29 July 2009

Dropping In...

I have been home exactly one week since my vacation out west. And I am still catching up.

Some vacations are restful and relaxing. This one, while lovely, was far from restful. Ever come home from a vacation feeling like you need a vacation? Often those are the worst kind. NOT that I'm complaining.

One of these days I will post photos from SIX STRAIGHT DAYS of sunshine in Colorado and New Mexico. Yes, days and days and DAYS of sunshine do exist on this planet. Just not in Maine.

But I still love Maine, clouds, raindrops, and all. Yesterday we were given a much-needed reprieve and now most of the state is suffering from a sunburn.

They say we'll have more sunshine today - here's hoping!

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

16 July 2009

On Vacation

I'm in Colorado doing a three-day roadtrip with my dad, while my husband and son hold down the fort at home.

I won't be posting much while here, and then I'll be going to New Mexico to see my mom. A marathon of a trip in a week's time. I'll keep updates on Twitter, which will show up here in the left sidebar, if you're not a Twitterer.

For now, I wanted to share one of the true beauties of Colorado...







What - were you expecting mountains? Pshaw, you can see those anywhere.

Ok, not really.

Rest assured I will be taking countless photos of the REST of the beauty of Colorado, but I wanted to be loyal to my Broncos and give them the first shot. :)

Have a good week, friends.

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

12 July 2009

Grace in the Small Things – 4

1. Successful mouse traps.

2. Cool Maine summer temps when we could be here or here. Or HERE.

3. Fresh produce available a couple of miles away, even though our own home garden is a shambles from all the rain.

4. Listening to the kids play basketball in the driveway until well after dark. Ah, summer.

5. Teen boys who come to my house and do yard work – because they love doing the work, not because they want to visit my daughters. :P

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

10 July 2009

The Mouse in the Kitchen

We've always had mice. Every spring and fall, a couple of them make their way into the house and all but a few lucky ones (that we've caught and set free outside) have been played with and killed by our cats.

Since the mice have never stayed, or been allowed to stay, I haven't been too concerned about this. My mother lectures me on the filth and diseases brought by mice, but really, what am I going to do? I can get them once they're here, but I don't know how to stop them from coming in altogether.

The other thing is that the mice stay in the basement until the cat kills them and brings them to our bedroom to show us. The basement is cluttered and unfinished, so in all honesty, I really don't care.

Until now.

I mentioned recently that we got a new stove. A LOVELY new stove that is currently the newest and nicest thing in our home. Also recently, our aging cat brought a LIVE mouse to our bedroom and set it free. We never found it. The next day it was clearly in the living room, but the cat and I were unable to catch it.

I didn't see any sign of the mouse for a few days. A sign being, our cat looking frantically under the sofa or behind a bookcase.

Then late Wednesday night, as I was putting things away in the kitchen, a mouse ran across the kitchen counter and into the top of the stove. Scared the crap out of me. The new stove has a wonderful feature where we can lift the top of the stove (where the burners are) and clean under it. The mouse appeared to be in that layer. I lifted the top, but we could see that the mouse was in the small section just above the oven, with all the insulation.

You probably see where this is going. We couldn't get to the mouse without unbolting the entire stove, so we went on to bed and hoped the cat would get it over night.

Yesterday morning I woke up to mouse droppings all over the kitchen counter.

Now, I am not a clean freak. The floor sometimes gets dirtier than it should (mostly with dog hair) and we don't always make the beds. BUT - the idea of a nasty little mouse walking AND POOPING where I prepare food just pushed me over the edge. I told the family - that's it, either we're getting mouse traps or a newer, less-defective cat.

But after cleaning and cleaning AND CLEANING the kitchen counters, the day got away from me and I forgot all about getting the traps. Until...

This morning there were more droppings on the kitchen counter. And the floor. And on and IN the stove. So we started pulling everything out. Several times we had opened the drawer under the stove (and thankfully there was no evidence of mice in there) but this time, we pulled the whole thing out. And lo and behold, there was a MOUSE NEST in the corner behind the stove - - made entirely of STOVE INSULATION.

You do know, this means war.

That evil little beast is not only pooping where I prepare food, but it is also destroying my brand new stove.

So although we planned a fun-filled beach day today, on our first real day of forecasted warmth, I am going out RIGHT NOW to buy traps.

And I will not rest until the mice are GONE.

The End.

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

06 July 2009

Grace in the Small Things – 3

1. Sunshine. Finally.

2. Roses that bloom even though they’ve been waterlogged and largely ignored.



3. Evening primroses that bloom all day, in spite of their name.



4. Kids big enough to mow the lawn.

5. A cool mother-in-law who calls me on the phone and tells me funny stories.

And thanks again to Schmutzie for the idea.

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

04 July 2009

Our 4th of July

Hey, look at that bright thing in the sky!


Such a quaint picture of our little town.

Let me just say that our 4th of July didn't go as planned. In fact, patriotic as we are, the day held very little patriotism, other than the flag flying out in front of our house.

Understand that the past two nights involved more mouse-chasing in our house. Thursday night, our cat once again found a mouse in the basement, and brought it to our room and set it free. She then proceeded to chase it around our bedroom at 2:30 a.m., howling and knocking things over until we were fully awake. If I hadn't been so tired, I'd have laughed when my husband was on all fours, looking under the dresser for the mouse, while the cat sat back and watched, licking her paw, mildly amused.

At 5:00 a.m., that same morning, our dog decided he needed to go outside. This is a dog who sleeps in until well past 9:00 a.m. most days.

I think the dog and cat have a conspiracy going, but I'm too sleep-deprived to figure out what it is or to do anything about it.

After having very little sleep the night before, yesterday our daughter had her party, which went pretty much all day. And I have to say, being back out in the sun after so many days of rain was exhausting. Plus, I decided to try out the trampoline for the first time this season. Jumping for 10 minutes and turning three back-flips was just dumb. DUMB, I tell you.

At 6:00 yesterday evening, I fell asleep and had one of the best naps I've had in years. I awakened after 7:00 and realized dinner had yet to be made. Suffice it to say, the evening went LONG. And right before I went BACK up to bed at 1:00 a.m., the cat indicated that the still-at-large mouse was hiding in the living room.

Years ago, I'd have stopped everything until I found it. On this night, I shrugged, turned off the lights and went to bed, just glad the mouse wasn't in my bedroom again.

ALL THAT TO SAY ~ I was thankful that our local parade this morning didn't begin until 11:00. We were all ready to go at 10:30, but as we looked outside at our flag hanging limp in the fog, and as we talked about whether or not we wanted to take a picnic blanket or lug lawn chairs along to sit on the soggy grass, we unanimously decided to go see a movie instead.

Our son pointed out that the movie theater would be pleasingly empty, because everyone else was at the parade.

We went to see the new Transformers movie. Of course, as we walked into the theater, the sun came streaming through the clouds. Thankfully (for us) when we emerged again, it was raining, so our guilt about spending a sunny day inside was abated.

Later this afternoon, my husband grilled steaks out in the rain, and we decided to eat indoors. Just as we sat down to dinner, the sun came out again. I'm telling you, the weather patterns in Maine are schizophrenic.

One cool thing about all the rain? The river near our home looks amazing. Here are a few shots we took this evening, as most of us were deciding to make our 4th of July complete by NOT going to the fireworks show. We're non-conformists like that.

The Brunswick-Topsham walking bridge:



The view downriver, toward the dam:


Below the dam: (notice the trees in the water - it's very high)










And here is where my son decided to put more grey hairs on my head. He climbed on the rocks behind the barrier fence which is there for a REASON. His girlfriend got the shot of me ordering him back away from the water's edge, and behind the safety of the fence once again.



Between the dog, the cat, and the kids,... they're making me old.

Happy 4th of July, everyone.

P.S. Still no sign of the mouse. Still don't care.

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

03 July 2009

Reprieve

This morning the sun came out for about five minutes.

Really, this summer has been so rainy, that nothing else matters. Trust me.

And then our day went like this...

Our daughter had a few friends over for an impromptu cookout/party. When they got here this morning, the sun popped out for those 5 minutes.

Then it went away, so the kids went downstairs to play Guitar Hero World Tour. I sat on the basement steps and watched while they did Michael Jackson's Beat It. It was hilarious because they butchered it, but it was also nostalgic and a bit sad for me, considering recent events.

And then there came the sun again. Blue sky! Sunshine! Warmth!

We all ran frantically outside to soak up any fleeting rays. But miracle of miracles, the clouds parted and there was a LOT of sun. For about three hours, we soaked, we grilled burgers, we jumped on the trampoline, we went for a walk, and we took full advantage of this rare sunny day.

The fog and clouds are rolling back in now as I type this. But it's ok. We've had a small reprieve. Dare I hope for a repeat performance tomorrow?

I don't dare.

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

02 July 2009

Today in Bath, Maine

We were invited to a little send-off today for one of Todd's co-workers who is moving to another job. It was this afternoon at Byrnes Pub in historic Bath. We showed up 25 minutes late, and oddly enough, none of the group was there. We saw one other person we knew, but he wasn't with our group. We sat down at a table so Todd could check his blackberry, and make sure we had the right place and the right time.

Turns out we DID have the right place and the right time. But the wrong DAY. It was yesterday and we missed it.

That's what a month of rain does to your brain. Makes it squishy and limp.

So we laughed it off and walked around Bath for the next hour. Such a charming little town, even in the rain. After pretending to be interested in several of the specialty shops, we ended up where we knew we wanted to go all along. Reny's.

Reny's has everything you could ever want. And more. And then even more than that. Todd found a new pair of reading glasses, and we also got some marshmallow roasting forks and some noodle floaties to use at the lake later on this summer. That last purchase was a total act of faith, as so far this summer, neither the weather NOR the lake water has been warm enough for floaties. Or even swimsuits.

Then we went to Friendly's and stood outside in the cold to order a chocolate malt. You know, to make up for the fact that we missed the party at Byrnes. And then we drove along the river and oohed and aahed at the water level, which is now up among the tree branches.

I've never seen this much moisture in my entire life. I think that when God was planning the weather for Maine this summer, he got Portland, MAINE confused with Portland, OREGON. An easy mistake to make. It can happen to anyone. But now that I've pointed it out, I hope he will be so kind as to make things right again.

We in Maine would be so grateful.

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes