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Just another day at EFRC - Phil's Rambling Rants
March 21st, 2004
09:22 pm

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Just another day at EFRC
I got peed on by a tiger and had a leopard put holes in my T-shirt. What did YOU do today?

I got up too early. (OK, so for most people, 7 AM isn't that early. But it's two hours earier than I normally get up, and my body doesn't like it. If you know me, this tells you that I'm seriously dedicated to this.) Shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, darn it, it's after 8 already, I'm late!, put my lunch together (made the sandwich last night), put all my stuff in the car, go. A reasonable success -- I actually don't think I forgot anything.

I think I saw an eagle as I was driving over -- big raptor, and it sure seemed to be showing me a white tail. But I didn't stop to check for sure, because, with a near two-hour drive and a time zone against me, I already get there at least an hour later than I really want to.

I get to the parking lot, and as I'm putting on my work boots, Joe drives by with a cow in the bobcat that he's apparently going to dispose of. A really nasty cow; he took the head and legs, but didn't even butcher the body. And he drives up to my car and makes like he's going to dump the thing on my car. Thanks, Joe.

The rest of the morning is just a blur of the usual tasks. I put vitamins on meat. I take a bucket and shovel and clean up poop. I pick up bones. I push wheelbarrows of poop and bones. I dump a load of poop on the compost pile. I'm probably one more person than they really need to do the work this morning, but I know how to do these things, and I think everything gets done marginally quicker since I'm there. I do manage to convince a couple of cats who are being a little balky to move to the part of their enclosure where we want them. (We don't go into the enclosures with the cats, so when we want to clean one part, we have to convince them to move to the other part. Some times, this is easy. Some times, it takes some convincing. Some times, they just won't do it.)

Oh yeah, on the way back from the compost pile, I'm obliviously pushing the wheelbarrow past Felix' cage (we had the word on the radio that that we were supposed to bring the wheelbarrows back up front), and *splat*. Thank you, Felix. 10 feet away, and he got my whole head. For those of you unfamiliar with the experience, it's not as bad as you might think. Although concentrated in their enclosures, it gets a strong ammonia stink, when they hit you with a small amount of it fresh, it actually smells kind of like stale popcorn. Not hugely unpleasant, but definitely noticeable.

Lunch. Lunch is good. Since I get more physical exercise hauling stuff around at EFRC than any other time in my week, and since I had breakfast really early, and I didn't find a moment to snack on a granola bar, lunch is very good. For some reason, I never cared for sandwiches on rye bread until I started making my sandwiches for lunches at EFRC, but I like the sandwiches I make, rye bread and all, better than the ones I buy at the convenience store when I don't have time to make my own.

After lunch, Garth and I push the wheelbarrows over by the new house to collect poop and bones. This is close to half a mile each way. I'm a little unimpressed that when we get there, there's only one little tiny bone, can't weigh more than a few ounces. For this, I pushed a wheelbarrow all the way over here? Oh well.

Then Joe asks me how my carpentry is. Not very good, I tell him. Undeterred, he tells me to go help Carl at Sam&Cody's cage. After a few minutes, I actually find Carl, we load a bunch of lumber and tools into the pickup, and we proceed to put a small (4'x4') climbing tower over an existing den box. Well, really, Carl builds it, while I hold things in place, drive a few nails, and carry things. He drives a nail a lot quicker than I do, and more to the point, he knows where to drive the nails, but I guess I made the job go a little faster. If I could have figured out without being told that I should push the reset button on the ground-fault interruptor outlet before looking around for another outlet that works, I could have made it a lot faster. Sigh. At least I'll know next time. Joe comes in and inspects the work, and declares it good enough. I help carry the tools back. By this time, I'm feeling pretty tired, but I don't think anyone has any more work for me.

I get out my camera, I walk around, I take a few pictures. Haven't looked at them yet. It's good to be free to just admire the cats, and talk to them, without having to run because I'm doing something.

Then I go up to the house. Brumby the baby leopard has a new companion, a 5 month old cougar named Polly Ann. She's maybe half his size, but she's faster than he is, and strong. I doubt I'll get to play with her much more, but I got to meet her today. Brumby is really sweet, but he did grab a fold of my shirt and chomp a pair of holes right through the design.

A few minutes playing with the babies, and I'm energized enough to have no trouble driving home.

I feel a little miffed that when I get home, the dogs don't seem to think I've done anything unusual. You'd think that after being peed on by a tiger and having a baby cougar and a baby leopard in my lap, I'd smell interesting.

Overall, the only bad part is that I have to wait two weeks to do it again, because of FKO.

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