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By Staff | Jul 3, 2015

You wouldn’t think that a limping kitty would cost so much.

It all began a few weeks ago when Sparkles the Adventure Cat – our farm’s official feline – turned up with a gimpy leg. Thanks to all the doting lavished upon her by my wife, Sparkles made a full recovery.

“You’re spoiling that cat,” I opined.

“Am not,” my wife retorted. “Now get out of the recliner, that’s Sparkles’ favorite spot. And give the remote back to her.”

“Aw, man. I’m sick of watching Animal Planet.”

My wife maintains that Sparkles was injured when she fought off a pack of savage tigers. I informed her that the nearest wild tiger is 6,000 miles away, but facts count for little in the face of overpowering maternal instincts.

Yet my wife had a point. It’s clear that the cat had had a run-in with something. But what?

It seemed prudent to address this issue, so I purchased a live trap. I set it near the chicken coop and baited it with jumbo marshmallows – the plain white variety; I wasn’t going to pony up for the pastel kind.

Who cares if a varmint would rather have a pretty pink or a cool blue treat?

That night I caught a feral tomcat. “Wild” couldn’t even begin to describe this creature. As I picked up the trap, there erupted a tornado of hissing and yowling and spitting. The tomcat was even worse.

I took the puddy tat for a long ride and released it in an open area. The critter shot out of the cage with such speed that it produced a sonic boom.

Problem solved. But maybe I should reset the trap, just in case.

The next night I caught a raccoon. Not a cute, fuzzy fur ball as in the Disney cartoons, but a debauched, mangy scuzzbucket.

He looked like a deadbeat dad who’s perpetually hung over and lives at the Lo-rent Arms. The masked cat food bandit was taken far from the farmyard and sent off with a shotgun salute.

That’s that. But maybe I should reset the trap, just in case.

A few days later I sensed that there was a dark presence in the trap. As I warily approached, Sandy, our Golden Retriever, galumphed ahead and woofed at the thing of evil.

The planet’s most putrid odor scorched my sinuses when Sandy ran yelping back to me. Nuclear shockwaves of stink nearly knocked me down.

I had no choice but to finish it. Mr. Skunk was administered a dose of high-velocity lead and taken out to the field and given an indecent burial.

I hadn’t been sprayed, but my clothes reeked. I threw my duds into the washing machine and dumped in enough detergent to scrub the spots off a giraffe.

When the washer dinged, I chucked the clothes into the dryer.

“What smells?” asked my wife a short time later.

“Probably my skunky clothes.”

“No … Something’s burning.”

She was right. Our clothes dryer was smoking like a cigar bar during Happy Hour. The next few minutes were quite exciting as I hurriedly disconnected the dryer and muscled it out the door.

I took the appliance apart and found a wad of smoldering lint. Just need to clean things up and we’ll be good to go.

But, no. During reassembly, a critical dryer part tragically broke. Humph. That thing was only 25 years old. They don’t make them like they used to.

My wife purchased a new dryer, opting to go with an electric model this time. She was spooked about that whole “drying combustible items with a flamethrower” idea.

Several hundred dollars later, we were set. Almost.

The dryer lacked a power supply. Technically speaking, it needed juice. Even though this involved only two wires – three actually, but that one doesn’t really count – my wife insisted that we engage the services of a professional.

An electrician arrived and examined the situation.

“You just need to hook the wires onto that thingamabob,” I offered helpfully.

“Yeah, but that might set up a theta wave feedback loop, which could induce a gimbal undervolting backflow. You don’t want that.”

“No, you don’t,” I replied sheepishly.

Our service panel was full, so the electrician had to install a small add-on fuse box. It now appears as though our main electric panel had a baby. Like most babies, it came with a hefty price tag.

Everything is finally back to normal. Sparkles is mousing again and we no longer lurk at the laundromat. But all this normalcy came at a steep price.

I don’t know if our checkbook could survive if Sparkles were to stub her toe.

Nelson is a freelance writer from Volga, S.D. Reach him by e-mail at jjpcnels@itctel.com.

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