Bad Earl

Earl wasn’t always bad. He started out as an average pet store rabbit; cute, fluffy and oblivious to the stew pot intentions of his purchaser. Growing up on a farm left me with a soft spot for stew bound rabbits. Learning that we just ate my missing “pet” rabbit, was more horrifying than all the plucked birds and game carcasses put together. When the “intervention”  by one of my children and friends delivered Earl to my doorstep – I had no choice but to let him in.

Not told of the planned rabbit caper; Earl arrived one evening, accompanied by teenage exuberance. Rescued from the Aunt of one of these kids – a woman who planned to fatten him up for a special dinner – I agreed to give him sanctuary. As he was snatched from his cage in the course of a daring rescue – Earl arrived cage-less and quivering in a towel. I had no cage, we had a dog, so the only place I could think of to put Earl was a room in my basement.

The situation was supposed to be temporary. I found a card board box, cut it down and shredded newspaper for a bed. Being decades since having contact with rabbits, and then under very different circumstances – I had no idea Earl would use this as his litter box and start construction of his “domain” amongst our stored belongings.

Days turned to weeks, weeks became months – assurances that this person or that would be taking Earl or had a cage – coupled with my busy life – left Earl free to build his solitary basement kingdom. He was well fed,  litter box cleaned regularly , his realm taking on mythic proportions in the room beneath the basement stairs. Our house is old, his room a place where camping equipment and old toys collected dust along side roller blades and bicycles.

Within the first year, Earl managed to construct elaborate tunnels and passages – our junk became his brier patch. Any time we needed or moved something he went to work, shoring up defences or creating new exits and chambers. For the next few years he became faster, wiser and more elusive – taking such control over that room, we dared not move a single box. Sometimes if I sat quietly at the bottom of the stairs he would sit in my lap while I stroked his fur. Earl ruled the basement for more than five years.

One afternoon, skirting the edge of his kingdom on my way to the laundry room – he snapped. In hind sight it was like something from a Monty Python skit. I dropped the clothes, howling and kicking as Earl hung mid calf; his teeth firmly embedded in my leg – no intention of letting go. Bad Earl was born.

I can’t blame Earl; no rabbit should be allowed to reach mythical proportions in a basement. We made a decision to deliver Earl from this madness. Jericho Beach, a place over run with rabbits year round was his next stop. We like to think he became King of the rabbits – without question he developed some mad skills in our basement. In all honesty, I’m haunted by Earl’s fate more than the day I ate my childhood “pet”.

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It Bothers Me…..

A few weeks ago I was driving in heavy traffic at the end of a long hot day. As I approached an intersection it was obvious that road construction was partly to blame for the traffic crawl. My decision to bail and take another route solidified when a break opened in the lane beside me. I signalled, started to pull into the lane, when suddenly a car races forward, cutting me off. What happened next pushed my very last button. I pull into the lane once this accident waiting to happen is clear of my vehicle. The light changes, traffic starts to move; all traffic except aggressive jerk – now his signal light is on indicating he wants to turn into the lane I just left. Holy crap! For five whole minutes  jerk is at a full stop in front of me – I lost it – people must have thought I was crazy as I leaned on the horn screaming “what is wrong with you”. I really don’t like jerk drivers.

Mosquitoes find me irresistible.  Sure they attack my arms and legs, I react badly to their bites but can deal with these assaults. If only it stopped at that – somehow these demons manage to torment me by zeroing in on feet, knuckles, elbows, and ankles. I hate mosquitoes.

Who am I to judge another persons life style. Knock yourself out – choose to be a vegetarian or vegan – you have your reasons; moral , religious, ethical – no problem. My blood pressure only rises when you dress tofu up as turkey. Tofurkey makes me want to scream. Why would you want to pretend to eat turkey? It’s soy beans, a lifestyle choice you’ve made, not damn turkey.

Dogs are not supposed to wear shoes. There’s nothing cute about your Pomeranian’s sneakers. While I’m at it – dogs want to run in the park, not be pushed about in a carriage. Dogs are not dolls waiting for you to play dress-up.

I’m a smoker; I know the health risks, it’s my choice, and smoking is legal. The government collects millions of dollars in taxes from cigarettes. A package of 20 cigarettes costs over ten dollars but I can’t smoke in a city park, on the beach, in a bar, restaurant patio or within 6 metres of any business.

My blood boils when entering a premise populated by militant recyclers or delusional environment fanatics.  Terms like sustainable, free trade, ethical, organic, and local fill the air as they make coffee one cup at a time using single plastic packages of “organic, free trade espresso” in their expensive coffee machine. Are you kidding me? Single plastic packages for one cup of coffee? While on the subject of coffee – I refuse to utter the words venti or grande – my coffee is small, medium, or large.

I can’t ponder any more, it’s making me grumpy. What bothers you?

RIP Neighbour Cat

coyote just ate my neighbours cat. I assume it was the cat, she has lost three in the last twelve years; one thing for sure – it wasn’t the skunk who keeps spraying my dog. I doubt the victim was a raccoon; they can be nasty, and the alarming battle outside my window was brief. Squirrels are out of the question,  they’re safely tucked under my roof, chewing what’s left of my wiring. I’ll miss neighbour cat; it was a stealthy hunter, most certainly responsible for keeping down the rodent population.

Raised in the country we listened to coyotes wailing on hot summer nights. Not once did I see one. The odd deer nibbled the vegetable garden but raccoons didn’t live in our garbage can.  Pet stores were the only place to see rats, our dogs were never sprayed by skunks. Aside from the unfortunate young bear who chased us home from the school bus, sealing its fate at the receiving end of my fathers shotgun- life was gophers and an occasional garter snake.

Now I live in the heart of a major city.A skunk lives under my front steps. Raccoons waddle up and down the street, squirrels live in my roof; oblivious to the cayenne pepper bombs I place in their way. Rabbits happily populate parks. A coyote sighting is not out of the ordinary, sometimes spotting them three or four days in a row. Every once and a while they attack a child in the park, or go after a small dog. Mostly its rabbits and the likes of neighbour cat.

I ponder what Charles Darwin would have to say about urban wildlife. I doubt these city dwellers could make it in the wild, without question sharing less and less with their country cousins. If that’s not evolution, I don’t know what is.

RIP neighbour cat.

Cities like Vancouver can be an ideal environment for coyotes, one expert says.