Monday, March 30, 2009

Oh Deer

Sometimes I feel like my life is just some ongoing black comedy. Or maybe it's just that I'm always trying to find humor in everything and some stuff just happens to fall into the macabre, morbid or taboo. In any event, let me get into this by first forwarning those of you with weak constitutions or with a special feelings in your heart for all those fuzzy creatures on the planet to please drop off at this point.

This morning I woke up and looked out my back window, as usual, and saw something rather unusual. What's that in the back part of the yard? No, it can't be...yup...a dead deer of all things. My kids were in the yard last evening, so this doe must have died last night, probably from a car strike. Now my area is not exactly Deer Central like some of my relatives where the deer hang around in herds on their properties, smoke cigarettes and talk trash at the passing cars. I have one set of 8 deer that I see once a year maybe; a mom with a decided limp and her 7 daughters (now probably 2 years old). To show my only hint of decency and sympathy, I hope this deer was one of the 'babies' and not the mom.

Very quickly, the full implications of having a carcass in my backyard became apparent. I made a quick call to my local police station and confirmed that I was responsible for the body: in my yard, my problem. If it were in the road...different story.
"Well can we just drag it out to the curb?" Linda suggested
"Oh yea, and we'll just say it was struck and killed on the cul-de-sac." I said...I'm not draggin' and I'm not lyin'
"Let's drag it over into the neighbor's yard!" Linda snickered. Tempting...but no.
"I'll just call someone to take it away" I said, "What's it gonna cost? 50, 75 bucks [pun intended]?"
Linda, in a rare display of quick wit said "Just as long as we do SOMETHING with Jane Doe".

My mother in law however, was more hard nosed about the situation. "WHAT?!? The town won't take it away?" I said "We'll just call someone, they'll take it away for 50 dollars." She seemed shocked at the price "50 DOLLARS! I don't want to pay $50 to get rid of it!" DAYMN, I thought she thought the price was low. "We can just get rid of it ourselves." she continued, "Cut it up, bag it, you have a chainsaw, don't you? Heck, they do it on SVU all the time. I mean, this is just like being a butcher. We'll just cut it up and get rid of it!"

Luckily, it was time for me to go to work, so I didn't have any more time to discuss. On the long drive, I had thought about what the 'manly men' in my family would do. My dad or my brother-in-law would just have gutted it, hung it up, then taken it to their butcher friend and gotten 20 pounds of meat out of it. But, like, I don't have a sharp knife and let's just say that bambi-burgers wouldn't go over well in my house (let's just call them bambergers for all those and let the pun go completely overboard). The other alternative, my M-I-L in the backyard with chainsaw and a hockey mask, wasn't sitting well either.

I called my wife at lunchtime and found that the situation was getting a little more critical. My wife and my mom-in-law had to take Jason for a scheduled doctor's visit, and they had agreed NOT to talk about it. My MIL had commented to Linda "Don't worry, don't ask me about it, I'll take care of everything." Oh, shit. I have to act quickly. I checked the internet for 'animal removal' and after a somewhat over-detailed website, I called seemingly the only person in the area who does this kind of thing for a quote. "For a deer, I'd have to get the owner to call you back to get you an exact figure, it's not stuck in a fence or something?" she said. After I made one of those droll looks at the camera I said "No, it's in an open space in the backyard, it could be picked up and taken away rather easily." "Well," she continued, "it depends, but the price would be around 350-500 dollars." "Okaaay, thanks, I'll call you back."

Now I'm thinking about being out there with my MIL, with the hacksaw and a white butcher's coat. I'm NOT paying $500 to remove an animal who happened to die in my backyard. Okay, time to weigh the options:

Mom's legs-sticking-out-of-the-garbage-can idea...I just can't do it and I can't have her do it either.

Drag it out to the road behind my house and run like hell at midnight: not pleasant but a viable option at this point.

Last, dig a big hole in the backyard with lime and be done with it: Lotta work but it seems to be the only honest and cheap (and less than morbid) alternative.

So I get home tonight, eat some dinner, get into my sweats and announce the digging will commence in 5 minutes. Of course the older three are all gung ho to get out there. Of course Jason, has to go out the front door and announce to the entire neighborhood (there were 8 pre-teen boys in the cul-de-sac at the time), in his best impression of Vern from Stand By Me said "Hey guys, wanna go see a dead body?" (BTW, did you know that Vern kid was Jerry O'Connell?). It took 10 minutes before the gawking stopped and we could get down to work.

Night falling, only one shovel and one pitchfork (SNAP) there goes the pitchfork. We got about one foot down and called it a night. Me huffing and puffing; Dillan barely breaking a sweat; Jason providing color commentary; Alyson banned 15 minute before that over fighting over the shovel. Just the kind of thing I look forward to when I come home after a long day at work.

Hopefully, this will be the end of the story. We'll spend the next two or three (or four or five) nights getting 3 or 4 feet down and be done with it. I'm not really laughing as much as I was this morning, but dark comedy is supposed to make you think as much as laugh...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sometimes, Just Take it at Face Value

I freely admit I'm a cynic. I will look for the 'angle' as to why someone might be doing something that, on the surface, might seem altruistic. So when Gracie had a note in her backpack saying that she was the 'most improved student' and that if we brought her to a specific Lakewood Blue Claws game she would receive an award on the field before the game, my cynicalarm went off. Then, when Livie came home with the same note, I got in trouble with the whole household because of my smirk and attitude about these 'awards'. No way, EVERY kid must have gotten one of these notes, this is a sales gimmick for the team to drum up sales.

I made Linda write notes to their teachers to ask them if this was true. Turns out, they ARE both the most improved students in their respective classes. Gracie's behavior has improved markedly over the past few months and Livie's signing and receptive language has exploded over the same time period. So I happily eat my own words. Yea Yea...there are only 6 kids in each of their classes and yea, the Blue Claws are going to sell 5 tickets to the rest of us. But i can't wait to be out on the field with the two of them while the echo of the announcer mispronouncing my last name reverberates through the stadium. I guess they won't let me take the mic and say that I am truly the 'luckiest man on the face of the earth' to have two girls who are doing so well.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

New Therapist (subtitle: The Big Box)

We finally received our mattress for Grace last week, and I found enough time this weekend to set up the girls' room the way we'd like it (reintroducing Grace to sleeping in her own room comes later). Not enough time to pack away the toddler bed and the crib mattress, however. We were also left with a huge, go cart sized box in our living room, the bane of parents' lives because these boxes tend to have 9 of them. This one has been no exception. It was a cat rest, a roller coaster car, and a race car briefly, until Aly realized the amount of effort it would take to push it down the hall with Grace inside. She spent 1/2 hour prepping it with duct tape and it spent 2 minutes in actual operation.

I'll not get into the details of the battle for this box, suffice it to say that both Jason and Aly had vied for the cardboard... Jason had lost. When Aly had given up on the race car project and was about to begin the dismantling, when I intervened and passed the prize back over to Jason. Jason took off with it and began creating something called a Pat Pat Rocket. Gracie had just received this thing related to the Disney show Little Einsteins, so I am new to this whole rocket business. But here's Jason jumping in, getting Grace involved with the designs on the inside.

Linda told me Jason has been doing wonderfully with Grace, interacting and getting her involved with imaginary play. From the play category, Jason's pretty much the polar opposite of a 'concrete thinker', preferring to make up things as he goes along, mixing up medias of TV shows, Legos, video games and anything else that gets lodged in his head. He's has a very warped imagination (he's my son after all)! All that imagination pours out and is a perfect foil for Gracie's scripting and repetitive language. They spent hours in the spaceship, pressing the imaginary buttons and going on imaginary 'missions' that Gracie is following along with and enjoying. The ship is still residing in the middle of our living room, although I am not so averse to it's least for now.

So, we can add Therapist to Jason's long list of potential career paths: Screenwriter, actor, writer, dad and anything else that requires an overactive imagination. Thanks, Jay