Thursday, May 27, 2010

Swamp Thing!

Let's cut right to the chase:  I do not work out because I like it.  I do not work out because a) it makes me feel good,  b) it will increase my fitness level or c) it will enhance my overall health.  I work out because I know that it is the only way I can rebuild muscle strength (in order to do things which are actually fun,  unlike exercise) and because I want to look better.  That is it,  in a nutshell.

Those in the Know understand that I am nothing if not straightforward,  and I will have none of this "healthy living" mumbo-jumbo.   No, I do not feel a rush of endorphins as I grimace "smile" my way through an exercise routine.  Like any normal, sensible adult I despise any activity which causes any level of perspiration.  Only the promise of a svelter figure and the prospect of being able to climb aboard the Twillick without requiring the indignity of a rear-end "boost" from my spouse keep me grimly determined to stick to this diabolical fitness regimen.

I am pleased to report, therefore,  that with my usual firmness of purpose,  I have forced myself to get the lead out every morning overcome all obstacles in pursuit of my personal fitness goals and I am succeeding beyond my dreams!   I have now lost 12 pounds firmly and am slimming away inches, too!

Meanwhile,  the garden:  I must say,  I am not a complainer,  as Those in the Know are well aware,  but I do have to wonder why weeds and things always have to come into my garden!  After all,  I have toiled away quite enough already,  thank you,  installing plants,  fixing that damn delightful pond,  and tidying up endless beds of perennials, shrubs and so forth.  I expected to be able to sit back and relax for the rest of the summer by now,  but here I am comfortably ensconced on the deck,  sipping an iced tea and pecking away at this computer  preparing to get back to work at weeding and pruning!  I am sure that I will spend hours more at these chores if I ever bother to get started.  Sometimes I realize that I am just too good.

The pond does look better with a few plants in there,  although the appropriate word is "few".   If the truth be told,  I am rather astonished at how little impact such a large investment of time,  effort (mine!) and money has made!  Still,  these are the small frustrations that a devoted gardener must learn to cheerfully shrug off and, as TITK already know,  I am a master at shrugging off just about anything!  It is one of my most admirable qualities.  That,  and my modesty,  of course.

As a matter of fact,  I think I will just take a leisurely stroll right now down to the pond to admire the fruit of my labours.  Look there at how fulsomely the water hyacinths have absorbed the pond water - rich with nutrients,  thanks to a fluke of nature my unceasing efforts -  why, two of them are already blooming!

And here,  one of the little goldfish that I introduced today.  Jack and his friend Jessica kindly went to Petco to buy 5 goldfish for me since I was too lazy too busy to go myself.  I just managed to snap a picture of this one before it darted into the rocks to join its companions in hiding -  how irritating!  how charming!

With our pond cleansed of that wretched reptile (the snapping turtle),  we can now relax and enjoy a lovely summer by the pond and watch the little comets and all of the new plants I so casually tossed in painstakingly planted grow!  Here is a picture of the arum arrowhead plant I ordered and planted last Friday (yes, Friday -  but this is just another of those little vexations that I am so admired for rising above):
(Do you see that reptilian villain devouring the arrowhead?)

Excuse me a moment, please.  Obviously,  my leisurely afternoon stroll has been completely shattered!  I must take emergency measures immediately:  five goldfish lives depend upon me!


Those in the Know will be relieved to learn that,  with my usual calm good sense,  I have saved the day once more!  

It may surprise my readers to learn that a snapping turtle can be quite an aggressive and fearsome creature.   If it manages to bite you,  it will not let go;  people have lost fingers, toes, arms and even legs to the death grip of this terrifying throwback from the Jurassic era.  It would eat every living thing in our pond if I let it.   So,  naturally,  I did not let it!

Yes, with my characteristic determination,  I did not rest until I had captured and removed the offensive scavenger.  At first,  I asked Jack and Jessica to do it instead of me help me,  but they were being babies  a little unsure of what to do,  so I took the situation in hand myself and advanced,  terrified,  toward the monster took care of the problem with my usual efficient dispatch.

Once,  many years ago,  when we still had only two little children and Scott traveled a great deal,  I found myself in the kitchen with a mouse.  The babies were asleep upstairs and we knew no one in the neighborhood to call for help (having only recently moved there),  so I was forced to handle the problem myself.  I cannot bear mousetraps,  so I decided to capture the mouse and set it free in the field outside.  I got out a collander,  crouched by the stove/fridge where I had last seen the mouse dart,  and waited, with the collander poised in the air.  Lucky for me,  my daughters were solid sleepers and very early to bed because it was about 7PM when I began my vigil,  and it took a little time.  I crouched there for over two hours (I was a lot younger then),  silent and determined.  Finally,  at nearly 9:30, after the sun had set,  the mouse poked it's pointy nose out from between the appliances.  I held my breath.  A moment later,  it made a dash for the other side of the room, but I was too quick for it.  Smack!  I brought down the collander with a decisive snap,  and captured the mouse underneath!  The poor creature must have thought it had run its last because it didn't move a muscle.  I slid a bit of stiff cardboard under the collander and carried cardboard, collander and mouse all outside,  where I set the mouse free.   Yes,  it was a ridiculous waste of a perfectly fine evening,  but I was very pleased with myself!

Those in the Know are no doubt wondering if I performed a similar conscientious ritual with the snapping turtle.  Absolutely not!  Let us not beat around the bush, here:  snapping turtles are disgusting!  A little mouse is adorable and must be treated with gentle understanding,  but a snapping turtle is a carbuncle on the face of the earth* and only merits swift and sure disposal!  Although, naturally,  I never harm any of nature's creatures.  By "disposal"  I merely mean "removal from our property" - and the farther removed,  the better!

However,  I did employ my steely nerve and lightning-fast reflexes in order to capture the beast.  While Jack was still searching for some sort of net or something with which to safely capture the pest,  I frantically dumped calmly emptied a five-gallon planting pot ( Ha! I told Scott those would come in handy, eventually!) and dashed back to the side of the pond.  Without giving a thought to anything at all, really  my own safety,  I nimbly approached the turtle from its shady side (so as not to startle it into deeper water with my shadow),  swiftly and stealthily crouched down and,  in the blink of an eye,  I plunged the pot into the water in front of the ugly thing and scooped it up!  Just like that!  
Egad!  What an ugly thing!

Jack came running down with a garbage bag and just stared in appalled dismay astonishment and admiration at the insanely impulsive  amazing feat his mother had just performed.  This is the sort of moment a parent cherishes:  when one sees the realization dawn on the face of one's offspring that here is a madwoman an awe-inspiring woman,  and she is his mother! and she is his mother!  

Of course,  we instantly understood that this blasted turtle has obviously marked our pond as its territory and had returned from the creekbed mud after the winter hiatus to take up residence for another season.  We were all resolved not to let that happen!  I was,  naturally,  more firmly resolved than Jack and Jessica,  but nevertheless,  I soon managed to trick them into undertaking the most difficult part of the removal  impress upon them the gravity of the situation at which point they volunteered to finish the removal.  (and by "volunteered",  I mean I made them do it)

I took it upon myself to give the wretched reptile a stern warning not to get up to any monkey business on the ride far from our house.   These wonderful young people were performing a community service by ridding our yard of this nuisance,  so I let the turtle have it with both barrels.   Jack and Jessica loaded the pot,  inside a bin,  into his car and they took it far,  far away.

(Here I am giving the turtle what for !)

 And so,  we are once again reptile-free!   Hip Hip Hooray!!

Well, it has been an unexpectedly exhausting afternoon for Yours Truly,  so I believe it is high time for a glass of wine and a moment of relaxation on the deck before dinner.

Good Evening to All!

*  Alert readers may recognise this sophisticated reference to a remark HRH the Prince of Wales made about some modern architecture in London some years ago.  It wasn't about turtles,  but it may as well have been if I have anything to say about it!  Just another of my helpful sprinklings of culture to spice up my readers' lives!  No need to thank me!


  1. I can just see you sneaking up on that ugly little monster and catching it in the planter while Jack and Jess look on like this : 0.0
    Please tell me you sent it far far FAR away!
    Excellent post, though! I hope the arrowhead survives the near-butchery it underwent :S and do a fish count! Make sure he didn't eat any before you caught him!
    Excellent post, as always! *applause*

  2. p.s. I would just like to say that Creeper Jr. has definitely gotten larger since last summer, and its a good thing we're getting rid of him now before he doubles in size and starts to rival his dinosaur parents.

  3. Great Scott, perish the thought! He was big enough already!
    Jack and Jess did the real work, getting the wretched thing far far FAR away from our house!

  4. Great post. How far is the creature from your house, now? I hope it's in a different city. Good job on getting rid of the thing! :D

  5. They took it across town (about 2 miles or so from us) and released it into another wild creek.

  6. But, I'd just like to point out that my saucy son texted me and told me that it immediately started swimming upstream, hellbent for leather towards our house!

  7. Quick thought -- if exercise is fun, why do you never see a smiling jogger?

  8. That is an excellent contribution, Cerulean Bill!!

  9. You lost 12 pounds! :-)

    See - I told you that cutting back on the beer wou... erm, Wow! That's fantastic! Congratulations! :-D