Ferg The Love of God

The First Casualty in the Groundhog War


I’ve written before about my battles with the groundhog in our backyard.  I thought I had chased him away two years ago, but like a bad penny, he’s returned.  This time he brought friends.  I’ve spotted two separate groundhogs out in the yard and they’ve got two different hideouts.  The first and most notable of the two is under the shed attached to the back of the house.  I’ve caught them out of the burrow a few times and chased them off.  I then filled in the hole with rocks and dirt.  The next day — and sometimes even within the hour — the hole would be dug out again.  Monica even looked it up online and read that groundhogs hate the smell of dryer sheets so we shoved a bunch in there, but to no avail.


The other groundhog hideout is less of a concern.  It’s a hollowed out stump on the edge of the yard near the stream.  They can have that.  The shed hold is unacceptable.  It’s an eye sore and I’m concerned about the foundation of the shed itself.  After filling in the hole for what felt like the millionth time, I called a professional.  Over the weekend, a guy came and set up a trap to catch one of the groundhogs.  It’s a lethal trap which I’m fine with.  It’s personal now.  He explained that he has to kill them either way due to the law.  They’re considered a nuisance or something so he can’t just set them free.  The choice would be a lethal trap to kill the thing right there or a non-lethal one that he’d then catch and drown or something elsewhere.  Why make the extra work?  Lethal it is.


While he was setting the trap, this guy (who was incredibly nice and very knowledgable) explained that sometimes the animal will try to run through the trap.  This means that it will spring and only catch their hind legs.  He told me that if this happens, just pick up one of the nearby rocks and bash its head in.  You know, like you do.


After he set the trap and left, I had to go visit some family.  When I got back, my neighbor — whom I don’t care for — was having a small barbeque in their backyard with some friends.  Instantly I thought of a scene where the groundhog was stuck in the trap, half dead.  I’d find it there and realize what had to be done.  I would make casual conversation with the neighbors, waving courteously with a smile.  “Beautiful day today, huh?”  Meanwhile, I’m picking up a large rock.  “Can you believe this weather?” THUNK!  The rock lands.  Blood splatters.  “It’s a shame to go back inside.”  THUNK!  One more just to make sure it’s dead.  I never once mention what I’m doing or why.  Then I wave once again and head inside.  The sheer thought of this had me hysterical laughing.  Unfortunately, the opportunity to do this did not present itself.


Monica came home from work today and reported that the trap had sprung and one groundhog had been caught.  He lays there, lifeless, head first in the trap as I type this.  The trapper guy is coming to dispose of the body and re-set the trap so we can catch the other one.  James: 1, Groundhog: 0.  Once the other one is gone, I’ll have to fill in the hole with some extra reinforcement to ensure no other critters make their homes in there.  These are the things you have to do when you own a house.


UPDATE: The trapper came and reset everything.  The next morning we had caught the other groundhog.  The trap was reset once more, but nothing else has come through so I think we’re groundhog-free now.  I consider this a victory against large rodents.

Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite


Yesterday my sister-in-law, Lindsay got married.  It was a great time and everyone enjoyed themselves.  We’re all very happy for her and my new brother-in-law, Kirk.  This post is not about that.  This post is about how I got bit the F up by bed bugs while staying at the Best Western near the Albany Airport the night before the wedding.

Now, there are many things in that last sentence that should have set off some alarm bells.  Best Western is a popular hotel chain, but they’re certainly not a glamorous place by any stretch of the imagination.  That, coupled with the close proximity of the airport doesn’t sound like a great combination.  It’s not like the place had hourly rates or anything.  It just had a slight skeevy feel to it.  Monica and I got a room with two beds to house us and the kids.  Parker was in a pack-n-play and Oliver had a bed to himself.  Everything started normal.

Partway through the night, Oliver woke up and wanted someone to lay with him.  Monica volunteered, leaving me in the other bed.  I then tossed and turned and generally had an awful night sleep.  At some point, perhaps around 1 or 2 AM, in my half awake stupor, I saw what I believe to be a small bug crawling along the edge of the sheet.  I try to squash it and say out loud “I sincerely hope that wasn’t what I thought it was.”

I managed to get some sleep regardless of this and the occasional screaming child.  I get out of bed in the morning and notice two red marks on my right side, around my waist line.  They looked a little like bug bites, but they didn’t really bother me.  I didn’t think much of them.

Fast forward a few hours.  We’re now at a different hotel, waiting for the wedding to begin.  I’m dressed in my suit and my right forearm is very itchy.  I’m starting to think this is really a bed bug situation.  Monica, Oliver, and Parker are completely fine.  Throughout the night, I notice other bites on my right hand and my left leg.  That was just the beginning.

After the wedding and reception ended, Monica and I retired upstairs.  While changing, I found at least a dozen bites over my right arm, both legs, back, and even one on my face.  The worst are two bites on my right forearm which have caused it to swell up to the point where I look like Popeye.  This is some crazy shit.

I look up bed bugs online and find that the bite patterns match up to my symptoms.  I’m both pissed and worried, especially since my arm looks so weird.  I picked up some Benadryl and cortizone cream in the morning which helped a little, but I’m still crazy itchy.  On the plus side, I get super strong when I eat spinach right now.  No other super powers have been discovered at the time of this writing.

Upon returning home, I called the Best Western.  They said they would “look into it.”  When I asked what that meant, the manager said that they have a professional they call in to check to make sure if there are bed bugs or not and they would call me back.  I’m not expecting a return phone call from them, but I’ll definitely be avoiding them in the future.  A quick search online found a review from a year ago that also referenced bed bugs.  Clean up your shit, BW.

Pancakes! Pancakes!


I don’t go to a lot of sporting events, mostly because I don’t like sports.  I have been to a few baseball games, a single hockey game, and a basketball game, none of which I paid to attend.  That’s the only thing that will get me remotely interested in going to a game really.  Thursday night, my company supplied tickets to the Rockland Boulders game.  This is a local CANAM league baseball team with a stadium about 10 minutes from my house.  I’ve been to a couple games there before.  The place is nice and again, I didn’t pay for the tickets.  We took Oliver to a game last year and he lasted a few innings before we called it quits.  Now that he’s about 2.5 years old, his attention span is a little longer and we figured we’d give it a try again.  Obviously, this time we’ve got an infant too.

The experience wasn’t bad.  We ate some complimentary hot dogs and chips, which Oliver loved.  Parker was pretty relaxed for the vast majority of the game, only really crying when it was time for him to eat.  Oliver had a blast on the playground and patiently waited in line for a ride on the train the drives around the stadium.


What I was most intrigued by this time around were all the strange promotions that the stadium has for local businesses.  There’s a Mercedes dealership that will give away a car if a Rockland Boulder hits a home run into his sign in the outfield.  Someone did hit a home run and it landed below the sign, but not nearly far enough to reach it.  That car is never going to be given away.  The bulk of the promotions are in the form of coupons given out at the end of the game if something happens, such as two doubles in a row.  The weirdest one was for IHOP.  A batter on the opposing team is selected ahead of time.  If at any point during the game, that batter strikes out, everyone in attendance gets a coupon for a free short stack of pancakes.  The first time this guy came up, he didn’t strike out, but was knocked out pretty quick.  The second time was a different story.

When he got up to the plate, the announcer reminded the crowd that if he struck out, we’d all enjoy a short stack of pancakes.  This was followed with a Jaws-like rhythm as the announcer repeated the word “Pancakes” a couple times.  Then the pitch. Strike one. The crowd cheered and the announcer came back.  “Remember everyone, if he strikes out…pancakes….pancakes.”  The next pitch was thrown…strike two.  The crowd was now blatantly excited.  They were on the verge of eating free pancakes and everyone knows that free food tastes better.  The announcer was back on the loud speaker.  By this point, he wasn’t even bothering with the niceties.  Instead, he just started saying “Pancakes” over and over again, with that Jaws tune backing him up.  The crowd joined in, chanting “Pancakes” in unison.  The stadium was far from sold out, but it was still a bizarre experience to witness as hundreds of people were so singularly focused on what may come next.  This is how much people love pancakes.  Now, I think the next pitch resulted in a foul ball, but I can’t remember for sure.  The excitement came when the final pitch was thrown with the crowd chanting “Pancakes” in a fervor.  It came over the plate and…you guessed it.  Strike three.  Everyone lost their minds.  Free pancakes!  They’re from IHOP!  Woo!

There’s a catch though.  See, the only way to claim that sweet syrupy prize was to stay until the end of the game.  We left in the middle of the 8th inning, which was already past 9 PM.  With two small kids, that’s like 3 AM.  I found out later that the game lasted 13 innings and well into the night.  I’m glad that I went home and got some sleep instead of staying at the game for another few hours with two kids that would have grown increasingly cranky as the night went on.  I’m also willing to bet that the coupon has a pretty small timeframe for usage.

When I recounted this story to my boss the next day, he brought up a good point that works as a terrific closer to this tale.  You can be sure that the rest of the opposing team called that guy “Pancake” for the entire ride home.

My #100Comics Challenge


At the end of March, there was a challenge thrown down with the hashtag #100comics.  I heard about it through the ComixTribe newsletter and the Final Issue Podcast.  The idea was to attempt to read 100 comics in a week.  I read a lot of comics and I figured this would be an easy challenge.  After a few days into it, I realized that I was very wrong.  I would need to read at least 14 comics a day in order to reach the goal of 100 within a week and I was averaging half that at best.  I could have inflated my numbers a bit by counting trade paperbacks as separate issues.  For example, I counted iZombie: Volume 1 as a single title, but it’s a collection of the first five issues of the series so technically it’s five issues worth of content.


Having failed at the challenge, I thought I’d turn this into something to make my Data Nerd Sense tingle.  I created a spreadsheet via Google Docs to keep track of all the comics I was reading including the title, publisher, type, medium, and date.  This would allow me to look at things on a daily, weekly, and monthly level to see just how much I was reading.  Was it as much as I thought?  Or less?  I don’t really know the answer to this as I just thought I read a lot of books.  Although I started keeping track of this towards the end of March, I waited until the end of April to really look at the data.  That way I’d have a full month work of information to parse through.  For the month of April 2015, I read 199 comics.



Of the 199 comics read, 182 (91%) were single issues.  The remaining 17 (9%) were graphic novels.  These include trade paperbacks and original graphic novels.  Highlights for April were a re-reading of Empire by Mark Waid and Barry Kitson, Saga: Volume 4 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples, and iZombie: Volume 2 by Chris Roberson and Mike Allred.



This shows how much I read per day.  The weekend is clearly my preferred time to read comics as that’s where the bulk of the books were read.  I tend to average a couple issues in the morning and the evening of each weekday, more if I go to the gym in the morning.  Yes, I’m the nerd that’s reading comics on a tablet while on the treadmill.



This information didn’t really surprise me all that much.  I now read comics almost exclusively in digital.  As a reviewer for HorrorTalk, I get a LOT of PDFs sent to me each week.  I rarely buy physical copies of books anymore as I have come to prefer the ease of use and variety available digitally through services like ComiXology so it’s not shocking for my numbers to be skewed so heavily in that direction with 94% coming from PDFs and Comixology.  The 1% linked to a website was reading the first two issues of Skullkickers online as the comic has been serialized for free.  It was a great primer and I’m going to pick up the trades for the series now as a result (especially since it would be a big pain for me to find where I left off on the site as I’d have to click through at least 50 pages.



In looking at this chart, you’d think I was a DC fanboy.  The truth is that almost all of that number comes from Booster Gold.  I recently picked up the latest series via a ComiXology sale and I was catching up on the series.  I read the first 31 issues of the series in April.  Actually, now that I look at the list, I didn’t include Booster Gold #1,000,000 so that puts my number up to an even 200 comics read for April.  I’m not updating these charts with that now though.  I’m on the last one already!  The next highest publisher was Image Comics as I was catching up on a variety of titles.  Otherwise I had a big variety in terms of publisher.


This was a fun exercise that I’ve continued into May.  I plan on doing this for at least another month to see if there were any changes.  I’m sure this will be thrown out the window when Ferg Baby #2 arrives in June.  I can’t decide if this is the nerdiest blog post I’ve ever written or not, but I think it’s probably pretty close.

On the Subject of Children and Farts


This June, Oliver will become a big brother.  He doesn’t fully grasp this yet but he understands that Monica has a baby in her belly.  If you ask him “Where’s the baby?” he’ll point at her stomach.  It’s adorable.  This news was dropped in a few different ways.  First, it was revealed to Monica’s family on Christmas Eve.  The last gift opened that night in front of everyone was a DVD case in which Monica had inserted some Oliver artwork in for the cover art.  When Monica’s mom opened it, she found an ultrasound picture.  Awww!


We did the same thing for my family except we did it just with my parents, brother, and sister because we knew that my mom would start crying instantly (we were right).  We hadn’t figured out how we were going to break the news to my extended family though.  After reaching my aunt’s house and spending about an hour or two there, I was struggling to think of a way to make the announcement.  Then, while sitting in the living room, casually chit-chatting, my aunt provided the absolute perfect segway.  She smirked and asked sarcastically “So when’s the next one coming?” (ATTN: New or soon-to-be new parents.  This is something that you will be asked about a million times, regardless of the age of your child.  Once you have one, even if the kid is like a day old, people will ask you when you plan to have another child. I don’t understand it, nor do I endorse it, but in this case, it was perfect.)  Without missing a beat, I turned to her and said “June.” and looked back at whatever I was doing.  My brother on the other side of the room started cracking up.  She asked “What?” and I again replied “June.”  Success!


As with the first kid, we wanted to find out what we were having.  There was a momentary discussion where Monica and I actually debated whether or not to find out the sex of Ferg Baby #2 but this was a surprise we didn’t want to deal with.  Settling on one name is hard enough.  Picking out two, only to have to discard one seems like a pain in the ass.  We made an appointment for an anatomy scan ultrasound and found that our second kid will be peeing standing up.  Oliver will have a little brother.


After the scan was finished and the ultrasound lady had finished taking pictures of the various body parts of the kid, we were getting up to leave.  Monica sat up and began to get her things together.  She looked directly at me, gestured at the tech, and then grabbed her nose like she smelled bad.  I had to inform her that the tech was not responsible for the smell.  I had been dropping farts in that little room for the better part of a half hour.  I don’t know what I ate but there were plenty of SBDs laid during the exam.  I can only imagine what the tech thought.  At any age, farts are funny.  When mine are blamed on a stranger, they’re even funnier.

Monica Wins Christmas


Yes, I’m writing a blog post about Christmas in the first week of July.  That’s how far behind I am on this thing.  Anyway, I started this here blog after being inspired by Kevin Smith’s My Boring Ass Life.  If he could do it, why can’t I?  So, for the year of 2008, I wrote up a post about what I did every single day.  There were days in which nothing much happened aside from me getting up, eating breakfast, and watching some DVDs.  Fortunately, 2008 was actually a pretty eventful year for me.  I was laid off after the company I worked for went out of business.  I was unemployed for about three weeks before starting a new job.  A stranger sent me porn.  Monica and I moved in together and then we got engaged.  Not bad.

I was surprised to find that people actually read the thing.  It was like a morning paper for some friends and family.  They may not read every one, but if they caught it either here or on Facebook (where the blog began), they read it.  At my high school reunion, I had a friend whom I hadn’t seen in close to ten years tell me that he knew all about my life for that span of time due to it.  I think that’s both creepy and comforting.

After awhile, I got tired of doing this every day and wanted to write about specific events such as the story of my first Rubik’s Cube and the posts became fewer and less frequent.  I thought a cool idea would be to compile all of 2008’s blog posts into one big file and print it up as a book.  I started this project in my spare time but quickly forgot about it.  The blog posts are all here and/or on Facebook so I could go back and read them if I ever wanted to.  I just didn’t.


Then Christmas 2013 came.  Monica and I don’t usually do big gifts for each other.  I’d be happy with a box of Cracklin’ Oat Bran and an Amazon gift card from just about everybody.  So, it was surprising when Monica presented me with a one of a kind, two volume set of my life in print form.  She had painstakingly copied every single blog post, formatted it, and had it printed into two books (January – June and July – December).  This is one of the many reasons why my wife is awesome and I love her dearly.  She knew I would never do this myself and went ahead and did it for me.  She had done something like this for me once before, early on in our relationship.  She bought me an iPod, knowing that I wanted one but would most likely never buy it.  I still have that and it still works.  It has my name on the back and the words “Poop Marble” which I assure you, is not her pet name for me.

The books now stand proudly on a shelf in our living room, away from the copious amount of books that we have filling up shelves in the newly formed office / library downstairs (more on that later).  They signify a slice of my life in which some important and some not so important things happened to me.

Going Off The Grid


A couple weeks ago I became the proud owner of a Samsung Galaxy S5.  This was an upgrade from my S3 which has now been handed down to Monica.  I’m a big fan of Samsung products, also having a Galaxy Tab and convincing Monica to buy a digital camera from the manufacturer.  I absolutely love the phone and everything it does.  I’m still exploring some of the features, but it’s a pretty awesome device.


Imagine my dismay when I picked up the phone on Sunday morning only to discover that the camera lens on the back was completely shattered.  It looked like a little spider web.  I have no earthly idea how this could have happened as I handle this phone like it’s a baby.  I spent the morning searching online to see if anyone else had this problem and what I could do to repair it.  It seemed like a simple enough procedure to fix it.  All I’d really have to do is pop the old lens out, still held intact by the lens protector (LOT OF GOOD THAT DID) and put in a new one.  It can’t be more complicated than changing an iPod battery and I did that a few years ago without issue.



Unfortunately, I found that it’s a little more complex than that.  The Samsung Galaxy S5 is waterproof for up to 30 feet I believe.  That’s great if I was having a water balloon fight with Aquaman and Namor the Sub-Mariner which is something I would totally do.  As a result, there’s a lot of special adhesives and stuff used to secure the lens to the phone to make sure that it’s a water-tight seal.  Additionally, parts for the device are not as readily available just yet as the phone is brand spanking new.


I called both Verizon and Samsung to see what I could do about having them fix it.  Verizon could do nothing, but Samsung could repair the lens for $70.  Yes, it would cost me $70 to get a lens replaced that’s the size of my thumbnail.  Plus, it would take up to two weeks to get the phone back (2 business days to get there, 5-7 business days for them to fix it, and then 2 business days to get back to me).  Can I really survive that long without a cellphone after having one for so long?


That’s what I intend to find out.  I packed and shipped my phone out earlier today.  At the time of this writing, I’ve been without for approximately 12 hours and I’m already going through withdrawals.  I’ve had numerous moments of panic after I put my hand on my leg over my pants pocket where my phone is usually kept, only to find it empty, thinking I’ve lost the device.  I’ve been cut off from communication so while I’m not in front of a computer, I have no idea what’s going on in the world.  I took a crap today and was bored out of my mind.


I’m honestly not sure how long I will last like this.  There are so many things with the phone that I depend on.  Directions, contacts, quick look-ups of who starred in that one movie with that guy.  I’m carpooling to a meeting tomorrow and realized that I have no way of telling my friend that I’ve arrived.  I’m curious as to how long I will hold out before breaking down and hooking up my old old Droid X that Monica was using up until a couple weeks ago.  What did people do before cellphones?


So if you need to get in touch with me, send me a physical letter via snail mail.  Otherwise, send me an email and I will get back to you eventually.  Alternatively, you could try smoke signals, carrier pigeons, or telegrams.

Ain’t Afraid of No Ghosts


I’ve been a Ghostbusters fan for as long as I can remember.  The film is in my top four favorite movies of all time (joined by Snatch, Shaun of the Dead, and The Big Lebowski, in no particular order).  My favorite Ghostbuster has always been Egon.  In hindsight, this was an odd choice because Peter had all the best lines in the flick.  Then again, Egon was the smart one and he gets the girl (sort of).  This is why I was so saddened to hear that Harold Ramis passed away.  Ramis of course portrayed Dr. Egon Spengler on the big screen in both Ghostbusters films.  (I don’t care what anyone says, I still like the second one even though it’s inferior to the original.)  While Ramis also did a ton of great stuff in show business including writing films like Animal House and Meatballs, directing others like Caddyshack and Groundhog Day, and starring in even more in bit parts like Knocked Up, it was his work in Ghostbusters that stood out.


Photo Credit: Joe Roberts (http://jhroberts.deviantart.com/art/Harold-Goes-Up-436535287)

Photo Credit: Joe Roberts (http://jhroberts.deviantart.com/art/Harold-Goes-Up-436535287)


I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t kept up on the goings-on in Ramis’ life so I was unaware that he was suffering from a disease called vasculitis for the past four years.  I didn’t even know what vasculitis is.  I still don’t really.  I just know that it took Egon away.  OK, that was a really lame line.  I’m trying to put into words how this has affected me.  I said on Twitter that this must be what it must have felt like for Beatles’ fans when John Lennon was shot.  Granted, Ramis wasn’t shot by a lunatic, but to have him seemingly die out of the blue for the casual observer came as a surprise.  With his passing, so goes a piece of my childhood.  I probably won’t feel this way when any of the other Ghostbusters die.  I’ll be sad, but outside of maybe Bill Murray, it won’t get much more than the basic reaction of “Man, that sucks.” that I’d give for most celebrity deaths.  Sorry Ernie Hudson.


Monica and I re-watched Ghostbusters last night.  It had been a few years since I had last seen it, but within moments everything came rushing back to me.  I remembered sitting in the living room of my parents’ house watching the film on a VHS tape that we had recorded from a rental from ShopRite.  I remembered having a handful of tapes next to the TV in similar fashion including a blank one I had saved to one day record Ghostbusters III.  I still have the Proton Pack toy from that era.  When my basement is finished it will be hanging proudly on the wall next to my framed Ghostbusters poster.


Photo Credit: Garrick Middleton (http://krak-fox.deviantart.com/art/E-Gone-436594231)

Photo Credit: Garrick Middleton (http://krak-fox.deviantart.com/art/E-Gone-436594231)



The film really holds up.  Watching it now, I looked for all the little things that are scattered throughout the movie.  Monica and I talked briefly about when we would show this to Oliver (formerly known as Egon Raphael).  I don’t know when I first saw Ghostbusters as I was born the year it came out.  I must have been young.  Movies like that were still given a PG rating even though it had things like supernatural violence, language, and references to sexual situations.  There are plenty of things that today’s society would frown upon showing a child but I have a feeling a lot of it would go over a kid’s head like it did for me all those years ago.  I loved this movie growing up and with each subsequent viewing, I found new things to love and appreciate.  That’s a testament to Ramis’ work (and Dan Aykroyd too as he co-wrote the flick with Ramis).


So, thank you, Harold Ramis.  You represented a part of my childhood and as a result, a part of the man I’ve become today.  You will be missed.

One of my Cats is an Asshole


Monica and I have two cats, Darwin and Nolan. We adopted them about three years ago from Guardian Angel Cat Rescue in Hyde Park, NY. They’re pretty great. Although they’re from the same litter, they have very different personalities. Darwin is very social and fears nothing while Nolan is afraid of everything, hiding under the bed the moment the doorbell rings. Based on this information, can you guess which one of them has been a real asshole lately?

Here’s some more info:

Since we moved into the house two years ago, the litter box was located in the second bedroom upstairs which was being used as an office. In preparation for Oliver’s arrival, we moved the litter box downstairs into the basement in the laundry room. This seemed fine for a bit, even after we brought the baby home. Then maybe about two months ago, Nolan started shitting on the floor. I knew it was him because Nolan’s crap is the size of a small human’s. The cat is huge and so is the excrement. He would drop a deuce right in front of the litter box, as if he was doing a small protest.

One of these cats is a total douchebag.

One of these cats is a total douchebag.

I asked around and did some searching and found that this is common with cats if they’re upset about something. The odd thing was that there was nothing for Nolan to be upset about. Oliver was home for a few months and the litter box was down there for even longer so it wasn’t like these were sudden changes that he didn’t like. In an effort to satisfy Nolan, I put out a second litter box near the first one. That didn’t work. This went on for a couple more weeks before I took out both boxes and cleaned them thoroughly. Then I put them both back and lo and behold, he pooped in the box. For a time, everything was good. Then he shit on the floor again.

Now, let me update the situation a bit. There are now two litter boxes, both located in the laundry room in the basement. They are maybe two feet apart with a small garbage can and the spare litter between them. Darwin does all his business in box #1. Nolan will pee in box #1 but poop in box #2. That’s all that happens in box #2 now. This is actually a little disappointing as that’s a larger box with a lid. Anyway, I’ve found that when box #1 has some excrement in it, Nolan will shit on the floor. Let’s go over that again. He regularly craps in box #2 but for some reason when box #1 is full, he doesn’t even bother trying. It’s like he’s upset that the area is messy. I feel like that’s akin to going to someone’s house and seeing that the sink is dirty so you just shit on the floor instead of using the toilet. What the fuck, Nolan?

Basically, I just have to be extra mindful of cleaning the litter box at least twice a day. Otherwise my uptight cat will pinch a loaf on the floor right in front of the litter box like some sort of statement.

Look at that asshole.

Look at that asshole.

Go Back to Punxsutawney, Phil!


Monica and I have been homeowners for a little over two years now. Last summer, we found that our backyard was also the home of a groundhog. This wasn’t like the cartoons where the creature is digging a million holes in the yard and I’m forced to use dynamite in an effort to get rid of it. Instead it burrowed under the small shed attached to the back of the house where we keep the lawn mower. We didn’t notice it at first because a bush had grown in front of it. After trimming the bush back, the hole was exposed. My father-in-law lent me a rodent trap to catch the groundhog, but I never had to use it as he seemed to disappear after his home was out in the open. It’s fortunate for him because as my father-in-law explained, since the groundhog is a rodent, I couldn’t just let him free somewhere. I’d have to kill it, most likely by drowning it in the stream in the backyard. I shoveled some dirt in front of the hole and forgot about it.

Fast forward to this summer where the groundhog had returned. The hole was dug up again and we’d see him hanging out in the backyard. I put more dirt in front of the hole and he dug it out. I put a large piece of cement that was once under a gutter on the side of the house there and he dug under it. Then a couple weeks ago, Monica and I saw him in the backyard. I had no shoes on, so I threw on some flip flops, grabbed a shovel, and ran out the side door. In hindsight, I have no idea what I was planning to do when I got out there. Was I going to challenge the groundhog to battle or a digging contest? I don’t know.


Anyway, I crept along the side of the house and came between the hole and the groundhog. Meanwhile, Monica opened up the porch door and startled the rodent. He turned and saw me standing in the path to his safe haven. He started running; taking a wide berth around a small tree near the patio in an effort to come around me. Instinctively, I took a wild swing with the shovel and managed to hit the groundhog in the side with it, but it didn’t stop and continued on, presumably into the hole. I grabbed a large rock and wedged it into the hole it had dug under the cement piece, then kicked a bunch of dirt on top of the hole thing. Again, this seems crazy in hindsight because it’s a groundhog. It could dig around this stuff, no?

Then I started to hear a noise in the bush next to the shed. Could it be? Did he miss the hole? After poking the shovel at both ends of the bush, I found that the groundhog did indeed overshoot his hole, most likely due to the fact that I hit him with a shovel. This went on for two or more turns before I saw the groundhog jet out from the bush, run under the porch, and keep going down the stream. I heard him running for awhile. I scared him away from his home.

It’s now been several weeks since my duel with the groundhog. The rocks and dirt I put in front of the hole have remained undisturbed. I don’t know what happened to the groundhog after he ran off, but at least I didn’t have to drown him in the stream.

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