Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Flake, multi-grain

Me.  Eating.  Cereal.

I'm not really certain how  this came about.  After my formative years filled with, "Breakfast is either Cornflakes or Cheerios."  I swore to never eat cereal again...especially oatmeal...except in cookies.  And here I am with a box of Special K and a bowl in my desk and a pint of  milk in the office  refrigerator.

Getting old is hell.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

And This Time They Brought Reinforcements

The Raccoons, dang Varmints!  They are back and this time they are undeterred by the plastic mesh of the chicken "wire" protecting my pond .

At 10:45 PM, Stubble came up to our room to announce, "Mom, the raccoons are back and they're trying to break into the pond!  And THIS time there are SIX of them!"

Of course I leapt up staggered from bed to assist in the battle.  Armed with an empty Coke can, a sturdy dowel that usually acts as a secondary lock for the family room slider, and a flashlight, Stubble and I bravely advanced to the backyard battlefield.

One of them was on the lattice "roof" of the pond enclosure, another was inside having already uprooted the waterlilies.  Two youngsters were running about by the back fence.  For some unknown reason, the motion sensor lights had not come on.  Well, not really an UNKNOWN reason.  Somebody had turned them off, leading to the incursion into my territory.

As I found out later, the lights would not have deterred them as the elder raccoon has discovered a path to the pond guaranteed not to trigger the lights - over our neighbor's garden shed, down our fence by the bird bath, along the back of our shed and then up the wrought iron framework of the gazebo and finally into the pond itself...

Our timely entrance into the field of battle disturbed the maruaders and the adults retreated as quickly as they could given the need to stick to the shadows.  The two unfortunate youngsters, however, could not scale the stockade fence and fell repeatedly as they tried to climb it in the birdbath area.  As the intrepid Stubble closed in, flashlight in hand, they began to scurry back and forth along the fence, chirping for help.  Their mother hissed at us from the top of the fence.

Stubble grabbed a plastic parson's table from the patio and placed it so as to assist the littlest raccoons in their escape attempts.

"I'm only trying to help!  Don't you growl at me!" muttered Stubble to the mother raccoon who was by this time sitting upright on a cinderblock fence post, expressing her displeasure at the proceedings.

By then our neighbors were alerted to the goings on and offered their encouragement from their well lit back patio, which served to close off several potential escape routes for the furry invaders.

One of the youngsters managed to run to the front of our house and climb the reinforcing structure of the gate from which he fled to the safety of a darkened driveway.  The second, having retreated to the narrow passage behind the shed, managed to climb the gazebo wall from which he could reach the top of the fence quite handily.

Today the planning shall begin for a means to repel the nocturnal visitors once and for all!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Why do I keep hearing Bells? Bells, Bells, BELLS!

I have been carrying my cell phone in my pocket today. I am expecting a call that I plan to answer, as opposed to the calls that I screen or just plain ignore...

I have answered my phone at least 5 times today only to find no one on the "line". Now even though the ringing is faint, I do have the world's quietest cell phone even with the volume on HI and so I answer.  This is very time consuming (OK, not so much) as well as embarassing.

It turns out that they are jackhammering concrete three buildings over and it is vibrating through my building's metal framing...


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Of Cats and creepy-crawlies

Or in this case, Flying Things That Hang Out At The Ceiling.

Rufus is an intrepid hunter - for an exclusively indoor cat. All of the behaviors are there: The creeping along the carpet, the fixed gaze, the twitching muscles just before the pounce...and then, there he goes -

Along the back of the (leather) couch (what was I thinking?), to the top of the first stereo speaker, to the second (higher) stereo speaker (the Bearded One has surround sound), to the top of the flatscreen TV (where he RUNS along it's 1.5 inch width) and toward the lamp in the corner where he can see the menace hovering. I am always afraid that he will jump to the top of the lamp in his zeal.

Last night the lone victim of his hunt was a rack of remote controls for the various electronic components that inhabit the room. What it lacked in lethality with regard to the moth, it more than made up for in noise as the (8) remotes crashed to the ground.

Poor kitty. He just didn't understand why I didn't let him savor the victory.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Just What I Always Wanted

When I was 6 years old all I wanted was a swimming pool. I didn't want much. Just a "large" above ground pool from the JC Penney catalog. When that summer catalog came I would go right to the sporting goods page. Two pages of above ground pools - ranging from 6 feet wide rounds to 10 by 6 foot ovals - coming complete with a pump and filter and ladder. My sister and I spent hours planning. It would fit right where our swingset and play yard currently resided. All we needed to do was to talk our parents into spending about $600. We took measurements. We could fit a 6 x 10 oval, but in the interest of economy, an 8 foot round would do just fine. We pleaded, we cajoled; all to no avail. It just wasn't in the budget. We lived close to many lakes. They just didn't see the need for water, easily accessable in the back yard.

Cut to 30 years later. I (along with my husband) was a home owner. With a backyard big enough for the pool. Of course the price was now about $2000 and we would need to cut down the two big shade trees in our yard to have the water, easily accessable, in the backyard. It wasn't happening.

Another 10 years passed. We now lived in California where "everybody" had pools. Our yard was too rocky to install an inground without blasting. "So what?" I argued, "It's only about $20,000." "We'd wind up cracking the foundation of the house!" replied The Bearded One. We compromised on a used above ground pool kit ($100) with a concrete pool pad to discourage burrowing animals ($3000) and a new ladder and liner ($300). We filled the pool and prepared to enjoy.

Except I was now too old to enjoy the brisk, cool water. My ankles ached, my knees ached. We had a pool, YES! But even in Southern California only used it a few weeks of the year, NOOOooooo!

Fast Forward another 10 years. On the orignal concrete pad we have a pool with an R-10 wall, a solar cover and two solar heaters. The pool is over 90 (it has hit 98 several times this week) degrees and is essentially just a really large hot tub. I use it every day - to swinm in the early morning (in a harness for fitness) and in the evening to cool off (hah!) after a long day.

Just what I always wanted.....
even better than the Camaro I waited 16 years to get - because the water would have ruined the upholstery.

-Special thanks to The Bearded One for editorial assistance