Wednesday, December 23, 2009


My family is due here in just a few hours and I'm cleaning like crazy (except for I'm blogging my pants on fire for one last moment here before invasion). You know, I would feel so fake if only the parts you could see were clean, so I've organized the closets, vacuumed the attic (seriously), and toted a few loads from the storage closet too Goodwill. All that's left is the kitchen, glittering with a universe full of glass slivers.

I screamed and the pyrex 8 x 10 exploded. There's this historic problem with making tea before having any. The wrong burner, a messy kitchen, and the pan from last night's roasted veggies. Blue glass shot all the way down the stairs, around two corners and melted carpet. Sine and co-sign co-mingled somehow with longitudes and latitudes, speed and velocity, and out of this science and math orgy in Huck's brain popped 175 mph shards of glass. Whew. I was only three feet away and fully survived with only a barely burned toe and a prick of glass. If you're going to be randomly executing a series of catastrophic coincidences, make sure you do yourself a few favors, like piling cookie sheets on top of the pan at such an angle that the glass can't shoot into your backside. Nice. I admit I'm a domestic catastrophe. But I've got the cleanest closets full of broken glass that you'll ever see.

As far as the kids chores go, Santa's got long coat tails and this mama's gonna ride them all the way to Christmas. This morning I spent two hours answering the same question, "What else can I do?" Seriously. I ran out of chores so I had them scrub the banisters and spindles. I wondered what could possibly cause this unprecedented spirit of helpfulness. Then Blue asked, "Do you think Santa would really leave a switch or a lump of coal in some one's stocking?"

The chickens have also been further domesticated, although much less willingly. Their free ranging days have been cut short. We all discovered this week that the neighbors scatter chicken scratch all over their yard... for quail. Not for our chickens. They were sour pusses about the clucking visitors. And once the girls knew there was a candy store next to our health food aisle, they started Bee lining first thing in the morning to their yard.

My chickens. My responsibility.

And yet there's something here that seems not completely fair. I mean, wouldn't you wonder about my psychology just a little if I set out dog food for coyotes and then whined that the neighborhood dogs (who are free range) were snacking at my door step?

Without any spare time, incessant darkness closing in, and a budget without wiggle room, I installed a quick and dirty chicken yard. It's saggy and ramshackle and genuinely ugly. Those are the neighbors that always remind us that our yard and house are their view and so I hope they enjoy it.

The chickens moved through the seven stages of grief fairly quickly, however. They seem happy to consistently know where they are. Recently they'd been utterly lost... on the back porch. I found them huddled in the dark, crying. They could see their red lighted coup, but couldn't figure out how to get to it. (Hint: try going down the stairs directly behind you!) King Louis le Cat is thrilled that he can wander outside without getting his eyes pecked out. And although I miss spotting them in the most unusual places, I'm all enjoying my poop-less deck.

In other heartbreaking domestication news, Sukey's halter caused a Satsuma sized callous on her face which made me cry. She has to be tethered otherwise she escapes the "fence", which looked fine when we moved in but has since been revealed as a hoax and/or a hologram inadequate to contain tumble weeds, much less a wild calf. I applied a new halter, one that will hopefully rub differently. But Huck found her last night, slipped free and dancing beneath those million disco balls in the night sky. I tied her again. A bull moose crashed through the neighborhood last week, destroying otherwise good fences and devouring the rosarium. The last thing I need is a well-insured calf to blame it on.

Taming isn't my strong suit. Caging, tethering, time-outing, boiling watering. Ick. It's the wild in us all that resonates in me, that calls my curiosity, that gains my compassion. It's those scribbles outside the lines. But I've somehow elected myself as animal husband. And I suppose it's now my duty to keep my animal... um... wives, in line, safe from themselves, those cars and the entrapping neighbors. oh well. I'm off to scrub the drawers of the fridge. I wonder what I'll shatter and burn this time. My own free spirit, perhaps?

1 comment:

  1. Love this! Merry Christmas to all of you! You've got a great place to host the family holiday!



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