Farewell, Fionnlaugh

Things have not been going well at the Matlick house. On Saturday, we had to say goodbye to our little princess, Fionnlaugh.

Fionnlaugh, our bright warrior, came home in May of 2013 with her brother Duncan and sister Shadowfax. Our little Pip was a feisty little lass, bouncing, hopping, and chasing the others around. Although she was no stranger to a good nap.

Our little girl was more interested in playing with her siblings and chasing the cats, than interacting with us humans. Although we absolutely subjected her to forced cuddles. She’d accept the attention for a few short minutes before attempting (and often succeeding) to fling herself out of our arms. And I do mean fling; many a time she made me look like a juggler, trying to keep her from hitting the ground.

Fionnlaugh and Duncan were pretty much inseparable. They’d been together since they were kits and more often than not, when you found one, the other would not be too far away. 

They tag-teamed a lot things.

For instance, Duncan had this terrible habit of leaving behind mouse tails. This was really unfortunate for the humans. However, Fionnlaugh apparently considered them a delicacy and, as long as she could reach them, would take care of what her brother left behind.

Over the last four years, our little Sweet Pea managed to give us multiple freak outs. One night, while nose counting before shutting the ferret room door, I could not find Fionnlaugh. She had been in the main floor of the house with us, but often times when she was bored, she’d toodle on back up to the second floor and find a cozy place to crash. Fi was quite good about coming when called, even when asleep. So I worked my way through the house calling her. Nothing. Then I commenced to methodically look through the house, including the freezer because I had opened it when she was in the kitchen. Nothing. I was growing more frantic and searching involved ripping the house apart. All I could think was that she’d run outside, which was totally not her thing. Chad went around the neighborhood calling her. I made up posters. It was devastating.

The next morning was terrible. I was a mess at work. Around 8:30 I got a call from Chad. He’d found her. IN THE DISHWASHER. She’d climbed in right before bedtime, apparently, and spent a very unpleasant night in the damn dishwasher. She needed a bath. The dishwasher needed a bath. And thus began our rule: no closing the dishwasher without looking inside. (We already had the do not run the dishwasher without confirming all ferrets were accounted for rule.)

One of Fionnlaugh’s favorite things to do, as she mellowed with age, was to drink out of our koi pond. She would go to the back door and wait patiently for us to go outside. Once outside she’d putter on over to the pond, climb the side and commence to drink her fill of the wonderful fishy water.


She was also quite enamored with any fish food pellets she could retrieve from the floating plants. Once or twice, she stretched just a little too much and tipped in. Fortunately she was a good swimmer AND her humans were right there to fetch her out and dry her off.

After we lost Shadowfax, Fionnlaugh stepped in and took over as Alpha Ferret. It wasn’t surprising because her brother was so mellow and she was so uptight. After a bit we brought home two boys, thinking she and Duncan would like some company. We were dead wrong. Fionnlaugh HATED the new ferrets with a passion. (This pretty much meant Duncan wasn’t allowed to make friends either.) One of the new guys was three times her size.

She did not care. She did not like them at all. And Fi went after the new boys with a gusto that was something to behold. She’d make this terrible sounding cry and let them have it. And they would run and try to hide.

In early December we took her and the aforementioned boys to see Santa for Christmas pictures. So there’s Santa, trying to hold three squirming ferrets while the tiniest, most slippery one, is squirming to get closer to the other ones to bite their ears. The sequence of photos is hilarious as you can see her stretching & squirming to get them. She succeeded, too. I was mortified.

Fionnlaugh left us Saturday, December 16, in her mommy’s arms. She was the last of the trio. Rest in Peace, Peanut. We miss you terribly.

chris on December 16th 2017 in Animals, Family, Uncategorized

Brain Fog

It’s Fall. It’s been chilly and wet and basically yuck. Mornings are dark grey and confusing. My brain, already impossibly foggy of a morning, wants me to hibernate. Now.

My outfit for the day: leggings, tunic, long sweater. My closet is basically set up like Garanimals for grownups because I’m so unable to function in the morning. I choose this particularly pair of leggings because they have pocket. Real pockets that can hold stuff. I recall looking at the cuff and thinking, “eh, who cares about the black and white pattern, not like I’m wearing any other patterns.” And heading on my way to work.

Fast forward a few hours. I’m going down the hallway, attempting to put my phone in my right pocket. It does not seem to exist. Odd, but maybe these leggings only have pockets on my left. I try that side. No pockets. My still hazy brain tries to process this information. Maybe I missed the pocket opening. Try again. Nope. I look down. No pockets. How? Then I look at the cuff. And realize I would never buy a pair of leggings with a patterned cuff.


Oh. That’s the lining.

chris on November 2nd 2017 in Uncategorized

Lack of Planning on My Part Constitutes an Emergency on My Part

I was in the homestretch of finishing Chad’s frock coat. To be honest, I was feeling pretty smug. The sleeves had gone in with little struggle – in both the coat and the lining – which I considered a miracle. Sleeves and I have a complicated relationship. We’re less frenemies, more nemeses.

There I was, pinning the coat for a final ironing. It looked good; like I knew what I was doing.

There was one last thing to be done. I needed to add the buttons. To be sure, this jacket called for a lot of buttons. I was going for the full complement of 4 small buttons and 26 large ones. Unfortunately, I was left to my own devices to figure out what “small” and “large” meant, since the directions were completely silent on the situation.

I went through my button box and came up with 4 small buttons that I considered appropriate. But try as I may, I could not muster 26 matching large buttons. Crap. I was getting desperate and even started mentally going over coats and jackets we had that might have been good temporary donors. Alas, we owned nothing with 26 gold  buttons.

As much as I hated the thought of it, I decided to run out at lunch and hit up a chain craft store for buttons. Strike One. Ok. The Evil Mart was just up the way, so that was my next stop. Strike Two. I was disgusted by the miserly offerings and getting twitchy. I decided to suck it up and drive to the other large chain craft store. Strike Freakin’ Three.

Panic started to set in. It was Tuesday afternoon. The jacket had to be ready to go Friday by 7:30 pm. I needed 26 large buttons and I needed them NOW. I mulled over driving either north or south to a proper SEWING craft store, but decided I would lose my mind if I did that and was still not able to find the buttons.

So I did what every panicked person does in 2017. I ordered from Amazon. They are due to arrive Thursday night.

chris on October 25th 2017 in Blogroll, Creativity

Goodbye, Mr. Duncan

October began bleak & gray at the Matlick house, as we bid a sad farewell to our boy Duncan.

Mr. D, Duncers, Dunc-Dunc, Handsome Boy, Duncan MacDuncan, and, when he was very much causing a ruckus,  Duncan Matlick, left us on Tuesday. We knew our time with Duncan was short when he was diagnosed with kidney failure in May, but our handsome little sable boy gamely put up one Hell of a fight!

Duncan and his sisters Fionnlaugh & Shadowfax took up residence in the ferret room in May 2013. They quickly showed their personalities, and got us humans in line.

Dunc-Dunc was the rock solid, what-you-see-is-what-you-get sort of ferret. He liked to dig in the dirt, drink from the pond, and go flat so he could demonstrate how sad and horrid his life was in hopes of securing something delicious from the humans. It usually worked.

When he first came home, he had a bit of a pudgy bottom, but a month of living in a house with lots of stairs got him in top shape. He would stand up on his hind legs for a treat for quite some time and managed to climb all the sofas in the house and the beds, the latter being a bit of a surprise to me.

Duncan’s true passion was bottles. He had an extensive collection, running into the hundreds. He preferred medicine bottles, but was an equal opportunity bottle stasher, his collection boasted shampoo, lotion, and soap bottles, as well as film tubes. Our boy kept his several key bottle stashes around the house: 1. Closet at the top of the stairs, 2. Back of Chad’s closet, 3. Under the dresser in their room, and the biggest and most important, 4. Under the sewing table in the attic.  

One year before Christmas, Mom brought us some of those seasonal scented pump bottles of hand soap. I put the bag on an end table, figuring to disburse them eventually. Inevitably, the bag ended up on the floor before I got around to it; I found it odd that Mom only brought two bottles when we have three bathrooms, but whatever.

A week or so later I was in the kitchen when I heard THUMP…(pause) THUMP…(pause) THUMP…(pause), the unmistakable sound of a ferret moving something weighty up the stairs. Further investigation proved me wrong. It was Duncan bringing the missing third bottle, completely full, back DOWN the stairs! Yes, he had nicked the bottle and taken it upstairs undetected. Then decided it belonged downstairs, because of course it did.

Duncan and his sister Fionnlaugh were pretty much inseparable. They’d been together since they were kits and more often than not, when you found one, the other would not be too far away. 

In September, Duncan and Fionnlaugh  came along with us on a camping trip to Dolly Sods. They had more luxurious, and dry, sleeping quarters than we did on that trip, bunking down in their playpen in the back of the Subaru between excursions investigating our campsite.

We took them on a hike near Bear Rocks, too. They snoozed in their carry bag, enjoying the sunshine and nice soft breeze, while I did all the hard work, scrambling about and keeping them from being jostled.

Duncan left us sometime in the early morning hours of Tuesday, October 3, curled up in a favored sleepy sack. He will be sorely missed by his sister Fionnlaugh, and his humans.

Godspeed, buddy. We’ll miss you terribly. 

chris on October 3rd 2017 in Animals, Family