February 26, 2015
There was a big snow, then it rained, and the puddles all froze. Then it snowed some more, and there was a big rain, and that froze, too, and apart from turning every sidewalk in Halifax into a jagged deathtrap, it’s left an icy mass on my building’s roof. Last week, my ceiling sprung a leak over the window frame in the bedroom.
I set up some towels over the curtains and texted the superintendent. He said he’d be over the next day, but around 4am, I became aware of a bigger problem — halfway across the room, the ceiling had started dripping onto Jesse’s badger bed.
Jesse was not taking it well.
After pacifying him with my light-blue towel, which he’s always been fond of, I sent a more urgent message to the super. He told me the property manager would come first thing in the morning, which, while a relief, presented another problem.
I don’t have a badger written into the lease. Though cats are permitted, I learned definitively one Hallowe’en years ago that Jesse does not tolerate costumes.
In the morning, when I heard the knock on the door, I hastily put him in the closet.
I’d only done this once before, during a date I’d organized for myself — and when Jesse made a brilliant escape, completely ruining the evening, I learned a valuable, painful lesson: that one should never confine a badger to a closet. But these were desperate times.
“Show me the leak,” said the property manager, skipping the formalities. He clearly still resented me for the time I’d requested an access key to the storage room. I led him into the bedroom after making him take off his boots.
As he inspected the bubbles on my ceiling, I heard Jesse growling at the closet door. I tried to cover like it was my stomach, and lamented the lack of grocery stores nearby. The property manager ignored this, and said he would get some people out to clean off the roof. This, he said, would stop the leaks.
I asked him if it would still leak when it rained, through these new cracks.
“No,” he said forcefully. “No. It won’t.” Although I recognized this as a Power Lie, I didn’t call him out on it. I took the opportunity to again show him my rotted window frame, but he dismissed it as too big of a job before leaving.
When I finally opened the closet door, the remains of my ultra-thermal sleeping bag poured out into the room, followed by my frenzied badger. I’d been sleeping under thin sheets for months when I had a sleeping bag in there the whole time? Terrible. I deserved the injuries I got that morning.
Some men came and smashed up the ice on the roof for most of the day, and though it took a lot of organ meat for Jesse to forgive me for the closet thing, all my other towels were soaked through, so I had to use the light-blue one to clean up a puddle underneath the curtains.
The sidewalks must be especially bad right now, because the emergency room is packed tonight.
January 28, 2015
Although this winter has been, it seems, darker than years previous, it’s comparatively warm, and the precipitation that’s fallen has mostly been rain. This week, however, the snow hit us day after day, and now covers the streets. I can hear the plow out there but it’s basically just pushing stuff around.
Winters like these, I usually try to stay inside whenever I can, opting to hibernate through the worst of the misery. However, years of living on the street have given Jesse the stamina for running, and without a regular walk, he goes stir-crazy, burrowing into my armchairs for exercise. The orange one is getting very hollow indeed, and may soon join the Habitrail-like system he’s carved through my mattress.
So, after investing in a strong leash (though not one with any negative reinforcement mechanisms) I wrapped a few scarves around my badger and we ventured out. The wind bit into my skin, and even with the added fleecy protection, Jesse shivered against the cold air. Since I gave him that bubble bath, his fur has lacked the hardy bristle that used to keep him insulated in sub-zero temperatures. It was a tough call, but I definitely couldn’t let him keep smelling like the compost bins he had ripped open — he didn’t enjoy the experience, though, and the bathroom kind of looks like the scene of a suicide attempt now.
I trudged through the snow, thinking that maybe I could use this opportunity to pick up some salsa for some trendy potato chips I had purchased earlier. Jesse trotted along in front of me, his sharp little paws barely leaving tracks. Soon, however, he appeared to grow agitated at our speed, pulling at the leash like a disobedient dog. I didn’t dare restrict his movement, and had to start jogging to keep up. His energy did not diminish, and soon I was in a full run, struggling to keep my footing in the snow. My boots are heavy duty, but their weight provides a challenging resistance, and my lung capacity was growing to be more of a concern than even the elusive black ice.
Finally, blocks later, Jesse slowed his pace, and I collapsed into a snow drift, exhausted but strangely energized. Months of coding have done nothing for my fitness, and maybe my badger can sense this, or is just more health-conscious than I originally gave him credit for. He nudged at me until I got up, and I ended up buying some salsa, opting for “Medium” instead of my usual “Mild”.
So I’m guess I glad I left the house today! Jesse’s all salty now, though, and he keeps prowling around the bathtub, sniffing meaningfully at the apricot shampoo.
This is going to sting.