Monday, May 13, 2024

little vampires, mice, and winnowing down the to do list

When the wind blew over the pink angel trumpet awhile back that broke off three small branches, I got the big vase out I use for rooting yellow angel trumpet cuttings and put them in water even though I have never been successful rooting pink angel trumpet broken branches in water but you know, hope springs eternal. Slowly the leaves all fell off one by one, no roots appeared and I just sort of ignored them thinking I would make a fresh cut on the ends and try dipping them in rooting powder and sticking them in dirt but just never got around to it. Yesterday I happened to look at the vase and the water was black, no exaggeration, with teeming mosquito larvae. They looked to be ready to emerge during the night and suck our bodies dry while we slept leaving our desiccated husks for someone to find days later. Horrified, I picked it up and dumped it outside.

But it got me to thinking, how long would it take for our bodies to be discovered if Marc and I both died overnight and by who. We don’t talk to our kids every day, in fact there is no one we talk to every day that might get alarmed at not being able to reach us. Unlike my sister. But even then it was only because she missed her regular Sunday call from her granddaughter that raised the alarm that caused me to go check and find her. What if Pam had stroked out in the middle of the week? We saw or talked to each other most days though not all, might go a couple of days with no contact. How long would she have lain there before I got concerned enough to let myself into the house? One day, two, three? Living alone, she was worried about not being found while her cats feed on her body. Gruesome, I know.

Anyway, we’re not likely to both die at the same time but if we did, I expect it would be Robin who would find us. Maybe not the first day or two though. So, yeah, I’m going to make sure Robin has a key to my house. 


Saturday, I pulled out the bottom drawer in the kitchen with the storage containers to find everything fouled with mouse pee and poop again! Dammit! Several days after the first time I did set up two mouse traps, one against the baseboard under the drawer and the other between the stove and the refrigerator. I put the traps in small paper bags so that when they work all I have to do is pick up the bag and throw it away. Thursday Minnie triggered the trap against the baseboard by nosing the bag and I didn’t reset it that day. So I cleaned out the drawer again and this time I baited the trap and put it in the empty drawer. Then I checked the trap between the stove and refrigerator and it had caught a mouse. I don’t know if it was the drawer mouse or not but is there ever just one mouse? So I’ll leave the trap in the drawer for a few more days and see what happens.

Saturday was such a relief; cooler, low humidity, overcast and windy; after the previous hot and humid weather that I worked outside all day watering, turning the dirt in another flower bed and throwing out more zinnia seeds, picking up a pile of sticks accumulated in the little backyard and emptying the now mounded up garden cart onto the burn pile, doing some heavy pruning on the wisteria over at Pam’s house, stuff like that. I had all kinds of plans for Sunday starting with mowing the little backyard which I haven’t done yet this year, digging up all the pecan and oak sprouts from all the pecans and acorns we had last fall, maybe even torching the burn pile even though rain was predicted but I woke up with a big pain in my left hip (not sciatica) and my left calf feeling like I had done a heavy leg workout at the gym. I dosed myself with ibuprofen. Stuck my head out the door and ugh, hot and humid and the ibuprofen only dulled the pain a little so nope, not working outside today.

Instead I tackled all the minor little things that had been piling up and trying to clear the small table in the workroom. I hung or rearranged 11 things that I either already had or brought over from my sister’s house like this cross-stitch of cats that she did

and this big metal gecko I got at an estate sale (finally securely mounted on the wall I hope, second attempt, first time it fell off when the garage door slammed)

and this 6" tile I made for Pam years ago when she had every family member make one at one of those paint it yourself ceramic shops,

glued the legs and wings and antenna to the body of this folk art piece that my son gave me years ago (all those pieces are intentionally removable for easier shipping I guess and plug into holes in the body but they kept falling off when moved),

threw away or put away some small things I couldn’t decide what to do with, and a few other things. So it was a very productive day. Didn’t get the table completely cleared but now I really need to go out and mow the little backyard.

I woke up this morning, all pain gone, and managed to get the little backyard mowed and now a heavy storm is bearing down on us, lightning, thunder, wind, rain that is supposed to get heavy.



  1. Quite a productive time, waiting for the rain. Little jobs undone are so annoying.

  2. The bug with removable parts looks like it's from Oaxaca, Mexico. I have a couple of them, and their tails and wings are always falling off. Odds are you and Marc won't die at the same time in the night. I worry about Jim and me being killed in the car, and then who would know what to do with us. Actually, I guess it doesn't matter, we're dead.

  3. I think the odds of you both dying together in your home are very high, but at least you wouldn’t know about it and wouldn’t care. It’s not something I dwell on, and we too certainly don’t speak to anyone every day.

  4. I am so mouse phobic I think in a past life I must have poor and homeless in London during the Bubonic Plague--only half joking. I'm therefore intrigued by your equanimity at finding a mouse in the drawer trap. I would have had to call someone to remove it. I do hope there is only one mouse and you don't have to repeat that scene.

  5. I found a dead mouse in front of Glen's closet the other day. It looked like a toy mouse, completely unscathed, as if one of the cats had merely frightened it to death. Sounds to me like you might have a few mice.
    God, Ellen. You're so productive. I just don't feel like doing a damn thing lately.
    Your questions about who would find you if you died are things I think about. We're going through this situation with a friend who will NOT leave his property to move into a place with help which he desperately needs. He is in terrible shape, can barely move, isn't continent, etc. If we called the proper authorities to do an assessment, they'd have him into a facility in two hot seconds and he'd hate that. It's his right to die where he wants to die, I guess, but as my daughter pointed out, it's not as likely that he'll just keep over and die immediately, he'll most likely fall and not be able to get up and suffer until he does die. Or have another stroke and lie there until he dies.
    Old age is horrible.
    Glad you got rid of the damn mosquito larvae. Jesus.

  6. Years ago I confronted the problem of living (and maybe someday dying) alone. A friend is perfectly willing to have a check-in text with me daily...and she has a husband, so not dealing with the same problem. She has a key to my apartment too! I also told her if I wasn't responding, she should just let the office know, and let them come in, rather than deal with a body herself. That's up to her.

  7. Oh, I really like those items you fixed and hung up. So lovely. You are much more productive than I am but some days it is just too easy to talk myself out of working around the house... I have a good book to read right now so that's my excuse today!

  8. It's nice to reconnect with all those special items from your past.

    When my mom got older and she was living alone, she and a friend used to text each other first thing in the morning: "OK." The rule was, if either one didn't text, she had to follow up on the other and find out why. That relieved her (and her friend's) concern about dying and not being found.

  9. These are some very items, the last three kind of look good as a trio.
    We have a round robin call system in our family on both sides which works well despite the usual conflicts. The other thing I am trying to sort out is power of attorney and putting all documents in a safe place for my daughter to actually find. She wouldn't know where to start looking the way things are around here.

  10. Your thoughts have me thinking that we both need to update our wills and make sure we write everything down. I have told my children what I want, but there is always the chance they will decide otherwise. I want to be cremated, we both do. I want my remains to be mixed together with all my pet ashes. Beyond that, I don't care what they do with them. They can either divvy up my meager possesions or fight, I won't be here to have to hear it, so I don't care. I like the gecko. After I potted the cacti and other succulents in the big pots for Adrienne's pool area, I was floating in the water, thinking that she needs some decor on the big columns that hold the roof up. There are over sized and stuccoed to match the outside of the house. I have a small coloful gecko someone gave me at the campground. I think she will need something bigger, though.

  11. Your art is always so much fun - either what you've made yourself, or what you've acquired. I don't really worry about if someone will miss Mike or me because I still work & those people would DEFINITELY try to track me down. Ha! But I think I'd better put my dad or cousin down as a secondary emergency contact just in case.

    1. I just went into our system to add my cousin & I see that I entered Mike as my sister - hahaha! Our system says that "s" means sister, not spouse, and I probably entered this on day 2 of employment when I didn't know any better. Makes me laugh.

  12. In the dim, far away past, I knew an older woman who'd set up a routine with her neighbors. She open the blinds in her living room every day at 8 o'clock. One day, those blinds didn't open, the neighbors checked, and sure enough; she'd fallen and couldn't get up (as the half-amusing advertisement has it). I'd probably look like one of those yard skeletons before someone found me. Working by myself out on the docks, living alone, and being without family, it would take a friend finally thinking, "Hey. Has anyone seen her?"
    It's not something I worry about, since if I weren't dead I probably could get help eventually, and if I was, it wouldn't matter!


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