Last week was taking a turn for the worse when I was running to the bus and about to slip my bare-feet in my cute new flats, and discovered what I thought was a rather fuzzy gray rock in one of the shoes.
Like many "home disasters," I confronted this one with shock followed by a deep feeling of injustice followed by a wish for help followed by an annoyance at my perceived need for help and ending with a silent dealing with the issue at hand. And just as when I removed the dead squirrel from beneath my back steps a few summers ago, when I was between roommates and was forced to confront these types of issues solo, I dealt with the dead mouse with silence until it was disposed of, and then let out a rather dramatic scream. Or whatever you call sustained screaming. It feels good: deal with the issue silently, then react dramatically.
I haven't been able to get my foot in the shoe since, as every time I look at it I think how cute and quirky the mouse looked all curled up upon itself - spooning the air in a way - probably not all that dissimilar to how I look while asleep. And the thought makes me a little depressed, so I am avoiding the shoes. Plus, I think I should probably Lysol the shit out of them and I don't have any on hand. (This is when being a green hippie does not translate well to the real world where mice die in pretty shoes and feet are scared to reenter that space without something poisonous that can kill any trace of dead mouse germs.)
BUT. After the dead mouse incident, which incidentally (good use of that word there) also made me miss my bus, my week improved.
My mom came to visit and there were no massive disagreements and we even laughed a bit - especially when she exited a public bathroom with toilet paper hanging out of her pants and had the most classically neurotic reaction. I also learned something new about her, which is that when I drop things in a store (an alarm clock off a shelf say) her reaction is to literally RUN AWAY, as if she doesn't know the person who is lame enough to drop objects in stores. I countered her embarrassment by saying loudly, "Why are you running away from your clumsy daughter?!"
But anyhow, we got home and yard improvement projects done, and that always makes me feel better about everything.
First, I tilled the heck out of my backyard. Here is an embarrassing shot of me getting stuck in a corner and probably cursing out the tiller:
That's really hard on your forearms, as you are pulling backwards intensely to keep yourself from getting dragged in the dirt by the fast-moving-machine. Here's the backyard after all our work, and despite how bad it looks, trust me it's come a long way in three years:
It's ready for my little vegetable farm, plus the area I put down grass seed last year has sprouted very healthy, very green grass. The raspberries in the back right corner also look happy! And the grapes on the fence are just starting to spring back to life.
My secret garden area also got a makeover:
When I moved in three years ago, I didn't even know there was a patio because it was buried in weeds! I am proud of our progress. The peony is very healthy, the irises my Mom transplanted last year are back, and the roses are starting to listen to me when I tell them to wrap beautifully around the fence.
Then we moved inside and hung some art in the orange room because Mom is really good at this and much more patient than I am in these matters. Behind every piece of art are a half dozen or more nail holes from my attempts at hanging art:
The first row is a bunch of Charley Harper "prints" I repurposed from an old calendar. The second row is artwork cherished by my housemate. The final piece of art is a needlepoint my mom made in the seventies of the seasons.
And let me just add, I looked at all the art throughout my house and about 80% of it has a bird on it and I just feel really annoyed that this has become some sort of hipster joke because I swear I have loved birds forever and always enjoyed them in artwork and now I am just a trendy dork. I worked at a bird sanctuary in 2003! I am ahead of the trend, dammit!
Then, when my mom left, I walked around and remembered - which I need to remember as often as possible - that even with mice dying in shoes, my house can be pretty charming and wonderful.