Date: so, what do you do? (in Polish, of course)
SP: I’m a sad panda (again, in Polish)
SP: I wear a panda costume and sit in front of the Royal Castle in Old Town and hold my head in my hands. If it’s a slow day, I sob audibly.
Date: does that pay well?
SP: it depends on the day. I put out a can and people throw money in if they like me.
Date: so, you’re a beggar.
SP: no, I’m a performance artist.
Date: How many Panda suits do you own?
Date: doesn’t it get hot and sweaty?
Date: how do you clean it?
SP: how do you clean a Panda suit?
Date: You sit in a public place acting sad, wearing the same stinky outfit day after day, with a can for money in front of you. But you’re not a beggar.
Date: are you drunk when you do this?
SP: no, but I think I’m going to get drunk now.
if only that’s the way our trips to grandmother’s house would go. But no, our most recent sojourn to Mimi’s place was a lot more like “over the Throg’s Neck and through the puke.” Allow me to explain.
On a sweltering summer day, I decided that it was high time for me, stay-at-home-mom that I have become, to take the kids to grandma’s house for a relaxing visit and swim in their pool. Ha! Loaded all three kids, all of the swimming and relaxing and distracting accoutrements each of them required and added the two dogs. Our own loving and beloved spaniel mix and our current foster puppy, who I am now convinced is not a Golden Lab and Beagle mix as we were told, but a Pit Bull-Jack Russell cross. He is very affectionate, but – well, yesterday I turned around and he was standing on top of the kitchen table. Anyway, said foster puppy was highly reluctant to enter the mini-van, so I added all sorts of toys, treats, bones, etc to entice him in. And yes, I did take water and food away from both dogs about an hour before we were scheduled to leave, to avoid any bodily function disasters. On the dogs’ part, anyway.
10 minutes into the trip and just as we entered the bumper-to-bumper traffic that precedes the Throg’s Neck Bridge, an unmistakable and overwhelming odor wafted through the van. Everyone under the age of 21 began screaming, crying and mock-retching while I exploded into an unprecedented (even for me) string of expletives. Everyone in that car can now make sailors blush on four different continents (not that they couldn’t before).
Pile of dog poop on the back seat, quickly followed by and even larger pile of dog puke. I jumped the curb, pulled onto the median and no, our 6 year-old Honday Odyssey mini-van is not 4-wheel drive, so I had no idea if we’d ever make it out again. I found some old newspapers and plastic bags and with 6 trial-size bottles of Purell, managed to clean up the worst of the mess. Got back in the van, fought our way off the median and into traffic. Every other driver was screaming at me and honking their horns, and I screamed back, until my youngest said “I know why they’re yelling at us! The back door is open!” Yeah, mom of the year drove over the Throg’s Neck with the rear hatch wide open. Luckily, no children, animals or prized possessions were lost, though their innocence certainly was.
Mouse update: dead and flattened mouse seen in location of release. Ironically, flattened mouse appeared to be running back in the direction of our home. Don’t tell me he didn’t know a good thing when he saw it!
Well, hysterical screaming is appropriate in any and all circumstances, but I did have a child in the house and was doing my best to not freak everyone else out. I was taking a shower when I noticed a thin strip of something hanging down from between the top of the glass and the railing that holds the glass in. Thinking it was like waterproof stripping or something, I moved in closer to see what my next home repair project would be. This is what I saw:
Clinging on for dear life — that mouse was shaking! As was I. Hubby wasn’t home, so I couldn’t run screaming to him, th0ugh I did leave a screaming message on his cell. I couldn’t figure out how I could handle our Chinese Dwarf Hamster (which is really just a tail-less field mouse) but get so creeped-out by this run-of-the-mill North American field mouse. He did see me naked and that is kind of gross — a peeping mouse — blech! And just when I had screwed up my courage to grab him by his disgusting pink tail — he pulled it in. So I put the cat in the bathroom and told her to be a cat.
So child and I fled the house, to the barn, where we are surrounded by all sorts of rodents and other creepy-crawly things. Hubby pulled the mouse out by its tail, with a pair of needle-nose pliers (or so he says — I know he used my tweezers). He released the small beast in the woods at the end of our block. I am wondering why we keep all these predators in our home if none of them will — predate?
When I lived on E. 13th Street, I tried growing a container garden on my fire escape. This worked pretty well, except when I was watering and inadvertently watered the local drug dealers. I abandoned my horticultural explorations ’til we moved to the burbs.
Our first house had a postage-stamp sized yard, so there wasn’t room to grow more than a few blades of grass. That, and I was in an ongoing battle with the family of skunks that lived under our front door, so I didn’t have much time to devote to growing things. I don’t need to tell you about skunks during mating season. I wish I didn’t know about it.
When we moved to our second house, I started a vegetable garden. Organic, natch. So basically everything started growing, but was then chewed to bits by all sorts of creepy crawly things. So I bought ladybugs and lacewings in bulk. Let 1000 ladybugs loose in the backyard last year, but they seem to have a really strong preference for the indoors. Our house is infested with the adorable little things. In fact, I found one in my hair today, right after I took a shower — had no idea they were impervious to water. Good thing it’s hard to be creeped out by a ladybug — imagine if it was a slug — blegh! As for the lacewings — I think they were damned before they even got out of the box — haven’t seen hide nor hair of them since (not that they have hide nor hair). Next year, I’m going with praying mantis — just because they look so cool.
Two years ago, I discovered that one part of the garden was vulnerable to squash blossom rot, so I tried rotating my crops. Rot follows. Doesn’t have far to go, as the garden is only 25′ x 6′. Will stop planting squash.
Last year, I discovered organic pesticides. They don’t work. No matter, because the bugs are no longer an issue, the mammals are. And let me give you a run-down on all the pungently odiferous solutions I’ve tried: fermented salmon, fox urine, bat guano, garlic spray, homemade chili-cayenne and black pepper glaze and, in desperation, straight cayenne, directly onto the leaves. Noticed real bite marks in the leaves this spring — not bugs, but animals, stripping the leaves off everything. Apparently, the critters in Scarsdale NY prefer their produce properly spiced. Spinach, lettuce, beets, snow peas, string beans, sunflowers decimated. Fenced in entire garden, only to discover that I had fenced the evil creatures in, not out.
Entire family of bunnies living in my garden — they hopped out of their little rabbit hole to a veritable buffet. So freakin’ cute! Told my 5 year old that we may not have veggies, but I’m buying a gun and we’re gonna have rabbit stew. He didn’t like that too much.
Rabbits moved out, replaced by big, sleek, corpulent gophers. They eat everything, including flowers and trees. Anyone got a recipe for braised gopher?