Saturday, September 22, 2012

Say Cheese!

Being a relatively peaceable person, I am not prone to bouts of murderous desire first thing in the morning. Nevertheless, early in the morning the other morning, before it was even light out, I stumbled into the kitchen and found a mouse running around in the sink. Oh great, I thought. Here it is, six in the morning, I just woke up, and now I have to kill a mouse.

My sink is pretty deep, and there were a few dishes scattered around in it, so with the mouse hiding under a tupperware container, I proceeded to prepare Lewis's morning meal and ponder my options.

A friend of mine had only recently brought to my attention the recent outbreak of hantavirus associated with Yosemite National Park. Having simply driven through Yosemite five months prior, I figured there was little risk of me having contracted this deer mouse-born disease. However, some light research tipped me off to the fact that apparently the majority of hantavirus cases occur from mice in the home. My decision was clear: the mouse would have to die.

Just then, the mouse whom I mistakenly assumed was "stuck" in the sink, levitated from his confinement and scurried behind the toaster oven. Mouse in the sink: well contained, accompanied by my knowledge of its whereabouts. Mouse behind the toaster oven: one mad dash away from a nebulous hiding place only known by rodents. I had to act.

Grabbing a handy tupperware, I moved the toaster oven away from the wall. The mouse faked left. I blocked it with my hand. It ran right. I tried to cover it with the tupperware. It broke left and slipped past my hand, across the back of the sink, and hid behind the radio. I pulled the radio out. The mouse stared at me. I hazed it from the left. As is broke right, I brought the tupperware down over it.

It jumped and squeaked. My heart melted. Thinking only of the fear in the rapidly beating heart of my little hantavirus-infested visitor, I slid him off the counter with the tupperware onto a magazine, trapping him inside.

Maybe some other day I will wake up with murderous thoughts on my mind. Maybe future rodents should quiver in fear because of my wrath. As for this mouse, I carried him out to the alley behind the house. Setting him free, he squeaked and ran under the neighbor's garage wall. I hope he's grateful. And that he keeps his mouse diseases to himself.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

We Built a Barn

Being the younger sister and growing up in the woods with no other kids around, I pretty much went along with every scheme my older brother cooked up. Set up a lemonade stand in the middle of the forest and then wonder why no one is buying? Sure, no problem! Stand in front of him like a target while he hits a golf ball full force into my stomach, then writhe around on the ground, gasping for air? Count me in! Fill a five gallon bucket full of bricks, string it up in an oak tree, then tie a trip wire to my toe at night so I can wake up and release the bucket to fall on the head of potential intruders? Where do I sign up?!

Now that we are adults, we get to undertake more mature projects. Projects involving power tools. Projects where we could die if one of us, namely me, does not know what she is doing. The latest endeavor . . .

Indeed, we built a barn.

Having essentially zero construction experience, barn building provided an opportunity for me to try a multitude of new things. For instance, I have successfully lived through walking along the 1.5 inch side of a 2x4 while balancing on the side of a roof. Standing on the top rung of an 8 foot ladder, I lifted one end of a 150 pound truss up onto the top of one of the barn walls. I have somehow managed to maneuver a 16 foot extension ladder from the front to the back of the barn, set it up, climb up and down it, and paint the barn without falling off the ladder. I have experienced the exhilaration of hanging out of the hay loft door, holding onto the inside truss with one hand while painting with the other. Working with a number of saws, I can now indeed cut a board at 34 and 15/16 inches, and thus far I still have all my fingers. And when I nail T-111 siding, I can say that most of the nails hit the studs.

I have crouched, crept, crawled, climbed, lifted, cut, hammered, drilled, nailgunned, caulked, and painted my way through this experience, all at the behest of my brother, who believes I have the ability to do anything. And sure enough, I know how to do a lot more now than I did before this project.

Next on the list, whole house building. Considering the journey so far, I can just see us now, each balancing an end of a 40 foot beam on our shoulders, the cross piece for the top of the trusses. Climbing up extension ladders, rung by shaky rung, we will eventually place the beam in place, hold our breaths while we nail it, hoping it doesn't fall. Then we can sit back and chuckle to ourselves, thinking, we built a house . . .