Monday, January 31, 2005

THE FUNNY FARM WRITING CLUB, PART 4 OF THE TOMCAT CLUB


Cyndi, Vice president of the Funny Farm Writing Club

THE FUNNY FARM WRITING CLUB
Part four of The Tomcat Club
Copyright 2005 Janice Price

“Okay,” President Crystal begins, looking around the bathtub at the feline members of the club and the two canine heads hanging over the side of the tub, “I hereby call this meeting of the Funny Farm Writing Club to order. “The first order of business is to chastise two of our self-invited members for delaying this meeting for several nights.”

“I thought this meeting was delayed because of the winter ice storm we had this weekend,” Merci says. “We didn’t have any electricity all day Saturday so Percy wouldn’t be able to type the minutes and post them.”

“Don’t be na├»ve, Merci. We have had to lay low the past few nights because you yelled for us to run when we heard Jan coming during the last meeting and Tweedledumbdumb here raced through the doorway into the living room with his eyes closed and almost knocked Jan down. You weren’t any help. You ran into him and he hit her in the shin again. She’s still limping. Besides,” Cotton adds, “none of us has wanted to leave a warm bed in this weather.”

Buddy is indignant. “I did not run into Jan with my eyes closed. It was dark. If we are going to continue holding these meetings in the bathroom at four in the morning, we need a night light.”

Vice president Cyndi laughs at him. “We can’t have a night light, silly. These meetings are a secret. We’re here to help Jan by writing a fiction story for her writers group meeting, using the word list.”

“Guys,” Treasurer Cameron says firmly, “you need to pay your dues before Buddy eats them again.” All the members turn to glare at him. “Uh, that’s okay. You can pay me after the meeting.”

“Never mind. Let’s get to work,” Crystal says. “Percy, would you read us the word list again?”

Secretary Percy complies. “Church, acorn, undertaker, flight attendant, Goshen, cloudy, meekly, and hope.”

“We defined acorn, flight attendant, hope, church and Goshen during the last meeting,” Crystal reminds them. “Does anyone know what undertaker, cloudy and meekly mean?”

“We did not define church,” Cotton says. “We only defined what is isn’t. It isn’t the rabies clinic.”

“I know what an undertaker is,” Buddy chimes in. “Mr. Doug.”

“What?” Merci is confused.

“An undertaker buries the dead. Jan says when Miss Mother’s dog Shorty died, she brought his body out to Mr. Doug and he buried the dog in his back yard. That makes Mr. Doug an undertaker!” Buddy said, with finality.

“The way I understand it,” Cameron says, “is that people bury the dead in a cemetery and a church should be located near a cemetery –“

“So that means Mr. Doug’s house is a church!” Buddy interrupts.

“I’m glad we finally have that settled,” grumbled Cotton. “Jan is right about this being a funny farm with cracked nuts and fruitcakes surrounding us. Jan and I must be the only ones here with a proper dictionary.”

“Meekly sounds like it must be the opposite of weakly,” Percy suggests, “so it must mean mighty or strong.”

“That sounds good,” Cameron says,” but what does cloudy mean?”

“Cloudy. I think that means there are a lot of cotton balls floating around in the sky,” Merci says. “The sky fills with them just before it rains and when the raindrops hit them, they disappear. Some of them are white as wool, but sometimes they are dark, so they must be recycled.”

Crystal addresses the group. “Okay. Now that we have defined all the words on the list, it’s time to write the story. I heard Jan talking on the phone and she said it can be any length, one sentence or one paragraph, or even a poem. I hope you have all been wearing your thinking caps since our last meeting.”

“I haven’t,” Buddy says.

“I refuse to have my picture taken wearing that big hat again!” Percy looks down at his chest as if he can still see the white hat covering him from neck to toes.

“No, that was a writing hat,” Merci says. “A thinking hat is much smaller, more our size. We won’t look so stupid in one of those.”

“I propose we take a day or two to think this over,” Cyndi suggests. “We can discuss it with each other and bring the best draft to the next meeting. Is that all right with you, Crystal?”

“I think that is a good idea, Cyndi. Everyone, make this a top priority. This is Monday and the story is due Thursday. That doesn’t give us much time to write an intelligent story. If anyone knows where Jan keeps her thinking hats, pick up one for each of us. We need all the help we can get. The next meeting will be held just as soon as we have something to report. Meeting adjourned.” Crystal stomps his paw, in lieu of a gavel.

“Don’t forget to pay your dues on the way out of the bathtub,” Cameron reminds them.

Percy
Secretary to the Tomcat Club (scratch that)
Secretary to the Funny Feline Club (no, scratch that too)
Secretary to the Funny Farm Writing Club (ah, that’s it!)

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

THE FUNNY FELINE CLUB, Part 3 of the Tomcat Club


Cameron, Treasurer of the Funny Feline Club

THE FUNNY FELINE CLUB
Part three of The Tomcat Club
Copyright 2005 Janice Price

“Okay, I call this meeting to order,” President Crystal says, stamping his foot, in lieu of a gavel. “The first order of business is to make our Treasurer Cameron happy and pay our dues.”

One by one the cats drop a morsel of dry cat food at Cameron’s feet. His eyes grow round with delight. He now has a treasure to manage.

“Thank …”

Slurp! “Hey, that was good,” Buddy exclaims, licking his chops. “Is there any more?”

Cameron whacks Buddy over the nose with one paw. “How dare you eat our dues! That was our treasury and I didn’t even have a chance to count it to make sure everyone paid. Well, everyone except you dogs. Where are you hiding your dues?”

“Don’t look at me to pay dues,” Merci complains. “Buddy sucks up everything he finds, edible or not. I can’t hide so much as a crumb from him. He eats three times more than I do. Why don’t you ask him to pay double dues?”

Buddy defends himself. “Well, I’m a growing puppy. I’m always hungry. You shouldn’t put food in front of my nose if you don’t want me to eat it.”

“Can we get to the business at hand,” Cotton interrupts. “This bathtub is cold at four in the morning. Some of us would like to get this over with and go back to sleep on Jan’s warm blanket.”

“Yes,” Vice-president Cyndi adds, “before Jan hears our chattering teeth.”

“Well, Buddy and I aren’t having a picnic either, sitting on the bathroom floor with our heads hanging over the side of the bathtub,” Merci says.

Secretary Percy drops his pencil. “It’s bitterly cold in here tonight. I can barely scribble. Let’s move on.”

“Okay, the next thing on our agenda is to agree on a new name for the Funny Feline Club, since Buddy and Merci have connived their way into the club.”

“How about the Funny Feline and Canine Club?” Cameron asks.

“No,” Cotton says, “I don’t like that. Besides, Buddy and Merci aren’t funny.”

Cyndi offers her idea. “We could call ourselves the Funny Farm Writing Club. That’s who we are, isn’t it? I mean, we live at the Funny Farm and we formed this club in order to help Jan write fiction stories.”

“Good idea, Cyndi. I like that name better than Cameron’s suggestion,” Cotton says.

“I second it,” Cameron says, graciously.

“Are we all in agreement?” Crystal asks. All heads nod in agreement and Crystal stomps his foot. “Motion carried. We are officially the Funny Farm Writing Club. Now, let’s write. Percy, you said something at our first meeting about a word list.”

“Yes, I have it right here in my notes.” Percy flips to the first page of his notebook. “The words are “church, acorn, undertaker, flight attendant, Goshen, cloudy, meekly, and hope.”

“What kind of list is that?” Cyndi asks. “The words don’t have anything in common. How can we write a story when we don’t even know what some of those words mean? This is supposed to be fun.” She brightened, “I know, we need a dictionary.”

“Don’t look at me,” Cotton says. “I can’t lift a dictionary. And don’t ask Buddy to get the dictionary from the bookcase for us. He’ll eat it before he gets back here.”

Buddy licks his chops at the prospect of an extra meal.

“I know what an acorn is,” he says. “They’re tiny hors d’oeuvres. The front yard is covered with them. I eat them between meals all the time. Pecans have more meat, but Jan doesn’t have any pecans in her yard this year. I only get to eat fresh pecans when Miss Merci and I go with Jan to Miss Mother’s house.”

“Jan has taken us to Mr. Doug’s house, to Miss Theresa’s trailer, and to play in her mother’s yard? Who,” Merci demanded, “is Miss Mother?”

“I don’t know her name, Merci. We just know her as Jan’s mother. What do you want me to call her, Jan’s Miss Mother? That would sound strange.”

“I know what hope is,” Merci says, changing the subject. “It’s when you want something really bad and it doesn’t happen. For instance, I always hope you won’t steal my toys, Buddy, or mess up my bed, but you always do. And Jan keeps looking at you and saying, ‘I hope you don’t keep growing bigger, Buddy,’ but you do. Look at the size of you and you aren’t even three months old yet. Stop eating so you’ll stop growing and you might get your wish that Jan will keep you! Then you both will be happy and she won’t have to hope any more.”

Percy says, “I know what a flight attendant is. When a mother bird is teaching her babies to fly, she needs another bird to fly behind the baby birds and keep attendance.”

“That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard,” Cotton says.

“Do you have a better definition?”

“No.”

“Then don’t make fun of mine, unless you can prove it wrong.”

“Wait a minute,” Crystal intervenes. “Percy is young, not dumb. Besides, that isn’t a bad idea. We are writing a fiction story.”

Cameron has something to say. “I know what a church is. Jan took most of us once. It was the first time she ever took me anywhere and when she brought me back, I knew this was really my home and I could stop being on my best behavior.”

“I don’t remember going to church,” Cyndi says.

“You weren’t with us. It was real early one cold morning, just a short time after I moved in here.”

“That wasn’t church,” Crystal chuckles. “She took all of us, except Cyndi and Merci, to the rabies clinic because we were each due for a rabies vaccination. Does anyone know what a Goshen is?”

“I don’t think it’s a what. I think it’s a where,” Merci says. “It’s near Atlanta.”

“No,” Cotton disagrees. “I think it’s near Pittsburgh.”

“Have you ever been there?”

“No.”

“Then how do you know it isn’t near Atlanta? Everywhere is near Atlanta.” Merci is pleased with her logic.

Crystal says, “Never mind. This is a fiction story. We can move Goshen anywhere we want it to be.”

Cyndi tilts her head and says, “I think I hear Jan stirring. Maybe we better adjourn for the night.”

“Okay,” Crystal says. “Tomorrow night, same time, same place. Everyone bring your dues and a story idea using the word list. If you forget the words, ask Percy. This meeting is…”

“Run!” Merci yelps. “Here comes Jan.”

There is mass confusion as all the club members scatter.

Percy
Secretary for the Funny Farm Writing Club

Monday, January 24, 2005

THE FORMER TOMCAT CLUB, Part 2 of The Tomcat Club


Crystal, President of the former Tomcat Club/Funny Feline Club.

THE FORMER TOMCAT CLUB
Part 2 of The Tomcat Club
Copyright 2005 Janice Price

“What’s she doing here?” Percy demands, pointing a paw at the newcomer.

“I invited her,” Cyndi says. “Cotton is more mature than I am. She’s only a year younger than Crystal. She can be a big help with writing this story for Jan.”

“Oh? Well, why didn’t you invite Jenny and the dogs? In fact, why not post a welcome-to-the-meeting sign on the front door and invite all the passing riffraff to join us?”

Cyndi ignores Percy’s sarcasm and says, “Jenny is old and blind. She needs her rest. She could find her way into the bathroom, but she wouldn’t be able to climb into the bathtub.”

Cameron asks, “Speaking of the bathtub, can’t we meet somewhere else at this hour of the morning? It’s too cold to sit here.”

“This bathtub sits at the farthest end of the house from where Jan and the dogs are sleeping,” Percy says. “If we’re quiet, they should all sleep through this meeting. This club is a secret.”

“Yes, the club.” Percy reminds them of the reason they have convened the meeting at four in the morning. “I call this meeting to order. Have you all been thinking of a new name for our club, since we can’t call it the Tomcat Club any more?”

Crystal cleared his throat. “Ahem. Percy, have you forgotten that I am President of this club? I am the one who calls the meeting to order. You take notes.”

“But you elected yourself President,” Percy complains.

Crystal reminds Percy, “And you elected yourself Secretary and Cyndi elected herself Vice-President.”

“And I elected myself Treasurer,” Cameron chimes in.

“Cameron, we don’t have a treasury. How can you be Treasurer?”

“Well, we could ask Jan to give us each an allowance and then we could all pay dues and we would have a treasure for me to manage.”

“No comment,” Percy says, moving one paw in a circular motion near his ear.

Cotton changes the subject. “This meeting is being run by a bunch of nuts. I make a motion we call this the Funny Feline Club.”

“The Funny Feline Club?” Crystal rolls the words around on his tongue. “I like the sound of that. We could write comedy. Does anyone want to second the motion?”

“I do,” Cyndi says. All heads nod in agreement.

Crystal stomps one paw, in lieu of a gavel. “Motion carried. We are now officially the Funny Feline Club.”

“Good choice!”

All heads swivel, as Buddy’s large, brown head looms over the edge of the bathtub.

“Yeah, I like it too.” Merci’s petite face peers around the other corner of the shower curtain. “Can we join?”

“I don’t believe this!” Crystal exclaims. “Is there no such thing as privacy in this house? What are you dogs doing sneaking into our meeting room?”

“We wanted to know where you cat critters are hiding. We thought maybe you have a private stash of food.”

“Buddy, all you ever think about is food. No, you can’t join the club. Only cats are allowed,” Crystal says, with authority.

“Merci, let’s go wake up Jan,” Buddy says.

“Okay, okay. You can join the club, but now we have to change the name again.” Crystal sighs. “The next meeting will be tomorrow night, same time and place. Bring your suggestions for the club name.”

“Keep in mind we need some story ideas,” Percy adds. “The deadline will be here before we even get to writing the story if we have to keep changing the club name.”

“Whatever you do, do not bring any more friends, enemies, strangers or other species to the next meeting – especially not Jan!” Crystal stomps his right paw to signal the meeting is adjourned.

“And everybody remember to bring your dues,” Cameron reminds them.

Percy,
Secretary of the Funny Feline Club

Friday, January 21, 2005

THE TOMCAT CLUB, Part 1


Percy, Secretary of the Tomcat Club, wearing writing hat

THE TOMCAT CLUB
Part 1
Copyright 2005 Janice Price

“What are we doing in the bathtub at four in the morning?” Crystal asks, sleepily. “What is so important we have to have a clandestine meeting in the bathroom in the middle of the night? When you guys reach the age of six, you’ll need more rest too.”

“We’re here,” Percy says, “because Jan needs our help. She is supposed to write a story for her writer’s group using a word list. We all know she can’t write fiction and we don’t want someone from the Funny Farm wimping out on the meeting just because she can’t write. We can write the story for her.”

Cameron rubs sleep from his eyes. “Good idea. How hard can it be to write a fiction story?”

“I’m not sure about this. You two are still kittens. You don’t have enough experience in life to write a story about anything.”

“Oh, Crystal,” Percy chides, “wake up and smell the litter pan. We don’t need to be experienced writers to write. Buddy and Merci are writing their own columns now and they don’t have any experience either. And Buddy, well, he’s even younger than Cameron.”

Cameron takes offense. “Don’t patronize me, Percy. You can’t be more than three or four weeks older than I am.” He looks around the bathtub. “And where are the other cats? They should be here.”

“They need their beauty sleep, Cameron. Besides, girls can’t write. If they could, Jan could write her own story and we could be curled up on her warm bed right now.”

“Okay,” Cameron concedes. “ We can do this by ourselves, but if we are going to have a club, we need to name it and elect officers, don’t we?”

“Cameron’s right. What about the Tomcat Club?” asks Crystal.

“Good idea, Crystal,” says Cameron. “I second the motion.”

“Slow down guys. I can’t take notes when you talk so fast,” Percy complains. “But the Tomcat Club it is. Now, about officers. I nominate Percy for Secretary, second it and Percy it is.”

“You can’t nominate and second yourself,” Crystal says, glaring at Percy. “We have to vote on each nomination.”

“Would you guys vote for me?”

“No,” Crystal and Cameron answer in unison.

“Then I nominate and vote for myself. Besides, I’m taking the notes, so I’m the Secretary by default anyway.”

Crystal and Cameron exchange glances. “Then I nominate, second and vote for myself for President,” Crystal declares, stretching to his full height to demonstrate he is the largest as well as the oldest one present.

“And I’m the elected Treasurer,” Cameron says in a no-nonsense voice.

“Treasurer?” Percy and Crystal say, as one. “We don’t have any money to treasure.”

“Then we’ll just have to collect dues. I have to have a title too. I’m Treasurer!”

“And I’m the Vice-President,” comes a familiar feminine voice.

The guys peer around the shower curtain. “Cyndi, what are you doing here? This meeting is for Tomcat Club members only,” President Crystal says.

“I’ve been eavesdropping. You guys desperately need some help. Instead of writing a story to help Jan, you’re arguing over who gets what position in a stupid male club. Move over and make room for me in there. I’m joining the club, but we’re going to rename it.”

“I suggest we adjourn for the night,” Percy says. We can continue this tomorrow night, same time and same place. We guys need some time to get over the shock of a girl invading our Tomcat Club.”

Crystal says, “I second the motion.”

“Well, if we’re done for the night, you all need to pay your dues,” Cameron adds.

“That does it!” Percy exclaims. “The Tomcat Club is officially disbanded. We meet here tomorrow night and write that fiction story for Jan. We can decide on a new name for our club then.”

Percy
Secretary of the former Tomcat Club

Thursday, January 20, 2005

JAN'S MOTOR SKILLS


Merci and Buddy walking Jan on a lead.

JAN’S MOTOR SKILLS
Copyright 2005 Janice Price

I have been walking Jan for a year and a half. Buddy has only accompanied us a few times, so I get to write this column as the senior, more experienced canine authority.

Buddy and I have discussed Jan’s motor skills and we have independently reached the same verdict.

Jan has no motor skills.

We know this for a fact. We have thoroughly tested her under a variety of conditions and the only skill she has is being a klutz.

Just this afternoon Buddy and I gently and patiently led her through yet another re-test, hoping against hope she might finally pass. She flunked.

We walked very sedately down the street while Jan alternated between stopping suddenly, running two or three steps, moving left, moving right, walking around a post, tripping over her own feet, forging ahead, turning back, unwrapping herself from the leashes - You get the idea. She just can not walk a straight line at an even gait. It’s not our fault. We have done everything we can think of to properly train her to walk on a lead.

Why, just two months after I began training her to pep up her pace, she embarrassed me something terrible. I stopped to peaceably admire a squirrel across the street. The next thing I knew Jan was flailing, flying and rolling on the dirty cement. She still thinks her public acrobatics might be my fault. She wouldn’t have a clue- I mean, she wouldn’t dare try to blame me if that passing motorist hadn’t stopped to ask if she was all right and said, “Your feet got tangled up in the leash.” Honestly, a grown woman who can’t control her own feet!

Jenny the cat has lived with Jan for sixteen years and she claims Jan has been a klutz for all that time. Now that Jenny is blind, she has to depend on the squeals and screeches of the other pets to let her know when Jan is in her vicinity. We’re glad we can help Jenny.

I learned the hard way not to stand too close to Jan. Buddy hasn’t figured that out yet. He says he stays close to her so she can’t miss him and she doesn’t. She steps on him or trips over him all the time. He screeches. She screeches. It gets pretty noisy around here.

We have done fairly well at training her to let us know when she’s coming through. She yells, “Out of the waaaaaaaaaaay!” more frequently as she travels around the house now. We all stop where we are, usually at her feet, and watch Jan to see which one of us she’ll target this time.

I’m thinking that all of the residents here at Jan’s Funny Farm should have a yard sale. We can sell some of the things Jan doesn’t need, such as her clothes and books, and use the proceeds to send Jan to obedience school. Or perhaps, charm school. She must learn to coordinate her limbs or Buddy and I will have to train another walking partner. Mr. Doug likes us. Maybe he would volunteer.

Note to myself (Merci): If we do have a yard sale, we should put up a watch-where-you’re-stepping-and-what-you’re-stepping-in sign, just for fun.

Till next time,
Merci

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

MERCI WINS BED MAKING CONTEST


Merci poses with her bed making award.


"I miss the sharing," Buddy sighs as he hangs his head over the new divider.
MERCI WINS BED MAKING CONTEST
Copyright 2005 Janice Price

I would like to thank all of you who voted for me in the bed making contest. I appreciate your confidence and will try to live up to my reputation as the neatest dog of the house.

I don’t like to have my picture taken but Jan said I have to have publicity shots made so everyone can see what I won. A bed divider. Exactly what I needed. It has cats on it so it’s very appropriate for this household. Now I have my own space and Buddy has his.

As you can see, Buddy isn’t happy with the new arrangement. As soon as Jan gave me my award, Buddy tried to climb over it into my space. Jan told him he has to keep to his own side of the bed now and he’s doing the woe-is-me hangdog act, head resting on my award.

There’s something fishy about this award, though. The other day, when Jan put it in front of the screen door, Buddy took it and tried to eat it. At that time, she told Buddy to leave it alone because it was supposed to help keep out a draft. How did it go from being a draft dodger to a bed divider? Oh, well, as long as it works!


Ah, the peace of it. It worked so well all day. Then Buddy decided he didn’t want to share a divided bed. He dug up the rawhide bone he had buried in his mess, grabbed the bone and a corner of his half of the bed in his big mouth, and dragged the bedding into the living room. He dropped everything in a new spot, turned around and was surprised to find my half of the bed had followed him. So had I.

But I wasn’t angry. He’s so cute when he’s upset. I just grabbed a corner of my half of the bed and dragged everything back into Merci’s Den/Buddy’s Bed area.

I have to admit I missed the big, little guy. No, that’s not poor grammar, it’s what he is. A big, little puppy. I’m glad he missed me too. (Jan says I just called Buddy an oxymoron. Buddy’s isn’t a moron. He’s just messy.)

We are going to try to work out our differences. I let Jan have her draft dodger back. I don’t need to keep it because I know I’m a winner too, just like Buddy is, only in a different category, so I don’t need to display my award.

Buddy and I have resumed sharing living quarters and I’m secretly happy about it. Jan keeps this house so cold I need the little, big puppy to keep me warm, and vice versa.

All is peaceful here.
Merci

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

MR. BUDDY WINS THE SCRUFFY AWARD


Mr. Buddy accepts coveted Scruffy Award


And runs with it.


MR. BUDDY WINS THE SCRUFFY AWARD
Copyright 2005 Janice Price

Oh, what a proud day this is for me. I can’t believe it. My first award. I have the feeling I’m going to continue to be an award winning dog. Jan will have to keep me then. I’m the best writer and the most interesting character at Jan’s Funny Farm.

I was so pleased when Jan presented the imitation feather duster to me after all you wonderful folks voted for me to win the Scruffy Award. She said I won anonymously. I’m sorry, she says I misunderstood what she said. It isn’t possible to win anonymously. She didn’t count the anonymous votes because Miss Merci suggested people vote more than once and that wouldn’t be fair to the other nominees for the award.

By the way, who were the other nominees?

I thought the award would be age-appropriate, something edible, but when Jan presented me with the award and I started to eat it, she took it back. I guess she’s going to frame it and hang it over my award winning half of the bed so everyone will know I’m a winner.

She needed my help again today. Miss Merci was asleep in our room and I was in the living room with Jan. I followed her into the kitchen and what a shock! It looked like a miniature elephant took a leak. I know I can’t hold that much water. There was an absolute lake.

Jan was as impressed as I was. She just stood there and didn’t say a word for the longest time. She glanced in the other direction and saw the newspapers spread about in another lake. Two mini-elephants! This one obviously tried to clean up after itself with the newspapers.

Then she noticed the water bowl she had just filled with two pots of water was tilted and held only a few drops. Forget the mini-elephants, it was those kitten critters playing where they shouldn’t again.

I did my best to help her. I lapped up as much water as I could hold, but I had just finished a bowl of dry food, a bit of canned food and some little acorns in the front yard. For once, I was full. Jan mopped up what I couldn’t drink and when she went outside to throw the sopping newspapers in the trash can and empty the bucket, she took me along so I could empty my own water bucket.

What a day, and it’s barely noon. I need a nap to recover from all the excitement.

This is Mr. Buddy signing off for the day.

Monday, January 17, 2005

MR. DOOFUS


"Buddy's Hog Wallow has been destroyed," Merci claims, after cleaning their room. "Long live Merci's Mansion!"

MR. DOOFUS
Copyright 2005 Janice Price

Oh, Buddy - what a doofus he is! He actually believes a Scruffy Award is a housekeeping medal. I have to share my den with him so I'm well aware of his idea of housekeeping. And it's still Merci's Den, not Mr. Buddy's Bed.

Okay, Jan says it is now Merci's Den/Buddy's Bed. I guess that's okay, as long as my half is listed first, but Merci's Mansion/Buddy's Hog Wallow would be more appropriate.

Anyone can plainly see my bedmaking far surpasses his idea of neat. Unless the definition of "neat" is "rip it up, drag it round, dunk it in the waterbowl, and chuck it up in my (Merci's) half of the den.

Buddy butts his way into every picture Jan tries to take of me. He's even in this photo Jan took after I cleaned up Buddy's mess, but he's not happy about the loss of his pigsty, so he won't show his face. I can honestly say Jan captured his best side in this photograph.

As to Buddy helping around the house, I was Jan's assistant long before he arrived. I am the best tail-wagging, dust-stirring, gas heater pilot light putter outerer in this house! Perhaps in this state. (Jan's says there is no such thing as a gas heater pilot light putter outerer, but this is my story, not hers. And if there hasn't been any such thing until I came along, then I must be the best one in the world.)

Please remember that Buddy asked you folks to vote for him for the Scruffy Award. Please do! More than once, if you can possibly get away with it. I want him to win that award. I'm even willing to have a yard sale, sell my luxurious dollar toys and pay for his medal.

On the other hand, since Buddy wants a challenge, we can take an additional vote, this one to see which of us is the neatest bedmaker. That's "neatest," spelled trim and spruced and minus the shredded tree bark Buddy buries in our blanket.

So, for the Scruffy Award, vote for Buddy.

For the neatest bedmaking contest, vote for me. I'm Merci, remember?

You can send your votes to Jan's Mercy And Percy email address listed below.

And don't forget to visit her site at http://mercyandpercy.blogspot.com/ She doesn't write as well as Buddy and I do, so she can really use the readers.

Till next time.
Merci

Saturday, January 15, 2005

MR. BUDDY'S SCRUFFY AWARD


"I made it myself," Mr. Buddy says of his award winning bed.
MR. BUDDY'S SCRUFFY AWARD
Copyright 2005 Janice Price

I'm just bursting with good news today, so Jan said I can write another column, even though it isn't my turn. She said she's nominating me for The Scruffy Award and I have a good shot at winning. Isn't that exciting? I'm not even three months old and I'm going to win an award.

It's a housekeeping award. It has something to do with making my bed this morning without any help from Miss Merci or Jan. When Jan saw what a great job I did, she ran for the camera so she could never forget what a help I am to her, even though she's the servant around here and should be making my bed herself.

I'm posting the photo Jan took today. I did a much better job than either she or Miss Merci can do because I know what I like and I like it neat! I guess Miss Merci was jealous. She took one look and disappeared.

I know I'm a big help to Jan because I hear her mumbling a lot about Mr. Buddy's workload.

Yes, I'm a good worker. Whenever I see her struggling to make a dust mop or a broom behave, I try to take it away from her to teach it a lesson. If she puts newspapers down anywhere on the floor, I drag them into Mr. Buddy's Bed (formerly known as Miss Merci's Den) and shred them into smaller pieces so they're easier to pick up. Sometimes I don't make the pieces small enough and she gets very upset with me. I'm going to do better. I just need more practice.

The cats are helpful too. They pass along Jan's paperwork. I retrieve everything from the floor and eat the part with the handwriting or typing so no one will be able to read her notes and steal her ideas. She says she already has a shredder and she wishes I came with an "off" button like it does, but I like this job and I want to keep it. I wonder which cat comes with an "off" button?

Jan reminded me that I'm supposed to belong to Mr. Doug, but I'm working really hard to become so indispensable to her that she won't be able to part with me. She's not a very good housekeeper, at least not as good as I am. I'm sure she needs me more than Mr. Doug does. I haven't been inside his house yet, only in his back yard, but he's a man and men are naturally better housekeepers than women. I don't imagine he needs any help from me.

I can't wait to win the award and get my housekeeping medal. You will vote for me, won't you? I would vote for you if you were nominated. Just send an email to the mercyandpercy address below.

Note: It's a good thing Jan took that photograph of my neat bed or no one would ever vote for me to win the award. Miss Merci complained and reorganized everything. Jan says Miss Merci gets to give a rebuttal tomorrow. Stay tuned. And vote for ME!

This is Mr. Buddy signing off for the day.

Friday, January 14, 2005

MERCI'S FRIENDS


Merci sharing her dinner with Cameron and Percy

MERCI'S FRIENDS
Copyright 2005 Janice Price

Life at Jan's Funny Farm is great. I have friends here and we share. Before she adopted me from the shelter, I didn't have anything of my own. She gave me my first toys, taught me how to play with them, and introduced me to some strange critters called cats. Oh, do I like cats!

Cats can play almost as well as dogs, and they weigh less, so I can carry them to my den to put them away with my other toys when we're done playing. Jan got a bit goggle-eyed the first time she saw us going by. I was buzzing through the living room (in reverse), around the TV set, into her bedroom, and was almost to my den before she found her voice. "Merci!" she hollered. I dropped Cameron like a rag. She had more to say, something about not dusting the floor with the kittens when I carry them, I think it was.

Jan tells everyone I'm probably the only dog in the county, if not the state, that has my own kittens. Percy was my first. I found and rescued him, so he treats me with as much respect as he would his own mother - chewing on my paws, kneading my head, purring in my ear and eating my food.

I didn't have to rescue Cameron. He was born next door, but when his brothers and sisters began disappearing to new homes, he was lonely. Cameron started following us on our walks and hanging around our porch with me to watch the cars go by. One day he just walked inside with me and wouldn't go home. I don't mind. He makes a good duster.

I don't even mind the kittens eating with me. The food tastes a lot better when I have friends for dinner. I mean, when I have friends to dinner.

Percy is like Buddy - a wind tunnel, in reverse. They both inhale their food without chewing. If Jan doesn't close Buddy in a room by himself at mealtime, he sucks up my dinner too.

As I type this, Buddy is busy eating a cardboard box for dessert. What an appetite! I hope he sleeps on Jan's bed tonight instead of mine. I haven't eaten any cardboard lately, but if I remember correctly, it isn't digestible and produces gas. Hmmm. Maybe he should sleep in another room.

Note: He didn't sleep in another room last night and I was right about the cardboard.

Till my next column.
Merci

Thursday, January 13, 2005

INTRODUCING MERCI


Merci, wearing writing hat, with her friend Buddy.

INTRODUCING MERCI
Copyright 2005 Janice Price

It's my turn to write today and when Jan put the writer's hat around my neck to take my picture, Buddy butted in and hogged the spotlight. Oh, well, I guess that's what little brothers do. At least it's what Buddy does.

Perhaps he's jealous. I think he misunderstood what Jan said about her pets writing this column. Buddy thought the job was a shoe-in-his-mouth deal and he was the sole journalist. He talks the most, so he'll probably write the most, but we all have to share this one blog.

I was happy here with Jan and the cats. I had my own bed, my own toys, my own friends and my own routine. When Buddy arrived, he appropriated my bed and my toys and messed up my routine. I didn't mind too much. He was just a baby. But when he appropriated the arms and lap of my friend Mr. Doug, I had a tantrum. I snarled at my cat friends, threatening them with extinction if they so much as touched my rawhide bone that night. I got over it quickly and everyone forgave me.

Buddy can be a nuisance sometimes. He loves to play tug-of-war with all my toys. (I keep forgetting, Jan says they're our toys now.) I like playing with him, but one day he grabbed hold of my choke collar and started tugging on it, with all his weight. He's a heavy little guy. Jan disengaged him right away or she would have had to call P911 for pet rescue.

I wear a pretty blue nylon halter now. Buddy tugs and hangs on that, even when Jan is walking us, but at least he can't strangle me, only slow me down a little.

He always has to have something in his mouth. My head, twigs, branches, things he shouldn't eat, odds and ends of Jan's the cats toss onto the floor, whatever he finds he can fit in his mouth. He has a big mouth so he can fit quite a lot in it.

Having Buddy here hasn't been bad. It's been fun. I have a friend of my own species to wrestle with and a companion to cuddle with when it's cold. Jan says he's a ham and I like ham, so I guess I don't mind too much about sharing my journalist photo with him.

That's all for now.
Merci

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

THE TERRIBLE TWO MONTHS


Mr. Buddy and Miss Merci

THE TERRIBLE TWO MONTHS
Copyright 2005 Janice Price

Jan keeps saying I'm in "the terrible twos." Is there such a thing as the "terrible two months?” All I know for sure is that I can’t wait to be an adult so I can do whatever I want to do whenever I feel like doing it.

For now, I have to do what she wants me to do. We don't enjoy the same pastimes. She won’t eat dirt with me or carry my collection of sticks and trash when she makes me go for a walk. She takes Miss Merci and me to visit her brother Mr. Doug. He’s not a sissy. Maybe he’ll eat dirt with me next time we play in his yard.

It’s not like I don’t try to do what she tells me to do. It’s just that she doesn’t tell me to do the right things.

The other night, she told Miss Merci and me that once a month she attends a Bible study in Arizona and we were to be on our best and quietest behavior. We live in Georgia, so this sounded kind of strange to me, but she plugged a headset into something called a speakerphone and tried to ignore us for over an hour.

We were extra good and extra quiet. We didn’t make a peep, for as long as we could. Then we just had to do something to relieve the boredom. We tried to play tug-of-war quietly but that isn’t possible. It isn’t any fun if we can’t growl and bump into furniture. Jan made a lot of faces and did a lot of pointing in our direction, but we must have been good because she didn't yell at us.

Miss Merci tired of the game and went to her den. I went looking for something else to do. Every so often Jan would read out loud from her Bible, which was fun to watch because Mr. Crystal was sleeping on the pages and wouldn't budge. Jan wouldn't pick me up so I could join Mr. Crystal's game, but I found some hidden treats and sat down to indulge in my favorite pastime - eating.

Jan turned around, saw me and went goofy. She started banging on the coffee table, waving things in the air and dancing in place. This was really neat. I sat with my back against the door and munched away as Jan entertained me.

Suddenly, she threw off the headset and raced across the room. I didn't know she could move so fast. She whacked me once on the butt and I yelped in indignation. How dare she interrupt my evening snack! If I had known she liked to eat out of the cat pan too, I would have saved her some of the treats.

I got even with her, though. I waited a little while, then I reached up, snagged the cord to Jan's headset and yanked. The headset popped off and the telephone jumped right into the air and landed upside down on the floor with a bang. Jan leaned down, scrambling to pick up everything.

I sat still, smug in revenge.

"Are you still there?" she said into the air, dropping the phone in her haste. Of course, no one was there.I had just killed the connection.

"We can still hear you," came a tiny, tinny voice from out of nowhere.

Oh, well, the connection wasn't dead, after all. It was time to move on - quickly.

This is Mr. Buddy, Journalist, signing off for the day.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

MR. BUDDY, JOURNALIST


Mr. Buddy, Journalist, in writing hat.


MR. BUDDY, JOURNALIST
Copyright 2005 Janice Price

This is my new journal and I'm so excited. Mr. Buddy, Journalist, sounds so much more honorable than Mr. Peeandpoop, which is what my servant Jan has been calling me the last three weeks. I didn't mind so much when I was a baby, but I'm approaching three months of age now and should be treated with more respect.

Jan talks to me a lot and I listen. Actually, she talks to herself and I eavesdrop. She says journaling is supposed to be a great exercise for a writer. but she just can't get the hang of it and rips up whatever she writes. So this morning she opened a new blog and said if I can learn to do it, so can she.

She even gave me a writer's hat. When she put it on my head it fell down around my neck. I thought it was my morning snack, but she said, "No!" It didn't taste so good, anyway. Jan claims I'll grow into it because I'm already over ten pounds and growing longer and slimmer every day. Maybe she needs a writer's hat so she'll grow longer and slimmer too. She can have mine.

I'm not sure why she named my site "Jan's Funny Farm." I thought I lived at "Jan's Zoo." She kept telling my dog friend Miss Merci and our cat companions we run like a herd of elephants, climb like monkeys, race like gazelles, and chatter like magpies.

Then this morning she was mumbling a lot, something about feeling like she is living at a funny farm with cracked nuts and fruitcakes. I'm not sure what that means but it sounds like food to me, and if she's hoarding it, I'll find it.

Jan is letting me use her Mercy And Percy email address, so start those cards and letters coming so she won't sign me off permanently.

This is Mr. Buddy, Journalist, signing off for the day.