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Strange Bedfellows, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Strange Bedfellows

By Beverly Hicks Burch

There is one thing to say about being confined to a two story house with a bazillion packed moving boxes while you feel like your body is slowly but surely destructing one cell at a time…you have plenty of time to observe a thing or two.

Take for instance the two critters who share this abode with Tall & Handsome and me. They are your stereotypical feline and canine…dog and cat…and they act like it, too. They are why the stereotype was created. And at times, it make me want to take chopsticks and poke holes in my brain…or at least staple my eyes and ears shut.

They can and have on occasion provided some much needed comic relief. Today, for instance I was talking on the phone upstairs and had Watson with me. He is quite the little noisemaker sometimes and fancies himself a watchdog…or at least a noisy little bugger. Now, I must explain that like a child would have digression problems with potty training, since the move Watson has had one of his Willy Wonka moments…so we’ve had to keep a watchful eye on him and make sure potty time is in the proper place…outside! To make sure he doesn’t wander while I’m busy, I’ll keep him on the leash and tether it to the bed post where I’m using my laptop.

Well, today, I was using the laptop, talking on the phone and all of a sudden the doorbell rings. For a Miniature Schnauzer that’s like cutting open their adrenal gland and pouring every ounce of adrenal hormone into their little bodies…they turn into extreme sports machines! When the doorbell rang, Watson went from lying silent, prone and tethered on the bed next to me to letting loose with that little “I’m being run over by an 18 wheeler” scream. He the shot up, off and did a full Gaynor off the bed…all while still tethered on the leash. It would have been pretty impressive…except he didn’t go anywhere except to sit nicely on the floor by the bed (yes, the leash is that long…safety first).

Then, take yesterday for instance. I don’t recall what I was doing, but I had busied myself at something…reading or doing something on the computer. Now, I tend to like quietness…even when I play my music or have the TV on. I have discovered that the animals actually are quite fond of that themselves. I had just read something in the last day or two about dogs that said in research conducted, dogs reacted to classical music better than other types of music.

(I think I learned to appreciate quietness as some of the autoimmune disorders encroached upon my systems…noise just seems to “assault” my system. But, I will make sacrifices…case in point? When Tall & Handsome and I went to the Tim McGraw concert at the BJCC in Birmingham. Anyway, I digress…)

Picture yesterday. I’m quietly sitting on the bed with my laptop. The TV is very quietly running in the background…mainly to provide some “white noise”. Once, I happened to look up and notice that the cat, Winfield had graced us with his presence. Watson, the Wonderkin was cuddled up pretty close to me…asleep.

Winfield was asleep also, but on his back is a rather gawky, almost lewd pose…legs were splayed everywhere. He was dead to the world. It was rare that he was on the bed with us…lately he had been making himself sparse…exploring the almost doubled space of his new domain.

All of a sudden, Watson sneezed/coughed…from a dead sleep. Oh, boy! You would have thought Watson’s head had suddenly started spinning and he was spitting green pea soup. I had to scrap Winfield of the ceiling and figure out how in the world I was going to stuff him back into his skin…it was not a pretty sight…and you know things just never go back in the way they come out…

And then, there were the days and evenings it got cold…yes, you heard me…COLD! Even in Georgia, the middle to low 20’s can be considered cold!

Kramer, the Big OrangeFor background, let me give you a little history here. BW…Before Watson, there was Kramer, yes, the one I call the Big Orange Abomination. We had two cats…well, T & H pretended to have two cats. He got to slave at cleaning the caca from the liter box…and boy there was enough to fertilize a small third world country…feed the said sizeable cats…and start all over again. What did he get in return? Not much.

To top it off, the cats hated each other…most of the time…when I was home alone with them, I would hear catfights and crashes and caterwauling most of the day. Imagine a LooneyToon cartoon of two cats in one big ball of hissing, spitting, fighting, twirling action spinning through the house. THAT was Kramer and Winfield.

Or imagine this…when we lived in Northwest Alabama, we had a recliner/rocking chair in our bedroom. Some nights I would be awaken by the sight of the chair bouncing up and down, back and forth because the cats were in it fighting! It defied Disney animated graphics. T & H would sleep through this little ballet in moonlight and I wished many nights that it would be their “Swan Lake”.

What T & H got to see was what I can only call their “symbiotic” moments. Some nights, especially the colds ones, Kramer and Winfield would get up on the bed or in a chair and entwine in one big furry 45 pound ball of cat fur. He thought it was because they “cared” for each other…I on the other-hand knew they were purely having a “scratch my back and I’ll scratch your back moment”…and even then, sometimes they would end up fighting. But, when they would be lying there sleeping, T & H would look at me and say, “Aren’t they cute?” I usually took a Dramamine…

Well, as many of you know, Kramer went to live somewhere else. NO! I did not do THAT to him…shame on you for even thinking that…his fur just became too much for my allergies and he went to a wonderful family that worked with T & H in Tennessee.

Am I Cute or What?Enter Watson the Wonderkin…much to the chagrin of Winfield…he has not been happy with that addition to the family…and he’s let us and Watson know it many, many, many, many times. Usually by ambushing and thrashing the living daylights and poop out of Watson. How fair is this? 21 pound cat vs. 14 pound dog? You do the math…Well, Scoot (aka Watson) is a quick learn…and he developed a few moves himself, but long story short…there is no love lost between those two. Put it this way, if one was on fire, the other wouldn’t spit on him to save him…

So…the other day I saw a fleeting sense of doubt cross Winfield’s mind…as in maybe I shouldn’t have been so rash and done this…

You see, it had turned cold…yes, I said C-O-L-D. Watson was up on the bed beside me, asleep and peaceful. Mr. Winfield hops up on the bed and I can tell right away he’s feeling cold and needing some one to nudge up to. He looked up at me and then down at the sleeping dog. Decision crosses his mind…what to do…what to do. Gingerly, and carefully he decided to YES, hunker down and try to share the space with Watson…he was that desperate for a warm up buddy!

Watson sprang up like someone had yelled, “DON’T TAZ ME BRO!” No way, no how was he going to have any part of that or fall for that trap! He circled, moved to a different position…a little closer to me and flopped down…and I swore I could hear a “Are you crazy?! Thanks but, no thanks” when he did.

Winfield - I know Kramer’s around here somewhereSorry, Winfield, decisions do make strange bedfellows…or lack of…

© 2007 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Animals, Cats, dogs, Fun, Humor, Miniature Schnauzer, Moving, Pets, Tall & Handsome

Overload, by Beverly Hicks Burch


By Beverly Hicks Burch

Recipe for physical, mental and emotional overload:

Mix, stir, agitate blend and beat the following ingredients…like a dead horse…

3 months husband living and working out of state

3 months going back and forth between two states personally

1 fall in a dark back yard resulting in busted knee

1 handful of weeks of house hunting

Sell 1 house in an entirely different (3rd) state

1 slumlord…er…landlady

1 especially toxic house

1 extremely fowled up plumbing system

1 toilet continually over-flowing which aforementioned slumlord/landlady refuses to fix

1 garage sale with over-flowing toilet

Arrange 1 move

Add 3 van line packers, allow them to view your belongings then disappear without packing a box; get 1 phone call from the national rep 1 hour later saying the packers say there is black mold and water damage on ALL over your belongings and they refuse to pack for health reasons

Add 1 major meltdown at this point and agitate very well…

Next, have rep come to house to take picture to verify that, no indeed, all the belongings are NOT covered in black mold and water damage and that black mold was localized to house itself and certain boxes we had and were taking care of…

Have national rep determine 3 packers were overwhelmed by enormity of Bev’s stuff and bailed out…

Determine 3 packers WILL NOT return…

Loose 1 full day packing…

Add new larger packing crew that packs like Tasmanian devils

Discover 1 ground hog has chewed the wiring harness from your already tired and weary lead sled/granny car that Gomez left you with…

Realize in middle of move you will now have to trade cars…

Buy vehicle at Jim Cogdill Dodge with and “extend bumper to bumper warranty”…

1 week after arriving engine light on “new” vehicle pops on

Less than 1 month after purchase pay $230 for new thermostat and discover warranty is not “bumper to bumper” as you were told…

Have dog groomed…

Clean 1 toxic house as best you can…

Leave for a 5 ½ hour drive on a Sunday night at 8 PM

Pull over 3 times to sleep because you do not want to kill the dog or run into T & H vehicle…

Arrive in your new hometown at 6 AM

Moving van arrives at 8 AM

Former owners of house turn off utilities instead of setting up transfers…add 1 week of hotel stay and extra expense until utilities can be turned back on…

Count 25 trillion boxes to unpack…

Hurt in every joint, muscle, eyelash, hair follicle and pore in your body…

Catch 2 bugs…1 stomach, 1 head and chest

Develop 2 huge dark circles under your eyes and now go by the name Rocky Raccoon…

For fun and sweetness, throw in 1 cranky 21 pound cat to listen to his melodious music and watch beat up on the 14 pound dog…IT’S LIKE ICING ON THE CAKE!

Decide…Ain’t life grand?!

© Beverly Hicks Burch 2007 All Rights Reserved.


Filed under Cats, Fun, Gomez, Humor, Jim Cogdill Dodge, Moving, Pets, Tall & Handsome

Wax On, Wax Off, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Wax On, Wax Off

By Beverly Hicks Burch

It’s THAT time. I will super heat an extremely viscous substance, apply it to places on my face and then rip the flesh from my countenance and proudly sport red patches on my skin for some time like red badges of courage. Am I an adherent of a cult or kinky S/M devotee? Nope, I’m talking about waxing my eyebrows. When I wax my eyebrows, I totally understand Frida Kahlo’s look…the unibrow.

Body waxing is a very personal thing. There are many parts of the body you can wax. Eyebrows, upper lips, chins, legs, arms, chests…and yes, even private parts are optional areas and fair game…although, I must say that even though I’ve never had a Brazilian bikini wax, I can only imagine it would feel like having my lower lip pulled over the top of my head.

In these days of metrosexualism, waxing is not just for gals either…nope, the true and the brave stand up and take it, too, like a man. In other words, guys are waxing like crazy. Girls, do you REALLY believe all those guys in those magazines were born hairless…never to clog up your drains or sprout hairy backs? How many naturally hairless guys…over the age of 12…have you seen with: slick chests, slick backs, slick legs, slick arms and slick…yeah…whatever…in your dreams… With only hair on the top of their head?! If you think that really exists in nature in large proportions, then you’ve been eating a whole lot of funny mushrooms.

i-own-everything.jpgWaxing brings back another nightmarish association to mind (other than that lip over the head thing) I fondly call it The Big Orange Abomination…also known as Kramer, the cat. Kramer was a beautiful orange tabby cat…and he was a big sucker. He weighed about 21 pounds. For those of you that aren’t cat people (and I’m not naturally one…I’m more inclined toward man’s best friend) saying you have a 21 pound cat is like saying “I have a 21 pound Yorkshire Terrier.” Kramer was also cunning, cagey, clumsy and at times, I called him our “blond” cat…no offense intended to my blond friends…I can not wax without thinking about Kramer and That Dark Day with the Wax Warmer.

About six weeks after we were transferred (back in my case) to the East Tennessee area it was time to wax. It had been a stressful time to begin with. The house was less than optimal. We had less than a week…about two days really to find a place to live and the place we found turned out to be a living wreck. (For house hunters that are going to rent…even short term…don’t judge a book by its cover.)

What you are about to read I will preface with: KIDS, DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME! (For those of you that may have heard or read a version of this, please bear with me…)

Anyway, the “master bath” in this house is a small add on with a pedestal sink. (We found out that the “bath” didn’t have heat and air AFTER we moved in, along with the fact the house was full of re-occurring black mold and a terrible water problem and other horrendous problems. All for a highway robbery price considering the size.)

A pedestal sink equals no vanity, so I had set the wax warmer on the closed toilet seat. I was busy looking in the mirror and pulling back my bangs when I heard a noise behind me. I turned around and there he was…the Big Orange Abomination sniffing around the wax warmer. I shooshed him away and assured him he didn’t want to tangle with the wax and wax warmer.

I returned to my business and task at hand…my eyebrows…and had just gotten one brow waxed and the required flesh from my face ripped off with the process when I heard the most ominous, chilling sound…a giant thud and thunk. I spun around just in time to see Kramer in the middle of the dumped wax warmer and…wax spreading everywhere. Kramer was covered in gooey, sticky, viscous wax…his paws, his tails, his body…EVERYWHERE! There would be no “wax on, wax off” for that kitty…no sir…

He immediately knew he was in deep dodo and took off…with me right behind him, calling him sweetly and calmly, “Kramer, baby, come back here you piece of crap so I can kill you.” It didn’t work…my words must have belied my tone and he was gone…spreading wax everywhere. I knew he would come back…all criminals return to the scene of the crime. I went back to the bathroom to survey the damage. It was a good thing he was out of my reach! It looked like someone had some kind of sick candle/wax orgy in the bathroom…it was shameful.

I happened to look in the mirror and realized…I had only one eyebrow waxed and all of my wax was on the floor. There was now about to be human melt down in the bathroom floor. I was right about one thing…the little villain did return to the scene. Mr. I’m Too Sexy For My Fur sauntered into the bathroom…if he only knew…

I pounced, picked him up and surveyed the damaged. Not only was he covered, but, he had waxed his tail to his body…smack dab glued that sucker flat…and there was no way he was going to be able to poop. I knew then we were all in deep dodo. I kept trying to pull it loose, but there was no way, no how his tail was going to budge. I managed to confine Kramer in a pet taxi. Keep in mind, too, this all happened about 4:45 PM. Since this was July…and hot, I had waited till late in the afternoon for that “bathroom” to cool down some

Bright gal that I am, the next thing I did was call Sally’s Beauty Supply and explain my situation. (I had gotten my warmer and waxing supplies at the Sally’s in Alabama.) Surely they had some kind of “takey off” stuff. I can tell you this…you learn to find small blessings in times like this…mine? I’m so thankful I don’t have a video phone…I just hate wearing paper sacks over my head.

The clerk sounded like she thought I was one of those phone calls yanking her chain…but, I reassured her I was sincere. I think she detected the rising hysteria in my voice. After she finished laughing and telling the other clerks in the store what was going on, she essentially told me there wasn’t anything there that could help me. (I also became known as the Lady with the Cat that Waxes at Sally’s.) Ok, Plan B…

I found a vet…one just for cats…and called them. I got kinda the same reaction with a couple of additions. They were about to close and could look at him the next morning, but they added, it sounded like he needed help that evening (ya think?!) She also recommended I place paper napkins or paper towels on Kramer where the wax was so he wouldn’t “accumulate things”. Oh, snap! That would have been my first reaction…wouldn’t it have been your’s?

I had visions of Kramer lugging the dining room table and chairs around as he accumulated them in the wax. So, I get him and “place” paper towels over the wax. Are you familiar with that bridal shower game called Toilet Paper Wedding gown? (Attendees break up into groups and are given toilet paper and their mission is to design and gown one person of their group.) Kramer wouldn’t have won…and he wasn’t very happy. Those paper towels and napkins just weren’t the right length for him. The vet’s office also recommended we take Kramer to an emergency clinic…sigh.

It was time to engage Plan C and call Tall & Handsome at work. I had to retell the tales of Kramer (no pun intended) once again…he knew it was time to come home. I wish I had a picture of Tall and Handsome’s face when Kramer sauntered out of the pet taxi, dragging his paper towels behind…and bedside…and on him… T & H was speechless.

He loaded Kramer back up in the pet taxi and off they went to the pet ER. I was talking to T & H on the cell phone all the way and I could hear Kramer putting in his two cents worth. Once at the clinic and in a room, T & H takes Kramer out of the pet taxi and I hear him say, “Oh, this is ugly.” (That’s Tall and Handsome speak for ‘OH MY GOSH!!’) I wished then I had sent him off with his own personal paper head sack. I took a deep breath and ask, “What’s wrong?” Long story short, on the way to the clinic, Kramer had tinkled…and now his paper towels had accumulated cat tinkle. Gone were his “white wedding gowns”. They were dingy yellow now…

When Kramer was seen by the folks at the clinic, they knew what had to be done. He had to be sedated and shaved…from his neck to the very tip of his tail. A cat tail is an ugly thing under all of that deceptively soft cuddly fur and not meant to be seen by human eyes. Cats are ugly under all that soft fur. I bet that’s why they have soft fur…to lure us into their deceptive trap…to make up like them…care about them…and them…BAM! They reveal their true sneaky selves…and their predilection for wax warmers.

Kramer was so denuded of fur, we were warned by the vet that if he went outside he would sunburn. When T & H and what now looked like a big field rat or 21 pound possum with a cat’s head attached arrived home, the other cat freaked out and started spitting, hissing and batting at him…my feelings exactly.

Several months ago Kramer went to live with a new family. He never adjusted to the new member in the family and Kramer’s massive amounts of fur were absolutely killing me and my allergies. Now, when I wax on, wax off…besides missing the flesh off my face…I think of Kramer in his new home. My wax days are better and I know his are, too.

© 2007 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Animals, Cats, Fun, Humor, Pets, Photography, Tall & Handsome, Waxing

Bats in My Belfry…or How the Home Inspection Went, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Bats in My Belfry…or How the Home Inspection Went

By Beverly Hicks Burch

Well, home inspection day came and went on Saturday. It’s a pretty standard procedure in the home buying process and if any of you are HGTV viewers, you have probably seen buyers go through the dreaded home inspection. Many wait with baited breath to see if something will be found on this day that will be a “deal breaker”.

On one show I saw a young couple was buying an old Victorian home. On inspection day they discovered the home had wiring problems and an exterior wall that was bulging out and going to cost several tens of thousands of dollars to repair. I call that a deal breaker. They went ahead and bought the home even though it was way above their budget and the wife had to take two extra jobs in addition to the job she already had to buy that house. Their mortgage payment was going to be several bazillion dollars…I’ve often wondered how they’re doing in today’s mortgage market crunch.

Anyway, our inspection took about two hours to complete. He went top to bottom, inside and out. Tall and Handsome tagged along at times and asked a few questions, and I pitched a few in, too…mainly how to convert the fireplace back into a wood burning fireplace. Easy I discovered. This is a wood burner that had gas logs put in…but, the gas just goes up the flue…

At the end of the inspection, the inspector, KB, went over what he found. He was impressed with the house over all. Mostly what he found was minor. He saved to the best for last and I knew it was going to be good when he looked at me and had a glint in his eye and a faint smile on his lips. He was trying to break it to me gently and as non-alarmist as he could.

“One last little thing. I found a bat in one of the eave vents in the attic. There’s a wire there that will prevent him from getting in for now, but he needs to be removed for health reasons. Bat urine and feces can build up and cause health problems.”

Augh! No kidding…it had already caused me a health problem called “crawling flesh”! I am not enamored with bats as a lot of people are. Yeah, I know they are supposed to have a lot of great qualities, but, I DO NOT CARE! Especially when mentioned in the same sentence with URINE and FECES.

Bats can leave behind a really big pile of bat poop and that in turn will draw roaches and mites and a really skanky smell. I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t want that for my new, old or ANY place. Bats can carry rabies and histoplasmosis, an airborne disease cause by a soil fungus. This disease affects the lungs and can by misdiagnosed as tuberculosis. With the health problems and autoimmune system I have, the last thing I need is a bat hanging around.

The good news is there are people that make really big money out there removing bats from people’s property. I think their name is van Helsing. Just kidding…

The one in our soon to be attic WILL be removed. I just hope we move in before or after October 31st. Somehow moving in on that day just seems…wrong…

© 2007 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.


Filed under Animals, Bats, Fun, Histoplasmosis, Home Inspection, House buying, Humor, Photography, Tall & Handsome, Women's health

We Had to Coat the Marshmallow with Chocolate, by Beverly Hicks Burch

We Had to Coat the Marshmallow with Chocolate

By Beverly Hicks Burch

The day has arrived. We’ve had to coat the marshmallow with chocolate. No, I’m not crazy, and no, this isn’t one of Bev’s cooking blogs, BUT, it is about Tall and Handsome.

The marshmallow in this case is his heart…at least when it comes to animals…one particular animal. You see when it comes to animals, he is absolutely gaga…a big old softie which is okay. It shows his compassion, passion and ability to be caring and loving. It beats the former, Gomez the Regrettable who, as I have related before once cold-heartedly shot the neighbor’s kitten.

Anyway, I’ve had to coat T & H’s big ol’ marshmallow, animal-loving heart with a little chocolate coating to crust it up just a bit…not too much mind you, but, just enough so he can issue some stern tough love to our little boy in the Miniature Schnauzer suit…Watson, AKA Scooter. You see, heretofore T & H’s idea of discipline was to have a nice Freudian discussion with Scoot. I, on the other hand, a life long dog mommy usually stood by and watched as the words flew in one of Scoot’s little pointed ears and right out the other pointed ear. It was a sight to behold because his little head is insulated at times with about 12 inches of bonafide Hicks/Burch stubborn concrete…I kid you not…

The subject came to a rather dramatic and personal head (no pun intended here baby doll) Monday night. Watson has “separation” issues. He doesn’t like it. Period. He then commences to become very vocal. If you know anything about Mini Schnauzers you know they have many different sounds and voices. Oh, yes they do. Scoot can SCREAM like a woman who had just seen a 20 foot boa constrictor slither up the toilet in her brand new en suit master bathroom. His scream makes you want to take chopsticks and puncture your eardrums. You just know in “dog-ese” he’s screaming, “Don’t leave me, PLEASE!” We think this comes from spending a LOT of time in a crate before we adopted him, but, the good news is he is crated trained really well.

Monday evening, after arriving back in town we checked in, unloaded the Jeep and rested a bit. We had to meet with the realtor, grab a bite of supper and then run to the store. Since the Jeep had been loaded to the gills, the crate had been left in Knoxville. I suggested we put Scoot in the bathroom…with his water and food. T & H thought he be okay to roam free in the room as he had before with no problem. Mom’s, that would be me, gut intuition said different…maybe it was all those beatings he took from the cat when we were back in Knoxville…

Anyway, we left and as we drive off we can hear him SCREAMING. It sounded like an 18 wheeler was in the room repeatedly running over him…I prayed for chopsticks. Usually after were gone for a couple of minutes, he calms down and becomes normal.

Well, this time he decided to show us and teach us a really good, old fashion lesson. We were gone maybe three or three and half hours. When I opened the door, I wanted to close it immediately and tell T & H we had the wrong room…but, I know I’m not Houdini and the truth had to come out.

We walked in and the little bugger was beside himself with excitement because we were back…it didn’t last long. There laying at our feet was T & H’s cell phone…in about a bazillion pieces. We only found a few pieces of the leather glove for the phone…I guess he digested the rest…and he’s none the worse for it. To put it mildly, T & H was not a happy camper. Miraculously, he picked up the pieces of the phone, put them back together and the phone still works. He’ll be getting a new one soon, because we’re both ready for an upgrade…we’re just waiting for the move.

Watson - Babyface So, now we’re on Mission: Tough Love.

Oh, and to add insult to injury…the phone rang and the front desk called. They had gotten a complaint. Someone had wanted a pair of chopsticks…

© 2007 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under dogs, Fun, Humor, Miniature Schnauzer, Tall & Handsome, Watson

She’s Back…!!!, by Beverly Hicks Burch

She’s Back…!!!

By Beverly Hicks Burch

Well, here she is, yes THE headless, dead chicken from the Chicken Hung Phooey blog.

Like clockwork, Mr. Rooster Phooey woke us with his crowing this morning. There was no evidence of him on the fence this morning. Of course, we couldn’t see what was on the other side of the Jeep or on the other side of the fence. For all we know he’s hanging around somewhere…pun clearly intended.

I don’t know too much about chickens, but I would say they mustn’t be very bright birds given what they went through yesterday morning. They most certainly must be creatures driven by instinct to perch on high, visible and even dangerous locations.

Let me put it this way. If I had hung around by a thin piece of twine, stretched out across the broad side of a privacy fence on a hot July summer morning looking like for all practical purposes a headless dead or rubber chicken, well…it would have been a cold day in July before I perched my feathery butt back up on that fence again!

As far as Mr. Rooster Phooey…we can only hope…

© 2007 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

Little Miss Undead Chicken

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Filed under Birds, Chickens, Fun, Humor, Pets, Photography

Chicken Hung Phooey, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Chicken Hung Phooey

By Beverly Hicks Burch

It’s been a rough couple of years. It all started a couple of years ago when Tall & Handsome was transferred. We were transferred “back where I come from” to paraphrase the Kenny Chesney song. Yep, it was even East Tennessee. I was really glad to have the chance to go back and see how things were in the place where I began my life. Well, let me tell you, things have been interesting.

To begin with the move was hair-raising. The packers had a unique technique…it was called “dump and tape”…and they were a professional van line…a national one you would know the name of quite well. Everything was either marked “food” or “décor”. Oh, there were a couple of boxes marked “clothes”. To give you an example of what we’ve been through, we unpacked one box that said “clothes” on it…well, it had one pair of underwear in it and the rest was food from the pantry and kitchen! I kid you not…

The van line arrived short-changed with truck space…and had to get another truck. We spent over $100 buying super-duper coolers to keep about a thousand dollars worth of food cold in, while they reassured us the fridge and freezer would arrive in time for the food to be secure. It took a week for them to arrive and we lost all the food.

When they unloaded the truck, they put the garage stuff in the house and the kitchen stuff in the garage. Even with me telling them it didn’t go there… It was so much fun…NOT!

And don’t even get me started on the house, landlady and T & H’s job. Those will be other fun, informative blogs altogether from this intrepid blogger. Maybe some will involve landmark revelations…

But, for now, I have to tell the story of something I had never seen before in my entire life…and I’ve seen some pretty weird things…this one started like this…

We have not met our neighbors on the northeast side the house. It just so happens the house is next to our bedroom window. We know that many people live in the house, and we’re not sure if they speak English. Sometimes, late at night, or early morning we hear mariachi music playing very loud, and Spanish being spoken. One early morning about 3:00 AM I heard some loud shouting outside the window on the side of the house. Then there was a noise that sounded like a gunshot, a car peeled off, and then silence. After that, things have been pretty quiet. That is until about six weeks or so ago.

Let me set the mood. I always like to sleep with the window to the bedroom cracked at night for a bit of fresh air if possible. I think it has something to do with my Sjogren’s, but, I could be wrong. I’ve found being in East Tennessee the nights can by a lot more refreshing than they were in Birmingham during the summer…guess it’s that mountain air.

Now, mind you, we live in a suburb where the wildest thing you might see is a red Ford Mustang. Well, I do have a couple of bunny rabbits who have taken up residence in my back yard and I’ve marveled at that because the setting is so suburban.

Well, about six weeks ago, the Burch household was sound asleep. It was dark and calm when all of a sudden there was a sound that was so foreign to our surroundings it shattered the silence and rattled the rafters! Cock-a-doodle-dooo! God in heaven help me! What was that?! It was right on top of me! My eyes flung open…surely I was dreaming…I didn’t hear what I just heard…not for real! I lay real still and listen again. Cock-a-doodle-dooo! It was 4:30 in the morning.

All of a sudden I hear a muffled voice from T & H’s pillow, “The neighbors have gotten a darn rooster.”

About this time Watson responds to the crowing rooster. He’s running around in his “condo” (our term for his crate he sleeps in at night) like he’s running the Kentucky Derby all the time competing with the crowing rooster with his barking. I think he was thinking of fried chicken…or that there was an attack chicken on the loose and it was his job to protect us from the Big Bad Rooster.

Winfield jumped up in the window trying to find the Big Bird and push the screen out to fly the coop so to speak and see what was speaking that foreign animal language…even though it’s two stories up…

The rooster crowed for the next three hours, so Tall & Handsome and I lay in bed and debated until the sun rose why the heck the neighbors would bring a contraband animal (I seem to have read some where that farm animal were illegal in the city limits) into the neighborhood…it was so romantic. T & H said he had heard some people were getting roosters for pets. I said I wondered if it was for cock fighting or Santeria. He asked me what Santeria was and I spent the next few hours trying to explain…titillating pillow talk…all thanks to a darn rooster.

My friends, it took several mornings to get use to our friend Mr. Rooster Phooey crowing EVERY freaking morning let me tell you. Not to mention the fact that he also crows all freaking day…day in day out…but, it STILL did not prepare me for what I saw this morning (and darn it I had chicken last night!)!

Usually as the sunrises, I may get up and close the window and lower the blind. This helps the noise factor with Mr. Rooster Phooey. Well, this morning, I got up, but, as I prepared to lower the window I looked out and there before my eyes was the perpetrator…a HUGE, big white rooster with a red head and brown tail feathers and plumes. He was perched up on the post of the privacy fence between the two yards…and he was as quiet as a well…church mouse.

I thought, “Okay, I’ve seen the rooster. Now they’re not containing him properly. Ooops.” And then I started to close the window and I froze in my tracks…there at the bottom of the fence on our side was something that looked like another chicken…a dead chicken! A headless dead chicken!

People, this is not a sight you want to see out your bedroom window at 8:30 AM on a Sunday morning. It’s not a sight you want to see out your bedroom window ANY time…believe me.

Of course the minute I reacted, T & H sprang out of bed kinda like the father in the poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas” only this time it wasn’t any reindeer he was going to be seeing. He looked, said, “Yep, that’s a rooster and I think that’s another chicken” and he went and got the binoculars. He stared a really long time and then said, “That’s a dead chicken.”

I said, “No kidding.”

T & H then said, “He hung himself.”


“Yep. The neighbors have tied a string around those birds’ feet. The rooster has one on his foot, too and the dead bird has one on his foot. He must have hopped up on the fence, got caught, fell and hung himself. Here, take a look.”

Well, I did, and sure enough the neighbors had tied real thin twine around the birds’ feet. That darn rooster was perched up on the fence. That was the quietest he’d been since he’d moved next door…he was catatonic.

Next thing I knew Tall & Handsome is throwing on some clothes and I asked him what he’s doing. He said he was going next door and tell the neighbors they needed to get their birds off the fence. I had to agree. Dead chicken do not make nice lawn ornaments…especially spread eagle, hung upside down chickens…

He was gone for some time and I was beginning to get a little concerned. He eventually came back…and had a whole new bizarre chapter to tell in the rooster saga.

When he went to the door and knocked, the neighbors never answered the door, so T & H was left with the dilemma of handling the birds himself. Who wouldn’t want to dispose of a dead chicken, right? He was thrilled…about as much as having an ingrown toenail removed without anesthesia. As he approached the “dead chicken” he made a startling discovery…the poor stretched out, hanging by a string, seemingly lifeless chicken was not dead! It kinda rolled its eyes and fluttered around a bit. T & H got a pair of his leather gloves, picked the bird up and as it struggled and flapped its wings and beat him senseless, he tried put it back on the right side of the fence. Eventually he had to walk it back into the yard. I married a chicken wrangler…yee-haw! See what they teach those cowboys in New Mexico?

When crowing Mr. Rooster Phooey saw Tall & Handsome approaching, he got all discombobulated and started flapping and jumping up on his precarious perch on the fence and the next thing T & H knew there the poor ol’ thing hung by his foot and that twine…swinging all stretched out pitiful and helpless. I wondered then if T & H had a weak moment and thought, “I can end the sleepless mornings. No more crowing out of this one.” But, nope…there would be no Chicken Hung Phooey with Tall & Handsome around. He said he didn’t want the poor bird to suffer. He got the big ol’ crower down…freed him…put him in the yard and came home…he’s just that kind of guy. He’s got a big ol’ heart and that’s why I love him.

Oh, and we had a vegetarian Indian rice dish for dinner…some how, it just seemed the right thing to do…

© 2007 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Birds, Chickens, Fun, Humor, Life, Pets, Tall & Handsome, Tennessee

Half and Half, Beverly Hicks Burchs

You Are 50% Left Brained, 50% Right Brained

The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.
Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.

If you’re left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.

Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.

The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.

Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.

If you’re right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.

Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.

Half and Half

By Beverly Hicks Burch

The results are in… Here are the results of another one of those handy-dandy quizzes.

I’ve often wondered if I was left brained or right brained. I’ve also been told I’m kind of an enigma; but, on the other hand some one once told me I was so normal I was abnormal…lol!

Now, I know why…I’m half `n half! Kinda like the creamer…not like heavy cream, but, just rich, full textured, interesting, smooth and delicious enough to add interest, taste, flavor, and silky comfort to your life! What a hoot!

I’d have to say the results have me pegged pretty well. The math…well, I was better in geometry in school and actually still use it from time to time in my quilting…yeah, no kidding. When my son was in high school, I brushed up on algebra and actually, to paraphrase Sally Fields, “I liked it, I really liked it.” Have I kept it up? Nope.

I do like quiet. And, the sports part? Well, I do really enjoy a good vigorous quilt basting…lol…just kidding folks. I’ve never been very athletic…mainly because of my health disabilities. In 2002 I learned I had a problem with my kneecaps that explained some problems. I did use to walk a lot and used my stationary bike a lot and enjoyed short hikes.

For now, maybe I’ll especially enjoy my morning cup of coffee tomorrow…

© 2007 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Fun, Humor, Quizzes