Sunday, February 23, 2014


The last few weeks, as I've gotten up in the morning, I've been aware of the sound of the squirrels scampering on the roof.  Then, one day last week, I happened to go outside when they were scampering, and there wasn't a squirrel to be seen.  But, I could still hear the sounds of little fat-tailed rodents.

Inside the eaves.

So, I took a look around.  Sure enough, up at the corner of the roof, there was an opening where the flashing had come loose.  And a matching opening at the opposite corner of the house.  Just enough room for an cold squirrel to squeeze on in.  And, once they were in, I'm sure it was no trouble at all to find their way down the plaster walls to the first floor eaves where they have set up two cozy condos, one front, one back.

They make rather considerate neighbors.  They get up around the same time as the sun.   You can hear them moving about as they get ready for work.  Then, they come home about the same time I do, and settle down for the night.  But, considerate neighbors or no, they had to go.

So, I did my internet research, and found that loud noises will often scare them off.  So this Saturday, while I was out and about for a while, I turned the stereo up real loud.  When I came home, I climbed up on the ladder and plugged up the holes.

It worked for the back condo, I haven't heard another peep.  But this morning, at approximately 6:42, I was startled awake by the tenants in the front condo.  Seems they are rock and roll lovers, and hadn't left because of the noise after all.  They were quite frantic, running up the wall to the (now plugged) exit, then back down, the scurrying in circles.  I couldn't leave them trapped in there to die, so, with a heavy sigh, I got myself up out of my warm bed, rousted Joe out of his, and we got the ladder back out to unplug the exit.  That ended the frantic noises in the walls.

I was telling my story at a gathering yesterday, and a lady with experience with critters told me that if the music didn't chase them out, the best way to get rid of them would be to put coyote urine in their space.  Fortunately for me, since I don't have any coyotes handy, and have no idea how I would get them to pee in a cup if I did, the third hardware store we went to today had some for sale in a well-sealed box.

We shoved a couple of the packets into the eaves through a handy outlet box, and now we'll see.  I hope it'll get them out - it would work for me, I can tell you that much.  I caught a whiff through the package seal - whew!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Happy Cancaversary!

The surgery to remove my breasts was two years ago today.

In most ways, it seems forever ago.  It took longer than I thought it should, but my health has returned.  My visit to the oncologist last month was short and sweet.  "Still taking your drugs?  Yup?  Good.  Go home, keep it up, I'll see you in six months."

The rest of the world, along with my brain, is pretty sure the demon has been banished - if not for good, then far enough away that he'll be a long time returning.  My gut doesn't agree.  It still remembers Mom feeling better, then the news of her cancer returning.  It doesn't care about the estrogen positive markers, the drugs I take to remove estrogen from my body so the cancer can't grow.  It's still afraid.

I picture some escaped cancer cells, sleepy from lack of nutrition but still there, waiting for the estrogen to return and their chance to grow.  It would only take one surviving cell to bring me down. 

Not that it'll get its chance any time soon.  The Tamoxifen and Lupron I take do an effective job of removing estrogen from my body.  I can tell by the side effects.  I LOOK normal, but I'm tired.  My skin is dry, my joints ache, I spend nights tossing the covers on and off based on the state of my hot flashes.  When I get the Lupron shot each quarter, I struggle with heightened fatigue and easily gained weight for the next month.  In other words, all the symptoms of menopause, 'just' magnified and compressed.

I try to take the side effects as part of the price that needs to be paid if I want to continue to live.  Life doesn't come cheap.  I try to remember Victor Frankl's thoughts, that the last of human freedoms is to choose my attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose my own way.

I choose not to let the fear win.  I choose to get up (almost on time) every day despite the fatigue, to put on my best face, and to face the world with the closest expression to a smile I can muster.

And tonight, I choose to spit in the direction of my banished demon.  She is wailing and gnashing her teeth in the darkness, I am marking the day with a bowl of ice cream and a grateful spirit.  So there!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Snow Day!

the cat is NOT sure about the snow!
Snow Day!

It's one of the great things about working for a school.

I find the unexpected break in the work week so delightful.  That, and by the fact it's a snow day, I know I don't have to get out and about.  which makes it a lazy kind of sleep-in day.  the kind I had in my camper van every day.  which makes me really miss the camper van.  but that's a story for another post.

A lazy kind of day, except for the shoveling part.  It takes a little over an hour to shovel the driveway and sidewalk at my new house.  And none of it is snowplow snow, which makes the job much easier.  I don't mind getting out to shovel as long as it's snow and not ice (and today's snow has no ice under it).  It was just the right amount of exercise - enough that my muscles are tired and talking to me, but not screaming at the abuse.

A lazy, make-chicken-soup kind of day.  I knew I didn't have the ingredients on hand, so stopped at the grocery store last night before the storm hit (along with several hundred of my closest friends).  While crowds are not normally my thing, I happened to get in line behind one of my old neighbors, and we spent the fifteen minute wait catching up on life, so it wasn't too bad.  That, and it's interesting to see what people figure they can't live without for the next two days.  There was one girl with only a 12-pack of Diet Coke in her basket.  Me, I'd have lived without the soda.

I'm sorry to have to admit I did spend part of the day working.  I have a project that I can do from home, and even though I didn't HAVE to work on it, the work is done much more easily without interruption, and interruption-free time can be hard to come by at the school.  And it wasn't so bad, sitting at my table at the computer, watching the snow come down. 

As the day winds down, I am deeply satisfied with how I spent it.  A little work, a little exercise, a little play.  It's all good.