Archive for the 'Critters' Category

Sock Girl: Mouse Hunter

You may recall that about this time last year we had our first encounter with creatures of the basement.  Well, our issues with our “neighbours” have continued.  I can only assume that they are a super-mutant breed that defies science, too numberous to vanquish, or incredibly lucky.  My tactic lately has been to ignore them and perhaps bore them into a desire to move on.

On Saturday evening, I was upstairs talking to Dolittle when Rainbow screamed in the office below.  We came running downstairs to find her in the hall pointing at the floor.  There, leisurely sauntering down the floor as if out for an evening stroll and he owned the place, was “a neighbour.”  This was our first face to face encounter.

“Don’t kill him!” one of my girls demanded.  “Awww, he’s so cute,” said the other.

I now, of course, find myself in the uncomfortable position of having to decide in front of my children whether to pommel the varmint who steals our chocolate, or channel Snow White and be one with the wildlife.  Uncertainty hangs in the air.  I decide to buy time and trap him in Dolittle’s boot.

“Don’t kill him!” they repeat.

Clearly the decision has been made for me.

I lift up the boot and peer under.  He is lying on his back, paws curled up on his chest, playing dead.  Clever bugger.  He clearly has aspirations for movie roles.  Much ooo-ing and awww-ing ensues over his performance.  I abandon the boot and replace it with an ice cream container.  I know I must act fact before his theatrical accolades turn into pleas of “Can we keep him?”  A plan is hatched to take him to the park and set him free.

I slip a dustpan under the container and put on my coat.  Rainbow, expecting this may be a rouse to vanquish the little actor privately, decides to come with me.  Together we walk to the park and release him under a tree.  He is no longer playing dead and sits there in some kind of amazed shock.

“I think it’s too cold out here for him,” Rainbow laments.  I hurry her back in the direction of home.  I know no good came of this.  If we linger, she’ll have me knitting him slippers before bedtime.

“He was very cute,”  she remarks.  “Promise me you won’t kill any others?”

“I promise if I find any others leisurely strolling down the hallway, I will treat them in similar fashion,” I reply.  It was a promise I think we all can live with.

Until next time, neighbours.  Until next time.


Wordless Wednesday: Puppy Decided To Make Her Own Doggie Door

Wordless Wednesday – Baby’s Baby

The Shoemaker & The Elves

You may recall that we got a new puppy last summer.  While her intelligence and her waistline do seem to be growing, her behaviour is frequently questionnable.  She is, I believe, frequently aware that what she is doing is wrong (hence the growth of intelligence).  She just doesn’t really care.

Shoes, for example… I have no doubt in my mind that she knows they are not to be chewed on.  But, being the girlie girl that she is, she does love shoes.

So yesterday Dolittle had a friend over for a while, and Rainbow and I were racing around the house getting ready for taekwondo class.  As I’m searching out the bags of gear, I hear the anxious yell of “Mom!!!” from the kitchen.  Racing to see what the emergency could possibly be, I find the puppy, relaxing on the friend’s shoe, the insole dangling from her mouth.

When we have rescued the shoe and insole, Rainbow asks me if we should tell Dolittle.  I decide that it would be better to fix the shoe, and tell her after the friend leaves.  In retrospect, that was probably not my finest parental advising or example setting moment ever, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

As quietly as we could to avoid detection, we get out some wood glue (the only kind of glue I can find), apply a thin layer to the insole, and carefully lay it inside the shoe.  Unfortunately, however, the child had man-sized feet, so wearing the shoe to flatten the lining was not working so well.  Rainbow then offered to assist by volunteering to be piggy backed around the kitchen as I clopped around.  Ultimately we decide that the two shoes don’t really match, and the other shoe showed some signs of dog love as well, so we took that one out, glued it, and clopped around in them both.

When the insoles were finally smoothed out and in place to our satisfaction, we placed them out of the puppy’s reach and left for taekwondo class.

Upon return home, we confessed to Dolittle, that the puppy had loved up her friend’s shoes so we fixed the insoles.  She raised an eyebrow and gave us ‘the eye’…  “Those shoes?  The insoles are always coming out of those.”

Not any more, baby.  Not any more.

Game. On.

There is a mouse  rat  kangaroo horrifying creature living in my basement.

I realized this just prior to Christmas when I was working in my office in the wee hours of the morning, and I could hear the knawing, scratching noises below the floor.  As discomforting as this seemed, I was at least grateful the varmint was in my basement, all dark and clay and icky, and not living in the lighter, drier, crammed-with-clutter upstairs I call home.

I heard my new downstairs neighbour several times over the holidays under various floors, so I mixed up a wee cocktail of Cheez Whiz and warfarin, summoned up my gumption, and trugged to my now creature infested basement to leave a little “welcome to the neighbourhood” snack.  Apparently he wasn’t fooled, as days later the pitter patter of little feet could still occasionally be heard beneath the floor.

Now, if I may sidestep here for a moment, any reader of Harry Potter knows the best cure for a touch with Dementors is chocolate.  For Christmas, my dear Goddaughter was kind enough to include Godiva chocolate truffles in my gift.  I will admit it here now… while I willingly share my Christmas chocolate with my family, I will sneak away and hide the really, really good stuff for myself.  And that I did.  In case of Dementors, of course.  After enjoying half the box a truffle or two, I hid the remaining manna in the bottom drawer of my dresser and proceeded to share the rest of my suggary gifts over the holiday season until my children are now a bit addicted to chocolate.

So the night before last, while seemingly deep in sleep, I had a dream that my neighbour under the floorboards has made his way to the upper house and was currently eating my hidden Godiva chocolate.  I woke up, and listened in the dark wondering if this could actually be real… I listened harder…. I leaned closer… nothing.  And back to bed I went.

Later yesterday, I start to tell Rainbow about my silly dream, and how I was listening in the dark close to my hidden stash.  “What if it wasn’t a dream?” she asked.  “Or what if your like a dream psychic or something?”  (In retrospect I realize this was probably just a ruse to find out where my chocolate stash is).  No, I assured her.  It was completely quiet.  And I proceeded to open the drawer to show her the proof it was a dream…

Only to find…

A half gnawed Godiva wrapper.  And no Godiva truffle in it.

The dang kangaroo beast found and ate my Godiva chocolate.  And there was no way I was going to eat the three remaining truffles, regardless of possible Dementor attacks.  If you think “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”, you should see the fury of a woman whose Godiva has been tainted.

Clearly my basement neighbour had more refined taste than Cheez Whiz.

A plot was immediately hatched.  The. Beast. Must. Die.

Surgery was intricately performed on my remaining truffles, their insides hollowed out with a toothpick, a new warfarin-truffle centre was carefully prepared and refilled, they were smooshed back together, rewrapped, and placed back in the box in the bottom drawer of my dresser.

Game. On.

Wordless Wednesday: Apparently I’m Not The Only One Who Likes Flip Flops In The Summer


I should preface by saying that our 10 year old male Sheltie, Silver, is probably the best pet ever.  He never barks, goes out to do his business, is laid back and still snuggly, has always been patient with the children’s games, and adores “his people.”  He is somewhat afraid of cars and stairs.  He doesn’t hear as well as he used to.  He is part of our family.

But he is getting older, and recently the family have been discussing how wonderful it would be if we had another dog to keep him company and learn from his casual, loving, calm, patient ways.  And then we met Tilly.

So at 10 weeks old, Tilly, a mostly white Sheltie pup, came to join our family.

The children, realizing that Tilly in her cute little fun-loving furry ways would command a great deal of attention, have become concerned that Silver may “fall into depression.”  If someone is patting Tilly, or heaven forbid poor Silver should need a moment of “me” time, and there are cries of “PAT SILVER!!!” with an urgency as if he were in need of CPR or something.  While there is no question her arrival has rocked his world, I am somewhat more confident that it has been in a positive way.  His complete disregard for her personal space and need to hover in her general area seem to suggest he has no desire for her to leave any time soon.

So, my summer of unemployment has also turned into my summer of puppy training.  And Miss Tilly and I have been spending a lot of time together.

How can I describe Tilly?  Easily distracted (Oh look, a fly! Oh look, a bird! Oh look, a dried up old leaf!), with a penchant for plowing through a garden (or weed patch) as if it were her personal jungle.  She is lively and full of energy, and heaven help us when she gets hyper (which is at least twice a day).

So, given that I am currently without a job, and Tilly is currently without training, I have decided that the first order of business would be to train the pup to ring a bell hung from the doorknob every time she needs to go outside.  Never mind that she had no idea what her own name was, what was and wasn’t a chew toy, or apparently what the word “no” meant… this, dear readers, would be my project.  This, I ventured, would yield fundamental results when her world widens beyond the kitchen, particularly when we relish a home that is more or less bark free.  This also means, given the boredom of the kitchen (which is serving as dog world until training is complete), and the fact that apparently bells hung from door knobs are the best toys ever, that I must take Miss Tilly outside ten freaking million times a day.  It’s getting old.

I have little doubt she knows what the bell means now.  And I have no doubt she actually does want out that many times.  She was born to garden dive and outside is where we keep our unkempt beds that were once garden.   The solution may apparently be to make my yard as boring as my kitchen.

I have said that having a puppy is a lot like having a furry toddler, but I think I mean that in more ways than just that it is a huge pile of work and discipline.  I remember watching my own girls as toddlers, full of curiosity and excitement as they discovered the world around them.  I have never walked in my yard at 6 am before.  I have now recently had to opportunity to speak to neighbours as they go about their business.  I am noticing the nature within my yard (Oh look, a crow the size of a turkey!).  And I am discovering more of the personalities within my furry buddies.

We’re all learning.  We’re all growing.

And we all need a nap. 🙂

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