Archive for the 'Family' Category

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

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

Pizzelle Time!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Time to get a great arms day in with a pizzelle payoff!


This is the third December in a row that Mom & I have made pizzelles. The first year we thought we were in for an all day slog of making batter and putting the dough through two irons. Turns out, making pizzelles isn’t nearly are grueling as both of us had recalled. Go figure.

We mixed up the double batch of Aunt Mary’s pizzelle dough. Oh. My. God. Stirring the flour into that dough is brutal. When my right hand lost feeling from gripping the wooden spoon, I switched to my left hand. When I could no longer get any use of it, Mom spelled me. And still, we still had flour to add. Basically at about the time I would be leaving the gym, arms hanging limply and uselessly at my side, the dough was ready. Alleluia!

With two pizzelle irons going full steam ahead, we made short work of the dough and soon had towering stacks of cookies to show for our efforts! Hooray! Fresh pizzelles are a delight! NOM! NOM! NOM!

That done, we set about making the gingerbread dough for a cookie exchange at work. I’d found a fairly simple recipe, only it didn’t indicate how many cookies it would yield. It seemed like there was no way I was getting four dozen out of just 4 cups of flour, so Mom and I unanimously agreed that we’d better double it. And I had, in fact, been prepared to do so. Until it was time to add the molasses. At which point Mom pointed out that a cup was 8 oz. and I only had a 12 oz. jar of molasses. A quick run to the grocery store and we were in business!At which point part two of arms day began. If I thought the pizzelle dough was terrible, this was insane because the gingerbread dough needed WAY more flour mixed in so that it could be rolled out. So. Much. Stirring. Finally I just gave up and used my hands. Ew. Ew. Ew.

Ten hours later, we had 94 Christmas trees, 30 ferrets and 2 Shakespeare heads. That doesn’t count what we sampled along the way. Oh, plus 2 Ohio outlines.

There’s a good reason I gave up after making only two of the Shakespeare heads…they are rather large. Only two fit on a baking sheet at a time.

chris on December 13th 2015 in Family

Oh Christmas Tree, Your Glaring Brightness Amazes Me!

Having participated in two Thanksgiving dinners – oh yes, two; because Go Big or Go Home! – Chad and I waddled back into the house and set about making our house look like Christmas threw up all over it! Hooray!

Now the thing about Christmas decorating at our house is, never clean prior to decorating. Because we basically drag up a bunch of dusty bins of decorations and move furniture and generally tear the house up in the process of making it pretty. Oh sure, I’ll vacuum the tops of the doors once I’m up there on the step ladder hanging swags, but we always start with a less than sparkling clean canvas!

This year we decided to deal with the fiasco of the main tree lights once and for all. Several years ago we got this lovely, rather tall, pre-lit tree at a florist after Christmas. We were in Palmyra. It was so large that we could not fit it in our vehicle. So we paid for it and had Dad Matlick bring it in for us in a larger vehicle.

The first year, as we were taking our pre-party photos, I noticed a sizeable hunk of lights were out. Hmmm, no big deal. We just posed to block that section. Year two, more lights went out. We filled in the blank temporarily with an extra strand or two of lights. Finally we said many bad words and after Christmas Chad cut all those lights off the damn tree. The following year we put on the 10,000 LED lights. It looked lovely. And bright. At the end of the season, we decided to put the tree away with the lights on it. Which would have been fine, except the tree is four parts and wouldn’t you know it, the lights didn’t break nicely at each section. We made due and it worked out alright. Until finally, last year I had had enough. When it came time to take the tree down, I pulled off all the lights and declared that next  year (currently THIS year) we would put the lights on properly and afix them and then screw you, Christmas tree lights you would no longer suck the fun out of tree decorating.

Funny, last year 10,000 lights was plenty. But somehow we came up short this time around.

So, here we are. Three days and 12,000 lights later, the tree is a decently bright beacon in our living room. We even went and got a lovely lighted star for the top. Look at us being right proper grownups.

That being said, neither of us were in the mood to start decorating the beast. So I put up the ferret & cat Christmas tree first. It’s much smaller and much easier and then I could say, why yes, we do have a tree up and decorated.

Finally, with no other choice if we wanted a properly decorated tree in our living room, we got to work.  That’s one bin or ornaments up and barely making a dent. But quite frankly, that’s when we ran out of enthusiasm on day one of ornament time.

Day two of ornament time and we got the second bin of ornaments up on the tree. It was looking better, but by no means completely. And again, we lost interest. So much so, I forgot to even get a photo. But that’s OK, because when it was done, after bin number three, I did get photos. Not to brag, but it looks pretty darn amazing!

In addition to upgrading the big tree’s lighting situation, we also upped our game on the mantle. It’s a shame that it is in the living room, because it’s not quite the focal point I’d always hoped for. I finally put names on the pets’ stockings and then added some fabric. So it’s really very voluptuously Victorian over-the-top in such a lovely way. It makes me squeal when I gaze upon it.

So there we are. Almost nearly done with the decorating. Still a few bits and pieces here and there.

chris on November 30th 2015 in Family