On carnage

(And for those of you from war-torn parts of the world, please understand I mean no disrespect when I use the term “carnage” in the context of these very first-world problems…but carnage it is.)

So today I learned that squirrels are nest predators.  They eat (and by eat, I mean kill, disembowel, distribute widely, and eat very little of) baby robins.  Who might be, say, nesting on my pergola under the grapevines.  Right near my deck.  Where I’m finding their dismembered bodies.  The greatest mercy here (to me) is that my sons neither found any of the carnage nor know of it; the greatest mercy I hope for (for the robins) is that they were all killed at once.  I will stop that train of thought right there.  I want you to sleep tonight.

These are the same squirrels, I might add, who in previous years would dig up tulip bulbs in order to take single bite and then leave the damaged, useless remainder right on the bench where I like to sit.  Len was once actually mooned by a squirrel (I confess, he had just been throwing walnuts at it), but that was in Iowa.  These East Coast squirrels just give you the finger and eat everything you care about.  And they all seem to have gone beserk at once: we coexist peacefully for most of the year, and then all of a sudden they kill all the baby birds AND remove a full third of the peaches, still green on the tree.  The pits are now littered across the swing set.

In other news, we have another groundhog.

Son of a #%*(^@#?!.  For real.  Those $&%#&*@$?!!s.

You want to know the really neat thing, though?  I recently turned down two adjunct teaching jobs because it’s increasingly clear that I need room to build my work.  And that’s amazing and freeing and terrifying and beautiful.  More on that later…but I’ll add here that I’ll be starting a support group for the people who are crazy enough to step off the beaten path and believe they can make their own way.  There may be drinking; there will certainly be chocolate.  Join us (online or in person) if you can.

On the trivialities

Lately it seems like everything is a mess.  Cases in point:

  1. Groundhog eating my garden.  Trapped; transported; released five miles from home with great exuberance (let me tell you, two small boys and a pooping groundhog in one car does not for serenity make — and have you SMELLED those things?  The groundhogs, I mean?  Phew!).  Today: I see a new groundhog over at the neighbors.  He must be new, or he’d look more road-weary.
  2. Kitchen.  It’s a disaster, but mostly in small ways.  So we figure, hey, we’ll paint the cabinets.  But then: how do you paint cabinets when you have wee folk living in the house?  You don’t.  So maybe we can hire someone to do it.  But our awesome contractor feels compelled to point out the crappy state of our counters, and that we could replace them with a nicer laminate for cheap.  She’s right.  And then, of course, we have to consider the sink, because it’s dented and buckled and you don’t pass up a chance to replace that when you replace the counters.  But then, we love a farmer’s sink, and that seems hard to do with laminate…so…granite?  No no no no. How does it come to this?  How does it always come to this?  The sense that in trying to make some small improvement, you’re opening the doors to such an impressive range of expenses, missed opportunities, and regrets?
  3. Class I’m teaching.  I was recently called “archaic” for arguing that scholarly research and thesis-writing are best taught face-to-face rather than online.  Well, okay.  Archaic it is.  But as much as I love new technologies, they cannot solve everything and sometimes they make things worse by kidding us into believing they can.  More on that in an upcoming post on teaching and learning.
  4. The strawberry fiasco.  The ONGOING strawberry fiasco.  We love the strawberries and are thrilled that they are now coming on in such volume that they occasionally make it into the house.  However, apparently they should never be allowed in the house anyway.  They are simply too ripe and too luscious for small hands to manage, especially when those small hands are trying to simultaneously push a plastic “lawn mower” around the house AND consume a very large berry.  Looks like a crime scene around here.  The kind with a victim who died slowly and managed to tour much of the house in the process.

It’s not even worth cataloguing the array of lesser offenses (potty-related; 4-am-waking related; isolation-related).  But my feelings were summed up nicely when I tried to check out books at the library and the computer told me, as gently as possible, that I had unresolved issues.  And would I please see the librarian. Honey, I wanted to say, I may need more than a librarian.  A bartender, for instance.