Monday, November 21, 2011

McCracken County Torture Chamber of Doom

It's been quite a year for McCracken County. Flooding, embezzling, designer drugs out of control... Oh, and there's also our illustrious humane society. And while the concerned citizens of our fair community are rightly outraged about the first set of wrongs, we are downright furious about the latest revelations regarding the goings-on at the McCracken County "Humane" society. Most of you know about the debacle earlier this year, but if you don't, you can get the gist of it here.

When Bella Bazooka and I were writing the article about the humane society in April, we both agreed that things there were probably worse than we knew about. We were wrong. They are worse than we could have imagined. It is, in essence, a torture chamber.

Throughout September and October, employee Jeremiah Robertson discreetly captured video and audio of the goings on at the humane society. When he had a sufficient amount of incriminating evidence, he took it to the sheriff. Why go directly to the cops? Because 1) his superiors disregarded his complaints, and 2) what was going on there was completely criminal.

What, you may ask, was happening?? Were the dogs being cooped up too long? Were the cats neglected? Was the place unsanitary? Well, yes. But that's not the worst. Euthanasia specialist Beau Anderson was in charge of putting the animals to sleep. Most folks understand that sometimes it just has to happen. The method that Anderson was supposed to be using is called the heart stick method. This is where the animal is sedated or tranquilized, then a frighteningly large hypodermic filled with a barbiturate is stabbed through the muscles and nerves of the chest, into the animal's heart, delivering death in a short period of time.

Well, he got part of it almost right. In fact, Anderson chose to not sedate these animals. They were awake, aware, fully feeling when that deadly needle entered their hearts. And that's if he managed to hit the heart. Robertson says he has seen the sadist miss the heart and hit the lungs, causing the animals to bleed out, drowning in their own blood. Did I mention that the law requires them to be sedated? Seriously, what sick son of a bitch chooses to do this to fully conscious animals?? I can't see a reason for this method at all; it seems outrageously cruel to choose to euthanize an animal by stabbing it in the heart with a giant needle when there are much more humane methods available. I think they can afford it, what with over a million bucks at their disposal and all...

But wait! There's more! After the injections, the animals were left in piles around the room to slowly die, twitching and gasping for air. Living animals are walking around the dead and dying, being inundated with the sights and smells of death; pools of blood are everywhere, on everything... Robertson said that sometimes the dead animals were left for days with other live cats and dogs just roaming the room with their carcasses.

Cat hiding in a corner of the euthanasia room while, mere feet away, animals lay heaving their last breaths.

I cannot wrap my head around this. Just can't fathom how someone could be this sick. I watched the video. All of it. The only part I haven't seen is what the sheriff has. I've heard the audio of pitiful dogs being wrestled down to be poisoned. Can you even imagine the panic? It's worse than I can even put into words. If you think you can stomach it, part of the video is available here. These aren't all old or mean or otherwise unadoptable animals, either. Some of them were puppies and kittens that would have made wonderful pets.

And the poor, pathetic, misunderstood director of the McCracken County Chamber of Doom, Shirley Grimes, is the victim in all of this, don't you know? Why, she didn't even know that the animals were supposed to be sedated. Are you freaking kidding me?? That is your job, woman! It is your responsibility to make sure that your establishment is playing by the rules. You would think, after the fiasco in the spring and then OSHA jumping all over you, you'd exert some kind of effort to cover your ass! But, oh, let's feel sorry for Shirley. This paragraph from The Paducah Sun made me want to bitch slap the woman even more:
“Can you imagine working with someone like that?” Grimes said. “Could you imagine having to talk to one of your employees, constantly worrying about if you were being taped? It’s horrible.” Well, cry me a f@#$%ing river. No one would have to tape you if you were doing what you are supposed to be doing! But she sure fixed that problem. The only new rule at the "Humane Society" (that we know of) that has come about from this whole mess is.... NO CELL PHONES AT WORK!

Stepping down was a very, very wise thing to do.

Beau Anderson is facing criminal charges. He didn't get arrested. He got a summons. Is everyone aware of what penalties are on the line? Wait for it.... 90 days and a fine. Oh yeah! That'll teach him! Seriously?? If you, reader, are not outraged, you damn well should be.

I can only conclude that Anderson and administrator Delena Hall (who, btw, was euthanizing cats despite having no training or certification) both get some kind of sick pleasure from all of this. And apparently Shirley Grimes can't see past that million bucks sitting in the bank.

Jeremiah Robertson is still an employee of the McCracken County Humane Society. Good thing, too, since he's apparently the only one there with any sense or humanity. His ass is covered by the Whistleblower Act.
Nailed it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My car is safe again, so we are making our own Christmas presents

So. I tried to molest Wes with my feet last night for half an hour. I didn't accomplish much, what with the awkward angle and all, but I think I cut his right nipple with my toenail.

I was actually nursing Roo to sleep on one end of the couch and he just happened to be at my feet. I was in a particularly playful mood... Strange, considering the bill I got from the garage where I left the van to be fixed. Nearly $700. I think I actually swooned. Like Scarlett. I'm confident I'm not being raped on the estimate. I trust the mechanics (gasp) where I take my vehicles. But, good grief!

The costly part was making sure that my van was capable of coming to a stop. And I decided that it would be a good thing if I didn't drive three small children around in a death trap. I know. Hold the applause. And the fewer fiery car crashes, the better.

But this WOULD come six weeks before Christmas. I'm so proud we started buying gifts last month! Buuuut, I think we may be making presents for the fam this year. Luckily, I'm addicted to Pinterest, so I'm full of ideas.

I also discovered the lovely art of homemade soap a few months ago. Of course, Frontier Airlines has possession of the body wash and lotions that I made, but you may have already heard about that!

The soap is super easy, and fun to personalize, especially if you happen to have a surplus of aromatic herbs on hand. Which I do. I bought the base of Shea butter soap at Hobby Lobby. I also bought the molds, but then discovered that if you have a few seashells or any other kind of decorative container, they aren't really necessary.

Food coloring, essential oils, your base, and the molds (moulds?) and you are ready to make cheap and personalized Christmas gifts. The soap is microwaveable. When it is liquified, throw in some colors and scents, pour into the molds, refrigerate til firm, and turn em out. Done. Like, for real, it's that easy. I added glitter face powder into the soap, and dusted the tops to give them that designer look.

Best part? They aren't liquid, so the airport can't confiscate them.

Monday, November 14, 2011

There Are Better Ways to Spend Money...

I'm all for decorating for the holidays. Christmas tree, wreaths, doodads on the shelves. I'm sure my decor would be a little classier (and more expensive) if I were sans kids, but I'm not, so it's fun and inexpensive, lest Monkey finds his way up the bookcase to smash all my trinkets.

I am also extraordinarily cheap. Like, big time cheap. I can typically spend less than $20 and spruce up existing (and outdated) decorations, keeping the spirit while keeping back that extra cash that I will need in my Christmas Eve midnight run to the store because I forgot the nuts and tangerines for the stockings.

Usually about the end of the summer into early fall is the best time to hit up yard sales and Goodwill for old Christmas items to repurpose. Unless you are planning waaaay in advance and can think to make that run to the thrift store and hit up the clearance racks at Hobby Lobby in January. Don't be turned off because that wreath has a hideous bow or dusty clump of poinsettias on it. If it's in ok condition otherwise, it can be used.

So you gather up these items, either collected secondhand or from your (or your Mother's) attic and take inventory. Strip that old wreath and fluff up the branches. Clean the ornaments. Remove the cracked foam cranberries from the centerpiece. Once you have your basic pieces, you can begin to make plans.

Decide on a color scheme or theme. Are you going wintry with baby blues, silver and white? Elegant with gold and cream? Traditional red and green? Do you have a child's room to decorate with fun snowmen? Or are you incorporating a favorite piece into your new theme? Remember the KISS rule: keep it simple, stupid. :D Less is more, unless you are going for an over the top Victorian look or you have waaaay more time/space/money than I do...

Now, start gathering your additions. A spool of brightly colored wire-edge ribbon is usually a must. Clearance or dollar rack ornaments are a great find if they fit your style. Do you have old ornaments with missing hangers? Don't toss em! They can be great on a wreath.

Before you begin buying artificial flowers and such, take a look out the back door. Pine trees, holly bushes, magnolia trees, and hedge apples are all usable. Several bunches of magnolia leaves can fill out that skimpy wreath. Pinecones look great, especially with a touch of fake snow on the tips. Hedge apples in a bowl with large glitter flakes sprinkled on top are a super cheap and catchy table piece. Remember to grab a can of clear spray paint at the store. A coat on your glossy outdoor additions will make them stand out, as well as extend their use.

Are you not good at making bows? No problem. Weave that ribbon throughout your greenery, twisting the wire branches around the ribbon to secure it to the base. Then add some pinecones and a few holly sprigs, even some of those old ornaments. Are the hangers missing? Just insert a branch through the hole at the top. Keep in mind that odd numbers are more aesthetically pleasing. Three holly sprigs, five pinecones, and seven small ornaments, for example. Then hang that sucker on the door! Voila!

That favorite childhood ornament that you can't bring yourself to toss can be a great focal point for a centerpiece. Find a foam block at the craft store, and start adding greenery. Place the ornament or whatever it is you are incorporating slightly off center. Taper candles from the dollar store at varying lengths (just cut them off, silly) can be secured using florists putty.

There are so many more things you can do, using these basic concepts. Experiment and get creative! Once I (finally) drag out my projects for the season, I'll add photos as I repurpose and revive this year's decorations!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Here and Now

Does anyone else find it wrong that stores start pushing Christmas the day after Halloween? I mean, I'm all for getting in the spirit, but there IS a holiday between the two. I think it's important for folks to stop and really assess what there is to be thankful for on Thanksgiving. Or every day. In a country that is constantly demanding more, more, MORE, how many of us really look at what we have and how, by the grace of God, we are blessed to have it.

I know there are those in really tough situations. Really BAD circumstances. But I also believe that they tend to be the ones most thankful for what they do have. And until one appreciates their blessings, they can't give with the spirit that I believe is intended for Christmas giving. Sure, anyone can buy presents, wrap them up, and dole them out, expecting to be the coolest friend/parent/whatever, or receive gifts with cordiality. But, a thankful heart is imperative for all of the above.

What put me in this reflective mood on a windy Sunday morning, with a fussy baby, a toddler bouncing off the walls, and a sick seven-year-old? It was something very small. As I was nursing Roo, I looked down at her tiny body, a simple miracle, not born of evolution, but a creation of my own body in harmony with Wes', a gift from God. I glanced over to Monkey, diligently constructing (and deconstructing) his toy airplane, and to Wes, who was tickling Bear, both of them giggling uncontrollably. Those are blessings, folks. And, though nearly every day I am overwhelmed at some point, they are presents that I ought to thank God for, especially when that I-can't-take-this feeling sets in.

Simple thoughts for the day. I'll get back to the tales from my life soon. And later, I think I'll throw out some tips for decorating for Christmas on a dime (or a few bucks, at the most). Until then, I felt obligated to simply mention how blessed we all really are.

Just in case it slips our minds.