William has got to calm the fuck down.
Seriously. I drove 443 miles last weekend, and got essentially three hours of sleep, thanks to one very self-important young wabbit. This same wabbit later peed on me. My station wagon smells like a barn, I have hay in my underwear this very minute, and all of this for the sake of one very important win and some comments from judges in a specialty of a specialty of a specialty.
Oh, and I got bit. Hard.
People wonder why I think my show at Lotusphere is a frickin' breeze by comparison.
I am the proprietor of a very specialized little rabbitry in the mountains of west-central Maryland. I breed and show Flemish Giants, the largest rabbit breed recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA). Flemish are gigantic, more than triple and often five times the size and weight of those brown wild rabbits who eat your tomatoes and zinnias in your garden all summer. They are massive, friendly, opinionated, and if given the choice, they would steal your car keys and do donuts in the parking lot down at WalMart when you're not looking.
I have ten of them.
This is a typical night for me:
We went to a show this past weekend. I took five does and three bucks, ranging from a fairly experienced doe (Liz) and a smaller senior doe (Princess Grace) to three young does (Georgette, Flopsy and Mopsy) for whom it was their first show and their second big voyage -- their first being their trip from southeast Ohio to my barn back in August, on my way back from #IamLUG.
Oh, wait. This isn't Twitter. I haven't retrocoded hashtag support into this ancient version of BlogSphere. Yeah, OK, whatever. My hands were all scratched up.
Anyway, I also had three bucks on the trip: Nutsy, Nathan and Prince William.
It was like a fucking high school road trip, except with projectile pheromones, and instead of a bus, it was me and eight large wabbits in my elderly VW station wagon on a hot, humid weekend in central Pennsylvania.
The show went well. Nutsy is now a Grand Champion (meaning he has had at least three wins in a recognized show over enough other wabbits from enough different breeders) and he will doubtless have more wins. Grace did unexpectedly well. Georgette placed high even though she's quite young. Nathan is the son of a legendary Grand Champion couple, the brother of a Grand Champion herself, and he got decent comments and liked getting out of the barn.
William is that one jackass who sets off cherry bombs in the toilet of the Senior Trip hotel and gets the whole senior class kicked out.
Well, except my car was the hotel and I can't really kick him out, because he's a wabbit. Suffice to say that I got to the show site at 3am Saturday night, the show barn opened at 7am, and I got maybe 45 minutes' worth of sleep because Mr. Self-Important spent most of that time stomping his foot and whizzing on everything he could target, including me. And then I spent the next 19 hours awake, either carting wabbits around or driving.
I got home and the car smelled like a barn.
And only here does the "typical night for me" actually start.
William is a frickin' slob. If I put hay in his hutch, he doesn't eat it immediately. Instead, he regards it in rugby terms, something he must ruck over it, deal with it as his personal scrum, and he digs digs digs digs and throws it all over everywhere, including into the water dish I just poured. And then he looks at me like, "somebody threw hay in my water!"
He mostly wants girls. Bess, one of my most senior does, lives next door. Bess is actually his mother. William has no idea.
Below him, Nathan, whose mother was legendary but who died this spring unexpectedly, is a very calm sort of buck. Long of line and large of head, he likes root vegetables and likes going to shows so he can see other wabbits. But he doesn't automatically assume he's going to do the nasty with them, as William does. Nathan chews on his hay and sweet potato and carrot and keeps to himself, occasionally thumping back when William stomps on his ceiling, kinda like that asshole in the dorm when you were in college who wouldn't turn off Metallica at 3am on a Tuesday.
Georgette, an enormous but young Ohio doe, lives in the last cube in that quartet of hutches. This weekend was her first show; she did well, but she really hated being that close to William on the road trip, and I don't blame her, even though I don't think he peed on her through the carriers the way he did me. Georgie is very defensive of her hutch, like many does, so even when I just wanna give her feed and hay and treats and skritch her head, she acts like I'm the invasion of the Visigoths and gets all huffy. She "woofs" at me, and when he hears it upstairs, William assumes that she's hot for him, and starts thumping until I tell him to cut it the fuck out and quit standing in his water dish, you moron.
In the saner part of the barn, Nutsy and Princess Grace live next door to each other. They know, in some wabbitish way, that they will mate, kinda like some Doris Day/Rock Hudson film circa 1959. Nutsy knows he's a Grand Champion now (I told him), and since then, Grace ignores him because she's trying to act cool. Before this show season, she and he nuzzled each other around the corners of the hutches. In fact, Nutsy was so into Grace, and she so into him, that he actually fell out of the hutch and ended up four feet down on the barn floor. I have video. But now that he's A Big Important Wabbit, Grace acts like he's not fit to eat her poop, because HER parents were both Grand Champions multiple times over and SHE cannot be bothered. I give her a piece of carrot, and she ignores it because she knows that I gave Nutsy the other half.
Their downstairs neighbor, Brak -- properly, Barack Obunny, because he was conceived on Election Night, 2008 -- tries to ignore them and eats his hay.
And Liz -- Elizabeth Regina, named for her regal bearing in the pictures we saw of her before she even arrived in the barn in 2009 -- is pissed off because she is now in Bess' old hutch, and she can see across the way to the "Where The Boys Are" shenanigans between Nutsy and Grace. She does not approve. She will take the carrot from me and whip it against the hutch wall, and woof at me.
And during all this, I'm trying to fill up water dishes and feed bowls and clean out hay and put in new hay and check to make sure everyone is healthy and pick up their toys off the barn floor after they throw them at me.
Did I mention Katie? Katie volunteered to be the Official Barn Cat of South Mountain Rabbitry a couple of years ago. She literally just showed up one day and has been looking after the wabbits ever since. She has a cat bed atop William's hutch, and a big food bowl and a water dish.
She is also a whining pain in the ass sometimes. I go out there, and wabbits will be out of food, have spilled their water, need new bedding and more hay, but even if there's food in her bowl, Katie demands NEW FOOD! NOWWWWWWWWW! She will follow me all over the barn. Lately, I've learned that if I take her bowl, shake it so that it sounds like there's new food being poured into it, and put it back into the accustomed spot, she'll shut the hell up and leave me alone so I can take care of the wabbits. She buys it every time.
If I'm lucky, I escape the barn without being bitten, assaulted by toys, or peed on when William wants to demonstrate his remarkable urinary targeting skills.
And then, there's Fred.
Mr. Fred, to you, asshole.
Mr. Fred is, among other things, the world's largest Holland Lop, and the only non-Flemish in this rabbitry. I actually won him in a raffle at the same wabbit show I went to this past weekend, except three years ago. I later figured out that based on the amount I spent on raffle tickets versus how many it took to win him (he looked forlorn and I felt sorry for him), he cost me $1.56. Fred is the closest thing we will ever know to being a small, furry Winston Churchill. I get back in the house, and Fred, who lives on the windowsill in the bedroom, decided he was done with the apple I had given him, after having eaten half of it. Rather than eat the other half, he instead picked it up and threw it on the bed, where I found it. However, the ants found it first, so not only did I have to throw the half-eaten apple out, I also had to eject a bunch of really excited little ants, while Fred glowered at me and wondered why I hadn't brought him any mint or sweet pea.
He dislikes Katie.
He dislikes other wabbits, though he tolerates Grace.
He dislikes me intensely, even though I rescued him from probably going home to a double-wide full of screaming human children who would play with his loppy ears.
I play with his loppy ears every chance I get, which might have something to do with why he dislikes me. But honestly, if Winston Churchill had had ears like Fred, could you have blamed Josef Stalin for playing with them at Yalta? I think not.
It is now 4:00am, and only now do I get to sleep.
By comparison to a night with the giant wabbits, my show at Lotusphere these last few years is a frickin' piece of cake.
And I do this every night.
Oh, and I have a two-day show this coming weekend, and the ARBA National Convention in late October.
My car is going to reek.