company’s a’comin

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Ever have one of those weeks jammed packed with work, travel, outside life, and company coming to visit at the end of it?  Not to mention tending to the busy-every-day-activities of our dogs?

Last week I had one of those hari-kari weeks that included a lot of work, our Association’s Annual Conference causing me to be away from home for four days, Indian Market at the Plaza and company flying in.  The best part of my crazy week was of course the company but I still had to get through the rest of it before I could enjoy their visit.

I had everything planned out – down to the littlest detail.  My Monday and half of Tuesday was prep work for the Conference.  Busy work, copying speaker material, picking up banners from the printers, running errands, finalizing the agendas for meetings.  Crossing off items on a long list of “to-do’s”. Packing and hauling conference ‘stuff’. Long hours.  It is always frantic performing last-minute details.  The other half of Tuesday was travel.  I was going to be out-of-town Tues-Fri.  Not far.  Just Albuquerque.  But still away from normalcy.  Wednesday through Friday was our Annual Conference.  Meetings, speakers, sessions.  Wednesday the house-cleaner would be dealing with our dog-dirty house, doing the standard company coming clean.  Thursday after work, our dog-sitter would show up to tend to Amore and Dolce while Malcolm drove down to join me at our Celebration Gala and to pick up our visiting friends at the airport, flying from in Hotlanta, GA for Indian Market.  Since my conference was over mid-morning on Friday, our Georgia friends enjoyed ABQ for the night before we traveled back up to Santa Fe.  And finally, Saturday and Sunday.  Indian Market.  Fun.  Wine.  Great friends. Phew!  It took a whirlwind to get to the fun part.

I couldn’t do any of this without some key people.  My house-cleaner (my one extravagance)  and our puppy-sitter (our one necessity).  I was reassured the house would be clean and ready for company.  I knew the dogs would be reasonably calm after having one of their favorite people care for them.  After being away for four days and arriving back home with company in tow, I was comforted knowing all was ready for our guests.  It was time to let the weekend start!

So it came as a bit of shock to receive a text from our puppy-sitter on Thursday evening just as the Gala was starting, stating Dolce was barking down in the den area.  Unusual behavior for our normally calm girl.  Before I could text back with questions, she sent back a photo of the cause.  Our little girl had cornered an intruder.

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“Look what I found in the guest bathroom!”  she wrote.  Crap! Shit! Son-of-a-bitch!  Oh yeah, this allows for all the cuss words.  I had company arriving soon and this little toddler was in their bathroom, up against the tub.  It was no wonder Dolce was barking up a storm, calling in the Calvary.  Consequential texts informed me all three girls: Dolce, Amore and Gordita had entered the fray.  Pandemonium had started. Dogs barking, cat wanting in on the action.  Dog drama in an already drama filled week.  I’m not sure how she did it, but with my final text from the sitter, I learned the mouse was outside, the girls quiet and lounging around. Gordita sniffing corners and under furniture looking for her lost toy.

Gordita was at it again.  Our dear fat cat likes to bring in the outside wonders of the rodent world to play with.  Live animated toys to her, she enjoys playing Catch and Release with the damn things. She is a good mouser, but likes them alive.  And likes to show off her live catch.

We are used to mice, we live out in the country where they are abundant.  It’s one of the reasons we have Gordita.  But I certainly don’t want a mouse in the house hours before company is arriving.

I showed Malcolm the text/photo once he arrived at the gala banquet.  “Oh shit!” was his only comment.

“Yeah, you took the words right out of my mouth!” I replied, I think the sitter was able to get it out of the house.”

“We owe her some hazard pay!” I added.  Malcolm nodded his agreement.

“We won’t say anything to Greg and Laura until Monday when they leave,” Malcolm chuckled.  Yeah, right before we drop them off at the airport!” By now both Malcolm and I were starting to laugh over the mouse and our secret.

Welcome to my life!

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sneaky snake

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We have a sneaky snake.  No, it’s not Dolce, who is usually our first choice to blame as she likes to double-back on the trail to sneak a bite at a road apple.  Nor is it Amore, a likely culprit however,  who likes to quietly slip into the kitchen undetected to counter-surf for any and all crumbs left behind.  Both girls have well-deserved and well-earned reputations of being sly, cunning, evasive, clever, crafty…  and, well, just down-right sneaky when it comes to some delicious little tidbit of food that they desire.  They are pros when it comes to measuring the distance between master (us),  the goal (food), and the trials and tribulations to obtain said goal.  They can recognize the challenge and process the steps necessary to achieve victory without being scared or turning back.  And, usually they are spot-on thieves, quick as a wink and unafraid of retribution from Malcolm or myself.

No, this sneaky snake is just that, a snake.  A real one.  Four to five feet long, I can only pray it is either a Bull Snake, Whip Snake, or a Red Racer.  Of course, by the time I finish this tale, the snake will be at least 6 to 7 feet long with a girth wider than Malcolm’s chest and has fangs to rival a vampire.  Unfortunately, the only evidence we have gathered is the skin.  A long, scaly, ugly snake-skin.  Uck!  Double uck!  Triple, quadruple, uck! Let me say it in plain English –  UCK!  I. HATE. SNAKES.  Big, small, skinny, fat, friendly or deadly, doesn’t matter, I hate’em all and it doesn’t help matters that I live in an area that is populated with such creatures.  Give me a spider or a mouse any day (more on the mice at a later date).  I know, without a doubt, if Dolce or Amore ever saw a snake they would think it’s play time, something to chase after, play with and perhaps bring into the house to show off to the folks.

With the frequent monsoon rains we have the past couple of weeks, the flash floods and the wash out roads, many rodents and reptiles have moved to higher ground.  We’ve seen more snakes in the last two weeks than we have in all the years we’ve lived in Santa Fe – bar none.  To year-to-date, the total count is:  4 Rattlesnakes, 4 Bull Snakes, 1 Whip Snake and 2 Red Racers – a zillion Kangaroo Rats, a couple dozen Pack Rats (imagine a mouse on steroids)  and at least 6 gophers.  Mice aren’t part of the totals, as they are beyond counting.

Even though, every spring we give Dolce and Amore a Rattlesnake booster shot, even though we are vigilant when we hike the trails and the green belt, miles from anywhere and no cell service, even though it’s often said, “they are more afraid of you” – I still fret and worry about snakes.  Especially when the below picture was taken 10 feet from our garage door.

sneaky snake

sneaky snake

Now that I’m examining the photo a little more closely, it’s evident this is probably a twelve footer with wings, can squeeze you in half, has a tail like a scorpion and can spew fire from it’s mouth.