Friday, October 31, 2008

The Curious Incident of the Squirrel in the Night

It started around 3 AM. A slight thumping noise coming from the roof, followed by falling debris, just outside our second floor bedroom window. I woke with a start.

J, who is known to bolt upright in bed when I wiggle my pinky finger in the night (huh? wha? what are you doing?) remained sound asleep beside me, snoring softly. My heart pounding, I tried to gently coax him awake. When that failed, I nudged him sharply.

"Did you hear that?" I ask. Of course he didn't. We listen together.

Suddenly - Thump. Thud.

"Probably a bird," he says sleepily. But I won't be appeased.

"Can you just check?"

J begrudgingly gets out of bed and stands by the window. He is very still for many minutes. "Did you fall asleep?" I whisper.

"Probably an animal burrowing into our neighbor's roof," he says disdainfully. He scurries up to the third floor to investigate further, and, seeing nothing, he gets dressed to head outside.

With a flashlight. At 3:15 AM. On Mischief Night, no less!

Thoroughly freaked, I head downstairs with him. He stands in the middle of the road with his flashlight for many minutes. When he finally comes back inside, he tells me he can't see anything.

We get back into bed.

"Maybe it was the wind," I suggest.

"No... There is no wind."


We lay awake for a moment, when we hear the thudding again. Scratching. Rocks falling onto the second floor landing from the roof.

J jumps out of bed, fumbling in the dark for his jeans once again. "I'm going out there," he says courageously.

"Be careful!" I warn. And then my gallant husband steps out of our bedroom window, into the abyss, armed only with a flashlight. At 3:25 AM. On Mischief Night!

I struggle to keep the heavy window open, as J starts swatting at the roof. A downpour of leaves and rocks fall from above. "Looks like we got ourselves a squirrel's nest," he says, thankful to have solved the mystery. I shut the window so the debris doesn't come into the bedroom.

A moment later, J knocks urgently on the second bedroom window, away from the nest.

"We've got a raccoon," he whispers. "And he's right here!"

"J, get in, you'll get rabies!" I cry. He retreats back into the bedroom.

"Do we call the police?" I ask. Hello, 911, we've got a situation with a raccoon burrowing into our roof. Send back-up.

"No, but we'll need someone to come and fix the siding up there." J is a bit exasperated at this prospect.

"Well, at least now we know," I tell him, and then we booth marvel at that quiet little fucker - henceforth known as Eugene - who apparently has been subletting our roof for quite a while, given his elaborate bachelor nest.

We attempt to sleep, as I comment: "You are very brave, J."

Then, a few moments later, "J, we are those white trash neighbors."

"I was just thinking that," he mumbles.

Sorry, Eugene. You've been evicted.

Bad-ass raccoon killer.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Lordy Lordy

It's been a hectic couple of weeks for your pal HomeValley. I have been to San Francisco and Baltimore and Connecticut and Columbia, SC since we last met. I have vehemently defended Obama; I have listened to lots of satellite radio; I have edited my darling baby brother's college application essay (!); I have learned that my job is being eliminated. You know, just your run-of-the-mill couple of weeks, really.

OK, so let's not all freak about that last point. Yes, my current job is being eliminated, but there is another job on the horizon for me with my current company. Yes, I am eligible for severance; yes, I must interview for the new job. But come on! I've got the only two things I have ever needed in this life: charm and charisma. (Tell 'em, Allie.) I reside in a beautiful and peculiar glass half-full world most of the time, and all is well.

Also, please see August Rush. Guaranteed to lift your spirits, and make you as giddy as me.

More to come.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I'm Melissa P. HomeValley Ft. Lauderdale, and I Approve This Message.

Well, I am finally able to come back to the blogosphere: my friends, I have finished Breaking Dawn. And though I am crestfallen that I can no longer escape into a world of passion and intrigue and vampire covens, I must perservere. It's the final stretch of the 2008 presidential campaign, and Internet, I am completely busy running my mouth in mixed company about my support and admiration and respect for one Senator Barack Obama. Which any etiquette book will warn you is taboo. Still.

I can't be on the campaign trail for Senator Obama because I work too damn much. I've missed rallies and countless volunteer opportunities. I figure, the only thing I can do is publicly endorse Barack, everywhere I go. I wear pins; I download applications to my Facebook page; and I talk. With Republican coworkers. I am not winning many friends in my ultra-conservative workplace, I assure you.

I try to be fair; I attempt to listen to everyone's opinion. The other night, knee-deep in political conversation at a dive bar in Columbus, I asked Conservative Curt* what the crux of the matter is for Republicans?

He thought for a moment.

"Trust," he said firmly. "We need to trust the experience of our candidate."

"I respect that," I told CC. "But I think it is actually fear." And then I quickly shut my mouth by sipping my Miller Lite, and I pretended to become preoccupied with the dude performing a Pink Floyd cover on an acoustic guitar.

Later in the week, when I wasn't campaigning, I discovered that I am The Person That People Like to Tell Things To. (Official title.) Here are some things I learned from virtual strangers this week:
  • Stan's** wife cheated on him last year with a friend. She wanted a quickie divorce, he granted it, and now she wants him back. She is also involving the children, and that ain't right.
  • Chuck** just ended a 13-year relationship. He's lonely.
  • Randy** was on his way to a family reunion in New Hampshire. He's retired now, though he rarely leaves his home state of Missouri. He dropped out of high school when he was 15 to join the army. He fought proudly in World War II and has done quite well for himself. All of his children went to college.
  • HomeValley** is exhausted from frequent travel, graduate school, and general domesticity. She is currently in Philadelphia, though she traveled to and from Jamaica, Queens, this morning. Tomorrow she heads to Baltimore with a familiar-looking fellow she thinks she may have married recently; Thursday San Francisco by way of Denver; Sunday evening Philadelphia by way of Los Angeles; Tuesday Columbia by way of Charlotte, North Carolina. She is also at work on her autobiography The Person That People Like to Tell Things To.

* Name has been changed to protect the Republican.

** Names have been changed to protect the chatty.