29 June 2009

The RAIN

You're sick of hearing about the rain? Try living it. And let me assure you, it's the only thing people are talking about ALL OVER MAINE.

Today I tried to lift my soggy thoughts out of the fog long enough to remember how many NON-rainy days we've had this month (yes, I figured I'd make this whole never-ending rain thing more vivid by counting the sunny days). I can only remember three. There may have been more, but it doesn't matter now anyway, because they would have been way back at the beginning of the month, and at this point, no one can remember back that far. Trust me.

It's a little disheartening, to say the least. Summer is the BEST part of Maine. Ok, fall is nice too. So is spring. But the winter is long and cold and dreary and long and cold and... you get the idea. We wait a LONG time for warm, sunny weather, and when it doesn't show up, we get antsy. When rain goes on and on like this, eating up our summer days, we get panicky. Just the other day, my son said, "Yep, it's going to keep raining until it's cold, and then it will just turn back into snow."

And then I killed him.

Well, maybe not really. But his ominous words stuck in my head and I can't shake them.

Our vegetable garden is droopy, sad, and wimpy-looking. Our flowers are confused. Mushrooms are sprouting up all over the place and the slugs are having a field day.

But I'm not complaining. At church yesterday, a group was doing a book-study on attitudes. The subject of the week was having a thankful attitude vs. a complaining attitude. Sure, it shut everyone right up, but I'll bet we were all complaining about the rain on the INSIDE.

So how can we be thankful for all this rain? I'm trying to think.

If you come up with something, please let me know.

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

26 June 2009

R.I.P. Michael Jackson

Shock. Disbelief. Astonishment.

Buy at Art.com


Last night after supper, as my husband and I walked out the front door to take a walk, our youngest daughter popped her head out the door and called to us down the driveway. "Did you know Michael Jackson is dead?"

I thought she had gotten it wrong.

It was one of those moments that will be forever etched into my memory - her face at our front door, telling me the shocking news. Much like I remember the way I found out Elvis died, the way I found out the Challenger exploded, and the way I found out Princess Diana died. These, and other shocking moments are like terrible milestones burned into our psyches and they become part of who we are and our life histories.

I'm sitting here this morning watching a tribute to Michael Jackson on TV, and the memories are flooding in with the music.

I was in the 7th grade when Rock with You and Don't Stop til You Get Enough were popular. School dances, listening to the radio, first crush, first kiss - Michael Jackson's Off the Wall album permeated all those things for me.

I was in the 10th grade when the Thriller album came out. Billie Jean and Beat It were in the background (or rather, the foreground) when I learned to drive, went on my first date, and made the cheerleading squad.

The Bad album came out the year my son was born.

Last year, my daughter and a bunch of her friends learned the Thriller dance and performed it as a group at their spring formal.

Suffice it to say, the music of Michael Jackson has always been part of my life. Most people in America - and the world at large - have much the same story. It is a sad day across the world.

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

25 June 2009

Fixating on the Rain

Yes, I know I'm fixating, but take a look at THIS - our 10-day forecast...



Sorry, I know it's small and the pictures are a bit wonky. Making it larger would only be more depressing.

Keep in mind, this is after at least 10 days of rain ALREADY.

And today we are getting a bit of a tease. As of 10:30 this morning, the sun came out for a total of FIVE minutes.

:(

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

24 June 2009

To Boston and Back

We had a meeting in Boston today, and what better way to spend ANOTHER rainy day, but by driving for hours on end? Actually, it was a nice change of scenery, even though in reality, the scenery wasn't all that different. And just as wet.

On the way back, however, as we were driving up the short stretch of Interstate 95 that goes through New Hampshire, we glimpsed a few streaks of blue sky peeking through the clouds, and at one point, we actually saw the sun. So take heart, Mainers, the sun is still up there; it's only in hiding. Well, it's in New Hampshire anyway, so we can go visit it, if we want.

The best part of the day, other than spending it with one of my daughters for some much-needed alone time? We had dinner at Costa Vida in Portland. Their fish tacos are to die for. Really.

I could eat there every single day. And it makes me wonder, is the food THAT much better than all the other Mexican food in Maine, or is getting all jazzed about food just part of getting old? I vote for the former. If you like Mexican and you live in or anywhere near Maine, you have GOT to go to Costa Vida.

You'll thank me.

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

23 June 2009

Grace in the Small Things - Two

1. With all this rain, I don't have to water the gardens at 6:00a.m., while fighting mosquitoes and black flies.

2. A very green lawn, in spite of the fact that we ignore and neglect it. Again, thanks to the rain.

3. Percoset, for kids recovering from wisdom teeth extractions.

4. Tanning salons, for those of us who would otherwise wither and die with such a LONG lack of sunshine.

5. Cool Maine summer weather, when much of the country is under heat advisories.

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

21 June 2009

Father's Day Top Secret Oven Pancake

Happy Father's Day!

I have a top secret recipe to share with you that, for all I know, I've shared here before.

This is something we make every Christmas morning, and various other times during the year when we want to have a special brunch-type meal.

When my husband and I first got married, my mother-in-law gave me a recipe that my husband brought home from school in the 4th or 5th grade. I think it was originally a recipe he was supposed to make for her - maybe for Mother's Day or something. Over the years, as the recipe card has become faded and worn, the story behind the recipe has faded as well.

But if you make this, you'll soon find that it's something everyone remembers.

This is something that you can make in place of pancakes, and they are so good; so much better than regular old pancakes, in my opinion. And easier, too.

Here's the recipe:

Top Secret Oven Pancake

1/4 cup butter
1 cup milk
2 eggs
2/3 cup flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Put 1/4 cup butter into a glass pie pan and put it into the oven so it can begin to melt.
Put remaining ingredients into a blender and blend well.
When the butter has melted, pour the remaining mixture into the pie pan, on top of the melted butter.
Bake for 25 minutes.
While the oven pancake it still hot, cut it into six pieces, like a pie, and serve with maple syrup.
And bacon, of course.
Yum!

So that's what I made for my hubby today to celebrate Father's Day. I actually bought steaks last week and we'd planned to grill them today, but we both agreed that it wouldn't be fair to our Marlon Brando daughter - you know, the one who had her wisdom teeth yanked out on Friday. She loves steak more than life itself, but she's still pretty much eating soup and jello at this point. Since our other daughter gets her teeth pulled tomorrow, I think the steaks will stay in the freezer for a couple more weeks.

Here is a photo of the resident daddy and his three lovely kids. You can't spot the Marlon Brando cheeks because our lovely daughter let her long, curly hair cover the evidence.



I hope the fathers in your life are having a wonderful day.

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

20 June 2009

Reading the Classics for Marital Fun

Yesterday I told you how I got an idea from THIS SITE for doing Grace in the Small Things. I have another idea I stole from that same site that I want to share today. Susan, the lovely lady who writes that blog will probably think I'm a stalker. Or just a loser that reads her blog and tries to be like her.

Really, I'm not a stalker and I don't want to be like her. She lives in Oklahoma. Nuff said. But I like a lot of her ideas!

She recently told about how she and her husband are reading through the classics together, and then they go on dates and discuss them. Or something like that. I totally love this idea.

First, understand that I majored in English Lit in college. My husband majored in History, before he went on to higher degrees in Computer Science and other such geek-related things. But suffice it to say that when we met - on our blind date - one of the first things we realized we LIKED about each other was the fact that we both like to read.

On that first date, which began awkwardly, as many blind dates do, we spent much of the day in historic Williamsburg, Virginia. We had lunch, browsed the shops, unsuccessfully dodged a thunderstorm, and ended up in a cute little bookshop with old, squeaky wooden floors (the best kind). What before had been forced small talk, suddenly became enthusiasm about this book or that. "Have you read this?" "Yes! I love that one!" "How about this one?" "Really, YOU have read that? Wow." "Oh, you'd love this one." And on it went.

In fact, I think that's probably when I started to fall in love with him, as he was the first guy I'd gone out with who had actually read an entire book. A guy with a brain - yay!

Fast forward nearly 18 years from that blind date - - and we're still reading a LOT. So many times I've read a book that I've wanted him to read, but he never gets around to it. Other times he has suggested books to me that I just sort of ignored, politely. Many times we HAVE read what the other suggested, but not always.

When I heard about how Susan and her husband are reading through the classics together, I thought, "How perfect for us!" Both of us have read many of the classics, but not all. And definitely not all the same ones. In fact, in discussing what we could read together first, I discovered the shocking revelation that my dear husband had never read Mark Twain. This is a man who is patriotic, manly, and tough. He serves in the U.S. Navy and John Wayne is his hero. So when I found out he hadn't read Mark Twain, I said the one thing I knew he would understand... "How UN-American!"

Needless to say, Tom Sawyer was our first classic to read together. We were going to begin with Huck Finn, but my daughter reminded me that Tom Sawyer came first. Although I had accused my husband of being un-American, apparently, my memory was faulty and I was no better. I hadn't read it since high school, and it was like reading it for the very first time.

And funny, we didn't have an official discussion about the book. We didn't sit by the fire with wine and cheese, intelligently discussing the merits of Mark Twain. We just read it at about the same time, and we laughed about it together. We laughed a lot. Then we went out on a date and talked about basketball. And our kids. And our budget. And food. We sort of have relationship A.D.D. like that.

Next we're reading Robinson Crusoe. Somehow I missed that one in all my many readings. Does that make me un-American? And honestly, even though we just decided on this next book a few days ago, I can't remember if my husband said whether he has read it or not. I'm just hoping I can remember to pick it up at the library on Monday, so we can get started. I also hope I can finish the other book I'm reading before then, so I can focus on one thing at a time.

And now that I've brought this up, I could go on and on and ON about the books I've read, the books I'm reading now, and the books I want to read. But I'll stop.

For now.

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

19 June 2009

Grace in the Small Things - One

I have been reading various posts about Grace in the Small Things HERE.

Susan's first post on this was HERE.

The concept originated HERE. And it is at that link that you will find the directions if you would like to participate.

I've been thinking of doing this, myself. I've done this in the past, just not online. I have notebooks full of lists about things I love, things I want to do, things I want to do better, things I regret, things I hope to change, things I'm thankful for, etc.

I am, by nature, a list-maker. I love lists. Lists make me giddy. And the best part of a list is the endorphin rush one gets from checking things OFF the list.

'Grace in the Small Things' is a different kind of a list. This falls into the category of the "Things I am Thankful For" list.

I'm not actually joining the group to do this - I just want to start my kids' summer vacation with an attitude of gratitude, to coin the overused phrase. I don't have an agenda and don't know when or how often or how long I will do this. But I'm doing my first five now.

Here goes:

1. Anesthesia before, during, and after oral surgery.

2. The sound of a steady rain falling on a quiet, do-nothing day.

3. A new oven in which, for the first time EVER, I baked cookies that came out perfectly. Really.

4. Leftovers. (Translation – not having to cook, even if there IS a new oven).

5. An elderly cat who sits next to any of us when we aren’t feeling well. She always knows.



Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

Last Day of School

This morning our older daughter had her wisdom teeth removed. There are many things I could say about doctors, the medical field in general, and of course the high cost of health care, but one thing's for sure - - - modern anesthesia and pain killers are some of the greatest inventions known to man.

The first thing dear daughter said when she awakened was, "well, that wasn't so bad. I feel like I just had a good nap." Then, to prove to me that she was awake and coherent, she started speaking to me in Spanish, with a bit of Latin thrown in for good measure. This was through numb, gauzed-stuffed lips, so she sounded like she'd completely lost her mind. The gauze also caused her to have somewhat of a permanent smile, sort of like the Joker. That, combined with the foreign languages, made for quite a show.

Our younger daughter will go through the same thing on Monday. We thought we'd let her watch her older sister go through it first, just to add to her angst. It builds character, you know. At least she didn't have to go straight from her very last final exam, directly to the oral surgeon's office.

In other news, it has been raining heavily all day. ALL. DAY. I cancelled everything today in anticipation of the wisdom teeth, but it's been rather anti-climactic. The Joker went to bed when the numbness finally began to wear off. Our son is out with his girlfriend. Our youngest daughter is off on a last-day-of-school trip to the Maine Mall with friends. So I caught up on some emails and enjoyed the sound of the rain falling on a very quiet house. Something I rarely do.

A while ago, I posted something about it on Twitter. I soon got a text message from my darling son, telling me to go back and check Twitter. He was at McDonalds and it seems he and his equally darling girlfriend had both tweeted back, making fun of my pensive tweet about listening to the rain.

Evil kids.

But really, nothing can dampen my spirits today, because in spite of the rain and in spite of the teeth being extracted (what an awful word, you know?) today is a glorious day. Public school is officially out for the summer.

That makes today a REALLY good day. :)

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

18 June 2009

Sense of Impending Doom

Do you ever have that foreboding feeling when nothing is really wrong? You know, it's kind of like the feeling you have when you know you have to have root canal. Or an unavoidable confrontation with a difficult person. Or give birth. It's that pit-in-the-stomach feeling that won't go away until the unpleasant event has passed.

But what about those times when that feeling pops up for no apparent reason? That's how I'm feeling today.

Maybe it's because both my daughters are having their wisdom teeth extracted over the next few days and one of them doesn't want anesthesia. Wait, she wants local anesthesia, but nothing to numb her mind. I explained to her this is one of the few times in her life when she can legally enjoy a mind-numbing drug, so why not go for it? Ok, not really. I told her all the NICE reasons why she should be drugged up and asleep when they yank out her teeth. (And just for the record, all four teeth are impacted. Yeah.)

Maybe it's because I'm going to be doing some traveling in July, and our budget is already bursting at the seams. The travel is already set in stone, has been planned for quite some time, and I'm actually looking forward to it - but even though most things are already paid for, life is always more expensive than we think. Especially when traveling.

Maybe it's because the last day of school is tomorrow and my kids don't yet have summer jobs. Of course, they do have school work to do over the summer for their upcoming A.P. classes in the fall, because giving the kids school work to do over Thanksgiving, Christmas, Winter Break, Spring Break, and all the long weekends during the school year just ISN'T ENOUGH. Let's let the schools take over their summer vacations, too!

Maybe it's nothing. Maybe it's getting older and seeing life fly by at an alarming pace. Maybe it's the fact that I didn't sleep well last night. Or maybe it's that it's going to rain again tonight. And tomorrow. And the next day. And the next.

Yep, that's it. Thank you, internet therapy, for helping me figure this out. Have a nice day.

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

17 June 2009

Does the Clutter Ever Go Away?

I don’t think so. Over the winter, my big project was to weed out the clutter in our house (and in our lives) and simplify, simplify, simplify. I got rid of a TON of stuff.

Then spring arrived and it was time to go outside and de-clutter the garden, the garage, the shed, the woods around the house, etc. It can be very satisfying to do these outdoor things because they tend to stay clean/neat/clutter free much longer than rooms in the house do.

Then our son came home from college and filled in all the nice, neat, open areas in the basement – with all his stuff. Thankfully, all that STUFF will go away again in the fall (I wish he would stay, but the stuff would go) but until then, once again, we’re walking AROUND stuff in the basement. Understand that my version of clutter free means that I can go into any room in my house and spin around with my arms out like Julie Andrews did at the beginning of The Sound of Music. I might even want to sing, but not while you’re watching.

Still, it seems that there are evil elves living in our home which come behind me and stymie all my hard work. As soon as I bring bags out of the basement to take to the thrift store or the dump, the elves drop papers, boxes, and other items all over the floor that I just cleared. As soon as I clear the coffee table in the living room, freeing it of stacks of magazines, mail, etc., the elves cover it with school notebooks, homework papers, and newspapers.

Now that I think of it, these elves might be of the teenage persuasion. Or I might even be married to one of them.

I guess that will make it harder to banish them from my house. Go figure.

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

15 June 2009

Speaking of Mice

We WERE speaking of mice, weren’t we? Which, by the way, gives me the opportunity to tell you that we never did find that mouse. I hope it went back outside the same way it came in. At this moment, I really don’t want to think about the other possibilities.

But I have another, unrelated mouse story to share with you, and I think the cuteness factor will simply overwhelm you. If, that is, you aren’t grossed out by mice, which many people are. Oh well, consider yourself warned.

A couple of weeks ago, while staying the night at a friend’s house, our 16-year-old daughter found a baby mouse. Correction: a baby mouse found her.



The house in question has a high ceiling with open rafters. The story goes that the baby mouse dropped from the rafters onto the head of the resident friend. After the friend totally freaked out (understandably, if you ask me) the mouse was caught and my animal-loving daughter adopted it as her own. For the night, that is.



When I say animal-loving, understand that this is a young girl who really can “talk to the animals.” She’s been that way since she was a toddler; wild animals were never afraid of her. Birds, squirrels, mice, you name it. By the time she was about five-years-old, we joked that we should have named her Snow White. Now, at age 16, I can just picture her going into the forest, where deer, raccoons, birds, and other woodland creatures surround her and become her lifelong friends. If she shacks up with seven little men, however, her very protective father will be sure to intervene.

Either way, call me romantic, strange, or freaky – this kid has a gift and I’ve seen it more than a few times.



Back to the baby mouse. She held the tiny baby in her hand until it calmed down, and it didn’t take long for it to completely trust her. She held it for most of the night, and then just before dawn, took it outside and put it in the woodpile, where other mice have made their home.

I couldn’t believe she held the mouse all night – even while lying in bed. I kept picturing Lenny in Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. Thankfully, my little Snow White has a solid head on her shoulders, unlike the half-witted Lenny, and she didn’t smother the mouse. It lived to see another day and Snow White, though sad to let her mouse go, knows she did the right thing.

I have so many other stories about this girl and her wild animals, but for now, suffice it to say, it is VERY nice to have someone in the family who calmly handles the creatures which invariably get into our house. She's especially helpful with spiders... but that's a story for another day.

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

14 June 2009

My Ability to Control the Weather

Over the course of this school year, since I took the plunge and put my homeschooled girls into the public school, I have grown to know (and like) several of the parents that I only marginally knew before this year. One of these parents is a lady I will call Jane, as I don’t think she’ll want me to use her real name. She’s funny about things like that, especially on the internet – and I can say that about her, because after reading this, she will KNOW who she is and she won’t be able to do a THING about it! Ha ha.

So, about Jane. Jane thinks I can control the weather here in Maine. Over the course of the school year, as I bemoaned all the time my kids were spending at “that school” rather than hanging out at home with me, I often wished fervently for snow days. I missed my girls and I thought a lot of time was being wasted at school. Ok, maybe not, but their time wasn’t being spent the way *I* thought it should be spent. So there you go.

It seemed that every time I voiced my desire for a snow day, lo and behold, WE GOT ONE! After about the third one, Jane got a little miffed with me. Ok, she was only joking, but the way she said it made it SOUND like she really thought I had something to do with the fact that it snowed hard enough for school to be cancelled. Ah, the power!

Each time I said something about being ready for another snow day, Jane would shush me and remind me about how long the kids would be in school in June, making up those days. Let me tell you, in the dark, dread of February, I couldn’t have cared less. I told her, “Heck, who cares? I’ll let them skip school in June and we’ll go to the beach!” Of course this was before I learned how snippy the schools can be about going over the allowable number of absences.

Last week I was complaining YET AGAIN about how the schools are taking over our lives. I told Jane that when *I* was growing up out in Colorado, we only had ONE spring break – in March. As much as my kids like being home for both winter break in February and spring break in April, wouldn’t it be better to have just ONE week off, and then end school earlier in June? Jane reminded me that there are so many illnesses going around during the Maine winter that we HAVE to have a break in February, just to air all the germs out of the schools. I hadn’t thought of that.

She seems to have an answer for everything.

So in return, I’m just going to keep on controlling the weather – or at least I want HER to think so. It’s quite entertaining and gives me the delusions of grandeur that help get me through the long Maine winters. Hey, in Maine, you do what you have to do.

And by the way, “Jane,” if you really do think I control the weather, look outside. It is Sunday and pouring down rain. You can rest assured I did NOT order this.

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

13 June 2009

Summer, is that you?

It has been a long, rainy week. It started raining on Tuesday, and was either cloudy or rainy every day until yesterday, when it finally began to clear in the late afternoon.

What's the big deal, you might ask. Four days of rain isn't the end of the world. And look how GREEN everything is. Well, I've finally accepted the fact that the way the sky looks affects my mood. (An aside to my husband: shut up.)

On Thursday, after three days of gloom, two semi-sick kids, a few yucky household jobs I had to tackle, and some annoyances with a certain child who will remain anonymous, I was, in a word, pissy. Everything was bugging me. We rented a video Thursday night and I slept through the whole thing. I awakened to halftime of the NBA finals game 4, and I ended up dozing through most of that. I woke up completely just in time to see the Lakers win. Gee - could things get ANY worse??

Yesterday was much the same. More frickin rain. I got through the day, and then had to take my daughter to an appointment in downtown Brunswick at 3:30. As we walked along, suddenly, there was the sun. I mean, it wasn't just peeking through, teasing us; rather, the clouds parted and there it was - hot and wonderful! I had to be inside for an hour, but I got a seat next to a window with the sun shining through. Ahh - life was good! Everything was happy! Had I been grumbling only hours before? Surely not!

When I got home, I told my husband that I had had a GREAT day. He asked why, and I wasn't even sure. I told him that maybe it was the sunshine. He chuckled knowingly and said, "Ya think?" That's when I punched him.

Not really.

I am glad, for my poor, mistreated kids, however, that they had a week of rain. How cruel would it be for the state of Maine to require them to be at school on a summery day like today? And for their sakes, dare I say that I hope next week is cold and rainy too - so they can get through finals. Then I'll put in an order for sunshine until the end of time.

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

12 June 2009

Wild Kingdom

Let me start with the fact that we still haven't found the mouse. When things like this happen, I always wonder if we will find it long after the cat has licked it to death and left it in some obscure corner of the basement, and we will know it's there because of the odor...

Eww.

But the really good news is that toads don't move NEARLY as fast as mice. Do you know how fast a tiny field mouse can move? I mean, really - it's like lightning. No, faster than lightning. Mice are like tiny superheroes. They can zip across a kitchen in less than a second, and they can leap tall buildings (or boxes, if you will) in a single bound.

But I digress...

Toads do not do this. I bring up toads because it's THAT time of year again, when a few renegade toads make their way into our basement. Last year, if you'll remember, I stepped on a tiny one, squashing it, but at the same time, not quite killing it. Oh, the horror! Today, thankfully, the toad I found was about the size of my fist. And it was sitting on dark blue carpet, so its camouflage tactics were completely not working.

After the mouse fiasco, I was a bit hesitant to approach the toad. I first nudged it from behind, to make sure it was alive, and when I did, I half expected it to leap several feet into the air, turn a back flip, and zip across the basement into a hidden corner before I could blink even once. Yes, this is what mice do. They are little ninjas, as well as superheroes. But the toad just twitched a bit, barely giving me indication that it was still alive.

I got a bowl with a lid (thank goodness for tupperware at times like this) and nudged the toad into the bowl. It actually closed its eyes, allowed me to push it into the bowl, and I think it sighed deeply. It might have even groaned with pleasure. It seemed to be thanking me for rescuing it from possible torment from the cat, as well as a dry, starvation in our dusty basement. Poor little guy.

The toad is now back outside where it belongs and the mouse is still... missing.

We are actually in discussions about getting a second cat. You know, a newer, speedier model. One that can take down mighty mouse once and for all.

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

11 June 2009

How we get our exercise

Our black cat, Lucy, has always been a hunter. Her brother, who died last summer, was interested in the mice that try to move into our basement every time the seasons change, but a couple of times I saw him actually sit and watch a mouse run by (while *I* was trying to catch it!)

But Lucy goes after the mice. Countless times I've headed down into the basement during early morning hours, only to find a dead mouse. And sadly, it was usually clear that the mouse had been PLAYED WITH until it died - of suffocation, shock, or whatever. You know, covered in cat saliva, and pretty roughed up, but not bleeding or disfigured. Not usually. I hate that. I wish the cat would just humanely KILL the mouse and be done with it. But where's the fun in that? She's not about being humane; she's about having her fun.

I'm not sure what changed. Maybe it's because her brother died and Lucy is now top cat. Maybe she's getting old and softening up a bit. Either way, the night before last, Lucy didn't kill her mouse. At 4:30 a.m., she brought the mouse to our bedroom and set it free.

Then the fun REALLY began.

I awakened to the cat scrambling around the room in a tizzy, knocking things over, etc. I got up to see if I could find the mouse, catch it, and put it outside. Lucy was circling my husband's backpack. At about that time, he sat up in bed and I told him what was going on. He said, "whatever you do, just don't scream," and then he rolled over to go back to sleep. Wasn't that nice of him? Grr.

So I started opening the compartments of the backpack, one by one. When I got to the last one, something rustled, the cat jumped, and guess what? I dropped the backpack. And screamed.

I didn't MEAN to scream. It just came out - being startled like that at 4:30 a.m., one just never knows. My husband got up growling, and took the backpack outside to dump out the mouse.

The mouse wasn't in it. More growling ensued. And to add insult to injury, the cat met us in the kitchen, demanding her breakfast.

We went back up to the bedroom to look for the mouse. My husband picked up a shopping bag sitting in the corner, and the mouse took off across the room. I ran to throw a towel over it, but it was too fast. It ran across the hall to our daughter's room, went under the door, and disappeared. We went in, searched under furniture and in the closet, but no mouse. So we gave up and went back to bed.

Oh, and the cat came and sat next to the bed, crying to be fed. Stupid cat.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

That evening, I was sitting on the sofa in the living room, typing away, much like I am now. I looked down and noticed the cat staring under the sofa - with a gleam in her eye. My husband looked under the sofa with a flashlight and lo and behold, there was the mouse. I had been home all day, and some time during that day, the mouse had come all the way downstairs to the living room. But what I wanted to know was, why hadn't it gone on down to the basement?

We got out the trusty bowl with a lid, and the chase was on. FOUR of us (not including the cat) scrambled around the living room for a half hour, chasing that mouse. Finally it ran into the kitchen and under the kitchen cabinets. (Yes, our house is old and has WAY too many holes and secret hiding places for mice.

At the end of the chase, the cat demanded her dinner. Loudly. Stupid cat.

Yesterday when I shared this story with a friend, she asked me if our cat is broken. I think the answer is yes.

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

06 June 2009

Bloody Nose

Today was my birthday. It was a really, really great day. Our son arrived back home after two weeks out west, we picked him up in Manchester, NH, and we all had dinner at Olive Garden. There were lots of laughs, lots of stories, and absolutely gorgeous weather.

But the fun REALLY began on the drive home when we were heading up I-295, just south of Freeport. Suddenly, our daughter got a bloody nose. She hasn't had one in a couple of years, but understand that when she does anything, she goes all out and does it with gusto. Bloody noses included.

As luck would have it, there were only a few tissues in the car, so everyone started digging in their pockets and bags for tissues, napkins, or anything else we could find. As all this was happening, my husband was heading for the next exit so I could rush into the Freeport McDonalds and raid their napkin supply.

But the blood was literally pouring out of her nose. Yeah, eww. So I had a brilliant idea. Ever seen the movie, "She's the Man?" It's about a girl who poses as her brother to play on the boy's soccer team at an opposing school from her own. Cute movie, very funny, and based on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.

In the movie, as the girl (disguised as a boy) is unpacking her things in the boy's dorm, she accidentally drops a package of tampons out of her bag. When the roommates gather round, asking for an explanation as to why a BOY would have a package of tampons, she quickly explains that she uses them for bloody noses.

Get the picture?

We'd all seen the movie, so when I offered one to my daughter for her bloody nose, she laughed and gladly accepted it. AND, I'm happy to report, it WORKED.

Now that you have that lovely image in your head, I will bid you good night.

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

03 June 2009

Hornet's Nest

I am watching a hornet’s nest being built in our garage.

Yesterday, I saw what I THOUGHT was a hornet. It was walking around in circles on a thick cable above the back door of the garage.

It was acting very strangely and it crossed my mind that that’s what it might be doing. I've never actually seen a hornet's nest being built. Instead, I've always come upon them, fully built and operational. Scary.

Today, there is the beginning of a nest – only an inch or so, but it’s circular and growing. The hornet is working – very diligently. Does only one hornet make a nest? I sort of figured a whole swarm of them banded together and built one.

I'm now trying to locate the hornet spray, that my husband says is in our messy, disorganized garage (the garage I'm supposed to be cleaning, but I'm instead having a crash course in entomology.)

Ick. I really hate bugs. Really.

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes