Saturday, December 6, 2014

Morning Comedy

This morning at 6:40, the children and I were sitting on the couch reading Big Joe's Trailer Truck when Cubby all of the sudden pointed above the bay window and said, "Mommy, there's something funny up there."

Something funny, indeed. It was a flying squirrel, totally motionless on top of the curtain rod.


I briefly considered dealing with it myself so I wouldn't have to wake up A., who is pretty tired from his week in the courtroom and had been very much looking forward to sleeping in this morning. But in the end, I just couldn't face dealing with two excitable children and an excitable rodent in my living room.

So we all burst into the bedroom to wake up Daddy so he could deal with an excitable rodent in the living room. He was just about as thrilled to wake up to this news as you might imagine.

I went out to the shed and got the big fishing net. A. got dressed. The children got dressed, too. The squirrel stayed motionless on its perch. (Flying squirrels are nocturnal, so it was the lights in the living room that were keeping it so still.)

I stationed the kids on the other side of the glass french doors leading from the front hall to the living room, so they could see but be out of the way. We watched A. herd the squirrel along the curtain rod, attempting to get it to jump into the net. Instead it leaped and glided down onto the floor. A. opened the door to the dining room to let Mia in, in the hopes she would help flush it out.

However, fierce as Mia is with raccoons and rats, she seems to have only a benign interest in flying squirrels. So she was no help.

A. propped the outside door open and flushed the squirrel out from under the woodstove. It scampered in the direction of the door. He didn't actually see it run out, but he assumes it did.

He also casually mentioned that maybe it was hiding in one of the boots by the door. Great. That makes me feel better.

I gave the kids flashlights and told them to do a thorough search of the dining room for the squirrel. They didn't find it, so we'll all just hope it escaped. Or maybe it will fly out at me when I'm trying to get the kids dressed to go outside.

It's the uncertainty that makes life so exciting, right? Right.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Perry Mason by Day, Daniel Boone by Night

I suppose it's true that most people lead dual lives. Anyone who works outside the house has one persona at work and another in his or her personal life. This is probably not as pronounced in most people, however, as it is in A.

A. is a lawyer, of the criminal variety. (Meaning he defends criminals in court, not that he is a criminal.) He's one of the few lawyers who actually does appear in court on a (very) regular basis, and one of the even fewer who occasionally does jury trials.

He is currently in the middle of a somewhat contentious jury trial, which means he's spending his days choosing a jury, delivering opening statements, cross-examining state witnesses, conferring with the judge in chambers, and all that other stuff that you might see in the popular courtroom dramas of Hollywood.

Then he comes home and changes into his sweatpants to sit by his woodstove and drink his homemade hard cider.

Last night at 10:30 p.m., long after we were asleep, the MiL came upstairs in search of A. The dogs had cornered a raccoon right next to the dining room door, behind the very chair I sit in to monitor the adventurous children. The raccoon had probably been on the nearby table eating the cat food when the dogs found it.

The raccoon kept trying to get out from behind the chair to escape, but Mia wouldn't let it. She kept it there until A. arrived with his rifle and dispatched the raccoon.

This morning, he put it on top of the woodpile, where it will remain frozen until he gets a chance to skin it and scrape it in preparation for sending it away to be tanned. Then he can use it to make a new coonskin cap for Cubby, who has outgrown the one A. made for him two years ago.

And then A. put on his suit and headed into the courtroom. Clark Kent has nothing on him.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Sweet Freedom

Our house is on about seven acres of land. A. doesn't think this is enough, but that's only because he is both really into grazing animals that need a lot of pasture and not into having neighbors nearby. At all.

But of course, for a person living in an apartment or a quarter-acre city lot, it sounds like an unimaginable plot of land. It's also satisfactorily large if you happen to be four or two years old.

And I just happen to have a four- and two-year-old. How handy.

Those two love nothing better than to wave goodbye to me and set off on their own for adventure. I'm not supposed to come, you see. That's what makes it fun. Off they go, Cubby leading the way and Charlie manfully struggling along behind. Usually they go into the small gully on the other side of the garden fence. There's an old piece of farm machinery there they like to climb on.

Or they go into the hollow just beyond the forsythias to hunt or trap (pretend, obviously) or just whack trees with sticks or poke sticks in holes. Or whatever it is they do. I don't really know, because I don't go. I sit in the chair outside the dining room door, from which I can hear them if they yell and track their progress if I stand up to check on them occasionally.

But I'm not with them. They can't see me or hear me. They think they're on their own*. And this is the important part.

I often think how incredibly fortunate my children are to live where they do and have the freedom to explore that they do. They certainly wouldn't have this if we lived in a city or suburb. I can't help but think that it's going to have a positive effect on their characters.

Of course, it also means that I occasionally have to trek up there to rescue Charlie from his entanglement in the barbed wire fence on the perimeter. Or to look for a boot that he has mysteriously jettisoned somewhere in favor of tromping around in one boot and one muddy sock.

But in general, they do their own thing with no interference from me. Lucky boys. And lucky me.

* Except Cubby usually calls Mia to escort them, which she is happy to do. And I am happy to let her, because at least I don't have to worry about something coming out of one of those holes they like to poke sticks into. Mia can make short work of any irritated woodchuck they might encounter.

Monday, December 1, 2014

No Greater Love Hath a Mother . . .

Than to sit on a piece of driftwood on an upstate New York beach on a gray, windy, 40-degree December day watching children play with zebra mussel shells.

I made it an hour before insisting--over loud objections--that we had to go back up to the house.

They'll thank me for my sacrifices one day.*

* No, they won't. Who ever thanks their parents for this kind of sacrifice? Come to think of it . . . thank you, Mom and Dad, for the hours you spent at pools and beaches, suffering through elementary school band recitals and interminable Little League games, and all the other things that you did only out of love for me. I get it now. And I appreciate it.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday Serenity

There's some kind of special Advent service at the MiL's church this morning, and she arranged to have Cubby speak one of the parts. This means he gets to use the microphone. He's very excited. He's going to say, "The candle of hope."

From such humble beginnings a star is born, I'm sure.

Charlie has also been very excited, and has also been practicing saying, "The candle of hope." In his case this comes out more like, "Canda hope," but whatever. I'm sure God would get it.


The MiL couldn't handle both kids at church at once. The idea of keeping Charlie at home was too horrible to contemplate, so A. took one for the team and said he would go to church with them to wrangle Charlie.

Well. From the level of excitement this announcement generated from the children, you would think we had announced an open candy buffet.

I would've gone, but no one even invited me. Probably because they knew I didn't really want to go, anyway. So now I have some time to get some other stuff done. Stuff like laundry and going online to buy nursing tank tops.

Glamor, yes. I am all about it.

A. helped me move furniture around to set up the baby's room this morning, so once I get the diapers washed, I'll have pretty much completed my to-do-before-baby list. Good thing, because we're at T minus three weeks until baby time. Or, you know, any time before or after that, because babies come when they damn well please, but at least I have the bassinet out now. Bring on the newborn.