How to Remove Skunk Smell

We awoke to skunk smell. A smell that crept in the window like a green wisp of air like in the cartoons. And behind that wisp, another wisp. Behind that? More wisp. Lots, and lots of green wavy stink. Impressive, really.

When we got of bed we noticed the stink had surrounded our apartment. Stink crawled in the kitchen window, it mingled with the smell of shower gel, it waited to escort my husband to work. What a thoughtful stink.
Soon, my nice neighbor—we’ll call him Archibald—informs me that the meandering cat that “belongs” to the downstairs neighbors got sprayed. I say quote-unquote belongs because the care the cat receives is minimal at best. The cat kind of gets fed. It’s kind of given shelter. It kind of has a litter of kittens who are kind of given love in the form of a box shoved in the bushes next to the tree that is constantly covered in bees. But it quote-unquote belongs to them. It no-quotes-needed-at-all-does-not belong to me.

But here we were, Archibald and I, discussing what should be done about Stinkila the cat. Apparently she had wriggled into his apartment earlier and now Archibald was in go mode. I gave him some latex gloves and he took his bottle of Skunk-Stink Off© down to assault/help the cat.

Except the cat freaked, wriggled out of his hands, and bolted into the nearest thorny bush.

Archibald had to go back to work. I couldn’t help at the moment because my 1-year-old was awake and dangerous, so it would have to wait. We’d have to let Stinkila prowl, recirculating her new fragrance here and there and everywhere.

Later, for some unknown reason, I was feeling ambitious. So I made myself a trash bag skirt, snapped on some latex gloves, and headed down to scrub the skunk-gland juice off this poor wretched animal. Stinkila did not enjoy this process. I did not enjoy this process. Un-enjoyment had by all. But in the end, she was less stinky than she was before, and I was uncomfortable and sweaty so…mission accomplished.

Come to find out, latex gloves and Skunk-Stink Off© are not enough of a barrier to keep your hands smelling minty fresh (or any variety of fresh, for that matter) when bathing a cat covered in skunk anger. Imagine my disappointment.

As one should do for all serious matters, I turned to the internet. Since you come here to for all of your practical life advice, here are the steps I followed:

Wash With Dish Soap
Wash hands with dish soap, being sure to make that suck-slorp sounds that frequently accompanies too-soapy hands.

Rub with Hand Sanitizer
This was just a guess for me. Why not slather something else on there.

Scrub with Apricot Scrub of Some Kind
Again, this is just something I had in my bathroom. Might as well. Then…

Slorp Hands with Mouthwash
I had read to use peroxide, then mouthwash, but my mouthwash is one of the fancy whitening kinds that has peroxide in it, so double-point score for me.

Soak Hands with Lemon Juice
Hope you don’t have any paper cuts…

Scrub Hands with Baking Soda Paste
Little bit o’ baking soda, little bit o’ water. Then more baking soda, and more water, and much more slorping.

Apply Much More Hand Gel
Because why the freak not at this point?

Apply Lotion
Your hands will be dry, crackly, and akin to lizard thighs. Might want to address that.

And tada! Your hands will be less stinky!

“What?!” you say. “They won’t be fresh as a daisy, Melanie?” No, kitten. No they won’t. They got skunk juice on them. What did you expect?

There’s only one thing that really and truly works.

This step CANNOT be overlooked.


Don’t wash the cat that “belongs” to the neighbors.

photo via Enokson at Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

How to Remove Skunk Smell

A Royal Decree from Princess Chubbila Stinkerton III

Crown baby booties

Hear ye! Hear ye! The following is a Royal Decree from her Majesty Princess Chubbila Stinkerton III on her first birthday. Should any deviation from this decree occur, her Majesty’s discontent will be made known with a loud wail.

  1. Toys are no longer accepted in the presence of the princess; only trash, or items of formidable danger, preferably those shaped like the windpipe. Do not attempt to remove items from the hands of the princess at any time.
  2. Anyone who attempts to remove excrement from the princess’ nether regions shall have their murder plotted forthwith.
  3. Tasks of any importance that do not revolve around the pleasure of the princess shall not be tolerated.
  4. If the princess desires what you have, you shall relinquish it.
  5. The princess desires what you have.
  6. The princess shall utilize the magic of a forest troll to detect any sense of relaxation. Such senses will be vanquished.
  7. The princess’ pinky nail shall never be trimmed under any circumstances. The caretaker shall receive the shame of others who do not allow their charges to look as if they have a drug habit.

If you succeed in holding up these tenants, you will be rewarded with signs of affection. They will be hug-like and kiss-like in nature, and they will be coated in thick slobber and food remnants. Do not offend the princess by wiping said slobber from your face in her presence.

 p.s. Happy birthday Princess Stinkerton. We’re exceedingly blessed by your ridiculous self. Love you to bits.  

Photo credit Funky Shapes on Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Buy these booties & other cute stuff at the Funky Shapes Etsy Store


A Royal Decree from Princess Chubbila Stinkerton III

Mother of a Broken Heart

Yesterday, my 4-year-old and I went to an appointment with her cardiologist.

Now, if a 4-year-old has a cardiologist, then you know something rather craptastic happened at some point. For reference, here’s a summary of our crapisode:

Heart EKG painting photo by Leo Reynold

When our first daughter was 2 weeks old, she screamed all the time. She had a hard time eating, and then she started breathing really rapidly. She also looked pretty pale, but we are very white, Casper-esque people ourselves so maybe it was normal…? Being first-time parents, it was impossible to know which things were normal crazy baby things, and which things we should flip out about. Being the judicious people we are, we went ahead and had a tiny bit of panic about most everything.

When the breathing thing started though, we asked ourselves, “Is this crazy crazy, or normal crazy?” Having received no answers from each other’s blank, sleep-deprived stares, we called the advice nurse.

After a couple of “it’s probably fine,” phone conversations, we still weren’t totally convinced and my husband decided he would feel better about going back to work if we had someone look at her again. So in we went.

Enter the Life-Threatening Holy Moses Circus, starring our 15-day-old baby.

Nurses and doctors and EMTs materialized in the exam room. I heard a call to the ambulance. A nurse prodded my daughter’s head with a gigantic needle, commenting, “This looks scary, but it’s okay.” Then they smothered her face with a bag of ice noting again that it looked scary, but it was okay. Somewhere between that, the crash cart, the intubation, the swollen liver, and the blood transfusion I got the distinct feeling that things were not, in fact, okay. We had left the realm of normal crazy, and landed squarely in the vast terrain of crazy crazy.

The next few days were spent with nurses monitoring and logging our daughter’s frequent episodes of tachycardia, while a bunch of doctors tried to figure out why the heck she was having them in the first place. About the fourth day, they figured out that she has an accessory pathway in her heart, which was throwing it off, and rocketing her heart rate to 230+. The fifth and sixth days were spent finding the right cocktail of medications to help her heart regulate and regain strength, and help her body get rid of the extra fluid that had built up under all that stress.

On the eighth of some of the longest days of my life, we were sent home with three bottles of medicinal magic, thus ending the tour of the Life-Threatening Holy Moses Circus. We were not sad to see it go. We administered a slightly complicated schedule of elixirs for six months, and then it was like it never even happened. No medication. No heart beating straight out of a tiny chest. No Significantly less panic.

What do I want to say about all of this anyway?

As I read “Normal,” on the EKG printout, and heard her doctor say to himself, “Perfect,” and, “Strong,” as he listened to her heart, I knew I wanted to write something about this whole wild thing we experienced. But what?

I could talk about how the NICU is strangely frightening and comforting and lonely and communal all at the same time. About how all the parents share fears and hopes and unspoken sadness. How you see parents go home with their babies and you feel such happiness for them, along with a deep pang of jealousy. How you scrub your arms, up to the elbows, for the full three minutes every time you enter the room because each baby feels like the thinnest glass, and you don’t want whatever germs you carry to be the thing that shatters them. How NICU nurses are pure gifts. How when you hear those NICU nurses held your baby in the middle of the night, you want to weep because it wasn’t you.

I could talk about exactly how devastating it is to get a rejection letter from an insurance company while your baby is intubated and unconscious from the morphine, because she—at 15 freaking days old—has a “pre-existing condition.” About how pre-existing conditions are absolute bullshit, and if eliminating their use by insurance companies is all the Affordable Care Act does successfully, it’s still a huge win for all of us. How insurance premiums, and co-pays, and exorbitant charges feel like ransoms when you realize you’ll pay any amount of money to see your kid live another day. And how that—that is just plain immoral.

I could talk about how the gratitude that lives in my bones, in my heart, and in my soul doesn’t keep me—on those normal crazy days that are unbelievably hard—from wanting to run from my family and live in a small wooden cabin in Canada.

I think what I really want to say, though, is that I love her. I love her, I love her, I love her. And her perfect, strong, normal heart brings me to my knees with joy. She is precious, and sacred, and funny, and crazy, and I love her.

Holy Moses.


Photo credit Leo Reynold at FlickrCC-BY-NC-SA 2.0
Mother of a Broken Heart

Good Morning, Snuggles

I have about eight—drat, no, seven—minutes to pound this out. Seven minutes to cobble some words together and jam them onto this screen here, and hope they make some kind of sense. Tick tock. No pressure.

It’s been a while. Things in my life are basically freaking bananas all the time. I had another kid last year, (hence the pregnancy post) and I’ll be damned if that doesn’t just suck all time and energy right out of your life. I mean, sucking like a vacuum in a cartoon where all the forest animals and leaves and pine needles and newspapers and old people get sucked into it. Like that.

When this new lil’ babe was born, beneath the torrential avalanche of need, I extended myself a little rope, tied to the boat of sanity. That rope was this: you can’t do much more than this, Melanie. You just can’t. You’ve got two people that need you all the freaking time, the idea of “me time” is laughable, and parenting is about as easy as threading a needle with an invisible worm. So to make it I had to let go of my dream to-do list, and pare it down to something simpler. It turned out about like this:

• Get out of bed

• Survive 10 hours until Stephen comes home

• Do not slap strangers as a result of exhaustion and anxiety

• Hug the girls really and truly at least once a day

• Don’t stress-eat all the food in San Diego

It’s a pretty limited list, but I know it’s within my capabilities, though just barely.

(Crap, I’m out of time, you all.)

So, good morning, Snuggles. I’m still here and alive and I still want to write and I want to hug your blessed little faces with my thought pukes. Even if it’s only seven minutes at a time.

Good Morning, Snuggles

Why You Should Always Give a Pregnant Lady Five Bucks

Next time you see a pregnant lady, you really need to stop and give her five bucks. Why? Well, the short answer is that pregnancy is the freaking worst. THE WORST.

Okay, having your leg chewed off by a bengal tiger is probably pretty bad, too. But pregnancy is freaking awful, and no one comes right out and says that because, well, I think it makes you look like a bad parent or something. But I totally don’t care about that. Let me endure the judgement and describe the terrible catastrophe that is pregnancy. You’re welcome.

Why You Should Always Give A Pregnant Lady Five Bucks

Morning Sickness is a Lie

The term “morning sickness” is about as accurate as “occasional breathing” or “optional heartbeat.” For many, the nausea that comes with your precious bundle of joy happens whenever the crap it wants to, and—blissfully for some—all the live long day. I’ll let you guess which of those things happened to me.

It’s also not some adorable, dainty little queasiness. It’s as if food is now the enemy, and your body will do anything to keep it out of your mouth/stomach/necessary locations for life. I’ve read of women puking 20 times a day. Twenty. Times. Uh, give that lady five bucks.

My nausea was so bad that my doctors gave me a drug that they also give to chemo patients. Because apparently being on chemo and being pregnant have certain similarities. I don’t know why they don’t put that on Hallmark cards. Even that prescription-strength solution didn’t keep this pleasant little conversation from happening in my head several times a day:

I’m going to die. I can’t believe this is how it’s going to end for me. A shriveled, starved mess that can’t get out of bed. Wait, no, you live in California, Melanie. CALIFORNIA. I’m pretty sure there are a few steps between this and death. Right? Of course! They’ll hook you up to IVs and give you nutrients that way! All you need is hospitalization! No. big. deal.

Thankfully it didn’t come to that, though I did ask my husband several times to check into a medically induced coma. I’m still a little mad that he didn’t at least Google it. Right? Right.

“Cravings”? Not Exactly

You always hear those adorable stories of women wanting to eat pickles and ice cream, like that’s the cutest thing ever. The reality? Pickles and ice cream—and other equally absurd food choices—may be the only thing your body will accept. So, if the choice is between the aforementioned hospitalization and, say, shrimp-flavored Cup O’ Noodle and instant mashed potatoes, you kinda choose the Cup O’ Noodle. Turns out, the desire to not die in your bed is pretty strong.

There once was a time when I favored braised beef cheek and chilled grape soup with basil foam—pregnancy reduced my palate to that of a still-drunk frat boy. Thanks for that. Give me five bucks, please. I have no self respect.

I told my doctor about this terrible starvation/inability to eat anything that can reasonably be called food and her was response was, “Luckily, the baby doesn’t need nutrition right now.” Yeah, luckily. And it’s not like need it, right? And where is the baby getting her nutrients? She’s stealing them from your body. Like a parasite. Where’s the greeting card for that? - Congratulations on your acquisition of a small parasite that will steal your essential nutrients.
(Sadly, that analogy doesn’t quite end at birth. Not that I hate my kid. I don’t. I promise. Look, I can prove it.)

“Luckily,” Lots of Terrible Stuff is Normal

If you’ve never been pregnant before, all this crazy stuff will start happening to you and you’ll be like, “Holy shitballs, this can’t be right. This is how humans are made?” and, if you’re anything like me, you’ll say as much to your doctor. And she will say, “Yeaaaaaaaah. I’m sorry.” Because it totally IS right. It’s normal. For your entertainment/education/horrification, here’s a bunch of bizarro stuff that’s just par for the course with pregnancy.

  • Days long headaches that you can’t do anything about, because you can’t take any pain killers when you’re pregnant. A wet cloth on your head in a dark room may be recommended.
  • Bleeding gums. Like you’re a pirate with scurvy. Sweet.
  • Not pooping ever. Someone I know might have thought she was going to die of not pooping. It wasn’t me, because why would I share that? But no one wants pooping to be mentioned in their obit.
  • Nosebleeds. Wha…? Or a constant stuffy nose. Also wha…?
  • The persistent feeling of being kicked in the crotch. This happens because of a chemical that makes your joints loosen. Sometimes your pelvic joint kinda, you know, comes apart. And that process might make you Google “pregnancy kicked in the crotch.”
  • Extra moles. To make you feel awesome about yourself.
  • Chest pain due to: a baby being where your organs are supposed to go; or heartburn; or maybe a blood clot or heart attack. Hard to know. Not that that’ll freak you out or anything.
  • Dark spots all over your skin. To help with camouflage in the wild?
  • Hot flashes. Because why the heck not at this point, right?

There’s totally more than this but…why? (Oh, wait…diabetes! You can get di-a-be-tes just while you’re pregnant. And middle-of-the-night leg cramps! And anemia!!) I mean, does it need to get any worse for you to spot a lady a fiver? If so, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, YOU HORRID FIEND?

I will take one second to address something that might come up in the comments: some people have lovely pregnancies. They say they’ve never felt better, and that it’s such a blessing and they glow and all that crap. Ladies, you owe other pregnant women fifty bucks. Somehow they caught your share of the crappy part while you rubbed your belly and made cooing noises. Not okay.

So there it is. Go forth and procreate you poor bastards. I’ll give you five bucks if I see you.

Why You Should Always Give a Pregnant Lady Five Bucks

Problems That Bunnies Don’t Have

It’s been a heavy week around ol’ Yes siree bob. I’ve been plagued (and have plagued you, dear readers) with lots of thoughts about stuff that just totally freaking sucks. Stuff that, as one might imagine, falls into the category of Problems That Bunnies Don’t Have.

So now in time for Easter, as a gift to you (and myself), I bring you several other problems that bunnies don’t have, along with cutsie pictures. *breathes sigh of relief*

Getting Super Bummed About Rape Trials

Of course bunnies don’t cruise the internet, happening upon story after story about a rape trial that makes them question their ability/desire to remain amongst their common populations. And boy howdy, are those bunnies living the good life.


Feeling Un-Cute

Sometimes you just don’t feel cute. You feel—what’s the word?—turdish. Dudes, some days your hair just looks weird. Ladies, we’ve got some seriously effed up standards to live up to. Bunnies? Not so much.

BunnyDoesntFeelCute-01 BunnyDoesntFeelCuteP2-01

Needing Lots of Lotion and Chapstick

Sometimes my skin is nearly reptilian like that weird commercial I saw once. And my lips? They peel, crack and flake like a piece of overcooked tuna. But bunnies are just soft, fluffy and luxurious no matter what.


Looking Evil with Beady Red Eyes

Wait…that is kinda a problem.

Red eye
Ack! Devil bunny! Photo By petur r @ Flickr

(I could add in here, “Searching for ‘Bunny Red Eyes’ and Instead Getting Nude Pictures of Ladies,” cause that totally happened to me. Really, internet? Sometimes you’re a real a-hole.)

Not Knowing What to Blog About

Sometimes I’m just plain overcome with not knowing what to write about. Is it okay to be serious? And then funny? And then maybe something random about food? I DON’T KNOW!!! (Can I get an amen, writers?) For added fun, I’ll go ahead and hate whatever I do. Oh, bunnies, how superior your life is in this regard.


There you have it. Problems that bunnies don’t have. What plights do you have that bunnies are immune to? And if you haven’t had enough, go check out problems that lions don’t have. And then maybe drink a margarita, just for good measure.

Problems That Bunnies Don’t Have

Of Course I’m Afraid of Nuclear Fallout

[220/365] Nuclear Fear (Explored)
Photo by pasukaru76 @ Flickr
I’ve been having weird dreams lately. And sleeping kinda restlessly. Sleep is literally my favorite thing to do, so it makes me a little bit cranky when it doesn’t work out quite the way I want it to. A lot of things make me cranky, though. Like:

  • Bathrooms that don’t have toilet seat covers
  • When you think you have another mango in the fridge, but discover you don’t
  • (Related) Starting a recipe and discovering half way through that you’re missing a key ingredient
  • People that don’t signal
  • Anything sticky

I could go on for some time in this fashion, because I’m essentially an 84-year-old woman in a 33-year-old’s body. I’m fine with that.

Aaaanyway…so yes, I’ve been having cranky-making sleep as of late. And the weird dreams always linger in the morning, so I spend the first couple hours of the day trying to get over the yelling match I had with my non-existent boss while ice skating; or the panic of accidentally marrying some terrible other person, then remembering I’m married to someone great, and now I have some serious paperwork to do; or spilling ALL the milk in the grocery store and trying in vain to clean it up before anyone notices.

This is a piss poor way to start the day, friends. If I was dreaming about flying that crazy dog thing from the NeverEnding Story to a sushi restaurant where I ate some yummy nigiri, the morning would be spent with the lingering memory of tasty fish. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Anyway, what happened the other night is WORSE than all those other stupid things. You know those times where you roll over and you’re awake for a little nanosecond and then you fall back asleep again? Well, something happened in that nanosecond. A little noise. Like, a bang or something. I live in the city, so it was probably someone’s cat farting in a trash can. You know, something innocuous like that. It was definitely not, as my sleepy little mind imagined, a nuclear bomb being intercepted high above the city, whose toxic contents were now showering 1.2 million people, all of whom, including myself and my family, were soon to have melting insides.

Yeah, it definitely wasn’t that.

But to a sleepy little brain, whose imagination truly knows no bounds, that didn’t matter one little bit. Nope, because the idea had hatched, like a frightening sharp-toothed alien turtle, and now it was going to rip apart my conscience like a squeaky chew toy. Can I just say that I’m super fun? I mean, like a laugh riot o’ fun.

So the next half hour’s thoughts went like this:

That was probably a nuclear bomb.

Okay, it definitely wasn’t.

But probably most certainly was. *scratches skin* Is my skin coming off? No, not yet. That’s good. But when will it? Or is that even the right test? Do your insides just melt or something? I think I remember reading that once. And that all the DNA in all of my cells is fried now. What happens?

Everyone is going to die. We don’t have enough food in the house to survive nuclear fallout. I’m a terrible parent. Couldn’t I have just donated $50 to NPR? I’m pretty sure one of their contributor gifts would save my whole family, AND keep Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me on the air. What the hell is my problem?!

I should check Google.

You definitely should not check Google, you crazy SOB. Stay in bed. GO TO BED.  Now. Go to bed now. Now. Right now.

I should check Google. Although, would they even put it on Google? The government would probably hide it as long as possible as to not create a panic. But I know already. I’m ahead of the curve.

My poor family. We can’t drink the water now, probably. We have no water or food and our insides are melting.

And THEN…and then. Oh freaking lord, and then. I start thinking how if we’re going to starve, and dehydrate, and our insides were turning to goo, then we should probably figure out a way to commit suicide together.


And that’s when I a) see, in stark relief, that this line of thinking has gone a touch too far and b) beg whatever demented gremlin that has taken over my brain to please, oh please, oh please let me fall asleep.

To my credit, I didn’t check Google. Somehow, I fell back asleep. And in the morning, everyone’s insides were intact, and the fear that had gripped me so tightly in the middle of the night was gone. Like magic. Poof.

I don’t know how this stuff happens, but I know this: I don’t want to live gripped in fear. I hate that fear gets the best of me sometimes. Clearly, it’s a pretty big freaking bummer. The last few months have given us all a thousand things to fear, and it seems like that won’t be letting up any time soon. But fear and worry have never solved anything. So I’m gonna try to do less of that.

Good luck to me. Good luck to all of us.

(p.s. I’ve decided I won’t be watching that new show, The Following. I’m pretty sure it will make me afraid of all humans—even the baby ones. An ounce of prevention…)

What kind of monsters are in your closet?

Of Course I’m Afraid of Nuclear Fallout