Monday, July 30, 2012


Sometimes, this living in a rural setting gets a bit too real, ya know? I like Nature, really, but I prefer it to stay outside.

It was a quiet night. The girls were down, Miles was over a friends' house doing emergency tech support and I was in bed, engrossed in a big, chewy biography of Catherine the Great. The window was open, with delicious cool air pouring in, the sound of crickets singing. It was bucolic as all hell.

So, Catherine was about to depose her worthless husband in a bloodless coup, when from outside, weird bird sounds erupted. Sounded like something had surprised the heck out of some sleeping bird.

That was weird. Ah, well....

(Someday, I will learn that when something sounds "weird", I should investigate. That day was not this day.)

Shortly thereafter, Miles came home. He stuck his head into the Boudoir, and I asked, "So, did you go to Trader Joe's?" We were outta milk.

"Gaak! I forgot. It's 8:45; I still have time." He ducked back out and headed downstairs. I turned back to Catherine.

"Jen. C'mere."

You know that tone? It's sort of flat, un-inflected, the sound of not good things to come. Miles used that tone.

Oh, shit. I got out of bed, and took my glass of wine with me, for strength.

Miles was at the bottom of the stairs, looking at the floor. Scruffy was crouched on the stairs, lashing his tail back and forth, his whiskers full of feathers. On the floor,, was a bird, flopping around in it's mortal agonies, gasping it's final breaths, and squeaking.

Miles looked up, and said in a stricken voice, "I stepped on it."


Miles went for gloves to remove the victim, as I chased the cat away from his kill. Scruff was all excited; galloping around the living room and pouncing randomly. Clearly, he was very proud of himself. I eventually managed to scoop up the cat and toss him out the door. Meanwhile, Miles had found his leather work gloves and scooped up the casualty.

"We're gonna need the shop vac," I said, looking at all the feathers on the stairs.

"I still need to get to TJs. I have 10 minutes!" And with that, the man left.

I got the vacuum and started to suck up the evidence, when I noticed a gooey wet splotch on the stairs.



Yuck. Miles did say he stepped on the poor thing.


 I was back in bed, when suddenly, it occurred to me. Where was Scruffy going with that bird? He was heading up the stairs......


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Family traits

I inherited 3 things from my mother's side of my family. The "Kurth Curse" or the tenancy to get fat, hypoglycemia, and severe "jumpiness". It is the last which concerns us today.

My mother and all her sisters, and to the best of my knowledge, all their daughters, share this trait. Startle us, walk up behind us and then speak, and we hit the ever-loving ceiling. It seems to be an overenthusiastic adrenalin response; what would normally merely surprise a normal person scares the pants off of one of us. It's as disturbing as it is unchangeable. It also leaves the sufferer open to some rather pointed ridicule.

Today was a rough one. Little girls were being truculent. The Boy was a complete spaz. I had this headache I couldn't get rid of.

By 8:30, kids were outta my hair. I had a glass of wine and was deeply absorbed in a Wikipedia article at my desk, when without warning, Cameron spoke, directly behind me. I almost had a goddamn heart attack. I shrieked like a bedlamite, Cameron started laughing his ass off and Miles came to see what the hell. With what dignity I could muster, I took myself and my glass of wine to the shower, hoping the quiet and warmth would be soothing to my pounding heart.

So. There I was, rocking in the calming spray, far, far away in my own head. Warm water, so nice....

A few inches from my closed eyes, Miles spoke.

Again, there was the shrieking. Thank goodness I wasn't actually holding my wine glass at the time.

The moral of the story? Lock the damn door! 

That was a compliment, right?

T'other day, one of my kids said to me. "Your eyes look just like blueberries. I wanna pluck one out and eat it."