Monday, January 25, 2010

Squirrel on the loose...

“Pumpkin, were you a naughty kitty today?” I asked my cat as I passed by her on my way to the living room. It seemed strange that she was standing in the corner under the china cabinet in the dining room, as if she were serving a punishment for some indiscretion. Heading back through to the kitchen, I noticed that Pumpkin was joined by another of my three cats. “One cat in the corner is just funny. Two cats in the corner is a little suspicious, you two,” I said to the cats.

A sinking feeling came over me as I remembered another time all three cats were congregated in this spot. That time, they had chased a mouse up the wall where it cowered and clung, hoping to avoid being dinner. Already shuddering with revulsion, I found a flashlight and courageously approached the china cabinet. My fear and loathing of mice is well known in the household. Whenever one makes an appearance, I can be found in some lofty perch as my youngest and most compassionate daughter, Lili, bravely catches the wayward creature in hopes of making a pet out of it.

“What is it, mom?” Lili asked.

I ignored her question as I began to yell. “Where’s the phone? Find the phone! Call your dad! Get in the bathroom! HURRY UP!” By the time I had finished my rant, the older daughter had pushed the cell phone into my hand and taken her own look behind the china cabinet.

As I was making my way to lock myself in the bathroom, she called out, “Geez, mom, quit flipping out. It’s just a little flying squirrel.”

“Eww, eww, eww!” was my only reply as I slammed and locked the door. I speed-dialed my husband. He answered, and not having time for pleasantries, I blurted, “How long before you are home?” I’m sure I put the fear of God into him that someone was lying broken and bloody on the kitchen floor, but once I made him understand that there was a squirrel in the house, he knew better than to be upset with me about sounding so panicked. This wasn't our first squirrel run-in. He assured me that he was close to home and I would not be eaten alive before he got there.

I hung up the phone and opened the door a crack to make sure the girls were not being infested with rabies. The sight that met my eyes would have been hilarious if I did not have such a phobia about small, furry, rodent type creatures. Both girls were shrieking with delight. The squirrel wasn't making any noise, but I’m sure that if it had been, the shrieks would not have been of delight.

By the time, my husband got home, the girls must have worn the squirrel right out because he had no trouble snagging the bedraggled creature in an old towel. My family has no sympathy for my phobia, however, and the squirrel was transferred to a cage for Lili to keep as her pet of the week.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Welcome to the Compound

I can very distinctly remember my 8th grade year. My best friend and I were inseparable. We had been best friends since 5th grade. We dressed alike when we could. We had pet nicknames for each other. We listed the boys we liked in initials running the length of our folders and notebooks surrounded by arrow-stabbed hearts. We had our own table of friends in the lunch room. We had teachers wrapped around our little fingers. We had dreams too. Even though this was before the time of "Friends," that urbane group of chic, beautiful people, living together and hanging out in a coffee shop in New York City, this was how my bff and I envisioned our grown-up lives...maybe with a little Sex in the City thrown in. I knew even then that I wanted to be a teacher, but that could fit the dream, I figured. They had to have teachers in New York!
But as often happens, my bff and I drifted apart in high school. There was no drama or angst involved. It seems now it was as gradual as the seasons and it crept up on us like dusk to children called inside too soon on a summer night. My dreams stayed with me, even after the best friend was gone. I wanted to escape the mundane town in which I resided. You couldn't even call it a small town; its legal description is village. I still felt the city calling me.
In college, my thoughts of living on the east coast were resurrected for an inkling when I dreamed that Mr. Right, graduating as I was a sophomore, would beg me to transfer schools and come with him. While I imagined he was Mr. Right, it turned out I was just Miss Right Now.
Picking myself up and dusting myself off, it was cities in the south that called to me next. Minoring in Spanish, working in the summers with migrant children, and eyeing an opportunity to student teach in Texas, I began making different plans. Once again, I found my plans changing.
This time it was due to boredom and ennui, which happily led to a forever love. At any point along this journey, if anyone had told me I would be blissfully married to the man who truly is my Mr. Right, I would have laughed until I was blue in the face. These days I do laugh until I am blue in the face...because our life together is joyous and funny and just plain awesome.
So welcome to the blog of our life stories. Welcome to the joy and the pain and the children and the animals and the mess of a yard and the white house behind the red farm gate that we affectionately call The Compound.