Hot for Handyman

Apparently it isn’t just me.  Falling in love with your carpenter (electrician, handyman, whatever) is a thing. (Spoilers coming).

Kate Reddy, Allison Pearson’s protagonist in How Hard Can It Be? (sequel to I Don’t Know How She Does It – women of a certain age will enjoy both) has flashes of lust for her kind handyman, or as much of him as is visible sticking out from under whatever he is crawling around fixing. Grace, from Grace and Frankie (Netflix), the story of two older women whose husbands leave them – for each other – after 40 years of marriage, fell in love with her remodeling contractor years before, while still married. After I had begun writing my memoir of kitchen remodeling and falling in love with the Bulgarian while caring for my terminally ill husband, I read Wally Lamb’s I Know This Much Is True, where there is a brief but striking, and very moving (to me) portrayal of how the central character, Dominick, reacts to his Mother’s terminal diagnosis by deciding to remodel her kitchen, and a more in-depth portrayal of his life trying to manage care for his mentally ill twin brother.

Kate’s handyman knew long before Kate did that her husband was cheating on her. Grace actually consummates her love for the long-lost-and-found contractor, but he is caring for a wife with dementia. And the Mother in Lamb’s book puts a stop to the kitchen remodeling project after her son removes just the first panel of wainscotting, asking for something smaller – time and companionship – an ice cream sundae, instead.

The lives of these fictional characters resonate with me, because aspects of their imaginary experience reflect my real experience, and help me feel less alone.

I studied Jung in college, including the idea of “synchronicity:” that “meaningful coincidences” or simultaneous thinking occur between people who have no real connection to each other.  I got deeply into the idea of archetypes and the “collective unconscious.” Later in my life I experienced a kind of real-time “collective unconscious,” when performing improvisation – we called it the “group mind.”

I’ve written before, I think, about how I don’t believe in coincidences. I think people come in and out of each other’s lives for a reason, and that we encounter animals, things and events in our daily lives that signify more than just their objective descriptions. Those “events” may include the sudden impulse to turn on the TV or radio, or change the channel, only to find a song, or a program, or a line of dialogue that has special, surprisingly familiar meaning. Mike used to refer to the energy behind all this as “the gods,” and we would share with each other frequently what we thought otherwise unremarkable things were trying to tell us.

One thing the universe sure as hell is telling me is that “hot handyman” is an archetype, and there’s synchronicity going on about older women, cancer, grief, loss and resilience. It’s saying jump-start the stalled querying, Annie, and go for it. Collect rejections for your memoir proudly and keep going, because older women are having a significant moment. “The gods” (that loving, creative energy that Wayne Dyer talked about on those PBS specials) have hit the reset button on the the archetypes of the “widow” and the “crone” and freed older women to reinvent and redefine how they are perceived and what they can, and will, do. And what Grace and Frankie do in the two and a half or so seasons I’ve binge-watched so far, with lots more to go, is variously hilarious, shocking, and empowering.

I’m halfway through the first year of my 7th decade, and I never felt better. I’ve got a fantastic job and a great new haircut that makes me feel fab (and I don’t even care about how it reveals the bald spots – it’s so easy – just skwunch and go!) I haven’t been working out since I started the job, but I have a cool stand-up desk and make a point of taking the stairs a few times daily. I’m hoping to get back to the dumbbells next week.

Angelic Daughter is still having a very hard time processing the things I say about “carrying our sadness about Dad with us while moving forward to have happy lives.” Sad and happy, simultaneously? Hell, it’s hard enough for me to understand. But we’ve got things settled so she’ll be getting out more, meeting new friends, looked after by kind people at a place that is bright, beautiful, and welcoming. She’ll have lots to do to keep her busy, and, I think, happy, while I’m at work. Whew. Cue great night’s sleep and corresponding ten years off face, plus a few points shaved off the blood pressure.

Now where’s the handyman?

With hope, I remain, your

Ridiculouswoman

Image (I cropped it) by skeeze from Pixabay

Rumi, Barber and a Searing Sunset

I get too many notifications from Twitter.  My muted phone keeps waking up brightly every few minutes, urging me to interrupt my work and look! Look what (literary agent, publishing house or lit mag) just published, or look! Look at the clever swipe (celebrity) just took at (idiot politician.)

But Wednesday, when I reached to swipe away the latest text, I was surprised to find a notification of someone quoting Rumi, Mike’s favorite poet and spiritual inspiration. The quote, as presented, seemed to force a rhyme, and made me wonder about the translation, but the spirit was clear- love transforms pain.  I Googled several of the words used, and found a version that sounded more like the Rumi I came to expect from the many times Mike read him aloud to me:

“Through Love all that is bitter will be sweet, Through Love all that is copper will be gold, Through Love all dregs will become wine, through Love all pain will turn to medicine.”

“Hmm, cool.”

I put my phone down and got back to work, becoming so absorbed in writing that I was nearly late for meetings. I made it through the meetings quelling anxiety, because the they threatened to consume all the remaining time allotted to keep up the expected pace of production for the day. I forgot about the Rumi quote as I raced to finish my work, which I did, with two minutes to spare. Clock out.

On my drive home, I talk to Angelic Daughter via bluetooth (hands free!), except for the 10 minutes or so on the toll road, when conversation threatens to distract me from my primary task of avoiding being mowed down by crazed drivers flying by me, weaving lanes at 20 mph above the already generous speed limit.

Once safely merged, the quote came back to me, and suddenly a big spiritual sandbag of loneliness dropped heavy on my chest. I turned up the radio just as I remembered that Rumi quote, when I felt that sandbag land, and heard the opening notes of the Barber Adagio for strings.

“Oh, way to pile on, universe. Thanks loads.”

That piece was used in the movie “Platoon,” in a scene of devastating loss that ripped me up, and that music is forever associated with that scene in my mind. The Rumi quote makes me think about Mike. The Barber Adagio makes me remember tragic loss.

Now I’m sobbing on the speedway. After a few minutes spent brushing tears off my cheeks and blinking a lot to maintain visibility, the truck that had been looming to my left, so I couldn’t see anything in that direction, pulled ahead, revealing a spectacular sunset in progress. Intensely pink, with a shelf cloud seemingly lit from under, brushed by “horsetail” (cirrus) clouds, the whole ceiling of it cut off by a straight line cloud break with a strip of clear, baby blue sky beyond.

“Oh, my God,” I thought. “Look at that, Mike.”

My phone’s camera couldn’t possibly do justice to that blazingly beautiful pink sunset, and no photo could evoke what I felt in that moment.

“All that is copper turns to gold.” Pain is a kind of medicine. Rumi wrote a lot about living with suffering and pain, and learning from it. Mike wrote about his suffering as a kind of companion. Pain reminds us of love. Love turns pain into medicine. Mike wrote that Rumi had reminded him “that we all die and it doesn’t even matter because this our affliction is only a sigh. God is close to us. Endure your affliction and he may even reward you.”

Mike’s physical pain was “managed,” except when he was laid down too flat, when it was excruciating. His emotional pain was profound – having to say good bye to the Angelic Daughter he raised, having to leave her here without him.

My pain is muted in comparison, but it is real – the pain of seeing her still struggle to accept that he is gone, trying so hard to understand the abstraction of “his spirit energy and love are always with us.” Sharing the ache of our ongoing search for how to live fully without him.

I thought I had that under “control,” lately. I thought I’d made “progress.” Rumi, Barber and that sunset smashed that notion – the idea that I could compartmentalize grief. I’m grateful for that. I needed a big, sloppy, snotty, sob – accompanied by the moaning sound the sobs bring up from my core –  a kind of howling.

Love “turns pain to medicine.” Love tells me to embrace grief and understand that it isn’t going away. It’s just woven in, to my life as it is now and will be from now on.

With storm wind howling today, I remain, your muted, grateful, still-learning-from-love-and-pain-and-love,

Ridiculouswoman

The Obligatory New Year’s Post, or, I’m Too Old for Revolutions

A few year’s ago, I explained that we used to call them “New Year’s Revolutions.” This was supposed to indicate an intention to shake things up by changing something, irretrievably.

I’ve had quite enough shaking up the past few years. Just read my posts under the tag, “how not to” and you’ll get the idea. I’ll keep it simple, and more age appropriate this year, to wit:

A Sixty Year Old Widow’s Age-Appropriate Resolutions

  1.  If it’s an available option, always choose sleep.
  2. You really can’t eat that much anymore. So don’t. Embrace portion control.
  3. Enjoy your invisibility, and protect it by keeping your opinions to yourself.
  4. More reading, less TV.
  5. Prepare, and begin to pursue, bucket list.

That’s it.

I went back and reread last year’s obligatory New Year’s post, and found that I either didn’t do what I said I would, or did, and backed off quickly. After floundering around for most of the year, I got a really great job. Now I’m focused on doing it well, and keeping it for as long as I can.

Figuring out how to keep up with writing while working full time is a challenge, but I’m determined to do it.  I think goals are different than resolutions, so:

A Sixty Year Old Widow’s Writing Goals for 2020

  1. Finish querying first book.
  2. Write next book.
  3. Submit one piece of creative non-fiction or essay per week.
  4. Tally rejections proudly – they mean you tried.
  5. Find something to write about other than yourself.

Easier said than done.

OK, bucket list. Hmm. Don’t know if a bucket list should meet that organizational standard, “SMART” goals – specific, measurable (how do you measure the happiness you get from doing something you always wanted to do?) attainable, relevant, and time-bound (a bucket list is by definition time-bound – it’s a list of stuff you want to get done before you die). I don’t know if any of these are “SMART,” but here’s stuff I want to (or must) do before I die, in no particular order:

  1. Downhill ski, again.  Apparently, ski equipment is so different since I last went, I’ll have to relearn skiing altogether. Or find some really old skis and boots on eBay.
  2. Learn how to skate, and stop, on hockey skates. Just because.
  3. Find the money to go and someone trustworthy to care for Angelic Daughter (and get Angelic Daughter set up with an acceptable, safe, happy independent living situation – that’s a must do) while I visit New Zealand, Australia (what’s left of it, after all the fires, so awful! thinking of you, Aussies!) Alaska and Ireland. Can’t think why I haven’t visited Ireland yet.
  4. Get a book published. By a real, legit publisher. I want my obit to say, “Author of…”
  5. Find a sane, non-pyschotic, non-gaslighting, non-mansplaining, binary, heterosexual he/him to love, who loves me back. If such a being exists. There’s always hope.

Recently, I’ve been behaving as if I have lost hope – eating too much, not working out- and I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to give up on myself, my well-being and my chance, if there is any, to find love. I’ve been encouraged by my recent discovery that sleeping a full 8 hours a night takes ten years off my face. Who knew?

Today, I woke up feeling great. Yes, I woke up on New Year’s Day feeling wonderful. Probably because I spent the evening reading, and went to bed early, without watching on TV or participating in any of the forced gaiety of midnight celebrations and associated consumption of mass quantities of alcohol, a/k/a getting shitfaced (pissed, legless, paralytic, sloshed, plastered, wasted, etc. The English language has an extraordinary selection of words to identify the state of inebriation). Not that I didn’t raise a glass or three, but at least I had the sense to cut myself off and go to bed at a reasonable hour.

These past few years have given me, individually, and us, collectively, a lot of reasons to lose hope. But let’s just not. New year, new decade (yes, I’m on the “2020 starts the new decade, not 2021” team) and new chances to try to do the right thing, every new day we’re granted, every day we wake up, miraculously, again.

Happy New Year and Happy New Decade: may yours be filled with hope and mornings waking up feeling wonderful (and at my age, just waking up at all should count as feeling wonderful, even when my joints go snap, crackle, pop when I first get out of bed). I think of those sounds as the music of movement, and a reason to keep going.

Until next time, I remain,

Your tart-cherry juice drinking, ginger-turmeric tea swilling, arising gratefully, and absurdly early, to get to a great job on time,

Ridiculouswoman

Image by Jeff Jacobs from Pixabay

I Wanna Dance with Somebody: or, No Crying at the Company Party, Please

“Oh, I wanna dance with somebody…” Right, Whitney, wail on!

“I wanna feel the HEAT with somebo-day-ay-ay…” You go!

“Oh, I wanna dance with somebody…” Yes, I think we’ve established that.

“with somebody who LOVES me….”

Oh shit.

Suddenly on the brink of tears in the middle of the company holiday party, because of an old Whitney Houston song?

The company, my new employer, has shown astonishing generosity and kindness to me in my scant one month’s time there. The very minute I learned of the company holiday party, I made a  reservation and arranged for care for Angelic Daughter. Couldn’t decide on a dress to wear, so I brought two: a beaded, flapper-style sequined cocktail dress, that cost a month’s rent thirty years ago, and a tasteful black and white ball gown with three-quarter sleeves, a collar and pockets(!) The kind lady at the dry cleaner’s got it hemmed in just four days, but I didn’t have time to alter the bodice, which was made for someone at least four inches taller than I. So to keep it from gaping in the front, I held the dress down with one hand behind my back when I approached the dance floor to bob and swish around a little.

There was an inordinate amount of rap shuffled with a few oldies, including the inevitable, the unavoidable, the ubiquitous, the eternal “Livin’ on a Prayer.” Much of the dancing from the young people was, I suspect, done “ironically.” But everyone was beautifully dressed, and truly seemed to be having a great time.

I was happily sitting alone, watching the merriment. I must have gotten up to head to the bar for a refill when, on the return trip to the table, that Whitney Houston song came on. I joined in the dancing…right up until that problematic lyric.

“….with sombody who LUUUUUVS me-eeee-eee-eee..”

The somebody who loved me has been dead for over 3 years.

I didn’t expect to dance with anyone at this party, and wasn’t upset about that. So it was a shock how instantly tears formed when that lyric hit me – exposing the stark loneliness of not having someone who loved me there with me.

Not that he would have danced. Mike was the embodiment of the stereotypical “white man dancing:”  stiff, awkward, no fluidity in the hips.

I sat down as soon as I realized what was happening – I was in danger of lapsing into tears in the middle of a festive, happy occasion. I got control of myself and held it together. No smeared mascara (and I was wearing mascara, and a thin streak of eyeliner, for the first time in something like twenty -five years. Astonishingly, I didn’t make a smudgy mess of it when I put it on.)

I talked to Mike as I assessed myself in the mirror before leaving the hotel room to go down to the ballroom.

“Not bad, huh, loves?”

I imagined him smiling approval.

I’m learning to live with loneliness, and to accept that it isn’t really ever going to go away. I have many wonderful new things in my life – the rooms I worked so hard to redecorate, the new job, Angelic Daughter’s amazing ability to adapt and gain independence and maintain a positive attitude in the midst of these changes. But Mike’s absence walks with me every step of the way. I think of it as a wise companion. I don’t get overexcited about much of anything, anymore, because that calm shadow reminds me how silly it is to dwell on fleeting nonsense in the presence of eternity.

Alone, again, here at my laptop, my wonderful old Vaio that Mike requisitioned from me almost as soon as I brought it home, I allow the tears to come. I thought this fourth Christmas without him would be easier.  The tree is set up in a different room, the new pattern of outside lights extends the classic swag I always hang across the front porch.

But it’s not easier. Mike is still every bit as gone, and we’re still every bit as alone.

I’m planning a very quiet holiday,  just the two of us at home, indulging in two quiet days of togetherness and rest, sitting with Mike’s absence.  Tears that may come are part of the deal. Happiness, when it emerges, will wrap itself around the tears, and around the absence and the sorrow. It may muffle them,  but I know now it can never make them disappear.

Blowing my nose, wiping my eyes and seeing Mike clearly, “regarding the tree,” as we used to do together, I remain,

Your quieter, older, slower, calmer, sadder but more grateful for each moment of smiles and tears,

Ridiculouswoman

 

 

Run Away, Run Home, Don’t Run

The butternut squash is roasting in the oven, for the curried soup I will make for my brothers and sister-in-law, visiting tomorrow. The bag of orchard-bought Macintosh apples is in the fridge, waiting to become pie. Seven pumpkins (one big and six little) and ten gourds cost $24, total, which is another benefit of driving several hours to an actual farm to buy your fall decorative stuff.

I wonder if indulging in an extended (two overnight stays) fall excursion this year was a way of running away from waiting to hear about a job, and from the approaching end of my year-long redecorating project.  I’m starting to think it all was just prolonged “displacement activity,” to avoid being still and letting the grief soak all the way through.  Stillness is when the waves come, of grief, sadness, regret, anger, frustration and sense of incompleteness about a marriage that fast-forwarded to caregiving, skipping the “happy retirement rediscover one another” phase.  The rediscovery came only in those bittersweet, final weeks of hospice. I was and am so grateful for that, but I also feel cheated by the brevity of it, and feeling cheated makes me feel ungrateful, and feeling ungrateful makes me feel ashamed.  I should be grateful for just waking up alive in the morning.

Finally decorating and furnishing this house, a house that remained largely undecorated and unfurnished, except for hand-me-down furniture and the odd Black Friday deal on a couch or a glider or a new mattress, feels like closing the circle, doing the things we didn’t get done, as the years passed toward a future together that never came. Mike saw the kitchen, the deck and the basement. I want to believe he sees the rest, from where he is, and that he likes it, and that he approves of me making this house look like what I had hoped it could have been when we still had time here together.

The painters in the front hall got the wallpaper off in about half an hour.

“If I had known it would be that easy, I would have done it myself.”

“We’re pros. We make it look easy.”

Their van said “drywall,” so I asked for a little extra help repairing the hole in the downstairs bathroom wall, where I lifted one of the mirrors off and took one of the screw anchors with it.

The head guy agreed to do it for no extra charge. Maybe he thought what I had said meant I thought I wasn’t getting my money’s worth. I didn’t mean it that way, exactly. Just that I shouldn’t have spent the money if it turned out to be easy.

But then he took out all the old screws, and drilled four new holes and put new screw anchors and screws in, and patched the old holes, because nothing would have held through a patched hole.  And then they hung up the mirrors for me.

After I asked them to turn off the fans they were using to dry the front hall because the loud sound makes my daughter nervous, and they saw how I had to coax her downstairs to get past them to go to work, they asked me if I had paint for the front hall.  When I handed the can to the lead guy, he said he’d paint it for me.

“Really? You’ll make me cry.”

“Do you have paint for the trim?”

“Here it is. ”

“I’ll do the walls. You do the trim.”

Then he left and his guy did the trim anyway.

So yes, I cried a little.  I’m at the end of my rope with the work, and close to being done, and feeling stupid for spending so much on it all, and now these guys have gotten me closer to the finish line faster than I thought I could go.  I won’t be up until 2 am after chorus rehearsal tonight doing it myself, just to get it ready for my brothers and sister-in-law tomorrow.

When I feel defeated, like when that screw anchor ripped out of the wall,  I let go. Then kindness comes from unexpected places, helping me keep the faith that maybe I will actually get a job before I run out of money and have to start dipping into the already too-small retirement fund.

Sell more stuff on eBay,  lose the the cable, scour the house for more stuff to sell to Half Priced Books. We’ll have this house, for now, and this town, so familiar and comfortable.

The colors are more brilliant here than they were on our excursion. Yesterday we finally got our bright blue October day, and the sun just came out again.

Time to make soup. And pie.

Until pictures prove I actually made them, I remain,

Your grateful-but-spendy-and-anxious-but-hopeful,

Ridiculouswoman

Scents Memory

The other day,  I unconsciously picked up a bottle of perfume and did my “spray, stay, walk away” routine (learned from Carson Kressley, original Queer Eye episode).  I hadn’t used that perfume for a long time. It was the same kind as the last bottle of scent Mike bought me for Christmas.

He’d buy perfume, often with matching bath stuff and lotion, at Christmas.  I’m not sure I ever made it clear to Mike that I got the message in his choices – “Joy,” or “Mon Tresor.”  That last Christmas, he didn’t have the energy to find something on his own, so he just asked me what I wanted: “Modern Muse, please. Estee Lauder counter, I think.”  I found that scent in one of those samples that fall out of catalogs, that you peel open and sniff. I loved the scent, and I especially loved its name. I hope Mike took it as a message that I still wanted him to have a muse, that I still loved his poetic soul, and that I hoped he’d write poetry again, before he died.

His last journal was lyrical prose, about having cancer, and about rediscovering our love for one another, when cancer made everything else irrelevant. He also wrote about his embrace of suffering through his unconventional faith and his trust in the path he was on.

The perfume I used the other day is the same kind but not the same bottle. I used that up in the first year of widowhood, when I oscillated from screaming, sobbing grief one day to timid hope about a new kind of life the next.

I worked in warehouses during and after Mike’s illness. I’ve been wearing jeans almost daily ever since. Jeans express my physical strength and my determination to take on projects that involve some combination of power tools, dirt, ladders, chainsaws, paint and work boots.  The perfume is for when I wear empire waisted, v-necked, pajama-soft, print knit dresses that, I admit, show too much cleavage.  I own three of them and wear them any day it is warm enough, when I’m done getting sweaty with my workout or my redecorating or dirty with my gardening and yard work. As fall and winter progress, the dresses yield to deep-v-necked, soft wool sweaters.

The dresses and the sweaters say I’m not ready to let go of  womanliness. I’m not ready to become a crone. I’m not ready to dry up and grey out. I need to feel gorgeous and touchable. More than touchable.  I’m unwilling to accept that I’ll never be regarded that way again.

My Dad told me about a weird house in his home town. Legend was that it had been owned by an old lady who kept adding on to it, believing that as long as she did, she would never die. He may have said that kids in town believed the house was haunted. It made a good ghost story; the house was near a school.

Between the euphoria of being nearly done with redecorating and the panic that I’m still unemployed and running out of money, I wonder if I’m turning into that lady – the crazy old lady with the never-ending projects, trying to ward off aging and death.

Angelic Daughter’s Halloween costume arrived yesterday, and she looks adorable in it.  I can’t tell you what it is because she wants to keep it a surprise. But she keeps asking me what I want to be for Halloween. It’s never been worth dressing up to answer the door here. We get very few trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood, unless Halloween falls on a sunny Saturday. I usually just throw on a drugstore witch hat and light the jack-o-lanterns. It’s typically all over before 7:30.

Looking online for this year’s costume, among the princesses and movie characters, we saw a Fairy Godmother costume. I hadn’t seen one before.  I thought, “I could use a Fairy Godmother.  Bibbiddy-bobbidy-boo, a book deal, a job and a handsome prince for you!”

Maybe my semi-insane determination to finish decorating this house, even it bankrupts me, is about belief in magic, as a metaphor for faith. As a reason to hope.

Wednesday was a perfect bright-blue fall day. Feeling down about job prospects and writing, I impulsively took Angelic Daughter on a surprise outing to a local pumpkin farm that, until last year, I hadn’t known existed, even though it is less than 10 miles away.

Sitting in the haywagon waiting for the ride to start, I checked my phone, and found an email saying “impressed…would like to schedule you for a phone interview.”  For a writing job. With health insurance.

Do you believe in magic?

Waiting to hear back about an interview time, I remain,

Your faithful, fragrant,

Ridiculouswoman

Image by czarownica from Pixabay

How Not To Catch A Chipmunk

Leave door to garage open too long while unloading groceries from car. During an early afternoon bout of vacuuming in anticipation of guests tomorrow, notice a flash of brown fur along the wall,  vanishing behind desk.

What the hell was that?

Investigate. Observe chipmunk cowering by door to garage, now closed and locked after all groceries in.

Open other kitchen door, that leads to the front patio and butterfly garden.  Hope chipmunk will find his way out. No such luck. Chipmunk proceeds in opposite direction, zipping past door,  straight through kitchen and into living room.

Shreik.

Grab dusting stick, used to get cobwebs out of places not otherwise reachable.  Give chase while also opening door to deck. Swat at chipmunk running along baseboard radiator, thinking he’d seize chance to scoot outside. No such luck. Observe chipmunk zipping past the open door, back through kitchen and into bathroom. See chipmunk hiding behind toilet.

Grab dusting stick again. Hoist self onto vanity counter.  Scooch along until swatting at chipmunk with feet off floor becomes possible. Observe him zipping back out and turning left to scoot back under desk instead of heading out open door RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM. Stupid damn chipmunk!

Give chase. Chipmunk ends up tucked behind breezeway radiator. Curses. Frantic call to brother the B.A. wildlife biologist/Ph.D microbiologist.

Brother suggests humane trap. Sends link with description, and price. That much? Drat, that means a trip to the hardware store. So much for using bro and sister in law’s impending visit tomorrow as motivation for a total house swabdown. Swabdown Interruptus.

Hardware store, trap obtained. On your way home, stop to replenish chocolate supply and collect Friday pizza and wings.

Receipts go in a cubby at the top of desk hutch. Hungry. Stuff receipts in there quickly in order to get on to consuming wings.

Chipmunk leaps out of cubby in desk hutch, lands on desk and vanishes at light speed.

Scream.

Intuit that chipmunk has retreated into bathroom again, under closed door with unusually wide gap at bottom. Discover chipmunk cowering behind toilet, again.

Fail to realize trap could be introduced into bathroom, door closed, and chipmunk captured.  Give chase instead. Open door again, back up on vanity counter again, thwap at chipmunk with dusting stick, again. No luck. Chipmunk exits bathroom at warp speed, turns left, again, instead of going out open door RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM, again. Chipmunk presumably hiding under desk again although he cannot be seen back there.

Improvise barrier to keep chipmunk from running through kitchen again. Barrier constructed of top of late husband Mike’s oak kitchen table, disassembled and brought in from garage. Table was the only thing other than clothes, books and a hurricane lamp  late husband brought with him into marriage. Thanks, hon, still useful. Block off  kitchen, hope little bugger won’t get in there again. Set trap, eat wings, wait.

Not good at waiting, but use it as a chance to sit outside with AD (Angelic Daughter) and try to chill.

An hour later, after three intermittent checks, see that the trap has been sprung. Got him!

Carefully lift trap, take outdoors,  sweet-talking chipmunk to keep him from running from one end of trap to the other, causing trap to heel over like a ship on wavy seas. Close house doors behind. No repeat! Walk to edge of  yard, push lever down to open doors of trap. Don’t see anything. Hear quick rustling of leaf on grass, “thth.” Check trap. Empty. Never saw him run. Fast little dude.

Congratulate self on adding “chipmunk extraction” to list of skills.  Screams turn to smiles. Express pride and  relief. Desk area reopened for business! Sweep up remains of granola used as bait. Little bugger didn’t get much supper, ha.

Swabdown to recommence in the morning, prior to cooking for guests. The invited ones.

Enjoying a chipmunk-free desk area, and hoping to keep it that way, I remain,

Your smug-about-ability-to-manage-intrusive-rodents-and-grateful-for-brother’s-advice-while-creeping-OCD-wonders-if-there’s-another-chipmunk-in-here-somewhere,

Ridiculouswoman