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Dueling Clusters......and it is only 10:00AM.

Torben and I have fortune and blessing of a wide variety of animals with a wide variety of needs, alligators, tortoises, emus, cats, and dogs....... We are so lucky!

Torben and I have the great misfortune of a having a wide variety of animals with a wide variety of needs, alligators...... OK, you get the point.

By now I am ready to call the day done. Torben and I have ahad a crappy morning, and for most of it we were not even together! Seems if one of us is having a bad time, the other is as well. That makes venting to eachother difficult since each of us thinks we had it worse so should be the first venter.

To be fair I will vent for both of us and try to give the play by play for each as time goes.

I will be first, simply because I am me.

Things started off OK at about 6:25AM, got Kris (Kirsten) up for bed, walked with her and her dog Tango, then made sure cats and dogs and rats, mice, and guinea pigs all had water and food. I only had one inappropriate pee spot to clean in the basement and called myself lucky.

Torben headed out to go to a PT appointment for his shoulder. I asked him to take my Honda Van since it was in the near vicinity of where it needed to be dropped off for some engine work. The plan was that I would pack the dogs into the Subaru, pick him up at the garage, and we would have a great walk on our simultaneious day off from work.

At 7:15 I am still doing stuff, Kris is almost ready to head out, when she said "Dad wants to talk to you."

OK, I say, I will call on my phone. Evidently he had called me first but I of course didn't have my phone on.

I called 5 times and got no answere. I texted "Tried calling. U OK?"

Minutes later Torben calls to say he had been in an accident. He is OK, but he was at a complete stop when a young woman rammed right into the back of the van. He managed to turn the steering well so be barely missed the car in front of him, which simply drove off happily ignorant of the close call.

So began the exchange of information. The young girl didn't have a phone (believe it) and had to use his to call everyone person on the planet earth. Police came, and Torben missed his appointment. He planned to come home when all was said and done at the accident site.

As this was happening I decided to pack the dogs and Kris into the Subaru. I drove to the end of the drive where she waited for the bus. I walked over to feed the horse, donkey, llamas, etc....... I discovered the hose had been left on all night by our very helpful volunteer at Witty Kitties. He tends to walk away while it is running. This leaves the area swampy and muddy. The adult emus are abusing the baby emus, though they are all the same size. Lorenzo the llama is bullying Sparkles the llama... It is just one big happy family.

I finish the farm chores, Kris had got onto the bus, and I run into Witty Kitties to give insulin to our resident diabetic Beau. Then off I and the dogs go to take a lovely off-leash walk.

About two miles away, while on the curving, dusty, Sandy Beach Road, I slow down at a farm where I see a black cat sitting in the middle of the road. I stop. It circles, then falls. Dogs are barking. Care behind me is like WTF? I get out and the cat tries to run, then falls. The car behind me contained an attractive, clean, brother/sister pair who smelled like their folks had money. They had pulled up closer and stopped. As they watched I made a grab for the cat and missed his scruff. I had him by the back which left me wide open to be bit, but as he struggled and tried to bite I realized how weak he was. I got his scruff with my other hand, then walked over to the other car.

"You don't happen to have a blanket, do you? Dumb-founded, the young girl got out, opened her back seat door and readily determined that she did not. She seemed very nice, and was wearing make-up that would have made Kris, my daughter envious.

"OK, well, I have 3 dogs in the car, and..... Well, I'll figure it out."

They drove off, no doubt headed for Solon highschool.

So I stood in the middle of the road with a on and off thrashing, distressed cat. He didn't appear injured. He was extremely thin, pale, drooling, and had what looked like a body covered with light brown sand. It was adhered to every hair on his body, inclusing the tiny hairs of the ears, eye lids, nose. I then realized it was lice. The cat may not even been hit by a car and was just a weak, circling mess due to heavy external parasite load. The heavily impacted ears due to ear mites may have been causing the circlking.

But I had to do something. The dogs quit barking. They all stood in earnest behind the gate I had reacently put into the car to keep them off the front seats. I walked over to the front passenger seat and saw I did have an extra blanket. I opened the door and put the cat on the floor and layed the blanket over him. When I let go of him I was surprised and relieved to see he wasn't trying to take off. He lay there breathing hard.

I got into the driver's seat. I had a decision. I was a mile from our walk site. If I kept driving towards it, the dogs would stay happy and quiet. I would abbreviate the walk, and hope the cat continued hanging out where he was. If I turned the car around, the barking would be deafening, and the cat may be startled enough to react.

I choose the former. As I park the car and let the dogs out Torben called and said the van wouldn't start. This is the problem it had been having and was going to hopefully be fixed at the garage today. He was hoping I would come jump start him.

"OK, I will let the dogs play for a few seconds, head home, put them away, then euthanized a sick cat I picked up. I'll be a bit."

Silence on Torben's end.

Then "OK." Hang up.

I briskly walked more than a "few seconds" with the dogs, got to the car and saw the cat sitll resting quietly, let the dogs in, and headed home. Thankfully, Torben called as I was going home and told me he had a jump start from someone else.

I sedated the cat, which freaked out every time I checked on it (though it only hissed and weakly lashed out with his legs, then gave him euthanasia solution. On further exam I was convinced he was a debilitated mess. He was white as a ghost, and had an already healed fracture of a back leg (crooked, but healed). He wasn't more than 10 months old according to his teeth. For those of you who think I should have heroically saved him. I will tell you this. I have done that in the past. In some cases, as I believe this one would be, I discover the cat is extremely wild, and only handle_able until feeling better. Medicating these cats is not easy. Also, there is the problem of where the kitty will live afterwards. My property has a glut of cats like this. There is not a line of people interested in taking a cat off my hands even after putting weeks of care and effort into it.

After Torben finished reporting the accident to our insurance company I drove the Subaru and he drove the van to the auto mechanic's garage. We dropped it off, then thought we could start our day anew.

Our plan? Put Lois the small, female alligator into the reptile house for the winter, then the giant tortoises.

When we got into the reptile house we noticed Lex, the ten-foot male alligator had done something very annoying. He had bit off the bulb for his heat lamp, despite being several feet over his head. He did not break it, as it was an expensive "splash proof" bulb that is meant to stay on despite splashes from water. It was floating in the pool next to his big stupid smiling face.

After much cussing, Torben fished it out. I climbed into the rafters, and hooked up another light for him, this time pointed from the side from the outside of the pen.

We noticed one of the two bulbs in the iguana cage was out, an expensive reptile bulb, a relatively NEW and expensive bulb.....

I replaced it with a cheaper bulb til I could order another good one.

We also noticed one of the the bulbs over the basking area in the turtle/Lois pond was out. It too was a fancy splash-proof type. I walked into the pond, replaced it with a cheap bulb, until another could be ordered.

You get the point.

I then fixed a leaky connection on the pump for the Lois's pond.

We were ready for Lois.

Lois is about 4 1/2 feet long, but strong enough to be a pain in the ass to handle alone. With Torben holding behind her head, and me holding her back end we walked her from her outside pond to the inside pond. As we lifted her over the fence I built to keep her from crawling out of the indoor pond I thought "Huh, this worked out nice."

Torben gave the count on when to let her go. "OK, one, two...three!"

Splash! Went lois into the pool.

POP! Went the new non-splash proof bulb I had just installed.

As I listened to Torben's angry rant I looked at all the shining pieces of glass scattered in Lois's pond.

I took off my shoes, and climbed into the pond for the third time that morning. As a I picked and swept tiny pieces of glass out I actually liked in how neat it felt when Lois swam against my legs. I actually didn't mind being in the pond with her. I suddenly felt very cool.

That was until my pinky toe got bit.

Dang it hurt! Fortunately I had my eyes on the soft-shelled turtle which would had done a bit of damage had it been her. Lois looked at me as to say "Hey, I wouldn't have just made it a toe, girl."

My toe was just red. Torben decided it had been a Cichlid, one of the many that should have been eaten last season, but survived life with the gator and would have another season to face again.

I just came into the house. It is hours away from noon. I just listened as two cats vomited on the floor, almost at the same time. I feel like just sitting here and hoping nothing else happens.

Unfortunately, we still have those damned tortoises to move.

Heads up.

(For those of you paying attention. I kind of gave up on giving the story from Torben's side. That's just the way I am I guess.)

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