NIMBY or The First Days of Summer

So. I used to have a blog. I still do, but I used to too.  (Apologies to the late great Mitch Hedberg).  My old blog was on LiveJournal, when blogging was less about pleas for free stuff and followers than it was about… journalling. At least it was for me. I went travelling, as twenty-somethings are want to do, and made a blog to save myself and others from the nightmare-verse that is the MASS EMAIL UPDATE.  So it started as a travel blog, that grew into a semi-private diary spanning most of my Southern Alberta life. When I moved to Toronto I started this blog for art stuff and like the velveteen rabbit, or the plot of Toy Story (1, 2 & 3), the live journal account fell by the wayside.  

Recently I was combing it for examples of some of my writing and found a few pretty funny stories. I thought I’d dig them up, do a little editorial cartoon for them, and then post them here as entertainment. This is the first. FYI, if you don’t know, NIMBY stands for Not In My Back Yard.  

NIMBY or The First Days of Summer

(circa April, 2008)

This weekend saw the first flushes of real summer weather. Temperatures meeting and exceeding 20C made me happy and spry. And social.  I had brunch guests on Saturday and Sunday in efforts to share of the splendor of my backyard… and what splendor there was.

On Saturday the troops (Radam, Sheen, Jane, The Giant) were garage-sale-ing while I prepped the kitchen for a Mighty Omelette, and the backyard for guests. I went out in flip flops (!) to grab cushions for the bony willow furniture when I saw one of Pepi’s little stuffed toys out on the lawn. She and la Mamasita have been away for about a week, so Peps would have left her prized possession on the lawn with her other more fecal deposits a while ago and I was afraid it would be all wet and soggy. I approached the fuzzy log, beige with a little fluffy white stripe, and as I got closer a cold dread began to creep up my shins. The dread neared by heart as I mentally reviewed the stuffed menagerie that I am familiar with and failed to count this fur-turd among them. I was bending over it and peering closely when I saw what was a WAY too-real-looking tiny ear. I reeled back and thundered to the safety of the raised deck.  That ain’t no chew toy… or is it?  Only a solid poke and turn would reveal this, and I planned to get back-up.

My peeps arrive.  I brought the cavalry out back and they proceeded to fashion a poking devise out of some of my step-dad’s willow pieces (readied for the building of as-yet-unbuilt furniture).  The log is flipped to reveal rodential rigor mortis.  A tiny mouth with ratty incisors, frozen open.  Tiny paws, tiny rigid claws. Appetites are swiftly lost, and the animal is returned to the face DOWN position. Here is where my cerebral gang of oh-so-educated-and-intelligent snobs and I reveal our evolutionary advantages and pitfalls:

Advantage: The gang and I immediately began a Clue-like deductive process of discerning what kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus or species this being was, and HOW it came to be in my back yard.

Pitfall: Not one of us knows anything more about nature than what we may have caught on the Discovery Channel. We argued about whether it was a large hamster or a small guinea pig for longer than aught to be necessary. Farm kids would have spent that 30 minutes, after immediatly naming the animal, pointing and laughing at us.  Conclusion: Species Unknown.

The crazy thing was that the animal was clearly a domestic pet, not some gopher or mouse.  We all agreed on that point. It was healthy (minus the deadness), fluffy, with pretty fur and colouring that you don’t find on animals of the wild suberbs.  But how how HOW did it come to live and die in my yard? Lets review the facts:
1. My dog has been gone for 1 week.
2. Animal showed no outward signs of decomposition or evidence that would suggest cause of death (that can be determined without any kind of up close or squeam-free investigation).
3. Animal is obviously a domestic caged pet with no survival skills.
4. Yard is fenced in but does have conceivable entrances for an animal of this size.

Now, if the animal is a pet, how did it come to be in my yard? Did it’s child-owner play with it outside and leave it there to wander into browner pastures and die? Did it die and rather than explain the Circle of Life to their spawn, the parents told them that “Hammy ran away” and threw his corpse over the fence?

Another fact:
5. No young children live on either side of my house. There are teens on one side and Asian university students on the other.

Who around me would even have a pet of this nature? Due to Pepi’s absence it seems unlikely she was the cause of death, and even if she had been around, this shih tzu ain’t no killah. To make a lap dog kill a hamster (there is only a 2 gene difference between them) you have to “keep it hungry”, and this dog is so plump and spoiled we almost have to chew her food for her. The killer instinct has been fed out. And even if she were a starved and beaten pit bull, it wouldn’t answer the dilemma of WHERE this animal victim came from in the first place.

All permutations finally discussed, the Ace Gang still had a dead guinea hamster and it was time to get blue collared on it’s ass, i.e.) actually get it OUT of the yard. The doings of this had yet to be discussed (file under “Pitfall”).

Radam procured two more willow branches, Sheen got a rubber glove (we only had one) and some grocery bags which she held out while squinting, face turned away making an “eeeeeeeaaaaaawwwwwwfffff” sound as Radam tried to chop-stick the Dead into the bags. But Radam was not a Hercules and kept dry heaving until Jane in a fit of pragmatic annoyance stomped down to Get Practical on this dead thing’s corpse.  From a safe distance I suggested using the pooper scooper, which ended up being the successful solution. Sheen double bagged our furry friend and I carried him to the plastic garbage can-shaped hearse that will be his carriage to the Little Pet Shop in the Sky. All the wood chips you can shit on, little buddy. All the dripping water you can suckle from a great golden straw.  More delicious pellets to eat than hairs on your tiny log body. RIP, friend.

This chapter closed, we were free to turn to the Mighty Omelette, the Luminous Fruit Salad (with grapefruit in it! GRAPEFRUIT!), and the sparkling orange juice, or in the Giant’s case, a frosty Pil.

I got some slight redness on my right arm only (first sunburn! Woo!), ate some asparagus-y eggs and peed some asparagus-y pee. Summer, I welcome you.

* * * * *

@GillianGoerz on twitter!


One response to “NIMBY or The First Days of Summer

  1. How is it that I had completely forgotten about this event?!

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