Furry Little Ghost

I bet the Rabbit of Caerbannog ate a crap ton of flowers in his day.

I bet the Rabbit of Caerbannog ate a crap ton of flowers in his day.

I used to have no problem with rabbits. Truly, other than being an occasional wildlife sighting during a family walk, I never used to spare them a single thought. Why would I? They’re quiet neighbors, their poops are small and inoffensive in smell, and they’re cute. Who doesn’t like watching a fuzzy little butt going lippity lippity through their yard?

Me, apparently, because I now have a legitimate problem with my lapin neighbors.

It all started two weeks ago, when I talked Wes into buying me some pretty flowers for the yard. He was hesitant to do so, citing his No Spending Money Improving Our Rental House policy. I convinced him by saying it was like he was buying an outdoor long lasting bouquet of flowers for his wife. He was happy to do it when I put it that way and voila! Pretty flowers in my front yard! We loves them, precious!

I was hustling my kids into the car the morning after the flowers were planted when my son called out from the front yard, “Mama! Something happened to your flowers!”

Sure enough, some creature had eaten the flowers right off their stalks, leaving nothing but green stalks and exposed roots where they’d ripped my pretty, pretty flowers clear out of the ground. I felt violated. These were like a present to me from my son and husband! How could something destroy them in less than twenty-four hours?!

The lack of hooved tracks led me to believe the culprit was small and lippity rather than tall and sprightly, and hence my dislike for bunnies began. Now when I see them around the neighborhood, I want to pull over and chastise them soundly for their inexcusable snacking.

Fast forward to Friday, when I was driving my kids to school and noticed a cluster of crows, heads down, pecking intently at something in the middle of the street. My approach frightened them off, and when we rolled closer I saw the object of their interest had started its life off as a flower-munching rabbit. Except now, it was providing a tasty snack to someone else.

By the time we got back, someone had mercifully removed the corpse from our street and the only sign of what had happened that morning was a few drifting puffs of what I can only assume used to be fluffy white tail. It made me wonder: Did any part of the rabbit’s animus linger? Is it wandering around in constant bewilderment in search of ghostly flowers to rip out of the ground?

Who knows, maybe my whole neighborhood is host to droves of phantom bunnies, all restlessly searching for absolution amid the brightly-colored pansies.

Ignore me, I’m letting my mind run amok. The salient point of this post is that I did have a problem with bunnies, and now I’m sort of okay with them again. It’s hard out there for tiny animals with no self-defense skills. I suppose I could stand to be a little more supportive…

…after I spread some slug repellent granules around my flowers. I can be supportive of them when I’m sure they won’t be eating my flowers again.

Granite and Stainless Steel Dreams

No, this is not my kitchen, but I really really wish it was. Egads, but that's beautiful.

No, this is not my kitchen, but I really really wish it was. Egads, but that’s beautiful.

I’ve mentioned before that Wes and I are renting the house we currently live in. Our landlord is very nice and the neighborhood is lovely and the house is fantastic. We have no complaints.

Lately, though…We find ourselves transitioning to a different state of mind, one that only makes sense in the context of our housing history.

When Wes and I got engaged, we decided to buy a house to live in together once we were married. I was still in college at the time, but Wes made decent money as a car salesman and so we looked at a bunch of condos and houses in search of a good starter home. The real estate bubble hadn’t yet burst, which meant all the advice we were getting was, “Buy a house! It’ll increase in value and you’ll be able to sell it for a down payment on a bigger house farther on down the road!”

So we found an adorable (yet tiny) little house, got married, and moved in. We loved that house. It creaked and it was intolerably hot during the summer, but it had a gigantic yard with all kinds of exotic flowers planted in it and we had big dreams for it.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. The real estate bubble burst and we were upside down on our mortgage (meaning we owed more on our house than it was worth), Wes and I both lost our jobs within a week of each other, blah blah blah life happened.

Fast forward a couple years. Our son is almost one and we need a bigger house, so our next move is to rent a bigger house. Renting is an incredible break from the at-times oppressive responsibility of owning a house. There’s nothing that’ll keep you on your toes quite like wondering how you’ll pay to replace your furnace, which is making increasingly more noise as it ages, when you’re living paycheck to paycheck and can barely budget out a single trip to Starbucks each week.

This is only slightly relevant, but whichever house we end up buying someday, we WILL be installing this sink in the guest bathroom. This is happening, it is not a drill, the ammonite sink is happening. I deeply adore this sink. Don't you want to wash your hands in it???

This is only slightly relevant, but whichever house we end up buying someday, we WILL be installing this sink in the guest bathroom. This is happening, it is not a drill, the ammonite sink is happening. I deeply adore this sink. Don’t you want to wash your hands in it???

We’ve been renting this house for four years and have loved it here. It’s a great house for entertaining, we can have tons of people over without waking any kids who might be snoozing upstairs, and it’s AIR CONDITIONED so we can actually enjoy the summer. It’s great.

But it’s not ours.

We can’t paint the walls, or make landscaping changes, or get a newer fridge that doesn’t hum all the time. We can’t replace the outdated dishwasher that sounds like a rocket is taking off in my kitchen every time I run a load through. We can’t swap out the tiled kitchen island for granite, or refinish the cabinets, or raise the counters in the bathroom so we are able to use the sinks without bending ourselves into right angles.

And you know what? After four years of not having to fret about replacing our furnace, we’re ready to start thinking about that kind of stuff again. It’ll take us a long time (read: years) to save up a down payment for a house, but that’s our new goal. It feels nice.

Unlike when we were twenty-nothing newlyweds, this time we’ll actually have a slight inkling of what we’re doing and what we’re looking for. I can’t wait.

And until that day comes when we’re doling out our life savings for what will likely be a fixer upper, I’ll dream about color schemes, silent appliances, and yards and yards of colorful flowers and various bushes that grow fruit for my kids to pick in the summer.

Appley and Crambler

Those of you who know me in person know that I love to laugh. A lot. It takes very, very little to make me laugh out loud, to the extent that wearing a shirt reading, “LOL” would be redundant because, dude, just listen.

In addition to bad puns, people falling down, and Nathan Lane, there are some more specialized things that make me laugh. Certain words, for example, just crack me right up. It’s involuntary. As you can imagine, Wes knows all these words, and discovers more each year. One of his favorite things is making me laugh, so he’ll deploy them casually in conversation and then watch me lose it.

I imagine this is what Appley and Crambler would look like. Appley would be the smaller of the two, Crambler would be blockish and a little grumpy.

I imagine this is what Appley and Crambler would look like. Appley would be the smaller of the two, Crambler would be blockish and a little grumpy.

The other day I was washing dishes and we were talking about something super sexy like yard work, and Wes totally nonchalantly just leans against the counter and mentions that maybe we should bring Appley Smathers in to help us. I almost fell down laughing.

Appley Smathers is the name of the pygmy goat we’re going to get someday. We made this plan early on in our marriage, back when we had tons of prolific grass to mow every weekend. We decided we’d get a pygmy goat instead of a lawn service, and then decided to name it Appley Smathers because those two words are, for some unknowable reason, freaking hilarious to me.

The reason I’m telling you about my weirdo plan to get a pygmy goat someday is, today we came across another name that would make an EXCELLENT companion name to Appley Smathers. And that name is…

Crambler Chadhouse.

I kid you not, I’m typing this in a Starbucks and shaking with silent laughter just typing this. What is wrong with me?

So if you ever come over to our eventual house at some point in the distant future and see two pygmy goats gamboling about the property, be prepared for quite a lot of uncontrollable giggling when you ask me what the goats’ names are. Because I’ll tell you, as soon as I’m done laughing so hard I cry.

Hopelessly Boring

There’s so much dirt under my fingernails right now that, if you didn’t know better, you’d think I moonlighted as an earthworm or something.  I decided to do a little light yardwork after dinner (being as how my husband isn’t here and all) and one project turned into fifty and before I knew it I was re-planting tulips and re-locating a massive clematis that just happened to be growing right on top of a rose.

I’d show you pictures but that would require me to get up and abandon this lovely ice cream I’m currently spending time with.  That’s not going to happen.  What is going to happen is that we shall see whether my mad re-planting skills work on the clematis I moved.  I feel like I just transplanted an organ and shall be waiting on the tips of my toes to see if this sucker’s gonna make it or croak.

I hope it makes it, but if not I won’t cry or anything.  It was choking out my rose bush, so it was either the clematis or the rose.  Between the two, I think moving the clematis was the only real option there.

It just occurred to me that I’m hopelessly boring sitting here talking about plants and yardwork.  Unfortunately, this is about as exciting as I’m gonna get tonight so I’d better go before I cause y’all to start dozing at your desks.  I can just imagine it now, your co-worker or spouse or roommate stumbles across your inert form lying prone across your keyboard and he/she takes off running down the street, flagging a policeman (who looks like a British constable) and pleading, “Stop her before she bores again!”

Let’s avoid a scene then, shall we?  I just finished the first season of Prison Break and I have no desire to get shipped off the clink.  I have no time to get a full-body tattoo and would probably just read it backward anyway even if I did.

Vitamin D Junkie

As much as I complain about the weather here in Washington during the winter, summer (when it finally arrives) is breathtaking.  The weather today was in the mid 70’s, also known as the perfect temperature.  The sky could not be more blue, there are no nasty breezes to chill the day, and it’s altogether lovely.  It’s kind of a bummer that this perfect weather came on a Monday, when all I can do is stare at it from indoors, but it’s not the end of the world.

In fact, the other nice thing about Washington summers is that the daylight stretches from 6am clear until 9pm.  Wes and I seized the day, and our gardening utensils, and escaped outdoors after work today.  In the spirit of 4/20, and because we don’t smoke weed, we did the next best thing: We pulled weeds.

I still can’t get over what nice weather does to Washingtonians.  All of us kept escaping outside during work today so we could soak up as much sunlight as possible, and we all left work not a minute too late so that we could enjoy it.  We’re like sun-starved plants, orienting ourselves toward the sun in an effort to harvest as much energy as possible.

Scientists posit that there’s a higher rate of cancer and multiple sclerosis in Washington state than in any other state because we get so little sunlight (I guess vitamin D is important or something?)  It’s possible that living here is hazardous, that the three or four months of lovely weather do not make the rest of the abysmal year of weather worthwhile.

It’s possible, but I think unlikely.  I read on MSN the other day that Portland is now the number one suicide city in the nation.  When I moved here, I’m pretty sure Seattle held that honor so I’d say things are moving in the right direction.  Which is to say south.  So watch out, California.

Speaking of my lovely home state, I was talking to my brother last night and he was kvetching that the weather never changes in California, therefore making it boring.  I replied that most Washingtonians would vastly prefer boring but nice weather to wondering whether it’s going to snow in the middle of April.  Excitement, like milk, gets pretty awful after awhile.  Unless you’re like one of those adrenaline junkie people, in which case I guess you’d just have to say that you preferred sour cream to milk.