Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Saturday, December 27, 2008

What Happens When It Snows - Part 2

So there was another mouse. A live one. My husband, having once again achieved that place of almost-sleep, was rudely re-awakened by the shouting of an urgent wife. I had very briefly taken my eyes off of the mouse in order to bellow my need of help to the top of the stairs; turns out that rodents, even very tiny ones, are quick on their four feet, and our small guest had hid himself in a place where we couldn’t find him.

We gingerly poked and prodded our way around the kitchen in an effort to locate the little beast. We scraped the microwave cart out of its spot, and squeaked chairs across the floor. Everywhere we looked was a place where he wasn’t.

Sean and I reconvened and decided that it would be a good night for watching “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and cozied up on the couch with our ears turned toward the kitchen. Every few minutes my husband would creep into the kitchen with the kids’ Fisher Price flashlight set on red light (so as not to disturb the mouse’s night vision or something like that) to see if he couldn’t locate the mouse’s position.

It wasn’t too long before the mouse was found cowering behind the training potty. The question of how to capture the rodent without mortally wounding it became a very serious one now that actually finding it had increased our chances of removing it from the house.

The squeaker fled to the area behind the microwave cart and refrigerator. Armed with a flashlight, I stood sentry on one end while my husband guarded the other end with a small cardboard box in his hands. I realize it was foolish to think that one of us would be quick enough to actually bring the box down on top of the mouse, but we were desperate to have thing out of our house. (We’ve never had mice before, to our knowledge at least, but we have heard that it is very undesirable to share living and cooking space with them. Unless, of course, they have mad cooking skills like Remy in “Ratatouille.”)

House mice are cute. I know they are dirty creatures and all, but their plump little bodies and shiny black eyes make a person go all kinds of squishy inside once one is over the initial fear provoked by a wild rodent running loose around one’s house. So there we were, two grown adults alternately awwing and shrieking as we chased the mouse back and forth in our feeble attempt to corner it.

Then it happened. My husband finally had a chance to drop his empty Green Mountain Coffee box and trap the vermin. He chickened out. For whatever reason he found that he could not do his duty with the carton. So we switched places.

The mouse continued to run back and forth between us without ever coming out from the safety of his path behind the appliances. Occasionally he would wiggle underneath something and then poke his nose out for a look around; once, he found a small piece of cat food and stopped for a nibble; crouched on his haunches, he held the little bit of sustenance between his front paws and turned it round as he munched away at it until it was gone.

Then came my turn to try my hand at capturing the mouse. As it turns out, I did not find it difficult to slam the box down on top of the mouse. Not exactly, anyway. I suppose I should say that I did not hesitate to slam the box down: it just didn’t actually come down on top of the mouse. I believe I mentioned earlier that those mice are fast movers. I am proud to say that although I didn’t trap the entire mouse under the box I still managed to snag his tail.

I looked down at the mouse struggling to free himself and I thought to lift the box ever so slightly, and deftly bring it down on his entire self. That little mouse was like a wind-up toy. Once the box let go of his tail he fairly flew under the stove.

It has been a week now, and we have yet to ascertain where the mouse is, or was, or where he will be. The cat has not managed to kill him. Our live trap, laced with peanut-buttery-goodness has not caught him. That first night, I would awaken with visions of our rodent-killing cat dropping the dead furry carcass on my face in a display of pride. He’s still pretty proud of himself for annihilating that first mouse.

Mostly I’m just glad that the mouse was slain after the kiddos were safely in bed, and that it’s dead body was found before the cat had a chance to eat it’s face off. I’m also thankful that the little mouse body didn’t lie on the rug until morning when one of the children was sure to find it before dear old mom.

*I don't mop under my appliances every day.*

Monday, December 22, 2008

What Happens When It Snows - Part 1

The cold winter weather seems to drive warmth-seeking critters into our abode. Last November the bat of doom and destruction visited us. A couple of nights ago a little mouse couple invaded our home.

It had seemed a long day and all save myself were in bed asleep by nine o’clock. Being savagely tired but in need of a snack to fill a hole in my tummy, I went down into the kitchen to find something to eat. I took note as I entered the kitchen that our two cats were sitting and looking at their food dish; this generally means that they are starving due to negligence on our part; I peeked over and saw that their dish was full.

I proceeded to the refrigerator, put a small helping of leftover lasagna on a plate and stuck it in the microwave for one minute, after which I took my plate into the dining room. Maybe two minutes had passed from my entering the kitchen until my leaving it.

As I crossed the threshold into the dining room I noticed one of the cats batting a toy around in front of me. Seamus is a rather playful cat and to see him dashing about after the kids are asleep is pretty ordinary. What caught my attention was that his toy wasn’t making any noise. It didn’t smack when it hit the wall. It didn’t make a rolling sort of sound as it jostled around the floor.

Bending over to determine what the cat had found to play with, my hand began to reach for the object in question. Now, I didn’t have my glasses on and there is a questionably speckled Berber rug in our dining room/living room area. (Brown specked Berber is great for hiding stuff). What stopped my hand mid-reach was the tuft of white glaring back at me from the floor amidst the surrounding drab colors.

I followed the white tuft up and saw a little mousy chin; I followed the tuft down and spotted a small mousy tail. A dead mouse right outside my kitchen door was most certainly the very last thing I expected to see. We’ve never had to deal with mice before!

My poor husband was shouted out of his comfortable sleep, and told in no uncertain terms that he must rid our home of this mouse! He wandered about for a bit in a suddenly-awakened sort of stupor, but eventually the dead mouse was disposed of and the cat was sufficiently back-patted, and my husband went back to bed.

A few minutes after he had reached the land of sleep in his little sleep-sloop, there again came a suspicious clatter from the kitchen. Being on high alert I immediately betook myself to the culinary epicenter of the home. After a very short investigation I determined that there remained yet another rodent to be dealt with.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Trees and Flying Babies

A person would think that a child of eighteen months would begin to understand that a fall from great heights has the potential of pretty big ouchies. Perhaps when she reaches the mature age of nineteen months she will start to show a little more caution and reverence for things like chairs and big, tall beds.

About two weeks ago I was overcome by an attack of Christmas spirit. I decided it was high time our artificial tree made its appearance, even though I would have to put it up and direct toddler traffic in the general vicinity all by myself.

Last year the thing was put down in the basement instead of the attic, and the box has accumulated too much dust and web to be brought up into our living space. So there I was, getting some great aerobic exercise by hiking tree limbs up the stair and coming back down empty-handed to retrieve more, over and over, up and down, again and again.

I finally managed to bring up most of the pieces, and I started to “build” that tree. I don’t know how long it took me to fluff up all the branches. Nor do I know how many glaring scratches I received in the process. I do know that it took a little finagling, but I think the tree is positioned in a better spot than it was last year. The only problem is the loss of space in the corner. Lost or wasted space makes me sad.

We have a smallish house. When we bought this tree our budget dictated that we find it at a thrift store. We didn’t have a whole lot of options. We would have liked to get a slim tree (even though they aren’t fat and jolly like bigger trees), but we couldn’t find one. So we got this tree, which is in good shape but has a five-foot diameter.

When my husband brought the tree home last year it was quickly discovered that the fir was a bit too wide for our smallish house. After some finagling we removed select branches and stuffed it into the space between the end of our couch and the front windows. It was a little ridiculous, but it worked.

This year I choose to give the tree only three sides and thrust it in front of the windows. When the sky isn’t overcast and the sun shines through it kind of makes the tree look a little thin and haggard. However, the construction paper garland helps to fill it out a bit.

In order to place the tree in front of the windows, I needed to do a bit of reorganizing. The play kitchen set had to be moved to the dining room, which meant that the extra chair had to relinquish its spot and relocate to the kitchen.

And here we are back at my first point. A person would think that a toddler who has taken many a fall would stop climbing chairs! But it would seem that the chair that transferred to the kitchen is in a great spot for climbing in order to reach the light switch. Flipping switches is great fun. Lights go on. They go off. Great fun.

Not for the first time, the chair took a dive with the toddler atop yesterday. Toddler and chair took with them half a box of Clementines that were sitting peacefully on the table minding their own business. One of the fruits didn’t fair so well: it was squashed flat beneath the weight of the chair. Never before had I seen a citrus fruit in the shape of a pancake.

And then this morning, head groggy with the fog of just waking up, the little girl teetered on the edge of my three or four foot tall bed, instead of climbing down, and said “A-morning, Mommy,” twice or thrice over until I came to rescue her from her precarious position. When I glanced her there, wobbling to and fro in the dark of early morning, I had visions.

She spills so often due to her theatrics that I generally don’t get that sinking feeling in my stomach when I see her go over. But on the opposite side of “generally” is “sometimes.” Sometimes I still get that sinking feeling. Especially when she falls from a high place with her head leading the way to the floor.

Monday, December 15, 2008

'Splosions Happen to Everyone

We had a delicious dinner of venison steaks, mashed potatoes, fresh rolls, broccoli, and acorn squash last evening, compliments of my parents. It was so yummy. Plus it’s really nice not to have to cook a meal with a small child wound around my legs screaming the entire time. Of course it’s not much easier for Nana to cook with the baby in her kitchen because she does pretty much the same thing to her.

A few hours after dinner, when we were all safely home, my husband’s intestines kicked up a bit of a ruckus. This is not unusual. He tends to go about his post-dinner time with bubbles in his posterior. I would like to say that after six and a half years of marriage I have gotten used to this, but the truth of the matter is that it still annoys me. I am a lady, after all.

So there we were, safely at home with his exploding Highness. This time, much to our dismay, there was a bit of a stench associated with each “‘splosion,” as my son would say. The poor child is too young to realize that there is safety in running away when daddy’s bowels are cleansing. He instead sits there placidly, like a little martyr.

I suppose there is a certain amount of knowledge that goes along with being three. Shortly after the odiferous display started a very serious and contemplative air came over my son and he turned to his father and said, “Daddy, you need to go potty.” The man really should have gone to the potty because he almost wet himself laughing.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

One Has Fun While the Other Has None

Now that our health insurance has kicked in, the kids both needed to visit the doctor for a well checkup. My son hasn’t had a well visit since he was eighteen months old, so he was definitely past due.

Big boys of three years old get to do lots of fun things at the doctor’s office. He was very anxious to step up on the scale and stand in front of the big ruler. Some of his excitement waned a bit when it was time to have his blood pressure checked. Hesitation flickered across his features when he felt the blood pressure cuff tightening around his arm; he reached to take it off, but responded to directions to sit very still while the machine worked. It seemed to take forever. Nevertheless, he stayed rigid in his chair while the apparatus hissed and clicked.

Next it was the baby’s turn to be weighed and measured. Of course she screamed like a banshee the entire time. But her big brother used to do the same (and now he is so big and not screamy). Then it was down to the skivvies while the three of us waited for the doctor to come in. And waited. And waited. The kids made faces in the funhouse mirror and ran around the corner chair, their cool little bodies seemingly oblivious to the chill in the room. I must have told them two dozen times not to lie on the floor. It’s not quite as clean as one would like considering the nature of the establishment.

At long last the doctor did come. She looked in the direction of the baby, which started the screaming afresh. She asked the usual developmental questions; we discussed ways to propagate weight gain in my teeny tiny little peanut of a girl. Then it was time for my son to have his developmental test.

“Are you a boy or a girl?” the doctor asked my son.

She had his attention and he was excited to show her that he knew the sign for “girl.” Once everyone was sufficiently impressed by his sign language prowess she asked him again.

This time he very clearly stated that he was, indeed, a boy.

“Is your sister a boy or a girl,” was the next question.

“She’s a girl,” was his quick reply.

“How about mommy?”

The doctor was starting to lose his interest. He mumbled something that sounded like, “Mommy is mommy.” According to the doctor, this is a very common reply.

“What about daddy? Is daddy a boy or a girl?”

At this question the little man’s eyes grew wide, and in an awed voiced he asserted, “Daddy is very BIG.”

While that answer was good enough for me the doctor seemed very interested to know whether daddy was a boy or a girl. It finally came out that daddy was definitely a boy, and my son passed his developmental inquiry. He then went on to spell his name (and his sister’s name) for the doctor, and wow her with things that she didn’t even ask for.

As if that wasn’t enough to make me proud, my young man braved his flu shot like a trooper. He flinched and said, “it hurts me” when the needle was stuck into his arm, but he didn’t cry. Unfortunately, the same could not be said of his poor little sister who had to be peeled and cut away from my body to be laid on the table.

It was very sad. It became even sadder at three o’clock this morning when she awoke from her slumber with a raging fever, compliments of the savage flue shot. I think it can be very hard to be one and a half.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

So I Married a Cave Troll

Sometimes I think my husband must have cave-troll blood in him.

When we first looked at our home I was so happy that almost all of the rooms got a good amount of sunlight during the day. The house is situated on a corner, and there are no houses across the street along the side of the house. Just a wooded slope. (The wooded slope also caused much excitement since we live on the edge of a city where one is not accustomed to seeing wooded areas or slopes of any kind). Leafy trees don’t block light like a solid structure; the light filters through them in a serene and foresty-like way.

The very first thing I do in the morning is twist the stick on the blinds so that they open and let the hazy morning sunlight filter into our living spaces. It elicits such a cozy feeling to see the soft light illuminate the furniture and reflect off of the wall hangings.

My husband, being of a suspicious nature, always fears for our privacy. Although he likes the light he would almost prefer that the blinds stay closed for the duration of the day because, well, someone across the street, or a person walking down the sidewalk, or a wackaloon who lives in Ohio, may have their binoculars out and be watching us eat our breakfast.

You may think I’m joking or exaggerating. I assure you, I am not. (Okay, maybe just a teensy weensy bit). I can understand his desire for privacy, and I share it to a healthy extent. But if I wanted to live without sunshine I would have made our home in a cave; it might be a little dank and dusty, but it would be mortgage free.

So there I am in the morning, walking from window to window pulling back the curtains and opening and adjusting the blinds to an appropriate angle depending on the disposition of the sun that particular morning. Sean waits what he believes to be a suitable length of time, and then he flits from casement to casement closing the blinds in my wake. It is my belief that he presumes I won’t notice. But I do notice; and I have to open them all over again.

I have tried to forbid him from touching the blinds unless it is the dead of night and pitch black outside; so far that hasn’t squelched his compulsion. Many a time I have encouraged him to jog outside to stand on the sidewalk and peer through the window to see if he can tell how many fingers I am holding up. For whatever reason he hasn’t been interested in trying that either. I think it would be a healthy experiment at any rate- just in case a marauding villainous type spied us eating Christmas cookies and decided he was hungry too.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


In an effort to get into the Christmas mood, we have been monopolizing our local library’s copy of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” I suppose the whole not sharing thing isn’t very much in the spirit of Christmas, but we take it back to the Library every now and again so that someone else can have the pleasure of borrowing it too.

There was one week in November that we probably watched it fifty times. We watched it so often, in fact, that my illiterate three year old can now sit down with the book and “read” it to me. It’s really cute. He’ll drag that big old book onto his lap, with the crooked smile on his lips that he gets when he is about to do something smart, turn to the first page and start the story.

Every Who down in Who-ville liked Christmas a lot…

He’ll read and turn pages; he’ll do the Grinch voice. There are some parts, though, with words he’s not sure of. I guess Boris Karloff doesn’t always annunciate that well. Those words that he doesn’t know for sure are the best.

He took the Who-pudding! He took the roast beast! Him…clim…shim quick as a flash. Grinch en…tush…sma…sham of Who-hash!

Or something like that. However it goes, I just love being read to. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy and it makes my little man proud. I think it is safe to say that he does the Grinch as well as Boris Karloff ever did.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Item of the Day

For those who missed out on my amazing free shipping offer, here's another chance to snag some great gifts. Visit my shop December 3rd through December 10th for the Item of the Day! The Item of the Day will be new each day, and most importantly, ON SALE.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Looking for the Thankful and Finding It

Well, we made it. Not without two trips to the doctor’s office, but without any major catastrophic or debilitating disease or maiming. As of today we again join the ranks of the health insured. Just another thing on the long list of things to be thankful for.

Speaking of thankfulness, this Thanksgiving Day was not as remarkable as Easter when my husband decided to eat cat food. There were, however, a few memorable moments, as is practically unavoidable when my family is together in the same space.

Firstly, my poor mother, while frenetically running around the kitchen trying to make sure that everything stayed hot, accidentally dumped the turkey drippings that were intended for gravy down the drain whilst she skimmed the fat from the pan. This was in large part due to the fact that she was wanted on the phone. Multi-tasking is not one of her strong points.

Secondly, was the moment when my cold-ridden son sneezed all over the side of his Granddad’s face during prayer. It was a pretty wet and slimy sneeze as most of his sneezes are when the boogies of doom are attacking his body. All told, it didn’t seem to bother Granddad too much; his appetite was just as hearty as everybody else’s once he cleansed his face of it.

Unfortunately for me, I had an appointment at the dentist a few days before the holiday. Appointments at the dentist are always unfortunate. Who wants to spend large sums of money so that a dentist or dental hygienist can stretch one’s mouth into shapes it is not supposed to make and use sharp pointy metal sticks to scrape the enamel right off of one’s tooth. And then be forced to listen to a lecture on brushing gently. Right. But the professional is allowed to abrade the payee’s teeth with a piece of metal that could have been a rusty nail in another life.

When I visit the dentist, especially in the winter months, all the stretching, pulling, and flossing tend to make the corners of my mouth chap and ultimately split open. By the time the day for eating large mounds of food rolled around my lip was in pretty bad shape. Especially in the right corner region.

Every time I opened my mouth to put something yummy into it, the lip emitted a soundless plea (which I ignored) and tugged, pulled, and cracked open again. It was a tad uncomfortable. But all of this reminded me of something else that I am thankful for: chapstick. If one persists on looking for the bright side it can almost always be found.