Friday, August 31, 2012

Birds, Bats, Rats, Owls and Raccoons

I feel pretty good right now. It may have something to do with the three (THREE!) cups of coffee I had this morning before walking my dog. It could also be that I'm not feeling as sick today as I've been for the last few.

It was like a light switch flicked on. One minute I was fine and the next minute I was sick. It hit me hard and fast. I was hoping it would go away just as quickly, but it hasn't. I'm kind of a baby when it comes to being sick. I like to take it easy, eat soup and take naps. I know that it may sound like I'm sick all the time by that description, but there is nothing wrong with eating soup and taking naps on a regular basis. And when I'm sick, I complain a lot and take naps and eat soup. When I'm not sick, I'm cheerfully eating soup and napping for pleasure. See the difference?

Never mind.

My dog walk today took me past a house that is growing grapes on their property. A vineyard, if you will. Next to the vineyard, there was a box on a stick with a hole in it. The first thing I thought of was that it was a bat box. For bats. The flying kind.

It really got me thinking. There are bat boxes, owl boxes and bird houses. Don't they all have a box with a hole in it for something to live inside? How do the different animals know that it's for them? Why wouldn't a bird go live in a bat box? Or conversely, why wouldn't a bat go live in a bird house?

Upon further investigation, a bat box seems to be a little bit of different. Amazon sells one that is made to the specifications of the Organization for Bat Conservation. If the OBC has specifications, there must be more to it than a hole in a box. And after looking at the one mentioned and some others online, what I saw today was probably not a bat box at all.

So what about owls? These look a lot like bird houses with bigger holes. This place has some that you can buy and even recommends them for rodent control. I could have used them a while ago! Not that I could put one in my kitchen, but still...

I will stop there, yeah, yeah, bird houses are nothing to write home about. Although, bird feeders are another story. I have tried in the past to make pinecone bird feeders only to end up feeding some other critter. Cover the pinecone with peanut butter, roll them in bird seed and hang them by fishing line down from the back deck so that it hangs in front of your daughter's window and she'll be able to watch the birds from her room. OR find that a raccoon has pulled up the fishing line and run off with the pinecone leaving only peanut butter footprints behind. I'm sure this happens to everyone, right?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My Old Lady Suit

I got up this morning and put on my Old Lady Suit. The one with the achey shoulder, wishing for Granny's rumatiz medicine. The one with the achey knees and the hot flashes. In fact, I got into the car and turned on the air-conditioner full blast only to discover that it must be out. That, my friends, is worth a trip to the dealership for repair!

Rumatiz got you down?
Of course, it doesn't help that I have the mind-set that once school starts I can wear jeans. It's still too hot for jeans in reality. Though, I'll do anything to avoid shorts most of the time. I could have worn them today, though, since my Old Lady Suit didn't include the knee-high nylons pooled around my ankles. They're probably in the laundry that my lazy butt is behind on, as usual.

I brought my dog out to walk after school drop-off and since there wasn't a spot to park, I drove past the school to the private school down the road. We walked to a trailhead where we saw the sign warning us about rattlesnakes and mountain lions. It's funny how I only think about those dangerous animals when I see a sign and I hike along the same area from different trailheads all the time. I'm sure they don't stick to the posted areas, either.

The hike was straight up and my creaky knees were warning me about the last time I pushed them too hard. I slowed down a bit and kept going. My dog was panting like he'd just seen a cute pack of co-ed's running by, but when we reached the top, he didn't slow down - any further than his slow butt was already going. He walked past and sniffed to and fro while I tried to orient myself to where we were. I thought the trail was going to join a familiar loop and I knew that I should really go ahead and keep going. Unfortunately, (or rather fortunately) I couldn't figure out where we were in relation to what I knew. I felt guilty to turn back around and start walking down. My dog seemed disappointed but not in a way that made it hard to re-direct him.

As we walked down the trail again, I ran into a woman I know from school and we chatted a bit. She commented on the size of my dog and asked if he was friendly. After all of my crazy experiences, I know that my dog has an unpredictable side, but it's predictably so. I told her he was friendly unless another dog talks shit about his mother to him. I left out the part where he hates to be mounted. It should go without saying.

Just as we reached the bottom, we walked around a beautifully groomed grass field at the private school. My dog loves grass, but rarely gets a chance to walk on it. He started mowing it like the part-goat that he is until he came to some shade, in which he laid down. All my guilt for being an old lady today went away. That, and I can feel the burn in my thighs.

It's not that being old is a bad thing. In fact, age is only a marker of time, not an absolute when it comes to behaviors or physical milestones. And all my old age issues aren't even age related. The dark spots on my jawline aren't from age, but sun damage (says my Dermatologist). Either that or my dark brown leather couch is bleeding on me when I take my afternoon naps. And again, naps are not an age thing. Perhaps it's just a Greek thing. Or a Spanish thing. Not that I'm either of those nationalities, but since I've travelled to both of those countries, I'm allowed to nap every afternoon.

And my shoulder isn't rumatiz, but probably from hefting a Laser onto the top of my car. That's when my shoulder pains started. And the knees, that's probably from being overweight. That I blame on my age. Grown ups just can't eat junk food the way kids can and I can't seem to remember that. I enjoy my cupcakes and Donettes. And I enjoy a glass of wine or bottle of beer every now and then. Or is it a bottle of wine and a glass of beer?

I think the smart thing to do today is to take off my Old Lady Suit and get a shower in. Perhaps I'll sprinkle a little youth under my arms and take an anti-inflamatory-forget-the-shoulder-pain pill and get on with my laundry. And maybe do a little dancing.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Tree Swing Adventure

So, I was climbing a tree yesterday and almost fell out. I stepped on a section of a branch that was rotted and it gave way. Fortunately, I was expecting the possibility and caught myself before I tumbled.

Sometimes I think that things happen to me strictly for entertainment purposes.

In case you're wondering why I was climbing a tree, I was helping - but not really helping - hang a rope swing in my backyard. Our backyard has a million trees, but they're Bay Laurels. They grow straight up with spindly trunks. They don't have the shape that a good rope swing needs and therefore, we had to do a lot of considering about where to put the swing. My husband settled on one that had a nice thick trunk and curved downward. The trick was getting the rope around it. Safely.

My husband leaned a 7-foot ladder up against it and it still wasn't high enough to get the rope in a good spot. He wanted me to climb to the top rung then throw the rope. I thought about it, but could not bring myself to do it. The tree is on about a 45-degree slope so the ladder had to lean against the tree at an awkward angle. After giving up on that tree, we settled on a different tree that is next to our house. It has a strange shape as it curves to reach for sun in the shadow of our house.

The second tree was easier to climb, but as much as I wanted to be brave, I just wasn't up for the potential to break and arm, leg or neck. As it was, I stepped out onto a weakened branch and just about dropped down about 15-feet. I put my weight on my leg and as the branch gave way, I took my weight off that leg suddenly. As a result, the muscles in my leg are burning today like I did a 300-pound squat with it.

Only me, right? Other 44-year-olds don't hurt themselves climbing trees, do they?