Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Signs of Spring

Spring is definitely on the cusp. The crocuses suddenly appeared, with the obligatory dandelion shoving its way in there, too, reminding us to eat dark green leafy things in spring. I managed to snap the flowers before the robins got to work ripping them apart. They love the pollen in them and take them apart in their eagerness.

And the other sign of spring every ten years, is the appearance in our (dried out now) mailbox of the Census form. Which is pretty much a comic turn on its own, if you read it without a straight face.

I mean, folks, first thing they tell you to do is count the people in the house, and get this, "including babies, who live and sleep here most of the time." These people have no kids in the house, I guess. What do you do about that little hellion who refuses to sleep, but screams eighteen hours a day instead? not count them? give them a special weighted factor given that they take up the bandwidth of several people? offer them to one of these "institutions and other places" the Census darkly goes on to talk about?

Then you start counting, having established all that, and you name the first person you count Person One. I'm planning to be Person One around here, heck it's about time I took up my proper designation, and I'm filling out the form, so I rate.

There seems to be no provision for counting pets, though. Now wouldn't you think they'd like to know that, in view of the numbers of vets that might be trained to attend them? groomers who could expect employment? petfood manufacturers who would like to know the estimated size of their audience? pastors who run church services where pets are blessed? legislators needed to protect us from angry cats and goldfish who might bite? future petcare providers needing to know their clientele?

I have in fact been bitten by a fish, a little known feat, dating from my home petcare days, when I was feeding a pondful of koi, who got to know me and would stick their heads out of the water on my approach with the goods. One of them was even eager to grab the food before I let go, and got my fingers in quite a powerful grip before I could shake him off.

This added to the list of Animals Who Have Bitten Liz, a proud band. A rabbit, a ferret, numerous parrots, several parakeets, one cockatiel, several cats who added in clawmarks, too, several dogs, one Maltese three pound nutjob who nearly crippled my hands before I could get her off. And a rabbit -- did you know rabbits make a v shaped bite?

But they were balanced by the lovely Rottweiler who wanted a kiss and a hug before she would go in her crate, and one year tried to save me from Santa Claus, and the huge black Great Dane, mother of many show winners, named Sweetheart, who required a little chat and a kiss likewise, and kitties whose main ambition was to attach themselves permanently to me with plans to come home, including the one who hid in the sleeve of my jacket, much to my surprise when I put it on to leave.

And the unforgettable German Shepherd, Molly, who would play tricks on me and laugh, shepherd style when I fell for them...and the Bernese Mountain Dog, 120 lbs, who when a hot air balloon passed over the back yard where we were out taking the air, wrestled me to the ground and threw himself like an FBI handler over my body to protect me, nearly suffocating me in the process..dear Shenandoah, much missed.

But I digress. Back to the Census. The form allows for up to eight people. So, what about families like that one in Arkansas with 19 children (whose names all start with J, how confusing). I mean do they have to add in extra postage to take up all the extra thirteen pages they'll have to glue onto the form?

I really have to fill in the form promptly, though, or we'll be visited by the local Census in-person counting people, who have some very impressive title, like enumeratorologist or something. Our nearest counters happen to be our respite care person and his mother! who will give me a terrible hard time and point and laugh if I don't get this done.

Or maybe refer me to a college, nursing home, jail, prison or detention facility, as the Census seems to threaten...

Back to springtime and Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone who plans to celebrate it tomorrow. Erin go bragh!


  1. Haha I've never had to fill out a census form before, but I'm looking forward to doing so now! I've also been bitten by a fish - my Grandma used to have Koi in her garden pond, and one bit a little chunk out of my toe...ouch!

  2. Very entertaining Liz. I love animal stories, especially funny ones. Isn't it unfortunate that people like the census department persons feel the need to cater for the absolute common denominator in our populations? Surely if a person is that stoopid they wouldn't be living by themselves???


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