My Life

Complain about your schedule. Apparently people like that sort of thing.
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Re: My Life

Post by owl » Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:52 am

I had a small but extremely horrifying moment when volunteering over the weekend and I wish I could tell you all about it, except I don't think anyone really wants to hear it, and I guess there are no spoiler tags on this version of phpbb to keep me from ruining other people's day. Oh well. It involves mice, and it's gross. Still thinking about it two days later.

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Re: My Life

Post by ujnhunter » Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:33 am

Ahhh... you just made me think about my horrifying gross mouse experience... :( I'll save you the details... but it involves a large mouse... (hopefully the only one...) and my car... my trunk is still striped bare to the metal wheel well a year later because of it... Argh!
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Re: My Life

Post by crumpart » Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:52 am

Rode into town to send Christmas gifts to family in Australia today. I’m from a big Irish Catholic family with lots of brothers and sisters with many nieces and nephews, so we do a Kris Kringle thing where we spend AUD $50 on one adult and $30 on one kid. It’s great because everyone gets one good thing instead of 10 million shitty presents. I was tempted to troll my recipient with a copy of Mary Robinson’s book about feminism and climate change, but decided to be nice and buy her one of the fiction books I’ve enjoyed most this year, which was ‘Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine’. Added in some earrings, a summer scarf and a hand knitted by me scarf that I haven’t worn in a long time. My niece’s family is pretty musical, so she got an Irish tin whistle (except brass, not tin), some castanets and another little hand knitted by me shawl that I’ve never really worn. Her brother plays drums so I gave him a bodhran last year. Am now officially running out of Irish instruments that can be bought for $30. Toshiro is supposed to buy for my other sister, but she lives in Darwin and isn’t going home to Victoria for Christmas this year, because we’re going to visit in March. She also plays music so hopefully we can pick up something fun in a sale after Christmas to take back with us.
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Re: My Life

Post by owl » Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:16 am

ujnhunter wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:33 am
Ahhh... you just made me think about my horrifying gross mouse experience... :( I'll save you the details... but it involves a large mouse... (hopefully the only one...) and my car... my trunk is still striped bare to the metal wheel well a year later because of it... Argh!
:(

I had a friend who had a rat die inside some interior part of the body of his Porsche. It couldn't be retrieved without taking the entire car apart, so it just smelled up the expensive car forever...
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Re: My Life

Post by owl » Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:28 am

crumpart wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:52 am
Rode into town to send Christmas gifts to family in Australia today. I’m from a big Irish Catholic family with lots of brothers and sisters with many nieces and nephews, so we do a Kris Kringle thing where we spend AUD $50 on one adult and $30 on one kid. It’s great because everyone gets one good thing instead of 10 million shitty presents. I was tempted to troll my recipient with a copy of Mary Robinson’s book about feminism and climate change, but decided to be nice and buy her one of the fiction books I’ve enjoyed most this year, which was ‘Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine’. Added in some earrings, a summer scarf and a hand knitted by me scarf that I haven’t worn in a long time. My niece’s family is pretty musical, so she got an Irish tin whistle (except brass, not tin), some castanets and another little hand knitted by me shawl that I’ve never really worn. Her brother plays drums so I gave him a bodhran last year. Am now officially running out of Irish instruments that can be bought for $30. Toshiro is supposed to buy for my other sister, but she lives in Darwin and isn’t going home to Victoria for Christmas this year, because we’re going to visit in March. She also plays music so hopefully we can pick up something fun in a sale after Christmas to take back with us.
There are some years when I've gone all out with handmade gift-giving, but these days it's mostly petered out or ends up being donations to charity, which I think people in my family generally appreciate, and I like better on principle, but it's a bit less fun than making stuff/picking stuff out for people specifically. I like Secret Santas, but sadly it seems like the circles of people in my life aren't really in the right configuration these days to make that kind of thing work.
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Re: My Life

Post by fluffy » Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:36 am

Huh, we don’t have spoiler here?

[spoiler]guess I should fix that[/spoiler]
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Re: My Life

Post by ujnhunter » Tue Dec 03, 2019 12:07 pm

We don't have [s]strikeout/striketrough[/s] either.

P.S. Luckily I found the mouse... and pray he had no relatives left in the car.
Last edited by ujnhunter on Tue Dec 03, 2019 12:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My Life

Post by fluffy » Tue Dec 03, 2019 12:08 pm

We do have strikethrough, you use del which is the same name as the HTML semantic "deletion" tag (semantic vs. visual tags are a topic that nobody wants to hear me ramble about for the billionth time)

To be fair, it isn't totally obvious and I think I can set an alias to make it more obvious to folks who are used to the wrong way of thinking about it.
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Re: My Life

Post by crumpart » Tue Dec 03, 2019 12:16 pm

owl wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:28 am
There are some years when I've gone all out with handmade gift-giving, but these days it's mostly petered out or ends up being donations to charity, which I think people in my family generally appreciate, and I like better on principle, but it's a bit less fun than making stuff/picking stuff out for people specifically. I like Secret Santas, but sadly it seems like the circles of people in my life aren't really in the right configuration these days to make that kind of thing work.
It would totally be easier and cheaper to buy gifts online for family, but it turns out they all really love getting stuff sent from Ireland (not even just the kids, the adults too). We usually send our parents a photo book for the year, but that’s on hold this year as we’re currently in the weeds on finally, finally buying a house. Sorry mum and dad (which is what we call dads in Australia, btw).
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Re: My Life

Post by fluffy » Tue Dec 03, 2019 12:49 pm

Family gift giving is pretty stressful. In my family we finally all just sorta agreed that we'd only send gifts to adults if there's something that's just like They Would Love That and otherwise no pressure, and then the various kids' parents are just "hey so here's an amazon wishlist they put together, buy something off of it if you want or something like this." Sure reduces a lot of stress.

Also this is the first year I actually signed the cards "Aunt J" so that's something.
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Re: My Life

Post by Æpplês&vØdkã » Tue Dec 03, 2019 1:42 pm

My dad just asked me for an Amazon list of stuff for me and the wife and kids. Think I'm gonna tell him "new kick drum heads" .
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Re: My Life

Post by owl » Tue Dec 03, 2019 1:49 pm

I hear we have spoiler tags now! Gross story below. For context, I volunteer doing wildlife rescue at the local animal shelter, which means we take in a lot of sick/injured/orphaned animals, and nurse them back to health whenever we can, and release them back into the wild.

My current assignment is raptors and adult mammals, so once a week I get to take care of lots of lovely, ungrateful, dangerous wild things like hawks and possums and flying squirrels. We got a little screech owl with a broken wing in a few days ago (the first one I'd ever taken care of, they are so small and cute! Pic below under the first set of spoiler tags for size reference, but this is not our owl)
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Image
cw: dead baby animal gore in the next set of spoiler tags.
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This little owl friend is not doing so well--he is depressed and not eating his food--so the wildlife center staff wanted us to cut up the food for them (if raptors are doing better, they'll get whole meat). By now I'm pretty used to cutting up (dead) mice and rats and rabbits for the animals, although this definitely took some adjustment at first. But here I was cutting a dead mouse into screech owl bite-sized pieces, aka about the size of a chickpea, and I thought to myself "wow, this mouse sure has a LOT of internal organs, that's weird" as I pulled glob after glob of bloody mouse guts into the food dish.

Then I realized those were not internal organs. The little round bloody blobs were TINY BABY MICE, all curled up, and they had little tiny adorable paws and eyes and ears and tails. Six or seven little mouse fetuses from what was not a fat dead mouse but a pregnant dead mouse. I have a pretty strong stomach, and I'm used to cutting up mice by now, but that was really a pretty horrible, gory surprise even though the mouse was already dead. I feed animals meat, I also eat meat, I'm pro-choice, this is the kind of thing I'm OK with in theory but in practice, surprise dead mouse babies are a BIG disturbing yikes even to someone who's not too squeamish! They were also kind of fascinating to look at, once I got over it, but holy crap.

Sorry to anyone who clicked through to read that. I forced my husband to listen to me talk about it, and of course my fellow volunteer on the shift and the staff members saw it too, but it's just been stuck in my head for a couple of days, so now you get to hear about it too, in the hopes that sharing it will help me stop thinking about it.

Last I saw the owl, he was sitting quietly and being sad in the corner of his cardboard box in his cage, and I don't know if he ate the food, but I hope he's eaten a bit and gotten feistier in the last few days.

Gross/fascinating bonus fact: screech owl pellets are just as tiny and cute as the birds themselves; the one I took out of its cage was about the size of a large pea. The big ones you take apart in science class that are the size of a kumquat are probably from barn owls or other bigger owls about that size.
OK, now we can go back to talking about holiday gifts. This would be a nice gift for a kid :)
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Re: My Life

Post by crumpart » Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:04 pm

owl wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 1:49 pm
I hear we have spoiler tags now! Gross story below.
Sounds like the time I...
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Short sad story, extra warning.
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Bought what I thought were normal duck eggs from the Asian grocer, and they turned out to be Balut, a Filipino delicacy of duck embryo, to be boiled and eaten. What a pleasant surprise for these vegetarians who wanted some extra B12 in their diets.
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Re: My Life

Post by owl » Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:25 pm

crumpart wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:04 pm
owl wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 1:49 pm
I hear we have spoiler tags now! Gross story below.
Sounds like the time I...
Spoiler
Show
Short sad story, extra warning.
Spoiler
Show
Bought what I thought were normal duck eggs from the Asian grocer, and they turned out to be Balut, a Filipino delicacy of duck embryo, to be boiled and eaten. What a pleasant surprise for these vegetarians who wanted some extra B12 in their diets.
Oh nooo, surprise balut sounds awful, too :( At least I wasn't expecting to eat that mouse myself.

I have had non-surprise balut, but I think once was enough for me, unless I end up at someone's house, or in the Philippines or something.
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Re: My Life

Post by fluffy » Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:28 pm

owl your story gave me so many different emotions. At least disgust wasn't one of them. Poor li'l babbies.
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Re: My Life

Post by owl » Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:59 pm

Sorry fluffy :(

Along with the gross stuff, there is a lot of death and pain and sadness involved in the work, unfortunately. But usually it's not a surprise like it was this time.
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Re: My Life

Post by fluffy » Tue Dec 03, 2019 3:08 pm

Yeah I mean it's definitely not a thing I'd be able to do myself. It's hard to save one thing at the expense of another, and I also can't bring myself to purposefully injure anything (even most bugs).

On that note I have a horrible story to share from back when I lived in New Mexico!
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So, I lived in a house with a huge front window, which was very shiny and reflective, and I was in a town with a lot of rock doves. So of course, every time I got home there'd be dead rock doves on my lawn. When they were already dead I never had a problem disposing of the bodies.

However, one time I was at home when one flew into the window, and I heard a loud "thunk" and then some distressed squeaking, and I looked outside and there was a rock dove struggling to move, its neck broken, its body thrashing about.

"Okay, I need to kill this bird to end its suffering," I thought, and couldn't think of how to end its life in a humane, fast way. I thought about getting a shovel to decapitate that but then the thought of actually killing it felt like causing harm, even though it would have been much more humane. The bird was already scared shitless and dying painfully.

Then my cat (Toby) came by and I thought, hey, maybe my cat will kill it, then at least it's fairly natural and just the way of things, right?

So I pointed Toby at the bird, and he looked at the bird, chewed on it a little, then walked off, uninterested.

The bird was still alive.

I still couldn't bring myself to kill it, so I put the still-alive bird into the dumpster and I still feel horrible about it.
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Re: My Life

Post by owl » Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:08 pm

fluffy wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 3:08 pm
Yeah I mean it's definitely not a thing I'd be able to do myself. It's hard to save one thing at the expense of another, and I also can't bring myself to purposefully injure anything (even most bugs).

On that note I have a horrible story to share from back when I lived in New Mexico!
Spoiler
Show
So, I lived in a house with a huge front window, which was very shiny and reflective, and I was in a town with a lot of rock doves. So of course, every time I got home there'd be dead rock doves on my lawn. When they were already dead I never had a problem disposing of the bodies.

However, one time I was at home when one flew into the window, and I heard a loud "thunk" and then some distressed squeaking, and I looked outside and there was a rock dove struggling to move, its neck broken, its body thrashing about.

"Okay, I need to kill this bird to end its suffering," I thought, and couldn't think of how to end its life in a humane, fast way. I thought about getting a shovel to decapitate that but then the thought of actually killing it felt like causing harm, even though it would have been much more humane. The bird was already scared shitless and dying painfully.

Then my cat (Toby) came by and I thought, hey, maybe my cat will kill it, then at least it's fairly natural and just the way of things, right?

So I pointed Toby at the bird, and he looked at the bird, chewed on it a little, then walked off, uninterested.

The bird was still alive.

I still couldn't bring myself to kill it, so I put the still-alive bird into the dumpster and I still feel horrible about it.
Oh god, that sounds SO awful, I'm sorry. (I aim my cat at random centipedes we find in the house with the hope that she'll catch them and eat them, but she doesn't ever do a damn thing and I have to catch them and take them outside. I don't know what I would have done in your situation because yeah, it's one thing to know it in your head and another to do it with your hands. I'd like to think I would be able to do the kinder thing, but who knows? But also I guess at this point my answer might be different than it would have been before I started volunteering at the shelter.)
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One of the things we've had extensive training about is understanding tradeoffs like this, feeding little creatures to other animals for the greater good of the ecosystem (the worst is having to pick out which of the adorable live mice will go to meet their doom when we test the raptors on hunting skills prior to their release), deciding on who gets to be saved when there are limited resources, or putting animals out of their suffering even if it's difficult, in exactly the kind of situation you're describing.

On Sunday, we got a possum in that had been hit by a car. Rehab staff decided it had to be put down because of severe injuries to one side of its head. Fractured skull, destroyed eye. It might have been able to survive the brain trauma, but it would never get vision back in both eyes, which apparently usually means it will just slowly starve to death in the wild or get eaten quickly by something else, so they euthanized it. But at least they were able to give it a swift and painless death; otherwise it would have died in great pain over the course of hours on the side of a highway. Or, if we'd "saved" it, it would most likely have starved over the course of weeks in the wild in the wintertime, after weeks of recovery and pain in a stressful alien environment with frightening giants poking at it all the time.

It's impossible to volunteer at the wildlife center without coming to terms with it to some degree or another. But of course nobody gets into this type of field without being an animal lover, so it's often really hard to face those decisions and/or get the actual blood on your hands, and I don't envy the staff members who have to make those judgment calls every day. It's like a real-life trolley problem day in and day out.
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Re: My Life

Post by fluffy » Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:24 pm

Yeah, similarly I have a friend who used to be a veterinary technician and she had to stop that line of work because it just got too distressing and draining, especially since the clinic she worked at specialized in geriatric pets.
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Re: My Life

Post by Æpplês&vØdkã » Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:30 pm

fluffy wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:24 pm
Yeah, similarly I have a friend who used to be a veterinary technician and she had to stop that line of work because it just got too distressing and draining, especially since the clinic she worked at specialized in geriatric pets.
My cousin who worked as an NICU nurse stayed in the field for under a decade. Once told me that it while rewarding, it was a super emotionally intense job since they don't all make it. I imagine putting down old pets would have a pretty taxing emotional toll.
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Re: My Life

Post by owl » Tue Dec 03, 2019 5:12 pm

Æpplês&vØdkã wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:30 pm
fluffy wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:24 pm
Yeah, similarly I have a friend who used to be a veterinary technician and she had to stop that line of work because it just got too distressing and draining, especially since the clinic she worked at specialized in geriatric pets.
My cousin who worked as an NICU nurse stayed in the field for under a decade. Once told me that it while rewarding, it was a super emotionally intense job since they don't all make it. I imagine putting down old pets would have a pretty taxing emotional toll.
Oof, that has to be a devastating area to work in. What did they end up doing after leaving that field?
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Re: My Life

Post by Æpplês&vØdkã » Tue Dec 03, 2019 6:26 pm

owl wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 5:12 pm
Æpplês&vØdkã wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:30 pm
fluffy wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:24 pm
Yeah, similarly I have a friend who used to be a veterinary technician and she had to stop that line of work because it just got too distressing and draining, especially since the clinic she worked at specialized in geriatric pets.
My cousin who worked as an NICU nurse stayed in the field for under a decade. Once told me that it while rewarding, it was a super emotionally intense job since they don't all make it. I imagine putting down old pets would have a pretty taxing emotional toll.
Oof, that has to be a devastating area to work in. What did they end up doing after leaving that field?
Had a son and left her job to be a stay-at-home mom.
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