffic cop” of the brain) sort of wears out and doesn’t screen one’s conversation as thoroughly as it once did, or probably should.

So Dad, who used to be rather tight-lipped and taciturn, has gotten rather cheeky as he ages.  His oh-so scathing commentary is starting to remind me of my grandmother and great-grandmother (ironically my mother’s mother and grandmother, go figure) and it’s a hoot. It drives Mom nuts, on the rare occasion she actually gets the reference and/or the double entendre. I’m glad that most of the time it goes over her head, for her own sanity and well being.

Mom has her own special brand of near-senility which is even more creepy than my Dad flipping off traffic.  She has always gravitated to the mega-weird parts of Catholicism which is downright scary, but the older she gets the more she watches EWTN, goes to Mass and Confession, and is grabbing on that rosary.  Normally I would say religious disciplines would be a good thing, but she gets Really Weird with it.  She thought that if she left EWTN on all the time full blast that the POMC would see the Catholic light and become a priest.  Never mind that he’s pretty much agnostic and really creeped by “men in dresses.”

To top that off, she’s also blithely ignorant that it’s really, really gauche to ask someone who is a confessional Lutheran and who has done a lot of theological and spiritual soul searching to come on down to the Catholic cathedral to venerate some dead saint’s bones.  Apparently the Catholic school she went to didn’t teach too much about Martin Luther, the 95 Theses, and the Reformation.

I had to decline the bone-gazing and necromancy out of conscience, but as far as she knows I declined because I had to do laundry.  I’d rather tell a little white lie – though I really did do laundry- than go through a detailed theological dissertation on why I don’t venerate saints’ bones.  I don’t need to hurt her feelings.

Even the POMC is borderline OCD. His car and motorcycle both are testament to that.

Both of my sisters could be called “castrating bitches,” due to the fact that they both can run a man like a railroad.

And here I sit with my own frailties and funky wiring.

So Easily Entertained, Laments of the 13%, and Country Music IS Noise Pollution

Those of us in the automotive industry aren’t exactly noted for being paragons of virtue, sad to say.

Last night I realized just how easily entertained I can be, and it’s sort of sad.  Jerry has been complaining about the slight vibration in the front end of his truck since the tires were rotated, so I had to follow him over to the dealership last night so their service department can tell him the same things I told him.  1. You have a 4WD truck.  It’s not going to ride like a car. 2. I personally don’t care much for Dunlop tires- at least not the ones Toyota uses as factory equipment tires.  They are OK if you drive the vehicle every day, but we are talking about a 2010 Tacoma with 9,000 miles on it.  When these tires sit, they cup.  When tires cup, you get vibration.  I had to deal with complaints about Dunlop tires (granted these weren’t the same exact model tires) 20 years ago when they were original equipment on Camrys- and the ones who bitched about them always had low mileage cars that would sit for long periods of time.   Most people aren’t fussy enough to even notice a slight vibration like that in a truck, but Jerry is sensitive enough to smell the fart someone just cut up in Moose Dick, Alaska (which is a hell of a long way from beautiful Central Ohio, for those ill-acquainted with geography.)  He notices anything even slightly off with that truck, even if it is well within the realm of normal tolerance.  I pity the service advisor who’s dealing with him.

Maybe I should not take sadistic enjoyment in tormenting car salesmen, especially when buying a new car is about the furthest thing from my mind, but I couldn’t resist wandering the new car lot as I’m waiting for Jerry to drop off his Tacoma with yet another whiny diatribe about the Dunlop tires.  I’m sure he thinks if he whines enough they’ll give him a free set of Bridgestones of his choice, but I highly, highly doubt it.  They’re not a safety issue or even a wear issue.  You have a bit of a vibration at 70 MPH.  Whoop de doo.

Just buy yourself a new set of tires if you are that damned fussy.  I told you to make them swap them out for Bridgestones before you took delivery of the truck…

Anyway, I didn’t even really get a chance to peruse the first two three-door Yarises- other than to glance and keep on walking because they were automatics- on the lot before a thin, sort of ferret-faced salesman starts chasing me down.  That’s what I get for perusing a new car lot on a weeknight.  The first thing I tell him is that I’m just checking out the new cars while I’m waiting on the old man to drop off his truck and that I’m not looking for a new car.  But of course, he persists, so I ask him if they have any (Scion) XDs or 5 door Yarises with manual transmissions.  Mr. Ferret gives me a sort of a weird look and asks, “You aren’t interested in an automatic?”

Ok, so ferrets are cute.  This guy wasn’t, but you get what I mean.

Hell, no, I think to myself, but then I have to wonder how many of the 13% he has actually encountered, and if he has had the rare opportunity to encounter one of the 13% who happens to be female. So I decide to take it easy on him.

“Sorry, but I only drive manual transmissions.  I won’t buy an automatic, which I know sort of narrows down my choices,” I replied, thinking that might make him give up right there.

It must have been a slow night, because the poor guy was running around all over the lot to see if they had any XDs or 5 door Yarises with manual transmissions.  They didn’t, but he did insist on getting my phone number (I gave the home number that I never answer) and e-mail. I don’t entirely want to piss these guys off because I’ve bought my last 4 new cars there.  Even though I pretty much despise car salesmen, I don’t want to be that much of a bitch.  I’m not interested in a new car right now- especially because Toyota isn’t building the Yaris sedan which is what I already have, and am perfectly OK with- anymore.  The XD is intriguing and even though it is a hatchback, that might cross my mind, but good luck finding one of those with 5 on the floor.

Yes, the manual trans is available, but have fun finding one with it!

I hope that I don’t have to resign to driving a farking Volkswagen just so I can get a sedan with a manual transmission the next time I buy a car.  It’s not that I dislike Volkswagen- as far as performance goes there’s no one like the Germans, and VW’s recent models (especially the Jetta and Passat) are interesting- but they are more expensive, and from what I’ve seen in the past, much less reliable than Toyotas.  Who got the farking idea that people who drive manual transmissions only like hatchbacks?   Who got the idea that everyone who likes a manual transmission can afford a European car, even if it does end up being a Volkswagen?  I know it’s hard to cater to the 13%, and I don’t mind that most of the available vehicles are econoboxes, but dammit, there is a market there!

The Jetta GLI could be fun, but I still wonder- how reliable?

I’m not enthralled with buying any car that isn’t made by Toyota, and I’m not buying an automatic anything, even if it means I drive my current Yaris until I drop dead.  So there.

I’m also wondering who around here is getting such a taste for oat opera.  Unless I put my headphones on, I am accosted to a rather foul auditory garbage dump of twangy tunes that make me think I’ve died and gone to redneck hell.  I try to be polite and use headphones if I want to listen to music outside of the privacy of my own car, because I understand that not everyone wants to hear Jethro Tull’s “Aqualung” cranked up.  It’s a cool song but sort of gross when you think about it.  I know I have unusual tastes in music and don’t aspire to inflict them on others.   But why do others think I want my auditory channels violated by Conway Twitty or Shania Twain?

Please, please spare me from bad country music- and most of it is IMO, incredibly bad- unless you want me to start playing David Allan Coe.