I interrupted a perfectly nice telework day today to take George over to the reptile and exotic pet veterinarian in the next county over. One of the most endearing qualities of your average small sized tortoise is that they are a remarkably low-maintenance animal to keep around. Keep their enclosure clean and stocked with things to push around or climb over, daily feeding and watering, and they almost take care of themselves. Except, of course, for the times when they don’t.
Despite my best efforts to provide sufficient rough surfaces to keep George’s beak in check, it was obviously growing too long and would eventually give him trouble eating. The tortoise nose job turned out to be a 5-minute exercise with a Dremel tool that people all over the internet say you can do yourself. Honestly for less than $50, it’s well worth letting the professionals handle carrying out the task and giving the old boy the once over.
Maybe I’m too use to dragging a bulldog to the vet, but a quick trip where everything was easy and there wasn’t a massive bill due at the end almost felt like a let down – like something too easy. Then again I wasn’t the member of the herd getting a nose job with a Dremel so it’s hard to say what “too easy” might actually look like. I should probably just be satisfied that for the moment all the creatures are in reasonably good health and not racking up new bills.
From time to time I’m criticized for not posting enough pictures, stories, or thoughts about George, the Russian tortoise who’s been in residence here for almost two years now. Rest assured that George is alive and well. He’s living in a 100 gallon Rubbermaid tub in the living room, eating a eclectic mix of greens, and spending his days pushing things from one side of his tank to the other. He’s basically doing what a tortoise does. For the record, they’re not a pet I’d recommend for someone looking for an activity partner – unless your preferred activity is basking.
With fall and winter coming on (not that you’d know it from the temperature around here lately), the days for getting him outside to roam around the yard are coming to an end. I’ve been giving a lot of thought to building him a bigger indoor enclosure to replace the three giant blue containers sitting in the corner. I was looking at materials and what others had done online, but really struck on what looks like the future the last time I was wandering around Home Depot. I think the solution might just be the plastic pond liners people use to add water features to their back yards. It’s got high sides, lots of interior space, and should be easy enough to configure into multiple levels to give him room to maneuver. With a little work it also looks like it would be less obtrusive in the room than what I’m using now.
OK, so technically that’s more of an update on what George’s future home is probably going to look like, but hopefully it’s enough to earn some credit for discussing the least mentioned of my 4-legged kids.
1. Sequestration. Some are hailing the alleged reduction in furlough days from 22 to 14 as “great” news for Defense employees. While I agree that it is news, that’s pretty much where I’m going to have to stop. It sounds a bit to me like the Pentagon is set to announce the good news that its civilian employees still have a sucking chest wound, but it was delivered form a .40 round instead of from a .45. Neither one of those events would be welcomed as a “good news” story by most people. I guess when it comes to getting screwed with your pants on, I can’t differentiate by degrees of badness.
2. Tortoise Poop. George has been part of the menagerie for about three months now. He’s been a great, non-obtrusive addition who seems to enjoy spending most days alternately sleeping in his flower pot, sitting under his sunlamp, or grazing on mixed greens. The only problem I’ve encountered so far is that tortoise poo reeks – and I don’t mean it’s a little smelly. Think more like condensed cow manure being deposited in your living room. It’s not awful if you are home and can get to it right away, but if you happen to be at work and it festers under the heat lamp all day, well, then God help you. Yankee Candle doesn’t have enough wax to cover that shit up.
3. What is Dead May Never Die. With apologies to House Greyjoy, they ain’t got nothing on the bureaucracy. Surely one of the most agitating features of work is seeing the project that was supposed to be dead and gone three months ago, that you buried, purified by fire, and hoped to never see again, rising from the ashes to again steal time and attention away from other things you’re trying to get finished. No matter how thoroughly an idea has been debunked, disproved, and derided, just wait a while and it’s sure to come back to you. Like the murderer in a horror movie, just when you think it’s long gone, it will rise again to claim at least one more victim.