Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Clock Struck One...

Isn't he cute?

I’m curious why in our folkloric past we fondly sing of rodents. Three blind mice, Three blind mice…Hickory Dickory Dock, The mouse ran up the clock… And who can forget the adorable Jerry, constantly trying to escape that idiot cat Tom? Why he’s so cute it makes every child yearn for pet mouse, one that can slam doors and throw frying pans. More recently, Disney Pixar comes out with a fabulous animated flick of a rat trying to make a living in the fancy kitchens of France. (I think.) Rats are just mice on steroids, and you’ll forgive me for lumping them together. A rodent is a rodent is a rodent, especially one in the kitchen. I honestly can’t say I’ve seen Ratatouille start to finish because I can’t get past the idea that there is a warm blooded, hairy beast in a kitchen, who sits inside some nerd’s sweaty chef hat yanking on his hair. All I’m thinking is that it must really smell in that hat, that gross greasy head smell, and that now there’s rat poop all on top that guy's head, because honestly that rat is up there cooking up “specialties” for hours. We all know that rodents poop as often and profusely as their whiskers twitch, and well, while Pixar is nice enough to leave out these realistic tidbits, my mind won’t let them go. I’m a realist and a germaphobe. You can’t fool me. I will not be deceived.

But there’s nothing cute about rodents in the kitchen, nothing funny about it whatsoever and I can tell you how I know.

Last Thursday night, my family, my in-laws, my sister-in law, my brother in-law, (yes that’s all of them) and my son’s friend, arrived home at 9:30 p.m. after five days at a cabin in Maine. We were all exhausted, the house was filled with suitcases, bins of kitchen items, dirty beach towels, wet water toys,…you name it, it was littering all rooms of the house and down the hallway. A few of the adults were in the kitchen, emptying the clean dishwasher, when my BIL pulls down a canning jar that I keep in my lower cabinets next to the toaster.

It had a tiny piece of mouse poop on it.
He shows it to me and my husband, and we go, “Hmmm. That’s interesting. I wonder how that got there.”
And then my BIL pulls out more canning jars. And we find more poop. And now I’m not going, “Hmmm,” but “WTH?....”
And then he pulls out the toaster.
(You may want to put down any food you may be eating right now.)
And we look inside the toaster. And the bottom of the toaster is covered in mouse poop.
Covered. Like twenty five mice sat inside my toaster and had a pooping contest, seeing how much excrement they could push out and high fiving each other while doing the deed. And now I’m thinking:
“When’s the last time I made toast?”
Seriously,  how many of you look inside the toaster each time you plunk bread in it? You just take it for granted that the toaster is clean. I know I did. But I'm staring at what seems like four tablespoons of crap and I'm wondering: Is all this poop the result of days or months of rodent activity, or did the mice know we were on vacation in Maine and suddenly run through my cupboards with wild abandon? Is it possible for mice to poop that much in five days? I sure as hell hope it is. Because if it isn’t, my whole family has been eating Ego waffles and bagels smoked with fecal matter.
(Hang on a minute…my mouth is salivating and I think I may lose it…)

Well, needless to say the next hour or so was spent emptying out cupboards and searching for small, black, rodent droppings. Yep, found in three cupboards. Above the stove. In the stove drawer. No doubt behind the stove and in the lazy susan I refuse to use, and now for good reason.

I’m tired. At this point in my day I’m barely keeping it together, lest I cry and sob right in front of all my inlaws. Not that they’d be shocked or anything, it’s just not a very adult thing to do. I put on my victim hat and wondered why these things always happen to me. Because these events do nothing to assuage my psychological germ-baggage and instead fuel them like lighter fluid on a barbeque. You thought I was crazy before? Honey, I’ll never toast another piece of bread anywhere without inspecting the insides of the device I’m using. You were embarrassed of me ordering at a restaurant previously? Wait till I ask them if there is mice defecation inside their toaster. These episodes continue to make living with me a brand new experience every day.

So what did we do? We laid traps of course. Little cheap, wooden mice traps in my kitchen cupboards and in the stove. Did we catch anything?

Well. Yes and no. You’ll have to wait until tomorrow for the rest of the story. It gets better. Trust me.

Monday, August 30, 2010

No, I haven't been arrested.

I know you're missing me. I'm missing you quite frankly. I've been lazy you see, and I can't keep the kids quiet long enough to even create a pathway in my brain for logical thought, let alone to try and be funny. There just isn't room right now. This is what is currently taking up space in my grey matter:
-the mice that are living in my kitchen cupboards (yes, you know you'll be reading the details very soon)
-the trip to Maine I still haven't recovered from
-two school supplies still MIA because all the stores were raped bare by everyone else but me
-school is starting in two days for two of my children. I vacillate between weeping for joy and weeping because I'm so damned tired of getting them ready for school. Notice I am not weeping because I will miss them.
-working on my website/business cards/etc. so I can feel like I have a real job. Sorta.
-spending as much time as possible by my neighbor's pool drinking beer. After 10 a.m. of course.
-sleeping in. Especially since my son will now have to be at the bus by 6:40 in the morning. This may prove very difficult for both of us. How young can you start kids on coffee?
-haircuts. Everyone needs one. As usual I have made no appointments and so my children will attend the first day of school looking like backwoods hicks.

So. You can see my mind has been a little busy. I'm coming back, don't you worry. My apologies for my lack of blogging. I'm hoping your summer was fabulous and you'll be tuning in for the prime time season of Musings.

Monday, August 9, 2010

R.M.A.O? I Don’t Think So.

Imagine running with two of these; one of which is leaking. 

While in AZ this summer, I had the great opportunity to have lunch with the fine folks of School Webmasters (SWM), the company I freelance for on a regular basis. I’m proud to say that I ate some fine Italian food with the CEO, the Art Director, the Lead Copy Editor, and the Office/Project Manager. And then there was me. The freelancer. Notice how I didn’t capitalize that. I don't make enough money for a capital letter yet, but I'm working on it.

It’s an amazingly powerful group of women, considering they established, run and operate a pretty large business, and employ freelancers who can work from home and thereby stay close to their kids. Which also allows them to keep their office pretty small and local with not a lot of pesky overhead. Nicely planned.

There are many things I love about working for SWM, the biggest one being that these ladies are really funny. They also read my blog (perhaps to be supportive but more likely to make sure I’m not leaking company secrets) and find that funny too. I suggested that if they found me so hilarious I probably should get a raise, to which the Art Director responded, “Well, you’re not that funny. You’re just LOL funny. Probably not LMAO funny, and definetly not LMFAO funny. Nope. You’re LOL funny and I’m pretty sure that’s just about where your pay is at.” Well, needless to say, I LMAO at that one. Touche.

One of the things I do not like about these women however, is that they exercise. They talk about exercising. They even run, ride bikes, join races where you run for miles and miles in a Godforsaken desert, and try odd diets like taking GPS…no, wait, HGTV…sorry wrong again…hCG? I think that may be it. Weird. But they do like to run.

I hate riding bikes.
I hate running even more.
And generally, I look at people who do run with a mix of fascination, jealousy, and disdain.

Oh, I’ve tried to run, don’t get me wrong. I even trained with my father for a half marathon a few years back. I did the half marathon, but I’m pretty sure that my father could have lapped me twice at the rate I plodded and bounced down the street like a hard boiled egg all off balance and out of whack. He stuck with me to be supportive and chalked it up to QT with his eldest daughter while my middle sister ran past us, completing the full marathon. She’s run two of them. I felt a little betrayed by the fact that she never hinted at her closet running personality growing up—instead shocking us all with the ability to run and run and run like Forest Gump once the leg braces were removed. And even though I made fun of her style—her legs tend to splay out a bit when running—I’m really just jealous. Who am I to mock her when she can do it and I can’t? Run, sister, run!!

I’ve come to accept the fact that there are significant factors that hold me back in the running department. One of them is my arse.

Yes, as my grandmother used to like to say to me, “Rachie, you have yourself an onion butt, but don’t worry, guys like onion butts.” Not to be outdone of course by the other comment she made while I was in college as she was measuring my posterior for some clothes, “Welp, Rachie. You’re not a young woman any more.” Which is to say, that my pearl onion butt had morphed into large Vidalia onion butt, which currently looks like rotting onion butt, with pockets of soft tissue hidden beneath flaky scaling skin. Layers and layers of 37 year-old onion deliciousness. Yum.

The problem with having an onion butt (besides fighting men off with a stick all those years) is that it makes running a tad uncomfortable for me. When I run my arse jiggles like two sagging water balloons are attached to my lower back and I’m always a little embarrassed that the residual effects will leave me bruised. Wearing a sports bra helps keep the chest jiggle to a minimum (honestly, it’s already pretty minimum) but I’ve yet to find a pair of sports underwear that will keep by arse in check. Duct tape doesn’t seem very functional. Wrapping it with an ace bandage seems moot. I suppose I could wear some Spanx under my running gear, but I’m worried it would be too hot.

Even if I did solve the ass-jiggle conundrum, there’s also not much I can do about the fact that running isn’t very good for my bladder or uterus. According to the anatomy books I’ve read and all the illustrated cross-sections of women I’ve seen, the bladder and uterus are supposed to remain inside the woman’s body—a location I can’t guarantee if I were to run on a regular basis. With each pound-pound-pound of my feet running on the sidewalk, I envision my uterus slip-slip-slipping out of place. Not to mention the drip-drip-dripping of my bladder with each step. I’m not in a hurry to be on a first-name basis with my uterus or bladder, obliged to say hello to them when I use the restroom. While genetics may force this “meeting of the organs” on me in the future, for now I’m happy having them reside safely and quietly in my internal darkness. I’m starting to suspect that when God was making me He ran out of Liquid Nails and patched me together using Scotch tape. A great substitution for construction paper, doilies, and maybe even Popsicle sticks, but certainly not for a bladder and a uterus. Those suckers are slippery. Clear tape just isn’t going to cut it.

But I have to do something because I’m realizing I’m starting to feel creaky. Achy. I’m not huffing up the five steps in my house, but I’m probably not far away from that moment. The last two mornings I walked with a couple friends on the street. I actually dragged my sorry-onion-ass out of bed at 6:30 a.m. and walked for an hour each day. It’s a step in the right direction I suppose, even if my shins feel like Tanya Harding’s ex-boyfriend took a bat to them. But thankfully, neither woman is running yet, although there was brief talk about it. I’ll walk fast. I’ll even sway my hips and pump my arms in speed-walking fashion just to keep up if it means I can keep my panties dry and my organs where they belong. Don’t get me wrong. There a few instances where running is absolutely necessary: like from a burning building. Or to protect my kids from a wayward vehicle or a busy street. Or if someone fell into the pool and hit their head. Those are running times and while I’d miss my bladder and uterus, I’d live without them because it’s the right thing to do. But certainly not just to exercise. Not for my heart. Not for no damned marathon. And absolutely not for the fun of it. As if.

To recap: I don’t like to run because I jiggle, fall apart, and pee myself. Hey, if you can run and not leave body parts behind you while you do it, bully for you. Keep it up. Stuff the ear plugs in your ears and turn up "Eye of the Tiger" to 45 decibels and run like Stallone. The women at SWM can do it. My sister can do it. I’m pretty sure my neighbor friends can do it. Not me. I’d rather LMAO than RMAO any day and twice on Sunday.