Yet A(nother) Year in Seattle – Week 12 – The long and short of it

Yet A(nother) Year In Seattle

Sunday, March 14, 2066 – A step too far?

Either someone didn’t get the memo or they improvised… either way, I ended up with a rather annoyed looking ferret in my boot this morning.

I’m not sure which of Nathan’s co-conspirators did it… but I can venture a guess… especially since she already has a name for him. I tried explaining to Bri that Schrödinger may not like sharing the apartment with a ferret but she seems convinced that Puck, the ferret, would get along famously with Shrodie…

Schrödinger, on the other hand, seemed to have other ideas. One of the problems with having a ferret as a pet is the fact that ferret musk can be a bit… pungent.

Within a half an hour of getting home, Schrödinger had the ferret pinned down and was giving him what the cat felt was a proper bath. We learned very quickly what an unhappy ferret sounded like.

For now, the ferret will remain in his cage, in Bri’s room while Schrödinger will remain at liberty in the rest of the condo.

Monday, March 15, 2066 – Puck

Whoever came up with the idea of making plans, obviously never dealt with a determined ferret and an equally determined cat.

It seems that a cage hasn’t been built that can keep Puck contained for long-at least when he’s awake. From what I gather a ferret sleeps for about 20-24 hours a day saving up all their energy so that the remaining time can be faced at full tilt.

It didn’t take him long to figure out the cage, once he was awake, and after that the space between the door and the floor was nothing.

I woke up at 03:00 to the sound a very indignant ferret being groomed by an equally un-amused cat. I no sooner broke them up then Puck started darting around the couch in an almost spastic manner than had Schrödinger and me watching in a combination of concern and amusement.

I found out later that this is what happens when a ferret gets too excited… but it’s a bit disconcerting the first time you see it.

I’m not sure Schrödinger knew what to do with the funny looking, strange smelling cat when he started acting that way, but he decided that more grooming was needed.

Whatever passed between the two it became very clear that they could not be left alone in the same house together. I ended up taking Puck to the office. Fortunately, he slept most of the day, which gave me time to work and read up on ferrets.

This is either going to work out amazingly well or terribly, terribly wrong… I know which way my luck runs… anybody want a ferret?

Tuesday, March 16, 2066 – Saving Schrödinger’s Ferret

This is so not going to work. I like my sleep way too much to allow this to continue… I also value my cat’s sanity and Puck’s nerves. This time the fun and games started around 02:00, with much breaking of items that had been resting comfortably on the mantle until Puck ran by.

As near as I can tell he was on the couch when Schrödinger tried to clean him again and Puck made a bid for freedom, jumping from the couch to the mantle. I managed to get Puck back in his cage long enough to clean up the glass only to hear more breaking in Bri’s room.

I mentioned Puck’s an escape artist didn’t I?

While I had been planning vengeance on Nathan involving the large supply of ferret toys I’ve amassed, I really need his help with this. So, as soon as it was a decent hour, I called a truce and told him I needed to talk.

Now, to be fair I did need to talk to him about the job Cummings had told me about, but I really needed Puck taken care of.

It was priceless. Nathan walked in and asked me if it was about ferrets and I answered. “Just one…”

Then he noticed the cage….

To his credit, he apologized. It was never his intention to include a real ferret in his ‘game’ and he said as much.

I know Nathan was being honest, but after two sleepless nights, I wasn’t exactly the most diplomatic of people. I thought I was being humorous when I asked if he knew anyone who could take him… preferably someone who’d let Bri visit and perhaps shared the ferret’s temperament.

I believe his phrasing was “Real subtle Jess.”

So much for clever.

In other news, Nathan will be taking the consulting job, especially since it’s a paying job and it will cover his physical therapy.

Now we just have to break it to mom.

Nathan appears courtesy of Follower.

Wednesday, March 16, 2066 -Saving Schrödinger’s Ferret part II

This morning started out much like the last two mornings, but with a difference. This time the furry antics woke up Bri. If anything she seemed perplexed and perhaps a bit… let down?

“I really thought they’d get along better than that…” she said.

I did try to assure her that different animals have different ideas of play, but in the end, she seemed perfectly happy. She picked up Puck and dragged him back to her room where she helped him burn off energy until he was asleep again.

As I drifted back to sleep I swear I heard her whisper, “you’ll like uncle Nate.”

Getting up part two involved seeing Bri off to school and hauling Puck back to the office so at least the cat could get some peace and quiet, and for a change that actually worked out. Several of the medics stopped by to ‘check on me’ but what they were really interested in was the ferret. Seems there were a lot more people involved with ‘ferret-gate’ than I thought. Normally I’d seek revenge, but sometimes it’s just not worth it.

And tonight, Bri surprised me by asking me if I thought Uncle Nate would like Puck. I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of my daughter than I was when she asked Nathan if he could take care of Puck. I know how much she wanted him, and how much she’d hoped he and Schrödinger would get along, but she’s accepted, at least for now, that that was not going to happen.

I’m also thankful that we did not have a fight on our hands about it. I know we let Bri get away with a lot, but I don’t know what I would have done if she’d put her foot down and tried to out-stubborn me. I’m not sure I ever want to learn.

Fortunately, Nathan had been prepared for it and accepted his new roommate graciously.

When we got home, Schrödinger was pacing the house anxiously. I don’t know if he was relieved that the ‘funny cat’ was gone or was searching for his new playmate. Thankfully things settled down relatively quickly.

Thursday, March 18, 2066 – Long vs. Short

I don’t think I’ll ever understand bureaucracy, but Case got a good laugh out of my story… I’m still not sure how I feel about the whole thing.

It started at lunchtime when Case came home and handed me a new set of keys and informed me that he had removed the tracking devices and automatic engine cut-off controls KE had installed in my new SUV.

It was great to have my own vehicle again, but that meant filling out paperwork so Citywide would allow me to use my personal vehicle in the line of duty. That meant facing the bureaucracy.

As chief, I am allowed and have been issued an official Citywide Chief’s SUV, which is all well and good if I’m on duty when the need arises but if I’m not…I’m going to want to get there as quickly as possible in whatever vehicle is available at the time. That’s where the paperwork comes in. I have to accept that they’re going to be making modifications to my SUV, I have to acknowledge that those modifications are theirs, and while they will insure my vehicle while I am using it in the line of duty-they will not cover it under normal usage.

It should be a simple 10 minute trip to the office followed by a 45 minute stop at the DMV… Should be…

Since this was my day off, I figured it would be a good time to get the paperwork out of the way, and since I’ve done this before… I filled out the proper form and headed to Corporate.

When I turned in the form the woman behind the counter informed me that they’d done away with that particular form and replaced it with the Short form.

Now, I’d just filled out the long form that should more than cover the short form, but of course, they couldn’t just accept the long form-it was no longer valid.

So I took the new ‘short form’ and sat down. As I started filling it out, I realized it looked awfully familiar. It looked so familiar I pulled out my old form and compared them.

They were different, I will give them that. The most important questions and agreements were on the first page, but the subsequent pages very quickly added up to ‘not short.’

When I asked the woman at the counter about that she smiled and assured me that the long form had indeed been done away with and replaced with the much shorter form, now displayed on the wall. When I looked at my form, it didn’t match the sample, so I ended up back in line to ask about that.

She greeted me with a plastic smile and a pre-programmed answer, but when I pointed out the discrepancy she looked at the sample on the wall… then she looked at my form… she asked me to wait a minute while she went back to ask her supervisor about it.

When she came back the plastic smile was back in place. “Yes… it seems you’ve been randomly selected to answer an additional usage questionnaire.”

“Additional usage questionnaire?”

She nodded.

“Have you looked at this form?”

She again smiled and nodded-I think that’s all she was capable of if there wasn’t a script involved.

“So.. there is no long form?”

“No,” she answered cheerfully. “We did away with that.”

“But there is a secondary ‘additional usage questionnaire?'”

“Yes ma’am.”

She looked at the form again, trying to understand why I wasn’t getting it and being a good little employee and filling out my forms and leaving.

“So… basically… you’ve done away with the long form… and replaced it with an ‘additional usage questionnaire… that asks all the same questions as the long form… it just has a different name.”

Her smile was at least a little sheepish this time when she answered: “Pretty much.”

It was my turn to nod and sigh. At least she’d admitted the ‘change’ wasn’t all that much of a change. “Just checking…”

I filled out the new improved ‘Short Form’ and handed it in.

There are some fights worth fighting and some that are so pointless all you can do about them is laugh and say ‘I need another pen.’ This was one of those times.

Special thanks to the US Census Bureau for inspiring today’s story.

Friday, March 19, 2066 – Just a day

Nothing happened today.

I’m serious here, nothing. Not the *nothing* as in I can’t talk about it nothing… nothing as in the absence of anything.

I’m guessing that Puck kind of ended people’s fun ‘ferreting’ me, because there were no ferrets, no ferret toys or stuffed animals… nothing.

This scares me.

Saturday, March 20, 2066 – Complications

I wonder sometimes if I missed something growing up… something that would have taught me by now to not go borrowing trouble. Maybe I was absent that day-maybe that skill is tied to the gene associated with other abilities I seem to lack, like the ability to detect trouble… or be subtle. Whatever the case may be, I’ve never learned it… and I was once again reminded of why I really should want it.

The day started off normally enough but I was on edge because of yesterday. Let’s face it, there’s a reason “if everything seems to be going right, you must have overlooked something” is our mantra.

It was my first day back out on the bus and everything was going normally until we got an emergency callout for a capsized ferry. That in and of itself is bad enough, but it got oh so much more ‘interesting.’

Water rescues are hard enough, but when the problem seems to involve a waterspout with a mind of its own, well that’s where I, as Chief of Citywide, start thinking ‘we really need some mages on staff.’

As a member of the Walker family, I started thinking about all the mages I know and could easily call and ask to help out. But as Chief, I can’t ask-it’s frustrating to have access to the help we needed knowing I couldn’t ask for it. Fortunately, I didn’t have to, my family was watching over me.

Even as I was thinking, ‘I could really use some shamanic help about now,” Jonathan was standing next to me. I think I had enough time to smile before his expression changed.

“Jess,” he said in a very cool, distracted tone, “Get your people out of here.”

Over the years I’ve learned to not only trust my adopted big brother, I’ve learned that when he gets that tone-it’s something I can’t help with and all I can do is keep our casualties down.

I ordered everyone to fall back to the staging area and to keep the boats away, but by that time the waterspout was moving closer and closer to the shore. That’s when I saw the face in the water.

I stood there frozen for a moment as two opposing urges fought violently for control. One side was saying “Run away,” the other side was saying “Get Jonathan out of there.”

The only problem was “Away” and Jonathan were in opposite directions. I stood there unable to process either signal, and it probably saved my life.

If I had run towards Jonathan, I probably would have been hit by his offensive spell, if I had run… I would have been crushed by the deluge as the water elemental was banished and all the water it had gathered to itself crashed to the ground.

As it was I was soaked to the skin and almost hypothermic by the time I reached Jonathan. Word to the wise… don’t touch a fully charged Thunderbird Shaman when you’re soaking wet… it’s a bad idea

Copyright 2010 M.T. Decker

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