Friday, August 31, 2012

Wild Kingdom

Welcome to this fantastic episode of Wild Banister Abbey Kingdom.  (It's an obscure show, don't worry if you've never heard of it.)

Banister Abbey has mice.  This fact first became evident a few weeks ago when Al and I were watching the Olympics in our TV room.  A mouse suddenly ran in front of us like the ballsy little jerk he is.  Al and I yelled in unison, "Oh great, we gotta deal with you now, too, asshole mouse?" and punched some walls in fury.  In our defense, it had been a long week of Banister Abbey renovations.

I purchased a humane mouse trap, the type that captures the mouse but doesn't kill it so you can re-release it into your enemy's backyard.  I have many enemies so this is a nice feature.

We've captured a few mice with the trap and re-released them into the same area so they can hopefully find each other again.  Picture the mouse family reunion!  The joy!  That is, if they weren't eaten by much larger animals within thirty seconds of freedom.  If that indeed happened, I hope it didn't happen as they were running towards each other -- "My beloved mouse brother, where you been??  GAH!  PUMA!"

After the mice, we ran into this bastard.  Also in our TV room --

I saw it on the carpet, backed out of the room slowly, and asked Alex if he'd by chance purchased a large scary spider toy for the kids recently.  He said no, so we crept back into the room armed with a plastic storage container and the birthday card my mother sent Al.  It was an effective spider-capturing duo.

We attempted to identify the spider to see if it was dangerous -- even though huge and scary, I didn't want to kill it if it wasn't necessary -- but in the middle of the identification process, Alex freaked the f*ck out and squashed it.  He felt better afterwards.

We found another one in the TV room later that week.  I captured it again and kept Alex and his itchy spider-killing fingers far away from it.  Our workmen came the next morning.  One of them, Dan the Man, sat down with a spider identification chart and gave us the verdict: it was a Hobo Spider, one of the few venomous spiders we have in the Pacific Northwest.

We will likely never go in the TV room again.  A shame, really.  Good light in there.

Lucien attended a sports day camp recently.  One day, he opened his lunch box and discovered a maggot inside.  Turns out the strawberries I threw into his lunch weren't so fresh.  He showed the strawberries and the maggot to every counselor at camp.  When I came to pick him up, they most definitely did NOT hoist me up onto their shoulders and chant, "Mother of the Year! Mother of the Year!" for many hours.  Thank God the day camp is over and I never have to see those people again.

The workmen have recently ripped apart the front of our house.  This has happened not a moment too soon because it's revealed our impressive front entry is built on a house of cards -- or, more accurately, loose piles of rotten wood.  It's a Labor Day miracle our entryway is still standing.

While tearing apart the front porch and balcony, the workmen discovered many wild things up in the ceiling, all of them dead, all of which they saved for Lucien to examine.  This is our best specimen so far --

I'm a dead bird.

In keeping with the Wild Kingdom theme, here's Lucien wearing a purple snakeskin jacket he found at Seattle Mom and Dad's house.  We all decided it was appropriate for Lucien to be wearing such a thing but I'm not sure what any of us meant by that --

Here's Coco, who has taken to standing on coffee can "stages" and singing into marker "microphones."  She's also got some signature moves, one of which, thanks to her big brother, is smacking her own butt and howling like a wolf.  Just really fantastic stuff happening there.

This is what Contractor God found when he removed some stucco and wire mesh block things that were messing up the look of the front of my house --

The thing tethered to the house with an orange strap is an 18-foot high fiberglass column that weighs approximately 600 pounds.  It was perched upon some random pieces of wood under the mesh block thing, most of which were rotten, all of which moved when I pushed on them.

You're lucky we got you, Banister Abbey.  Without us, you would have fallen to the ground in the very near future.  All you passersby are lucky we got the house, too, because when the columns went down, they would have taken a few of you with them.

Have a good Labor Day weekend, friends.  We're having a party.  Here's hoping it's fun.  We will dare the children to play a game of "chicken" in which they will take turns running up to the dangling columns and pushing on them. 

May the fastest kid win!


  1. Well, the purple snakeskin goes well with the floral shorts? Although the jacket does make me want to bust out singing some Prince songs while rocking the Coco butt-slap...

  2. Spiders. Gaak. I've been seeing them lately, too. They seem to come inside in August and September. Fortunately, we have Jack the Kitten to eat them. In fact, it sounds like you could use a cat. They love to eat them mousies, too.

  3. Go online and find episodes of a British show called "Restoration Home" where Brits with a lot of spare cash buy old estates or churches and attempt to renovate them. After which they have NO spare cash. I say "attempt" because in at least 50% of the programs (2nd season just ending) the renovations are incomplete by the end of the year the program has been filming them. (The other half are really quite impressive.) You'll feel much better about B.A. after you see a guy living in a ruined castle with its roof collapsing and old 18th century reeds used as "insulation". Although I don't know that anyone found any dead birds or poisonous spiders on those projects, so you might win there.

  4. We had mice in The Hague... One afternoon, my husband (who worked from home) created his own humane trap to catch one: he put a cube of Gouda in a glass jar turned on its side and waited. The city mouse went in there, gave that cheese cube a whiff and buggered off. So much for the old myth that mice like cheese...

    When I lived in Taiwan, I saw some spiders big enough to kick my ass... Six months after I had left the country, I still had the reflex to check my pillow for uninvited guests in the middle of the night... Creepy.

    But hey, looks like I didn't have to move that far for some zoological enterntainment: Seattle would have done the job!:)

  5. Holy crap there's a lot of weirdness going on at Bannister Abbey! For which we are eternally grateful. What the hell is the deal with that dead bird??

  6. OH NO...SO SORRY FOR THE NEW DISCOVERIES...but why do you have to be so damn funny when you are telling us about them? i feel ilke i am laughing when i shouldn't be...hang in there as you ALREADY KNOW in the end it will be SO SO worth it!! loosh looks good in purple like his math alter ego with the purple hair- suits him (he is so grown up in his facial features now-sigh) and miss cokes well i see singer/entertainer in her future HOW CUTE!! i hope your party is a huge success-cannot wait to hear about it- happy week end!

  7. Okay that dead bird is just freaky...and the mouse in the trap picture makes me want to run screaming up the street....the abby needs a cat...we had mice..we got Hunter the wonder cat...not a peep.

    Happy labour day weekend...note the cdn spelling

  8. Wow. This blog episode reads like a miniture version of Darwins study of the Galapolous Islands. Bannister has got everything but alligators.

    Its amazing, your children at such a young age are ready for the night club scene. With that snake skin jacket, Lucien could get into any exclusive one of his choice. And Coco with her booty slap dance routine down pat, could make big bucks dancing in them. Picture big marqee sign emblazoned with 'Coco a Gogo'

    Oh!! the wallet puncturing discoveries you find when renovating an old house. Better start researching which chapter of bankrupcy to file. (So many different numbers)

  9. You must get a cat! My two keep down the mice, moles, and bugs, and they provide entertainment as well. One is racing around the room with an old ribbon right now.
    That dead bird is incredibly freaky... was it really in the house?
    Love the kids' photos, adorable as always!

  10. I really hate that we're friends. I would be laughing so much harder if I didn't know you and were reading this blog for the pure pleasure it provides. MJ my dear...I'm sure that darn Banister Abbey will cut you a break soon. She really is a lovely gal. Might I suggest our newest guily pleasure? Fireball. A potent Whisky with the familiar flavor of Red Hots. Very few bad things can penetrate the psyche of someone juiced up on a shot or two of well chilled Fireball.

  11. Banister Abbey may be the most expensive blog fodder ever, but we enjoy it! Mice are horrid critters, we had an infestation for awhile. At first we went the humane route and then quickly went to the dark side and relished the snap of the trap. Spiders....ugg. I wouldn't blame you if you never set foot in that room again.

    Maggots = protein. Don't let them make you feel bad.


  12. There are children living in the house so I say get it debugged, that's right the Orkin guy!! LOL Because of the mild winter we had lots of spiders in our lower level here in Iowa(basement but a really nice one) and now they are gone. I finally had a precious granchild and was not taking any chances of a bite. Kathy in Iowa

  13. Was there no home inspection or are you all independently wealthy?

  14. Boy, have the kids grown!

    Coco in pig tails is quite a sight! What a cutie!

    You seem to attract chaos wherever you go...;) Your life will be constant fodder for your novels:)

    Remember: to get information out of a ball, it's always better to kick it than to shake it;)