This has been a Most Difficult Week. It started with last week, Tuesday morning, at 6am, down in my laundry room. I was putting in some clothes to wash for my vacation in the DC area, when something raced past me, and scampered behind the washer. A rat, smallish, dark in color. A rat. Seen on the morning that I was departing town for 5 days. I didn't even own a rat trap here in the Atomic Lodge, in spite of all the rat drama I survived in Hawaii. Shit. I was leaving town, a dogsitter was coming by a couple times a day to see my hounds, and I was off in Arlington with my love for a week. Shit. "Okay, you've got 5 days to party, Brother Rat, and then it's all over."
I went on to Arlington, where it was spectacularly, sensationally, insanely hot. Really, GA had nothing on the DC area for stifling, white-skied, 100+ temperatures and swimming humidity. I tried so hard to have a holiday, but it ended up being rather quieter than I'd planned, due mostly to the need to keep cool. People, you know me. I am heat-tolerant. I love the feel of humidity on my skin, welcome the sun's healing fire. But this thing that's been hitting the East Coast the past couple of weeks was bigger than all of us. I saw movies, met friends for breakfast, spindled pretty wool, watched Tour de France recaps, hung out with P, swam in his apartment complex pool, which was like bathwater. One desperate day, we decided not to go outside, in favor of watching the entire first season of The Walking Dead, in one big air-conditioned marathon. Good times, even though I would never define myself as a fan of the zombie apocalypse. One does strange things in this heat.
I came home, and set off to find my rat traps, visiting Lowe's, The Home Depot, another local hardware store, Walgreens, CVS, Kroger, and finally, the hated Wal-Mart. It was that last place, a desperate bid, that turned up 3 Victor rat traps, which I initially thought might be overkill. I set them that night, and turned up the next morning with a rat in the laundry room trap. Next night, another. Next morning, a third, caught in broad daylight, over by the dogfood. At this point, it ceased to be a humorous thing, and turned into a panic. 3 rats in 36 hours is not a laughing matter. I emailed my friend Mike, a well-known rat killer, in CA, who offered me sympathy, encouragement, and the advice to "keep the rat death machine rolling, whatever you do, do not lose heart."
So I kept setting traps, though there have been no other kills. The week kept on being a series of ups and downs. Badly behaved, disrespectful children at work. Heat, humidity, and a nasty 5 hour stomach flu that I thought would kill me, and then mysteriously departed. Huh...
Through an act of mindlessness, I melted my plastic compost bucket on the stove burner, thus putting that system on hold, temporarily. The garbage men did not pick up my trash, leaving me one rotting rat in the trash can. It got rained on, making rotten rat soup in the can. Nature's Miracle and a lot of baking soda took care of that this morning, after they finally came. I wised up and just pitched the other 2 dead rats out into the woods, allowing for decomposition and the circle of life, but the stink of dead rotting rat is one you don't soon forget.
My dear pagan friend Leah came into town, and we went out and about in Roswell, for negronis and charcuterie at the salt factory, a cool pub in this hot town. That actually was a bright spot in my week, which continued on in its desultory way, culminating in my laptop crashing last night, and temporarily losing all the pictures in my iPhoto library. 8,000 images. Attempts to restore the photos have met with mixed success, and it looks like they are still parked in a file on the machine, and will have to be added back into iPhoto manually. I am not so happy with OS Lion right now. I back up my data pretty regularly, and it shouldn't be a huge crisis, but for a few minutes, I was heartsick.
Leah's advice to me was to join her in a re-read of Pema Chodron's great classic book, When Things Fall Apart, which I think is sound. Now it's Thursday, we've had 2 nights of violent thunderstorms, which have broken the awful heat, but left me a yardfull of sticks to pick up.
Summer's heat and weird schedule, plus the daily Korean rice-and-noodle based lunch my boss makes have served to make all my clothes extra tight, and not in a flattering way. So, in an attempt to avoid the creation of a whole new wardrobe, I've stopped eating bread, rice, noodles, and sugary foods again, revisiting a modified South Beach diet, which always makes me feel more energetic, if not thinner. These days, breakfast is a slice or two of smoked turkey or veggie sausage, a hard-boiled egg, some kind of fruit or leftover vegetable. Lunch is salad, and dinner is something cooked up - tonight it's tandoori chicken legs and grilled yellow squash, because we've got a break in the rain. Last night it was this treat, a grassfed ribeye from Whole Foods, with a decadent baked potato topped with plain yogurt.
I am off to grill my chicken legs and walk Ella down to the labyrinth and maybe try and turn this week around before it runs right over me.