Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Magic Kindgom, part I

Hell hath no fury as a mother scorned... by Mickey Mouse.

Okay, I know that moms can go into all sorts of "that's my child" rages for all sorts of reasons -- playground bullies, unfair teachers, whatever. But Mickey Mouse? He's the icon of all that is warm and fuzzy! He's the personification of all that is happiness! Not Mickey Mouse!

Yep. Mickey Mouse. The Big Cheese himself.

We spent last week at Disney World. It was wonderful. Gavie was all eyes, overwhelmed by the sheer magic of Walt's dream. He's at that perfect age: the one where everything he sees is real. When he met Mary Poppins, Captain Hook, and Buzz Lightyear, he was nothing but ear-to-ear smiles. When we rode Peter Pan's Flight, he was entranced. It's a Small World was one of his favorites and being able to sit in Pinocchio's restaurant for lunch and overlook the Small World boats AND WAVE was almost as delightful. Especially when the merry boaters would wave back to him.

Gavie is the ultimate traveler. He took Sunday's 4 a.m. wake-up call in stride, loved the airplane, relished the ride on Disney's Magic Express to the Caribbean Beach hotel, and hit Epcot running. He didn't stop until late that afternoon when he fell asleep on Spaceship Earth (you know, the giant silver golf ball) while he and my mother, Gwammy, went through for the second time that day.

But where, you ask, does Mickey fit in? Monday night. The eight o'clock Spectromagic parade (a.k.a. Electrical Light Parade). We had front-row curbside seats for the event. It was going to be grand!

And it was.

Until that overgrown rodent didn't know my son was waving at him. Blasted parade choreography! That mouse was facing the wrong way when the float went past! He waved to someone else's kids! Nevermind that Gavie was apparently unphased. Nevermind that the much more important Captain Hook waved. That was Mickey, dammit! And my son waved! THEREFORE, the mouse should have turned immediately and waved back!

(Ahhhh, if only all of life's problems could be that simple, huh?)

I guess we can add one more irrational motherly behavior to my list.

Monday, March 12, 2007

They're rats with fluffy tails.

So there I was, surfing the 'net when BAM! today's topic hit me. Squirrels! Seems that that fuzzy little beasts cause more power outages each year then lightening.

Here's the link: Suicide Squirrels

Here's my blog... an essay on why I hate squirrels.

Imagine, dear readers, a house of seventy-odd years. Character galore: hardwood floors and stained glass windows. A tiled fireplace. Professionally landscaped twenty years previous, meaning that what had been envisioned was well into fruition. Lovely, lovely, lovely.

And sitting next to said house, a tree. No doubt older then the house itself. The tree shades the front yard so completely that the living room and what became the nursery are comfortably cool all summer. The branches arch up, reaching to the sky and touching the clouds above. Each fall, it's an explosion of red and gold, so glorious that one almost doesn't mind raking.

And in said tree are squirrels. Furry little rotten bastards hell-bent on getting into my house. Brown rats with fluffy tails. One in particular, a ring-leader I'm convinced, knew how to slip in and curl up in my laundry basket. It's beady black eyes closed in repose as it enjoyed the warmth that's literally heaped on it, as shirts and pants and towels slide down to chute and land atop it's fat little carcass.

No doubt the dislike I possess comes from the moment I pulled a shirt from the basket and found him rolled up and ready to hibernate. No doubt his desire to torment me came from my ear-splitting, high-pitched scream of fright -- a scream apparently so harsh to his ears that he actually froze. Unmoving. Not even blinking, so terror-ridden was he. He gave nary a protest when the Big Guy came down and threw a rug over the basket, effectively trapping him inside.

Apparently, though, being ousted from my warm abode did not sit well with the creature.

There's something very disturbing about walking up to your front porch and looking up... to see three squirrels watching you and chirping. Rather macabre and Hitchcock-ish, if you will. I was waiting for the beasts to leap upon me much like one of Alfred's birds attacked Tippi a half-century ago.

Thankfully, they decided that menacing chatter was enough.

A little over a year later, they'd no doubt been waiting for the perfect opportunity, I was in the laundry room when I heard scritch-scratch, scritch-scratch. I thought it was my cat playing around the furnace. Perhaps she was chasing a bug.

Scritch-scratch. Scritch-scratch.

I was several months pregnant by this point and too tired to really investigate, so I just stood there and waited for her to come into view.


No. Not the cat. The squirrel. The glorified rodent. AND FRIEND. Playing about my furnace.

No screams this time, just good old-fashioned legwork. I tore up the steps and, in my least-ladylike vocabulary, told my husband and neighbor that we had, to put it politely this time, "guests."

Two of the four-footed overgrown vermin came back just weeks before we were to move. This time they dove down the chimney.

The joke was on them.

You see, the fireplace had been sealed. They landed underneath it where the ashes would have gathered. Dust to dust, ashes to ashes. One apparently broke its neck (it wasn't in there long enough to starve), so we only had to deal with one live one. My brother grabbed him about his neck and literally threw him out of the garage.

Did you know that squirrels bounce?

(Disclaimer: no squirrels were harmed in the writing of this post.)