Well played, Nature Conservancy

So a letter arrives in the mail, telling me I have been selected to participate in an important environmental survey and could I just check a few boxes about how concerned I am about global warming and how often do I recycle and do I think nonprofit groups should play an active role in spearheading change, yadda yadda…

The final question is, “Will you join us in protecting the earth … if so, please check the box next to the dollar amount you’d like to pay for your membership.” Good one! Get me thinking about how environmentally concerned I am, and then ask me for money.

Gee, I can’t very well send back this survey that says I shop organic sometimes and not send them a donation other than the 42 (43? what is it now?) -cent stamp I planned to put on the no postage necessary box to save them much-needed funds

Maybe I would have caught on sooner had I read the address on the envelope: “Gift Processing Center.” Hey, why would the gift processing center be collecting these very important surveys?

I’m sure this will be no different than giving to the Humane Society, which sends me more return address labels, notepads and umbrellas than my $15 donation was worth, in the effort to get me to give more.

Guess I’ve changed my tune since I blogged about this quite angrily in 2004. I do so enjoy those return address labels.

Driving without feet

Afraid of exceeding the speed limit, but feel like those signs are sucking the fun out of driving? Bring back the joy of highway driving with Cruise Control!

Even crawling along at 60 mph is a hoot when you can accelerate or decelerate with the press of a button on your steering wheel.

We’ll see what happens next time I’m actually in a hurry to get somewhere, but for now, I improved my mileage from 30 miles per gallon to 37.

What did you do for the Super Bowl?

While other people were eating wings and shouting at their widescreen TV sets (I assume), I spent last Sunday becoming an accessory to murder. Of a mouse.

I don’t feel good about it, but then I work with people who go out with rifles and deliberately shoot deer and elk, so maybe my humane compass is a little askew.

Several weeks ago, I noticed a couple of teeny little turds in one of our kitchen cabinets. I cleaned them up and stuck some steel wool in the gap around some kind of tube coming through the back of the cabinet.

On Sunday, Rob said, “Can you come look at something and tell me if it’s mouse droppings?” Without looking, I was sure that they were. Under the sink and in the cabinets to either side. Including the one where we keep the dog food. There was no evidence of chewing, but I was pretty concerned that the mouse was actually inside the bag that I twice daily reach into without looking to scoop kibble for Isis.

“Do you want to help me clean this up?” Rob asked. Absolutely not. But I was willing to stand there and squirm as he pulled our collection of grocery store plastic bags out from under the sink. (Of course I have those reusable cloth bags, but do you know how hard it is to remember to actually bring them inside the store?) Rob wanted to throw them out, but I insisted that we put them in the recycle bin at the grocery store. Only after Rob cleaned it all up and taped up the various holes, was I willing to get close to the sink and wash every single pot, pan and serving dish that had been inside those cabinets. OK, maybe I was a little lax with the floral vases, but I don’t eat out of those.

A few hours later, I paused “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew” and went into the kitchen. I looked in the cabinet and there were four little turds very close to the edge. Stupid mouse. If he’d been more discreet with his poop, he might have survived the night.

We drove to the store, I in my bedroom slippers, and Rob went inside to recycle those grocery bags and buy some traps. Which he carried out in new plastic bags.

He had eight old-school snap traps, two glue traps and a $20 “humane” trap that was supposed to electrocute the critter, but seemed to be defective when we put the batteries in.

Again, I didn’t feel good about this. But I was so scared. I didn’t know how many of them there were, and where they were, and I didn’t think to look up the Humane Society’s position on rats and mice (which is to catch and release whenever possible, or to use “humane” traps like the electronic one and snap traps, but never glue…)

Rob deployed all of them. Almost. I thought six snap traps were sufficient. Two in each cabinet.

I checked them repeatedly throughout the evening and during the night, and in the morning, one of the snap traps had snapped. Dangerously close to the dog food. (Why didn’t I take it out of the cabinet?) The thing had flipped over and I could see the little belly and feet and tails.

“We got one!” I said, waking up Rob. Who got up leisurely, ate his cereal and showered before he even looked at it. After removing it from the premises, he brought the trap back inside. So we can reuse it! It’s still sitting in the utility sink underneath some paint supplies.

The other traps remain empty, so it seems that little guy was the only one inside the house before we closed up some of the entry points. Or at least, the only one in that particular location.

Just about right

The last few days, I’ve been relating a little too much to the subject of the report I’ve been editing:

Many salmon populations are severely depressed.

I thought Omega 3’s were supposed to be good for that.

Today, I worked through my little to-do list, and was just thinking to myself that I’d run out of things to do and probably no one was going to call me back today anyway, when the boss called.

“Don’t you think you should get out of there a little early today?” he asked.

Yes, as a matter of fact, I do.

And the stars realign

We saw a deer on our walk this morning. And a bunny rabbit. Not a single vicious unleashed canine.

I think Isis and I sensed the deer at the same moment. My first instinct when I saw the movement on the trail ahead was, “Oh crap, a dog without an owner.” And then it turned and made eye contact. It took my synapses a second to run through the list of creatures I’d seen before on this trail (Short list: human, canine and rabbit), and then I probably breathed, “Ohh. It’s a deer.”

It actually took a few steps toward us and watched us, before stepping carefully into the woods and watching us through the trees as we passed by. Isis, of course, wanted to go for a run with the deer, as she did when Rob and I were at Disneyworld and she took off after one, causing Rob’s mom to chase her down in a car, calling out to every person she saw, “Did you see a German shepherd this way run?”

Anyway, it was a beautiful moment. The bunny rabbit a little while later was just icing on the cake.

Fish are friends, not food

OK. So I’ve been eating salmon. It’s served at all my work functions, and just seemed like the thing to do. My intent was only to eat work-related salmon, but now my acupuncturist tells me that I’m not eating enough protein.

Guess that doesn’t come as a great shock, as I consider a baked potato to be a perfectly balanced dinner, but I didn’t realize it could affect my body’s ability to heal a sore neck. So I’m reintroducing other kinds of seafood, such as shrimp and tuna. Have to say, it did improve my ability to eat well while at Disney World. For instance, my lunch options one day were ice cream or a tuna sandwich.

I wasn’t too disturbed by eating fish. I don’t really mind watching a salmon be chucked into a boat and thrash around for breath. Unlike the decapitated elk I recently watched being butchered.

But then I saw the fish farm on the “Living with the Land” ride at Epcot. Where they quote “There is no governing nature except by obeying her.” Oh yeah, so why are you trying to grow hydroponic tomatoes on trees?