Saturday, October 12, 2002

BREAKING NEWS.... In my absence (vacationing in Minneapolis... sunny and 70 today. snow and 30's tomorrow. convertible top down today... walk the Mall of America tomorrow.) it would appear that another mouse attack has been repelled in THE GREAT BATTLE OF THE LAUNDRY ROOM. Early reports indicate that mouse #2 was found dead this afternoon behind my gym bag. Christopher removed the corpse from the deadly trap and, I trust, performed necessary procedures. More to follow and details become available....

Friday, October 11, 2002

Hi Katie! Your favorite uncle loves ya!!!!

Thursday, October 10, 2002


This morning dawned with muted light. A layer of mist clouded my little portion of the planet. The sun came up on time. Glen Zimmerman just told me so. I didn't see it. I was up late last night, sitting quietly in my laundry room... indian style on top of the washing machine. Listening. Listening. Dozing. Dozing. Snoring. Snoring. I finally had to admit that my very presence might delay the attack of the renegade rodent. I cleared my throat loudly, jumped off of the washer, stretched, and said in a loud voice, "Well, that's about it for me. I'm off to bed. I won't be back down here until after the sun comes up." And I tromped down the hall, a final confirmation to my little furry friend that he, once again, owned the night. I slept deeply, secure in the belief that my traps were more than able to handle the attack without me. Even field Generals must sleep.

And then it was morning. I rolled over in bed, reaching once again for the remote control, cursing myself for having stayed up too late yet again. And I froze. The battle. The rodent. The trap. I felt the beloved surge of adrenaline as I rolled over the edge of the bed and began working my way from "all fours" up to a standing position. I staggered down the hall, gazing ahead toward the battle ground. I delayed for a glass of orange juice served up cold and tasty in my favorite cheap, Wrigley Field plastic cup. Mmmmmmm. I moved into the short hallway leading from the Kitchen into the laundry room. Half way between the two is a bathroom. Just as field Generals must sleep they must also occasionally take a whiz. Some things will not wait. I took care of business and step anxiously into the hallway once again. As I entered the laundry room I glanced to the left. The trap by the garbage can was undisturbed. This is one smart mouse. I peered behind my gym bag only to find the same loaded trap that I placed there last night. What kind of beast is this? I might be dealing with a Harvard graduate here. At the very least he has attended "Mouse-Queda" training camps in the fields beyond the city limits.

I walked toward the corner containing the shoe rack, leaning to gaze over assorted items blocking my view. The trap had been sprung! At first I saw nothing. And then... I saw it. I saw HIM. He was upside down and I almost missed him. His white underbelly blended well with the pale, laundry room tile. But there was no denying those 4 little feet pointed stiffly sky-ward. His three inch tail told me that this was no amatuer. His entire length exceeds 6 inches. I heard a noise behind me and turned to see Bear glancing down the hall. I think he already knew. There was no smile on his golden face. Warriors take no delight in the killing. Life is precious. The moment calls for an aura of gravity. This mouse had not killed. He had not attacked human flesh. Oh yes, he had damaged my equipment and eaten my cheese but he was no killer. Still... he had to be stopped. For the sake of all that is holy and right... he had to be stopped. He was a thief... a raider. He struck without warning in the night. One of my children could have wandered into the laundry room in the dead of night searching for pajama's and he could have bitten a toe. He could have (and indeed, may have) pooped in Bears bowl. I have not told him... but I have reason to believe... And so while there is no joy... there is relief. There is a sense that justice has been done. The floors are safe for bare feet again.

I am currently processing the crime scene. Photo's are being taken. The chalk outline is being drawn. Prints are being taken. Dental records are being checked. Soldiers fight and soldiers die. It is a tragic fact of life. But he had a family and they need to know. In moments I will don my thick rubber gloves, my black motorcycle helmet with the face shield down, and I will remove the corpse. There will be no buriel... no memorial service. I will draw close to the garbage can next to my garage and I will flip his cold, lifeless body through the air and toward the can. He will fly end over end and smack into the side of the Rubber Maid container before sliding down with the rest of the garbage where he belongs. Justice has prevailed. Justice always prevails.

Case closed.


Many people are sad tonight that the Cardinals lost game one against the San Francisco Giants. We tie our lives up in petty issues to easily. A ball wrapped in cow hide. A bat carved from hard wood. Strapping young men throwing the ball. Other strapping young men trying to hit the ball with the bat. We would like to believe that these are the great wars of our times. But we cannot afford to live lives lost in the luxuries of the niave. There is a great war. It is being played out as I type. It has raged on into this... the sixth night.

The war revolves around my clothes dryer. It would appear to be the bunker for at least one mouse. This mouse is not from Florida. He is from a field. He is not here to make children laugh. He is here to chew through our wires, eat our food scraps, and scare our women. I hear him under the dryer. He is plotting. He is planning. For five nights he has raided my laundry room traps. These are the best traps that money can buy. They have big, tightly wound springs anchored to sanded pine. They sit behind the waste can that holds our rejected lint, behind my gym bag holding its smelly socks, and under the shoe rack. Each evening when I go to bed the traps are fully loaded with only the best Kraft Swiss Cheese. By morning they are empty. And not one trap has been sprung. The score going into tonight is Mouse 6 - Ron 0.

Tonight that all changes. The cheese is molded around the traps trigger. There is no way to remove the cheese tonight withough setting off the trap. The mouse sees the cheese. The cheese calls to the mouse. "It was safe last night. It was safe the night before that. I should be safe tonight too." But it is not safe. It is a highly dangerous, innocent looking, mouse killing, instrument of war.

I plan on winning tonight. In the morning I will get up to find a little mouse head nearly seperated from a little mouse body. At least one. maybe more. There will be sadness in the mouse house tomorrow morning. But there will be joy in my laundry room. My dog will be able to eat his Milky Bones in peace again. My wife can do laundry without fearing her fuzzy faced friend. I will take crime scene photographs. I will draw a chalk outline where his little mouse-body lay. There will be no warriors buriel for my rodent nemesis. There is only a trash dumpster with his name on it.

Tonight is the night. Gosh, I love the smell of swiss cheese in the morning.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

And awaaaaay we go! Thursday evening at this time my little bride and I will be holed up in a Holiday-Inn Express in Eden Prairie, Mn. It has been almost 25 years since she signed on as my side-kick on this wild ride we call "life." At least that's what I want to believe. As it turns out, reality shows that I am her side-kick. It's a pretty awesome thing when your wife is the most Godly person you know. It use to be that whenever I would lose something, she would know where it was. I have never seen anything like it. You see, I am one of those people whose brains have gotten full a little early on in life. I am now storing all new knowledge in my toes. It takes longer to retrieve it there. But Debbie knows everything. I use to do what I always do... come into the house... take off my glasses... set them down... and walk away. Within five minutes I was trying to figure out where they were. I would ask Debbie. She would always know. The amazing thing is that usually she had not even been in the room where I had left them. Still... she would most always be right. I finally wised up and bought a spare pair of glasses to I can usually trip over one by sheer accident. That means I don't have to ask her where they are nearly so often. But if I were a betting man my money would be on her.

I have been married one out of every nine days that the United States has existed as a nation. Say what? Yup. Do the math. I think this whole experiment in democracy began in 1776? That is convenient when you are dividing by 25's. Four quarters in the 1800's. Four quarters in the 1900's. One quarter in the 1700's. Two years to spare in the 2,000's. So I'm more or less correct. I find that positively shocking.

And what does the little woman get for putting up with me for this long? Well. She gets a rented Sebring convertible for a few days. She gets to ride up north where the leaves are already peaking in their race to their doom. She gets a tour of the biggest mall in America though she isn't much of a shopper. (By the way, I really didn't take that into consideration when marrying her. It has worked to my advantage though.) She gets to eat wherever she wants for five days and she doesn't have to wash one dish. She gets showered with love and affection. She gets my undivided attention. She gets to sit beside the clean part of the mighty, muddy, Mississippi River. And then she gets to race the water that she sees home so that she can see it pass by again. It doesn't really seem like much for giving me three children and twenty-five years. I ought to be able to come up with something better. It's just that, well, how do you thank somebody for sharing their life with you? How do you say thanks for being your partner, washing your dirty socks, and expecting so little in return?

Last year, 2001, was a pretty tough year at our house. It was mainly my fault. I was sick a lot last year. It wasn't fun but it was educational. I learned that when you treat life like it is long... by savoring the moments rather than packing all you can into them... life seems longer. I learned that as important as my work is my personal relationships are more important. That is especially true about my personal relationship with God. But that's a Sunday School thing to say so please over look it for now. Human relationships are more important than my work too. But then, human relationships are my work. Look, I don't want to talk about work right now so forget that I said that too. Life is about relationships. Lot's of people loved on me last year and a few of them paid big bucks for the privilege. I owe them a debt I cannot repay because they helped me to get well. But this wife of mine, this woman that sleeps next to me every night... wow. When I hurt... she held me. When I couldn't work... she did my job for me. When I couldn't see straight to drive... she drove me. When I needed to rest... she lay down next to me. When I couldn't pray... she prayed for me. When I couldn't find words... she spoke for me. My wife knows what it means to be a wife. She is an expert at it. She could teach a college level course in wifeship. Unfortunately, nobody is going to ask her to. That's a shame because wives to be, and young wives, need to know what she knows. Her knowledge could save a lot of marriages.

I can't repay Debbie for the wife she has been for twenty-five years. Certainly a trip to Minnesota to see the leaves change isn't gonig to even us up. I don't know what to do to possibly tell her what I'm thinking and how I'm feeling. I owe a debt I cannot pay. But the really strange thing is this... she doesn't seem tired of me yet. She does not mind when I forget where my glasses are. She lets me pile all of these wires by my side of the bed so that I can sit here and Blog while she sleeps next to me. I suspect that most wives would use the scissors on them. She doesn't usually laugh at my jokes but that's because they usually are not funny and she is, if anything, honest. I am not sure but I think she's signing on with me for another twenty-five years. That's the only thing I can think of that makes me wonder if she really isn't as smart as I have believed. What it all comes down to is this... the woman has one flaw that I can find... she has bad taste in men. And you know what? I"m really, really, glad.