Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Suburban life

Last week, while mowing the lawn, I noticed that we had some strange and, to this city girl's eyes, highly inexplicably random mounds of dirt scattered throughout the yard. I immediately emailed my fiancé, F, to make sure he hadn't returned to his old habit of digging holes in his sleep (it's a bizarre family affliction that affects only the second oldest child of eight, if they are male. Strange luck...) He assured me his nocturnal wanderings had been put to rest (snicker) and said he had no ideas given my description. When he came home for lunch, he carefully evaluated the physical evidence and gravely stated his conclusion, which is to say that he dug a hole beside one of the mounds and said, "Yup. Gophers."

"GOPHERS?!" cried my inside voice, "I thought gophers lived in Idaho. On potato farms. This ain't Idaho and this ain't no potato farm. Looks like somebody got into the potato vodka and took a wrong turn at Nevada."

In order to fully appreciate the context of this scenario, you need to know that Molly, the dog, is obsessed with rats. Not simply chasing rats, but digging them out of their nests. And apparently gophers will do nicely, thank you very much. (A dog does need some variety from time to time; she patiently explained that to me the other day.)

So, we have the lawn, which I have just managed to coax back to life after having hacked it to bits mercilessly in May following several months of neglect; we have a drunken gopher who is not only going to have a mother of a hangover when all that vodka wears off (see, I *KNOW* he's drunk because he can't even burrow in a straight line), but who is going to be furious when he realizes that he's no longer in Idaho and these stringy things he's been gnawing on are not, in fact, potatoes; and last of all we have an indiscriminate, rat-chasing dog who climbs over me at 5:30 am in order to unceremoniously and firmly plant her rump on my head so as to comfortably observe the gopher at work while twitching, scratching and emitting strange gurgling sounds punctuated by Tourette-like strangled yelps.

This, again, brings us back to the lawn. It now resembles a small minefield, riddled as it is with gophers hills and Molly holes. I should have never cut the grass.

On the practical side of things, we're trying to figure out how to deal with these alien beings. It turns out that EVERYone has a different solution. Most of which involve some form of violent death. This seemed reasonable for about five minutes.

The concept was put to the test when, one morning, I looked out and saw little gopher guy (gal?) pushing dirt up out of the hole, ran into the garage, grabbed a shovel, crept out to the hole and delivered several hard whacks to the hill.

In the midst of whacking, I heard a sharp crack and was struck, no wait, the gopher was struck...I'm so confused (understand, this was a traumatic moment for me). Sooo yeah, I realized that crack could have been little gopher guy's head. I could have KILLED him. I felt awful. I mean, I know I thought, "I'm going to keel that steenking gopher. I'll show heem!!" But I didn't mean KILL him. I only wanted him to go bother someone else. Even if only across the road. Just go! But the end result was me standing there on the front lawn at 8:30 in the morning, in my bathrobe, shovel raised up over my shoulder, emphatically apologizing to a mound of dirt while the rat obsessed mini pinscher mutt barked rabidly in the bedroom window.

Did I mention that the neighbors love us?

So…no, nothing much to report from here. Love to do dinner, but I've gotta run for now, Molly's barking at the woodpile now. Lord only knows what will emerge from THAT.

[I don't suppose that I need to point out that suburbia and I were not a good match.]

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