Friday, May 30, 2008

Two-Word Meme

Thanks to Joel Garver for this fun little meme:

The Two-Word Meme

Answers are limited to two words per question.

1. Where is your cell phone? Right here.

2. Where is your significant other? At work.

3. Your hair? Highlighted brown.

4. Your mother? With Dad.

5. Your father? Doing puzzles.

6. Your favorite thing? Chips, salsa.

7. Your dream last night? Can't remember.

8. Your favorite drink? Diet Coke.

9. Your dream/goal? Published writing.

10. The room you're in? Green Room.

11. Your hobby? Blogging, reading.

12. Your fear? Looking stupid.

13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? With family.

14. Where were you last night? Band concert.

15. What you're not? Organized; mean.

16. Muffins? Blueberry crumble.

17. One of your wish list items? Basketball goal.

18. Where you grew up? Philadelphia, PA

19. The last thing you did? Drove kids.

20. What are you wearing? Capris, t-shirt.

21. Your TV? Always on.

22. Your pets? Hermit crabs.

23. Your computer? Dell something.

24. Your life? Ridiculously happy.

25. Your mood? Generally cheerful.

26. Missing someone? Friend Suzanne.

27. Your car? Dodge Caravan.

28. Something you're not wearing? Real Crocs.

29. Favorite store? Any bookstore.

30. Your summer? Can't wait.

31. Like someone? My peeps.

32. Your favorite color? Any green.

33. When is the last time you laughed? Hour ago.

34. Last time you cried? Probably yesterday.

Pick it up, Green Room readers. Leave your 2-word meme in my comments, or link to your blog.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Ode to a Garlic Press

Ode To A Garlic Press

Ah, happy, happy cloves! that cannot shed

Your skins, nor ever bid the Bulb adieu;

And, happy culinarian, unwearièd,

Forever cooking stews for flavor new;

More tasty love! more tasty, tasty love!

Forever warm and still to be enjoy'd,

If not to be roasted, then any artiste young

Will find in such a Press a passion far above,

That leaves a clove nigh juicèd and cloy'd,

For pungent spirit, and a pleasèd tongue.

You're wondering, no doubt, the reason for my waxing poetical. I recently purchased a small kitchen utensil that has dramatically enhanced my enjoyment of cooking with garlic.

I've always loved cooking with garlic, but I have been less than satisfied with the performance of my off-the-rack garlic press. It never really performed the way I envisioned it should: garlic shooting out, juicy and fragrant, from the tiny holes with the smallest of effort.

That all changed about three weeks ago when I attended a Pampered Chef party. The hostess, Angelica, was still preparing the snacks while the guests were arriving. I was glancing through the catalog and trying to narrow down my preferences to fit my teensy budget.

All of a sudden, it happened. Angelica picked up a large clove of garlic, popped it into a PC garlic press, gave it a squeeze--and out squirted garlic like noodles from a Play-Doh® noodle maker. I fell in love at first sight with that garlic press--and I've used it almost every day since it arrived in my kitchen. I'm putting the old press in the box with the Play-Doh gadgets, because that's all it's good for.

For those who would like to do further research, here's a thorough review of other garlic presses, plus an interesting take on the press-versus-chef's-knife-controversy, from the Book of Joe. (Props to J.Ro for the heads-up on said controversy.) Most of the presses that Joe reviews are more expensive than the PC one. If you order the PC press, you can give Pampered Chef consultant Angelica Tobias credit for your order by typing her name, and Chicago, IL in the "Find Your Consultant" section of the website.

Of course, this post is NOT a paid commercial announcement. I'm not getting a kick-back from Angelica or from Pampered Chef--although, I wouldn't turn down a friendly retroactive bonus. I just thought you should know about my culinary happiness.

(Apologies to John Keats for appropriating his Ode on a Grecian Urn.)

I Want That Trophy

By the way, Green Room Fans--don't forget to get over to Best of Blogs once a day and vote for The Green Room for Best New Blog! Leave a comment if you feel inspired to do so.

Currently, we're in fourth place, with six percent of the votes. Some of the other new blogs on the ballot seem to have a bigger promotion budget than we do. We're taking the Obama Grass Roots approach to marketing ourselves.

This blog thanks you for your support.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Gobs of Greasy Goop

"Mommy, Mommy! M. Peevie needs you!" screeched A. Peevie at the top of his lungs recently.

I ignored him. It was past bedtime on a day when every nerve ending in my body urged that bedtime should be earlier, not later, than usual. I didn't hear any crying. I assumed there wasn't any bleeding. How bad could it be?

The screams came again, and this time A. Peevie followed them downstairs to deliver his animated message in person. "M. Peevie really needs you, Mommy," he said, panting from the exertion and the excitement. "The Desitin squirted all over the place. She's crying. She needs you."

Hmmm. Desitin. All over the place. Sounds like it might be worth checking out. I looked at Mr. Peevie. He looked at me. I sighed, and got up. Apparently I was, as our army friends say, the commander on the ground.

As I headed up the stairs, I could hear weeping. It was scared crying, not hurt crying, so I didn't rush. I figured the Desitin was pretty viscous--it wasn't going anywhere.

The sobs were coming from the bathroom. "M. Peevie, honey, what's the matter?" I asked, pushing open the door.

"I'm sorry, Mommy! I didn't mean to do it!" she said, sobbing. She was naked and holding a tube covered with greasy, white goo, which also covered her hands, and a little bit of the bathroom countertop.

"M. Peevie," I said. "What the he...what happened?"

"I got Desitin squished out all over the place," she sobbed. "I didn't mean to do it! It was an accident!"

It didn't look so bad, I thought to myself. It was just on the tube, the counter, and her hands. No biggie.

"Calm down, M.," I said. "It's OK. I'm not mad. Let's just clean it up, OK? Calm down."

M. Peevie's sobs abated a tiny bit as we started wiping the slimy goop from various surfaces. She sniffed, and took a deep breath. "But it's in the bedroom, too," she confessed.

Um, what? "Um, what?" I said. "Where in the bedroom? And, um, why?"

"It's on the door and the wall and the floor!" she said, sobbing harder.

I went to check it out. Sure enough, somehow the Desitin had squirted down the back of the door, in-between the doorjamb and the wall, on the wall, and down to the carpet. This could only have happened as a result of putting the tube into the crack between the door and the doorjamb, and closing the door.

"M. Peevie," I said sternly, "How in the name of all things greasy did this this happen?"

"I put the Desitin here--" she pointed to the crack between the door and the doorjamb-- "and then I forgot it was there, and when I closed the door, it squirted out all over the place!" Sob, sob, sob.

"But, M.," I said, "why would you put the Desitin there, of all places?"

"So I'd remember where it was," she said, totally missing the irony. Apparently irony is lost on a seven-year-old. Whatever.

Eventually, we got it cleaned up. I'm truly hopeful that M. Peevie has acquired an important lesson in cause and effect: If you put a tube of goopy stuff in the doorjamb, and then close the door, said goopy stuff will end up all over the place.

I'm sure that's one of the most important laws of physics. I just don't know what the real name for it is. Please leave it in the comments so that M. Peevie's education can be thorough and accurate.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Only 11 Shopping Days Left!

Hey there, fans. As you are well aware, and perhaps weary of being frequently reminded, I love presents.

You may not be aware, however, that my birthday is quickly approaching. I wanted to give you plenty of time to shop and to make sure there are no duplicates, so I thought I'd do you a favor and get my birthday list out there early. (It's not too early, actually; I started writing this post a week ago, and now we're already well into my birthmonth, which I calculate from 30 days prior to my birthday, starting on May 3.)

So--what I'd like for my birthday. Not that I'm materialistic or anything.

1. Diet Coke.

2. World peace.

3. Basketball hoop and backboard (on the back of the garage).

4. Framed movie poster for The Green Room.

5. More loyal Green Room fans.

6. Old wood pencils, red marbles, and red dice. (I have a decorating theme going in The Green Room: clear glass candy jars, each with a theme: wine corks, red marbles and dice, scrabble letters, and old pencils.)

There you have it. Go forth and shop! Or make world peace. Your choice.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hints for Bloggers

Not to be a snob or anything, but when I'm browsing in the blog aisle, there are certain words that immediately suggest "lame" or "cliche" to me. I will skim right on past blogs that use the following words or phrases in their self-descriptions:

Just. As in, "just me and what I'm thinking about," or "just the thoughts and ramblings of a SAHM in the Midwest."

Ramblings. As in, "Just the ramblings of a twenty-something crafter."

Musings. As in, "My musings about everyday life, etc., etc."

Random. As in, "...a Detroit resident who blogs about random thoughts and ideas."

Hilarious. As in, "musings on the day-to-day life of a home-schooling mom of six perfectly adorable children. Sometimes poignant, sometimes hilarious." I'll be the judge of hilarious, thank you. Show, don't tell.

My personal blog. Does this really give me, the prospective reader, any useful information at all about your blog? I already know it's a blog, and chances are, you have it listed in the "personal" section of whatever your syndicate is.

Anything and everything under the sun. As in, "just hilarious and random musings about anything and everything under the sun." Come on, people! You're killing me here! I'm choking on the cliches.

My feeling is, if you can't even give me a unique and catchy 10 or 15 word description that doesn't use the same words everyone else is using, then you haven't set yourself apart from the crowd. And really, you bloggers out there want to take my advice, because look at how successful this blog has become! Six loyal, devoted readers--and probably at least 20 random, accidental hits per month.

You're welcome.

Now I need to go check my description to make sure I didn't use any of these blog-busters.

Monday, May 19, 2008


A. Peevie wandered into my bedroom an hour or so after he was supposed to be asleep. He was rumpled, flushed, and tired-looking.

"What are you doing here?" I asked. I hate it when I have to parent after 9 p.m. I'm supposed to be off the clock. The union is very clear about that--but very bad about enforcement.

"I'm hot," he said. "And scared."

"OK, let's go back to your room and turn the fan on," I suggested. We walked down the hallway to his room.

"The fan's too loud," he said, as he climbed back into bed.

"OK, then, I'll open the window a little bit," I suggested.

"No, that's worse! That's even more scary!" he non sequitured.

I opened it anyway. "What are you scared of?" I asked, lying down next to him, and sliding my arm under his hot little head.

"Aliens," he said, matter-of-factly.

"Ah, aliens," I repeated. "Are you afraid that an alien will come in through the open window, take over my body, and be a better mom than I am?" I joked. A. Peevie was not amused.

He turned his head and looked at me. "You are not helping matters," he said, like a smallish adult who just happens to be afraid of aliens.

"Sorry," I said.

And all this talk about aliens reminds me that there's a new M. Night Shyamalan movie coming out in June. Yay.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Heart (and Spelling) of a Child

Dear God.

thank you for this wunderful day.

plese help evarybody to hav a grat morning.

plese help all the peple in China to be safe whar the erthcwak was.

in Jesus name we pray


(M. Peevie's prayer at chapel this week.)

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Maybe this is a moot point, but it seems to me that we just cannot trust one thing that comes out of President Bush's mouth. Whether from incompetence or dishonesty--it doesn't matter; it's wrong.

And then there's the whole appeasement flap. President Bush suggested that some Democrats (naming no names, of course) believe we should negotiate with terrorists, and compared this "foolish delusion" to the "false comfort of appeasement" prior to WWII. I think Joe Biden said it most eloquently: "This is bullshit."

What was Mr. Bush's reason for making such a disrespectful and inflammatory remark? Is he intentionally trying to influence the election by bad-mouthing Obama and the Democrats? If so, why? What does he get out of it?

These trust and respect issues are among the main reasons I will not be able to vote for any Republican candidate short of Jesus in this dramatic election season. I just need somebody completely and utterly different. I know some of you will disagree, and that's OK. But to me, Obama's biggest attraction is that he's different.

He looks different, he sounds different, he thinks different(ly), his life experience is different, his political experience is different from every other candidate. The main advantage that Obama would bring to the Oval Office, I believe, is that he is different. I hope and expect that he will surround himself with different kinds of people, who also think differently.

I do have concerns about the typical leanings of liberal politicians toward bigger government and more spending (although the Republicans lately have shown themselves to be just as happy to spend my money as any Democrat). I disagree with more than a couple of Obama's positions. But these concerns and differences carry less weight than my unhappiness with the direction that the Republicans have taken this country, and will continue to take it under McCain.

OK, rant's over. Now for a paid commercial announcement. Please go to Best of Blogs (BOB) and vote for The Green Room so we can get a cool BOB badge. It's my understanding that you can vote once per day. (Ahem, J.Cub.)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Do you LibraryThing yet? What--no? Whazzamattayou?

Anyway, there's a fun LT meme going around: Start with the list of the top 106 unread books catalogued on LibraryThing. Bold the titles you have read. Italicize the books you've started but haven't finished. Asterisk those you own, but have not read.

Here's my list:

Jonathan Strange & M. Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
One Hndred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
*The Silmarillion
Life of Pi: a novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Madame Bovary
*The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
A Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov

Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner

Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
*Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury tales
The Historian
*A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave new world
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo

A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
Angels & Demons
The Inferno
The Satanic Verses
Sense and sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist

Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
*The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-Present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield

*The Three Musketeers

Final tally:
41 Read
7 Owned but unread
58 Neither owned nor read

What a great list, right? As my LT friend Alaska Bookworm pointed out, lots of classics, but lots of excellent contemporary works, also.

I'm already in the middle of reading about four books, but the next one on the list that I'll be reading is The Three Musketeers, because I enjoyed The Count of Monte Cristo so, so much.

How about you? What titles have you read from the Top 106 Unread Books on LT?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Help Me Win!

Now's your chance to show your appreciation for The Green Room. Consider it an early birthday present to your humble host, E. Peevie.

Visit The Best of Blogs and vote here for The Green Room as the Best New Blog.

And while you're there, visit the other new blogs as well. Because us bloggers have to stick together.

But vote for me.

Thank you for your support.

Monday, May 12, 2008

One Hand, One Heart

Remember, honey? Remember Jim and Susan singing "One Hand, One Heart" from West Side Story at our wedding 24 blissful (ahem) years ago? Does it make you misty to hear these lyrics?

Make of our hands one hand, make of our hearts one heart, make of our vows one last vow: Only death will part us now.

Make of our lives one life, day after day, one life.

Now it begins, now we start: one hand, one heart! Even death won't part us now. Make of our lives one life, day after day, one life. Now it begins, now we start: one hand, one heart! Even death won't part us now.

Me neither. It's a pretty song, but it doesn't really say much. I'd probably choose a different song today to capture our epic love and hopeful future. But my point--and I do have one--is that I'm incredibly glad we hooked up.

I could not have known back then, in my youthful ignorance, that you would turn out to be the kind of husband and father that other women only dream about. I thought I knew; but then again, I thought I knew a lot of things that it turns out I was wrong about. (We won't go into that here--but now that I think about it, that would be interesting, wouldn't it, to talk about the things we were so sure we were right about 20 or 25 years ago, and now it turns out we couldn't have been more wrong?)

And here's the thing: I can't even take any credit for having chosen well. I'm not saying it was luck, of course. I'm much too Presbyterian for that. I'm going with grace, with really and truly undeserved favor. God gave me the best gift that God can give a human being on this pock-marked earth: a spouse who is my my spiritual soulmate, my best friend, my partner in the richest sense of the word.

Henry Ford said, "My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me." You're my best friend; you bring out the best in me, by overlooking or quickly forgiving my faults and weaknesses and inadequacies, and by telling me over and over again what you love and like and appreciate about me.

(OK, hold on. I'm feeling a bit verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves...)

All right, I'm back. You know that DeBeers commercial that always makes me teary? The one where you see an older couple walking along a path, and then a younger couple overtakes them, passes them, and then the woman looks back over her shoulder at them, and you see the older couple smiling and holding hands? I used to identify with the younger couple, but now I'm getting closer to seeing myself, seeing us, in the older couple. We're not there yet--they're probably in their 70s or 80s, probably married for 50 years or so. But we're halfway there, anniversary-wise.

I'm looking forward to the next 24 years, holding hands with you, and laughing.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Hillary: Time to Pack Your Bags

Well, it looks like the beginning of the end for Senator Clinton now that Indiana voters gave Barack Obama a relatively strong show of support and North Carolina voters gave him an unqualified show of support. This translates into a virtually unwinnable contest for delegates for Clinton, and this blog is respectfully asking her to withdraw.

We realize that some people have been asking her to withdraw since January, but as Obama gains more and more committed delegates, some have even described him as the presumptive nominee.

So it's time, Senator Clinton. Time to be a team player, and put your resources and your support behind the Democratic challenger to a third Bush term, instead of pouring money down the drain that could be used to turn the undecideds away from the dark side. (Just kidding. I know at least two of my six regular readers are Republicans, and I totally respect that.)

I also think it's ridiculous that Rush Limbaugh thinks so highly of himself that he thinks it's a good idea to use his infamy to influence the outcome of the Democratic primary in Indiana by urging Republicans to vote for Hillary. Operation Chaos, he calls it. Here's an interesting video clip where he wildly exaggerates his own influence and success, even though Obama performed significantly better in Indiana than predicted, and the Republicans who did vote in the Democratic primary were fairly evenly divided between Clinton and Obama. Whatever.

And if you keep watching the clip, you'll see a colorful exchange between a Republican strategist, Cheri Jacobus, and a Democratic strategist, Keith Boykin. If you're enjoying this combative and histrionic presidential election year as much as I am, it will raise your heart-rate.

Ironically, I got an email yesterday from Cheri Jacobus' office asking for my resume and writing samples. I wonder if it counts against me that this year, at least, I'm voting for a Dem.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

With Friends Like This...

"I've always said that in politics, your enemies can't hurt you, but your friends will kill you." --Ann Richards.

I know you all have been waiting for me to weigh in on Barack Obama and his troubles with the esteemed (or not) Reverend Jeremiah Wright. So here goes:

I think it's significant that the worst dirt that Obama's political enemies can dig up on him is actually dirt about someone else. Jesus himself associated with some pretty nasty people as well--and the religious and political leaders of the time used it against him. (Note: I'm not comparing Barack Obama with Jesus. I'm just comparing the situations.)

It seems that Wright is doing everything he can to hurt Obama's chances of success in his White House bid. I do not understand this. Is he doing this on purpose, because his feelings are hurt? Or is he truly ignorant of the effect that his opinions and his vitriol will have on the aspirations of his former parishioner?

It was more than a little bit prescient when, in his memoir Dreams From My Father, Barack Obama recorded this conversation with Reverend Wright:

"I'll try to help you if I can," he [Wright] said. "But you should know that having us involved in your effort isn't necessarily a feather in your cap."

"Why's that?"

Reverend Wright shrugged. "Some of my fellow clergy don't appreciate what we're about. They feel like we're too radical. Others, we ain't radical enough. Too emotional. Not emotional enough. Our emphasis on African history, on scholarship--"

It seems that Obama's pastor troubles did not hurt him at all in North Carolina, and not as much as the pundits predicted in Indiana. Good. Because here's the bottom line: Wright does not speak for Obama. Obama has disavowed and vehemently disagreed with Wright's crazy-ass extremist, divisive, hate speech.

So now let's focus on the real issues of the campaign, and especially on the issues that separate the Republicans from the Democrats. As I mentioned before, John McCain's website doesn't even mention the issues that this blog believes should be front and center: things like oil and energy, poverty, and education.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


Have you ever tried to read a slightly complex story with an inquisitive seven-year-old? It's very wonderful, and more than a tiny bit crazy-making. Here's how it goes:

Me: "Claudia and Jamie awoke very early the next morning. It was still dark. Their stomachs felt like tubes of toothpaste that had been all squeezed out."

M. Peevie: Why did their stomachs feel like squeezed tubes of toothpaste?

Me: Do you remember what we read yesterday?

MP: Oh, yeah. It felt that way because they were so hungry.

Me: Right. Onward. "Giant economy-sized tubes. They had to be out of bed and out of sight before the museum staff came on duty...Claudia always dreaded that brief moment when her pajamas were shed and her underwear was not yet on."

MP: Why wasn't her underwear on?

Me: Maybe she doesn't wear underwear under her PJs. Or maybe she needed to change it. Okay? I'm going to keep reading. "...After they were dressed, Claudia whispered to Jamie, 'Let's stash our book bags and instrument cases before we man our stations.' They agreed to scatter their belongings."

MP: Why did they need to scatter their belongings?

Me: How about if I keep reading? "Thus, if the museum officials found one thing, they wouldn't necessarily find all."

MP: Oh, I get it. They hide one thing in one place, and another thing in another place, so that if the museum people find one thing, they won't find the other things, and they won't think that there are any kids hiding in the museum.

Me: Right. Moving on. "Claudia hid her violin case in a sarcophagus that had no lid."

MP: What's a sarcophagus?

Me: It's like a coffin, a place where they put dead people.

MP: Eeew. Why did she put her violin case in there?

Me: I don't know. Can I keep reading?

In the end, there were so many questions, interpretations, insights, and interruptions that I read a total of five frickin' pages in about 20 minutes.

Don't get me wrong. I adore this little girl. I can't imagine my life without her. But when I read a story with her, I'm screaming on the inside.

Bonus points to the first reader who identifies the book that M. Peevie and I were reading. Family members exempt.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Home Invasion, Part III

If you haven't read them already, catch up on Part I here and Part II here.

The squirrel and I kept a wary eye on each other as I got a few things done around the house. Meanwhile, Mr. Peevie kept his word: he did not leave the bedroom, but stayed behind his hardback fortress.

When the doorbell rang, I looked at the squirrel. "It's time to part company," I told it. "You can make this easy, or you can make it hard. Your choice." He just looked back at me, and rolled his squirrelly eyes.

I expected, when I opened the door, to see a buff, burly animal handler dude, wearing thick work gloves, Wrangler® jeans, a flannel shirt flapping open over an untucked Coors® t-shirt, and heavy work boots. I expected he'd have equipment--maybe some tranquilizer darts, a wire cage, or an electric prod.

Well. I opened the door to see a tiny girl--I suppose technically she was a woman, but she looked to be about 12 years old--wearing shorts and t-shirt and carrying a butterfly net. She wasn't even wearing gloves. I felt skeptical that this small, young, ill-equipped human would be able to take care of my squirrel infestation.

"Hi!" she said brightly. "I'm Cindee, from animal control. You called about a squirrel problem?"

"Yeah, come on in," I said. "Um, don't you need some equipment to do this job? Or at least a pair of gloves?"

"Nah," she said confidently. "Gloves just get in the way. The worst that could happen is that I could get bitten." Yes. That did seem to be a possibility, but she was blithely unconcerned.

"So where's this little critter?" she said, and then "Oh! There he goes!" The squirrel had taken one look at the fierce-looking Cindee, leapt halfway across the room from the top of the picture window curtains, and darted into the kitchen. Fortunately, I had closed off the door to the basement, so the kitchen was a cul-de-sac, and the squirrel was trapped.

"You stand here," Cindee said, pointing to a spot in the dining room, just outside the kitchen doorway and fully in the path of danger. She headed toward the kitchen with her ridiculous butterfly net.

"Uh, what?" I said. "Why?"

"In case he tries to run past me," she said, pausing in the doorway.

"Well, what am I supposed to do if he does?" I asked. "Scream and wave my arms? Because I hate to be a girl about it, but it's probably going to freak me out a tiny bit if he comes darting toward me."

"No, just stand there," Cindee said. "He probably won't run toward you."

The squirrel was hiding behind the microwave oven. She reached behind WITH HER BARE HAND--had she never heard of rabies?--and the squirrel promptly made a liar out of her and ran straight toward me. I screamed and waved my arms and dove out of the way. The squirrel hopped through the dining room, and zoomed right back up to his former safe perch on top of the curtains.

Cindee chased him, waving her butterfly net--but he saw her coming, and easily darted past her, and past me again--like, what was I supposed to do, exactly?--and back behind the microwave. Back and forth they went, like a Laurel and Hardy sketch--kitchen to dining room to curtains, oh, my!--only the squirrel started running straight into the picture window, thinking it was The Great Outdoors.

Kitchen to dining room to--bam!--picture window, and up the curtains; then down again, curtains to dining room to kitchen. The squirrel started leaving tiny bloody paw-prints on the arms of the couch, and smears of squirrel blood on the windows, carpet and counter-tops.

At one point, Mr. Peevie, hearing the commotion, ventured out of his literary citadel, and came halfway down the stairs. He took one look at us chasing the squirrel through the house, and went straight back upstairs. I heard him move the boxes back in front of the door.

Finally, Cindee managed to trap the squirrel under the butterfly net. She dragged it over to the front door and tossed him out; and he scampered away as quickly as his head injuries would allow.

Boy, the stories that squirrel must have told around the dinner table that night!

I wrote Cindee's company a check for $150, and said that I sincerely hoped I'd never have to see her again.

"Yeah, you might want to get a chimney cap to keep animals from getting in again," Cindee advised. Who knew that such a thing even existed. And why aren't they standard house equipment? They ought to have a class for first-time homeowners who are ignorant about, well, almost everything.

I called upstairs to let Mr. Peevie know that the coast was clear. He came downstairs and surveyed the carnage.

"Huh," he said. "I'm glad that's over."

"Yeah," I agreed. "And thanks for all your help."

"I did help," he said without a trace of defensiveness. "I stayed out of the way. It was for the best."

Considering how useful I proved to be in Operation Bloody Squirrel, I suspected he was right.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Home Invasion, Part II

Read Part I here, if you haven't already.

The rabid squirrel scampered out our bedroom door, and Mr. Peevie continued to scream and dance around and hyperventilate, while I was paralyzed by incredulity. Finally, he came to his senses enough to run over to the door and slam it shut.

He leaned back against the door, panting. I'm pretty sure his heart-rate was in the 200s.

"There's a squirrel in our house," I said. Mr. Peevie started moving boxes of books in front of the door to barricade it shut.

"Mr. Peevie," I said calmly, "What the hell are you doing?"

"I'm barricading the door in case the squirrel comes back," he said.

"Mr. P., it's a squirrel, not a bear," I pointed out. "A squirrel can't open a door. Plus, why would he want to? He's more afraid of us than we are of him." Except in this case, I really wasn't sure that that was true.

He was all logical, in the phobic, insane sense of the word, pointing out that our bedroom door didn't really latch, and so all the squirrel would have to do would be to push on it, and it would open. By this time, he had about 80 pounds of books stacked in boxes against the door.

"Honey, honey," I soothed, "We're going to have to use the bathroom. Let's just get ready for bed." Besides, I refrained from adding, you've got enough books piled against the door to keep a mountain lion from getting in, let alone a two-pound rodent.

"Are you FREAKING KIDDING me? There is a SQUIRREL in our HOUSE, and I am NOT going to be able to SLEEP. We have to call someone." He was pacing, back and forth across the sherbet-green-it-was-there-when-we-bought-the-house carpet, stopping to check the secureness of his improvised blockade on every pass. I could tell we were going to need sedatives.

I'm not used to being the rational one in our relationship, but somehow I talked him down from his Ledge of Crazy and got him to agree that we'd call animal control in the morning.

"OK," he grudgingly agreed. "But I am not leaving this room until the squirrel is gone."

We scooted quickly to the bathroom and back, and Mr. Peevie barricaded the door once we were safely back in the bedroom. Eventually, and without quaaludes, he calmed down, and we went to sleep.

In the morning, as promised, I called animal control. As it turns out, Chicago's Animal Care and Control department will not remove a squirrel from your house--but I found a supplier of animal removal services and told them my upsetting tale of home invasion.

"Yeah, OK," the helpful company rep said, snapping her gum loudly, "We can have somebody there in about four hours. It'll run ya $75. Cash or check."

Four hours? "Four hours?" I said. "We're kind of trapped upstairs in our bedroom. Do you think you could get someone here a little sooner?"

Snap, snap, chew, chew, snap. "Yeah, OK, we can make it a rush job, but it'll cost you double. Djawanna?" The "rush" would get the squirrel out of our house in two hours instead of four. We snapped up the deal.

Being more courageous that Mr. Peevie, and willing to face the enemy, I cautiously walked down the stairs. Step by step, inch by inch--it was like I was in a Three Stooges sketch--"Niagara Falls! Slowly I turn..."--I made my way down the blue carpeted stairs.

Two steps from the bottom, I froze. There, watching me from the top of the curtains, perched the dastardly squirrel. "Ah-HAH!" I said, boldly. "There you are, my pretty!" I figured that as long as I knew where the squirrel was, I was cool; so I went about my business and the squirrel stayed put.

**Tune in tomorrow for the gripping conclusion to our serial drama, Home Invasion.