Saturday, May 31, 2008

Just like Doublemint Gum

it's two...


Two hits in one!

We hit the snap-trap jackpot today, ladies and gentlemen.

It's time to buy more traps.

Because two of the traps in the garage have served their purpose.

In one, the mother of all rats.

The trap was instantaneous. It cut her across the top of her head, and I had to mop up brain splatter. It was like a little bit of CSI.

In the other. The mother of all mice. This one was more traditional, getting Minnie across the neck and breaking it cleanly. I'm certain that neither of them suffered, and went straight to rodent heaven with the delectable scent of peanut butter on their breath.

My only concern now is that I didn't get everyone in this barrage. You see, both rodents were mommy rodents.

I wonder where the bambinos are.

Saw the Rat

Last night, after supper, I went upstairs to do a bit more reading in my Italian Fairy Tales book (Italo Calvino. What a writer!), and seeing as the Fairy Tale book is in the ensuite bathroom, you can guess where I took my seat.

It would have been a nice relaxing read, were it not for the sudden sounds of rustling and scurrying that nearly made me jump out of my skin. JUST outside the wall of the shower. Or maybe just INSIDE the wall of the shower. Was that a rat on the roof? Or was it under the roof? Or was it... INSIDE OUR WALLS????

I raced downstairs, and let Ken know that my tiny bit of garage cleaning over the last 2 days had not dislodged the rat. I hadn't scared it enough to make it leave the comforts of our garage.

It was time to get serious about the garage vermin.

So we went out, and Ken and I tackled the stuff in the Rat Corner of the garage.

I'll admit it. I was just a girly-girl, and couldn't bring myself to go exploring in there by myself. I'll just live with the shame.

He was all burly-man, though, and wading into the rat-chewed boxes, pulling stuff out (wow, I forgot that we kept Nate's crib. It was back there in pieces. Fortunately, not chewed by the rat), and handing it to me to be swept down (if it had rat poops on it, or seed hulls (hmm, the rat had been busy). He was pulling stuff out, taking down piles of boxes, unearthing stuff we'd forgotten about when I saw it.

Out of the corner of my eye, and with the stealth of a jedi, it scurried past me without a sound.


I commend myself for not shrieking and jumping up onto the ladder's top rung.

Ken picked up a fire extinguisher. "Hmm, I could shoot this at the corner where he went. That would certainly give him something to think about."

"Yeah" I replied "But it would also make a great big mess on those shelves that he just scurried under."

Instead, Ken passed me the three traps that had been left by Clark Pest Control the last time we'd had a mouse. That was almost 3 years ago. Amazing how time flies when you're not infested with vermin. I baited them with peanut butter, and reset them, and Ken placed them along the path that we saw the rat take.

Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Oh, rats!

Tomorrow is trash day. Trash day and recycling day.

So at 11pm, just as I'm thinking "time to pack it in for the day", Ken says "I'll just take out the trash", and this little voice in my head says "Hey! You've gotta get your money's worth out of that trash can! You're paying for a full can, you should toss out a full can!" so I go running around the house, finding a few more things to toss out, and making sure that the crisper drawers in the fridge actually contain things that are crisp and not mushy.

Just as the fridge door alarm is sounding, Ken calls from the garage.

"Hey, Kem. Come out here for a moment."

Whoopsie. What did I forget to do? Did he find a bill that I absent-mindedly put down on the shelf out there, and is consequently months overdue? Is the door to Homer standing wide open? (wouldn't be the first time).


He just wanted to show me something in the recycling bin.







Oh, Mickey, you're so fine. You're so cute and uniformly grey, and you've got those great big trusting eyes, but I told you NEVER TO CALL ME AT HOME again. Ken asked me what he should do with it, and I suggested that we release him back into the wilds... across the street in the neighbour's hedge.

I was just patting myself on the back for only having two mice in our house in 7 years when I heard a noise.

And this wasn't any wee little cute Mickey-Mouse noise, either.

And that's when I saw it.

A turd the size of Mickey's head.

Now, either Mickey was one constipated field mouse, or we've got trouble.

Right here in River City.

With a capital T, and that rhymes with P and that stands for poop.

Rat poop.

And then I heard the noise again.

And then I squealed like a girl, and ran into the house.

Tomorrow morning, I'm putting on the rubber gloves and the steel-toed boots, and I'm cleaning out the corner of the garage. The one that had Rat Noises.

And when you hear the high-pitched shrieking? That'll just be me, screaming like a girl when Rat Boy runs over my foot.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

I can never guess the next obsession

Sometimes, Skip is an enigma.

An enigma wrapped in a mystery, to quote something that must've been said once, and was trapped forever in my brain.

And then other times, he may as well be wearing a sign that says "this is what I am thinking", because he's so easy to read.

Lately, I've been wondering what his next obsession will be.

He likes getting interested in something, and then CONQUERING it.  It started when he was very young.  I think he must've been around three.  Ken told him that there were other planets, and that most of them had satellites around them that were Just Like Our Moon.  And that was all it took.  Skip became obsessed with the planets.  I knew i was in for a bit of a challenge one morning over breakfast, when he asked me "Mom, what is your favourite moon?" and me, not knowing any better said "Full Moon", only to be met with the foreshadowing-of-teen-years eye rolling as he explained "No, I mean which MOON.  Like... for example, Mars.  Which Mars moon is your favourite?  Phobos or Deimos?" (Ack.  I just realized that I had NO idea what they were called, and had to Google them... and Skip had them in his brain when he was THREE)

Over the years, he's latched onto many topics, and conquered them one by one, insofar as he's been able to get his brain around them.

Last summer, it was Guitar Hero.  Not exatly the Intellectual Pursuit of Champions, but he stuck with it like a terrier with a rat until he had five gold stars on every song.

Nothing's really captured his fancy lately (the four re-readings of Orson Scott Card's Ender series over the last month notwithstanding), so I was starting to be on the lookout for topics to toss his way, to see if anything stuck to him like velcro.

Then this weekend hit.

First, it was Friday evening's Weapons Seminar at Kung Fu.

Skip and weapons, Skip and weapons...

Go together like a horse and carriage...

Could this be the new obsession?  Since the seminar, I've caught him going over the techniques in idle moments, even without weapons in his hands.

Also, this weekend is Kubla Con.  It's something that Ken and Skip do together every year.  I don't know that I'd call it an obsession, but Skip sure enjoys it.  This year, he's decided that he's going to spend as much time as possible at the Con just painting miniatures (joy!  More clutter!).

So with Ken and Skip away all day, I had the littles.  We went to Kung Fu, then out for breakfast, then off to church to set up for Sunday (they were great helpers), and then off for lunch.  The afternoon and evening were spent at a great barbecue party hosted by one of the Disneyland Chaperones.  All the chaperones were there, AND the two band teachers.  Most of them brought their families, but I was playing the role of single mom.  It wasn't tough, though, because the kids were well taken care of by all the other kids (and some nice responsible high-schoolers), so it was just like I was out on my own, having fun with other grown ups. 

We ate and ate and ate, and while we were eating and chatting, one of the dads had put together a slide show of all the photos taken on the tour, and they ran on the big-screen TV in the background.  A couple of the dads had gone to Disney with EXCELLENT cameras, and now I have major DSLR camera lust.  The photos were amazing.  Truly amazing.  I got to introduce Kelly and Nate to the two band teachers, who were very encouraging and warm, and made the kids WANT to pursue music, so they could have those teachers when it was THEIR turn to go to Middle School, and play in the band that got to go to Disneyland.  While we were chatting, it happened to come up in conversation that Ken plays the Chapman Stick.

(ahem.  No, this is NOT Ken)


Here's a wee video. (this is also not Ken)

Anyways, it's the sort of thing that, if Skip learned it, would be an EXCELLENT (there's the CAPS LOCK again.  I'm in a rut) addition to the Jazz Band.

After the BBQ party, we met up with Ken and Skip at our favourite sushi place on the way home (they'd had enough of KublaCon for one day), and while we were noshing (yay!  That makes two suppers on my plate tonight.  I can just see the weight cascading off of me!) I mentioned to Ken and Skip that I thought playing the stick would be a great Jazz addition. 

Ken agreed, and said that most good Stick players didn't start playing stick until they were in their 20s or 30s, and if Skip started at 13, and applied himself the same way he'd applied himself to Guitar Hero last summer, he'd easily be in demand and recordable in only a few years.

Skip got a far-away look in his eyes as he repeated "...recordable...?"

Oddly, I never thought of Skip as wanting the limelight, but he really seemed to catch a fire at the thought of being an in-demand musician on an obscure instrument. And it was as if I could see the gears churning inside his head.

We'd barely got home, and he went to work.

 First, Ken gave a little demonstration.



And then Skip picked it up while Ken showed him the instruction manual.


Looks like it's only a matter of time...



Monday, May 12, 2008

A very merry Mother's Day

Yesterday morning, I didn't have to get out of bed right away when my alarm went off.

The kids shuffled around all quiet-like, and I laid there, slipping in and out of consciousness for half an hour before getting up and having a leisurely shower.  Amazing.  I didn't have to run around behind ANYONE doing the clap-my-hands-by-their-butt and saying "Hustle, we're going to be late".  I did my hair, and makeup, and even put on a skirt before coming downstairs where the tantalizing smell of fresh baked croissants lured me with their siren-call scent.

And I saw this on the chalkboard in the kitchen.

...and this on the table

The croissants were gone before I could get a photo, though.  You'll just have to imagine.

And imagine this!  Without me running around hustling behind the kids, we ALL got to church early.  Yes, it was a good morning.  Ken got inducted/installed/whatever-you-call-it as an elder at church, making him officially "old", and was thoroughly embarrassed by all the great (and well-deserved) things that the board said about him.

After a nice lunch at home, the kids asked for some time at the local elementary school, so we loaded up the bikes, and off we went.

Nate tooled around on "the puny bike"

...and the Big Wheel.

While Skip rode around on Kelly's girly-girl bike.

I tell you, that kid just amazes me sometimes.  Ken kidded Skip about taking a photo of him on Kelly's girly Hello Kitty bike, and then showing it to all his friends.  His response?  "Oh, you've gotta show it to Cole, but make sure you show it to him in front of all HIS friends, because HE is the one that gets embarrassed about stuff like this, not me."   So true.  Skip just is not swayed by the idiocy of peer pressure.  Oh, he preens when the 8th grade guitar-genius acknowledges his presence in the jazz band, but other than that, he's not all kerfuffled about making sure 'I'm in the club!"

I should've been more like that when I was a kid.

Anyways.  While they were riding around, I was finding a sheltered corner, to stay warm (oh, it was sunny, but the wind was really fierce) and knit.

Oh, it doesn't look like much now...

But when it's stretched out and blocked, it's gonna look a whole lot better.

And it's soft as but-tah.

Fun in the sun.

And after Skip got tired of the Hello Kitty bike, he went off to do Man Things.

Oh, there's a new art installation at the school.  This year, the kids did self portraits.  It was just a matter of finding Kelly's in the sea of faces.  Hmm.  The freckles gave her away.

And it was sunny, and the deer haven't found Kelly's little garden area yet, so the plants are still uneaten, and I have a lovely Mother's Day flower at home.

And if you look really closely in the flower?  You see a leopard's head.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

About a deer

I was driving home from church last Sunday with the boys. (not yesterday. That was Mother's Day, and I was pampered like a queen). Anyways, Kelly had decided that she needed to go "on a date" with dad, so she was off with her father, doing some daddy-daughter bonding.

Everyone, say it with me. "Awwwwwww"

So I'm driving home, and we don't take the freeway (which is where we see deer All The Time, although they're usually just on the side of the road gorging themselves on the new grass), and it's uneventful except for the fact that Nate Will. Not. Stop. Talking.

We're on this sleepy little WIDE road heading back to the house. It's marked at 35mph, but lots of time folks just go slower (except for the idiot in the BMW X5 suv that insists on taking it at Indy500 speeds). And sometimes I think we live in the Twilight Zone, because I can drive the whole way home in my neighbourhood and not see a single person outside. But Sunday was different. There were folks out working in their gardens, and at least 3 people walking dogs.

Nate: "...And for my 6th birthday I want to go to Pump It Up, and I'm going to invite ALL my friends from school, and my Sunday School class, and maybe some friends that I can have when I go to Kelly's school next year, and then when I turn seven, I want to have a skating birthday party, and we'll go to the place by the big Target and the Red Robin, and ..."

Seriously, I had one ear on him, one ear on the radio, and I was looking at the people on the street thinking "I really have to do something about my front yard, because we're starting to look like the Trailer Park family on the street" when I noticed that there was actually a DEER chomping down on the garden of one of my neighbours. And there were All These People all around her, too, and she was just STANDING there, chewing on something that was probably WAY expensive, and newly planted, when


That stupid deer BOLTS from my right. Just BOLTS, I tell you!

Not even enough time for Nate to stop in his Birthday Monologue.

I did slam on the brakes, though, and it was ALMOST enough. The deer clipped off of my front bumper right at the driver's corner. So she ALMOST made it past me. But it was enough of a hit to knock her back legs out from under her, and make her cartwheel across the road and end up on her back against the sidewalk, with her legs twirling in the air, like a turtle on her shell. Funny, if it wasn't so traumatic. I should've had the camera.

I was pleased to see her finally right herself, and go sproinging off into the bushes (wild space on that side of the road) but I was still thinking "oh crap! I've got a crumpled car to deal with" as I slowly... SLOWLY... drove the rest of the way home.

But you know what? Homer must be the incredible self-healing machine, because there was Not A Scratch on him. Although as I went over him with a fine toothed comb, I did noticed that there is a TINY scrape on the back corner where I took out a Honda Accord in the gymnastics parking lot last year. But not even a smudge from where I took down Bambi's mother.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Lemon Tart

My daughter, the little tart!

No, I mean my daughter made a big tart.  A big lemon tart.

Shortbread crust.  Yum.

But she opted to have no lemon zest in the tart.  She didn't like how the little bits got in between the teeth.  Le sigh. 

Not that the omission of the zest made the tart last any longer, though.



(er, ok, so there were a few issues with the tart not having enough time to set.  This thing was TOO good looking, though!  We couldn't stay away.)



Yes, it was that good.  It was lick-the-plate good.

But the boy, he needs the extra sustenance.

He's going up against the big guns.

While his sister plants her garden.

In other news, I have finished the SeaSilk shawl.

I still think I need to block it hard, but I don't know if the seaweed will hold a shape, or not.

I have moved on to a Haruha Scarf.  No photos yet.  I'm using some soft-as-a-baby-butt Alpaca that I bought last summer up in Canada.  Or was it the summer before?  Sheesh.  I will NEVER make it through this stash.

In still other news, I have, this far, lost 1% of my body weight in the 8-week flab-to-fab challenge.   I think that number would have been WAY higher if I hadn't fallen rather hard off the wagon when I *accidentally* bought a pound of chocolate chip cookie dough the other day.  Oh well.  I'm doing the special Mother's Day Kung Fu class at Skip/Kelly/Nate's academy tomorrow afternoon, so I'm hoping that I'll sweat off all that chocolatey goodness then.

And sweat off my 1/3 of THIS luncheon pleasure from yesterday:

As an aside:  Did you know that you can get ANY three toppings on a banana split?  You don't HAVE to go the Strawberry/Chocolate/Pineapple route.  It's so freeing!  Yesterday, we had Strawberry, Cherry, and MARSHMALLOW!!!!


So you see, I *need* the Kung Fu class.  Maybe a few hard jabs to the cellulite.  And a swift kick to the jello-butt.

And maybe that'll knock some sense into me.