Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Why my neighbors may think I'm nuts

First, the progress update:  I had another 9.5-hour 'big chemo' session yesterday. I was ready for it, and my blood counts showed that I've rebounded back out of danger zone levels.  My doc is no longer using bad words around me like 'transfusions.'  See what eating enough spinach to turn you into Popeye will do for you?  I still have a bit of a respiratory infection and my voice isn't back to normal, but I have meds for those so this should be a good week.  I was thrilled that my counts were up high enough that I can actually eat fresh fruits and vegetables for a few days.  I'll likely be back in the danger zone next week after yesterday's chemicals do their dirty work, but it's hello salads this week!

Now for the neighbors...   When I retired I hadn't realized that I'd be surrounded by neighbors who stayed at home.  I have two retired gentlemen to my left, an Indian couple whose parents are always at home across the street, and beside them is a stay-at-home Japanese mom and her mother.  Let's call them all witnesses.  Fortunately the couple to our right works, and the people behind us are across an alley, a big thicket, and very tall fences.  Let's call them oblivious.  They don't hear the intermittent screams.

We have rabbits.  Rabbits in the south have learned it's not easy to burrow into our hard soils, so they love to burrow into flower beds, particularly those with mulch.  I have 3-4" of mulch on my flower beds.  Hence, we are a rabbit-breeding heaven.  There's obviously a neon sign out on a rabbit trail somewhere that says "spawn here!"  The problem is that you can't always tell a burrow by looking at it. Those crafty rabbits. So when you are weeding or planting, you can find your hand suddenly in the midst of a writhing mass of pink-and-gray baby rabbits.  This is in no way cute, it's like having your hand in a mass of large maggots.  The first time this happened, I did the only reasonable thing possible:  scream like a banshee.  I'm sure I curdled milk in refrigerators for at least two blocks around. 

My husband came running out to ask what was wrong.  By that time I had recovered enough to yell back "killer rabbits!"   Unfortunately he's not the Monty Python movie fan I am and didn't get the humor.  

Now we're into the stage where baby rabbits infest my flower beds.  One evening when I went out front to check the azaleas there, I startled a litter and a number of small gray furry animals surged out of the flower bed right at me, looking just like the attack of the rats in the movie Ben.  Screams #2 and #3.  I'm sure the two couples across the street figured it was an American spring ritual to scream and dance wildly in front of the azaleas - possibly a fertility rite to make them bloom.

Then there are the geckos.  Actually, they're green skinks, one son tells me, as they have red throats which they puff out in a charming way during mating season.  However, they do look a lot like the little guy in the Geico commercials.  I like having them around:  they eat bugs, they're cute, and they don't try to sell me insurance with an Aussie accent.  In fact, I was trying to take a picture of the bright green skink/gecko on my Crimson Queen Japanese maple when I must have gotten a bit too close.  The skink made a leap for my arm. A lizard suddenly scrambling up a bare arm is not a pleasant thing.  Scream #4.  Then, as I was doing the get-off-of-me-dance, it went for higher and safer ground and made it to my neck.  Scream #5.   

Then there was the baby snake wriggling in the lump of potting soil I picked up.  Enough said.  Scream #6.  Oh, I almost forgot the opossum skulking by our trash cans when I took the garbage out one night, but that was more of a loud yelp than a scream even though I swear its eyes were glowing demonically.  You know, I expected wildlife when I grew up in the country, but in the middle of a major city?

I'm going to have to ask Miss Manners what the social etiquette is to cover this:  issue a blanket apology to the neighbors to ignore the intermittent screams as I adjust to the scary wildlife taking up residence with us?  Or just let them think I'm a bit nuts?

Then last week I went out to pick up the paper and saw Osaka tending flowers in her front yard.  So I went over to chat for a few seconds (see?  I'm neighborly) and didn't realize until I went back inside that I hadn't bothered to grab a hat, scarf, or wig before I went out.  So I'm sure she thinks I've had a Britney Spears off-the-rails moment and shaved my head on impulse.  Probably an American thing.  Possibly from the meds I must be taking to control the screaming.


  1. You are so awesome Martha! Never change.

  2. So you have just summed up just why I don't garden. Although we don't half the critters near me you have!! Well if nothing else you are providing some entertainment so never a bad thing.

    Guess who I'm going to see this weekend-hint-getting on a plane to Seattle.....:)

    Will call when I'm back would love to catch up and here the latest adventures over the phone-xo