Friday, June 1, 42 A.D.

Wringing Out My Mind

June 1?  Really??  Where did this day come from???  Did the Weather Channel issue an official "June 1st Watch" when I wasn't looking or is this just one more of those freak radar-evading dates which pop up out of nowhere and wreck havoc  before anybody has time to take cover?

Wait - it's all starting to come back to me now....  I went to lay down on May 17th...  I distinctly remember setting my alarm clock for last Thursday....  Guess I ended up hitting the snooze bar a few too many days in a row, huh?

No, WAIT - it's only seemed like I was napping.  The truth is that, of the last 19 days, no fewer than 15 have been rainy, cloudy, damp, and cold.  My autumnal hibernation reflex has been triggered as a result.  And even though I haven't quite yet given into it entirely, it's still resulted in my walking around in only a half-awake state.

If this entry sucks, please don't shake your fist in my face - shake it at the weather system that hit me, backed up over my quivering carcass, then went around the block and hit me again....

But enough of that kind of talk.  Time to get up, sponge myself off, and see how many dampness-enhanced stories I can wring out of my mind before they get moldy.

Story #1:  The Red Admiral butterflies have taken a real beating the last few weeks, BUT - before they did - they were joined by a few larger, yellow-and-black friends I've since learned are called Tiger Swallowtails by those smarty-pants biologists who are never content to just stand there, point, and go "Ooooooo, PURTY!!"

Here's a sample photo for your enjoyment (taken directly from one's driver's license after I pulled it over for pushing Ohio's posted charm limit):

Portrait of the artist as a young nectar addict


Unlike the Red Admirals, these Swallowtails are alleged pests multiple eyewitnesses claim are in the habit of munching apple orchards and such.  Don't let that unfairly prejudice you against this particular fellow, however - the breathalyzer test revealed he hadn't consumed anything inappropriate for at least 3 hours prior to the time we met.

Story #2:  The robin with the nest in the lilac bush just outside my office window (a mere 8' from where I sit typing this!) is still there despite all the wind, rain, and typing.  Bad news, though: The tiny clutch of eggs she had been sitting on has mysteriously disappeared.  I don't know what happened, exactly, but I suspect the baby birds that have taken the eggs' place might have something to do with it.  Hard to tell, really, since every time I try to question them they just open their beaks and cry and cry and CRY until I poke my nose down their throats - which really isn't what I went to college for, you know?  If the ladybug I sent into the nest wearing a wire comes up with anything incriminating, however, I'll be sure to let you know.  So far, all I'm getting is bizarre alien noises - or maybe gizzard grumblings.  Hmm...  I can't recall Kojak or Mannix ever having these sorts of problems....

Story #3:  You remember that runaway train I mentioned before?  Well, despite initials denials, it turns out that CSX actually DID request that Ohio law enforcement personnel attempt to stop it by discharging a shotgun at its most sensitive parts.  "It was such a stupid question, I didn't think I had to check with the home office before denying that we ever asked anyone to fire at our equipment," the local CSX spokesperson wanly explained the very next day after checking with the home office (perhaps on a dare - perhaps after consulting with his 4-year-old son).  And more good news!  The Ohio State Patrol reports that their shotgun-wielding snipers actually DID manage to hit the train!  In fact, they managed to hit the train's gas cap no fewer than three times!!  Of course, this had no beneficial effect whatsoever, since they were told to aim at the fuel shut-off button (which resembles the gas cap almost as closely as the throttle resembles the brake), but still - I'm sure this target practice will come in handy in these days of rising gas prices and the increase in "pump and dash" service station thefts that is just around the corner.  Not that I think even the Ohio Patrol can shoot around the corner, but I think you know what I mean here.

Story #4:  Having exhausted just about all the entertainment my wife and I could suck out of those Vietnamese folk songs I reported on earlier (see my earlier report), we recently embarked upon a new adventure in Amuse Yourself Theater.  This latest adventure began several weeks ago when I moved an island.

A kitchen island.

A kitchen island we've had in our kitchen for all of our four years here.  It's supposed to have one side parallel with our sink counter, but, over the years, my wife developed the crazy idea that this island was crooked.  We finally got out a yard stick several months ago and, yep - sure enough - the southeast corner was about half an inch further west than the northeast corner.  So we took to making fun of our landlord's island-positioning talents.  Only my wife thought the problem was getting worse.  "Yeah, right," I tried to reassure her in the sarcastic tone of voice which works so well on all those TV sitcoms.  So, anyway, one day while she was out, it occurred to me to try pushing on the west side of the island, and - hey!  It moved!!  Turns out that it's a floating island not connected to anything at all!!  Apparently it scoots a little every time we use the VERY popular drawer near the southeast corner, and, after months of this scooting, it has managed to move quite a bit.  Well, armed with this bit of knowledge worthy of Galileo himself, I decided to test my wife's sanity by moving the southeast corner of the island 1' a day further to the west until she finally realized what was going on or suffered a breakdown.  After four days of this, however, I had to stop.  The island by that point was about 4.5" out of square - i.e., strikingly, obviously, painfully out of square - and yet my wife still didn't realize what was going on.  I considered turning the island a full 180 degrees just to see if that would do the trick, but hey - who has that kind of energy?  So instead I just waited.  And waited.  And....

"OK! It's driving me NUTS!  I KNOW the island moved this time!!!"

"Oh, really honey?  Why do you say that?" I asked innocently from the west side of the island - as I slowly pushed it back into its correct position.

And to think that I used to believe that sex was the best part of a marriage!

Our Next Feature Attraction:  Taking my wife to Burger King for our next date and making her stand at the counter with me while I order a Whopper with everything - hold the beef.

Ahh, life just gets better and better even when you'd prefer to be hibernating, doesn't it?

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(©Between The Raindrops  by Dan "Wildman" Birtcher)