Thursday, 30 August 2007

An Ode to Mice, Just In Case

With weather this perfect, my office windows are thrown open to invite the sunshine and clean morning breeze in to whisk away yesterday’s stale air. I love to stand in front of the window when the sun is warming the dewy grass, wisps of steam rising in fluttery tendrils. This, coupled with a fresh, heaving lungful of fresh air. . . GAG! GASP! Lord have MERCY, what on earth is that SMELL?

Falling away from the window in horror and slamming my window shut, I shudder. Seriously, what was that smell? I wonder for a moment if I need smelling salts, anything to burn that smell out of my nose. Ick.

Holding my breath, I slowly open the window and look around. There it is, just 6 inches below my window. Ewww. Decomposing mice.

The gravel below my window has become a mouse graveyard, but the caretaker has apparently taken leave of his job, and has left a scattering of furry little corpses for me to deal with.
Gotta love that little hunter. With this latest offering from Wick, the count is 9 moles and 14 mice. And she’s barely over a year old. Good kitty.

However, as many times as I praise her prowess, as many times as I dispose of those poor little creatures (even thought they are considered vermin, they are still pretty cute), she keeps bringing us more. She might even be getting bored with my ‘good hunter’ litany.

Truthfully? I’m starting to get just a little bit scared.

Somewhere, the Mayor of Mousedom is ticked off that his furry relatives keep disappearing, being offered as gifts at my office window or in front of Peter’s car.

Soon, the mouse kingdom will figure it out. And they know they can’t send a mouse army. I mean really. Wick will wipe them out with one swipe of her mighty paw. The numbers speak for themselves.

So, to give back just a little to the mousy world, I have written a tribute for the fallen comrades of Mousedom. Why? You know– just in case those dead mice are gathered somewhere in the rodent after-world, planning on a ghostly uprising or something.

An Ode to Mice

You’re cute, you’re furry, and you scamper with glee.
Too bad our cat is quicker than thee.
Your life was ended, no doubt in fear.
I’m sorry you suffered while your end was near.
If you could escape our Wick’s mighty paw,
You could report to all mice exactly what you saw.
Mice would be warned, both near and far,
Stay clear of Wick’s house, or a snack is what you are.
Live out your lives in vast wooded land,
Stay out of our walls, consider yourselves banned.
It’s the least I can do to save your little lives,
Hey, it’s that, or Wick’s claws like knives.

If this doesn’t work, come visit us on Halloween. I’m sure the body count will be in the triple digits, and we’ll be able to offer a ghoulish mouse ghost tour like you’ve never seen before.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Lessons in Teenager Painting

Cost of three varying colours of orange paint and primer for a spare bedroom: $121.00. Cost of equipment to paint said bedroom: $83.16. Cost of Joyce and Peter letting four 18-year-olds pretend to paint the bedroom? Our sanity.

Peter’s daughter has moved in for a few months. One of the spare bedrooms, painted in an adorable Noah’s Ark theme (previous owners) was claimed by Blondie as her room for the duration. Noah and the animals had to go, replaced immediately by paint, brushes, and four teenagers with great intentions.

Dire warnings accompany my instructions. I delegate wisely. Blondie is great at colouring outside the lines, so I put her on tape. Her gorgeous friend Alexa gives me strict assurances that she’s done this kind of thing before, and ‘m not to worry.

Did I mention that the two other teenagers are the current toys of summer for our girls? Cute toys they are, too. I place my trust in the boys, telling them that I don’t think I have to worry about giggles flying with the paint as long as their hands are wielding the brushes, and can they please keep an eye on Blondie?

My last instruction is to let me know when they’ve prepped the room completely before they open any paint. The most important rule is to make sure that every single surface was covered in any of the dozens of drop sheets that I provide.

Wait. Did I mention we have beech hardwood floors upstairs?

Thus my last, final, most dire warning. Do NOT get any paint whatsoever on the hardwood floors. Come and get me when you’re ready to start painting. Repeat dire warnings. Cover everything, or die.

Another two hours passes. I go upstairs, cursing myself for letting Blondie talk me into this. I open the door again.

The room has been whitewashed by blind people. Paint and drop cloths are piled in messy hills, paint smeared all over the floor in messy globs, dripping from the floor boards onto the floor. But they have more paint on one another than on the walls. This explains the mysterious giggling.

I take a deep, calming breath and tell them all that they are not leaving the house until there isn’t a speck of paint on our floors. I close the door again and walk away. Peter is already sending telepathic I-told-you-so’s. I can feel it emanating from him as I curse under my breath.
After eight hours, the only thing these well-meaning kids have covered is everything that shouldn’t be painted: floors, door handles, hallway floor, bathroom sink, counter, good brown towels and each other.

Muttering under my breath, I leave them with soap, hot water , scrub brushes and a look that tried to convey the ominous consequences of their actions if I come back and find one spot of paint anywhere other than the walls.

They do well on clean up. But now we have to hire a professional to come finish the job. Sigh. Priceless? I think not.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

People Watching and Jammin’ by the Riverside

Riverside Jam from a vendor’s eye view is quite a bit different from being a reveller in the country music scene.

This vendor was selling her yummy smelling Gold Canyon Candles with her wonderful husband all weekend, and let me tell you – the people watching alone was something not to be missed.

Friday night, the crowds were quiet, but the array of dress was as loud as any hard rock concert. Pink, turquoise and wild straw ‘cowboy’ hats adorned heads in alarming numbers. Mini skirts and cowboy boots stomped and strutted on the bodies of young, lithe teenagers. And nota one of them looked like what I call a real cowboy.

There was an element of dress that was laughable at points and mysterious at others (her mother,or daughter, let her out of the house like that?) Exactly how many fat rolls outside the shirt are considered sexy? I'd like to know - really.

The music was foot-stomping fun. There was so much talent on that stage that by the time George Canyon performed on Sunday night, I was thoroughly doused in country music. And George Canyon, with his deep, rumbly voice and chiselled country-boy jaw just cemented my love of the Jam.

However, threre was so much more to see than the performers on the stage (not that I could get close enough to really even see the performers, as people pitched their chairs to mark their spots early in the mornings).

Early Saturday morning (by Jam standards), I was walking back to the car for something and I spotted a couple near the Canoe Club. The morning sun sparkled on the water’s surface as the couple stood under the branches of one of the mighty oaks that grow so majestically near the river’s edge, and they were locked in a tight embrace.

There was nothing seedy or inappropriate about their behaviour. They were just out enjoying a quiet morning stroll when the urge to climb all over one another occurred. The kiss they shared was long and deep, and he cupped her face like a man doomed to love forever. The thing that made it so special to see? They were at least 60 years old. Good stuff.

The music started at 1:00 p.m. every day, but that didn’t stop the couple sound asleep in the cool, breezy shade of another oak. The green grass was their mattress, and his chest was her pillow. This couple in their fifties were having an awesome nap, heedless of the endless noise of motorcycles revving, performers singing and people laughing.

Wandering through the campgrounds was like stepping into a permanent party zone.

Cutie and I passed a darkened-don’t-come-a-knockin’ campsite that was seemingly involved in their private party, if the soundtrack was any indication. And trust me on this - there was so much noise that it was a miracle we could hear any given thing. So, I'm guessing the bouncing trailer was a seriously happenin' party.

We passed barbecues and laughter and dancing. There was a site full of friends seated in a circle, while two shirtless man-boys (20 somethings) played their guitars and caterwauled loud enough to scare the racoons from the forest.

It was all beautiful, and everyone was having a good time. And that, I guess is what that weekend was about. Good times, good friends, new friends and great music. Can’t wait for next year!

Monday, 6 August 2007

My Secret Soccer Life

Okay, most of you know my position on soccer as a whole. Unless Beckham or Cristiano Ronaldo is personally showing me soccer stuff, really – I could take it or leave it.

However, little did I know that the soccer people were working their own underhanded magic on me, and I didn’t even realize it.

It started with the FIFA Youth World Cup. Peter bought tickets for all of the Ottawa games. Peter told me how many people in the soccer club were also buying tickets, and that the World Cup was going to be some awesome soccer. When he asked if I wanted to go, I said yes.

And before you think it was a waste of a perfectly good ticket, I guess I should tell you that I enjoy live action sports – pretty much no matter what the sport. Well, except for tennis and golf. Please. How exciting can that be?

Anyway – I thought that all the countries coming together in Ottawa would be a really cool thing to see, and I was right. The FIFA Youth World Cup was some mighty awesome soccer.

The way those players move their feet and control that ball is something that even I can appreciate. It’s such a different game from what I’ve seen before (like that’s been so much soccer). My eyes were opened completely to the beauty of professional level soccer. And I didn’t even care that Beckham wasn’t on the field.

Lord help me, I might be turning into a fan!

When the U.S. / Brazil match was played, Peter and I showed up like Romeo and Juliet – Peter in his much deserved Brazilian colours, a Brazilian fan for many years. Me? Well, let’s just say that finding red, white and blue in my closet wasn’t such a stretch. And we went to the game that way. Holding hands and getting more than a few double-glances and chuckles. The U.S. and Brazil walked up to our seats in the stands. The teams took the field, and the game began.

And I cheered the loudest when the U.S. beat Brazil. Man, those boys can play soccer. It’s a beautiful thing to see.

I booed with everyone else as we got seriously tired of the Argentinian drama falls, and other poor sportsmanship behaviour at these games. We chatted with fans around us, mostly families from the Carleton Place Soccer Club. It’s like we had our own section. Lanark County was representin’!

Peter recorded all the out of town games. As he watched them (mostly by himself), I found myself asking what happened when he gave a yell, or I would make him rewind the game to show me the goal I’d just missed. I watched the last two games with him, and they were awesome to see. I still wish the Czech Republic had won. I’m so over Argentina.

Something is happening to me. I don’t’ know quite what it is, but it scares me

I have to go. The Boys Mississippi Invitational Soccer Tournament is next weekend, and I’m on the planning committee.