Important critter updates

We’re rather like a nature preserve, over here, if you like your nature preserve with a motley assortment of dying plants and high-strung creatures, that is. I thought before telling you the new news, I should probably cover some old news. Good old news, even!

1) We have not had a recurrence of any car mice. Thank God.

2) Nor have we had a recurrence of any possums in the pool. (In fact, there hasn’t been anything of note in the pool for a while, or maybe Otto is just no longer telling me, which would also be fine.)

3) Despite the fact that we are rapidly coming up on a year from Duncan’s “maximum life expectancy is a year past this diagnosis” vet hospital odyssey, he continues to enjoy life, food, and the pursuit of new and interesting places to pee in my house. Because he doesn’t understand English I love to explain to him how he is the worst dog who ever dogged, and no one likes him, and if he doesn’t stop peeing on my floor I am going to make him into Duncan stew. Otto—Mr. I Don’t Want Pets—gets very upset when I do this. Duncan just wags.

It’s been a pretty good time for critters ’round here, is the point.

While I probably shouldn’t refer to my human children as critters, I’m about to. Mostly because it fits the theme, and only partially because even as young adults they are still more animal than human. The good news is that after months of complaining about it and being roped into helping with it, Chickadee’s room is now relatively empty and completely spotless! The bad news is that this is because she no longer lives here. The jerk.

A few weeks ago we finished cleaning, packed up her car, and Sunny packed up her car (and we put the stuff that didn’t fit in Chickadee’s car into Sunny’s car…), and the girls caravaned all the way to Texas, which I guess is where they live now (not near their parents at ALL because did I mention they’re jerks?). It’s fine. Everything is fine. Honestly it’s great, because they’re happy and it was time; and when better to have a move-across-the-country adventure than right out of college? It’s just this whole pesky coronavirus thing, dontchaknow, which makes it feel like we may not see them for a lot longer than I would like. That’s the only problem. (Chickie has been quick to point out that Austin, where they’re living, has a mask mandate and pretty much full compliance, so she feels safer there than she did around here.)

It’s a lot quieter here than it used to be. Also, Licorice runs upstairs to check Chickadee’s room several times a day, as she does not understand where Her Girl went.

Remember, too, that in the spring the girls adopted Tinkybell/Tonkybonk/Chonkin (a.k.a. the rotund cat of many names), which meant this caravan to Texas included the cat. The cat who hates the car. So apparently Tonky yowled the entire first day in Sunny’s car until they stopped in Louisiana for the night and Sunny was near nervous breakdown. So the second day, Chickie took the cat, instead, and she called me, and we had a conversation that was punctuated every few words by *MEEEEOW* *MEOOOOOW* *MEEEEEOOOOOOOOOOOW*. “Doesn’t it bother you?” I asked.

“Nah,” she said. “When we’re done talking I’m just going to turn the music up.” (I’m really looking forward to when she has human kids, lemme tell you.)

Anyway, they made it, and then they had to unpack and get settled, and moving is stressful for animals, you know? I hadn’t exactly embraced the wisdom of adopting this cat pre-move, but they’re supposed adults and it’s their business, so okay. I asked a couple of times how Tonkybonk was settling in and finally, about four days after they’d arrived, Chickadee started a FaceTime conversation with, “Sooooo… don’t be mad.”

Oh, good. That’s my favorite opener!

I wasn’t mad, on account of I am not one of the crazy people who moved 1,000 miles with a traumatized cat and promptly… adopted a second fucking cat. That seems totally logical and not at all a bad idea and also, hahaha, not my house, not my business!

The new cat is named Petey Pan (get it? get it? Tinkybell and Petey Pan?) and he only has three legs. He is objectively a far superior cat to Tonk because he’s more affectionate and purrs like a freight train, and also he hops on his hind leg like a kangaroo, which is entertaining. You might think this was an act of selflessness and love and everyone shall live happily ever after. I mean, look at them:

(That’s Petey up top, and Tonkybonk below. Don’t they look calm and chill?)

The problem, however, is that Tonkybonk is a mature ladycat who brooks no nonsense, and Petey is a teenager cat who just wants to play (DO YOU WANNA PLAY HUH HUH DO YA HOW ABOUT IF I SMACK YOU NOW YOU WANNA PLAY??!?), and as a result, that picture of the two of them on the coffee table is at worst a lie, and at best just a nanosecond in time. The more common pose of the two of them together is this:

(Petey: Wanna— Tonky: I WANT TO KILL YOU.)

So. I guess the girls are loving their new life, complete with constant Cat Thunderdome antics, so it’s all fine. Mind you, I live with two dogs who barely acknowledge the presence of one another, so I may be a bit biased. Maybe the hissing is good background noise? I don’t know.

One last critter story! Perhaps you will recall that way back in February, my children launched a worm phalanx in our house, and what started with just Bartholomew the wiggle worm very quickly became a full-scale war. I continued to find those damn worms all over the place for MONTHS. Periodically Chickadee would ask what I was doing with my finds, and I would always shrug and say that was no concern of hers, not to worry.

Well. The day she was slated to leave, Chickie borrowed my car (on account of hers was full of everything she owns) to go to a doctor’s appointment in the morning, and while she was gone, I tied the original Bartholomew—the purple wiggle worm that started it all—around her rearview mirror. It just seemed right. She didn’t notice right away, but as we were all gathered outside saying our goodbyes, she finally did.

“My worm!” she said.

“Cartholomew,” Monkey corrected. We all laughed. I mean, I think I laughed. There was something stuck in my throat, and about a minute later, she drove away to start her new life.

So they left, and it took two days, but they got there, got settled, got the second cat, and I have been patiently waiting. I’m following along with job interviews and other news, and it’s been two whole weeks, and still I was being very patient, I think. Today, vengeance was finally mine.

Mission complete.


  1. Elz

    She texted Your full name. You must really be in trouble! They will love Austin. It’s a great place, although getting a little too big for my liking.

    • Mir

      Yeah she was Not Pleased.

  2. Brenda

    The anticipation of a prank yet to be discovered is its own form of joy.

  3. Lorinda

    Well, played.

  4. Mary K

    So very well and patiently played. Mic drop, however, goes to Monkey. “Cartholomew,” indeed.

  5. Dave

    I love it. Sandy has an old Ken doll head that keeps ending up in peculiar places around the house… might be time for me to relocate it.

  6. Charlie

    OMG your name is Miriam! I’ve been reading for YEARS and I thought Mir was an exotic Middle Eastern type name. Ok no idea why I thought that, but I never read you as a Miriam!

  7. Jeanie

    Love this post. I’m glad Duncan is doing well, but a little sad that Licorice keeps looking for Chickie. I hope she and Sunny enjoy their new adventure with their cats and all.

  8. Chuck

    Sometimes the hardest part of a good prank is waiting for it to be discovered. Like the time in the 90s when I changed the message on my friend’s answering machine and he didn’t notice it for two months. :)

  9. Beth R

    You done good, Momma Mir! Not only did you successfully send your fledgling out into the world, you got the last laugh… at least for now 😋

  10. laura

    I get that no one stays home forever, that’s not a good thing. But this whole leaving business kinda sucks. Kinda.

    Congrats on the move Miss Chickie. I’m so very impressed with anyone doing Life during this time of…. well, you know, during this time!

    take care!

  11. Philippa Connell

    This was a real emotional rollercoaster of a post! A rollerposter, if you will. So to summarise my reaction: yay Duncan! Awwwwww. Hehehehehe.

  12. dad

    Children moving away from home is such a mixed blessing.
    I’m so proud of all of you, including Cartholomew.
    Thanks for posting.

  13. Chris

    Awwh. Mir for the prank win! So glad to hear the critter update (I think we are about to have an uprising around here but am less amused given it is all outside creatures which seem to have lost their predators and fear of people in the pandemic). Yes the clean rooms once they are gone are a double edge sword for sure. Did I miss what Chickie would be doing in Texas?

  14. Mom24

    So many hugs. xx

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