Monday, July 29, 2019

Mondays in July: Part V

Good Monday morning.

Today is the fifth Monday in July. Often when there are five Mondays in a month I take the fifth one off, but I'd like to bring the mouse saga to an official close here on the blog. I'd also like to take this opportunity to say I have hit the mark, the point at which I am over summer. I hit it at some point this past week (likely as I was scouring my car for a tiny rodent).

Last week I shared with you the story of how a mouse invaded my car & my life. The mouse saga finally came to a dramatic end on Friday evening. Actually, as you'll read below, the mouse saga came to an end Friday morning, but my husband thought it would be fun to prolong it. I spent most of last week driving Trey's car while he drove the mouse mobile. The kids are almost always in the car with me, & I told him were I to be driving down the road & the mouse make an appearance I could not guarantee I'd continue to handle the moving vehicle in a safe manner. 

I think I have PTSD where my car is concerned. I still feel uneasy when I get in it. Actually I think I am just incredibly jumpy in general, constantly thinking I see something moving in my peripheral vision.

I shared the conclusion of the mouse saga on Facebook, & I am going to again share it here so it'll be forever a part of this ever-lengthening chronicle of Anna's highs & lows:

Good morning.

I have mouse news. Life has kept me from Facebook thus far today, but I am happy to report that the mouse is dead.

The mouse died as he lived: continuing to haunt me.

I didn't learn of the mouse's capture & subsequent death until late last night. Apparently Trey hopped in my vehicle yesterday morning without even glancing at the sticky pads that blanketed the car. He made it to the stop sign at the end of our street before noticing the mouse stuck to one of the pads on the floorboard on the passenger side.

He turned around & drove home, emptied the car of all the sticky pads, dealt with the mouse, & drove on to work. I was none the wiser.

I returned home from book club last night in a euphoric mood. I got the kids to bed & headed to the garage to perform my nightly ritual of checking sticky pads, baiting them with food, etc. Trey seemed overly interested in my activities. I told him I had to set out more pads since he'd removed the others, presumably, I thought, because he'd briefly had the kids in the car with him while I was at book club.

Let me tell you what my husband did. After weeks of this mouse tormenting me, instead of immediately alerting me to its demise yesterday morning he opted to keep that information a secret so he could venture to Walmart, purchase a toy mouse that looks eerily realistic, & place that toy mouse on the seat of my Highlander for me to find last night when I went into the garage to check that the traps were in place.

Yes. So, the good news is the sticky traps worked. The mouse wasn't even stuck to one with food on it; I think he was living under the hood & entering the car via the glove box as he was caught right there on the floorboard of the passenger side. Trey did take a picture, but I will not share it with you. You probably don't want to see it; it continues to haunt me. I will just say that when Henry told me all those weeks ago that there was a mouse in the car, that he, "saw a tail," he did in fact see a tail.

The other good news is I am headed out to wipe down my car, again, & my car remains sparkling clean.

The other good news is I am going to parlay this incident into a new house.

Thank you for your advice & support during this ordeal.

I can't even stand to look at the fake mouse (it's a very convincing fake mouse). I have hidden it in the house so my family cannot continue to torment me, because believe me, they tried.

Fake mouse incident aside, Friday evening was otherwise enjoyable. Friday night was actually a night I've been waiting for for a long time (a month, ten years . . . depends on when you start counting).  This month the book club read Twilight, & we met to discuss it Friday night. We had a large group (because everyone loves Twilight!). Actually the group was larger than usual because we had a couple of special guests in the form of a handful of teens; who better to join us for our discussion of Twilight

Ten years ago when I first read the Twilight series these young ladies who joined us Friday night were toddlers. I remember when they were born. They're now teenagers who have read & love the Twilight series. I thought about all this as I was attempting to find sleep Friday night. Their presence at our meeting & their love for this book series make me feel warm & happy & also old & sad. 

I have a friend from graduate school with whom I am still in touch. Like me he teaches speech courses at the university level, & he's a published author (& he's a fan of both The Office & memes), & so as you can see we have a variety of things in common. Last week I was asked to teach a Public Speaking course online. This will not be for Delta Community College; it's a Dual Enrollment course that will be taught via ULM, meaning ULM will be my employer & they'll hook me up with high school students (I don't yet even know what high school) who're taking Public Speaking online. I've never taught Public Speaking exclusively online, & so I immediately contacted my grad school friend & fellow speech instructor for help & advice. 

As it turns out he has taught Public Speaking online a great many times, & so this is obviously awesome. After we discussed the joys & pitfalls of online teaching he asked me what I've been writing lately. I gave him a brief description of the last bit of fiction I wrote, which I haven't touched in months.

Spending Friday evening with a handful of Twilight-crazy teens reminded me I used to read things & lose myself in them & sit & write impassioned defenses of them (see: here). The question my grad school friend posed re: what I've written lately (that answer: not much) reminded me I actually enjoy writing fiction, & there are a handful of unfinished things to which I could return. The juxtaposition of these two incidences reminded me of a different, better version of myself. The self-loathing & self-reflection you might expect ensued.

Friday night at book club I had a discussion with a few of the other ladies about how absolutely delicious it is to read after everyone's asleep at night. I told them I could probably get more reading done if I read during the day when that's possible, but I just have this mental block about reading when it's daylight outside. To sit & read when your house & seemingly the rest of the world is dark & still & quiet is exquisite. My day is so much better when it is laced with the anticipation of returning to a book in which I am engrossed either because I am reading it or attempting to write it. I forget this at times; I was reminded of it last week in multiple ways, & I am now determined to find a book (or a series of books) in which I can lose myself.

The book club's August book is Educated. Now, listen to me. Everyone says to read this book, that it is just such a wonderful book. I am sure it is wonderful, & I intend to read it before the book club meets, but I need to read something else first. Educated is nonfiction, you see. Nonfiction just does not & will never float my boat the way fiction does. My sister mentioned Friday night she took some test that's supposed to gauge what type of reader an individual is, & she is an escapist reader. It must be genetic, because ME TOO, sister, me too.

To feed my escapist desires I am planning to delve into Outlander soon. There are eight completed books in this series (with a ninth in the works). This is a series everyone has told me to read, but it's daunting that there are so many books. I always tell myself I don't have time to get wrapped up in an eight-book series (eight & counting!), but one night last week I spent an hour or more reading (amazing & hilarious) Goodreads' reviews of the first book in the Outlander series, & so I have to have an honest talk with myself about what I could get read if I used my time more wisely. I was already considering tackling Outlander, & then Friday night when I spent time with teens who only recently discovered the Twilight series I was reminded of the sheer joy of falling in love with an engrossing series. 

I suppose I'm feeling old, tired, & uninspired. Here's to hoping the infamous Jamie Fraser will inspire me. I am sure the fact that it's still July is impacting my mood somewhat. How long has it been July?! The recent mouse incident obviously dampened my spirits, & there are unfortunate developments on the house-hunting/moving front that are souring my mood at the moment. That's about all I am going to say about that at this juncture. The children & I need structure & routine, but in lieu of structure & routine I'd settle for distraction in the form of a book series that makes me smile all day in anticipation & smile until the wee hours of the morning as I read. Who needs a house closer to town when you can time travel to Scotland? I'm going to get out of Calhoun one way or another. 

So, to sum up: it is still not yet August (& I don't much care for August either, but it is closer to September than July), we are still weeks away from college football, & while the mouse is gone so too is the spark that words, both those I read & those I write, bring me. I am in search of that spark right now. I recall with so much fondness the summer I read The Bronze Horseman & the subsequent novels in that series. Those were tough, long days at home. Henry was still in diapers & diabetes was still relatively new to me, but I often powered through the day because I knew eventually they'd go to sleep & I could crawl in bed & return to Alexander & Tatiana. I often read to escape; I have no shame.

It's fine; I am fine. I just need to find something good to read. I know reading impacts me tremendously as I can look back over the years & see the difference in my writing on this blog. Sometimes you have to temper reality with fiction, y'all; that's today's nugget of wisdom for you.

I hope you have a great week, & I will, the Lord willing, see you in August. 


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