Thursday, June 26, 2008

Oh, So THAT's Their Job?

Hey, guess what?

Hey, you guessed right!


I kid you not.

At this juncture, he's still in the attic, calculating his nefarious plot to overtake the Miklasz household. It's either the same squirrel or (as per last night's blog) one of his prankster pals.

Preventative measures included closing my upstairs bathroom door, which is nicely floor-to-ceiling tight, so I'm reasonably certain that shimmying through it would be difficult if not impossible for the squirrel and he'll dead end in the bathroom. Literally. Perhaps he'd enjoy a soak in the Jacuzzi first.

Once again paralyzed with fear, I asked my son How! on Earth! I was supposed to get my toiletries and towels out of the bathroom with the squirrel in there (Luke and I will have to share the downstairs bathroom).

Me: "Ack! How will I get my stuff out of there?"
Luke: "Mom, the squirrel is still in the attic."
Me: "Yeah!"
Luke: "Uh, Mom? Get your stuff out of your bathroom BEFORE the squirrel is in there. Ya know, while he's still in the attic."
Me: "Right! Thanks, Luke!"

God, I love that little voice of reason.

I suppose I should lodge yet another complaint with Animal Control. According to, the function of The Department of Animal Care and Control is this:

Animal Care and Control
Chicago Animal Care and Control protects animals from inhumane treatment, protects the public from stray and possibly dangerous animals, and enforces all sections of the Municipal Code relevant to animal care and control.

Right. "Protecting animals from inhumane treatment" would be rescuing the squirrel safely from my house before I illegally procure a Colt 45 and blast it's head off. "Protecting the public from stray and possibly dangerous animals" would involve Animal Control actually showing the fuck up to give me a hand. Neither of those scenarios seem bloody likely to happen today.

That Squirrel Thought I Was Nuts.

Never a dull moment, I tell ya.

The Useless Dildos at Chicago Animal Control never got off their sweet roll-consuming fat butts to come investigate the unidentifiable home invader that set up camp in my apartment this morning. They caught and killed a fucking cougar in Roscoe Village last month and suddenly think they're Rambos and not going to bother with the plight of a totally distraught little damsel (me) and her fretting young son (Luke).

We had just settled into "Supernanny" for our weekly dose of When Kids Attack, when Luke saw a squirrel scurry across the dining room. Once it heard my blood-curdling scream, it ran into the living room, where it first hid under the entertainment center. The first thing we did was make a run for my office, where my phone was charging, then into Luke's room, where we shut the door and called 911.

Dispatcher: "Chicago 911, what is your emergency?"
Me: "There is a LIVE squirrel running around my living room."
Dispatcher: "So."
Me: "So help me! I'm alone with a small child and we're terrified! Can't you send the police or something?"
Dispatcher: "Get a broom."
Me: "I can't catch it!"
Dispatcher (sighing): "I'll put you through to Animal Control. Hold please."

Cue Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On," followed by a cheerful female recorded voice.

"Thank you for calling 3-1-1, Chicago's OTHER Help Line. Currently, all of our operators are busy stalling other City of Chicago residents. Your call will be answered in the unlikely event Ed actually makes it back from his break on time. If you have an actual emergency and require Chicago Police or Fire, please hang up and dial 9-1-1, Chicago's Honest to Christ Help Line, unless, of course, you've already tried, in which case, you're pretty much fucked."

Animal Control: "Chicago Animal Control, how can I help you?"
Me: "There is a LIVE! SQUIRREL! in my living room."
Animal Control: "Would you like to file a report?"
Me: "I did that at 9:45 this morning and no one ever came. That was when it was in my attic. Now it's IN! MY! LIVING! ROOM!"
Animal Control: "Ma'am, what is your address?"
Me: "Blah Blah N. Yackety Yack Lane."
Animal Control: "The report is still open and we've labeled it an emergency, but we'll put it in the system again, I guess. Maybe someone will come out tonight."
Me: "Now. I need someone to come NOW."
Animal Control (chuckling): "Oh, I'm sorry, ma'am, I doubt anyone is going to come now. Did you get a broom?"
Me (under my breath): "Fuck you."

Next plan. Tried Wes, my strong, capable Chicago Firefighter close friend, with whom I left 2 messages and a text to his wife this afternoon about said problem. No luck.

Tried calling my ex, Craig. Not home. Actually, probably home, heard my hysterical message, laughed and said there was no way in hell he was coming over to rescue me from THIS one, for this shit is priceless!

Called my friend, Brad! Surely he can help! So what if he lives in VIRGINIA. We'd been chatting during the day about the issue, so why not?

Me: "Brad! There's a squirrel running around loose in my house!"
Brad (stifling laughter): "Ahhhh!"
Me: "I don't know what to do, I called 911 and Animal Control and no one will help."
Brad: "Get a broom and swoosh it out the door."
Me: "I can't! I'm paralyzed with fear!"
Brad: "Oh Jesus. You walk past squirrels every day and they don't bother you."
Me: "Yeah, but they're not usually IN! MY! HOUSE! The birds are in the living room! It's gonna eat the birds!"
Brad: "Squirrels don't eat birds. How many bird skeletons do you see on the ground every day?"
Me: "Ok, true, but WAAAAH."
Brad: "You'll be fine."
Me: "I'll let you know what happens."

Ok, next plan.

I finally got the ballyhooed broom and gave Luke the Swiffer, and we quietly peered into the living room, but the squirrel was hiding (and laughing at us). The birds, meanwhile, were obliviously chirping on, safe and unfettered. I opened the back door. Then I called Animal Control again.

Animal Control: "Yes, we have your report, Ms. Miklasz. No, no one is coming tonight. Someone will come tomorrow and place a trap in your house."
Me: "A trap? You mean you just leave a trap and you don't shoo it out?"
Animal Control: "Right. Call us back when the squirrel is in the trap, and we'll send someone out to collect it. Have you tried a broom?"
Me: "YES, but the squirrel is HIDING. Wait, you mean I have to wait again once it's dead in the trap for you to come and get it?"
Animal Control: "Yes."
Me (under my breath): "Fuck that."

(I then reiterated my "But I'm a single-mom with child" sob story, and asked how we are supposed to sleep in the house with a squirrel scampering about. For good measure, I threw in the frightened parakeets.)

Animal Control: "Oh, you have birds? Why don't you let them fly around your house so that the squirrel comes out and tries to catch them? Then you can run the squirrel outside!"

Where does one begin to dissect the gargantuan flaws in the Animal Control operator's logic?

Me: "First of all, I'm not running Noah's Fucking Ark in here. Second of all, the birds, which are my PETS, will fly OUT THE DOOR never to be SEEN AGAIN."

Animal Control: "Ok, then that's a bad idea."
Me: "D'ya think?"
Animal Control: "Maybe someone will come tomorrow. I know that's probably not what you wanted me to say."
Me: "Exactly."
Animal Control: "Good luck!"
Me (under my breath): "Fuck you. Fuck the squirrel. Fuck the Mayor. Fuck the City. Fuck all of you."


Then I called my Mommy and explained the issue. Finally, someone with a shred of sympathy!

Ma: "Did you call Wes?"
Me: "Yeah, he's not home."
Ma: "Christopher?"
Me: "No, he's probably busy with his kid."
Ma: "Bob?"
Me: "No answer."
Ma: "Craig?"
Me: "Not home. Neither is Don. But I did call Brad."
Ma: "Doesn't he live in another state?"
Me: "Yeah, well, anyway..."
Ma (on soapbox): "I can't believe Animal Control. In a big city like this? And they can't send one guy out for a squirrel? That's ridiculous! You should complain to the Mayor's office. And write to that 'My Problem and How I Fixed It' column in the Tribune. Open the doors and windows and see if the squirrel will jump."
Me: "But Ma, I can't! I'm paralyzed with fear!"
Ma: "Oh, Annie! Make sure it doesn't bite Lucas! Squirrels can be rabid! And Cook County has rabid bats again! And rats!"

At that point, my mom's level of anxiety was approaching mine (think of those color-coded levels of terror issued by US Homeland Security), so I thought it best to end the conversation and return to my plan of attack. But not before my mom suggested I try and call Jeff, the maintenance guy at our church/Luke's school.

I figured what the hell, I could always add Jeff to the list of All The Men I Know Who Are Not Presently Solving My Extremely Emergent Problem.

Cartwheels!!! Jeff was home! Jeff lives nearby! Jeff has household squirrel removal experience! Jeff realizes that a kid, a wimp, a Swiffer and a broom are no match for a rascally rodent!

While Jeff was en route, I finally talked to Christopher (the boyfriend), who tried to calmly soothe me but also urged me not to piss the squirrel off any or scare him any more than he already was.

Chris: "I know this may be hard to believe, but the squirrel is 50,000 times more afraid of you than you are of it."
Me: "No it isn't."
Chris: "You have two choices. You and Luke sleep in a room with the door closed, where you will be perfectly safe, and wait for Animal Control tomorrow, or go sleep at your mom's. Or leave your back door open all night, but frankly, I'd be then more worried about the crack heads downstairs than the squirrel."

Me: "Jeff's here, gotta go!!!!"

Jeff arrived with 2 big buckets, a slim slab of wood, a pair of gloves and fierce determination. The squirrel continued to cower behind the sofa. Jeff pulled the sofa out from against the wall, causing the squirrel to dart across the room by my little decorative bench full of Completely Odd Stuffed Animals. Then back behind the sofa. Then back by the bench. Then back behind the sofa. Then back behind the bench.

Luke and I stood watching Jeff and the squirrel's living room volley from the safety of the kitchen, still clutching the Swiffer and broom. "Aha!," Jeff thought. "If I could just get the window and screen open by the bench, I bet I can get him to jump out."

Sure enough, by volley #24, the squirrel leaped onto the bench, over my steroid-pumped giant stuffed cardinal, and Out. The. Window. Gone. All on the night before Jeff was leaving town on vacation. Thank you, heavens above, thank you!

What a night to have Luke recharging the batteries in his video camera, for this movie would've been the shit. It took my son till close to midnight to decompress and get to bed, and I'm running on adrenaline at 1:20 in the morning, still exhausted from yesterday's aforementioned Hostile Day of Hormonal PMS Hell.

The squirrel, the Animal Control Commissioner and I are all lucky the animal wrangling took place today versus yesterday, for my only phone call would've been from the County lockup to Chris to procure bail money, with an aggravated assault of a City official charge on my rap sheet and squirrel niblets dangling from my blood-soaked fangs.

You totally know that squirrel survived the suicide drop and is now twitching to all the other squirrels in the neighborhood about how they "totally have to break into Andrea's house because she's a total freaking basketcase nutjob with a kid, who gets spooked really, really, really easily. And dude, she has a Jacuzzi and an autographed picture of Mandy Patinkin! Solid!"

I really, really hope tomorrow brings some peace and clarity, because I've had just an absolutely wretched last 48 hours. I've managed to mishandle, misread, mistake or miscommunicate nearly every thought, word and deed in my existence and am wearily parched, searching for an oasis.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mr. McGee, Don't Make Me Angry. You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry.

"Today's Early Morning Sleep Interruption" is brought to you by Name That Critter!!, an exciting new game show where a paranoid, rest-deprived single mother in Chicago has to guess what creature is trapped and frantic inside the chimney and/or roof of her house. Tune in today at 9am/8am CST. Guest Stars: Rocky the Flying Squirrel. Or Rickety Rockety Raccoon. Or Jerry of Tom and Jerry. Or Scooby-Doo. or Tweety Bird. Or Magilla Gorilla. Or Michaelangelo from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Or Mr. Ed. Or Christopher Walken.

The creature's flapping or crawling or scooting woke me up at 8:10 am. Considering the fact I didn't get to sleep until around 2:30 am, after chatting with both my boyfriend and then my likewise-sleep-deprived friend Julia, this was uncalled-for. How comical it must have looked, however, to see a grown woman (that's me) shaking and cowering under the covers, making a beeline downstairs, as if whatever it is could possibly sweep into my room, carry me off by the flesh of my neck and leave me for dead somewhere along the banks of the Des Plaines River.

I Googled "animal trapped in the roof" and I came across the municipal site for a city in Australia called Greater Dandenong. This, of course, makes me wonder if there is also a Lesser Dandenong or a Greatest Dandenong. This site is chock-full of useful information about "nuisance animals," which include swooping birds, the elm leaf beetle, snakes, possums and vermin. Of particular interest was the article on "Possums and the Law," which I would encourage everyone to read, if for no other reason than to understand the ramifications under Australian law for dicking around with possums, which are protected by the Australian Wildlife Act of 1975.

Crikey, people, if possums are becoming endangered in your fair country, I'm sure that a population replenishing program could be quickly enacted, because Chicago alleys alone have a surplus supply of those ugly motherfuckers.

Seriously, though, how do I find out what's invaded my home? Wait until the spinoff "Name That Maggoty, Rotting Carcass!!" comes on, or call Animal Control, or curl up in my bathtub, trembling? I'd call the landlord if he hadn't skipped town for tropics unknown 8 months ago; but alas, I squat, therefore I am.

This morning, I totally feel like Bill Bixby. ("Is she drinking again?" wonder the readers.) More specifically, I feel like the David Banner character on "The Incredible Hulk" who regains human form and pale skin after yet another destructive, rage-driven transformation into a growling, green monster. Yesterday was my Intensely Hostile Monthly Pre-Menstrual Freakout from Hell Day, during which I managed to crab about, insult, anger, disappoint and alienate practically everyone whose path I crossed. If I had any semblance of a clue as to what day this Tsunami of Agony was going to arrive on any given month, I might be better equipped to combat the emotional tailspin and spare my dear friends and family of the ensuing wrath. Unfortunately, it's never accurately predictable or even realized until hours into the actual day-of, by which time dozens of innocent people have already been witness to my sour disposition and foul temper.

Hormones are funny. Mine seemed to abruptly level off and calm shortly before my boyfriend was ready to say, "I will entertain the notion of conversing with you when you're ready to stop being an illogical, snarky bitch. Till then, you're on ignore mode." Which, I admit, I totally would've deserved. Mercifully, his cooler head prevailed long enough for me to apologize.

Today, it's raining. I think I'll ship Luke off to day camp, take a nap and attempt to figure out what's lurking in my roof, in between emailing more pointless and useless resumes for jobs for which I'm either under-qualified, over-qualified or simply uninterested.

Till next time...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Cheekbone Nightmare Abruptly Awakened Me From Early Morning Summer Slumber.

A Cheekbone Nightmare Abruptly Awakened Me From Early Morning Summer Slumber.
Current mood: annoyed
Category: Music

Ack. I have a hard enough time getting restful sleep, so imagine my crankiness after a nightmare about Fergie's melting cheekbones roused me from my otherwise peaceful summer morning snoozefest. The dream was almost exactly like the scene in Pink Floyd's "The Wall" (which I watched the other night) when a drug-crazed Bob Geldof's flesh melts as his manager and roadies are dragging him to the gig. Not pretty.

Fergie already had a secure spot on an unseemingly endless list of Things I Find Supremely Irritating, but climbed up a few notches after the melting cheekbones segued into a loop of that horrifyingly craptastic "Clumsy" single which refused to mute in my head at 6:10 in the morning. Suffice it to say it'd be almost more pleasant to listen to Yoko Ono moan while she's on a toilet with a raging case of amoebic dysentery.

Consider yourself lucky if you've been spared the agony of All Things Fergie. But on the off chance you're unfamiliar or your curiosity has been piqued, 1) I'm really sorry and 2) here's the video, which packs a 2-for-1 punch of both her blechy face and shitariffic music.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Boggles the Mind...And Other Stuff.

Tim Russert of NBC News died suddenly yesterday. Normally, I'm not remotely interested in keeping up with politics and glued to the missives of any given political reporter, but Russert touched a nerve out of the political circus with such books as Big Russ and Me: Fathers and Sons: Lessons of Life and Wisdom of Our Fathers: Lessons and Letters from Daughters and Sons. Particularly sad that Russert died Father's Day weekend, just days after seeing his own son graduate from college and enjoying a much-needed vacation in Italy with his family.

Should I go to the cemetery to visit my father's grave tomorrow for Father's Day? I haven't done so for the last 24 years he's been gone, but now since there's finally a shiny, engraved headstone, I feel like I am somehow obligated. But it goes back to my much blogged-about opinion that being buried in a cemetery is a huge waste of time and finances when it's just as easy and just as valid to simply acknowledge your loved ones in your heart and mind. Thank you. I have just answered my own question.

I endured the newly released "Don't Mess with the Zohan" last night featuring Adam Sandler, John Turturro and Rob Schneider. Apart from a handful of well-timed gags, it stunk to high heaven. Totally a guy's movie that guys go to in a group so they can laugh about dumb guy stuff.
My boyfriend owes me one.

Scanned the online news this afternoon to read that the complete sleaze ball pedophile pig, rapper R. Kelly, was acquitted on all 14 counts in his child pornography case. Equally sickening is how Kelly murmured the proverbial "Oh, thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Jesus!" upon his acquittal. You're not thanking Jesus because justice was served. You're thanking Jesus because a lax legal system has saved you from being ass-raped by a sweaty cellmate named Bubba for the next decade. I'm embarrassed to share Chicago air with you, R. Kelly, but thanks for perpetuating the notion that assholes with enough money and clout can continue to take advantage of underage children. Way to go.

Happy Father's Day.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

"Honey," With Commentary.

I was stuck in traffic on the Kennedy going downtown one night last week, listening to my Time-Life "Lifetime of Schmaltz" Collection, which I don't quite recommend to other drivers trying to stay conscious at the wheel. Enter "Honey," by Bobby Goldsboro. Widely regarded as the worst pop song ever, "It was released as a single in the U.S. in 1968 (see 1968 in music) and spent five weeks at the top of the Billboard Pop Singles Chart, from April 7 to May 11, and three weeks atop Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart (Wikipedia)."

Those who can't get enough "Honey" and find themselves dripping in it's sweetness can also find it on Time-Life's Country "Lifetime of Cow Patties" country music collection. (Sidebar: Honestly, if you watch the Time-Life music infomercials and you really want approximately 1/3 of the songs in any given collection they're advertising, order the CD's, burn the songs you enjoy, and send the mo-fo back for a complete refund. Unethical? Pfft.)

Thick in the traffic jam, I played the song three times over, because while I was always familiar with it and knew it was cheesy, an overwhelming "WHAT THE FUCK?" overcame me.

Thus, I give you "Honey," with commentary:


Bobby Goldsboro

See the tree, how big it's grown,
but friend, it hasn't been too long it wasn't big.
(Have we suddenly lost all capability to form a lucid English sentence, friend?)
I laughed at her and she got mad,
the first day that she planted it was just a twig.
(Gotcha. Sure enough, the tree is growing. Um, but why were you laughing at her? Oh wait, you'll get to that part. OK.)

Then the first snow came and she ran
out to brush the snow away so it wouldn't die.
(Unless there was 40 lbs of snow weighing down her little tree, I doubt it would do any permanent damage, but whatever. Now if there was that much snow, why didn't your sorry ass go out and help her?)
Came runnin' in all excited,
slipped and almost hurt herself, I laughed 'til I cried.
(Way to be a complete douchebag, Bobby! You could've warned her that your cheap linoleum floor is hazardous when wet!)

She was always young at heart,
kinda dumb and kinda smart and I loved her so.
(Because "youthfully-tempered with intelligence falling into the median quotient of typical Americans" doesn't have the same lyrical flow...)

I surprised her with a puppy,
kept me up all Christmas Eve two years ago.
(Did this "surprise" include the puppy jumping out from behind a curtain and mauling her? 'Cuz that seems like something you'd pull.)

And it would sure embarrass her when
I came home from working late 'cause I would know
that she'd been sittin' there cryin'
over some sad and silly late, late show.
(She's not cryin' over Craig Ferguson, dipshit, she's cryin' because she is finally realizing what a colossal pansy you've turned out to be.)

And Honey, I miss you and I'm being good.
And I'd love to be with you if only I could.
(Do us all a favor. Run under a bus just to see what happens.)

She wrecked the car and she was sad
and so afraid that I'd be mad but what the heck.
("What the heck?" You roll in hilarity over her snow-clad clumsiness but this is the best you can utter when she totals your new Honda Accord?)
Though I pretended hard to be,
guess you could say she saw through me and hugged my neck.
(Guess again. She was trying to strangle you.)

I came home unexpectedly
and found her crying needlessly in middle of the day.
(Because you interrupted her enjoyment of "Springer.")

And it was in the early spring
when flowers bloom and robins sing, she went away.
(Finally, she grew a pair and blew that popsicle stand!)

And Honey, I miss you and I'm being good.
And I'd love to be with you if only I could.
(Yeah, yeah, yeah.)

Yes, one day while I wasn't home,
while she was there and all alone, the angels came.
(The Rapture! The Rapture! Lord Almighty!)
Now all I have is memories
of Honey, and I wake up nights and call her name.
(..."typically after one of my chronic, bothersome nocturnal emissions...")

Now my life's an empty stage
(Did the angels take the puppy too?)
where Honey lived and Honey played and love grew up.
(..."and where I mocked the poor woman incessantly until she up and croaked...")
A small cloud passes over head
and cries down in the flower bed that Honey loved.
(Holy Sapping Sap Full of Sappity Sap!)

See the tree, how big it's grown...(fading)

- Bobby Russell

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Lou Ferrigno's nipples!

Two noteworthy items of the day:

1) Henceforth, my new favorite exclamatory catch phrase will be "Lou Ferrigno's nipples*!"
e.g. "Lou Ferrigno's nipples! Nectarines are finally under two bucks a pound!"

2) It only took me twenty nine years to notice that there is some heavy, groovy conga action on many of the tracks on Pink Floyd's "The Wall." What's more, I actually had to use the calculator function on my computer keyboard to subtract 1979 from 2008.

*photo courtesy of