The following is a continuation of yesterday's toils. If you haven't read that, this blog will be even dumber.
Today I hoped to have a better day, and damage control plan to address old troubles from yesterday, as well as today;s chores. In doing so I jinxed it.
My hope was to start the day by doing large animal chores and taking the dogs out for a long walk. Besides the fact that Clementine pooped in the back of the Subaru while on the way to Sandy Beach, it still ended up being pleasant walk. You know my bar is pretty low when I am not too fazed by a mastiff pooping in the car.
After that I went into the basement to do phase I of the reptile chores. In addition to the big shed of reptiles we have a room in the basement that houses several snakes and a very wiley, young, and bitey Nile monitor lizard. I hadn't mentioned in my venting blog yesterday that I had taken this guy out of the aquarium we have had him in the last two years and put him into a large cattle water tank, equipped with a screen top. I was glad to give him a more spacious area. The trickiest part was making the top compatible with the hot lights. Those get hot enough to melt anything but metal.
Going down and opening the door, turning on the lights, and turning up the heat, all went as usual. When I looked into the large tank and did not see the monitor I assumed he was in the box he dashed into when I put him into the new pen yesterday. I then got a bad feeling when I saw the rectangular light fixture that sits over a small rectangular hole in the screen. The light had shut off according to the timer's command last night, and the monitor evidently did his jumping up and poking his nose where he can routine. Since the light was off, therefore cold, he had no trouble knocking it down despite the sides of the tank being over 2 feet high. He had found the weak link.
Thus began a panicked search of the entire room. After my exploration of the floor and all structures on it, I realized he probably climbed up our unfinished walls' gauze-like sheet that covers the insulation that had been blown in between the wall studs, behind the covering. This opened up a new world of possibilities for hiding spots. Finding I had already searched almost an hour, I postponed it and headed out to the reptile shed, planning to resume the search in the afternoon.
On the way over, I texted our head tech from work (IHA). Late last night she had let me know a dog needed a recheck today, Saturday. When I got the text I let her know I could be at the clinic by 11AM. Well, that was last night. Now I had to tell her I would be a little late, like 1PM. Thankfully, the tech is utterly generous and took it upon herself to see if someone else who was qualified would be at the clinic today. There would be. I was relieved I had one less thing to do.
When I opened the reptile house door, I was not at all surprised by what I how much mess was still left to clean from the previous day's flood. There were spots of wet hay, dry spots, and in the corner where we have the back door the huge pile of soaked hay I had put there last PM was host to 3 of the 4 tortoises. They had obviously spent the night circling the base, making it look less like a haystack, and more like a straight, tall, pillar. Ignoring them for the moment, I made sure all the hay under the spotlight in the middle of the room was dry and clean and put out their breakfast. I found the one well-behave tortoise, the smallest, and put him in front of the pile of greens and carrots and apples. I hand fed him as I often do because he has a deformed beak (as well as a heavily scarred shell) from an injury before we got him. He eats fine, just slowly, and has trouble with getting big bites in his mouth. Since he is the smallest, and has the scarred face, I call him Tyrian (GoT fans, you know).
Seeing me spoil Tyrian triggered Sully and Tara to come over to eat. The third had to pushed away from the wet hay so I could finally get it all tossed out. With them out of the way I opened the back door and pitched out the hay as fast as I could. As I got to the last of it, Tyrian came over and waltzed right past me, and out into the snow. It was crazy how his speed did not change as he transitioned from warm and cozy, over the threshold, and out into 15 degree weather. His vacation to Siberia was less than 20 seconds, but I like to think he felt worldly. I made him a new pile of food, since the other 3 tortoises were eating his first meal, or walking on it, or just sitting on it. Once he was eating I finished the job. I then spent a good hour drying out all portions of the floor I was not willing to do last PM. Wet hay was put into a rubbermaid container and added to the still steaming pile of warm wet stuff already out there. With time I had it as clean and dry as I would get it, so broke open another hay bale and spread it out.
Once all done I felt pretty great. Then I had to concentrate on feeding the other animals, and then finally deal with the leaking hose that caused the flood, and then fill Lois's pond back up since it was way down in level after last night's leak. To do this I had to bring the hose on the reel in to thaw, which never takes long in 85 degrees. I then rolled it back out, connected to the hydrant, unreeled the hose and push the end into an open window in the shed, threading in enough so I know it will reach Lois's pool. I bore you with the details because during this process I happened to see a pair of cheap looking sunglasses in the snow. Despite wondering who the heck had been hanging around our shed, I picked them up and tossed them in my jeans pocket, forgetting about them.
As the pool filled, I got to work on the filter and hose. Right on cue, Tara, my second favorite tortoise came over to be hand fed. To keep her from biting the bright colors on my boots, I made yet another food pile and hand fed her a bit. She was having none of it. She decided she wanted to explore the space I had created when I dragged the pool filter out of its spot wedged between Lois's pool and Lex's fence. On her way in, she got some of the electrical cord that was connected to the filter (not plugged in) wrapped around her front leg. Once in the spot she felt the need to explore, she turned around, and walked over the long length of hose I had coiled up, pulling the cord tite, as it was connected to the pump in the pool. She was stuck and not understanding my need to get her untwisted. Each time I got my fingers up into her "armpit" she pinched my fingers painfully by drawing her leg, but eventually got her free. She then turned around and checked out the "new corner" one more time.
Regarding the hose, I finally decided I needed a better sized connector for the hose, making necessary a trip to the hardware/feed/farm store I frequent. At the same time I realized the water level in Lois's pond was where it needed to be. I stood up and took a step towards the pool, stepping on something crunchy, and with some "give" to it. II looked down and saw the "thing" was that pair of glasses I had found earlier. But now the glasses were not sunglasses, their lenses were colorless. It was then I realized they were the prescription transition lenses glasses Torben had lost two days ago! I was amazed at my stupidity in thinking I had actually found some stranger's sunglasses, and didn't remember Torben's glasses tinted in the sun. Well, they had fallen out of my pocket and were now twisted and broken.
By now I had a rock in the pit of my belly.l I had to tell Torben I had lost the monitor lizard AND broken his glasses. The fact that HE lost them took only a bit of the edge off, but not much. I went out to turn off the running hose, with a cloud over my head. I then went to the open window and was pulling the hose out when it caught on something (a tortoise no doubt) so I pulled really hard. Instantaneously, the metal end shot out and hit me in the jaw. It fricking hurt, especially since I have TMJ issues already. Marveling at how dumb I was, I made sure I could open my mouth (My jaw locks infrequently) and turned off the hose. At least I remembered to close the window.
I was done with the shed for the day, and walked back to our house. I remembered I had committed to helping Kris, my daughter, with Algebra this morning, so changed out of my stinky clothes and helped her for an hour. Remember how low my bar is? Well, doing algebra I learned almost 40 years ago was as pleasant a time as I've had in the last few days. We then made pancakes, ate, and then my fun was over. Right after she went retreated to her bedroom I realized the therapy appointment she had was an hour earlier than usual, and we were not going to make it. What a shitty mom! We will still have to pay a no-show fee of $90. Now I at very least had time to go back to the lost lizard in the basement.
I got the ladder from the garage, then using the brightest flashlight we own, systematically went around the room and looked up into the what would be a crawl space had we not requested the house builder make it "snake proofed". They had filled the spaces liberally with foam, and for the most part it worked. However there were some cubbies that would have provided good hiding places for a slinky, thin, determined lizard. After making the rounds, I decided the lizard just had to be in the insulation. There are holes in the covering that is over the insulation "fluff", so the insulation could be blown in. Trouble is they are great places to go when wanting to hide.
How I would detect a silent and scared lizard to let me know his location was daunting, but I eventually decided I had to scare him out. I went to get an air sports horn I keep for startling the dogs those times they are barking in the backyard at apparently nothing. (It is great because the dogs never know where the sound is coming from. They just look around and come back into the house.) I took the horn and blasted it at the base of each space between wall studs, hope it would startle the guy enough for him to at least move a little to reveal his position. Fortunately the only other creatures in the room are snakes, thus have no ears, so cared not a bit about the noise.
Feeling hopeless, I set a small live trap with half of it in the box it came in, with the meat at the end that was in the nice dark box. I felt silly, yet at least felt like I was doing something. It was at least something. It allowed me to terminate my search for the time being without too much quilt. I had some important errands. One: Buy the hose thingy majiggy. Two: We needed produce for the tortoises and iguanas, as well as mealworms for the bats we are semi hibernating. Three: I needed to get new frames for Torben's glasses.
Some of you may be wondering why I was worried about how mad Torben would be when he came home to bad news. It is just the fact that it was another very snowy cold day, and I didn't want to add to how shitty his day may have been.
I called Costco's Optometry/Eye department, where Torben got his glasses, and was told that his frame was no longer available, but maybe something would work.
The next two hours of driving to and from the Farm/Hardware Store, Costco (Yes, they found a suitable frame and put his lenses into it.), then PetCo, was awesome. It was packed and crowed at Costco since it was Saturday, yet it didn't even phase me. Things were looking up. That is not all. When I got home I had time to start some dinner for Torben (which I DON'T do often) before Torben came home. Despite the cold his was in a pretty good mood. His first thing out of his mouth was "Hi". I looked at him and stared, unable to comprehend how he was wearing his glasses!? He looked at me weird then said "You know I have a second pair in case I lost the first. I told you that." Wow, I had no remembrance of that but still figured Torben would appreciate the back-up pair. He did. But I then apologized in advance for losing the monitor. Surprisingly, he just shrugged his shoulders and said "Yep, they're smart ones." and that was it. I was so amazed that I said "Aren't you mad? I feel horrible!" He just returned "We may never find him." and sat down to eat. He is like that. If it seems impossible, it is impossible. He had immediately just went through the stages of grieving after a loss apparently, in a split second.
But I was still absolutely worried about the monitor. As soon as Torben was done eating. We went down to look. As we went down the stairs I was babbling about how I used the ladder, the blow horn, a trap (which he laughed at). I went on and on, and as Torben opened the door he shut me up by saying "There he is!" He was right! Thing was dashing across the floor. Surprisingly he didn't try climbing the wall, but tried hiding behind snake cages. We each put on a Kevlar glove and as a team, were able to grab him and return him to his new pen. I fixed the escape spot he had used, and immediately thought "Wow! This is a good day!"
Suddenly all the pain in the ass stuff I did yesterday and today pretty much faded into the way way way past. I guess I am virtually a literal "life in the moment" person when it comes to stuff like that. I didn't feel an ounce of the frustration that had hung over my head for almost 48 hours. I do have a horrible memory, which usually is a pain, but think it has been one reason why I keep doing what I do, taking in weird animals, doing damage control almost daily, and spending time away from my daughter (which she actually doesn't mind much, at 13 years) and husband (which he does mind). Any person in her right mind would have stopped doing exotic animal rescue long ago. All along I've assumed I was crazy, now think my poor memory is to blame.
I guess it is in the animals' best interest that their nasty (natural) behaviour tends to be overshadowed the moment things start looking up. How else could I go on? Yea, I do have a pretty good life. I just wish I knew why my jaw hurts so much.