One morning, as I was getting ready for work, I heard the little pitter-patter of footsteps. Except that they were above my head, in the roof of our house. My mind suddenly flashed back to the time when my apartment became infested with mice and squirrels one autumn. They made my life miserable with the smell, chewing, and screeching night and day. There's nothing worse than waking up to the sounds of mating squirrels. I guess squirrels find it sexy. I, on the other hand, am reminded of the sound of fingernails scraping across a chalk board.
I called Dan later that morning. "I think we have a possum in our roof," I told him, thinking that this was news.
"Oh yeah," he said. "I've heard it up there now for several days."
Several days! And he never mentioned it to me.
Possums are apparently plentiful in Australia. Ours were raiding our peach trees and leaving their droppings in our garage. Our garage was now Chez Possum, and our roof is now a B&B for marsupials. I imagine that our furry intruders are making nests out of the expensive blown wool insulation above our heads.
"We have to get rid of them!" I insisted. So, Dan dutifully called the pest removal specialist. Oh Joy. Possums are protected. They can not be caught unless the catcher can release them in a special protected wildlife area. The pest removal specialist asked Dan a few more questions.
"You probably don't have a possum," he said. "They're pretty large animals and unless there's a large hole in your roof, a possum wouldn't be able to get in."
"What could it be?" Dan asked. To which we were told,
"It's probably a roof rat."
A roof rat? Visions of our electrical cords being chewed through and rat urine and feces in our expensive wool insulation suddenly popped into my head. A RAT?
The pest specialist reassured us that the rats really don't do a lot of damage - but they do smell. Apparently their toilet habits leave much to be desired.
By this time, I'm beside myself. I do not want a rat living in my roof! I do not think of the movie Ratatouille when I envision this rat. No neat little dining room with bibbed rats sipping champagne and nibbling on Brie. THIS RAT MUST GO.
I think I'd rather have possums in the roof.
Apparently, though, there are people who want to Save the Roof Rats. According to the rumor, they taste like chicken.
I love it when family or friends come to visit me from overseas. That's the time I get to roll back to my high school ambition, and play tour guide and museum docent.
When I was in middle and high school, I studied French and took a trip to France with some school mates. I fell in love with the country and didn't find anyone to be rude, as people will sometimes tell you after they get back from a trip to Paris. Mais non. I love just about everything French. I loved the trip so much, I decided that I wanted to attend school at the University of London and work overseas, sharing my wisdom with other students, as someone did with me.
Alas, it was not to be, as I couldn't figure out how to transfer my American high school credits to the university, and the entry process completely confounded me. With no high school guidance counsellor equipped to help me either, I saw my dreams sink into the mud. Everything else was a major disappointment, so I went to the cheapest school near to home that offered a tourism certificate.
As often happens, life choices can lead you far from your intended path. This doesn't mean that I've ever stopped loving to travel and sharing knowledge with others, especially if that knowledge includes cultural and historical information. This is why, when people come to visit me, I get excited. I get to play tour guide. Or rather, I get to play tourist.
Sure, I can draw up an itinerary and suggest places to stay - but the whole point in being a guide is so that you can play tourist, too. I get to share in wine tastings, go on excursions to the top of waterfalls, crawl through caves, and visit quaint historical villages, all the while, impressing my guests with my knowledge of local lore. Never mind their Birkenstocks and Bermuda shorts. We're here to have fun!
You know - even without the degree from the University of London, I feel as if I've still made it, and am doing what I've always wanted to do, (without the silly clothes.)
Now, if I could only convince more people to come out and visit.
I've decided that I want my size 4's to fit me again. I don't know why I got this idea - I think it is just a byproduct of getting older and having to accommodate bigger boobs with my wardrobe. This is the curse of many a middle-aged woman: expanding boobage. I figure that if I can lose weight everywhere, my boobs are bound to be affected as well as my tummy and hips, and I'll be able to button my blouses again.
I was given a diet plan that is supposed to help kick start a sluggish metabolism. If this works - all I can say is: "Hallelujah!" There's no weirdness in this diet - it's basically a high protein, low carb diet. Along with the extra boobage, my metabolism has slowed down (in preparation for old age and the day I can no longer eat properly, no doubt), so I am going to give it the proverbial kick in the butt and will report back here on the efficacy (or not) of such lunacy.
Here is the diet, just in case you want to suffer along with me:
13 Day Diet
1st Day (Monday)
Breakfast: slice of wheat bread, unlimited coffee without sugar
Lunch: 2 boiled eggs, unlimited amount cooked spinach
Dinner: grilled fillet or beef steak
2nd Day (Tuesday)
Breakfast: slice of wheat bread, unlimited coffee without sugar
Lunch: beef steak, green salad, unlimited fruit
Dinner: ham (unlimited amount)
3rd Day (Wednesday)
Breakfast:slice wheat bread, unlimited coffee without sugar
Lunch: 2 boiled eggs, green bean salad with tomatoes
Dinner: ham and green salad
4th Day (Thursday)
Breakfast:slice of wheat bread, unlimited coffee without sugar
Lunch: 1 cooked egg, cooked or raw carrots (unlimited), cheese slice
Dinner: fruit salad and natural yogurt
5th Day (Friday)
Breakfast:shredded carrots with lemon, coffee without sugar
Lunch: fish, raw tomatoes
Dinner: beef steak, salad
6th Day (Saturday)
Breakfast: wheat bread, coffee without sugar
Lunch: grilled chicken
Dinner: 2 cooked eggs and carrots
7th Day (Sunday)
Breakfast: tea with lemon
Lunch: grilled beef steak and unlimited fruit
Dinner: your choice
Beginning the 8th day, restart at Day 1 until the 6th day to complete 13 days. With this diet, you will lose 9 kilos (19.84 lbs) if followed exactly as indicated. On the 14th day, eat normally...
*Sweet N Low or Splenda may be used as sweeteners
My only gripe is - why can't someone invent the chocolate diet, or the cheese diet? So far, I've been fine - but I'm only half way through Day One. What happens if I start to crave pizza or gelato? Will Dan survive this diet with me?
Every once in a while, I'm going to get out my size 4 leather pants to keep myself motivated. God help me if those pants start looking delicious.