Archive for the 'Bizarre' Category

The Feline Lost a Canine!

Sunday, October 14th, 2007

Jim Lost A Tooth!, originally uploaded by Koog Family.

I’ve been noticing for a few days – although it took a while to register, that when Jim looks at me and meows, I see more of his lower lip than usual.

Yesterday, it occured to me that there might be a tooth issue. Not thinking too carefully about it, I managed to grab him and get a look at his upper teeth.

All there. But I mentioned it to Paul.

And this morning, Paul checked the bottom teeth and confirmed that Jim lost one of his large, lower canine teeth!

I’m pretty proud of the fact that I both held Jim AND took the large picture here all by myself.

And there’s no doubt. Our 10-year-old little buddy is now down one (pretty important) tooth.

My guess is that he lost it trying to eat the harder parts of one of his many recent bird or mouse victims.

The area where the tooth was doesn’t seem infected or irritated.

So I guess we wont’ do anything in particular about it. Except maybe give him soft food a little more often.

Missing Tooth!

Not Once, But Twice

Monday, September 18th, 2006

black cat

Originally uploaded by hananoki.

Strange. The road ahead of me was crossed by a black cat once on my way to work this morning, and once again on my way home. I doubt it was the same cat, as the incidents occurred several blocks apart.

I’m not sure if the superstitious would consider me to have a double case of bad luck, or whether the evening crossing undoes the bad luck of the morning crossing.

It was a pretty good day, too.¬† I didn’t have a reason to perceive¬†any doom or ruin.

Either way, I figure that the odds of that happening to one person twice in one day are pretty low.

Spinach Adventure

Monday, September 18th, 2006
bagged spinach

bagged spinach,
originally uploaded by jeffturner.

I attended a firm recruiting lunch today. The three female diners at the lunch were a bright Summer Associate candidate from Beijing (who attended University in Hangzhou), another attorney, and myself.

The other attorney ordered a “honey pecan salad,” and we were all surprised, when the salad arrived, to see that it contained spinach leaves (!), among other things.

I thought that the media has been doing its best to scare us all off of spinach for a while. And the caution seems especially justified given that the recent spinach-linked e. coli outbreak claimed a life last week in Manitowac, Wisconsin, just an hour north of here.

I can’t believe the restaurant served spinach!

The attorney bravely ate around the threatening leaves.

I suggested to her that if she takes ill, she may be able to make a worker’s compensation claim.

Our very own Hoochie Mama on A&E!

Monday, September 4th, 2006

The house diagonally across the street from us has been quite the focus of neighborhood concern and curiosity over the past year or so.

Most of the houses on our street in our working- to middle-class neighborhood are well-maintained with nicely groomed yards. As neighbors, we have a mixture of retired people and younger teachers, policemen, and others who are required by their work to live within��the Milwaukee city limits.

When we first moved in, two and a half years ago, we quickly surmised that the house in question was occupied by a somewhat frail,��elderly woman with failing memory, and her deadbeat nephew.  The nephew seemed to be an alcoholic, who was always either falling asleep in a lawn chair in the yard or making his next run, in his truck, to pick up fast food or more booze.

Occasionally, we would wake in the night to the flashing lights of police cars and/or fire trucks at their house. The officers would spend some time in the house and then leave again.

About a year later, the nephew’s social and business life seemed to pick up considerably.  Although his truck had been impounded (and returned) several times, he started driving up in any number of other vehicles.

Where did he get the cars?, we wondered. Did he have a friend in the used car business? One neighbor kept a running log of the various license plates on the cars.

Meanwhile, traffic to the house began to increase.  A strange mixture of people began to drop by for very short visits. We feared that the nephew was selling drugs from the home.

Luckily, our observant neighbors weren’t content to just sit by. They reported not only the possible drug activity, but also notified the city of the deteriorating condition of the house and of the suspicious automobiles.

Things got even more interesting when he seemed to make a lady friend. Like the nephew, she would arrive at the house in various cars – usually occupied by men. She would make out with the men (different men) before going into the house.

We weren’t sure if she was there, ostensibly, to take care of the older woman (was she a relative?), or if she was only there to spend time with the nephew. It seemed quite possible that she was a prostitute, and we nicknamed her the Hoochie Mama. She wasn’t an unattractive gal, but the goings on over there were strange, strange, strange.

I had the chance to observe the house, and the frequent comings and goings of the nephew, the Hoochie Mama, and others, during my maternity leave last fall.

One day, Paul heard the nephew and Hoochie Mama talking about getting the old lady to sign a trust over to them.

They were clearly up to no good. Somebody reported the situation to the city’s elder-abuse hotline.

Finally, one day, the elderly woman’s family arrived from Colorado. They convinced her to go back there with them. They also changed the locks, and we learned that the nephew didn’t actually live in the house, at all! It turned out that the nephew had already gone through over $60,000 of her assets.

Suddenly, the nephew couldn’t get into the house anymore, although I saw him come back and try the door a few times.

The Hoochie Mama and her companions stopped showing up.

And the variety of cars parked on our street returned to a normal number again.

One day, Paul and I were intrigued to see a couple of cameramen with impressive-looking cameras filming the house.

More recently, a group of other people arrived at, and stayed in the house for a couple of weeks while they diligently repaired it; they scraped off peeling paint, gave the house a new paint job, and some new windows. They trimmed bushes, and probably cleaned inside. We had heard previously that the interior of the house had been terribly dirty.

And now the house is for sale. It’s a relief. We hope that some nice family who will take good care of the place will move in.

But last night was the real kicker. Some of the neighbors were watching the Intervention show on A&E, and suddenly saw shots of that house and of their own houses and part of our house! The cameramen we had seen had been from A&E!  And the Hoochie Mama (I guess her real name is Tammi) was being treated to an Intervention, courtesy of her family, about her alcoholism.

Call me a voyeur, but I can’t wait to see the show.  I hear one of the neighbors may have taped it. (I believe the episode is #27 from the second season.�� The title is Tammi and Daniel).

I certainly had a chance to see Tammi in action.  And although I hope that the program will help her to change her habits, she seemed pretty happy as a Hoochie Mama.  I don’t know that she’ll be up for leaving that life behind.

I never thought that the Hoochie Mama from across the way would get footage of our street on national TV. But she did. Way to go, and good luck, H.M.

Fireworks – In Sky and Suitcase

Sunday, July 23rd, 2006

Festa Fireworks 2
 Originally uploaded by bfeil.


It was an oddly bland week, for being so full of excess.

The heat wave let up at the beginning of the week, but the wave of work at the office is more intense than ever.¬†¬†My boss promises that if he’s hired by one more big client (he’s been on a role lately), he’ll hire a new associate. That’s code for ‘someone else to help out around the place.’ I find myself hoping for that one more client.

My hours are generally pretty reasonable, but this was an extraordinary week. Every project has been an urgent one, and the deadlines and obligations all converged into a cacophonous mountain of madness on Thursday night, when I was in the office until nearly 11:00 p.m. Paul took care of Emma all evening, while I missed her, and cursed the calculations I had to perform for an IRS filing due the next day. But it felt good to get it finished the day before it was due. And my consolation for being at the office so late was that I had a perfect, 18th floor view of one of the best summertime fireworks displays over Lake Michigan . . . courtesy of Festa Italiana.

During the summer, the festival grounds see fireworks most night of every weekend. I sometimes hear them, from a distance, at my house. But when 10:15 rolled around on Thursday, and I wasn’t at my house, it was a great excuse to roll the chair away from the computer and to take in the view outside my window. Lovely. And I’ll take that kind of explosion any day over that kind happening, excessively, in the Middle East just now.

Paul is out tonight (and has been away much of the day), busy with his brother’s bachelor party. I’m sure there are some excesses going on there.

After putting Emma to bed, I watched our current Netflix flick – Walk the Line. Loved it.¬† There were some excesses in that subject matter, I’d say. And – hold on to your hats – I drank two beers while I watched it.

Then, most strangely of all, I seem to have fallen over the cliff of some ledge of vacation-planning sanity.

I think it’s the increased responsibility at work that is driving me to fantasize and plan in technicolor fanaticism about our upcoming weeklong-getaway.

Anyone who’s ever lived with me can vouch for the fact that I am not, generally speaking, a neatnik.¬† I am guilty of being a planner, but I’ve reached a new zenith of absurdity here.

Somewhere along the way during the internet research about how best to pack for a week in Alaska, I was corrupted by the idea of Ziploc bags.

I can’t really explain it. I won’t even try. And we’re over two weeks out from departing for this trip, you understand.

But my suitcase is now 95% fully packed in a perfectly organized garden of labeled and inventoried plastic zipper bags.  I am both horrified and pleased to look upon my creation.

I think I might actually really need a vacation.

Ueber-Prepared  Originally uploaded by Koog Family.


Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

Dancing Bat     The test came back negative today.

The biting bat (may he or she rest in peace) did not have rabies!! 

So no more shots for mom or Emma.¬† And I’m not as worried about the tenant’s bills anymore.¬† Homeowner’s should cover most of it, I would think.¬† And as my boss reminded me,¬†it’s just money.¬† Luckily, everyone is in good health.¬†¬†

Bat, Bites, and Bills

Sunday, May 28th, 2006

I’m still trying to come to terms with just what the odds are, astronomically¬†speaking,¬†of the occurrence of¬†some bizarre events in¬†our house over the¬†weekend.¬†

Paul and I left town for one night.  It was our first out-of-town overnight away from Emma.  My mother stayed over to take care of her.

Nothing could possibly go wrong in less than 24 hours, of course!

I made a routine check-in call to my mother from the hotel in the morning of our¬†weekend getaway.¬† Mom said that she had “had quite an adventure” the night before.

“Oh, Emma didn’t want to go to bed?” I asked, innocently.

“No,” she replied.¬† “There is a bat in the house!”

My jaw dropped.  We have never had a bat our house before. 


The events (and related, impending bills) are not yet far enough in the past that I’m able to spin¬†this one for humor.

The short version is that during a middle-of-the night check on Emma (in her room), my mother saw something swooping by.  

She turned the light on and saw the bat.

She screamed.  Emma shrieked at her scream.  (This pattern was repeated several times as the bat fluttered and echolocated around the room and into the hallway).  

Mom and Emma spent the rest of the night in another room with the door closed.   

Before we arrived home, things devolved from the novel to the unfortunate.

At my urging, my mother recruited the friendly upstairs tenant to help catch the bat, which was, by day, sleeping on the side of the kitchen cabinet.

During the course of the otherwise successful capture, the bat turned its head and bit our tenant on his fingertip.

Upon hearing that news (in Chicago), the first thing to flash through my mind was my homeowners insurance policy, followed quickly by other thoughts, which, of course, included great concern for the tenant.

A¬†representative of the Health Department¬†recommended that the tenant get the rabies vaccine right away.¬† She also read from¬†guidelines recommending that Emma and my mother should also get the shots, because the bat was in the house while they were sleeping, so we can’t know if they might have been bitten.

Because a Texas boy bitten by a bat during sleep died recently, and because of a well-known case of bat-related rabies in our state, the officials and medical professionals are all taking this very seriously.     

My mother got the first of her two shots the ER on the afternoon we arrived home, and I took Emma to the ER for her first (of five) shots, too.

Emma is scheduled for another shot on Tuesday.

The bat is being tested for rabies, and we’ll know its status on Wednesday.¬† If it has rabies, I’ll take Emma for the three additional shots over the next month.¬† The initial ER visit aside, I’ve made arrangements with¬†a reasonably lower priced (but still not that low) clinic for purposes of getting the rest of Emma’s shots.

But here’s the rub.¬† I told¬†my mother¬†to tell the tenant that¬†I would pay for his vaccine expenses.¬† It was the right thing to do, but I said it¬†before I thought through all the permutations of how much¬†that might cost if he has no health insurance.¬† ER visits aren’t¬†cheap, and he’s going to have to go five times!¬†to get the full vaccine series.

The good news is that everyone is being¬†cared for, and¬†there should be no health problems, even if the bat has rabies and bit everyone that¬†could.¬† And it’s all at zero cost to my mom, thanks to her insurance design.¬†

The bad news: in addition to the cost of Emma’s visits and shots, I may be¬†paying for five(!) of¬†ER visits for the tenant, who may or may not be insured.¬†¬†I cringe to think of how much that may¬†set me back.¬†¬†So much for our free trip weekend!

I’m still going to try submitting whatever it is as a claim on my homeowner’s policy.

Paul promised to check the attic soon to try and determine whether¬†any of the bat’s friends are up there.

I’m hoping this was a¬†one-time, freak occurrence.

Am feeling a bit more uneasy now, about that week away that we’re planning for later this year.¬†¬†¬†¬†

Oh, . . . BATS!!