Terrible/Wonderful Things I Saw While Thrifting #3 (NHBPM 10)

Write about or share something you found funny.

I hope these posts help my wife understand why it takes me so long to shop. There are so many things to look at, pick up, squint at, and scratch my head over, most of which never make it home. Here are two good examples.

This pair of gloves caught my eye at Value Village recently. They had a pleasant weight to them, and I thought they might be good for dog walks this winter. For which I need the manual dexterity for tying poop bags that gloves offer, but I do not need a strong nonslip grip. These could work.

I could tell they were woolish, but by how much? Better check the fiber tag inside.

30% Racoon.

Yeah, wool too, but Racoon [Raccoon].

I felt exactly the same way, and I have a bowl of dead reptiles and insects, and a frog in a jar, on my desk.

Apparently, aside from mink, I’m squeamish about wearing mammals. It felt so said, since surely the raccoon had to die.

But how do you know that? I hear you asking. We shear sheep and goats and comb bunnies to get nice wool, and they’re none the worse for the contribution.

To which I offer: can you imagine what a shaved raccoon would look like? (Serious warning: Do not google image search that. You’ve been warned.) Or can you imagine what it would be to have a job where that’s what you had to do every day? Shave raccoons?

I rest my case.

And for this week’s final Terrible/Wonderful find, remember that I’m not sporty. So maybe you’ll know right off what this was, but I most certainly did not.

They were in the lingerie bin, but they looked manly. Well, as manly as shiny, slinky, stretchy black shorts can look. A peek inside, though, did NOT clarify matters for me.

It looked like underwear that comes with its own seat cushion, which in turn looks kind of like a bicycle seat.


Bicycles! Aha! This is a Goodwill located right next door to an REI. Maybe the tag attached to the mystery shorts would tell us more.

Yes! Getting warmer, Watson. They did come from REI — twice, since somebody bought them and then returned them.

But wait. What does that fine print say?


About seven amazing things hit me at once:

1. Somebody paid $26.50 for padded panties.

2. Said body did this assuming they might not feel weird on skin.

3. Said body tried them on anyway and was unsatisfied.

4. Said body brought the panties BACK TO THE STORE, and

5. Had a conversation with a store employee DETAILING exactly why they were unsatisfactory enough to bring BACK TO THE STORE.

6. Ostensibly, the customer was rewarded a refund or exchange, or at least a hearing-out.

7. REI Damages do not end up in the trash. Or at least, not all of them.

Make of that what you will.

Until next time!

Everybody out of the pool

We closed the pool this weekend. Fall is now welcome to proceed.

The weather was deliciously cool, hovering in the 60s and cloudy. I even wore long sleeves for much of the day, even while outside, even while moving around! That hasn’t happened in a long, hot time.

Right now all the pool furniture is sitting in the other side of the backyard, waiting for me to clear some room in the shed and put it all-the-way away.

Yesterday, when I grabbed the (closed) umbrella to slide it up and out of the table, my fingers landed on something not umbrella.

Something soft and cool and ever so slightly clammy.

So I changed my grip and took the umbrella over to the grass, planning to open it out and gently evict whatever had taken up residence in the last few weeks.

The clammy spot was a darling, sleepy Cope’s gray treefrog!

Check out those awesome eyes!

They’re the most common treefrog in our area, but we almost never see them, as they tend to stay up in the trees and are nocturnal. (We see a lot more of the green treefrog. They mostly come out at night, too, but they love to hang out on the kitchen windows.) This little guy looks monochromatically dull, but the webbing between his toes is bright yellow.

The umbrella was not finished giving up its treasures, though, as it also contained not one but two BIG green anoles!

“And where, pray tell, might I find another tiny monocle to replace the one you so churlishly rent asunder in your haste to move yon umbrella? Well?!”

We grew up calling these “chameleons,” because they do change from electric bright green to medium brown based on their environment. But I’m trying to get used to calling them by their proper name, once I figured out how to pronounce it.

The anoles don’t bite or drop their tails as readily as skinks, so they were more fun to catch when I was small and moved faster than I do now.

But speaking of skink tails.

Poodle found a ground skink in the living room a few days ago. Lucky for us all, she’s good at tracking and alerting but manages to hold off on the eating part, so I got ready to relocate the slender skink back outside.

I succeeded 75% because the wriggly little bastard got so freaked when I brushed (no pull! no tug!) his tail that he jettisoned the last inch and a quarter of it.

Which proceeded to writhe and flop around while the rest of him ran for new cover under a pair of KK’s shoes nearby.

While I proceeded to scream for KK to come see the sideshow-style performance.

I got a handle on the skink and put him out on the front porch. His tail flopped around for over 3 minutes, though, before coming to rest. And when I got a paper towel to pick it up and dispose of it, it started up again!

I don’t know if you’ve ever thrown away a living/dying thing before, but I found it deeply unsettling.

Schmutzie gets sad days and dead animals and social awkwardness

I couldn’t resist another dead bird photo. I wish I’d been able to stay and take more pictures of it, but there were people around, and a couple of them noticed me hovering over this carcass, and things just start to feel really awkward socially once your public carcass-hovering has been detected.

Don’t look at me like that. I’ll have you know that people send me pictures and news stories about dead birds. I’m not alone in this, you know. Geez.

Kindred spirits? I like to think so. Reading her post made my sad day sunnier.

My New Collection Does Not Make Me a Serial Killer in Training

But it might be hard to get through Customs.

I’ve just noticed a pattern, is all, and in my defense, I have only ever contributed to the deaths indirectly. I’ve always been a naturalist at heart. Does that make it less creepy?


It started with the snake skeleton, which I found in the pool house last year. At some point, he’d slithered in and gotten stuck on a wad of packing tape and died (yes, I feel horrible!) and been picked clean (but that’s kind of cool). 


Turns out, there are a LOT of tiny bones in even a tiny snake. But I disposed of the whole wad because I felt so guilty looking at it.

Then there was the green anole I found out by the pool. Natural causes, I have to assume. Exposure to the sun had turned him leathery, so I gifted him to a worthy recipient.

And a few weeks ago, I’d gone upstairs (to pee, ok? god, you people are so nosy) and noticed the window in the bedroom was open. That’s normal for a nice day, but the screen was open, too. (We have the kind that can slide up and down.)

Good for cleaning, but bad, it turns out, for frogs.

Because apparently, a treefrog had crawled into some hidden suicide part of the window frame area. But not where I could see it, because it was hidden. So I closed the screen, and later, the window, and suicidal treefrog baked to a crisp. (Yes, I feel horrible!)

Because I only saw it later when I opened the curtain and it was lying on the sill between the window and the screen. No pictures – I was too horrified. I reopened the screen and flicked him off the edge, aiming for the flowerbed beneath. I might have missed and he might have *thunked* a tiny thunk on the walkway below instead.


So, fast-forward to today. I’m sure you have no idea where this is headed.

KK dropped me off at the pool store shopping center, which also houses a large Christian craft store at the other end. I had forgetten to pick up some jewelry makings the other day, so I hobbled up to the LCCS while she saw to the pool stuff.

It felt like about half a mile of sidewalk, but was probably only half that. Suburbs = big shopping centers. At least it was covered and mostly shaded.

Halfway up the slope, I saw something on the ground.

Something oddly shaped. Neither wayward leaf, nor wad of gum.

Something dead.

A small, dead, mostly mummified frog.

Right there in the middle of this big public sidewalk, where anybody could have found it. And taken it. But they didn’t.

So I did.

There was only one lonely ant left on him, which I promptly flicked off.

A few more stores until I got to the LCCS, and it took me nearly that long before I realized I probably shouldn’t hobble into this family-oriented store carrying carrion. If they can’t bear opening on Sundays, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t be able to handle a distinctly not-born-again frog.

I couldn’t drop it in my purse – I’d never find it again, or would only find it at some really inconvenient time. “Oh, you’d like to borrow a stick of gum? Sure, I have some right — AAaiiEEEEE!”

So I grabbed one of the Cars for Sale freebie magazine things from a box on the sidewalk and set the frog on that. Because somehow that’s less weird than carrying it in on your palm like a haggard zombie princess.

Once inside the LCCS, I grabbed a cart (to be less hobbly) and carefully set the magazine down on the kiddie seat part.

I was pleased to notice that all the glassware was 50% off, so I went ahead a picked out a nice little (canopic) jar for the frog. But I didn’t put him in yet, because I didn’t want to be That Customer.

I picked out my jewelry makings and eventually headed to the checkout lines, of which there were two open. As is my bent, I chose the one staffed by a young man because they’re usually better at not making small talk about whatever I’m buying (shit I can’t afford) and whatever I’ll use it for (shit that’s none of your damn business).

And so it went, until he asked if I wanted the little jar wrapped for safe transport or just carefully placed in a small bag with a couple of lightweight jewelry things that were unlikely to break it.

That’s when I slipped.

I said, “Oh, no need to wrap it. In fact, while I’m right here, let me just pop this little guy inside.”

I shouldn’t have done that. I should have waited until I was outside.

And he should have politely ignored me, like 99.9% of the populace does on a daily basis. Next!

But I didn’t. And he didn’t.

I flipped froggy into the jar, and genuinely polite young man cashier was genuinely interested.

“Oh, this? It’s a frog a found on the way here.” Before I put the lid on, I held up the jar, containing an obviously dead frog. See? My story checks out.

“Really? Can I see?”

“Sure. I kind of have a desiccated animal collection.”

And that’s when he took the jar, and looked in it, and stuck his finger inside, and poked the frog. That’s when I knew he had no idea what “desiccated” meant. Somehow we had garnered the attention of the mouth-breathing girl cashier and customer a row over. They clearly didn’t know what desiccated meant, either, but were determined to find out.

“It’s dead!”

“Yes.” Then, looking for a way out, “Have a nice day!” and I turned and left.

And I’m pretty sure that’s when I became That Customer.


Stephen King has the heart of a small boy…in a jar on his desk. I have the entirety of a small frog, who might be a boy and at some point, had a heart.


I rescued a chipmunk the other day

in which I go into exhaustive detail about this 10-minute episode because this was a slow week at the ranch

He was in the pool, and had perched in the little skimmer alcove. He couldn’t push the door open because of the lack of suction, but that’s probably what ended up saving him.

When I took Lula out for her morning tinkle, I went around and scooped all the beetles out of the pool. They fall in and tread water desperately, but since we go out before the pump comes on, I can see their frantic ripples and fish them out.

This day, though, I saw a little something in the skimmer from the other side of the pool. A caterpillar? A feather?

On closer inspection, it was a tail. To a chipmunk I assume must be dead. (He’d be the 3rd one this season.)

I got the skimmer net and one of the max liquidator water shooter things (MLWST), thinking I could poke it through into the skimmer hole, then hoist it out in the basket. But when I poked it with the end of the MLWST, it leapt against the net I was holding over the skimmer hole.

I quickly used the tip of the MLWST to pin his tail to the net and set him down on the pool deck. He limped a couple of steps but mostly sat there, heaving and shaking a little.

He looked wretched. But alive.

First order of business – I ran to get KK so she could see it before it died.

Second order of business – arrange a suitable incubation unit to allow him to warm up/dry off/rest.  I grabbed KK’s future basil flowerpot and our darkest beach towel. Also a bowl of fresh water, because chlorinated pool water is not good to drink.

I scooped him into the flower pot, and he was so pitiful he didn’t even protest, just braced himself while I carried it into the sun. I draped the towel to cover most-but-not-all of the opening, to give him privacy and protect him from predators.

I also asked KK to bring me a stick of string cheese because I was hungry, but I bit off a couple of pieces and tossed them into the flower pot, too, with the reasoning that he’d been cold and swimming and had likely burned through all his easy calories.

The hardest part was leaving him alone to die or recuperate.One or the other of us ended up checking on him every half hour or so. To our amazement and, he did dry out, and he didn’t die. 

And after about 3 hours, when we went out to check before lunch, he was gone, and so were all the cheese pieces.