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.

Little, Itty Bitty, Teeny Tiny Victories

For those of you who don’t know my husband, here’s what you need to know about him to understand this post:

  • He’s very tall. I’m tall for a woman, and he’s about five inches taller than I am.
  • He’s smart as a whip, but he’s quiet about it. He’s not the flashy smart person in the room, he’s the quietly brilliant smart person who’s having an entirely different conversation in his head that’s somehow tangential to the one that’s happening in the real world. Regardless, he’s still able to keep one ear on the conversation at hand so he can interject a funny movie quote at precisely the right moment.
  • He’s talented. At just about everything. Guitar, software, people, cooking, driving, fatherhood, growing facial hair, he’s adept at it all. He was also great at helping me through having two babies, though I doubt that skill would be helpful to any of you unless you’re nine months pregnant and get trapped on an elevator with him and then go into labor. That’s super unlikely, though.

I could talk about Wes for hours, but the last bullet point is the most germane to the subject of this post, which is that I beat Wes at something. This is pretty big deal for me, and I’ll tell you why.

Yep, you guessed it. He's even a better shot than me.

Yep, you guessed it. He’s even a better shot than me.

Wes can be counted on to learn quickly. Even if he isn’t initially good at something, he figures it out pretty quick. Take cribbage, for example. I’ve been playing cribbage since I was in elementary school. I love it. I taught Wes to play it back in 2012 and at first I was able to beat him with no problem at all.

Ten games or so spaced out over the course of two years later and I’ve got myself a serious competitor who makes it a lot harder to win. He even beat me in a nailbiter game last week. Dang it.

Bowling is another good example. I may beat him the first game, but by the time we’re three games in he’s winning handsomely and my thumb hurts too much to keep going. Double dang it.

Okay, now that you’re familiar with the territory, here’s what happened Friday night. We were playing with our kids when I decided to do a time trial assembling a toy plane. This plane is one of our son’s toys and it breaks down into various nuts, bolts, and pieces and it’s a lot of fun to break it down and reassemble it.

I challenged Wes and then we did timed trials to see who was fastest. The first round, Wes beat me by thirty seconds. Abysmal, right?

Second round, though? The second round was after the kids went to bed and I’d had a generous glass of wine. We put on “Eye of the Tiger” and threw down. Wes went first and beat his first round time. I went next and beat his best time by fifteen whole seconds.

It was amazing. I was in this zone where I felt this kind of superhuman focus take over and before I knew it, BAM! VICTORY!

It just goes to show you, give a stay at home mother some wine and a kick ass song and she can do just about anything.

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.

Walking As a Contact Sport

downloadWes and I live in a quiet little suburb outside Seattle, a perfectly civilized place where you can probably leave your car unlocked in your driveway overnight and see it out there in the morning with all your stuff still inside. It used to be quite bucolic until property values started to rise. Now there are fewer trees and more houses, but even still it’s a pretty place to live.

One of our neighboring cities, Issaquah, is lovely as well, though, in my opinion, less homogenous. Every year during the first weekend of October, the city of Issaquah explodes into a massive festival called Salmon Days. There’s a salmon hatchery in Issaquah, adjacent to Issaquah Creek where the salmon have been running forever, and every year hundreds of people descend on downtown Issaquah to see the salmon, watch the parade, browse the vendors, and eat luscious fair food (read: fried everything).

We tried to take the kids last year but ended up waiting for a shuttle for an hour before calling it quits and heading back home.

This year, we planned ahead and made it just as the fair opened. It was just shy of crowded and perfect for walking around. By the time we left, though, the place was dense with humanity and pushing the stroller more often than not necessitated the kind of bold maneuvering you normally see in F-16 fighter pilots.

There was one incident, on a small bridge, where I was following Wes and pushing a stroller, that I feel exemplifies the kind of maneuvering I’m referring to here.

The bridge was so packed that it was barely possible to cross it. People were hanging off both sides of it to watch the salmon swimming in the creek, and the area in the middle was basically a human obstacle course made up of children, parents, and people in wheelchairs.

I was trying to stay close to Wes so as not to lose him in the crush, and happened to be moving at the same speed and in the same direction as this other guy. He was DETERMINED to cut in front of me so he could insinuate himself between me and Wes and then, who knows? Crowd surf to freedom? Catch a salmon with his bare hands? High-five a clown?

Every time I inched forward through the crowd, this guy stayed right at my elbow, close enough to spray me with a sneeze if he so chose, narrowing the walkable gap even further by his unwillingness to just let me pass. Annoyed enough to do something about it, I watched ahead until I saw a woman take one step back on the Close Walker’s side, forcing him to pause.

As soon as he hesitated, I cut across his path with the stroller, made deliberate eye contact, and said, “Excuse me,” making it quite clear that his days of walking ON ME were over. He fell behind us and our passage across the remainder of the bridge was much smoother.

Afterward, Wes remarked that my time walking around midtown Manhattan has served me well. He’s right. I’m not saying I walk like I’m in Manhattan all the time, but I can definitely pull it out when I need to. Especially with inconsiderate people who walk way too close to me in crowds.

Passersby be warned, I’m a super nice person, but I wield a stroller with fearsome, awful power and I will not hesitate to use it against you with extreme prejudice if you don’t behave yourself. Rawr.

An Inadvertent Murder Mystery Dinner

DIGITAL CAMERAWes and I had the pleasure of having dinner at a lovely restaurant on the water last Friday. He talked me into ordering the five-course tasting menu with him (something my waist regrets but I do not) and we sat there for almost three hours, eating, chatting, and watching the sun go down over the water. Gorgeous.

Of course, there was a bit of an elephant in the room while we dined. Well, not in the room. Tied to the dock. A gargantuan (and I do mean that in the traditional sense wherein it’s meant to convey sheer, enormous size) luxury yacht.

Now, I’m sure you’re thinking of the nicest yacht you’ve ever seen. I’m sure it’s lovely. What you need to do in order to understand the sheer size of this thing is to double that yacht you’re thinking of. In height, width, length, everything.

This thing was so humongous, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn it had a bowling alley and perhaps a wine cellar, too. There was a yacht docked next to it and I actually felt kind of bad for the smaller yacht because, even though it was a very nice yacht and probably more expensive than anything I’ll ever own, it looked piddly next to the grand empress of the seas that was this mega-yacht.

Wes and I took a stroll past it on our way back to the car and it must have been 150 feet long. At least. What we could see through the windows was absolute elegance with very good taste. The leather on the upholstery looked soft enough to chamois a car with, and the deck had to have been made of teak. A crew member was walking around outside the boat, patrolling the deck for any unwanted riffraff, and we passed pleasantries with him before heading home.

I couldn’t stop thinking about that boat, though. How fun would it be to invite friends to come for a cruise with you? I’m pretty sure a maritime party is even better than a land party because the water compounds the coolness. Everyone knows this.

I was looking up information on this kind of mega yacht, though, and apparently a vessel of this size requires a crew of eight to run. I think that might be a bit weird. Even though the crew have their own quarters on board, I just think it’d be weird to be confined on a boat with eight people who work for me.

Of course, the thriller writer in me thinks this is just begging for a murder on the high seas, where the motives are unclear and the mystery unsolvable until the final pages. Come on, that story practically writes itself.

In an attempt to prevent the crew from hating me and wanting to murder me for my money, I’d probably be tempted to help them clean up and do their jobs all the time out of some awkward embarrassment over being waited on.

Who knows, though? Maybe if I ever have hundreds of millions of dollars, I’ll get over that shyness real quick. That is, unless inflation keeps getting worse, in which case my hundreds of millions of dollars will be worth approximately enough to buy a postcard of what that yacht looks like.