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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

close encounters of the marmot kind

OK, so I realize that it's been roughly 17 million years since I updated this blog (OK, less than a month), and while some things have been going on, none of them have seemed important enough or pressing enough to blog about.

Then I remembered, this is a blog; it's supposed to be about my cat and what I ate for dinner. Right?

Onward with the self-indulgent navel gazing!

Overall, we are very happy and well. The Husband has started his new job with CU medical center and has dubbed himself "Lord High Vampire of A Thousand Mice," mainly because his job entails the exsanguination of a whole lot of mice. (Not TOTAL exsanguination, just some each week.) He seems extremely happy to finally be back in a lab.

I myself am still loving my job all to pieces. Sometimes, I find my good fortune at just stumbling into this position baffling. I'll be traveling to Dallas on my very first business trip ever on June 20th and I'm very excited about it. LOTS to do between now and then, including booking travel if we ever figure out how to get the new reservations system to work.

Also, I get a corporate American Express. I feel like such a grown up.


We've also been trying to take advantage of the fine weather and get out and do a few things. On Sunday, the Mister and I decided to take one of Colorado's scenic byways, the Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park, which is the highest paved road in the country. We stopped at the visitor's center at the very top, and found out that the tundra wildflowers, which only have a six-week growing season, had started blooming, so on the way down, I asked the Mister to pull over so we could have a look.

As we pulled off onto a pullout, I saw a marmot not ten feet from the side of the road. Excitedly, I pulled out the camera and rolled down the window. The marmot hurried right up to the side of the car! I started squeaking and snapping pictures as he stood right up on his hind feet, not a foot from my window. (Pictures to follow.) Another car pulled up behind us, probably seeing the antics of the marmot.

Then, he got down and walked under the car.

We weren't really sure what to do at that point. We sat in the car for a few minutes, trying to look out all the windows to see if he'd emerged on the other side, but to no avail. Then, the car behind us pulled up alongside, and a very nice Australian couple told us that he had gone under, near the back, and was now trying to climb UP into the wheel well, or on top of the exhaust.

At this point, we REALLY didn't know what to do. We both got out of the car, and started trying to make loud noises, though we didn't want to scare him out into traffic! We were both wary that any moment, a Ranger would drive by and stop us for molesting a marmot.

Alas, a ranger did not drive by, though we began to wish for one. The marmot moved out of the rear wheel well toward the front of the car, and then proceeded to try to climb up into the engine bay! I found a stick on the side of the road, and we started hitting the ground and the side of the car, still trying to tell the marmot that this was not a good place to be.

By the way, he was HUGE. Easily once and a half the size of our cat — probably 10–15 pounds of marmot.

Finally, the Husband popped the hood of the car, which startled the marmot enough that he got down onto the ground, and I yelled for the Mister to roll forward, slowly. He did, and Mr. Marmot was left blinking at me in the sunlight. We stared at each other for a moment. I said, "Shoo!" He continued to stare. I moved around to the left, trying to go around him, and suddenly, he bolted, racing back onto the tundra from whence he came.

I got back in the car (after photographing the wildflowers, as they were the original reason we stopped) and we drove for almost half a mile before realizing that the hood was still open.

It was more of an adventure than either of us had counted on.

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