Friday, September 01, 2006

Good Things

Today was my day to work. Like every other morning around here I was off to a late start and wasn't fully prepared to leave the house until 9:30. Actually, it might have been closer to 10. Thankfully, I work part-time and no one expects me to be anywhere before noon.

Just as I was preparing to leave and Charlie was running out in the garage to feed Molly before the morning walk, I heard a scream. Well, maybe not a scream like the scream I made on Monday ... but a "WHOA!!! WHOA!!! WHOOOOAAAA!!!!"

I grimaced and thought "Ugh! I bet he smells the dead rat that's been in the trash can for the past 48-hours under the hot southern California August sun."

A moment later, I hear Charlie come stomping in to the house with wide eyes. "We caught another one. There's ANOTHER rat in the trap!!!"

Looking at him with complete disbelief I said "What?! Another rat? You mean there's MORE than one?!"

I peered out through the garage door and sure enough, there was another big, dead rat. This one was caught by the second trap that was also laced with beef jerky and peanut butter that I had tried to convince Charlie on Tuesday night to disarm, because surely we had killed the only rat in our zip code.

Charlie was completely grossed out, just like I had been. He asked me where I'd put the gloves and he asked how exactly I had managed to get rid of the rat on Tuesday. "You used a bag, huh? What kind of bag ... a trash bag?!" I heard him go back out side ... and twenty minutes later ... he came back in the house telling me that he felt the overwhelming need to take a shower.

And then Charlie said something that made me realize there is a big difference between he and me ... males and females ... men and women.

The first thought that came to my mind is that the rat we killed on Tuesday, must have been a mother. Or father. They had gone out to gather food for their little family and met their demise in our trap. A couple days later, driven out by hunger and wailing baby rats ... the other parent goes looking for the missing parent - and food for the baby rats - only to meet it's demise in our trap. How terribly sad. I am now motivated to sprinkle graham crackers drizzled with honey around the perimeter of our property for all the baby rats that will undoubtedly starve without their parents.

When I told Charlie my theory - he scoffed at and said "Rats are solitary animals!" And then he recalled a scene from "Lethal Weapon" and figured we could streamline our rat killing operation if we laid plastic sheeting beneath the traps. For the next "victim", all we'd need to do is wrap it up and throw it away. "Think of it Jen. it will be like a mob killing. We won't have to worry about cleaning up the mess at all!!"

Sometimes I just don't get it. How can we be so different - yet so very much alike?

I head off to work and meet with one of my co-workers. I relay to him my events of the past few days. The huge dead rat on Tuesday ... the huge dead rat, today. I told him how I had to pick the rat up and throw it away - all by myself. I was expecting him to be impressed by my ability to handle dead vermin and walk through a monster spider web without dying on the spot. Instead he gives me a puzzled look and says, "What? You didn't keep the trap?!"

I was stumped by this question and a bit annoyed. "What the hell do you mean, 'I didn't keep the trap'?! How the heck would I keep the trap when there was a HUGE dead rat in it?!?!" He went on to tell me that when he was a boy - GROWING UP ON A FARM - he would set traps for mice, rats and gophers. Whenever they would catch rodents ... they would empty the trap and reset them. Meaning - he had to actually open the trap - shake (or PEEL) the contents of the dead vermin out - and then reset it. Of course, they caught several vermin a day ... so emptying a trap was as simple as buttering bread. So he says ...

His experience just reinforces my previous statement that I could never live on a farm. NEVER. EVER.

At around 5:00 this afternoon ... I remembered that I was suppose to meet my fellow triplet mama's tonight for a knitting fest, in less than two hours. I also remembered that I was still at the office ... had more work to do before I could leave ... had not yet showered ... had not yet eaten ... and had not yet told Charlie that I was suppose to be going out tonight.

I finished what needed to be done at work, rushed home and casually told my dear husband that this knitting event had slipped my mind, but it was really important for me to go. All of the women who I had taught to knit at the beginning of the summer - had surpassed 25 feet on their "3-inch test strip" I had started them on. They had no idea how to end the knitting, but were afraid to stop because they were certain they'd forget.

Charlie gave me his blessing so I had a quick dinner of M&M's and orange juice, jumped in the shower and headed out the door. It took me 25 minutes longer to arrive at my destination than it should have, because I am an absolute idiot when it comes to directions and am hopelessly lost with out a navigation system (which is in the car which is in the shop).

The funny thing is - I spent four years in undergraduate and another two years in graduate school studying maps. Yet, it's the honest truth that a frying pan possesses a better sense of direction than do I.

The place where we gathered tonight was a spot where I had gone with my mom, two and a half years ago for a knitting group. (Mom, do you remember?!) The day that I went with my mom, happened to be the day after I had received my second negative pregnancy test - following my second failed IVF cycle. I remembered, so clearly, my state of mind at that time. I recalled sitting on a stool, guzzling a beer, knitting a blanket for a baby that was not meant to be and feeling completely BROKEN inside.

Now, here I was ... less than three years later ... the mother to three beautiful children.

It's just incredible how fast things can change.

Arriving at my destination, I am greeted by my fellow triplet mama's. We wander in to a funky quaint coffee shop and sit down on oversized couches. This place eerily reminds me of "Central Perk" from the TV show "Friends". We order ice cold lemonade, triple chocolate fudge brownies and are serenaded by "Amateur Musician Night". People of all ages and walks of life are up on the stage with their guitars, harpsichords, harmonicas and violins ... playing everything from Folk Music to Irish Jigs.

My fellow triplets mama's pull out their knitting and I am over-the-moon thrilled to see that even though it's been at least 8 weeks since our last get-together ... everyone that I taught how to knit ... actually knows how to knit. I can't get from Point A to Point B without getting lost for 2 hours ... but damn if I can't teach a group of women how to make blankets for babies in South Africa.

So to sum up this day ... the "good things" in my life on August 31, 2006 are:

1) A husband who was home today to deal with the second HUGE DEAD rat in our garage in less than 3 days and who realizes the importance of me having a "girls-night-out"...

2) The reality that we live less than 1/2 a mile from Home Depot where they stock as many rat traps as we could ever possibly need and thus, there is no reason we should ever have to reuse a rat trap...

3) Being so incredibly PROUD of my fellow triplet mama's that I taught how to knit and seeing that they have stuck with it through the entire summer...

4) A funky coffee shop with big comfortable couches, dim lights and amateur musicians...

5) My babies. When I came home tonight, I stood over their cribs watching them sleep. They are absolute perfection and it frequently happens that I have to pinch myself to be sure I'm not dreaming this all up. I will try my absolute best to give them everything I can in life. But kids, I just hope you never ever want to live on a farm.


For those who inquired about the blankets I'm making ... a few months ago, I stumbled upon a blogger in South Africa, "So Close". This blogger's sister started a charity called "Bosom Buddies" establised to help the destitute mothers of South Africa. A reader on "So Close" crocheted and sent blankets from the US to South Africa for these babies with care packages for the mothers. When I saw that this reader (Bridgette) was making such a huge difference, I thought to myself "I can, could, should, MUST do something, too!"

And so, I have.

It's not much - but it's something ... and I like to think that there are honorable people in this world that are using the supplies I'm sending them - for a good cause. If not, God will sort them out ... right? :)


  1. Oh Jenn, another wonderful post.
    I am going to do a search in Australia to see if there is anything like Bosom Buddies.
    I taught my self to knit this winter courtesy of The Australian Women's Weekly. I am finding it very therapeutic.
    As a semi- rat expert, I thought I would add my top tips. Here we get rats every February, they always live in packs, so we usually get about 5. I have about 8 pairs of cheap BBQ tongs just in case GJ is not here and I have to do the disposal. Everything goes into the bin. GJ reuses the traps though. Baits aren't that useful and my biggest fear is that the rat will die in some hard to reach spot and smell.
    I have the motto - "I don't deal with critters", unfortunately the critters don't listen. I must have a huge neon sign only visible to critters flashing on my body-
    "torment this person, bring your friends!" I hope the sign is not transmitted by reading my blog......

  2. The mob killing thing has me laughing...And if it means anything, I am impressed with your ability to dispose of the Tuesday rat.

    Wanna come teach me to knit?

  3. Sure I remember our knitting spot---it was a bar and there were men knitting. Great fun there.
    I did not realize you thru the trap out with the Rat---or was it a mouse? Oh No, we always reused the traps when I was a kid. I mean I didn't but my Mom and Dad did.
    Sometimes, the mouse/rat was alive and they had to drown it before they got the trap back. Yuck!

  4. Dear Jen3
    I have jinx'ed my self writing this comment...What is is with Jens' and garages....?

  5. I really want to learn to knit.

    I love your blog and check it every day...often with an O'Henry bar in my hand. I have made them so much, my 15-yeard old son saw them the other day and said "you made those AGAIN!?"

  6. I found a dead mouse under my sofa just after you caught your first rat. I sure hope I don't have a repeat visitor - if I do, I'm blaming you (or my cat - maybe he reads your blog too).

  7. Is this the Jen that was so awesome last year while I was going through my first IVF and subsequent pregnancy??? I'm so sad that the RESOLVE board has changed -- and I just can't seem to get the hang of it!!! Is there anywhere else the group is talking??? Thanks!

  8. Thanks for the lovely comments on my blog.

    I have been knitting since I was 3 and my 1st articles were scarves.

    I still make scarves as they are (mostly) quick and easy.

    We had a bit of a mouse problem a few months back as well.

    We caught/killed 2 mice with traps and baits and haven't seen any more since.

    The triplets are adorable.

    Keep up the good work.


  9. Hi Jen! Great post. You can find those lovely % complete bars here:

    They were great fun because you get to pick all your own colors and I am all about that.