Thursday, August 30, 2012

a few updates of minor import

Dear readers.  I have some updates for you.  Which would you like first, mice or H.P.?

Mice?  Ok.

WE CAUGHT ANOTHER MOUSE.  It was nigh a week after the first, and I had begun to breathe easier. Wasn't even afraid to go down to the basement to gather laundry.  The scary black basement is, of course, where we caught the first.  And then, on Sunday night, I was nonchalantly toting a basket on my hip, nipping down the narrow stairs and AGHHHHHHH, AGHHHHHHH, AGHHHHHHHH!  I ran screaming back into the kitchen and fell dramatically against the counter.  Aaron and his bachelor friend Rick came rushing in.  (Do you think Rick wants to get married now?)

When it all came out, the bottom line was that the little ears poking out underneath the overturned trap were just too much.

I know, you guys.  I know you are dismayed that the blog is becoming a chronicle of mouse tales.  Believe me, I know exactly how you feel.  It's dreadful.  We all wish that there were no mice to write about.

We've taken stock, adjusted the game plan, and amped the trap count up to eight, and I can't decide whether I want them all to be full tomorrow or to never see another occupant again.  I'm so conflicted.

But onto Harry Potter.  Aaron bought all the books but one this summer at a book sale.  As I mentioned, we were missing book four, and then we stole it (sorry Liz), and then we found it at a thrift store (thanks IM Thrifty), and the famine was quickly turning into a cornucopia!  Tonight I finished book four and went into our bedroom, where the series is stuffed under Aaron's side of the bed.  I pulled them all out...and lo and behold...there were books 1, 2, 3, 6, 7 and four.   Disbelief, rending of clothes, ashes.  By the way...does anybody have book five?

Tomorrow, Aaron turns 27.  We celebrated Wednesday night with my parents, and I love this picture my dad took.  It totally reminds me of the awkward friend stage when you're not sure how close to lean in to that person because where is this relationship going anyway???  Aaron, I'm glad we're still friends.   Do you think it's awkward?

G'night, all.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

For when the sky is empty

The alarm beeps at 5:30.

"Why is it still dark?  Why am I waking up when it is still dark?  Oh Jesus, help me."

I lay there for a moment, thinking.  As thoughts begin to sharpen around the edges, I think that if I don't move soon, I'll fall back asleep.

And, oh, the planties.  The poor planties.  They need water.

I push feet onto the floor and tip to the closet.  There they are, those flip-flops with the little nubs that press into skin with each step, swiped from Mom's house last week when I tried them on and couldn't take them off.

With nubby flips and a bathrobe thrown over pajamas, the water ritual begins.

I set the hose and return inside to set the coffee.  I'll be in and out moving the hose for the next two hours, so why not a leetle glance onto Pinterest?  Just a few moments until the next switch...

I'm trolling down the main page, noting cute hair-swept-up buns and ombre paint walls, and then - then - I run into God.

What?  God uses Pinterest?

But there He is, in an art print, and suddenly, my heart is liquid, and I could care less about fall fashion, and I shut the laptop with a thud, and I am scrambling for Word.  His Word that burns flesh and cuts bones, and here I am God, and can it be true?

"Come, and let us return unto the Lord...Then we shall know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth."  (Hosea 6:1, 3) 

I've forgotten;  I've given up the ghost on hope;  I'm stumbling around as if it's just me and the hose taking on a brown, brown, world.  And the dry and crumbly clay of this Missouri earth is in my soul too.  Things I'm waiting on, prayers flung up seeming to fall back down, and I'm resigned to the drought.

But He is not.

I sit, with Hosea open on my lap, and I pray out of a new place of desperation.   Oh God, God of the rain, God who has promised to come, help me to believe You.   I remember Elijah, who sat on that mountain with his head in his hands, and seven times he sent his servant to search the horizon, and seven times there were no clouds.  But You were to Him the God of the Coming, and that man's-hand cloud rose to fill the sky with a heavy rain.  

He is a God who comes to us, through computer screen and prophet's hill.  He comes to His people.   When we're ready to move onto winter, 'cause there's no life here anyway.  When we're thirsty and can't find the fountain.  When dreams are shriveled and we don't even care anymore.  

So I give Him the spade to my barren heart land, to dig me up with a Gardener's hand, and I sit and watch for the gully-washer to begin.  

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thursday's Laundry

Just a random basket of thoughts, today, y'all.  Here's some dirty socks and camp t-shirts for ya, all thrown together in the same load.

1.  I am spray-painting two chairs today that I bought for a dollar each.  At a garage sale.  In Lake City. My pack-genius husband fit them in our Honda for the trip home, along with a coffee table he made out of aspen trees.  This is the real reason we aren't having kids yet.  Where would we put all of our stuff on cross-country roadtrips?  I ran out of spray paint mid job and had to run to Wal-Mart...

2.  Wal-Mart in a small town is sometimes really depressing.   For many reasons.  I left after standing in line for a long time and just wished Jesus would come back.  Sounds dramatic, but sometimes hope runs low when you see so many faces of pain and anger and poverty.

3.  We're having a terrible drought.  Every step of grass is dry and crunchy.  The trees aren't brown yet, but they're starting to look like a vintage photograph, all washed out and faded.  I'm trying to keep my flowers holding on until sweet winter's relief and they can store up new life for another year.  These 5 am waterings are not endearing me to gardening.  I think I may throw the towel in.

4.  I think the dry, hot weather is affecting my outlook on life.

5.  There are some days you just have to make a big bowl of guacamole and eat it for lunch.

6.  We're training for a marathon!  It's on my life-goals list, and I'm finally doing it!  I had to wait for Aaron to come around (he's already run one), so when he turned to me in Colorado and said he would go for a second, I hopped on that chance like it was the last train out.   After our first long run (12 mi), we both felt like we should check into the geriatric ward.

7.  Aaron started reading the Harry Potter series a few weeks ago, and I decided it was my wifely duty to join him, so we could have intelligent discussions about Harry Potter.  I realize H.P. is a divisive topic among some folks, but y'all, they are so good!  I have devoured books 1-3, and now we've come to a nasty standstill as book four is out of the library.  What?  These books have been around for a decade!!  Who else would want book four from the library?  Nonetheless, book four is gone, and now, we wait.

Well, now, tell me something about your Thursday.  Are you having a drought too?  Did you eat a weird lunch?  Or maybe you find Wal-Mart trips exhilarating?

Friday, August 17, 2012


Remember that famous movie Princess Bride?  Remember the scene where Buttercup and her FarmBoy are forced to enter the Fire Swamp as Prince Humperdink closes in, and FarmBoy is attacked  by a large, evil, leg-biting, man-wrestling, rat type thing?

Yeah, I thought you would probably remember.  You can't forget those R.O.U.S. very easily.

Now you have a good mental image of Wednesday night at our home, except I was Buttercup and Aaron was FarmBoy, and the Fire Swamp was our kitchen, and there really was no Humperdink unless you count the girl who is living with us, but she is very sweet and altogether unlike Humperdink.

It was late.  We were getting ready to turn in, and I had just set the alarm to wake up at 5 am.  There are water restrictions in our little droughty town, and the only time our quadrant can water is 5-8 am two mornings a week.  A girl makes sacrifices for her flowers.  So there we were.  Aaron went into the kitchen for a drink of water, and then I heard him groan.  "Uh-oh."  

I knew instantly.  Call it womanly instinct.  There. was. a. mouse. in. our. house.

A few weeks ago, I had been proudly commenting to our friend Christian that we'd never had a mouse.  Three years of living in an older home, and I had never once seen mouse droppings, ragged teeth holes in cereal boxes, or the furry beasts themselves.  Chalk it up to my masterful housekeeping, I guess, or Divine Favor, but we weren't the sort of house that had that problem. 

"Babe," Aaron called.  "I just saw a mouse."

And I let forth a blood-curdling scream.  Not really, but the expression on my face rivaled Edvard Munch's famous painting.

"A mouse?"  I said as I rounded the corner into the kitchen.  "Are you sure?  We've never had a mouse."

"Yup, I'm sure. I just saw it run from here (he pointed to the white cart by the stove) over to there (a careless wave to the basement stairs). "

"It's in the basement?  Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh."  I think at this point I began to hyperventilate and rend my garments.

Have you ever had that experience where it is as if a version of yourself steps out onto your shoulder to reason, but the rest of you will have none of it?  You can almost see the ghostly twin of yourself, come from a better, more peaceful and enlightened time, patiently offering sage advice....but this is not the time!  This is the FIRE SWAMP for crying out loud!!!

"You lived with a rat in Kolkata.  You were fine.  You can handle this," my rational self urged.  But I interrupted her mid-shoulderpat and sent her flying across the room.

"Aaron, why did it come in?"  I shrieked.  

He looked bemused and totally unaware of the gravity of the situation.  Clearly, he was also wishing I would retrieve my logical self post-haste. 

"I don't know, babe.  I'll buy some traps in the morning."  

"No," I wailed.  "You've gotta go get some now."  

"But it's 11 o'clock!" 

"But there's a mouse in our house!" 

I pulled the stove away from the wall to reveal little pieces of spaghetti, coffee beans, a couple of dried up raisins.  "This is why he came in!  Oh my gosh, this is disgusting, oh my gosh, I have to sweep and mop right away!"  

"Lara, it's 11 at night.  We need to go to bed."

I flailed the broom.  "Please, please, go to Wal-Mart right now!"  

I have thought, in those more peaceful and enlightened times, that I married a man with extraordinary patience.  And it is true.  The fire swamp moments only serve to reinforce that belief.  

He went to Wal-Mart.  And I went to our bed and cowered on the edge.  

Thirty minutes, four traps, and ten smashed fingers later, we had us some mouse traps, baby.  And in the morning, that R.O.U.S. was lifeless underneath the metal bar.  VICTORY!

We're not out of the woods, er, swamp yet.  The next morning, when I called Dad to share my tale of woe, he assured me that it's rarely just a's usually mice.  Oh thanks, Daddy.  Well, you just sealed my fate for the next month.  I will not be able to walk into the kitchen without gingerly peering through the doorway first, because as everyone knows, dead animals are really scary.  

Don't try to follow my logic on that one.

Come on friends.  Commiserate with me on this one.  Share your awful mouse stories.  I am in desperate need of some solidarity.  A girl needs to know she's not the only one.