Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Things in My Wall

If you were one of the poor souls around when I first started this blog, you'll recall I had a rodent invasion in my kitchen. (Repair of the kitchen still pending - I'm getting tired of stubbing my toes on bricks when I use the sink.) Over the summer, I discovered mice down in our laundry room, including one that up and died in the utility sink. I called the office to have someone come remove the deceased and lay out traps, but they never took away the late Mr. Mickey. He slowly decayed enough to be rinsed down the drain.

Yes, I know that was disgusting, but it's the truth.

This afternoon, I became aware of a scrabbling & chewing sound. At first, I thought it was coming from the stack of sketchbooks I have piled on the loveseat. (I'm trying to figure out where to stow all my art supplies.) I started to panic and ripped through the pile, expecting to see small beady eyes staring up at me. No such luck. (If having rodents in your home can be considered "lucky.") With my face now inches away from the wall, I realized the sound was coming from behind the drywall. Scrabble, scrabble, chew, munch, chew.

There are friggin' critters in the walls. Living things eating god knows what. In. My. Walls.


Living on a wooded area can be very pleasant - the sound of owls at night, fawns nibbling on the lawn, the smell of the evergreens after a rainfall... but there are drawbacks. Like snakes in the laundry room, unusually large insects that like to follow you indoors, and goddamned rodentia. Yeah, I know, most communal living spaces have rodents somewhere. But what is the specific attraction to my apartment? It's not as if I'm spreading out a mouse buffet in the kitchen. I think it's the misfortune of being positioned at just the right spot in the building - easy access, and the probably don't like the heavy smoking of the gent below me in the dank basement unit.

If I stay here, I'm seriously considering violating condo rules and getting a cat. Kitty wouldn't be able to do much about They Who Live Inside the Walls, but a cat would sure as hell put the fear of god into the kitchen invaders.

When I was a kid in Illinois, we lived on a deep ravine full of wildlife (including the rats that our crazy next door neighbor was feeding.) We had raccoons, deer (but not in the astounding numbers like here), loads of snakes, and bears were rumored to be seen once a year or so, although I never saw one. Weirdest wildlife I ever saw in our yard? Lions. Folks up the block had a daughter who worked for Teske's Seed & Feed, and she was given the task of taking care of two lion cubs, abandoned by the lioness at Niabi Zoo, our small, but sweet zoo on the outskirts of town. (I used to LOVE bringing huge bags of carrots and celery to feed to the Scottish cows and the camels. One of the keepers let me feed the hippo a shovel full of Purina Hippo Chow once. That was cool.) Jim Fowler - as in Wild Kingdom "while I mix myself a martini in the safety of the treehouse, Jim will wrestle the crocodile to the ground" - was coming to retrieve the cubs and settle them at another zoo. But, until he arrived, our neighbor was on lion duty.

We didn't know this until the day I looked out our front window and said, "Mom, there's a lion in the front yard." Mom, knowing me to pull her leg fairly often, didn't even look up. "Moooom? There's a lion in the front yard." She still didn't look up. I went to the door, opened it, and a lion cub came bounding in.

At that point, Mom looked up.

CUTE baby! Cute baby with HUGE, SHARP CLAWS. I thought my mother was going to pass out as I picked up the cub off our entryway floor. The neighbor, who was racing after the other cub, saw me pick him up and she just smiled and waved. Mom went for her Polaroid Land Camera and we took some pictures. I only have one of the pictures today - me, with my hideous "giant squirrel on head" hair and awful, awful 1970's fat kid clothes, holding a lion cub in our front yard. I have no idea what happened to the picture of Mom, sitting in her recliner by the fireplace, cuddling a lion. God, I wish I had that one. Our little wacky terrier, Termite, can be seen cowering in the corner in that shot. Our cats are nowhere to be seen.

If I can get access to a scanner, I'll scan in the lion shot. Just don't mock the hair. I've always had hair trauma. Somedays, I think bald is the best option for me, honestly. I found the lion picture while looking for my "Russian bear on motorcycle" photos for Javier (which I still can't find, dammit.)

Bet that lion cub could cure me of my rodent problem pretty dang quickly. Sigh. A girl can dream, right?


Shafa said...

Hurrah for lions!

Natalie said...

This one really brings back memories, even though I never saw the lion -- but I do recall Teske's, Niabi zoo, Termite, and your Mom of course. I loved hanging out at your house.

Merujo said...

I miss hanging out at my mom's house. :-) I have to ask someone to scan in the picture of me with the lion. Lord, did I ever have the scariest hair in town back then!

Natalie said...

Ah, but at least your hair is *naturally* curly, so you have a legitimate excuse. Mine is not, and yet I had incredibly large hair throughout most of the 80's. Better living through chemistry, I guess, but really: why did I pay money to do that to my hair?