Monday, January 22, 2007

Critters . . .Part II

(Since blogs post newest first, scroll down and read Emrys-1 Critters-0 first)

I'm not a fan of Critters - at all. And very early this morning when was woken by noises it took me a second to realize that they were louder that the scuttering in the attic from the night before and seemed to involve metal and glass. I got out of bed and turned lights on as I looked around the house. I got to the kitchen, wandered through, half awake into the living room and turned again to the kitchen. First my eyes landed on a lot of things that should have been in the window sill, haphazardly in the sink and on the counter. Then over on the top of the stove, sitting very very still was a Critter - little grey squirrel to be exact.

I called up to Emrys - he was still asleep or ignoring the comotion. So I looked around for a box or something to try to lure the little guy into to throw him out - evicted! At 5 am rational thought doesn't come into play - all I thought was "he looks scared and I'm bigger than he is!" Unfortunately he was faster. Even with peanut butter he wouldn't climb into the flower pot I found. Instead he jumped on my hand up one arm, down the other and across the room. I screamed. Emrys finally woke up and called down to see if I was ok. I opened the window and door hoping he'd find his way to the cold air (yeah right!). I closed everything up and went back to bed.

This morning, the flower pot with peanut butter that I left in the sink was still in the sink - minus the peanut butter. Ok Critter, get used to the flavor and find it in the attic. I tried to play nice now Emrys can have ya! And I have to go lysol the Kitchen. :(

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Critters-1, Emrys-1

Last night we heard critters scampering in the ceiling over our bedroom. Actually, 'scampering' doesn't quite do justice. To be accurate, we should say that a crew of rodents spent the night constructing and testing out Upstate New York's first four-footed discotheque. So this morning I whipped out my brand-new Gorilla ladder (13 positions, stores smaller than a five-foot step ladder: urgh, urgh, UURRRGH!) and broke through the top of our closet into the crawl-space.

I had been worried about the amount of insulation between our ceiling and the roof--I worry no more. Seas of yellow and pink greeted the sweeping beam of my Mag-Lite as it swept under the rafters. Seas in which a legion of furry four-footers could easily live and breed for a decade and still have room to expand.

Why don't animals suffer ill effects from breathing in fibreglass insulation?

After covering the louvred vent to the outside--whose screen had been decimated by aggressive teeth and claws--I went to work beginning the end of our unwanted residents.

I don't know who invented the first mousetrap. I do know that Victor, a dominant vendor of rodent-destroying paraphernalia, now makes a plastic trap that is easy to load and less risky for human fingers. It's the better mousetrap of today . . . but I use the old ones. Why?

A few weeks ago I heard the plastic trap go off and found in its jaws--nothing! That experience, mixed with a fear that mice too can learn and combined with old-fashioned machismo has brought me back to the old wood-and-metal traps. That's right: the Tom-and-Jerry kind that have to be pulled all the way back and set very, very carefully lest you get a finger caught and curse like a drunken sailor (unseemly for a pastor).

I took my mousetrap--excuse, me, rat-trap: about four times bigger than a mousetrap and capable of nearly breaking human distal phalanges (believe me, I know)--and mounted the ladder to the crawl space. It took me twenty minutes to set the trap, because the half-teaspoon of peanut butter I used as bait was too heavy. You hear that? A half-teaspoon of peanut butter set off the trap! (Uh, huh. That's what I'm talking about.) Finally, with just a smear of the sweet-and-salty siren calling from its yellow tab, I set the trap in the crawl-space very, very carefully. (Why does the feeling of a trap going off in my hand scare me? I nearly shouted aloud when it happened the first time. The suspense of setting a trap makes me sweat!) Then I descended to other tasks around the house. Four hours later I went up to check the trap.

The beauty of the Victor mousetrap is its special-ops-style execution. It breaks the neck without breaking the skin. Crazy. Instantaneous (which makes it more "humane," I suppose) and bloodless. The subject dies without struggle or suffering--and I suppose if you wanted to preserve the pelt for production of a wardrobe piece, you could. I prefer to dump them out in the back 40.

That's what I did with the squirrel--not rat, not mouse, but squirrel--who found the peanut butter bait irresistible. One down. Let's see how many more are up there.

Rural life. Actual nature. Gotta love it.


Monday, January 15, 2007


Yesterday I finished my first marathon! 4 hours after the first folks crossed the finish... I came strolling through! If someone would have told me in the middle of chemo that I would walk a marathon in the next 18 months I probably would have shot out all sort of dirty looks and then laughed at them. But then I got my health back and a new sort of resolution.

A self proclaimed non-athlete, I guess I have to change my song. After my first half marathon my mom told me that I couldn't say I wasn't athletic anymore

Yesterday I finished my first marathon in 6:15:04 - walking 26.2 miles on an average of 14 minutes 19 seconds each.

I was walking for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training. Personally I raised almost $4,800, as a team we raised $51,000 and in its entirity, Team In Training brought in over $5 million with this weekend's event with over 1,800 participants in the full and half marathons.

It was amazing!!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Correction & I love new shoes!

So today was my first day out in pair of sneakers #3 and they felt awesome! Some women get excited about new shoes to go with an outfit, for me, it's my walking shoes!

And here's a correction: Race results will be posted at the day of the race. Find me there: Bib number 13112 or by my name :)

Sunday, January 07, 2007

One Week Out

Well, my road to the marathon started over a year ago. Now I am one week out from the big event. Seven days from right now it will all be over and I'll be hobbling around Peoria AZ! I'm excited for the race - although I'm only out to finish in less than 7 hours! As an added bonus we have friends from California who will be coming out to see us and our friend Sophie will be walking the marathon with me. It will be some good catch up time, and probably some scheming too. We're good at that!

So if I don't make it on the blog again between now and then, start time is 7:30 AM in Arizona which is 9:30 Eastern, 8:30 Central, 6:30 Pacific. The time splits from the chip on my shoe should be posted at And we'll have the cell phone and can be reached that way!