March 29, 2015
Two storms hit the city last week, and those treacherous sidewalks got buried under an impressive amount of snow. Halifax was pretty well shut down for two days.
I didn’t want to go outside this weekend anyway — plenty to do in here. First things first, I took the opportunity to try out Shelter, a delightful badger family simulator. It’s so good, I wish I’d made it. But for my attention, even a game so beautiful and heartbreaking was no match for Jesse, who was clearly in the mood for badger games of his own.
I’ve entertained his amusements from the very beginning: even in our first week together, he pioneered the venerable “Completely Destroy The Recycling Pile,” which for him, I guess, is a similar experience to bowling. This week he’s been way into “Hide Behind The De-Humidifer.” I still don’t know why he finds it so engaging.
But I couldn’t give him my full attention today — I had other things to do. After coming to terms with the fact that it’s 2015, I decided I would finally get into that affiliate marketing that everyone’s talking about; maybe I could make money while Jesse was sleeping. While my badger gnawed away on the de-humidifier cord, I got out my tablet and fired some links around, making sure to include a call-to-action. This would surely maximize revenue.
I soon escalated into banner ads, and, my cabin fever running hot, affiliate widgets. I was just flirting with the possibility of wholesaling from overseas when boredom struck Jesse, and he came out from behind the boxy appliance with a new game in mind. One that would require my undivided attention.
His winter weight made him a formidable wrestling opponent, and though I had tried to clip his claws two Saturdays ago, the attempt had been about as futile as my defensive tactics. So Jesse won wrestling.
But that didn’t ruin my day.
My day had already been ruined when I discovered how drastically I’ve been overpaying for my skeleton watch collection.
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.
November 19, 2014
Whenever this month rolls around I am reminded of the winter I found Jesse. Those freezing cold days doing web design, constantly getting lacerated — I look at my old scars now and wonder how I survived. And I realize now that I was undercharging.
But that winter ended, followed by another, and as Jesse grew into an adult badger, the cold apartment became unbearable, evidently for both of us. One morning, I woke to discover the front door hanging open. Jesse had gotten out! I searched the neighbourhood high and low, squeaking his favourite honey bottle.
Had I not seen the signs? Sure, he had been spending more time beside the window, and there had been that day that he tore out the back of the dryer because he felt a draft. But where would he get his favourite organ meats, if not my fridge?
I returned home badgerless, sinking immediately into deep depression. I couldn’t get out of bed, not without his sharp teeth in my carelessly exposed ankle. Who would catch our mice, and smear them across the living room floor? Where would I get my warmth, and where would he get his?
The last few years have been dark. Without a badger in my life, I was vulnerable to the allure of Go, and descended into its black and white vortex, infinite and all-consuming. I graduated from plain old web design to mobile development, and later, to RESTful web applications. Life continued — and over time, I thought less of Jesse, my deep wounds healing without too much medical attention.
But get this:
I was on one of my walks last week, trying to soak in a few precious minutes of winter sun, when I heard a distinctive snuffling from behind a tree. It was Jesse! A little more silvery around the snout to be sure, but when he leapt from the sidewalk into my arms, almost throwing me into traffic, there was no question. I looked around, but unfortunately no one had captured the moment on a cellphone camera. It doesn’t matter.
Jesse is back.