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Where our motto is: If we can imagine it dead, we can make it dead.

Three mice and counting since last night. I might’ve felt some measure of guilt over the demise of a living creature. I really might’ve. A twinge anyway. Somewhere in the deep recesses of my brain. If, just prior to finding the initial deceased, I hadn’t discovered mouse droppings on top of the dresser where I had been planning to stack the freshly cleaned bedding and towels.

This would be the part of the dresser where I keep the bedding we regularly use on our bed because the linen closet is so full. And, yes, this meant that I had even more bedding to wash. And, yes, I was swearing. And, yes, too, I discovered the mouse carcass precisely because I purposefully looked to see if I had created a death. I had. No guilt feelings washed over me.

I think the dresser thing caused an aneurysm or a miniature stroke in my prefrontal cortex, and it hampered normal guilt feelings. Plus, it made me admit out loud that I’m going to have to clean all the kitchen cupboards. Again this year.

And then it occurred to me that I should check inside the dresser. That’s when my left posterior superior temporal sulcus, another guilt producing factory in the brain, went on strike. All the neurons working there just threw down their tools, shut down the guilt machinery, and walked out the door. They’re in a pub somewhere talking trash about the administrative part of my brain that makes the rest of me continue living here at mouse central. Yes, the mice had been in all four drawers of the dresser, doing you know what and gods know what else on what was otherwise clean clothing. If not for the rodent filth and all.

When I got up this morning and found the second mouse carcass, I smiled. And I had a good day.

This third one is going to guarantee a good night’s sleep at pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

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is brought to you by Mickey Mouse and Stewart Little, co-founders of Mouse Crap, Inc., whose motto is: We’re proving that real life is a lot more not-so-cute-as-Hollywood one disgusting pile at a time.

The sewer project is not quite wrapped up as we wait for things to air and dry and to leak test before re-battening the hatches. In the meantime, because I didn’t have enough to do with construction, winterization and the general chores of life, I have to empty and clean the contents of two closets.

Mickey and Stewart were frolicking about the living room Friday just prior to getting into trouble — and none of that is meant as a euphemism or an exaggeration.

While kicked back in my recliner, taking a work break to lay on a couple ice packs (yes, I’m that pitiful), I heard miniature chaos breaking out in the coat closet and pretty soon two little rodents spilled out from under the door and romped around the floor. Not 15 feet from me. Bold as can be. Two mice frickin’ playing in my living room.

I didn’t have anything at hand to throw at them, so I got up and checked/reset all the traps.

And caught nothing.

I checked the trap line Saturday morning, and it didn’t look like the mice had even run past the traps to smell them. Well, I hoped, maybe I scared them off. Later, I went back into the linen closet, where the trap at the back of the house is set, and found mouse droppings on the towels. You know, the towels we rub all over our bodies. Some, too, on the sheets formerly known as clean. All new disgustingness since 6 a.m. when I had checked the trap on the floor of that very closet. So I checked the coat closet. Didn’t find any droppings in plain sight, but it smells. I’m imagining a nest in the crate full of mittens and gloves, or a stash of dog food and poo in the pockets or linings of a few coats. I’m thinking I’ll be cleaning out the kitchen cupboards for the third time this year.

I’m imagining the death of these mice until my trap line makes them so.

I went to town for more bleach yesterday, but couldn’t bring myself to start the clean up. I wanted dead rodents to prove that if I go through with this cleaning ordeal, I won’t have to turn around and do it again right away. Still nothing this morning. I’ve always vowed I wouldn’t use Decon or other poisons because I didn’t want to risk a stray cat getting into it or have a mouse die in a wall somewhere.

I don’t care anymore. Dead is dead. I’ll make it so a cat can’t get into the Decon and if I have to cut a hole in a wall to get to a rotting mouse carcass, so be it. I don’t even need a trophy mount or a line of mouse skins stretched and tacked to the barn wall. I just want them dead. I’ve offered my dog a bounty to turn his awesome rabbit and bird hunting skills to more helpful prey: house mouses.

Also, I can’t tolerate the soiled things in the closets another day, so I’ve started washing. Everything. And will be stacking the stuff on my dressers and desk and any other handy surface not related to a closet in my house until the rodents are vanquished. Again. Buy stock in bleach companies.

I’m not as enraged as I might otherwise be, my back is feeling better. I took an early morning walk, saw two muley does grazing the field and a couple magpies heading north to the highway for breakfast in the pre-dawn light, watched Coop work and flush a covey of Huns and stood at the top of a hill, sucking in cold, crisp air, watching the morning sun rise in a cloudless sky with a three-quarter moon dropping to the western horizon at my back.

It ain’t all bad at pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

I’ve been digging and pounding on things again. My hands and forearms are so exhausted that they don’t work right tonight. They’ve stopped tremoring every time I try to operate a pen or an eating utensil, but they’re still weak enough that my handwriting looks even more like that of a serial killer and I may not have the strength remaining to overeat my way to a happier me in this crisis.

Oh, the horror at pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

This video of an eventing helmet cam recording (see blog post fail Sept. 14). Can you tell I haven’t slept well for a few weeks?

This is sunrise this morning:

It’s also, interestingly, what my eyes look like without regular application of Visine.

Another day in paradise at pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

I guess it’s not just the government who ruins everything.

We’ve had our dog Cooper for about five years. On most days that I have left for work and at other random moments of leaving, I’ve said to Cooper some version of: “OK, Cooper, keep our honey company.”

“See you later, puppy. Keep our honey company.”

“You be a good dog, Coop. Keep our honey company.”

“I hate to go, so you keep our honey company.”

And you get it, right. It’s a habit now. A common part of my day. I do it reflexively, no thought whatsoever. I walk away from the dog … and I say the thing.

Then one day a few weeks ago, in the throes of a fit of verbal dyslexia, I swapped a few letters from two words and created a whole different meaning. It has ruined everything.

I have ruined everything.

To explain how this has happened, while using this visual media, I’ll use the homophones of my new words to better illustrate the degree of my error:

Instead of: “Good boy, Cooper, you keep our honey company.”

I swapped the H and the C and said: “Good boy, Cooper, you keep our cunny hump-iny.”

What!? Eeeeew. Ew. Ew. Ew. No, no, ew. He’s just an innocent doggy. And I can’t take it back. The phrase is now stuck there in my head, (ironically) along with, though second to, the impulse to say the original “keep our honey company” line.

I start out: “Cooper, you keep ou—” and I become conscious of what could go drastically wrong, and I finish with: “Ulghk! Grrrahg! Just be a good boy.”

The halcyon days of my innocence are gone, polluted forever by, well, me. I am seriously in need of a new shtick.

I think it’s possible to have hyperbolic homophonia at: pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

Driving a plain, tan, four-door car is kind of nice in an “I can pretend I’m a kick-ass CIA agent driving around incognito, blending in with the native hicks,” Double-O Pam, kind of way.

No one recognizes us because there are so many plain, tan, four-door cars out on the roads right now.

Therein lies the problem: The car is so friggin’ incognito that sometimes I can’t even find it myself.

Two months after we got it, I pulled into an on-street parallel parking spot right behind another tan four-door something and went into the takeout-only restaurant for my food, passing by someone exiting the building as I went in. I got my food, held the door open for someone to enter the restaurant and went out onto the sidewalk heading to the second plain Janer in line.

As I walked and balanced the food in my arms and pushed the door unlock button on the key ring (our first ever), I noticed that the first tan car was beeping and flashing and thought, “Oh, we must be on the same wavelength, ha ha.” And then I noticed the lei hanging of “my” car’s rearview mirror and realized, “Hey, that’s not my car, the first one is. Stupid tan cars.”

No that’s a lie, I stopped walking and thought, “WTF does my car have a lei hanging off the mirror for?” Whatever. Shut up.

Apparently, the person I passed going in was the driver of the plain tan car that was originally ahead of me — and they left — and the person I passed going out was the driver of the tan car that ended up behind mine. Those people pulled the ol’ switch-a-roo on me.

I’m ashamed to say that it worked … and it took me the longest 10 seconds of my life (standing out there on the busiest street in town, pushing the unlock button over and over, and looking back and forth between the two tan cars) to figure out that, well, I’m rather dull-witted. That was the important point of the moment.

The incident made me more conscientious about keeping track of where I park. And I hung a Christmas ornament off my rear view mirror, so there’s that to help me.

It’s been a few years since I screwed that one up, really badly anyway, but I learned yesterday that I’m not immune to further misadventures in mistaken car identity under the right circumstances.

While in line at the checkout counter, I conversed with the cashier and the guy ahead of me in line. It seems he was buying clothing for the two (of his eight!) children still living at home. The cashier and I were making appropriate-sounding noises that masked our dismay at having that many children, so it sounded as if we were enthralled. Then the guy asked if I had any kids (“Heh, heh,” nervously, “No.”) and kept insisting that I was “young enough to have lots of kids.” (“Heh, heh. No!”)

After leaving the store, I walked down the sidewalk apparently enthralled at the idea that I am still hot-looking enough that I could be mistaken for someone in the reasonably child-bearing years. Well, OK, he didn’t say “hot,” but young enough, anyway. I was feeling pretty good about this, laughing to myself with just a hint of cockiness. And you can see where I’m going with this story, right?

Yup, right past my car and pushing that friggin’ door unlocking button thingy at the wrong. plain. tan. four-door. car.

But now I have experience, now I’m a little smoother operator, and now, thankfully, the battery is low on the thingy so my car didn’t beep and flash its lights behind me. I did what any reasonable person would do. I pretended that I hadn’t hit the button, suavely looked at my watch and mimed an “Oh, shoot! I don’t have time for that errand. I just remembered I need to go somewhere else … in my car … that’s back that-a-way.”

Yeah, if only I could’ve tripped over my feet in that about-face and picked myself up the ground with a mimed, “OMG, I meant to do that so I could pick up this awesome nickel! I better get to my car — quick — before someone comes back for their lost treasure!”

It would’ve been an Oscar-worthy moment at: pam(at)viewfromthenorth40.com

Remember the old joke about getting points for hitting certain people out in the street with your car? I don’t remember the punchline, but in the end, the actual punchline isn’t the important part. And I don’t mean that as a pun.

The important part is the idea of a point system and, of course, the laughing every time you mention how many points people are worth when they walk out in front of your vehicle. Right?

Oh look, an old lady, she’s gotta be 50 points, easy. She’d be more, but she’s looking pretty spry. Hey, a one-legged guy on crutches, 75 points. Pregnant woman — score!

I have to be honest though. I never understood the point system. Yes, I know it’s just a theoretical point system. But still, it’s flawed. The principle is that the more feeble, aged, infirm, vulnerable or pitiful the person, the more theoretical points you earn.

Backwards. Even in theory.

It always seemed to me that the more fit, agile and mobile a person is, the more points you earn for running them down, theoretically speaking. Because it’s harder. Right? Am I right?

Skip the ol’ fart slothing the crosswalk in a standard, silver, aluminum walker. Y’know the kind where they cut out the tennis balls to cap the tips of the legs? Yeah, you know. Old dude ain’t worth any points. Hell, my grandma could’ve run him down in her self-propelled wheelchair.

On the other hand, some whipcord teenager with is hat on backward and that just right amount of his boxers showing over his pants ripping along on a skateboard, now he’d be hard to hit — score 85 for bouncing that quick sucker off your bumper. An even 100 if he isn’t distracted by an iPod or texting when you do it.

See what I mean? That would be a feat worth scoring.

Of course, this is all theoretical because no one actually tries to hit the people. Right? You’re just entertaining yourself (in a macabre way) while waiting waiting waiting to drive or while brake-checking yourself into a minor case of whiplash because someone darted out in front of your car and you just saved the fool’s ungrateful life.

I bring this up now, not because I’ve been running down innocent bystanders in the streets, but because of the guy who sneaked up on that 8-year-old boy and knifed him four times in the back because he wanted to know what it was like to kill a kid. Seriously.

23-year-old Evan Sachs of Nassau County, N.Y., spent several weeks scouting malls in his area before finally executing his insane plan one day at an arcade. He waited until the randomly picked boy’s parents were distracted for a moment then attacked. And, yes, Sachs really is working his way up the crazy ladder of success, according to his mother.

But, still, dude. Killing a little kid is the craziest thing you can come up with? Especially some little kid hyper-focused on a video game? I say no score. (And the kid lived, so double goose eggs to ya.)

Want to earn some serious points? Let’s see you try scoring a hit on, say, a special ops member in a toe-to-toe dust up. Or, here’s an idea, take your crazy knife show on the road to Sturgis and see how you do against a pack of those Hell’s Angels fellas. Now, that right there would be some crazy shit on the scoreboard.

Seek more help, dude. Seriously. In a lock up facility somewhere. Please.

Just had to get that off my chest. Now I can go back to watching the Chile miners emerge from their 69-day confinement 2,041 feet beneath the Earth’s outer crust. Godspeed, gentlemen.

Ever wonder how many points you’re worth while jaywalking at: pam(at)viewfromthenorth40.com

red ants

Random view: Red ants on the job.

Remember the troll who works for the U.S. Census Bureau? And how John and I were all excited that he might come to our house? And how I wanted to put up a “Trolls Welcome” sign on the side of the house?

Yeah, he totally didn’t come to our house. Sure the Census worker we got today was highly polite and professional, but she was no troll I can tell you that much.

I just want to go on the record that we feel this moment is a colossal letdown. I mean, we could’ve had a troll. We wanted to test our metal against his magnetic trollness. We wanted to know if we would laugh. If he would also. These are important issues.

Then we get ultra-professional chick in all her niceness instead. Whatever, Census Bureau. Just another example of my government disappointing me.

I take it personally at: pam(at)viewfromthenorth40.com

Be careful what you brag about.

While talking to my friend The Redhead last night, I told her about how my back is feeling really good and I rarely have trouble with hand numbness during the night anymore — because I’m being so gosh darn good about taking care of myself.

We got off the phone between 9 and 9:30 p.m. then another friend called to chat and make arrangements for some horseshoeing. By the time we got off the phone, it was time I started wrapping up the evening and getting ready for bed by 10:30 p.m. — because that’s what people who take care of themselves do. Go to bed at a respectable hour.

Of course, they also take the time to do some exercises and stretches before the end of a day that included, among other work, almost two hours of lugging a backpack sprayer around spraying weeds. Because, of course, people who are so gosh darn good about taking care of themselves that they brag know that packing the sprayer’s weight on their shoulders while bending their head down constantly to look for weeds on the ground puts a strain on the neck and upper thoracic — the area from whence flow the nerves governing the numbness of one’s upper limbs and shoulders.

Braggarts know these things, really.

And yet, I didn’t stretch. I didn’t even take ibuprofen. I just went to bed. Then woke up two hours later to change position. And again every hour to 20 minutes after that until I got up at 4:30 a.m., in the morning, before actual daylight, because by then I could only toss and turn.

This is the bad thing about not being sick: totally couldn’t sleep during the day to make up for the sleepless night which was due to working too hard because I felt good. Makes your head spin a little, doesn’t it.

From now on, I’ll only brag about my humility at: pam(at)viewfromthenorth40.com

The weekend was a bust. Not like my bust, I mean a substantial bust. Like a Dolly Parton/Sumo wrestler embryo transfer love child into Pamela Anderson kind of bust. (FYI, try Googling “man boobs” some day. Just saying. It can be done, and you can find 10.1 million possible sites — including this one, now.)

Friday, high winds — I won’t subject your eye-brain accord to the torture, so just imagine that two-word descriptive in all caps with occasional gusts of italics.

Saturday, lovely day, me inexplicably exhausted and just a titch, shall we say, crabby. And by titch I mean that, if my crabbiness were the bust, it would’ve been in “Attack of the 50-foot Woman” proportions.

That evening I read a job posting for an online, three-month humor-writing gig. Sounded interesting and a bit twisted, so yeah, it was attractive. The two downsides were: 1) They wanted a writing sample on a specific topic and the deadline was end of day Sunday, as in just a little over 24-hours. 2) This is the start of riding season, do I really want a third job when I could be on horseback?

Sunday dawned cold and gray outside, warmer inside. I kind of had an idea, so mulled it over as I went about chores … and digging post holes. It occurred to me that in some dream world vision in which I could beat out roughly a gazillion people for the gig that I could hire someone to grunt their way through my corral project. Awe-some.

I was an idea machine after that.

So, throughout the day amongst my duties, both horsey and domestic, I worked on the project and my resume refresher. By 10:30 p.m. I folded the last load of laundry and left John to slumber as I wrapped up the last details with a hit-send-and-in-bed-by-11 objective. Tweak the text, twist, plump, retie, resave, copy/paste, recopy/paste, attach, delete, reattach, blah blah blah … because I. Can’t. Stop. Re-editing. Until you pry the work from cold, deadlined fingers. It’s an illness,

In the brief blah blah blah email about the purpose of this blah blah blah, I said something to the effect that I had pasted the writing sample below, but it also was attached as a Word doc. (Because the filing directions didn’t say which way they wanted the info to come, so do both, right? Cover all the bases. Smart, eh? Now I’m thinkin’.)

At 11:41 p.m. I was tired and totally ready to be rid of the burden of my OCD-related codependency on this fledgling writing sample. I copy/pasted the text one last time and just hit “send” for cryin’ out — Noouhaaarghhh! I didn’t reattach the final draft of the writing sample into the email.

At that point, Sunday officially became a complete bust. Not only am I certain that the company can and will find people of = or > caliber writing skills, I’m quite certain at least one of those witty geniuses will be thorough enough to make sure that all attachments promised are, in fact, attached. I’ve heard that it’s a simple thing to check, but I don’t know, and I certainly couldn’t swear to witnessing or practicing it.

I was in bed at 12:03 a.m. By going past midnight, I pretty much assured that Monday would be equally bustfull in a flat-busted sense of the word. Broke down and low down. Bust-er-o-roony.

I want to dig those post holes myself, really, at: pam(at)viewfromthenorth40.com