whiskers off kittens (a few of my unfavorite things)

I’m afraid of geese and cat whiskers if you must know. I realize it’s not smart to put my biggest vulnerabilities out there. What if my arch nemesis subscribes and is now loading a pillowcase with whiskers and angry geese? Do arch nemesises have to be mutual, or can mine be someone I’ve never even met? What is the plural of nemesis anyway?

And let me clarify that I am not afraid of whiskers on kittens, but rather when they fall off and are discovered loose on a blanket or, you know, on top of my pillow. Which is where my husband threatened to put one this morning when he found a loose one on a blanket.

He also sent me this picture he snapped this morning of our roof.

Image

And now I’m not sure where I’m going to move on such short notice.

The goose fear stems from a traumatic memory of getting bit on the butt by one during a kindergarten field trip, but I should probably clarify it was not even my butt that got bit. I was definitely bit on the butt by a dog in second grade, and am proud to announce I am not much afraid of them anymore.

I regularly encounter dogs and geese when I run. I make eye contact with the geese, but do not add a respectful nod like I do with dogs. If the geese start to charge, I usually clap my hands and yell. My husband threw pinecones to get the two off our roof, which seems less efficient but more fun and also not as congratulatory.

Last week I had a close call with a dog I never even saw when I was jogging down a familiar road. I had earbuds in, but still heard a spatter of angry barking behind me. I slowed my pace but did not stop or turn around. I kept waiting for the bite and thought how my butt must have looked like an overly plump set of tenderloins. But the barking eventually stopped and the adrenaline gave a nice energy boost for the rest of the run home.

I often think what I would do if attacked by a dog or a goose. I like to think instinct would kick in, but maybe I should run with some mace. At least then I could accidentally mace both of us and wouldn’t have to remember the pesky, humiliating details. One summer I worked at a camp where some kid “accidentally” sprayed a canister of pepper spray in front of an industrial fan during the farewell dance. Farewell indeed.

I’m less afraid of pepper spray and dogs and getting that way about geese. Whiskers are next!

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39 thoughts on “whiskers off kittens (a few of my unfavorite things)

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  1. Omg…I howled at this posting this morning! When my husband and I first retired to the mountains of western North Carolina two years ago, I knew there were bears around. So, nervous about going for walks and encountering a black bear, I went to Wal-Mart to buy some pepper spray. I was told I had to go to a pawn shop (??!!) to buy that. So, I dutifully marched into the pawn shop (first time in one, I admit) and told the guy there I wanted a can of pepper spray to keep away bears on my morning walks. He said that a can of pepper spray would just piss the bear off, and he dutifully pulled out the backpack with a canister of spray I would need to strap on my back for bears. Being new to the area and not wanting our new neighbors to think we were TOO strange right off the bat, I decided to take my chances on walks carrying nothing but a small steak knife (!) and have yet to meet one bear.
    Joan

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    1. We lived in the poconos for several years and did actually see bear in our yard occasionally. I was afraid to go hiking in the woods, though recall we bought a bullhorn to carry with us – no idea if we ever did this though. It reminds me of the backpack. Your steak knife idea sounds more practical for a variety of situations. Always be prepared!

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  2. This was awesome! I HATE geese…I had three of them on my belly when I was 5 years old and have never forgotten it. The geese on the roof combined with your phrase figuring out where to move on such short notice had me belly laughing and waking up the entire household.
    OMG…I have to read this again. Thank for starting my day with a laugh!
    (Hubby and I brought a goat and two dogs home with us after one of our runs, too!)

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  3. My husband was bit by a goose in kindergarten too and is still wary of them! I have an irrational fear of large ants, or maybe it’s completely rational. I did, however, get over my fear of bees but I don’t think there’s hope for the ants. 🙂

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  4. Very funny. Sorry but my sense of humour does sometimes get me in trouble. I just see a pre-historic whiskered goose that runs with the speed of a cheater, chasing a reeboked homo-erectus through the everglades. Meanwhile cave man at home plucking chicken to fill a pillow as a weapon to save wife. Have I got the story so far? Anyway we all have something that freaks is out. I cannot stand cotton wool-I could have been left on my own in a cotton field. Them old cotton fields back home.
    I think I can now sleep, thanks for the laugh BB. Goodnight worldB

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    1. Is cotton wool that black scratchy stuff you, well, what do you do with cotton wool anyway? I don’t think I care much for it either. I’m going to start carrying a list, but will keep it well protected so it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Goodnight B!

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  5. This is great, right down to the pepper spray. When I read that, I thought, “See? Things could always be worse?” Nope. Not for you.
    Maybe a goose is your nemesis. (Say that five times fast…)

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    1. This post was therapeutic to write because I’d forgotten all about the dog bite and the pepperspray dance of ’93. I came away feeling like a bit of a survivor. Now I realize my nemesis is probably a goose. But which one?? (ALL of them?)

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  6. Mary Oliver’s “Wild Geese” is one of my favorite poems, though it probably creeps you out. I had no idea that so many people had such horror stories about geese. Well, come to think of it, I have a few goose horror stories too, as in Goose, or Grey Goose more specifically. That Goose definitely bit me on the ass a few times!

    Flamingos are my geese. I tried to get close to one to see if I could pet it, and the damn thing pecked me (bit me)! Anytime I see those fake plastic flamingos, I break out in hives.

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    1. I forgot about Grey Goose. Scary! I guess it is more a peck with geese. I just googled “do geese have teeth” and of course it auto filled in. Another popular search is apparently “do geese have teeth on tongue”. I’m not going there. Nope. Flamingos, you say. They put those plastic ones on people’s yards around here for 50th birthdays and whatnot. Seems puzzling at best, sinister or terrifying for some. Safest to steer clear of all fowl around eye level (ostriches anyone?). They carry a chip on their shoulders if birds have shoulders. Well this comment got a little long. I’m happy to see you!

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  7. I will think of you the next time someone gooses me.

    Kristen is to geese as Josie is to turkeys. Arrogant bastards, strutting around my neighborhood as if they own the place. If I could get my hands on the turkey farmer that lets them roam free…

    Whiskers off kittens, that is definitely one that has me thinking. I cannot immediately come up with a parallel, though I’m confident there is one. I will be re-commenting as soon as I have it.

    It is nice to know that Joe would fit right into my circle. I get regular text pics anytime one of my friends encounters a turkey.

    Christy, I am wondering if you have some equally memorable Wild Turkey bourbon stories?

    Thanks, as always, for the lift, Kristen, and get ready for some awesome goose pics from me!

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    1. A friend told me they’re so dumb they drown in the rain, but it turned out to be urban legend. They’re very skittish, but imposing with their tail feathers all puffed out, traveling in packs. Mostly what I remember about living near wild turkeys is wild turkey poop.

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    2. I have some very vivid Jack Daniels stories. I dared not recreate them with Wild Turkey.

      But like geese, I guess I have a sentimental spot for wild turkeys too as I look at them as little messages from my mom. I would be down right giddy if I saw them walking down my street!

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  8. Great post as always but what I really love is your photos.. and have for a long time. I don’t know if it’s how you take the photos or the special effects you put on them or just the truly gorgeous part of the world where you live but I have this image of you in a lovely semi-rural paradise where the air smells crisp, the leaves can alter the landscape depending on the season, the grass is plentiful and the people are nice. That’s my image of your world. Hope it’s true (well I know the last one is because you’re in it!!) xxx

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    1. I use instagram to apply a filter to most of the pics I post. Thank you for the compliment though. I love where we live, though know it’s nowhere near as magical a land as NZ!

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  9. Now awake! Dreamt of Gooses and whiskery thingies. Is a goose like a turkey’s cousin and if it be true then they have a fair argument with us humans. We use geese in Australia at customs to whisker out contraband and sometimes they roam the streets in packs ( gaggles if you will ) fighting the locals. Very untrustworthy characters at the best of times. The closest I can think of as having that goosey attitude is our black swan – now that’s a bird with attitude. I have a friend who cannot stand the mere name of ‘mouse’ orated, much less see one. This I find so funny and I know I shouldn’t.B

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    1. I am afraid of mice running loose at my feet, though they’re so cute up close. Like perfect, darling storybook cute. I find it fascinating that Australian customs uses geese to do their dirty work. It endears me to geese, actually.

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  10. This post is great! I laughed all the way through- the geese text on the roof- LOL!

    I also have an irrational fear of geese- I read somewhere that they are vicious and will attack with no provocation when I was about ten and have never been able to stand being near them. We just moved and on the way to my son’s school every day there they are: geese! Eating and glaring at the passing cars. I don’t have an “I was attacked in kindergarten” by anything story except the one where my neighbor threw a rock through some bushes and it cracked me on the head. I can still see the trail of blood on the sidewalk I left when I ran home, but I am not afraid of rocks.

    I don’t like leftover whiskers either. They make me feel a little nauseous.

    How do you feel about wind and heights? What about pencils with only metal left at the eraser?

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    1. They are everywhere in these parts this time of year. This is territory-staking, egg-laying season and they have their feathers in a bunch. I was happy to see them return because it meant spring is returning, however I forgot it also means geese are returning.

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  11. Geese can be a nasty business. They can be quite ferocious when they want to be. I’ve been chased by a few. And besides that, they poop a lot and don’t seem to care where. At least dogs will try to be neat. I have two dog and they’re mostly good – though the little one, the dachshund poops on the rug sometimes. I excuse him because his system is tiny. Good luck avoiding angry birds – but think of the fun you’ll have if they keep chasing you 😉
    AnnMarie

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  12. SQUEEEE!!! I remember this post! It may have been one of the first posts I read of yours. You’re gonna think I’m strange, but I think of you almost every time I see geese. Grumpy bastards that they are.
    Thank you for playing. You were FRIST. xo

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