Wednesday, August 15, 2012

the smell of coffee

I am not a coffee drinker. It’s one of the things that makes me stand out in this mountain town with 6 coffee shops in 3 blocks. I love coffee, just not the taste.

My favorite part of working in the grocery store in high school was sweeping the floors. I’d linger a little longer where the coffee beans spilled over the floor. It was my favorite aisle. The coffee aisle.

After chucking stale beer cans across the bottle room where I counted refunds, I’d smell like a weekend drunk on Monday morning. The bottle room stunk so bad you could smell it before you could see it. I learned to hold my nose and breathe through my mouth, a habit that over a decade later, I haven’t gotten over. On rainy days, my new job driving the Cycle Pub smells just like that.

Pushing that giant broom across the white and tan tile floors until I got to the coffee aisle almost made up for the stench of bottle room duties.

The aroma sends me to Grandma Shelby’s house. The one she lived in for so long. With the big basement where she did her paintings and us kids would gather to watch movies. The house where the Christmas tree stood each December decorated in an array of angels, with the best one lit up on the very tip top.

Grandma Shelby’s house always smelled like coffee early in the morning. Walking down the hallway to the kitchen, I could smell it. I’d turn the corner and find her with a cup of coffee and a slice of toast or a biscuit.
I still don’t drink coffee. And Grandma sold that house a number of years ago. The cousins don’t gather for Christmas now that we’re all grown up. But when I’m walking through the grocery store or past a freshly brewed pot of coffee, I remember the smell of early mornings at Grandma Shelby’s.  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

life on the edge

Between fighting off the mice last week, I received some tough news. Harder news than mice living in my cupboards and eating my food. Harder to fight off too.

For those that don’t know, I wasn’t named after the Shelby Mustang. Though Grandma says we’re both sports models. Grandma Shelby was the first to use that line. The second of her seven granddaughters, I was blessed to be given her name. Shelby is an old English male name that means keeper of the ledge estate. But I’ve taken to adapting that meaning to living on the edge.

This week we’re hanging on to that cliff. Grandma Shelby went to the hospital last Friday with a headache. That headache turned out to be six brain tumors. That turned out to be stage 4 lung cancer. The winds are blowing pretty strong on this cliff as we live on the edge of this diagnosis. Grandma’s the toughest lady I know, but us Shelbys, we’d really appreciate your prayers right now. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

mama's got the magic

No more mice have been seen or caught. My fingers are crossed that I stopped the only rascal who has been sneaking around my house. I did spend the bulk of the day Saturday looking like this: 

Cleaning and sanitizing. After some inspection and confirmation from a second set of eyes (thanks Da!), we think we've narrowed down the point of entrance. I still have traps set in wait for any other Jerry who tries to take up residence.

Friday, August 10, 2012


Glimpse of my quilt 
After a night filled with dreams about mice running over my new bed quilt, the brightly colored one I just made and am so proud of, because, seriously, ya'll, I made a big quilt, not a baby sized one, but one for me. But the dream mice were running over it, with me in it! Scary. They were also mysteriously running across the top of the door frame. I don't want to even think about how they got up there. Especially considering the evidence suggests they currently only have access to one cupboard. But this was admittedly a dream, and we can thank my pesky little sister and imaginative mama for the image of mice running over my bed while I sleep. Dreams. I can handle dreams.

So I was running a tad bit late this morning. But just had to check my trap before I left. I pounded on the counter and kicked the door of the cupboard as is my new custom before peeking behind the door. It's my way of announcing myself to my house guests. A way to say, "Hey, you better back off, 'cause I'm coming in." Kind of my fee-fi-fo-fum moment of the day. I opened the door slightly, and the first thing I notice is my trap that had been set flush against the cupboard wall was now a few inches from its original placement. And the dial on of the trap was pointing not at the green "Set" position, but had spun to the red "Caught" indicator.  Immediately I shut the door. I had trapped my first mouse.

But this is a self-contained mouse trap. My mind immediately starts running through the possibilities of what if the trap just thinks it caught it but the pesky mouse somehow escaped. But then I remembered that when setting the trap initially I'd accidentally tripped it and it simply went back to the "Set" position. I opened the door again. And realized this time, the rice I'd sprinkled as additional bait to the peanut butter inside the trap was mostly gone. And that the trap wouldn't have moved at least two inches on its own. And so I convinced myself that I have indeed caught my first mouse. Using a paper towel, I lifted the trap into a garbage bag and hauled it out to the outside garbage bin. And set the next trap with additional rice for my next catch.

The mice may have won the first night. But we're tied now.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Welcome to Jonestown. Can I get you drink?

Some days seem like one massive fail after another. Yesterday was one of those days. The night before I had discovered the presence of some unwelcome house guests (who very likely have been living with me longer than I initially realized). How many guest is yet to be determined. 

They aren't exactly the social sort. And they certainly are not ideal guests. You know the well-mannered sort that pick up after themselves. Keep clean. And pitch in with meals now and then. No, sir. This fella, or fellows, hide out in their quarters and (thankfully) have yet to hold a face-to-face conversation with me, their host. They eat my food and they do not clean up after they've taken care of their private business.

Ewww! So gross! Am I right?

Bear in mind, I am the girl who used to store cereal in the refrigerator to keep it away from the ants, but that's another story altogether. Rest assured that I am not eating anything at my house at present. I am the girl, who cried and had to get creative to bury a groundhog because she would not touch the dead rodent with a 10-foot pole. And now, I am the girl who has live rodents living with her. At least the groundhog carcass was OUTSIDE. 

So what made yesterday a fail? First I cut myself on my razor. I got makeup all over my sweater at work. I dumped my water bottle in my purse. I spilled ketchup down the front of my white dress. I cut my finger with a knife trying to build a better mousetrap. (I was able to set store bought traps) And I did not catch a single mouse. 

The maintenance guy is supposed to set poison and hopefully soon. I am somewhat nervous about stumbling upon the scene of a mouse mass suicide after they all drink the spiked Kool-Aid. But if it keeps them out of my cupboards, I might be able to live with it. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The disappearing act

I was going to post this. In MAY! When the lilacs were actually in bloom. And then I didn't. And then life happened. 

Hands down, this sight is my favorite thing about the month of May. I wait in anticipation for those purple fists to open. I hold my breath when cold nights threaten to freeze the tiny buds. And finally the pedals uncurl, releasing the sweet fragrance that tells me I am 9-years-old again.

There I am, sitting in the lilac hedge behind the playhouse. A tree small enough just for me. One that won't hurt me if I fall out. I lean my back against the sturdiest branch, shielded by the thick green leaves. Nature's embrace. Here is where an introvert in a house full of people finds a place to think. To recharge. To seek solitude. Here is where I find my peace.

No matter what the world around me says, when I see those purple blooms and get a waft of their scent, I know that all is well.

And that was all I'd written back in May. And now I have no idea what else I was going to say about lilacs. 

A whole lot of life has happened since then. Baby showers. Birthdays. Trips to sunny beaches. Hikes up tall perches. Baby births. Quilting. Working. And every day one sweet auntie of mine checks this page. To that Auntie: be prepared for a few more updates coming. They may or may not include a recent development with unexpected house guests. 

Ortho 0320110 Home Defense Max Kill & Contain Mouse Trap - 2 Pack