Rat, Cat, Splat

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It has been unusually hot here the past few days. It’s the hottest summer I can remember since moving to California; the marine layer seemed to go on vacation for July and August, which is partly what keeps our climate so temperate.

We are just really spoiled because the summer in Southern California, particularly Orange County, usually means that the temps “soar” into the low 70′s…even in the winter we are usually in the 60′s.  It’s pretty consistent. In my limited experience living here, it just seems that winter means the nights are much cooler, sometimes even dropping into the 40′s.  Not that there aren’t some fifty-ish days  as well… but I find I rarely even turn on my heat and for all practical purposes, the 20-something year old furnace is new.

So, last Friday it was horrendously hot. I’d venture to guess it was hovering on both sides of 90 at one point. I don’t have air-conditioning. This is really the first place I think I’ve ever lived that didn’t have some form of a/c because even growing up in Queens my apartments had through-the-wall units. You just really don’t need it here.

I foolishly cooked dinner on top of the stove which added to the discomfort within my place. So along about 9 p.m., MOTNSO (“More Often Than Not Significant Other”) suggested we go down to the harbor and take a walk…it was bound to be cooler there.

So we did.

It was the semi-hike from hell.

First thing we noticed when we got out (and I can never remember this at any of the million times I’ve been down there; really, I go there several times a week) was the smell. It must have been low tide and the fact that it had been so warm all week made the smell even worse. I thought I could probably live with that for a half hour stroll,  so we started out.

About 25  yards into it a rat the size of a pony jumped out of a garbage can which caused me to do the “girlie thing” and scream and start to trot as fast as I could from the area. I was wearing flip flops or I would have made an all-out dash rivaling the feats we saw in the Olympics. This reaction reminded me of the time we were walking at the beach when a snake made a wrong turn and came out of the brush onto the walking path. He started to slither down the trail as we were about to begin a climb up about a 45 degree angle to the top of the bluff. MOTNSO stopped to look at the snake and as he tells the story, he turned around and I was gone…then he spotted me at the very top. I literally sprinted uphill; I had on running shoes (even though I never run, they do look good!) so I hit that pavement hard. He later said he never knew I could move that fast. Hey, I was putting as much space as possible between that creature and me. I hate hate hate snakes.

So, a little further into the walk and out of the corner of my eye I could see something moving down on the rocks that border the inlet to the harbor. At first I thought it was the pony/rat again but when it stopped it turned toward where we were walking, looked up and I could see it was a cat. Not just any cat…this one was ridiculously large (what is it down in the harbor that grows animals so big?) and looked like it was wearing a hockey mask a la Jason in  the Hallowe’en movies. Totally creeped me out and I made MOTNSO walk faster. It made me wonder what else was lurking along the path on this moonless, smelly night.

I didn’t have to wonder long.

Another 25 yards and all of a sudden I heard a noise in the tree above and just as I looked up a sea gull, who had obviously had an entire whale for dinner, pooped on me. It “splatted” and managed somehow to not only get in my hair and all over my shirt, but some splashed into my eye. Really? Sea gull poop in my eye?

I was even more “girlie girl” than I had been about the pony/rat. I yelped and took my bottle of water and threw it in my own face. So now I had bird poop and water all over me. Made me think of the line from the original version of the movie The Producers where Gene Wilder is running around screaming “I’m hysterical! I’m hysterical!” Zero Mostel throws a glass of water in his face and Gene Wilder stops short, pauses and starts screaming “I’m wet! I’m wet! I’m hysterical and I’m wet!

The car ride back home was not the most pleasant. We had to keep the windows down because I smelled and MOTNSO kept chuckling while I was trying to google “bird poop blindness” on my iPhone. Luckily, it only causes temporary irritation.

Longest shower I ever took in my life. I have a 50 gallon hot water heater and it was working over time…and puhleeaseDon’t tell me it’s “good luck”…it’s only good luck if the bird gets the person you are walking with and misses you!


Rat, Cat, Splat

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