Monday, May 24, 2010

Fly on the Wall


The annoying goat had managed to escape through the fencing again and was savoring the delicacy of fresh growth on the recovering trees in the yard. He must know that he is to be sold and is doing his best to make us remember him. Little Brother was passing through the kitchen to go put him back and says with a British accent as he passes me, “Let’s just off with ‘is ‘ead and have done with ‘im.”

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Of Mice and Men

Okay, it is official, we have a mouse problem. Everywhere and in everything. Almost. So we’re just moving. Period. Wait, we were already doing that weren’t we?

I have illusions of trying to be elegant and live elegantly. But sometimes circumstances shatter my ideals.

Case in point, last Sunday we were driving into town for an evening meals and fellowship, curving down the picturesque mountain road, freshly graveled with spring greenery and prolific white blossoms overhanging the meandering drive. I was especially smitten with the white apples blossoms with the pink kissed petals and cogitating on gathering some of their branches when the driver starts doing gymnastics and smacking herself.

There was a winged creature you see. After it disappeared, we kept driving and I tried to find it on the flour and finish exterminating it when my eye caught the most distasteful sight under my seat. Dead in the trap, its mouth open enough to show miniature vicious little teeth was a mouse. Very stiff and dead. Reality is a painful thing.

We’ve been having mice in the house and it is just something we’re battling, but until today, I’ve always been under the impression that they are outside and merely come in at night to pillage. Apparently I am very naive . Today we were moving a bookcase and unearthed a rather large nest, and then it started moving. Scream!!! No, actually not, but we grabbed the pellet gun and a broom and called for Little Brother on the radio. “Mice, please help.” Really, I did say that as a final, desperate appeal for help. I love rearranging movie lines for my own purposes.

I’m trying so very hard to “man up”, but rodents just aren’t my thing. Especially when in the middle of the night you only half wake up to what sounds like a right merry mouse shindig. I smacked my mattress hard in my half wakeful state to let them know that humans still existed and it did quiet down. But my mind was not to be deceived. It makes for a less than restful night.

I don’t dislike cats, but being slightly allergic, I’m not a cat person. However, this might call for desperate measures. Either that or we might have to start tiling our floors with traps. Which it will be the firm responsibility of the men of the house to empty. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in equality – I firmly believe the men should share this task equally.

Pleasant dreams.

I could tell you a worse story, but I won’t. And it doesn’t have anything to do with mice.

Should I just go back to posting pretty pictures of cooking and flowers?

In My Father’s Shed?

I dubbed it Camp Hope and our slogan is “we hope we’re not camping here the rest of our lives.” One has to have a sense of humor about these things.

I little would have guessed those many months ago, that the fire that put an abrupt end to our carefree volleyball game in the park would bring so many changes to our lives.

It was such a quiet, ordinary day. Well, as quiet and ordinary as you get the day after your sister’s wedding with friends and family still in town. One particular member of the family that was still in town was my volunteer firefighter brother. Just note that for the moment.

We also had a close family friend in town that played volleyball in college, so a game with our friends was a priority while she was here. I was sitting in the car with my sister-in-law and niece chatting out of the cold while the rest of them were enjoying a rousing game of speed volleyball.

That was when the commotion broke out, cell phones started popping out, eyes diverted to the mountainside. There was an ominous orange glow and smoke close to our place on the mountain which we could see across the more than twelve mile distance.

The Fireman finally got through to someone at the house and asked “is everything alright? It looks like there is a fire nearby.”

He was talking to Little Brother, who up to this point was in the dark about any potential danger lurking near. An attention getting question and he went and looked out the window and said in a suddenly alarmed voice “I gotta go,” and hung up the telephone. Just as a note, don’t hang up on a firefighter who has called about the fire that might be endangering your house, especially after such a cryptic message. You’re just wasting time. Really, HE WILL CALL BACK. Fortunately Mother answered the telephone the second time and was able to let him know quickly that they were safe, it was the neighbors and they were going down to see if they could help.

That was only mildly reassuring to my brother. He beat the fire department home. But then, so did we. Very slow response time. Mostly. That was pretty much it. I wasn’t driving, that’s all I’m saying.

We checked in at the house, started cider heating for the firefighters and neighbors and then bundled up to join the rest of the family stand by and helplessly watch the orange demon lick out and inhale what literally minutes before had been a cozy secure dwelling and a quiet evening. The heat from the fire warmed the cold night air as we stood with our neighbors watching almost all their worldly possessions and memories crumble into hot ashes.

For us, life stayed pretty much normal, except for helping to take care of the neighbors large herd of goats that had been left to roam the mountain at will and had turned rather wild. That in itself was rather an adventure for Mother, whose own herd of goats is completely tame and rather well behaved.

Months went by as we came and went, overlooking the charred remains of the neighbor’s house. The twisted metal and debris was a rather dampening sight. They decided a couple months later that they for sure were not going to rebuild for several personal reasons and we became interested in buying the property.

And after that for the next few months we began the cycle of going back and forth, debating, cogitating, thinking it impossible, hearing it had sold, not being sure how we would pay for it, only intending to buy part of the property, hoping to buy all fourteen acres, realizing it was impossible, etcetera. And then finally preliminary papers were signed to purchase it.

But it hadn’t closed. I’m a very cautious person, you know, and I didn’t hold my breath. But I definitely could see God’s leading and how with every potential obstacle, God would clear the way, even when it had seemed impossible. I’m not talking about road blocks that we had to beat our way around, which would be sign that maybe this wasn’t God’s leading, I’m talking about things that in our own strength would have made the purchase impossible, but God’s leading resolved.

Everything fell into place early and the papers were signed, the deed recorded and it is ours. Hello, hard work.

The 40 x 40 shed on the property that was formally used as a barn and for storage is currently in the process of being remodeled into a home. Ahem. If you think we’re a little strange, then go read a modern Shelter magazine, it really is very vogue right now. Besides, I’m the girl that admires silos as we pass them thinking what a neat house they would make. It isn’t necessarily a sentiment shared by my siblings, but I’m prepared to stand alone. It’s either that or a castle, I’m not really picky.

Thanks to the kind offices of friends and family; the roof has been redone, what was the finished area in the back has been partially undone in preparation for a concrete slab to match the rest of the building, the open end is now framed in and awaiting the door we just purchased and we are starting to move in camp style. Because you see, it’s like this, my oldest brother and his family are moving into what is our current house. And though they’re very flexible and easy going, two households of furniture just don’t fit comfortably together.

It’s just another part of the adventure in this adventure of ours. Is that
redundant? Try moving the same load of lumber a couple of times.