Keynote speaker, Diego, domestic cat

And so begins another week, one that started as usual: panic, rushing around, trying to find very important things that got lost in the move, and asking Leta over and over again to use her inside voice. Guys, I promised I would never use those words together: inside voice. It’s so patronizing and gross and just screams your parent is a total pussy. Yes, it’s better than telling her to shut up. But there are other more aggressive instructions I prefer: ZIP IT. SHUSH. IMMA LET YOU FINISH.

I’m headed to New York for a couple of days (and then to San Francisco) where every moment of my life has been scheduled out into tiny increments, here, there, back to here, and then back to the airport. One day Jon and I are going to travel to New York for a vacation, a real live vacation where we can linger with friends over lunch and dinner and saunter through museums and wander home drunk while gazing at the skyline above us. And then unzip our pants and pee against the side of dumpster in an dark alley behind a Russian bar.

(just added bullet point to life list)

I thought it was appropriate this morning as we opened the garage and loaded my luggage into the back of the car to hear the evil, menacing screech of the once docile squirrels who live in the forest that is our backyard. It’s a machine gun fire of quacking, a warning that they own this turf. I’m sure some person who specializes in squirrels is out there going, what the hell is this woman talking about? Squirrels don’t behave that way! And I want to say, listen Squirrel Master! Maybe you didn’t read the chapter called “Welcome to the Armstrongs.” It involves pregnant raccoons who live in chimneys, mythical bobcats who sleep in sheds, and squirrels who could wrestle a dog into a headlock. PA-CHOW!

Oh my god. This is now the savage wild animal blog. Have I just created a new niche? I should throw a conference. Invite all the animals we’ve had removed from our houses and let them tell their side of the story. Have you ever met Coco? they’d say. No? Then you don’t know our pain.

I thought we’d left the angry squirrels at the last house, and when I saw a half a dozen of them running around the new back yard without making any noise I thought, CUTE! Maybe we can invite them in an put pink socks on their tails! Set out some almonds and tickle their bellies! Coochie coochie coo!

But then I guess Coco went on one of her barking binges, and one time I saw her out there jumping up on her back two legs trying to propel herself into the tree twelve feet above her head. It was so pathetic that I had to go grab Jon so we could point and laugh at her together.

So I guess the squirrels all got together and have decided to take back the hood. And not only are they constantly screeching, but they’re also regularly attacking my potted tomato plant. My innocent little tomato plant! What did my tomatoes ever do to you?! Because I’ll go out there in the morning to see if maybe, maybe the poor thing has survived another night under my care, and something (I’M LOOKING AT YOU, SQUIRREL) has furiously dug a hole into the soil, spraying a two-foot strip of soil away from the pot onto the grass. As if to say, watch me dig this soil, bitchez.

Mythical bobcat, are you taking note?