Saturday, July 31, 2010

Honey, Take This Knife And . . .

You are going to think that we live in a dangerous, varmint-filled world here on our little acre and a half in Florida, and maybe we do. But it doesn't really feel like it to me most of the time. Alligators, snakes, coyotes, and yellow-flies are troublesome, but none of them strike fear into my heart like mice hiding amongst the life vests stored under the house. Mice aren't as bad as fruit rats, mind you, but either way, if I see one I scream and convulse uncontrollably. About once a year, we end up with a mice or rat problem in the storage area under the main part of the house because the area is not totally sealed off from the outside and if we start putting things down there without making sure they are in sealed bins, the mice (or rats) will move in. A few weeks ago, I went into the storage area to find a beach umbrella and had to leave screaming because a mouse ran across the top of one of the bins I was reaching for. I told Flamingo Joe about it and he decided to tackle the problem. He started last night.

He took all of the bins off the shelves, opened up anything that was in a non-regulation bin, and cleaned out a nest a mouse had made in a plastic garbage bag that was "protecting" something really important -- like the ski pants we haven't used since leaving Idaho fourteen years ago. Flamingo Joe said when he picked up the bag about a cup's worth of mouse urine poured out onto his chest. He told me this while sitting at the dining room table in the same shirt he'd been wearing while working down there. There was not food on the table at the time, but still.

On a side note -- last night, FJ made me watch two episodes of Man Woman Wild with him. The show is about this couple who are set down in dangerous places and the husband, a special forces dude, teaches his wife, a former news anchor in Australia, how to survive. He makes her kill animals and saw legs off wildebeasts freshly-killed by lions who are just off to get a drink of water before coming back to finish their kill. Last night the husband made the wife kill a possum for lunch after they'd been dropped into a Louisiana Bayou with nothing but a parachute, their knives and a half-empty water bottle. After killing the possum, the woman broke down and cried. This woman is a real trooper, but sometimes her husband says things to her like, "Now honey, while I hold the head, I want you to take your knife and stick it right behind the crocodile's skull and move it back and forth, back and forth, until the head falls off." And she looks at him with her eyes all big but then sticks her knife in the crocodile's head and does what he tells her. So after she killed that possum I really felt for her and just cried right along with her. And then I told Flamingo Joe that if he ever wanted to be on a show like that he could just get my body double to do the actual on-set stuff and we could just dub in my voice because I don't care how much money the Discovery Channel was offering to pay, it wouldn't be enough to induce me to chop a possum's head off and then roast it on a spit for lunch.

So this morning, Flamingo Joe says, "What are your plans for today?" And knowing what he had started working on last night, and what we had been watching on TV last night, I feared the worst. I was absolutely positively not going anywhere near the mice and I certainly wasn't going to be cutting any of their heads off and roasting them over a fire for our breakfast. I answered him truthfully, "Uhhhhhhh . . . " Then he tells me he wants me to clean out the "mechanical closet" (it's a closet under the stairs where the air handler for the a/c is, so for some reason we call it the "mechanical closet" to distinguish it from the "Christmas closet" which is a closet above the stairs where we keep, well, you can figure it out). He wanted to put the boat cushions, which the mice had been chewing on underneath the house, up into the mechanical closet and so someone had to make room for them in there. I was so glad not to have to kill and eat mice for breakfast, I hustled down to the closet before he could change his mind.

Here's my neat and tidy mechanical closet:

And then I was on a roll, so I cleaned up the front room so it would look nicer for Flamingo Joe and Dez' birthday party on Saturday:

And then I went to check on Flamingo Joe and he had mostly cleaned out the downstairs storage and pretty much moved it out onto the driveway. I was glad to see that he was not employing his usual method of cleaning out the storage area which typically entails him bringing 10 or 12 rubbermaid bins upstairs to the porch and telling me to "go through" them and see what I can "throw away." Poor deluded man -- if I wanted to throw that stuff away, it wouldn't be under the house in the first place. I usually wait a few days then take the bins right back downstairs and put them on the shelves without opening them. Today, he only brought me furniture:

When he first brought it up to the porch we had a discussion about selling it or giving it away, but after Grandma and I thoroughly discussed the matter, we decided we would keep all of it and put marine varnish on the dresser and vanity and let them stay on the side porch to store outside tableware in. We would restore the 1924 Model 66 Singer Sewing Machine to its former glory and I would piece quilts with it. We would move the desk (which weighs an enormous amount and is incredibly awkward to carry) up into Casey's room and move his furniture around up there so it would fit. And by "we", Grandma and I of course mean "Joe." So that will teach him to bring us furniture.

But he had accomplished quite a bit underneath the house:

You see that spot back there with the shelving all the way to the back and the left? That's the spot where I saw the mouse. I'm hoping Flamingo Joe got to that section already because right this minute, I am sitting at the dining table, which is directly above that spot and I just heard the scampering of little feet right below me. I think the varmints are looking for their nest.

I really hope they go away to someone else's storage area because I don't have my knife on me.

And I'm not hungry.


  1. Ok, yeah, we watched that show. That guy is nauseating. He is really nice and patient with his wife. Mike said that's why he doesn't like the show...(he likes conflict) I told him he could learn a thing or two from that guy. He said..." yeah, I probably could".....LOL

  2. i was so entertained with this blog. laughter indeed is a good medicine! anyways, in the Philippines, we have this thing about mice. If you leave them alone, they won't ruin your things but if you chase them with a broom, they will retaliate. Rats are different, we kill them. Mice, we say nice things to them and voila! they never ruined anything even when we were in London, we had a white mice running around the flat, and we don't bother him and he never bothered our stuff. One time, my mom-in-law visited and saw him and screamed so loud! Poor mice, he did not know what was happening! Didn't see him for days till my in-laws went home. hilarious!


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