Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Hamster Homicides: Confessions of a Serial Hamster Killer

When I was  just a little tastrophie in the making, I developed my love of all things furry. Since Mom knew, as all Moms know, that mini-tastrophie was not going to engage in any real care and feeding of the animals no matter how much she swore she would keep her room clean, feed it and love it every day, she was not going to hold up to her end of the bargin.  And that Mom would be the one to walk the dog, clean up after the cat and feed both, she wisely denied all my pleas for a larger pet.  She new better and thus regulated my fur ownership to small caged animals instead of the ones that had to be walked or scooped daily.  

After days of endless whining on my part (a precursor to my days of endless b*tching, I assure you), Mom took me to the local pet store to pick out my new furry friend.  Some how I wasn't a rat person and a gerbil looked too much like a mouse-kangaroo hybrid for my taste, so I settled on the cutest teddy bear hamster the store had to offer.  He was golden and white and had checks that could hold an entire bag of sunflower seeds.  With my being the creative person I am; I named him "Goldie".  Not too sure he was happy about a being given a girl's name, but he never complained.  

After a short period of time Goldie died.  I don't know if it was from my constant feeding, or the fact that two days prior to his demise he had escaped from his happy habitrail home and woke up Mom in the middle of the night by crawling up her leg onto her chest.  Mom responded by using a combination back-handed-bitch-slap with a terror-induced-throw-down ending in Goldie making direct and hard contact with the wall across the room.  So Cause of Death, while never fully determined by necropsy, was either internal hemorrhage or internal fat.  This began what would be my brief, but high body count, foray into the world of hamster homicide.

It was purely accidental, I assure you.  And it is not like I am proud of the fact, that in the world of serial killers, (if the FBI included hamster body counts), I would probably be at the top of the most wanted list making John Wayne Gacey look like an amateur.  

Goldie made it about a month in my house before he went to the big habitrail in the sky.  I was broken hearted.  I cried for two hours and in an attempt to get me to finally shut me up, Mom agreed to let me get another hamster.  Off to the same pet store that bore Goldie to find me a new furry friend.  
"Squirmmie" (Are you seeing a pattern to my pet-naming skills?) was the second and longest lasting of my hamsters.  He lasted about four months before joining Goldie in the Great Hamster Valhalla.  COD in his case was clear cut.  He had an "unfortunate" wheel accident and that is all I can say about that.  It wasn't pretty and I am still a little traumatized by the whole thing.

Back to the SAME pet-store we go. At this point the store owner has started to look at me a little funny and the other hamsters have begun backing away from the front of the cage when they see me.  But this time I was going to be smart.  Since the boy hamsters couldn't hack it in my house, I picked a girl hamster.  I also managed to pick the hamster version of the happy hooker, cause this one came all ready knocked up.  Hammie (Do you see now why I don't have kids?  Can you imagine what I would have called them?) managed to increase the hamster to human ratio in my house by 5:1.  Pretty impressive for a creature only seven inches long.  After a few months, I discovered that hamsters are faster at breeding than rabbits.  Six became 12, then 24, and so on....  I had my own stock piled hamster stash and the only thing that kept these little tribbles from over taking my house was my ability to "level the playing field".

I like to think of it was "loving them to death".  In my need to overcompensate for the deaths of my first two, I made sure there was an endless food supply.  I shoved anything and everything I thought a hamster could and would eat into that cage. My methods weren't always clean or consistent.  After all I was only about 7 years old and couldn't remember when I had or had not fed them last.  Feast or famine was my modus operandi, plus on occasion I had help from others.  Hamsters are worse than the Mob at taking out others who get in line for their goods and there is no love loss when taking out your sibling if he cuts in line for the sunflower seeds. Pure carnage in a plastic coliseum. 

In the end it wasn't pretty.  It took fourteen months and countless bags of hamster food, but I managed to single-handedly reduce the hamster:human ratio to 0:3.  By then I had run out of places in the back patio garden (we lived in an apartment) to bury the bodies.  I had begun secretly disposing of my "hamster packs" in spots along the leasing office bushes, in trash dumpsters, and one mass grave in the playground sand pit.  While that did cause quite the ruckus among the other apartment adults, no one asked any questions and Mom stopped asking me where the bodies were going.  I think some things a parent does not want to know about their child.  

Eventually they were all gone and Mom carted the well used habitrail to the dumpster for good. After the last one was gone, I did not have another pet until I was well into my teens.  By then I had learned the rules of responsible pet ownership.  Yet as Karma has always done, she was not about to let my hamster homicides to go unanswered.  Since that fateful year, every pet that I have ever owned has had some illness/disease/injury that was answered in the biggest of Karmic-pay-backs: the over-priced vet visit.  My guilt at having taken so many lives now manifests itself in spoiling my cats.  Thus I have one very large, toothless cat and one who's lack of navigational skills cause her to miss the litter every time.  And every now and then, when the pocket book is empty and the vet bill is large; I think I hear the soft squeaking giggles of a couple of dozen hamsters getting even.

Thanks to Dr. Zibbs who's equal opportunity offending of little people inspired this blog.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Beware the IRS of March

Guess what happens when you try to deduct Ho-ho's and you make a major screw up on your tax returns from two years ago?  The IRS sends you a nice love letter saying you f*cked up and could you please send them a check for $10,000 ... LIKE NOW.  But if you can't pay, they will be more than happy to let you make payments while interest and penalties rack up at a rate higher than the current APR +20%.  I should be able to pay off Uncle Sam for this nice little screw sometime in 2120.  

I have to say that opening this letter was a one of a kind feeling.  Somewhere between getting kicked in the (proverbial) nuts, getting bitch-slapped and having your eyes gouged out by
 hot iron pokers all at once.  I am not recommending this ride to anyone.  After the full bout of hysteria and hyperventilation, followed by the consumption of SEVERAL boxes of Ho-ho's and a few (OK, MANY) xanax, I proceeded to scour my house for money.  I found $2 in my jeans pocket, $1.75 in change between the couch cushions and a few wayward raisins under the sofa.  (Do raisins go bad??)  Now, if I can just come up with the other $9,996.25 before April 15th, I should be good to go.  Apparently if you are a fat-cat CEO who gets mega buck bonuses, Uncle Sam doesn't give a rat's ass about your tax return but if you are a dead broke first year teacher who is still trying how to make ends meet every month when she has more month than on!!  

On the bright side, the IRS is not auditing me.  Which would probably amount to a bigger pocket-book bioposy than this one.  So I should be thanking my lucky stars that it is just a minor piece of government endorsed extortion instead of a full blown body cavity search with a chain-saw.  Although, it is just as pleasant feeling :-)  

So here are Ms. Tastrohpie's little words of warning for all you tax-fun loving people this time of year. CHECK, DOUBLE CHECK and THEN GET SOMEONE ELSE TO CHECK before you file.  (Karma can kick slap me all she wants and usually does; I just don't want her messing with anyone else.)  

I'm off to go sell some plasma, a kidney and my (future) first born child.  Hey Mister, can you spare a dime?

P.s. Turbo-Tax can SUCK IT!!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Can I Deduct Ho-Hos?

Oh Good GAWD it's that time again.  That time when I run around the apartment looking for everything and anything that can be considered a deduction on my taxes.  And let me tell you, people, Ms. Tastrophie can rationalize the living sh*t out of things.

***Five dollar Starbucks White Mocha Latte as an educational expense?  Hell yes!  You want me to be wide away when I am trying to import the importance of conjugating the "be" verb correctly to kids who can barely spell their own names, don't you?  Not to mention that Ms. T tends to be a bit on the cranky when she doesn't get her morning fix.  Not a good thing when talking to a bunch of kids who think Tupoc was the Original Gangster.  

***$65 (on SALE ~ thank you very much) Naturalizer kitten heeled black patent leather too cute shoes ~ educational expense.  Because we do NOT need another teacher in a denim empire waist jean dress and tennis shoes trying to teach the importance of making a good impression.  Define Irony, anyone???

***Massage therapy ~ health care.  Uh, duh!  If you had my job you would be stressed too.  So having Sven with the Wonder hands rub me up and down for an hour, keeps me from going postal on the kids.  I think that is justification enough.  Plus, did I mention his name is Sven?  Please feel free to use your imagination...I do ;-)

***Ho-hos and Xanax ~ another health care cost.  I lobbied my insurance company to include Ho-hos in the prescription plan but I don't think they are taking me seriously.  I kept getting sent to the Mental Health Claims department every time I call and ask about this.  I don't know why?  

***Victoria Secret V-Thong Panties with Matching Bra Sets ($250) ~ Home Improvement.  How the hell am I ever going to move out of a shit-hole one bedroom apartment if I don't get a man who can hep finance the move out?  O.K. this one is a little on the setting-women-back-a-few-decades side, but these are desperate times and I am in some serious need of a few tax breaks of my own, so work with me here people.

Now if anyone knows where I can get a couple of social security cards issued for Elsa and Bud E. Phat, I would appreciate it.  Since they don't seem to be motivated to find a way to help support this one income household, I am thinking I am going to shove them in some Baby Gap clothing and start claiming them as dependents.  

I'm off to go look for that receipt for my Coach Carry-All ~ Future Mortgage Expenses.  Because at the rate the economy is falling, I maybe living out of that bag soon enough.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sarcasm ~ Not Just For Adults Anymore

Ms. Tastrophie is one for knowing when to cop an attitude and when NOT to cop an attitude.  I have copped a few in my life and all I can say is that; in the world of the verbal bitch slap, Ms. Tastrophie has been known to take down a few names.  When I lived in the corporate-frequent-flier-world, I earned quite a few upgrades based on my ability to repartee and flay with the best of them.  So when I started teaching, I realized the day of the verbal-knock-down was coming to an end.  Or so I thought....

Every teaching book, training video, educational theory class in the world will tell you that you can not, and should not use sarcasm with kids.  Wwwwweeeeeeeellllllll..... I'm here to tell you that, aaahhhh, isn't necessarily true.  In fact sarcasm can be, and usually is, your best line of defense in some cases.  And used effectively will gain you more street-cred than a new pair of Jordans on a Friday night.  

Case in point.  When some smart mouthed seventh grader yells at you from across the room "Fuck You Bitch, you ain't my Mamma", you can smile and simply reply back "No, I am not your Mamma.  God didn't see why two women should have to bear that little life draining pleasure."  And no one will see the verbal smack down you just bestowed on the lovely little princess you have in your class.

Since Sarcasm works so well, not only with the students, but with their parents; I feel it should be spread equally.  Especially when someone's Baby-Mama is telling you that her little contribution to the world's future is not her problem during school hours and it ain't her fault that the kid can't do homework because he/she was too stoned after finding da Mama's stash last night.  Please feel free to enlighten Ms. Baby-Mama that you can not take the credit for her child's future employment at McDonald's; that bragging right will be all hers.

Apparently I am not the only one.  Recently a friend sent me the following comments via e-mail.  Ms. Tastrophie is only ashamed that she did not think of some of them first.

These are actual comments made on students' report cards by teachers in the New York City public school system. All teachers were reprimanded (but, boy, are these funny!)

1. Since my last report, your child has reached rock bottom and has started to dig.

2. I would not allow this student to breed.

3. Your child has delusions of adequacy.

4. Your son is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot.

5. Your son sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them.

6. The student has a 'full six-pack' but lacks the plastic thing to hold it all together.

7. This child has been working with glue too much.

8. When your daughter's IQ reaches 50, she should sell.

9. The gates are down, the lights are flashing, but the train isn't coming.

10. If this student were any more stupid, he'd have to be watered twice a week.

11. It's impossible to believe the sperm that created this child beat out 1,000,000 others.

12. The wheel is turning but the hamster is definitely dead.