None of us think Grace is funny. She’s my middle sister, 2½ years younger and you’ve seen her comments on my essays – Li’l Sis. She lives with two coddled dogs, a coop of chickens, and her husband on a three acre farmlet about five miles outside of my hometown, Manitowoc. She is so many things – loving caregiver, family glue, nurse-information source, healthy eating guru. She fusses over her loved ones, which includes a lot of us. And you better not get her mad – she turns into a little wet hen. But she’s not funny. So she blew me away recently with a couple of e-mails that made me pee in my pants. With her permission, I repeat them here for your enjoyment:
4/15/13. The weather here this whole week has been horrible. Cold, temps in the 30’s, rain, ice, sleet, and some snow the entire week. Our sump pump has been going about every 6 minutes for days. Thank God we didn’t lose our electricity and the sump pump kept up. I was afraid it would get too pooped to pump.
I don’t like it when Vitmer is gone. Something always goes wrong. Willi rolled in poop, and I had to give him a bath ASAP. Rachel (Ed. note: granddaughter, 18 months) was here, so I had to bring her into the bathroom with me. Her bathwater was still in the tub so I just dumped Willi in. All I had to work with was baby shampoo and the bathmat. Rachel didn’t like Willi in her tub so was crying and throwing her bath toys in the water. Willi thought he was getting new dog toys. Yikes!
Then another day I had to dispose of an opossum that decided to die within the dogs’ roaming territory. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I loathe opossums, alive or dead. That hideous, macabre grin and that naked tail–ugh. I shudder at the thought. I looked over towards Larry’s house (our savior of a neighbor). Nobody home, no savior, @#%&*. I had to put on my big “country woman” panties and deal with it myself.
I got a heavy railroad shovel; a plastic snow shovel wouldn’t cut it. Did I mention that this was a mutant, gigantic creature? It wasn’t even stiff yet…I was afraid it was playing ‘possum and would start moving. I’m not sure if I would have screamed and run, or beat the liver out of its ugly hide with the shovel. I had to dump it where the dogs can’t go, which is way past the chicken coop. This thing croaked about 20 yards from the house. Did I mention that “it” and the shovel were supersize?
I trudged to the back 40, my arms aching, trying not to look at it. I wanted to have the satisfaction of flinging it into the woods, but by then I couldn’t muster up the strength. So I unceremoniously dropped it behind some piled up dead grass. It was still there the next day: I had to make sure it was dead and wouldn’t freak the bejesus out of me another time, or tangle with the dogs.
I went up a few steps on “the self-sufficient woman” ladder that day. Now I need to learn how to change a tire. Nah, I want to be self-sufficient not masochistic. That’s what cell phones and Hi-Way 42 Garage are for.
4/16/13. It gets better. The sump pump did crash and burn Saturday, just an hour after Vitmer left for a few more days. Try to find a plumber who’ll respond to his answering machine on the weekend! I had to manually activate the plunger every time I heard the motor trying to make it go down, or burn out trying. It was thawing and raining, so it filled up pretty fast…As the day and night wore on (yes, I was up all night, worse than having a baby; at least babies smell better and you get to cuddle!), the time intervals were getting shorter.
Do you know where our sump pump is? Down in the crawlspace at the very south end of the house! The crawl space is about 3.5 feet high, cold concrete floor. There’s a 6 inch pipe with about 12 inches of clearance under it directly over the sump pit. Now I know how out of shape I am. I’m so sore from hoisting myself in and out of the crawlspace trap door, moving along on my hands and feet, ass in the air, and sliding myself under the 6 inch pipe. Glad I lost some weight, or I probably wouldn’t have fit under it.
I brought a carpet down so I wouldn’t have to lay on the cold floor, a phone, a can of WD-40 and various kitchen tools. I strained out unrecognizable flotsam, none big enough to cause the problem. I did recognize a mouse skull. It’s really not nice down there. I’m now on a first name basis with two dead mice; Dusty and Bones. By the way, Larry wasn’t home again; sounds planned to me, although he denies it.
Sunday morning I lost it. After leaving messages with every plumber and pump person in the county, I called Vitmer, early. I told him to get his big ass home and take care of me. I was sleep deprived, sore, feeling sorry for myself, and mad as hell. While he was on the way home, a plumber called back and said he’d be right out. A new pump was needed, and he had it in and was gone before Vitmer got home.
Vitmer is still home and sleeps with one eye open.
PS: The loathsome possum is in an even more hideous state of decomposition; you don’t want a picture, trust me.
Yes, I had asked her to take a picture, and she did. Pictures spice up a funny story, but in this case I’m not sure. It’s really ugly – the snaggle tooth, the little hands, the bare tail. Ack!
Maybe this only strikes me funny because I know her, Vitmer, and Willi. Larry’s the neighbor who helped when I got my car stuck in a snow bank in March. (See Bad weather, good neighbors, posted 3/26/13.) In any case, I gotta run – must change my underpants again. Thanks Li’l Sis.
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