Category Archives: The Zoo

Is that a cheetah? Adventures at the San Diego Zoo.

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A hippo lifeguard, seriously? Are they familiar with the video of the hippo attacking that guy on the Amazon?

In my ongoing series about our recent vacation in San Diego, I would be remiss if I did not cover our trip to the San Diego Zoo. Clearly, the reputation as one of the world’s best zoos is well deserved, this is place is phenomenal.

We have a really good zoo in Toledo, Lil Mayhem practically lives there in the summer because they offer camps for kids and I think she has attended them all. In fact, she is designing new zoo habitats at this very moment. The number one attraction for us at San Diego was the panda exhibit, but I approached the Panda Trek with some trepidation, Toledo hosted the pandas from the National Zoo a few years back, they were a really big deal.

The day I went the line was ridiculous, but I patiently waited to see these rare creatures. The line moved surprisingly fast, when I got to the front I realized why. The panda had been asleep in the far back corner of the exhibit for hours, so basically I saw an immobile spot of black and white fur. The experience was not unlike driving past a dead skunk. Needless to say, I was a bit underwhelmed.

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I call this one “Panda, in Repose”

The San Diego pandas were amazing. The exhibit allowed you to get really close, they had three different sections so the line moved along, there were a lot of bears and they were very active.  But the cherry on top was the baby panda, he was adorable. Now this is what a panda experience should be.

They also have a huge koala exhibit called Koalafornia. It was right across from the giraffe exhibit which we exited quickly as one of the male giraffes was feeling particularly randy and I felt at any minute it could turn into a scene I would prefer my kid not see.  So, thank God for the koalas!

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Fun fact, koalas are members of the suborder, Vombatiformes, sounds violent, perhaps the reason they keep them sedated.

The koalas are really cute, part of their charm is their sleepy, sloth-like attitude.  This seems less adorable when you learn their lethargy is caused by malnutrition.  Yep, as it turns out, the eucalyptus they are always eating has zero nutritional value.  Makes you wonder why they don’t feed them supplements, maybe an active koala would present a danger to the public so unfathomable, they don’t dare. Reminds me of a line from Burn Notice, “I like my psychotic killers a little sleepy, thank you.”

Finally, our favorite story comes not from the animals, but the people on display that day.  When we arrived at the park they were doing a demonstration featuring a real live Cheetah. They gave all kinds of interesting facts about the Cheetah and described how the Cheetah hunted and why the Cheetah is endangered.  After the demonstration the women asked if there were any questions.  This kid raises his hand and honestly asked the following “Is that a Cheetah?”  This, of course, became our catch phrase for the day, because even my 10-year-old immediately recognized the comedy gold in that one.

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Is this really such a frequent occurence that it necessitates a permanent sign?

Cheers,

Dazey

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Seriously Mr. Kohler, who does your marketing?

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Bruce, in his natural habitat.

Recently we finished a bathroom re-model project. I learned many things during this process, like everything takes and costs at least 20% more than you would think, sinks do not come with drains included, you never have enough tile and the smaller the granite job, the lower you are on the installation list.  But the best thing about the whole project was the purchase of a new toilet.

When we originally met with a remodeling company, who, by the way, quoted us a price which was a full $17,000.00 more than the project actually cost to complete, they advised us that Kohler products were top of line and we should not even consider using anything else, (I smell a kickback). Anyways, I have a soft spot in my heart for Kohler because I used to show Morgan horses and Herbert Kohler owns Kohler Stables and they won, a lot.

I always remember Mr. Kohler as an Ernest Hemingway type, world traveler, big game hunter, facial hair enthusiast.  Google him sometime, you’ll see what I mean. Kohler Stables had the very best of everything, it was a class operation from top to bottom.  I guess when your last name is Kohler and you live in Kohler, Wisconsin the world is your oyster.

I digress, back to the toilet.  I had seen the rather odd Kohler ads in magazines, which I apparently am not cultured enough to appreciate.  They have these weird, Toulouse Lautrec-ish figures mingled with sinks and toilets and are frankly very confusing, like a French art films.  Well, as I found out those more cultured ads are for the “readers,” they have an entirely different advertising campaign for the Lowe’s shopper.

As I strolled down the toilet aisle I could not help but be amused by the large blue and white banners over the Kohler products which proclaim the following;

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Well that’s nice, I guess those are qualities I admire in a toilet.  I mean seriously, who would to buy a toilet that openly announced it was WEAK or COWARDLY.  This clearly is meant to appeal to the NASCAR crowd of toilet shoppers.

We purchased one of these beasts and named it Bruce.  The packaging alone was worth the price. Now I know writing copy for a toilet box is probably not a job which requires a Master’s degree in creative writing, but the Kohler marketing department is top-notch. For instance, Bruce has the following impressive features:

♦ Single-flush gravity and precision-engineered tank, bowl, and trapway to create a strong siphon during flushing.  NICE! THE NEIGHBORS WILL BE SO JEALOUS!

♦AquaPiston canister allows water to flow into the bowl from all sides, increasing the power and effectiveness of the flush.  SERIOUSLY, ALL SIDES?  THANKS FOR THAT.

and my personal favorite,

♦Smarter Power. Flushes 4x more than the average adult needs. REALLY?  DEFINE AVERAGE!

Cheers,

Dazey

Ennui, its not just for people anymore

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I have a serious case of ennui. What is that you may ask. Well, the definition of ennui (pronounced on-weeee) is “listlessness and dissatisfaction resulting from lack of occupation or excitement” Say what? Bored, ennui is a fancy way of saying I’m bored, its just more fun to say.

I thought I learned the word, like many things I know, from the TV show the X-Files. I was a big fan, and I remember a particularly creepy episode involving a guy lobotomizing people with an ice pick which I thought was called “Ennui.” Turns out it was called “Unruhe” which is German for unrest or anxiety, my bad. I must have learned it from my other reference source, the Gilmore Girls.

Anyways, I have a case of the winter blahs. Now my condition is not unique for people living in Ohio in March, but what is exceptional about my case is that I have apparently developed the ability to infect inanimate objects with debilitating cases of ennui.

It started with our bedside lamps, cute little things that light up when you touch their bases. About two weeks ago, they went rogue.  Turning off when they felt like it despite my polite explanation that I only had two pages left in my book; randomly refusing to turn off when directed, forcing me to find a sock on the floor in order to untwist the very hot light bulb so I could go to sleep.

At one point they started working in tandem, one would turn off when the other turned on, then they would alternate proper operation. Finally, one completely died apparently from “lack of occupation.”

Last night, while watching Sherlock Holmes on streaming Netflix, at the very moment the sponsor of the serial killer was about to be revealed, the screen froze and sat there buffering.  Seriously, it could not have timed it more perfectly.  As it turns out, our wi-fi router just gave up.  No warning, no apparent reason, but most certainly it experienced “dissatisfaction” probably for want of “excitement.”

We were never able to revive the router so Mr. Mayhem is off to the store today which is one task I have absolute certainty will be completed before I return home.  I know this because, my husband feels a house which does not have Call of Duty capabilities is practically uninhabitable.  Right now our X-box is purely decorative, this will be remedied, and quick.

Finally, this morning I awoke to a bracingly frigid house.  I staggered downstairs to find the thermostat with a completely blank screen.  Gave up,  just quit, resulting in no furnace and no heat on an 18 degree night.  An extraordinarily unpleasant surprise.

As it turns out, the programmable thermostat is not hard-wired, but instead is completely battery operated.  We were able to fix it, however, Lil’ Mayhem’s electronic drum set is now inoperable.  I am not sure that I am completely comfortable knowing that our household’s entire climate control system is reliant on the same power source that my daughter’s Disney Princess toothbrush uses.  Does this seem right?

Hopefully, spring will get here soon before I take out something else.

Cheers,

Dazey

Oh how I miss college and pro football

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I admittedly have a small addiction problem when it comes to football. I live for the weekends from September to January. And now, with the addition of Thursday night games, I am at a def-con 4 level of excitement pretty much all week. Good game, bad game, doesn’t matter, I watch them all.  But after the Super Bowl, sadly, there is no more football to watch and we are left to our own devices to fill the time, that is when something like this happens:

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This would be a photo of the “spa day” in my daughter’s bedroom this Sunday.  Now, I generally do not go in for the fancy pantsery of facials, mani/pedis and the like, I am more of a wash-n-go kind of girl (I do put on sunscreen everyday, I am not a total heathen), however, I am never going to be accused of fussing over my looks.  But this weekend, such was my level of boredom, I fully participated in the Lil’ Mayhem Spa Experience.

Now I must say, for an event put on solely by a 9-year old, the snacks were outstanding, fruit salad, turkey cheese roll-ups and lingonberry spritzers.  I could have done without the oatmeal- yogurt facial, it was cold and clammy and I had to leave it on my face for 15 mins, but I did get to lie quietly on the floor and listen to lullaby music. That was nice.

The NFL draft is 55 days away and the Ohio State spring game is on my birthday (April 13th) this year.  So, I have these to look forward to, but in the meantime, God only knows what other adventures I will agree to in order to pass the time.

Cheers,

Dazey

Birthday Party Lament of a Working Mom

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I am currently in the middle of panic attack, OK panic is a bit strong, but I am agitated. The cause you ask, well first of all, thanks for caring that is why I like you, but I just realized it is February 26th, which means my daughter’s 10th birthday party is this Saturday and I have done nothing except invite a bunch of kids. Damn you February and your curious lack of days, if you had 30 days like all the other months we would have bumped her party to next weekend.

So here’s the situation, I have reserved the community pool and sent out invitations, but that’s it. It is shocking the amount of details that must be addressed for such an event and by the way, I still have clients who expect me to do the law thing all day.

My initial plan was to spend some time searching the Interweb to find beach totes which I would fill with flip flops, suntan lotion, beach balls and other swimming related bric a brac for the kids. Sounds great, right? Well it’s not happening since I totally forgot to do any of that.

I left the house early this morning and stopped at Meijers and Walmart desperately trying to find something to substitute for my fabulous tote idea. I did not have much luck since it is currently 30 degrees and apparently Meijers and Walmart don’t think it is swim appropriate weather.

Then I get to the office and switch to lawyer mode, dealing with the pressing legal issues of the day. Talking to clients on the phone while surfing the Target and Old Navy websites pricing out flip flops. Does anyone else have these kind of days?

At some point it dawns on me that I also need to send a birthday treat in on Friday for her class, and we will need plates, forks  and napkins for the cake, and drinks, oh God I forgot about drinks.  This is when the panic set in, please just shoot me now!

My husband has offered to help. In his defense he is not a slacker, but he has an uncanny way of creating chaos in these situations. For example, when my daughter was in preschool, I had purchased frosted cookies for her class, displayed them artfully on a glass platter and told him all he had to do was meet me at the school at 11:00 and bring the platter.

As my daughter was passing out the cookies I was doing a mental calculation and realized we were one cookie short. I looked at Mr. Mayhem and said, you ate a cookie didn’t you? He gave me his most aggrieved face and proceeded to make up some story about how one supposedly broke so he had to eat it. Yeah, you couldn’t possibly let it suffer.

Another time I dispatched him to a local retailer, known for their chocolate brownies, for Lil’ Mayhem to take to school. Everyone loves brownies, right? What could possibly go wrong? Well you could have a husband who chooses to buy German Chocolate Brownies for 5 year olds. Luckily, there were also some “normal” brownies which I was able to cut in half, but still c’mon man it is the rare young child that likes German Chocolate anything!

So this morning as I hastily bid him good-bye and he earnestly looked at me and said what can I do to help, I just looked at him and said “stay pretty.”

Cheers!

Dazey

It’s a hard knock life.

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This is GG, she is the latest addition to our domestic zoo.  I know you are thinking, oh God, not a story about how much this lunatic loves her cat, but I think you will find her story inspirational, or at least be glad this happened to her and not you.

GG’s story is a classic rags to riches, fish out of water irony rich tale.  GG was a “hood cat” living on the mean streets in a seedy part of town.  My husband’s fire station was in this neighborhood and GG (then going under the handle, Princess) found her way to their door begging for food and attention.

She was small, skinny and pathetic but exceedingly friendly.  My husband, being the big softy that he is, took pity on her and gave her food and water so she stayed.   I serve on the board of a low-cost spay neuter clinic, so he decided to get her spayed, because we are responsible people and that’s what we do.

This is the point in the story where my daughter, Lil’ Mayhem gets involved. They go to the station, package up Princess and take her to the clinic.  We thought she was a kitten, turns out she is 4 years old, has had several litters of kittens, survived broken ribs and is full of worms.  In short, she’s the total package.

Because our intent was to take her back to the ‘hood, they took the tip of her ear off, this is how they mark wild cats as spayed.  But, since they took her in on a Friday they made my husband promise to keep her in overnight before he released her in order to let her get her faculties back in order.   This is where I enter the story.

I get home from work to find this pathetic creature in my garage.  She was a mess scrawny, bloody ear, drunk as a sailor on shore leave.  But even in her stupor she found the quiet dignity to use the tiny litter box in her pen.  I could totally relate.

Of course, I could not allow this cat to go back to the ‘hood, she had clearly used up at least 6 of her alloted lives so I and Lil’ double team the husband and convince him to let her stay and be our outside cat.  He reluctantly agrees, silently hoping she runs away as soon as we open the garage door.  His only request is that the name has to change, so we rename her GG which stands for Ghetto Gato.

It didn’t take long for GG to take up residence on our front porch, I suspect the pillows, blanket and endless supply of canned cat food had something to do with it.  Before you knew it she was part of the family, following us around, stalking our chickens and bringing home dead animals and hiding them under her pillow.

All was well until one day when GG was missing.  That night I found her in the shed and clearly something was wrong.  She was in shock and holding her front leg awkwardly.  We rushed her to the 24 hour vet clinic to be told her leg was broken and because of the nature of the break she will probably have to have it amputated.  YIKES!

Luckily, our regular vet just happens to be the only vet in the state who is a specialist in orthopaedic surgery.  What are the odds.  So $1,200.00 later GG still has her leg although she walks with a limp and of course she now lives in our house. She does not comprehend the concept of free choice food and eats until the bowl is clean, therefore GG now stands for Gordo Gato.

The cause of the broken leg you may ask, she was shot.  So to summarize, we take a cat from the mean streets and relocate her to our suburban home as an act of kindness.  Over the course of the next six months she proceeds to lose her ovaries, part of an ear and full use of a limb.  Oh the irony!

Cheers,

Dazey