Monday, September 14, 2009

Keep the Outdoors OUT!

Wasn't there some laundry detergent or air freshener ad campaign several years ago that had some catchy little tag line like, "Let the outdoors in!" and you'd see some brunette-ponytailed woman with a kelly-green, cap-sleeved shirt and crisp white pants throwing open the windows, white gauzy sheers billowing, eyes closed and face upturned to the sun, with dewy skin and glistening lips?

Yeah, she didn't live here.

Now, I'm not grumpy because in order to take a relaxing bath I had to Kleenex two water bugs out of the tub. I'm not. I'm just thinking back to: the snake crawling through the piles of laundry on my dresser last summer; the weeds growing through the holes in Adam's floor when he isn't disciplined about keeping them under control; the mouse that actually came out from under the couch, sat on his haunches and stared at me when he realized that he was safe because I'd been the only one home all week and was laid up with an infected foot, not moving around much. I considered cursing at him for being so brazen and bold and disrespectful as to just sit there, right outside of striking range, but eventually just shrugged and threw him a piece of popcorn.

Then there was the snake in the bathroom (while I was using the bathroom and was therefore trapped) that prompted me to call Mike on his job at Christopher Creek and inform him in no uncertain terms that he WOULD be coming home to get that stinkin' snake out of the bathroom or I would be packing up the kids and heading to a motel . (Imagine my horror when he did come home that night - even though he wasn't supposed to come home for 3 more days - and when we yanked the towel I'd stuffed under the door, the snake wasn't there. The squealing baby mice in the wall in Adam's closet guided us to the stinker's snapping tail poking out of a hole in the natural wood. I'd been walking around all afternoon thinking that snake was trapped in the bathroom.)

Then there was the time when I was sitting on the loveseat chatting with my sweet sister-in-law one summer night, when we watched a little frog hop into the house. Under the closed front door.

Forget about the turkeys that have found their way in once. (Ok, maybe twice, I don't know for sure.) The cats who learned to hide in the bottom, back of the couch. And felt so safe in there that the incestuous momma cat hid in there to have her babies. And I had to call a neighbor to come over and help me cut them out.

My longstanding spider phobia is on its way out since even the wimpiest of girls can get over it when the bratty little freckle-faced spiders jump in her face every 7 minutes and yell, "Boo!" Whatever.

The snake in the silverware drawer was probably the creepiest. And, of course, it had to happen smack in the middle of movie night with some of Adam's friends here. A few of them have never been back.

Mike laughingly commented that I'd come a long way since we lived in Gilbert and I wouldn't let him buy fly strips to hang, even on the back porch, because I just thought they were so tacky. They have since become part of the kitchen decor. Kind of ruins the joy of having a window over the kitchen sink when I have to cock my head to look past the suspended dead flies in order to gaze at the alfalfa fields.

While I was raised with indoor dogs and the kids have always had their dogs in the house, I went on a tear after the last of the spring poultry grew big enough to send to the barnyard. Every cat and dog was evicted. Even the guinea pig got the ol' heave ho and is living in her cage in the barn. The only remaining authorized pet is the fish in Tanner's room that refuses to die. He doesn't smell or bring dead things in to us as gifts, so I guess he's alright.

I am so grateful that this afternoon Mike will continue with his quest to install our new windows that will seal out the winter drafts and dirt and opportunistic critters.

All I have in common with that insipid gal welcoming the outdoors in is the closed eyes - except mine are clenched tight in a Genie blink, and aren't opened till I've twitched my nose like Samantha, in the hopes that when I've completed those mystical charms all the creeping things will be gone from my home. Those magic tricks haven't worked so far, however, so I'm thinking I may have to actually resort to praying. And, while I'm down there on my knees, I might as well stuff a few more towels.

Bow your head with me: Dear Lord, please put it in the hearts of all those who read this to know that these are all true events, not exaggerations. And, please also make it get cold soon so all the creeping things will curl up and die. Amen.

Love and shudders from the farm,

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