How (not?) to mollify an angry Irish bear

My dad has finally accepted the reality of the Fluffy Problem.

He’s been laughing it off for quite a while, telling me I’m delusional. (Yeah, and who’s talking to a bear?) But a couple of mornings ago the stove woke him up. Beeping. All on its own, people!

No one had set the oven timer. There hadn’t been any clock-resetting electrical outage; the clock time displayed correctly—but the stupid thing was beeping at 6:00 a.m. It would have to have been set the evening before. What the hell? Seriously, no one at LBHQ is so super-curious about household appliances that they’d bother to figure out how to set a 12-hour timer…holy crap, for what reason?

Finally we figured it out. The night before, the family had watched a movie. We bears sat on the couch getting kicked and shoved and tangled up in V’s favorite comforter. Somehow Fluffy got kicked off the couch and rolled under it, where he stayed all night after the family had gone upstairs and we other bears had been tucked into bed (i.e., the laundry basket).

No one noticed that Fluffy had been abandoned. He was alone all night. And even when the oven timer started bleating at 6:00 a.m., no one put it together that it was powered by Fluffy’s mind. Not until later when he was discovered under the couch.

OMG, my fellow inebriates. If Fluffy can make the oven do something it’s not even supposed to, that means he can do anything electrical. He could set the house on fire, my fellow inebriates. He could fry us all.

So our first order of business is to make nice with Fluffy.

The most obvious way to do this, I decided today, was to offer him a taste of the liqueur we made on the weekend. Sure, the recipe says to let it mellow three weeks or more, but we have an emergency here. We have an Irish bear in the house with angry magical powers who might (logically) be mollified by some Irish Canadian Cream.

But getting into the fridge turned out to be a bitch. That appliance has some mean suction on it, and I was stuck for quite a while. When my dad did finally discover me, he paused to take a picture.

And then another.

“Bearly had a chance,” said my dad.

And so the countdown to our tasting continues…ploddingly. No Irish Canadian Cream tonight, which leaves us at the mercy of whatever Fluffy does next.

Just as well, perhaps. Is it creeping determinism to say it might be for the best that Fluffy doesn’t critique our homemade liqueur? Who knows what he might do if he realizes the base spirit isn’t Jameson Irish whisky but…Wisers?

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GARNACHA DE FUEGO—The cure for the End of Days, but not Fluffy

When we bought GARNACHA DE FUEGO (2009), we did so just in time. Some dude was grabbing up all the bottles! Naturally this made us eager to hang on to our treasure and maybe even taunt the guy with the one bottle in our basket.

Ahhhh, the liquor store. The clinking! The tinkling! The samples! The atmosphere! The scent of empties being returned…I don’t accompany my parents there very often because they don’t trust me, but if my mum’s using her big patent leather bag I sometimes jump in just as they’re leaving. On this particular day I wasn’t just lured by the thought of thousands of booze bottles. I wanted to get the hell out of LBHQ. Scarybear had just mentioned that we were approaching Fluffy’s first Halloween in the house.

On this day last year, Granny was very sick, and Fluffy was with her. Far away in Ireland, he sat on a chest of drawers, observing Granny’s last days…waiting.

Fast-forward to today. Granny: dead. Fluffy: haunted by Granny, who didn’t always get along with my mother. Scary: preoccupied with the earth’s overdue magnetic field shift and needing to project his apocalyptic anxiety onto the easiest victim, yours truly.

Scooping that one bottle of GARNACHA DE FUEGO felt like such a score that I forgot about these problems. Spain has been lucky for us lately, $15.99 wasn’t painful, and 14.5% alcohol gets two paws up any day. Situated high in the hills of Calatayud (say that drunk), old vines produce grapes bursting with concentrated sweetness and depth. And when the guy ahead of you in the checkout is buying 15 bottles of the stuff, it’s a strong endorsement.

My dad was afraid of the silly label. True, it’s a little over the top, but at LBHQ we are much more leery of a wine label bearing wombats or chooks than one depicting “Grenache of Fire.” Indeed, the former type is more frightening than Fluffy’s paranormal antics and the great magnetic pole flip put together.

What Scary doesn’t realize in his countdown to December 21, the generally agreed-upon End of Days, is that a magnetic reversal would take tens of centuries to occur. It’s not like planes will fall out of the air or birds will start bonking into each other suddenly. The change will be subtle. Some scientists believe the shift is already in its early stages but is so slow as to be imperceptible.

North is magnetic by virtue of atomic majority rule in the planet’s molten core; more atoms face north than south. As individual atoms flip, eventually the dominant magnetism may shift to south, but a long and middling interval will precede any definitive magnetic south. During this time—and this is the potentially dangerous part—the earth’s magnetic field will weaken as its atoms’ polarities split roughly evenly between north and south orientations, leaving the planet more vulnerable to the solar flares that a strong magnetic field would deflect. In turn the ozone layer will be more susceptible to holes, although, as Scary should know from his other theories about Armageddon, by then we’ll have torched the whole protective layer anyway. We’ll (well, you will, and I if I shave my fur off) be running around with skin like crispy KFC, but not this December 21, people.

Scary is a total dumbass but at least he stayed out of the GARNACHA DE FUEGO. The “fire” may be a reference to the peppery spice that characterizes the wine, especially at rear palate after it’s dealt you much-welcome lashings of rich, earthy fruit with a nice acidic backbone. Considering the reported desolation of the Calatayud region, it makes some kick-ass grapes, which translate into a gorgeously balanced wine with just the right tannic profile. You could drink it with food, but if you’d prefer to get ripped out of your head, enjoy this quaff solo (especially if “solo” means you don’t have to share with Scary, Fluffy, or your dad).

The best thing about having a whole bottle of GARNACHA DE FUEGO to yourself is that you’ll lose all concern for magnetic shifts, tectonic upheavals, solar flares, and the like. But you might still worry about the occult potential of any possessed members of your household, especially on a night like tonight. I hear that when you’re really wrecked you become more susceptible to suggestion, and this was probably the case when I thought I heard Granny asking me if I had any cigarettes. I didn’t (holy shit, my fellow inebriates, I’m too flammable to mess with stuff like that, and where would I keep them—being ever-nude I don’t even have a pocket for a flask), but when I turned toward the voice, all I saw was Fluffy with his vacant eyes.

And how was YOUR Halloween?

The Fluffy files—exorcism after exercise (Olympic exercise)

My Fellow Inebriates,

I almost forgot to mention I received a reply from the exorcism people. So nice, too, so helpful. I really didn’t expect it.

If you weren’t around that day (I’ve no idea what day it was), here’s my initial query:

They were really prompt!

I felt really bad that I’d missed the message and did my best to explain why.

So the Fluffy situation is progressing, peeps. But we might have to wait until the Olympics are over.

Take that, Fluffy!
The Olympic Cross being blessed by Fr. Simon, with youth leaders from the Joshua Camp.
Credit: The Catholic Church in England and Wales.