Thing is, I'm not sure what I did with those first three weeks of November. We've been working on the house, mostly caulking and sealing gaps and cracks in the walls. Log homes have some different maintenance needs than a traditional home and I'm not sure I ever envisioned the vast quantity of caulk and Great Stuff we could use in our house. All of this work should improve our heating and cooling bills, but hopefully it will also reduce the number of spiders, stinkbugs, and mice that find their way inside our house. After the initial mouse encounter in early October, Oscar calmed down and didn't seem too interested in what might be in the fireplace. Her complacency lulled us into thinking that maybe, just maybe, Oscar had scared the mouse off and there was only ever one mouse and we didn't have to worry about it any more.
Ha. Oscar has spent much of the last two weeks barking at the fireplace, venturing downstairs into the basement to bark at the fireplace down there, whining and scratching at the wall boards, and otherwise driving us nuts. Apparently Mr. Mouse not only moved back inside, he brought all his kin over for Thanksgiving. So we set out some live traps for the mice, not being able to stand the thought of either Ally or Oscar getting too close to a snap trap (not to mention us having to dispose and clean up after a sprung snap trap). We did catch one of the mice this week, which gives us something extra to be thankful for today. We dumped Mr. Mouse into a tall kitchen trash can and ooed and awed over how cute he was, marveled at how high those little suckers can really jump, quickly slammed a lid on the trashcan, and then Steve liberated Mr. Mouse over at the recycling center down the road. Oscar still won't forgive us for not sharing Mr. Mouse with her. I know it's a little ridiculous to be soft hearted over what is essentially vermin living in your house, but that's the kind of people we are. However, I'm all for setting out snap traps if we can't catch the rest of the mice in the live trap and Oscar continues to drive us nuts over the mice. And if Mr. Mouse runs across the floor and Oscar catches it, then that's perfectly okay, too, because that's just nature in action.
I think the rest of our November has been primarily taken up by the perpetual sharing of germs in our family. Steve has had minor cold symptoms since Halloween, Ally's picked up a cough and sore throat for about a week now, I had a sore throat over the weekend, and now Steve has pinkeye. Nothing really major, just the wretched little low grade symptoms that make you want to crawl into bed and sleep all day. Still, it's not stomach flu and there's something else for which I'm thankful.
Last, but not least, I started volunteering at the Montgomery County Emergency Assistance Program's thrift store this month. I give them a couple of hours of my time each week and they save some too worn clothes for me that would otherwise be thrown away but I can use the fabric in my quilting. I like the ladies who work there and it's been interesting to see how the store is organized and managed. I interact with other volunteers like myself and several young adults, mostly women, who are required to work there to pay off community service for whatever reason that got them to the courthouse. I also see many of the women who are shopping there for their children and themselves with vouchers from the local public assistance programs.
Overall the experience has made me realized how fortunate I am. I have a stable relationship with my husband and we live in the same house with our daughter. Both of us are actively involved in our daughter's life. We live in a nice house, have clean clothes, and none of us went hungry today. Both my husband and I have our education and my husband has stable, meaningful work. Our parents are still living and we get to visit them on a regular basis. Even better, we get along very well with our parents and actively invite them into our lives. We have our health and our daughter does not have special needs or a learning disability. We don't have any addictions or emotional issues. We live comfortably and don't carry any debts. There are many other things in our lives for which I'm thankful, but lately these are the ones foremost in my mind.
Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!