Archive for October, 2012

The Cookie and the Stick
October 19, 2012

I was informed by a friend that, “…anyone who can train a goat can make a million dollars.”. A million bucks in the bank, or under the bed, would be nice so I set out to do it.

Remember the kids? I brought them home in May last year and they grew up to be goats. House goats. Billy and Kim, named after two of my children. That was the start. Now all I had to do was train them and be able to pass this valuable skill on to others who might want to train a pair of house goats.

First of all, they were-and are-darling. A little big bigger. A whole lot bigger-as a matter of fact-and a whole lot smarter. Trust me on this one, goats are very bright and put two of them together and the mind of a human being is taxed to out wit them.

They have a keen curiosity. Interested in everything. Anything new is to be explored, tasted, and touched. They sniff and nibble. They love things that clatter. They can open doors and unsnap snap hooks and do other wondrous feats for a creature that has no hands.  They love to carry thing in their mouths and delight in the chase to get them back. They climb trees.

They love and are attracted to red, bright colors, and shiny things.

They love to jump and run and buck and leap like fairy tale horses. And, like horses, they can’t be potty trained.

They have distinct personalities. Kim, the little white nanny, is much smarter than Billy. She’s the alpha goat. She has a powerful sense of justice. When I finally had to restrain one she was the first. One was to stay put  in clean, comfortable,  and expansive quarters while the other ran free and I switched them around-so far so good- but when I unchained her that first day she  put on a wild west show to end all wild west shows. She tried to butt. She came at me on her hind legs striking. A blow with one of those cloven hooves can be quite painful. She spoke to me with her  blue eyes sparking fire, her voice crackling with goat annoyance.

They do have a vocabulary. They speak and communicate with each other. On that  day  her usual pleasant little goat bleats were snorty, quick, and grumpy. She voiced, quite plainly, what she thought of the new deal.

I think animals must think we’re very dumb. They understand everything we say-ignore it usually- but we can’t learn their lingo. I’m not fluent in goat but I’m learning. I taught them ‘eeep’ means  get back in your pen and breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be soived in da main dining paddock.

They love cookies.  i usually carry a pocketful to hand feed them when we meet in pleasurable circumstance.

I also carry a stick to whap them with when they get sassy. They don’t like that stick and when I lift it and say ‘no’ they pay attention.

They love to play chase with Bootsy, my dog. And move furniture. They are at their absolute darlingest when they lie by my chair  chewing their cud. My life and my house have completely changed since they moved in.

The opening sentence in my million dollar tome on training goats? “You don’t train goats. They train you.”


October 10, 2012

Murphy’s  law: everything goes wrong all at once. I had so much on my plate I was walking in circles. The frosting on this puddle from hell happened at the end of September when I received my water bill.  The bill was twice the usual amount. The consumption, according to the graph that goes with the bill, had gone up. So had the cost of water.,

Immediately I called the department, I spoke with someone named Mal, the guy who handles such problems.  i told him I was sure the bill was wrong, I hadn’t used that much water. I thought the meter was faulty.  We had a brief discussion about installing a new meter, but the proof of this puddle was in my court. When it comes to the water bill, the consumer is always wrong.

Thus began the saga of the phantom leak.  I began reading the meter and kept a log. What I saw there  set my mind spinning. The meter was showing a leak of twenty gallons an hour, then- with no change- a leak of 7.5 gallons an hour. Then a leak of ten gallons an hour. Once it stopped dead showing no usage at all at a time when everyone attached to the crazy thing was using water like falling rain had gone out of business.

Then. It went backwards.

This was a couple of days after I spoke with Mal.  Saturday. September  22.   On weekends to report a problem with water you have to calls the police. I did. They reported my concern and a fellow named Warren called and heard me out. “We see that all the time. I’ll get you a new meter Monday.”

Monday, September 24, came.  Monday, September 24, went. No meter.  I ended up speaking with someone named Val. I told him my story. He listened. And ended the conversation with, “The only person who can  order the installation of a new meter is Mal. Mal’s on vacation.”

So. I’m looking at a meter going crazy. Ii was filling swimming pools. I don’t have a swimming pool. I hired two men-one a long time, part-time employee who knew the territory-and we began looking for the phantom leak as I jogged and logged my way back and forth. Back and forth. The meter was still going nuts but I had to have water. I have animals. i have a tenant and a guest. I dug ditches with the men. i jogged.  I logged. I read the god damn meter.

On Monday, October 1, I went to town to speak with Mal in person only to  discover Mal had not returned. I asked to speak with someone -anyone- who could help and met Tessie. Charming lady. Same results, “…we can’t just install a meter for anyone who claims it’s malfunctioning. Anyway only Mal can order the installation.”

I was right back where I started. This time I chose to go above ground. I bought acres of  expensive hose. If there was leak we could see it. The meter was still going cuckoo.  I rationed water. My guest and my tenant were understanding. I wasn’t sleeping. I wasn’t eating. I was jogging and logging. Watching leaky dollar signs falling on my head.

On October  8, I called Mal. He was quite nasty. “You went over my head. You talked to Tessie and Val. Now it’s their problem.”

I blew my cork. “They said you were the only one who could order an installation. You say they are. I’m getting the run around. Who’s the head honcho? i want to speak with him.”

Mal gave me name and number. I called. i spoke with David Craddick’s secretary. Sweet voice. I told her my story. She listened. David was in conference on the mainland but she said she would speak with Mal or Tessie or someone. Tessie  called me back.

I rained the wrath of Aquarius all over her head. “Get me a meter. Now. Or I’ll meet you in court.”

She called back a few moments later and assured me help was on the way.

Early Tuesday morning,, October 9, 15 days after the saga started, a platoon of water department guys, three or four huge truck, several men-one of them Warren- arrived and installed a smart meter. It registered no leak. i never had a leak.

Tuesday afternoon, October 9. David called. We had a pleasant chat. “David,” I said,”I’m 82 years old. A widow. I had to hire men. I’ve spent a bundle. How do we handle this?”

Waiting for an answer. Will let you know.

The point: this could happen to you. Anyone who has a water meter could find herself in the same position and talking to the water department is like talking to Mitt Romney.

October 5, 2012

…..ooops, that’s Moroni. He’s the messenger from god who first appeared, according to Joseph Smith the founder of the Church of the Later Day Saints, on the 21st of September in 1823.  Joseph was 18 years old.

As you know I’ve interviewed many gods. Had a great party on Saturday, May 21, last year when everybody on the planet who was good guys-144,000 of”em- would be raptured up to heaven mit’out’der underpants. A bunch of the gods and I took shots at them as they flapped their fat and skinny asses off to heaven. Eros actually got one. Everyone got drunk and had a good time. Happy to see them off.

Ceaser Augustus and Jesus spun yarns at the bar as Hestia and I cleaned up the mess.

This would be the first time I ever interviewed a messenger from god and I hoped he appeared to me as he appeared to Joseph. Again I quote, “He had on a loose robe of the most exquisite whiteness. it was whiteness beyond anything earthly I had ever seen.”

Moroni called Joseph by name, introduced himself and told him god had work for him to do. He told him about a book written on gold plates and gave him an accounting of “former inhabitants on this continent”.

Moroni also quoted some passages from the Bible. Third chapter Malachi: “For behold, the day cometh that shall turn as an oven. and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly shall burn as stubble; for they that come shall burn them, saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.”

I looked it up and couldn’t find it in my King james Version. Guess I’ll have to ask him about that, too.

Now a good journalist, which I do not pretend to be-but I try- does her homework. Is prepared with questions. Knows the subject. So I searched Joseph’s chronicles for more stuff about this guy.

Again quoting Joseph, he said, “…the fullness of the Gentiles was soon to come.” Now this one stopped me. Gentile? What is the correct definition? “A person of a non-Jewish nation, non-Jewish faith, especially a  Christian as distinguished from a Jew.”

Well I must ask about that.

Something else that bothered me was the gender thing. I mean the JW’s have women in the field thumping. The Morons always have a pair of guys in black pants and white shirts pushing their version.

Fortunately I had dark glasses on when the apparition appeared. Blinding. A voice from hell. I fell to my knees.

“Mormons are not Morons. What i quote is the word of GOD. Let’s keep the gentile thing out of this. As for females. Mormon females are the best cooks, house cleaners and breeders on the planet. if you want a good female who can cook and clean and breed, marry one and have lots of kids.”

It zapped me a good one across the head before it left. Actually i saw no figure but I guess I got my answer.

October 4, 2012

…or how we meet all our neighbors. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

I’m lucky to live on Kauai, the most beautiful of all the Hawaiian Islands. I’m especially lucky to live in ‘old Hawaii’. In a most fortunate little valley that can’t seem to decide if it lives in Lawaii or Kalaheo, surrounded by open space and cows and goats and horses and chickens-crowing roosters and clucking hens and fuzzy chicks- and lots of feral pigs who roam at night, and cats and dogs and lots and lots and lots of two-legged critters who jog, ride bikes-motor and otherwise-hike, stroll, meander, drive cars and trucks and buses and rumbling engines up and down it’s steeply winding two lane wandering way.

Right in front of my house, on my side of the meander, is a glorious red Turk’s head Hibiscus. Considered a pest and a weed, it’s tall and willowy and if you pluck a blossom and pull off the green stem you can suck on its sweetness as you used to suck on  honeysuckle when you were a kid who lived in the country.

This Turk’s always in trouble. Some of the two-legged critters who drive exhaust spewing stinkers  up and down the road object to it light-hearted frothy touch slapping the sides of their grumblers as they race and roar and tumble through paradise as if it were  a place to escape instead if a place to escape to. They never pause to smell the flowers. Or see the breathless beauty. I think it’s the most glorious small stretch of country road on the island.

At the top of my stretch is a hairpin turn. On the left as you’re coming down is a pasture where curious cattle-a Black Angus calf, a tender brown bull, and a couple of White Face bulls browse and graze and gaze through the fence with sleepy bovine eyes. Across the street, my side, is a natural wonderland.  Tall African Tulips with huge orange blossoms that carpet the road-another weed according to some-a tall red double hibiscus, guavas, weedelia. huge bat-winged Monstera and yellow Kolomana nestle and nourish and nudge each other.

This is the corner where I often take Ari-my beloved red horse- out to graze by the side of the road.  In an election year he’s a circumambulating bipedal campaigner with a great heart. He nods at the traffic and switches his tail. I wave and smile. Most of the good guys slow down and smile back.

An occasional bad guy calls the cops. “Officer, there’s a goddamn horse slowing down traffic on Waha Road.”

The really bad guys try to upset him. Us. Rev their engines. Honk their horns. Squeal their breaks.

Ari shrugs.

i flip them the bird.

Really bad guys call the county who come out with an army of trucks and tractors and hard-working men to butcher the tall green  buffalo grass Ari likes to much on. Fortunately there are few of those but they sure do make a mess.

…and that’s how we meet our neighbors.