Another One Bites the Dust

WARNING: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN CONCEPTS SOME FIND DISTURBING

I was going to use this as my Monday music post but we’re at the very beginning of a massive thunderstorm so I’m expecting the internet to pop off with each lightening strike.

One final warning, this is not for the PETA at heart. We had almost instant success with the bits of bread with ranch sprinkles last night. I haven’t been able to get this song out of my jukebox brain ever since.

If you haven’t watched Snowball dance to it before, this guy can rock it!

Title: Another One Bites The Dust
Original Artist: Queen
Writer: John Deacon

Title: Another One Bites The Dust II
Interpretive Dance: Snowball
Revised Lyrics: Debbie Branson

Steve walks warily down the street, She walks warily down the street,
With the brim pulled way down low With the flashlight beaming low
Ain’t no sound but the sound of his feet,
Machine guns ready to go Mouse traps ready to go

Are you ready,
Are you ready for this
Are you hanging on the edge of your seat
Out of the doorway the bullets rip Out of the corner a grey streak rips
To the sound of the beat

[Chorus]
Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
And another one gone, and another one gone
Another one bites the dust
Hey, I’m gonna get you too
Another one bites the dust

How do you think I’m going to get along,
Without you, when you’re gone With you in my cabinets all night long
You took me for everything that I had,
And kicked me out on my own And ate everything that I own

Are you happy, are you satisfied
How long can you stand the heat
Out of the doorway the bullets rip Out of the corner a grey streak rips
To the sound of the beat

[Chorus]

Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
There are plenty of ways you can hurt a man gal
And bring him her to the ground
You can beat him her
You can cheat him her
You can treat him her bad and leave him her
When he’s she’s down
But I’m ready, yes I’m ready for you
I’m standing on my own two feet (on the table) 😀
Out of the doorway the bullets rip Out of the corner a grey streak rips
Repeating the sound of the beat

Another one bites the dust. He sure did! 😉

There’s a Hedgehog in My Shower

The fox has many tricks, and hedgehog only one, but that is the best of all.  ~Archilochus

On the other side of Bountiful, there’s a hedgehog in my shower. That’s the back side of a blessing. It falls under Bountiful, because I thought it was a rat, or at least a very big mouse.

Henry doesn’t take much to toys, but my sister gave him a hedgehog, which he loves.

Heidi was playing fetch with him with when she gave the unassuming little hedgehog a mighty fling into Henry’s water bowl. He was hanging out in the shower to drip dry.

BUT, after having a very lively furry face to face just a couple of nights ago in the restroom, and the fact that I was using only the green glow from my cell phone for light, he gave me a start. All eyes can look beady at 3 a.m. in the soft green phone glow.

Particularly in light of other recent events. It was around 11 when Josh, the night pusher, came pounding on the door to tell me they’d called 911.

The transformer, which is at most 50 yards away, had begun a mini fireworks display, shooting sparks into the still moonless night sky. As many of you pointed out during the deliberation process, there are some obstacles to a quick get away in a 5th wheel. Whatever comes to mind, magnify that by the darkness and the fact the giant green septic wagon is parked directly in front of us.

Taking the RV and making a run for it was out of the question. The temperatures are cooler, but we’ve still had almost no rain, so the fire threat seemed very real.

The only question was whether or not to wake up Heidi and get ready to hit the highway.

In my typical aggressive style, I stood at the door and watched until the sheriff came, and maybe 30 minutes later, the electric company. They didn’t seem to be having much luck. After an hour and a half, I had finally decided we were too close for comfort and was just stepping away to wake her up when I heard a loud pop! and out went the transformer light and the sparks stopped! On the other side of  Bountiful, there was no fire!

I wouldn’t have hesitated to get her up except we’d had company the night before and she was up late and was pretty tired. You gate guards know how it can be when you get off schedule.

It started when the bells rang and no one was there. I stepped outside and out of the dark came a guy with a BIG backpack, yes big enough for big guns, who said his ride was on the other side of the gate and the company had sent him home for the night since they weren’t ready to run the casings. Hmm… He was heavy enough to ring the bells and that’s saying something!

There was another commotion at the door an hour later. No bells at all this time. The visitor arrived unannounced and refused to leave.

I’m still not certain how he got stuck there since it was pretty cold and both doors had been shut all day. Clearly he did not heed the WARNING sign on his way up.  He made a Trip to Bountiful as we opened the door and he dropped to the ground, living to re-enter another day.  And all the mice in the neighborhood continue laughing!

A Trip to Bountiful

I saw a movie 25 years ago starring the great Geraldine Page called A Trip to Bountiful. It was about a an elderly woman, living in Houston, who wanted to make one last trip to her old home in Bountiful. I’ve often thought of the movie, about how things change and going back is never quite the way you expect it to be. I’ve also often thought of that beautiful title. Tonight it’s time to write about a trip to bountiful. I’ve written quite a bit about our minor difficulties lately. I think it’s time to balance that with a word about the blessings.

It’s chilly here! Oh my, what a blessing to this Midwestern/Oregonian heart! After 7+ months of 90’s and 100’s, I’m wearing a long sleeve t-shirt and using the fireplace for heat! It’s bliss!

The fireplace is, of course, completely fake looking, but boy, does it ever pump out the heat! Henry and I nearly froze last winter in front of our little space heaters with the cold air seeping in through invisible cracks and crevices. We’re happily toasty now. While it’s blustery outside, there are no wind whistles and unbidden drafts inside tonight. Of course, it’s only gotten down to 44.  I’m sure we’ll need to run the furnace some nights. Tonight, coffee and the pretend fire are keeping us both warm. (Of course, Henry doesn’t care for coffee, but I’m on my second pot). It’s so cozy I wadded up my napkin and started to throw it in the fireplace. 🙂

Our gate guarding job seems to be coming to an end. The word is that Lantern 17 will be pulling out as soon as this weekend. It may go back to Smiley. It may be called back to the un-gate guarded areas of Louisiana. We’re waiting to see if the repair shop bid is approved by Good Sam so we’re in a bit of limbo, but the 5 weeks we’ve been here have been good – very micey –  but good.

We’ve loved the past 10 months with Forest Oil. The guys have been both kind and gracious to work for and with. It’s been a gift. We’ll miss them. We may soon be sitting with some of you who read Fork, waiting at a new fork in the road for another assignment.

A few nights ago, one of our Company Men stopped for a chat. He’d asked us to hold sales calls for a few days. We’d been sending the presents the sales reps dropped off back to the CM with our rig guys: cases of soda, steaks, sausage, peanut brittle, notebooks etc…  The CM said: You should snag yourselves some of that stuff, we don’t need it.

We thanked him but, of course, with no intention of taking anything. Still, it was a nice gesture.

He was back, 20 minutes later, with a garbage full of coffee and steaks and shrimp and sausage and chicken breasts stuffed with Craw fish Jambalaya!

The freezer is overflowing with ribeye and prawns and peppered pork. Our hearts are overflowing with gratitude.

Red meat is not bad for you.  Now blue-green meat, that’s bad for you!  ~Tommy Smothers

Last week, as those of you who read my other blog know, I got a late night call saying my 3-year-old grand-daughter was being rushed to the E.R.

She had all but stopped breathing. The admitting doctor said it was a close call. She’s such a sweet, kind little one. It was a terrifying night. She’s doing OK now. That’s a gift that can’t be measured.

This is a bit of a  spoiler if you ever decide to watch the movie. The lesson learned in A Trip to Bountiful is that you can’t ever really go back, but you can count your blessings where you are today. Tonight, I’m very grateful. What are a few mice and some repairs and a bit of job uncertainty compared to the kindness of strangers and the sweet breath of a 3-year-old?

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.  ~G.K. Chesterton

I Miss the Moon

The mosquito crop has hatched in Houston (in such mass numbers that they made the San Antonio news).

They found their way to Wharton, thirsty. Until now, apparently largely due to the drought, that’s the one insect we’d been spared.

I’m hoping they drift on over to Austin where the bats under the bridge are decreasing in number, which is affecting tourism.

If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito. ~ Betty Reese

I’m a bit under it again (the weather, not the bed – that’s where the mouse is). It’s not a good thing to be under the weather when you’re a gate guard at night if under it means frequent restroom visits. As before mentioned and attested to by other gate guards, a nocturnal trip to the restroom is guaranteed to ring bells.

I thought I was safe because there’s no moon at all – we’re in the zero moon phase. Maybe the moon and the tides are impacted in reverse in Texas? It’s been a moonless full moon kind of night and it’s only 1 a.m.

First the bells were rung by an older man, dressed for a date (who was with him), soaked in cologne, which still failed to cover the smell of alcohol. He said he was here to pick up a mug (I think he meant mud) logging truck. He held up traffic for a good while, looking for the cigarette he dropped somewhere inside his truck. I got a flashlight but to no avail. His lady friend took this all in stride.

He finally decided to just let it burn itself out. Hmm… He did another check of his paper work to make sure he was in the right spot and went on in. I was contemplating another trip to the restroom when he came back out, wrong rig indeed.  He didn’t want directions. He said it was too dark to drive anyway.

I had just ventured back toward the restroom when the bells began ringing and ringing and ringing. A semi driver had parked on the air hose, which didn’t alarm him at all. I don’t think he could hear the ringing over his diesel and his iPod. He was nice about moving when he finally heard me knocking.

I took another long look at the night sky, now filled with stars but abandoned by the moon.

This time I was only considering a trip upstairs when Lacey from Lafayette Louisiana arrived, exhausted, after driving for 15 hours down back roads. As I filled her coffee mug she told me she’d been given directions approaching the rig from west Texas (which would be a very round about way to get here from Louisiana). She said the back roads were so dark… Yep, no moon.

She also said, while she was lost in the panhandle  she heard that it’s supposed to snow there tomorrow. It was 90 here yesterday. The forecast for tomorrow is a high of 66. I’m not complaining. I like the cool temperatures, but do you see what I mean? These things didn’t happen when the moon was doing her job.

Finally, the coast seemed to be clear. Just as I entered the restroom, removed Heidi’s baby booster from the foot pedal and seated myself, a mouse ran in from the bedroom, took one look at me, and headed back under the bed (as far as I could tell, after waking up Heidi while I did a pre-Halloween sweep around the bedroom with a broom). I guess the past two nights of under-the-sink-quiet were misleading.

It’s late and the traffic has stopped. I think I’ll have a little dinner.

I don’t know why since I’m certain it will want out as soon as I put it in, but I feel compelled by hunger and the blackness of the night to pursue this misguided course of action.

I miss the moon.

Night’s black Mantle covers all alike.  ~Guillaume de Salluste Du Bartas

Guest Post by Luke McKnight

I asked Luke’s permission to post his email as a guest post here. Not only is he funny, but he has some great tips if  any of you ever find yourselves keeping company with unwanted guests.

Number 10 went out the door at midnight…  (fortunately, Heidi doesn’t have to be really awake to fling mice,  sparing Henry and I another tortuous night of thumping and squeaking!)

Luke – Somehow your photos got lost across the airwaves, but thank you for all the great info!

Debbie it is never Dull for you Young Ladies is it?

I have tried a couple of times to post to your blog about how we got the Rats out of our Motor Home and have thus far managed to keep them at bay. Some years ago when we first started full timing we were working as a Camp Ground Host in La. in a swamp and they had all kinds of you can Gettem in your rig there. We ended up taking a crop of mice and a little Gray Squirrel with us to out next assignment which was Eisenhower State Park in North Texas. We tried everything to get rid of them and finally an older man that had been camping for years was our Savior. He said that anything that will make a humans eyes water will keep varmints Out of your Rig and said they had found on his ventures moth balls to be the best. Well that was back in 2006. The wife and I have been full timing ever since. Knock on wood Mice , Rat and Squirrel free.

We get the boxes of regular moth balls in WalMart  and when we get on a new location we will spread  a half box under the rig. We used to keep the crushed Crystal moth to put in small plastic containers with vent holes drilled in them to put in the under Bins.

But a couple of years ago we went by home to Valdosta, Georgia and found the Rats or Squirrels had decided that all the drawers in my Cabinet shop was a great place to store pecans, leaves and grass. So I went to the feed and seed store to purchase some of the Green Rat Bat that we used to put out as it would dry them out after they eat it and you never smelled them. When explaining to the man why I needed 10 lbs of the stuff he suggested I purchase some of his Sonic Pest Chasers. To which I thought Yeah another waste of money, however he said that if I was not rid of the problems in a couple of weeks to bring them back and he would cheerfully refund my money.

Well, who could give up on that. I bought 2 of them at $27.00 each but now I see that WalMart has them for a lower price. We now have replaced the Crushed Crystal Moth Balls with the Electronic Sonic Pest Chasers and knock on wood, no mice yet. And when we were in Tilden there were some very big rats out back there and again at Catarina we had large ones that stayed in the brush in front of the RV.

Oscar’s Mom and Dad used to feed the baby ones to them.

Hope this helps!

Sincerely Luke and Inez

To read more of Luke and Inez’s adventures, you can click on the The McKnight’s Making Memories link here or under the Blog roll.

Luke – after receiving your email, we headed straight for WalMart where they said they’ve been sold out of Sonic Pest Chasers for months! I can hear the mice laughing! 😀

They’re Still Laughing

When the mouse laughs at the cat, there is a hole nearby. ~ Nigerian Proverb

First, thanks to all of you for your words of advice and encouragement!

The mice and the toilet are both still running but we’re trying to get ahead of them.

Heidi spent 4 hours emptying out the underbelly while I was sleeping yesterday.

She found one dead mouse. That takes the another one bites the dust count to six.

As per your advice, she also crawled around underneath the RV.

It looks tight down there, except for one loose bolt that spins and doesn’t tighten. It’s stuffed with steel wool for now.

The mice may have hopped aboard in Iowa, looking for a change of scenery. Or they could be Texas natives. Hard to say. We did discover today that they found Henry’s extra bag of dog food, which we’d forgotten about, in the back of the truck. So, that, too, is now in an air tight container.

Until the home invasion began, it never occurred to us to fill in the space around the water hose which certainly must have looked like an invitation. Now there’s steel wool, peppermint oil, rat poison, sticky traps, springy traps and Bounce dryer sheets just about everywhere.

Hopefully they aren’t still coming in, but they’re still laughing. I’ve been hearing them all night.

Henry’s not much of a mouser.

He seems to think they’re under his cushion.

He’s keeps alternating between vigilant and resigned.

As for our other problem, I called a mobile RV repairman at 8 yesterday morning about the toilet that’s still on the run.

He said he would call right back, as soon as he got to Houston.

That was 22 hours ago.

He must have been a long way from Houston.

Our rig is scheduled to move in about a week. The plan right now is to head back to Smiley, although that could change. If we go there, we know a great repair guy from Seguin.

We can stop the water by pushing up on the foot pedal. The thing is, most of the time it stops just fine on its own, but clearly, not always. Our fear has been that we’ll forget to push up, the time it decides to take off, so we’ve tried to make it as inconvenient as possible to flush by ensconcing the foot pedal with a milking stool, which we have to move each time.

On second thought – that looks too little to be a milking stool unless they had really short cows on Heidi’s grandpa’s farm. I think the milking stool is under my knitting. I don’t know what that is in the bathroom but it seems to be working for now.

OK, at this exact moment, a mouse just ran across the floor. No kidding! I’m not happy about this. I’m still in my I hate to kill or squish things mode, same one I’ve been in for 55 years.

This is the first time I’ve seen one on the run. He must have been here before because he shot across the kitchen floor about 4 feet in front of me with absolutely no fear or hesitation. Laughing.

I’m thinking Ben.

I just got up and boldly reached over the top of the island and opened the cabinet door to the much mouse baited waiting area under the sink, but I don’t think he’s falling for it. Henry is sound asleep as is Heidi.

I wish she’d wake up and put her mice stomping boots on.  There’s way too much laughing going on.

Of Mice and Me

Warning: This is not a PETA approved post

You might want to reread the warning. If you are a PETA person, please don’t read on. I’m about to share several things you might find both disturbing and offensive and I’m hoping to avoid hate mail.

1. I have friends who don’t eat meat, but I do.

2. I have friends who don’t believe in killing spiders, but I do, especially when they drop on me in the shower or inhabit my shoe.

3. I don’t think pets are people, too.

4. I love Henry but I’m firmly convinced that he’s a dog, a nearly perfect dog, but a dog none the less.

Just so you know, the goggles were to protect his eyes  from the blowing beach sand and the shirt to keep him from bringing the entire north bank home.

He doesn’t usually dress up. He just wears his everyday coat.

5. I have friends who hunt. I don’t, but I do like to go fishing.

6. I had an ant metropolis but the little ant houses seem to have taken care of that.

7. I have mice who think mi casa es su casa. I don’t.

8. I really, really hate killing things – bugs or bigger. Heidi doesn’t mind.

This is my 3rd night of listening to mice (whoever said quiet as a mouse hadn’t met mine).

Under the sink, beside the soup pot, is the wastebasket and a sticky trap. There’s also a sticky trap stuck to the bottom of the recliner. I don’t know how it got there, but if I pull it off, the chair will be sticky. I’m just leaving it for now.

I prefer those little mouse motel traps over sticky traps, but Texas mice won’t go in those. Texas mice do have a weakness for Doritos.

To understand the rest of the story, I need to interject a brief anecdote:

When Heidi and her brother were young, they spent the summers on their grandparents farm. One of things they loved to do, when the moon was bright and the breeze was gently blowing on those warm late summer nights, was to go barefoot. And what they liked even more than just going barefoot, was to put their grandparents big black rubber galoshes on their bare feet and go out in the corn field and stomp on mice.

Don’t ask me why. I can’t even stand to hear/feel the crunch of a giant Texas beetle under my tennis shoe. Anyway, that brings us back to the sink. The squeaking begins around 11:00 each night, which seems to be when mice get Dorito cravings. It goes on all night.

I know what the humane thing to do would be. I tried the first night. I opened the cabinet door and closed it. Thus was born my nightly ritual of carefully rolling up any garbage I might make during the night in a paper towel to be disposed of in the morning.

There were two mice the first night. There was one last night. There’s at least one tonight. When Heidi gets up, she’ll shower and get dressed and open the cabinet and make a trip outside.

Henry and I are getting a little frayed around the edges. I began with a word of warning, I’ll close with a word of advice. If  you ever meet someone who tells you they used to stomp on mice barefooted in galoshes, make sure they like you.