December 22, 2008
We’ve done something we’ve never done before.
We Chicagoans-turned-semirural-Kansans have — hit an animal with our vehicle.
Where do I begin?
It was a dark and stormy — oh, sorry.
Although it was a dark night. That was the first problem. My oldest two kids had their school Christmas program Thursday night, the night where we were either going to have a small ice storm or thunderstorm, depending on how far north the warm Southern air decided to come.
As we set out to school, my husband decided to take it nice and slow. The road we were on had no street lights, was mostly rural with a few set back homes, there was low, dense cloud cover, and visibility wasn’t much past the front of our car.
Or rather wasn’t much past the possum a couple yards in front of our car.
As long and tall as a house cat, the possum was super plump. All white and gray. And about to get it.
It’s amazing how much you can think in less time than it takes you to open your mouth. I analyzed what part of our car was going to hit the possum and what part of its body would take it. And I realized that the tire I was sitting behind would hit it, probably right in the poor animal’s midsection. I had time to say, “Oh — !” and the thing disappeared in front of us.
And then –
Thabump. The tire hit the possum and rolled right over it.
Thabump. I still shudder thinking about it. It was the nastiest feeling, the nastiest sound. The poor animal. We poor Bradleys.
This is one of those firsts you never want to reach, you know? We’ve never, ever hit an animal, not even a squirrel or chipmunk. Okay, maybe an ant. Oh, yes, and lots of bugs.
But no animal. Ugh.
A moment of silence . . .
In case you’re about to dig through your recipe files, I do not need any possum stew recipes. No, I don’t have one I prefer. It’s just another first I refuse to do.
Now may I never have to write a post about the first time someone slipped me possum stew . . .
March 31, 2008
It’s that wonderful time of year again, that personal national holiday of mine — opening day for my baseball team, the Chicago White Sox.
This year it feels a lot different. First of all, where’s spring? Second, we don’t live in Chi-town anymore. So I’ve heard almost zero about how good — or bad — my team is supposed to be. But we’ll have the DVR going tomorrow to tape the game. That’ll be a whole family thing in our house tonight.
Yesterday I caught Baseball Tonight on TV. That’s like the first robin for me, that night you happen to catch them doing one of their first shows, and you know winter’s almost over. Anyway, I soaked up the guys’ takes on who would win the divisions, and the baseball superfan in me just can’t resist giving you my predictions for the season.
Just remember you heard it here first.
AL — Red Sox, Indians, Angels; Wildcard — Tigers
NL — Mets, Scrubs (our pet name for the Cubs; my dad, who’s actually a Cubs fan, came up with that one), Diamondbacks; Wildcard — Braves
So there it is. May the White Sox prove me wrong.
November 8, 2007
Driving home from work today, I saw a cloud of birds that reminded me that I had failed to mention the, um, gathering of fowl here in the fall.
Let’s just say Alfred Hitchcock’s movie The Birds comes to mind. You drive by a field and suddenly there’s a black cloud flying up into the sky. The road ahead is covered in black until a car approaches. Honestly, I’ve never seen flocks of birds this big.
But I did see the coolest thing last week. I was, again, driving home from work, and in the distance I could see a black cloud of birds together in the sky. But they weren’t flying anywhere. Instead, they were shifting within the same space, and their shifting caused variations in the shading of their bird cloud. Different shapes as more birds flew to one side and then moved down and up. Reminded me of the fish in Finding Nemo, the ones that formed into shapes for Dorie to guess at and mocked Marlin for being whiney.
So it was very cool to see birds doing almost the same thing in real life. And much more comforting than thinking about The Birds.
November 5, 2007
The new season of Man vs. Wild has started, and as I’ve watched the commercials showing where Bear Grylls will go next, I must say I’m very disappointed to see that he’s not chosen to try to survive here in eastern Kansas.
Really. For this suburbanite, Kansas is not the safe urban environment I’d expected.
Where do I begin?
First of all, there are bugs here. No kidding. Lots of bugs. This was a shock to me as I had not realized how much Chicago had mastered the art of destroying bugs. (Except for those 17-year cicadas this past summer.) Yes, Chicago has ants and some bees and wasps. But seriously, the city and suburbs are bug free compared to here.
Here two massive spiderwebs appeared overnight outside our front door and our garage door. Massively massive spider webs. Complete with thumbnail-size spider keeping watch from the web’s center. Sheesh, it looked like we were decorating from Halloween.
And then of course, there’s the issue of going out in the evening and leaving your porch light on. Which is worse? Fumbling for the right key in the dark or letting the hordes of bugs drawn to your light enter the house with you? We quickly decided to fumble in the dark.
There are even bugs in busy areas, right outside shopping malls where cars and people are coming and going constantly. I’ve almost stepped on a praying mantis, a moth the size of my palm, a numer of grasshoppers and crickets (too many to count), and even a walking stick. I tell you, this place is a bug collector’s paradise.
And then there are the snakes.
You heard me. On my first day in my back yard, I walked out the door, looked down at my feet, and saw that I’d almost stepped on a snake.
So what if it was a garter snake? I’d never even seen one before. Man, am I sorry to have that thirty-some year streak ruined. I tried to act calm (my daughter was right next to me). And before long the thing flew through the grass and left. But frankly its speed freaked me out too.
Lest you find yourself laughing at me, let me really scare you. There are copperheads in them thar woods.
There’s a couple in our church who have some land and live off a gravel road. Evidently copperheads like rocks. They’ve seen copperheads on that road and have run them over and killed them. (Our friend says you drive back and forth over them until you’re sure they’re dead. Just so you know.)
Another man in our church was visiting this family. He was driving down their road on his motorcycle and saw a copperhead up ahead in the road. So he decided to peal out on the bike and kill it. (Again, should you ever find yourself on a bike with a copperhead in front of you, you HAVE to peal out on the snake to kill it. File that one away, okay?)
But sadly, after he pealed out on the bike, he looked behind himself and didn’t see the snake lying dead in the road.
Or slithering off to the side.
He jumped off the bike to see if it had gotten somehow wrapped up in the bike and was about to bite him. Thankfully, it hadn’t
But it gets better. There are rattlesnakes here, too.
Another family in church was cleaning out their window wells a few years ago. Their son, not realizing what it was, picked up a baby rattler by the tale. He found it all cozy in their window well. Thank goodness we don’t have window wells. They’d never get cleaned.
Lastly, there’s the sky. I’ve never given all the ozone theories a thought, but here there are little holes all over the sky. You can see them best at night. Little white dots all over. Kinda pretty, if it weren’t so scary.
I tell ya, Bear Grylls has nothing on me.