Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Baby Mice/ Ethics

The kitchen has mice. Mice live in the kitchen.
For the first time in my life, I live with dogs but no cats, so this is an issue.  I also have two pet rats, who look a lot like big mice.  So. 
Irritated by the nibbles taken from a bag of tortilla chips, I set traps.
I caught two mice, and tried to quash my internal dilemma: if I am a keeper of pet rodents why kill the mice pooping on the counter? (A: because pooping on the counter is gross.)

Then, there was a baby mouse trapped in the sink. Tiny.  So small.  It's whole body would have fit in the circumference of a quarter.  It had freakishly long hind legs though, hopping desperately to escape the sink.
I was too overcome by its cuteness to kill it, so I trapped and released it outside (where it has likely died).
Then I felt bad.  Poor baby mouse!  It had never been outside before.  How was it to survive?  It probably suffered.

Days later: another tiny mouse in the sink.  Tinier, even.  The body small enough to fit in a nickel.  This one I trapped, and released on the kitchen counter, whereupon it scurried into the toaster.

Now: tiny poops in the dishrack every day, and I am anxious about the toaster's cleanliness.  I am skeeved out (wish I'd killed all the mice) and optimistic that I'll find another tiny adorable grasshopper-like baby in the sink (wish I could stroke all the mice).

Monday, August 15, 2016

Where'd the Humor Go?

I've been struggling to be funny.  The blog has suffered because funny requires me to self mock, and that's hard if you think you may have critical readers.  It's also hard if you're working to obscure the identities of four children while being specific about their wonderful wackiness.

Humor is essential to survival though, the valve in the pressure cooker's lid.

I need it.

Today's pressure cooker:

I am in Baltimore and it is too hot.

Father is in hospital (he can't hear me on the phone and I don't know if he's about to die or about to, against doctor's orders, discharge himself: both are possible).

Father is Mother's caregiver, ergo Mother has been moved to respite care, and is distraught that Father doesn't recognize her voice when she calls him in hospital.

Neighbor (whose husband died three weeks ago) doesn't want to feed their cats or look after their house anymore because it is too much responsibility.  She advises I call other neighbor (Eee.  But other neighbor always reams me out for not hopping on a plane and being there even though I have been out twice in the last 4 months.)

Brother is in an addiction recovery house somewhere in Vancouver (but which one). Either that or he is on the street.

Funny, maybe, is how this mimics, exactly, the feel of a thriller based on paranoia and suspense.  What is going on?  I don't know,  father doesn't know, mother doesn't know, neighbor doesn't know, brother doesn't know!

Time to call the hospital and see what the nurses (who can't legally tell me anything over the phone) are willing to illegally let slip.

Friday, July 15, 2016

It's a New Day

Bow to her father regarding the packed lunch he made her for summer camp:
"Nobody likes tomatoes, Daddy"

Daddy (BF): "But.  You ate tomatoes last night!"

Bow: Yes, but today is a new day.

Annual Wild Berry Blow Out

I kind of missed mulberry season this year.  Dog walks from this house, were we've lived since October, don't seem to lead under any accessible fruiting mulberry trees.  There are some inaccessible ones behind forbidding poison ivy along the long alley people here refer to as "The Lane."  There had been a great tree a block from the pool, but it has been cut down. I could have gone further out of my way to look, but instead I went to Vancouver, and now mulberry season is over.

 I have been extra vigilant about the wild cloud berries.  I didn't want to miss them too.  Yesterday, despite the "Code Red" heat which closed the Spanish language summer camp at lunchtime (que no vale), and the dentist appointment for Smiles, we went to [a location I cannot reveal because I am jealously hoarding berry bushes] and picked cloudberries from thorny branches hung like bedecked Christmas trees.  It was great.  Easy, fun, tasty and the bushes were even in the shade!

This morning we (Me, Voice, Smiles) presented Wisp and Bow with a heaped bowl of garnet colored juiciness to enjoy.  Wisp, seemingly always concerned that the adults in her life are trying to poison her with what they claim are "tasty"  "foods,"  attempted some preemptive buzzkill "I've HAD cloudberries before.  They AREN'T as good as raspberries."  Nonetheless, the four children enjoyed a finger-staining and rapid consumption of berries, and ate the whole crop.

I feel like I can rest easier now.  At least I didn't blow the cloud berry harvest . . .

Monday, July 11, 2016

Summer Adventures

1) Vancouver.

We went to visit my ailing-aging parents.  My father describes himself as "shrimping" with age.  He means "shrinking" but the curvature of his spine is so severe, and the three fingered hand . . . well.  He's righter than he knows.  My parents held themselves together for the entire visit: no falls, no disasters. It didn't rain once either.  Both weather and good health were very suspicious.

Now we are back and I phoned last night from Baltimore to discover that my mother is in hospital. Mostly, it seems, she is there because she was about to have her first bowel movement in 18 days and my father, with the benefit of past experiences of her montezuma-like evacuations, decided he just wasn't able to deal with the mess that was about to come.  So he called an ambulance, and now my mother is in hospital pooping.

2) Spanish Camp.

Voice and Smiles were looked after  by a wonderful Argentinian woman at a home-run daycare when they were babies, and she spoke only Spanish to her charges.  They were fluent at age 3.

At ages 7 and 9 they only know this phrase, "Hola ardilla caka", which I have implored them not to lead with this week, for this week they are at Spanish Camp, rediscovering immersion in Spanish.  I wonder if they will miraculously remember all they have forgotten?  Perhaps a door in their brain will open and verbs in complex tenses will pour out?  From their faces when I left (tense, not conjugating tenses), I suspect not, but I am curious, hopeful nonetheless.

I ought to go visit their old daycare provider.  She really was amazing.  She cooked different lunches for six toddlers every day, catering to their whims while also providing delicious food.  They always played outside in her nice little yard.  They sang and read.  I was so lucky to have found her.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Robins, part 4

Doctor Robin, as seen from inside.
Three of the four babies, as seen from outside.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Robins Part 3

There are at least 3 babies in that nest now.  They hatched on Wednesday afternoon (Bow was the first to see them).  They are, today, slightly firmer looking, a bit less like wet dinosaur-fish.  Today their wide open beaks reach up over the lip of the nest and look pointed.  Today you can hear their "peep peep."

Standing inside this morning, BF and I watched Mamma Robin (I call her Dr Robin, because Mrs seemed too retrogressive and Ms seemed too formal) and Daddy Robin deliver worms to the nest.  The scene then, on the two sides of the transom's window glass:

Inside: Human couple watching robins delightedly.
Outside: Robin couple watching humans suspiciously.

"I bet,"  said BF, "Daddy robin's saying 'Hmn.  I don't know about this neighborhood' and Mamma's answering 'Well, you picked it'."

This is funny because BF and I have exactly that conversation all the time.
I don't know about this neighborhood.
Well, you picked it.

Anyway the baby Robins in the transom window are pretty darned special.