Readers are invited to join a typical busy family for one year of hysterical and true-life interruptions. Their beloved pets create more havoc and chaos than deserved with harrowing trips to the veterinarian, injuries, and quirky personalities of their own. Add in the wildlife who regularly appear (pigs, skunks, muskrats, mice and occasional “two-legged” animal) and readers will be shaking their heads in incredulous disbelief, and snorting at the outcome. With two or more interconnected stories per month, the author recounts one ridiculous life disruption after another. The stories are presented as calendar dates as though the reader has stumbled upon a journal giving readers a voyeuristic view of someone else’s chaotic world.
Beginning in September, readers are introduced to the characters: hyper-active, zany Katrina, her quieter, well-centered husband John and their three very different aged children. Independent Deanna is in college, deep thinker Michael is nervously entering middle school, and fearless Spencer is headed off to first grade. The difference in ages and stages creates a constantly changing dynamic. Add in klutzy but loveable dog Bear, conniving Fat Cat Chance, and a myriad of wildlife who saunter in and out of their acreage and you have These Animals Are Killing Me.
Readers will turn to page one and plummet unceremoniously into the first day of school and all the stress such a day ensues. The century-old kitchen is a mess; instructions are being barked out, the dog is running excitedly from one end of the room t the next, the cat is winding his way through legs purposely trying to trip us, anxieties are relieved, lunches packed and the day memorialized with pictures. Despite careful preparation, the morning goes completely off kilter when the youngest child, Spencer, ‘moons’ Michael’s school bus effectively ruining his brother’s foray into middle school. Overly protective Katrina then attempts to slyly follow the school bus through two towns to ensure her children arrive at school safely. That she is eventually caught and gently chastised by the bus offers a life lesson as well.
All chapters are presented in the same manner as the author moves through a calendar year. The scenarios will be familiar to most busy adults, juggling over-packed calendars: trips to the veterinarian, an ill-timed phone call during an ob/gun appointment, carving out time to attend a school event, yelling at slow drivers in a mad dash across town, gearing up for the chaos of Holidays, family vacations, frightening rescues, turning forty, natural disasters and the many other unexpected happenings that can occur in a calendar year. At the end of each episode, the author shares small windows of clarity in which the world rights itself and we see, if even just momentarily, what is important, what is right, what is good. These Animals are Killing Me is a gentle yet fun reminder that our over-stuffed and chaotic days usually have a good deal of humor behind them, if we look hard enough.
Woven throughout are two common threads; First, beloved pets, pesky wildlife and even curious animals of the ‘two legged’ variety, add color and dimension to our lives. Secondly, there is no such thing as a mundane life when we open ourselves to laughter.