Levers and fulcrums

Just a snippet of some kids at play – and one of them had a camera!
Sorry for the loudness of the screaming at ~5 second mark!

The hoop is located at the top left – just over the peak of the house in the background.

The Allergy Experiment

This experiment started (for me) on or about the day I marched forth and married agreed to marry an animal-person. She always said

Fur and Feet!

The Animal Person
Unfortunately, for The Animal Person, this experiment never got any official funding because one party in Congress had an over-riding allergy to the fur plank in her platform.

Skim forward several years, add a couple more Mermaids, both showing Animal Person tendencies, and the story gathers complexity.
Neighborhood Bozo
We even tried a mechanical, robot-kitty that moved and purred when you pet him.
We got him when LaGrande was one.
He was good enough to fool a one year old for a day or two, and amazingly, he’s still around. I don’t remember his original name but now we call him BrokeNeck Kitty.

As things like this might do, this true-to-life experiment turns out to have recapitulated a certain…history.
You might ask,

What do you mean ‘…a certain history?’

Well, maybe a couple of histories together. Let me ‘splain.

History Number One
You see, as a little blief I had a neat book, a little learn-to-read-anthology, and I read it a lot.
One of my favorite stories in it was called Too Many Bozo’s.

Let’s review.
This was a story about a little boy who wanted a dog – but his Mom wouldn’t let him. Their house was too small, or something like that. Let’s say I’m kinda like that Mom – but probably not as nice, and with allergies.

So, the boy brought home a frog!
Bozo the Frog

Just like my Mermaids did.
Our first pet, wayyy back in OughtFour – was a frog, Hayla, who joined some gifted fish.
Between then and say 2012 there have been many other Bozo The Frog’s; grasshoppers, tree frogs (I had a GREAT time feeding them flies), ladybugs, praying mantis’ (briefly), and perhaps even some that an animal person might consider important but which I am blocking forgetting.
With EVERY SINGLE ONE – I probably had the very same look on my face as the mom in the story.

Recently we had an uptick in fish – this is Blood Red Beta and he joins two other fish whose names even The Animal Person doesn’t remember.
Bozo the Beta
They just float, in their isolation chambers, all day long, like Nirvana fish. ‘Cause they don’t have any feelings.


In the story, when the frog surprised the mom in the sink she insisted that he go and the boy reluctantly traded him for a rodent – specifically a rat!
Bozo The Rat

Now we haven’t brought a rat into this house, ever, (at least not on purpose) but we do have our share of rodents.
Back in ought-eight, The Animal Person (and her CountryMouse sister-in-law) agreed that Rabbit’s are wonderful pets and once again I capitulated with a look verrrrrah simalah to the one you see in the story.
Bozo The Rabbits
The Mermaids were over the moon, yada yada yada…
And AGirlBunny and Nishi have been in our yard (still not a problem with my allergies) mowing my lawn weeds, and digging chuckholes in the grass, ever since.

Then about a year ago – fur and feet, finally found it’s way into the house.
Bozo The Hamster
I wasn’t super happy about it but LaGrande and TheWeeOne were, once again, over the moon. So I’ve, uhhhh, tolerated it’s attacks on the water spigot and of course the endless midnight rampages on a grease-less wheel.
Bubbles lives in the living room.

In Too Many Bozo’s the rat got out and ate the mom’s cake and had to go – so the boy brought home an ant farm.
Bozo The Ants
This was the last straw for the mom, she couldn’t bear the thought of them also escaping and taking over (as insects invariably will).

Setting aside one season of grasshoppers, a rescue hermit crab named Miracle is our only Bozo Ant.
Bozo The Hermit Crab
Miracle’s swamp-mate, ShyBlue Hermy, didn’t make it as far as this story, may the tide rest her shell.

Miracle actually makes The Animal Person look like the mom in the story – kinda white and quivery.

Pretty creepy.

I can attest that hermit crabs aren’t much good as pets; unless you want a real fright in the middle of the night as they silently roam around their wetland and then suddenly fall from the top of the rock smacking their shell into the side of their glass like a crazed inmate, 10 yrs in solitary, creeping out of the dark as you walk by to throw his dirty tin cup at the back of your head.

Makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck.

But all these years of animal wishes were wearing on me, and not in an altogether bad way.
I’m definitely not an Animal Person, and I certainly don’t like the interminable expenses on each new ‘fad’ – if that’s what they are – but I do enjoy the occasional romp and a laugh or the warmth on my lap through a movie provided by a good old friend of a pet.
That said, every Easter and Christmas spent in an animal house reminded me, in a few short hours, that my house was not to be an animal house.

Even the strongest of walls do crumble.
The strongest mortar in my brick-wall defense began to erode rather aggresively once I figured out my relationship with sugar. My most aggressive allergies were diminished to the level of the occasional gnat in your soup.

Then, a small hole was poked into the fissures left between those bricks when I spent an allergy free week in St. George with a puppy in the house. Credit Gramma Nana. (uhhhh What kind of dog is that?)

And here we are, finally.
We’ve come to the experiment.
The REAL experiment and the point of this post.

The Experiment
Last Christmas I found out that Gramma Nana and Grampa Troy were coming to town for a week and in an attempt to maximize our visitation time we offered insisted that they stay with us. Their dogs (now there are two) would clearly have to stay home – or would they?

Not unlike the mom in the story, I came to realize many years pets ago that the onslaught wouldn’t stop unless or until The Mermaids got their “real” pet.
I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you I’d spent some real time investigating hypo-allergenic cats.

But…MY GOD some of those things can be ugly.

And if they aren’t ugly they are expensive.
And even the expensive, semi-un-ugly ones are apparently freakishly psychotic or furniture shredding attention whores…or both.
And…most importantly, often they don’t make a whit of difference to the allergy prone.
No way I experiment with a hairless rat-cat-rat that is bred not to take no for an answer.

But now I had a chance.
I knew the puppies. Check.
I could find out if I could co-habitate with TWO scruffy little puppies, for a whole week, with the doors shut to the northwest weather, and wall-2-wall carpet and survive! Check.
I wouldn’t have to risk an arm and a leg, my future relationship, and putting the Mermaids through therapy in their mid teens when I tore their precious rat-cat from their tear-marked claws. Check.
All that AND we get Gramma and Grampa for a week! BONUS.

I figured: worst case scenario I get some medication rolling and tough out a week of puffy-face.
I’ll sleep in the basement and The Mermaids get a fix – what’s not to love?

Besides…maybe, just maybe…nahhh. Don’t get anyones hopes up.

To make a even longer story shorter – the week went swimmingly.
The puppies (both Havanese) were excellent, I didn’t see any gnats in my soup, and then it happened – despite my best efforts, the murmurs began about 2 days before they left.

I wish they could stay!
I wanna doggie puppy!
Someday when I’m older I’m gonna get my own puppy – cause Daddy’s allergic!

In the story the mom has a heart of gold and capitulates to her only child as long as the dog is small.
Bozo The Dog

About 2 days after our experimental puppies went home our new dog came home.
The REAL Bozo The Dog
Wikit was the last of a litter, a late December, shot-in-the-dark opportunity at having a dog of our own.
And in many ways he’s turned out to be a pretty fun little friend.

He’s already a bunch bigger than this as this post took a while to assemble.
This was taken on the first day after he came home when TheWeeOne was introduced to him.
I’m sure there will be many more photos & stories of Wikit to come – if not here than elsewhere.
The Mermaids? They are most definitely up to their eyeballs in puppy love.

History Number Two
Now earlier – I did say there were a couple of histories in play.
As a post-script to the Bozo-like turn of events that brought a puppy into my ‘non-animal house’, I have something of a Velveteen Rabbit moment.

A toy puppy, so loved, and so careworn, and perhaps eventually shoved to the back of a memory.
Yet so old and wise is he through those days of living and loving that in the end he comes…to…be.
I give you, Tiny RuRuff, LaGrande’s favorite toy puppy from her three’s, four’s, and five’s.

The REAL Tiny RuRuff

He’s real.

The Tarzan Experiment

My 19 month Tarzan experiment is officially over.
In case you are one of the few who HAVEN’T heard the story (and for posterity).

In August of 2012 I was sporting the clean look.
The Clean Look

TheWeeOne (age 5) and I were channel surfing and saw a mid 90′s TV show of Tarzan

She asked

Is that a girl?
Why is his hair so long?
He’s Tarzan, he doesn’t have any scissors! (but apparently he does have a ray-zor and a waxing kit)

She paused for a few minutes and regarded this ape-man and then said

Hm, I like it…
(looking over at my bald head)
…you should do it.

I agreed and didn’t cut my hair one time; until yesterday.
It was interesting to note how it modified some of my self-perceptions.
Sometimes I felt scuzzy and sometimes I felt like I didn’t have a care in the world.
I didn’t analyze how I might have been treated differently but I’m sure there were lots of subtle differences.
A lady recently asked me on the street ‘You gotta cigarette?’.
It was certainly difficult to power through some of the bad-hair months between 6-10 and I’ve haven’t used THAT much shampoo in a decade.
I really don’t like the maintenance effort involved.
Pony-tails hurt your scalp and I woke myself up sometimes when I roll over on my hair in the night.
TheMommy REALLY didn’t like the look.
Right now? My head is cold.

Tarzan Experiment