Mouse In The House II

Dateline  Chicago North Shore.  Friday 11/11 1 AM.

Sleep interrupted by small cat running on the bed, crying and then jumping off. Repeatedly. Clearly doing her best Lassie imitation.

I get up, look around. Nothing. Or is there? This happened once before in her 7 years. Last time she dropped a mouse she had caught on our bed.

Turn on more lights. Sure enough she is standing over a mouse in one of our bedrooms. Mouse is still but clearly alive.


Get plastic container to trap mouse. We humans are sooo smart. Then try to slip a cover underneath the container to seal mouse in, to  complete the trap. Mouse struggles to get out. Can’t get cover and bowl completely closed. Get plastic bag and through partially closed container and top in. Run to alley and through mouse filled bag/container in garbage. Disaster averted.

Write blog entry. Try not to think why there would be only ONE mouse in the house. Attempt to sleep.

Dateline Chicago. 1:26 AM

When All You Can Do Is Laugh

Comedy is tragedy that happens to someone else. Some days I live in a sit-com.

Another long day on top of a string of long days. Morning meeting in Cleveland, fly on a tiny commuter jet, and  run back North to a 3 hour meeting.  (I know, you are thinking, stop whining before you get out your tiny violin.)

Come out of the meeting. I am limping. Not sure if it from too many plane rides, too little exercise or old age. Go to my car. I am holding my sport coat in my hand and I want to lay it on the back seat. I flick my wrist to get the jacket to lay flat. Car key in same hand. It goes flying. Fortunately into the car.

I am bending over checking the floor and then crawling around my back seat. Half in and half out of the car. It has gotten cold. I am tired and just want to go home. Can’t find the key.

Remember the scene in Young Frankenstein when Gene Wilder and Marty Feldman go to the cemetery to dig out a body. Remember the classic line? “Could be worse, could be raining.” Suddenly it is.

To recap. Cold. Tired. Limping. Add wet. Twenty minutes to find the stupid key.

I start laughing out loud. By myself. Like a crazy person. Nothing else to do when all you can do is laugh.

p.s.  I come home to a note telling me there is a squirrel tail laying just outside the back door. No squirrel seems to be attached. Please remove.

Anything else world?

Cold Day To Ride

The day began cold. At the time I hopped on my bike to go meet Ed it was 33 degrees (F).  I am certain that I have never ridden in colder weather. Why was I doing this now?

Actually the why part is easy. That was the day Ed was available, I like riding with Ed and Ed did one of those “are you a man” things to me. How could I resist?

It was really freakin’ cold. Other than the fahrenheit it was a beautiful autumn day. Sunny sky and hardly any wind. Except that the act of riding creates wind. It felt cold.

I reminded myself that there was a time when I would run in temps as low as 20 F as long as the wind was not too strong and it was not snowing at the time. Then I remembered that I was 25 years younger in those days.

Ok. How to dress. Leave as little uncovered skin as possible. Since the legs would be moving focus on keeping warm from the waist up.

Five layers from waist to neck. Light “wicking” long sleeve shirt as a base. Covered by a heavier base layer, a biking shirt (not much for heat but in honor of the event), a hooded sweatshirt (don’t use the hood but this helps provide next coverage, and a windbreaker. Running tights and bike shorts. Left the nylon windbreaking pants at home. Turned out to be the right call but only barely. Heavy pair of bike socks, full finger bike gloves, head covering that looks like a large yarmulke but also covers my ears under the helmet.

 Not sure at the start if this is enough but it was time to go. I bike 9 miles to where I meet Ed and I did not want him standing around in the cold. Initially I am chilled but it is manageable. By the 45 minutes it takes to meet Ed most of me is tolerably comfortable. The index fingers in both hands are truly cold. Can’t seem to warm them up. I wish I had mittens instead of gloves.

11 miles later we are in Lake Forest at our turning around point. Normally I do not like to take long breaks during rides but I insist on heading to Starbucks. By now my entire right hand feels like an ice-cube. It hurts.

A round of hot tea for all — all being Ed and me. There are other bikers in the place. Lake Forest is a wealthy north suburb of Chicago surrounded by other wealthy suburbs. I could not afford a house in that town. Maybe 1/3 of a house. The point being that while Ed and I have a hodgepodge of clothes on, these other bikers have hi-tech winter riding gear. From the fancy jackets to outsized riding shoes, (probably with electric, computer controlled warming devices inside — just a guess) they look ready for any weather.

As we warm up I suppress the urge to scream as my right hand thaws. The pain is intense. But the warm of the room and the tea does its magic. I am ready for the 20 miles back home. As a pleasant surprise, the temp has risen by several  degrees and the cold is not a problem for the remainder of the ride. The fact that I am out of shape and my leg muscles ache is another story for another post.

Of course, as I pen this post the next day, it has been a beautiful day with a high of sixty. Much better riding weather. But not as good of a story.

Beware of Flaming Turkeys

Thanksgiving for me has always been a day of too much food and too much family (we spend time with both sets of parents and siblings).  Uncomfortable yes (too much food) but never dangerous.

I guess I was wrong!

The Chicago Tribune reported that there were more cooking fires on Thanksgiving than any other day.  The increase has come as more people have decided to deep fry their turkeys without learning some of the basic rules. So before you ruin your holiday by burning down the house, there are some tips from the Chicago Tribune. This is my fav:

•Oil and water don’t mix. When ice comes into contact with hot oil, the water vaporizes, causing steam bubbles to pop and spray hot oil. So don’t fry a frozen turkey or use ice or water to cool oil or extinguish an oil fire. Use an extinguisher approved for cooking or grease fires and call 911.

One would hope that before using a fryer that the fryee would check out basics such as don’t throw in the turkey while frozen.  I also like the note to call 911 as your house burns to the ground. I first put this in the category of stupid instructions that you get with every instruction manual that assumes people have no intelligence or common sense. Then I thought about the mid-term elections and given the audience…

I hear turkey frying is most popular amongst tea partiers and conservative Republicans. That is not from the Trib. just a rumor I heard.