Hear the beat of the tum tum

I have a stomach ache. Right now, as I type this. I haven't had one in so long at first I didn't know what it was. Maybe it's not even a stomach ache, maybe I am just so filled with gas I might soon be in danger of reenacting the Hindenburg disaster. But in my case I'm pretty sure it's not hydrogen, or I'd be floating in mid-air, which I'm not.

I don't know exactly what's caused this, but I suspect it's squash. I don't think vegetables are good for me. I know everyone else in the world thinks vegetables are good for you, and maybe they're good for them, but I'm not convinced they're good for me.

I don't hate them or anything, I'm sure they're very lovely plants, and they do look quite pretty. I just don't think eating them is in my best interest. It isn't just me, either, it runs in my family. I didn't grow up eating them. I only ate pickles because I was unaware they were cucumbers in disguise. I wouldn't have eaten a cucumber with all those scary seeds if you'd paid me. But somehow a pickle seemed harmless and toothsome.

Toothsome is a word I don't understand but love. It's as if your tooth wants some. My teeth don't particularly want anything, except maybe cashews and chocolate, which they seem to enjoy squashing.

Oh, the squash again. Like I said, my family isn't much for vegetables. My niece, Ocea, loves them, but half of her comes from her father, Loren, whose family always had vegetables at every meal, so apparently their Swedish ancestors were big herbivores.

My ancestors didn't eat plants, at least I don't think so, at least not unless they were really desperate, and then anything can look good; you know how that is. The Irish practically lived on potatoes but I don't think my progenitors ate them. They might have carved them into delightful woodblock-like things and made prints, but eating them would not have been the first thing on their minds.

My kinfolk must have raised chickens, though, because everyone in my family loves chicken. And sour cream. I don't know how you raise sour cream, but I know cows are involved, though I don't see my people with cows. Perhaps they traded with tribes of sour cream making peoples.

There are two other possibilities for my digestive distress. One is that our house smells bad right now, because a mouse or mice must have died under the floor. I have that suspicion because when I went into the kitchen late at night for a glass of water I saw a shadowy little shape on the floor and threw a box over it. Since my reflexes aren't all that good, the fact that I could throw a box on it immediately suggested that it was dead, and the fact that it didn't thrash around in the box confirmed this. I slipped a newspaper under it, and slid it off the deck into the garden, where it could rest in peace.

This is the first time I've actually seen an uninvited rodent in our house and I have to say it's shocking. Where did it come from? Did it crawl through the air vent? (creepy if it's true). Did it maybe just walk inside one time when we left the front door open (less creepy, but a valuable lesson). A lizard once came in that way and I had to grab it with my bare hands when it popped it's head out from under the warm refrigerator. I don't think I could do that with a mouse, even though they're cute—even this poor stiff little one was cute and now just looked like a very realistic stuffed animal.

This poor little mouse hadn't died of natural causes. It died because I'd put out rat poison after my wife saw something small and gray, with four feet and a long tail run across the kitchen. I don't mind them being under the house since we basically live in the forest and they were here first, but I do draw the line at them living IN the house if they don't pay rent, which they haven't yet offered to do.

I knew where there was one stiff rat, there were more, probably under the house. I also knew from experience they would stink for a few days, then they'd just dry up and look just like little mummy mice, which was quite interesting in a weird kind of way. I knew it was time to put out some rat poison.

So I disposed of the rent-shirking rodent and didn't tell my wife so as not to upset her. But the next morning she said, "There must be a mouse in the house because something has been eating the sunflower seeds that are meant for the invited rodents (namely chipmunks) outside." It's only then that I explained to her the stiff yet still fluffy uninvited guest I disposed of last night and she was very good about it all, not reacting, other than to have me put out another box of poison.

But her calm concerned me, as it always does, which can be a problem for me, as she's always calm.

So tonight, the living room has an unpleasant odor, which means that yet another uninvited guest (wait, if they're uninvited can be they called a "guest" or are they merely a "loiterer" at best, "intruder" at worst? I'll have to think about that) has perished under the floor. And the very stink may have given me a stomach ache, since I'm very sensitive to smells, when I can smell them, which is usually only when I've taken some kind of allergy pill, which I did, in fact, take last night.

There's one other cause which crossed my mind, though, and that has to do with the rat poison. While I was careful not to touch it, and washed my hands twice after even handling the box, for a moment I had the not-very-healthy idea that the aforementioned squash might have been seasoned with it. I wouldn't blame my wife if she did this—and neither should you, as I was quite crabby earlier in the day, but even so, it wouldn't really be kosher, in both meanings of the word.

I didn't like the squash and didn't want to eat it. She suggested I add some goat cheese or blue cheese dressing, both things I like, and both things that a rat would probably like, too. She was very eager for me to eat it, too eager, perhaps, which is what made me wonder.

So I asked her. I said, "You didn't, by any chance, season the squash with rat poison, did you?" She laughed. "French thyme," she added. "Same thing," I replied, as she's always trying to poison me with herbs she grows herself. Once I spotted a plant I was sure was deadly nightshade which she swore up and down was just tarragon. She might have been right, I can never remember the names of these things and I am still here.

So I've ruled out the rat poison. If she had poisoned me she'd tell me so I could appreciate her cunning, which I would have. I wouldn't even think of calling 911 because I'd be embarrassed, plus I wouldn't want her to get in trouble.

I wasn't sure how she'd explain a dead husband on the dining room floor, but maybe she was just going to throw a large box over me and slide me off the deck. But I'm still alive and the rats aren't. So I guess she likes me better than them, at least for the time being.

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One Final Word

We all have uninvited guests at one time or another, and there are some I am sure you would like to use the rat poison method on to hasten a speedy departure. But I recommend you try serving vegetables heavily doused with French thyme instead.




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