Alrighty. Where did I leave off? That is right you just met The Paladin. My good boy. I went up to the school to mark on a card when the kids have made a circuit of the field, which happened to be one quarter mile each. It was a lot of fun. Some kids walked a quarter mile and quit. Some walked two and half miles and quit. The Paladin, who excitedly introduced me to every cub nearby, walked a full mile. Let me tell you that is a huge feat. He is built roughly like a...well...raccoon. All belly and backside. He told me he loved me and I told him I loved him and he went back to school and I went back home. I miss him during the day and this made us both remember to speak softly and not to worry so much about the little things that don't really matter. He is precious to me.
My wife...hmmm...I just realized that I ain't really talked about her much. First off she is stupid pretty. Let me explain it like this: she is so pretty that your intelligence quotient drops a denominator when she walks in a room. She is a raccoon so I guess you have to be attracted to raccoons to understand what I mean. I call her Love. When someone inevitably asks, " What does love mean to you?" I just point. My mom taught me not to point but I do it anyway. Call me a rebel. She is still a woman mind you. She isn't perfect. Sometimes I don't understand a single word coming out of her mouth. I don't listen really well, but that is beside the point. Love tries to remember that I work late and am hungry when I get home. She tries to remember that I like to be left alone for a few minutes after I get home from work. Love understands that I am ignorant of her feelings sometimes because I am a selfish raccoon. So if you ask me what Love is, I point to the woman who tries, remembers and understands. She is precious to me.
I guess I should tell you what I do for a living. I solve problems for people who get things done quickly. I don't have to be quick on my end of things, just thorough and empathic and polite. I am by nature not terribly quick. I am not all that thorough either. Actually I have very little empathy, especially for the stupid. I am polite only when not being honest to the skewering daggerpoint of rudeness. Somehow I am better at my job than ninety percent of my coworkers. Go figure. Yesterday I worked hard. I really hate that. I filed papers and fixed old problems and fixed new problems and made courtesy calls and ate my lunch of keilbasa, celery, diced tomato, white rice, and yellow squash which was quite a highlight. Love made it and it was delicious.
It is often quite busy or plodding drudgery slow. Yesterday it was very busy. People get punchy and cranky and loud when it is busy. They whine when it is not busy. It really isn't fair. I work with three skunks, a two lemurs a wombat, two monkeys, three foxes, a leopard, a bull, an orangutan, a cracked out squirrel a bagder, a bunchs and two walruses. Yesterday there was an argument between two of the skunks who tell the ferrets where to go and what to do. They are both named Kenny. But for simplicity we will call them Stank and Snot. Stank has a habit of getting too wrapped up on the internet to actually be paying attention to what he is doing. Snot has a habit of proclaiming his greatness and always rightness so much that he is unable to pay attention to what he is doing. They both forgot about a particular ferret called Snot's Nephew. Snot's Nephew is a gift. Like fruitcake at christmas...no wait I love fruitcake. Like socks. You say thank you because you have to. Snot's Nephew forgot to move something from one place to another. Snot blamed Stank's inattentive work habits and Stank blamed the fact that Snot's Nephew is a terrible ferret who does nothing and just spends his time talking about how great he is. The connection was lost on no one. Stank you see is a spiky fellow. I think deep down he is actually a porcupine. (Deep down I am Lynx.) Snot and Stank got into the office eqivalent of the chest bump. They flip their asses in the air and raise their tails while snarling and stamping their feet. It was a little dangerous since both fellas are on the bulky side and we were busy so customers could hear them yelling in the background. But good sense prevailed and rather than have the entire office stink like skunk, after a few parting shots they stopped.
Let me tell you this sort of arguing a good thing. At my old workplace, emotion was deadly to your job security and sanity. You had to be cool and cold and distant, and still show empathy and sympathy. I am glad that my coworkers and I get into scratch fights and growling contests. In its own little way, that interaction keeps us from really losing it. That interaction reminds us we are not alone. For all their faults Snot and Stank and Snot's Nephew are precious to me.
So today I slept in. Princess Truck did a dance on my stomach then got in bed and warmed my back with frenetic kicking. Love came in and did something I am truly grateful for. She rounded up Princess Truck and let me sleep for another hour. When I woke up again, a full hour of shut eye later I took a vain piss. I pissed while admiring my visage in the mirror. I was once considered handsome. I look and see fault. Lots of un accepted fault. So after my vain piss I came out into the living room to break up a fight between Princess Truck and Love. Love was trying to get online and Pricess Truck was spinning like a pollynose.
Some people call them helicopters, or pinwheels. They are the seed pods of maple trees. If you split them at the base you have somthing that resembles a long bird's beak. If you further spilt that base a little bit you can stick it to the bridge of your nose. My beaver sister and I used to play that game a lot when we were cubs. We would stand under the silver maple in my Grandmother(a fox)'s driveway or the gray maple at the edge of her front yard and catch them while they were spinning down to us. We would lie on the grass and watch them fall through the late spring sun and laugh as they fell on our faces. They looked like butterflies. I am not sure how much of that memory is true or hopeful revisionist childhood. But I like it, I think I will keep it.
So Princess Truck is spinning like a pollynose and jumping like jackrabbit, and making those sounds that only a little cub can make when she is extremly excited and extremely bored at the same time. Basically, P.T. was trying to drive Love up the wall in that scary shaky camera vampire-style kind of way. So I broke up the fight by playing with Princess Truck and giving Love a shoulder rub. Took a tongue lashing for my chivalry too. I understand that chivalry is supposed to be dead because women want to do everything themselves. But I ain't changing. And I taught The Paladin to respect and honor women too so you all can get mad at him when he is unpretentiously and non-judgementally helpful. After that relaxed into Love saying, " I am sorry I was short with you." and me saying, "I love you anyway," I ate two spriggs of broccoli made a cup of tea and took my detox pills. Big damned pills they are too. I guess I should explain why I am detoxing.
My doc who is part beaver-part badger says that my liver is fatty. Now before you go getting the wrong idea, I ain't a big drinker. Oh I have tied a few on in my day but I would say I drink seriously only four times a year at the most. St. Patrick's Day, New Years, one Summer Cookout, one Cast Party. My liver troubles started in college. I was in pain. Emotional, physical, and mental. I had mononucleosis, I was ridiculously horny and had nobody with whom to remove my horn, and I had a serious God complex. So to combat this pain I took eight hundred miligrams of ibuprofen every two hours. I did this for about five months. My diet was delicious but sickeningly unhealthy. Let us consider my favorite meal: Two twelve-inch extra meat, extra cheese, bacon, mushroom cheesesteaks, a sixteen ounce bag of potato chips cooked in lard with fake cheese sauce, an order of mozzarella sticks and hotwings, two huge iced teas, and a large coffee. Then I went on a few benders that very well may have permanently done damage to my liver. One night I drank enough dark rum to land me in a mental institution. Were I met a lovely crazy person who told me all about the various drugs that keep her sane. It was fun. But not for my liver. I am paying for it now by taking fiber and milk thistle and staying away from fried anything. My liver is precious to me, and I hope it forgives me for what I put it through.
So I took my pills and drank my tea and ate my broccoli. I chatted with Love about the goings on of people we pretend to be. It was a bit rainy this morning so we stayed in and chatted and played with Princess Truck and ate eggs and decided eventually to go outside and plant grass seed. Nothing against dirt or mud. I love dirt and mud especially between my toes. Grass just feels so good on my belly when I lay out and watch the ants, and it feels so cool and smells so sweet when I lay on my back to watch the sparkling stars. I dug a little path for Love's stones to go as a little boundary point for the cub's play yard. I even dug out a stump. You see what an extra hour of sleep can do? I was positively active. Princess Truck thinks she is full grown. She tried to play on The Paladin's full grown cub obstacle course/Fortress of the Waning Sun. So I had to help. First we played on the swing, then the monkey bars, then the slide, then the arm hanging swing thingy, then the monkey bars, then the slide, then...well you get the idea. I had just about enough fun so we took P.T. in for a cookie, milk and a nap.
I decided that since Love let me sleep, I would make the bed so she could take a nap while Princess Truck did. I did that, the last bits of what I need for work arranged and gave Princess Truck her milk. I sing three songs to her when I put her to bed. Sometimes just two but usually all three: Skidamarinky Dinky Dink by Sharon Lois and Brahm, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and Doodly Doo by I don't know who. Some people might remember it from camp, but I rememeber my Grandfather (an Eeyore inspired beaver)'s version. You have to imagine it in a thick ninteen-thirties Brooklyn accent.
Please play for me
That sweet melody
Doodly Doo, Doodly Doo
I like the rest,
But I like IT the best,
Doodly Doo, Doodly Doo
You don't have to swing,
There isn't much to it,
All you have to do it Doodly Doo-IT!
I love it so, wherever I go I just,
Doodly Doodly Doo
BA BOM BOMP!
On that last bit he would tweak my nose. I loved it. My mom sang it to me and I sang it to The Paladin when he was a little baby cub, and now I sing it Princess Truck. The Paladin added another "DING!" at the end of "BA BOM BOMP!" and my Grandfather, laughed and laughed. I still tweak her nose at the end just in case he is watching and thinks I'll forget. He was precious to me. But when he needed me I was selfish. When he needed me I was trying to get smarter at college. When he needed me I was too worried about Love and The Paladin to be there for him. He understood though. He never got to meet Pricess Truck. He would have loved her. She would have made him laugh. Well, since I don't want you to see me cry I am going to give it a rest for now. I'll continue tomorrow.