Month: July 2010

Gnash, gnash, and more rodent tales

If throwing fits would make changes, I’d throw one, and then I’d be healthy and it would be rainy and cool again.

I’ve had to cut back to my former exercise schedule—every other day—because of the extremely unhappy post-bumble tendons holding my kneecap to my quadriceps. Or vice versa. Since the recumbent bicycle puts more stress on the tendons than walking, I’ve just been doing a walk in the park, staying on the flatter ground, every other day or two, depending on what the knee will tolerate. Ice and heat, ice and heat, I swear that’s all I do anymore.

This means I’m walking over the same area twice so’s I don’t get into steeper ground. Which is, frankly, annoying. Even the dog gives me geez-are-we-gonna-do-this-again looks.

As if that weren’t enough, it’s been in the high 70s or higher the last week or so, so the humidity’s been quite high (stop laughing, Northwood, I know it’s not as bad as it is there). Therefore, my lungs function as if they were breathing in pea soup. Put that and the knees together, and it means I’m going about the same distance or less half as often and breathing six times as hard.

This is so unfair.

Plus, after Ye Former Rodent expired behind my walls, yet another little beast showed up, leaving tracks (read: mouse crap) all over my kitchen counter. Not even a day after I finished cleaning out the kitchen from the last one.

So I got mad. I went to the store. I bought mouse traps. I baited two of them and left them on the counter. Mice are said to love peanut butter.

After I went to bed, I heard the trap pop. Yay! I thought. Got ‘im! I heard a bit of rattling after that, but put it down to the well-known phenom of death twitches. Yeah, I know, gives me the willies, too.

Next morning, I got up, staggered out to the kitchen and prepared to dump the mouse-cum-trap into the trash.

But it wasn’t on the counter. What the heck? I thought. I looked around. No mouse. I turned around and looked on the floor.

There it was. Clear across the kitchen floor. I went over to look at it, and the mouse twitched.

I shrieked, the ewwwwwwww kind of shriek.

The trap had gotten the poor little thing by the nose, and the mouse had struggled itself and the trap off the counter and across the floor. He’d been in that awful pain for hours and hours. And no one was around to dispatch him but. . . me.

Gulp. C’mon, you guys know me; I rarely even kill spiders. This was worse than awful.

I picked the poor, feebly struggling thing—by the trap—and dropped it into a plastic bag. Then I picked up a hammer and smacked where its head ought to have been. It quit twitching. But it left me twitching. Ewwwwwww.

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The rat of amontillado

Actually, I’m assuming—and I will believe—that it’s a mouse, not a rat. But it is some sort of rodent. And it has been scrabbling around in my walls for a couple of months or more, utterly oblivious to every remedy I have tried.

Naturally, I have deployed anti-rodent dances, banged on the walls and ceiling with sticks, put out poisons, laid venomous curses on it, threatened it, and served it with formal eviction papers. None of which was in the least efficacious. Probably, I should have given it Lydia Pinkham’s Medicinal Compound, which is guaranteed to be efficacious in every case.

Last week, I noticed that the trash had become a bit whiffy, so I took it out. The, erm, delicate, erm, aroma lingered, but I figured that was scented air particles floating about and that it would dissipate soon. Next day it seemed fine and I forgot about it.

Then it got hot. Really hot. And suddenly, Eau de Whiffeé returned. With a vengeance. Think nuclear retaliation and total annihilation of the earth.

And my trash can was empty of all but a few paper bits.

Fortunately, when it’s really hot, a person can keep the windows open all the time. I did so, and began the Investigation to End All Investigations. Eventually, I narrowed down the source to one particular area. . . of wall. Yes, wall.

While I am, on the one hand, thankful that Rodent finally decided to vacate my premises, I am, on the other hand. . . um, shall we say displeased? that it did so by dying in my freakin’ wall.

One reminds Gentle Readers that a similar event occurred a few years back with Grandma’s cat, although with a much more positive outcome. One hopes that Poe’s cask of amontillado had a better fate as well. And one wishes despair and agony on Rodent and all his or her descendants unto the nth generation. Gaaaaaaah.

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Pant, pant, wheeze, wheeze

When heat hits here, all my anti-heat defenses percolate to the surface. Since it was 90-something yesterday and almost that today, that means

  • shutting all the windows and doors as early as possible in the a.m.
  • closing off the south-facing bathroom door (this keeps all the radiant heat in the bathroom rather than creeping through the rest of the house)
  • lowering curtains (where they exist) when the sun hits them
  • opening windows when their side of the house is out of the sun and they’ve cooled off a tish (this means the north window stays open all the time, and when the deck is cooler in the p.m. opening the east-side windows, and the rest of them when it’s cool on the west side)
  • opening all the windows when the sun has passed below my horizon
  • leaving all the windows and doors open all night (I love my screen doors, best $1000 I ever invested), and
  • running fans all night to bring in as much cool air as possible.

This works amazingly well. Usually, there are only a couple of hours in the eve., between about 6 and 8 p.m. Grandpa also taught me to take tepid, not hot or cool, showers when it’s hot because hot ones make you hotter, and cool ones cool off the surface of your skin and it takes your body a while to recoup and send heat out. In the meantime, you’re getting hotter on the inside.

So there! That’s my excitement for the last couple of days and probably through the weekend. And you must admire my dedication, since even so I worked out yesterday. At least, as much as my patellofemoral tendinitis would allow. I really hate this getting-old stuff. Every time you get close to a more-decent physical condition, some idiotic injury or something comes along and undoes it. A week sans exercise, and you’ve lost one he!! of a lot more conditioning than it’s fair to lose, and two he!!s of a lot more than you would have thirty years ago. Pah, feh and pfblthththttttt.

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Bah, I say, bah, bah, bah!

When I go walking Ye Dogge, I tend to be very careful. The trail we mostly use isn’t very difficult except in patches, but it is dirt and rocks, back in the woods, and has inherent potential for disaster. I watch where I’m going and what I step on. When it’s muddy, which is most of the time, I carefully skirt the obviously slippery bits and tread cautiously on the less-obvious spots.

So toppling over about half a mile from the car yesterday, back in the woods, was not only painful and angrifying, it was unexpected and undeserved. Bloody damned unstable rocks! And it was dry, so not even slippery underfoot.

Fortunately, the knee bone did not snap, nor did ligaments, tendons or muscles rip, tear or explode, although they did stretch a bit. So yesterday and today have been transformed from Do Fun Things Days to Sit on the Couch with Ice Packs Days. Makes me really angry. I will have lovely bruises in a day or two and my wrist and arm are a bit sore. Somebody came along behind me pretty quickly, so if I had Done Damage, at least I wouldn’t’ve lain there dying for long. 😉

The most interesting thing about this incident was Bluedog. Where she normally runs all over the place, checking back in with me every minute or so, she stayed very close to me all the way back to the car—no more than 15 feet away from me. You always hear about dogs doing things like that, but don’t expect to see it yourself. I didn’t get a chance to say, “Go get help, Lassie! Timmy’s fallen in the well!”, but I’m not complaining about that!

Spent last weekend with the Snaothii. I love hanging out with them. We looked for some patio furniture, but they didn’t find any to their taste; but mostly, we just hung out at the house. They tied me to the couch and forced me to watch the US/Ghana soccer game, but that was OK since KrisDi cooked macaroni and cheese with Beecher’s, and it was To Die For. We had yummy Indian food at The Best Indian Food Restaurant Ever. And then later, she and Snaotheus made chocolate-chip cookies. She makes them the size of a dinner plate. Grandma, who likes her cookies about the size of a quarter, would be quite shocked. 😉

Speaking of, I scolded the poor dear yesterday. Though I had not been there for two whole days, it was my fault that she couldn’t find her lower teeth, and she just knew I’d thrown them in the trash when I swept everything off her desk and threw it away. Despite the fact that I have never, ever thrown anything away without checking to be sure it’s both unnecessary and at least five years old, she persists in believing otherwise. Of course, the teeth were wrapped up in another damn Kleenex and shoved into a corner on her dresser. . . right, one should note, where *she* left them. I try to be patient, but every now and then I just lose it. I get really tired of being accused of and yelled at for doing things I’ve never done.

She was fine this morning, though. The ear-clip earphone seems to be working better for her, though she still claims she can’t hear anything. . .  When you ask her quietly, from six feet away, “Grandma, can you hear me?” she replies, “No. This thing’s broken.”

So, bah. Time to change the ice pack.

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