Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Creature from under the House

Sunrise June 2012
Sometime ago I found a large hole under our stem wall at the base of our pier and beam house. The large tunnel that led to our crawl space beneath the house troubled not only me but got the full attention of our two dogs. Their midnight barking raids got me up in the middle of the night to let them outside on the pretense of doing their business.

One morning at around five, I was out in the backyard in my evening clothes and a duster and house slippers when I opened the door and oh boy! The mystery was solved. Now I knew what was under there scratching and clawing at the baseboards in the wee hours of the night.

They've since moved their entrance to here.
A couple of years ago I hired our contractor's son to bring out a big bag of river rocks to put in the entrance of the underground lair. He jammed the entire plastic bag firmly into the hole and braced it with a 4 x 4. The animal had dug a tunnel below the window of the guest bedroom wall by the air conditioning units. That barrier seemed to work keeping out whatever creature had dug it and for a time there were no signs of the animal's return.

Until a few nights ago when the dogs went crazy sniffing at the baseboard in the den. I've heard but tried to ignore the scratching thing that has returned; the creature from below the house.

And a new location under the back porch

Suspecting this before I opened the door this morning to let the dogs out for their morning business, I loudly clicked and reclicked the deadbolt to scare away the latest visitor which turned out to be a young stray cat. For the past few days this youngster has been snooping around the dog's water dish and hanging out in their fenced yard. And I had begun setting out food for the poor hungry creature. But I should know, in the country you can't set out food unless you want to attract a lot of animals that enjoy it, like the 3 armadillos I saw behind my Mom's fence just a couple of days ago.

Stray visiting kitty hiding in the grass

So at first when the dogs shot off the porch heading for the detached garage, I thought that the kitty had decided to hold its ground and stay in the fenced yard rather than run out as usual. There I am screaming "No! No! Come here!" to the dogs who are ignoring me and the neighbors who probably aren't. Unfortunately, once the dogs were in alert mode they were working together to flank the enemy in a deft maneuver. They closed in on the intruder just as I came running out toward the commotion wearing one shoe, the other lost in flight down the steps.

But I was in for the surprise of the week when I saw four giant furry caterpillars tails wagging in unison along the garage wall. I grabbed our Labrador's collar and pulled his nose away from the creatures dragging him backwards toward the door. Cookie, the ever obedient elder dog gave a few interested sniffs then ran back inside with us. I grabbed my camera and went back out after my lost shoe and to snap a few pictures.

Three of the four baby skunks trying to find their way back under the garage

I don't know, what do you think?

And awaaaay they go!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Grandma's Birthday Dinner Celebration

Birthday celebrations in our family are generally celebrated at Mr. Wok's Asian Bistro. It wouldn't be the same if we went anywhere else. Friday night, in keeping with family tradition we dined at Jack's place.
General's Chicken, Broccoli, Steamed Rice and Egg Roll

Sunday, Mom will celebrate her birthday so of course we took her to Mr Wok's where we enjoyed yet another delicious meal. She had the Lemon Chicken which was served with a delicate sauce over a tender breaded chicken breast along side steamed broccoli and rice and an egg roll.

Aunt Louise, whose birthday we celebrated in April, ordered the sweet and sour chicken and it, too, was more than she could eat. Half of my egg foo young with shrimp went home with them. It's always so filling. Mom said the leftovers warmed up easily in the microwave oven for their dinner tonight.

Auntie Louise, Jim, Mom
Jim ventured away from his standard Lo Mein and ordered Chicken Fried Rice which disappeared from his plate rather quickly. We were the only guests in the restaurant since we showed up too early for the dinner rush and too late for the lunch crowd; you know, Early Bird dinner with 'the girls'.  We were fortunate before we finished that Jack came back from lunch in time to give a big hug to Ms. Cathe who really enjoyed the special attention. Then the whole restaurant crew sang happy birthday to her and she beamed with joy. As usual, a great time was had by all and we went home perfectly satisfied.

Happy Birthday Mom! We love you.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Longest Days

Storm by PegCole17
Some days go quick as lightning and others drag on for an eternity. But when you get a combination of events that cause both occurences to happen at once, it can be difficult to weather the storm. When I hear the word 'difficult' I think of my mentor, the late Mr. Jim Rohn. I can almost hear him saying that life was filled with opportunity and difficulty. What we do with what we're given is how it will come out.

Just when you think that things are getting back to normal after a long period of a 'disturbance in the force', life is good for a few days, good health is finally starting to bloom, the walker has been put aside and then, well, then the corporation comes along to shake up the boat.

Later today "They" will come and pick up the company car, a brand new Chevy Malibu that served well for the corporate travels that are no longer deemed necessary. "The position has been eliminated". It's one of those euphemisms that corporate people like to use. Now that the particular technical product you supported is not part of their solution, you are no longer necessary either.  But it wasn't as heartless as some "separations from the company" have been. This time there was a grace period of two weeks given, well, less one holiday Monday in which to find another position within the company. Since a recent press leak has indicated an upcoming reduction in force (RIF) of 10% at said company, most departments are holding on to any open requisitions with a tight fist. No luck internally. Been there, done that. Now we're there again.

Each phone call becomes a ray of momentary hope as we wait for news on a position that was available last week with a different company. But with this new development, who knows? It seems easier to get a job when you already have one somehow. We will see as this turns along with the world around us.