Thursday, December 27, 2007

More Clucking from Our Nest

Life at the Smuckers with Everyone Home:

Jenny and Steven have been shriekier and wilder than normal, prompting Matt to pull me aside and wonder just what is going on. He has always been the big sibling and never the little one, so has no concept of the desperate desire of younger ones for attention and affirmation or their cluelessness at times of how to go about getting it appropriately, especially when the older ones come home after being gone for a while.

"You never know what you'll find in the back seat of Matt's car," says Emily. "Dishes, a sleeping bag, a change of clothes, energy drink cans, cups, and a $5000 membrane from DuPont." That last item has been a major headache for Matt. He's supposed to ship it to India to his engineer boss and has had to deal with lots of agencies and forms and permission slips, and over the holidays yet.
(Update: he just now got it safely sent off.)

I don't normally watch movies much but have been getting a good dose recently. My SIL Bonnie gave me a copy of The Christmas Shoes and we all watched it together on Christmas Eve. It is starting to be known around these parts as The Movie That Made (a certain stoic Smucker guy) Cry, and Oh. My. did I have a lapful of soaked kleenexes when it was done. Paul didn't cry, and I said, like a nagging wife, "It's ok to cry, you know. No one will think less of you." And he said, "It's ok not to cry too, you know. No one will think less of you either."

And then the girls and I sat down one evening and watched Persuasion, a lovely old-fashioned film with a truly satisfying ending including a ship sailing off into the sunset. Happy sigh.

Having Amy home has been good for us all. Emily seems livelier, Paul gets to talk school with someone of his own mind, and the rest of us are all enjoying her good sense, good stories, good humor, and all that.

Seeing the movie made me want to read Persuasion, and Amy said she has a copy upstairs, so last night I sat up late to enjoy it. I have this strange way of getting so absorbed in a book that for the next day or two I think in the writing style of the author. Like this:

Plans were made for the whole party to travel to the sea on the following morning, particularly to the town of Newport, the carriage (Ford van) being prepared for its use on the morrow, Mr. Smucker and his sons speculating about a brisk jaunt on the jetty, should the weather prove equable, and the lively Misses Smucker planning an excursion to the shops along the bayfront, the inimitable Aunt Belinda's candies chiefly, and insisting that lunch should be taken at Mo's for the entire party, although Miss Emily Smucker thought herself ill-used at the prospect, reminding Miss Smucker and her mother petulantly of how the cook at Mo's insisted on stirring gum carrageenan into the clam chowder, to which she was allergic as they all knew, but was assured that an alternative of fried shrimp would certainly be available at such an establishment, money being no object on this occasion, as the dinner would be paid for by a generous gift of fifty pounds, from a grateful parishioner, to Mr. Smucker, the curate at Brownsville Mennonite.

The mice around here are as lively and numerous as ever. I got four new traps, the kind that you set and empty by pinching the back, but they aren't worth beans. The mice nibble off the peanut butter without snapping the trap. Although one did work last night, I must say. I went out to get some milk in the spare fridge and just as I stepped into the pantry a mouse ran right in front of me and straight into a trap, which promptly snapped. The mouse started screaming and believe me I did too. Paul wondered mildly if I was trying to wake the dead, and then he quickly put the mouse out of its misery.

Ben tried making me a new kind of trap made of a 2-liter pop bottle with the top 3 inches cut off and inverted. Matt looked it over and said,

Quote of the Day:
"Well, a decent idea in concept, but it has a few engineering flaws."


  1. You do that too? Im always thinking like the author writes when Im into a book! It's amzing. I never knew anyone else did that! Its nice to know im not the only strange lady on the planet! LOL

  2. Ever try dryer sheets to keep the mice at bay? Of course, maybe Emily would be alergic to them, and that wouldn't be worth it. Plus, you may have to use an awful lot - as many mice as you've got!! It's good you have a husband to carry them out. That's why dryer sheets work better for me - I don't do mice! :]

  3. Anonymous--I understand they have to be the Bounce brand of dryer sheets, which I don't have, but they're on my grocery list.

  4. Please don't read Lori Wick (shudders) or your stoic men WILL be crying whether they want to or not.

    You do a very good Jane Austen. :o)

  5. 1. How does Paul quickly put mice out of their misery? (Or do I want to know?) I was haunted for weeks by the half-dead mouse I threw in the garbage can for lack of a better solution.

    2. How do dryer sheets work against mice?

    Like you and mrs. darling, I too think and write in the style of the books I'm reading. I wrote a silly "Once upon a time" Christmas letter this year; I had to give credit to the friend who loaned me "The Hobbit" to read a few months ago. All I had to do was think of that book and the letter wrote itself. It was so fun to let my sentences run on and on and use adverbs and adjectives I usually can't!

    BTW after about a week of Vitamin D3 pills (2,000IU per day) and the goLite from Costco (15 mins. per day), my mood and energy have improved dramatically. I've been trying to stand next to the windows at work when the sun's out, but then someone said the winter sun in Oregon still doesn't have enough oomph to supply our Vitamin D needs. I hope your SAD is faring better with the kids home and holiday busy-ness.

  6. Thanks, Val.
    And in answer to JustMe--
    1. Let's just say gently that by the time the mouse was dead, Hansie's hairbrush was broken in half.
    2. Supposedly mice don't like the smell of Bounce.
    Yes, having the kids home helps the SAD a lot, plus I've been religiously sitting in front of the HappyLite every day for 30-45 minutes. Boring but effective. Haven't tried Vitamin D.

  7. Maybe you should try the Stauffer type mouse trap . . . (we use this one in our green house and then if your lucky you can watch them swim to death :( This one consists of a five gallon bucket, an old peanut butter jar and a rod. Oh and a ramp to get up into it. :) You drill a hole through the middle of the peanut butter lid and one through the middle of the bottom of the jar, place a rod through it. Drill two holes on the bucket a few inches from the top so that when you place the rod with the peanut butter jar (smeared with peanut butter on the outside)in the bucket , the jar is about level with the top of the bucket. Fill the bucket about half full of water and place the bucket somewhere where you can make an easy ramp for the mice to climb up and over to the jar, but not touching the jar so that the mice have to take a step or a jump to get onto the jar and then it just wheels them into the water. This does actually work quite well! My children love to watch them swim . . . I do not! Happy trapping!
    - Aimee

  8. Oh, I do like the paragraph written after the style of Persuasion. Brought my chuckle for the evening.

  9. I like the back of Matt's car. I noticed toungest son's clothing wasn't going through the wash in the usual numbers but thought he was just being more organized ~ until I borrowed his car. Yep! Eveything he owned was going mouldy in the back of his truck! Yuck!

  10. I often wonder why I do my xanga when I KNOW that you are writing such wildly interesting responses to life that I would have no clue that I could

    So there.

    And WHY do I need to do word verification all that gobbledegook down there. Go to and it doesn't seem I need to do it there...

  11. I have those kind of mouse traps, too, and found that I had to smear the peanut butter inside the top of the trap instead of on the metal piece that sticks out.