Monday, February 03, 2003

Poodle Paws

Our cats went to the vet last week. They're in good shape, which makes us all happy. And they needed to get their teeth cleaned and get four separate vaccinations, which makes the kitties really really unhappy. As part of the vaccination process, the vet had to shave a chunk of the cats' right forelegs. It looks silly and cute; here are some pictures.
I was trying to think of a good veterinary reason why they need to shave a circular patch on the cats' foreleg. I can't think of one. It occurs to me that it might be one of those things that vet assistants do to relieve boredom. They shave strange parts of the pets they get in, and come up with some logical-sounding excuse to explain the aftermath to the paying customer. The average customer (me included) doesn't have any clue about what really goes on in a vet's office, so they just take the expert's word for it, and accept the fact that their cat looks silly for a few weeks. People are gullible that way; almost 50% of Americans actually think that giving huge tax breaks to a bunch of rich individuals (not businesses) will somehow trickle down and help the rest of us out (which, as I recall, was discredited sometime during Bush the First's term). They don't really understand the economics of it, they just believe it because they like the president and he says so. Just like I believe there's some logical reason that our cats have poodle paws, because I like our vet and she says so.

I would be surprised if some cute shenanigans doesn't happen in the back room of a vet's office; it happens everywhere else. In high school, I once witnessed an employee food fight at a Rax Roast Beef. I had just finished applying for a job there, and as I came out of the manager's office to catch the end of a bunch of employees flinging rotten chicken parts at each other. They cleaned it up before the manager cleared his door, a few steps behind me; if they could actually prepare and serve food that efficiently, they'd still be in business. I really liked Rax. Arby's had better roast beef, but Rax had the all-you-can-eat pasta/soup/salad bar. In my youth, all-you-can-eat places lost money on me; now, I never eat enough that it's a good deal.

But once, when I was nineteen or so, I actually came out way ahead on an all-you-can-eat place. I was working in a scene shop at a summer theater, and most of the crew decided to splurge and go to Ponderosa for the all-you-can-eat lunch meal. It was something like $6.99 for the sirloin and potato and pasta/soup/salad/dessert bar, which was pretty cheap. Just the everything bar, no meat and potato, was around $4.99. I was just curious, and asked the guy at the register how much it would cost for just the dessert bar. He hadn't ever had anyone ask that before, so he pulled a random number out of the air: 99 cents! That was just too good a deal to pass up, so I and a few others all ate dessert for lunch--a lot of dessert. We ate bowls of chocolate chips with hot fudge on top. We ate bowls of crushed-up oreos and ice cream. We ate brownies and peach cobbler and caramel sauce by the plateful. It was a lot of fun, and a serious bargain. We had only been back at the shop for a few minutes when the insulin crash hit. We ended up going home early; I can't remember what we said, but I vaguely recall that we told the management that we must've gotten communal food poisoning at lunch. Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, I don't know that I'd call this "coming out ahead"....

News on the pigeon front. I didn't end up doing anything evil to the birds, or even buying anything to scare them off. Turns out, if you shove the cat food bowl all the way to the back under the bench on the porch, the birds can't see it and don't eat there. The cats know it's there, and find it easy enough, but the birds are a lot slower on the learning curve. I suspect this wouldn't work if the birds had been eating on our porch for a while. But between the hidden bowl and the cats hanging around, the birds aren't lurking (read: pooping) on our porch anymore. Kudos to Laura for figuring this out!