Monday, September 10, 2007

Buddhist hunter

I think it's human nature to want to find the answer to the age-old question: what's the meaning of life? Why are we here? Well, in my quest, I've dabbled in several different denominations of religions. While not religious, per se, I've always considered myself spiritual. So, when I found out that the Dalai Lama is coming to Indiana to speak at Purdue University next month, I just had to buy a ticket. That's right...the Lama had tickets for sale online. Kind of like seeing the Foo Fighters. Very OM rock and roll.

So, I bought myself one ticket about a month ago. I figured no one would want to come with me, and I thought it'd be nice to go through security without extra people weighing me down. They say no cameras, personal items, etc., but I still yearn to bring a lighter and scream FREEBIRD!

Fast forward to this past week.

It began with flames. I mean, literal flames. I should’ve known the week would be crazy when on the Tuesday after Labor Day, I set a bagel on fire in my office cafeteria. I know. I’m a regular Betty friggin Crocker. Here I was, innocently waiting for my bagel in the conveyer-belt toaster thingy, when I smell something burning. I look around, thinking it couldn’t possibly be me. I mean, it HAD to be some other dumbass who can't use a toaster. Well, lo and behold, there was my breakfast, half bagel - half fireball, caught in the conveyer toaster. I immediately went into action, smacking it furiously with big steel tongs, people peering over their morning coffees and danishes, watching the crazy girl beat the fire-bagel to death. I’m sure I was the source of much laughter that morning, which is the least I can do for humankind on the first day back from a long Labor Day weekend.

The violence against the bagel was warranted. I can't afford to pay for an office building, and I saw the ruins of it flash before my eyes as I beat it into submission.

That's how my week started. With a fire bagel. Despite the omen, I've settled into country living. I really do love it, even if the next occurrence of the week happened to be the great skunk incident of 2007. This literally left a bad taste in my mouth (and my sinuses and my carpet...). Adjustments aside, I’ve fallen in love with the deafening silence out here in the country, the extreme darkness at night, and the fact that I can now see stars I believe I’ve never seen before in my life. Cities tend to mask them, I've learned. Yesterday, I saw my first RUNNING deer. Two young ones ran across my property at full speed in all their glory. I almost peed myself with glee. Just beautiful.

It’s been 5 days since the great skunk attack, and Tessie still smells a bit funky, even after seven washings with a lethal combination of chemicals. The skunk changed me. I mean, it literally flipped a switch in me. I must preamble this newfound change with the fact that for about a year in my pre-adult phase, I had a bumper sticker on my car that read, “Liberate Laboratory Animals.” And, now I work at a pharmaceutical company. Yeah. There's a trend here...bear with me.

In my past, I've been vehemently opposed to guns. I fear them, so I've historically been anti-gun girl. If I lived in my apartment or in a suburban neighborhood, I would never have one, as you're 350 times more likely to kill someone or be killed, and I don't think I could live with that. Especially if I was dead. I am not one to go out and hunt things for fun, either. I know people who do this, and I'm the first to speak up and tell them that it's about as pointless as watching Nascar or golf, really.

Well, there are critters out here in the country. My perspective has changed just a tad because of my environment. The critters I encounter are not the Snow White-type critters who will come hither and flock to me in a friendly manner when I outstretch my arms. After I spent almost eight hours of one day cleaning my skunked dog, my house, and my person, I realized something profoundly life-altering:

I want to kill some f*cking skunks.

I know, it goes against everything I aspire to be. A calm, together, Buddhist-like being. Free of anger and revengeful feelings and hatred. A centered, wise, and loving capitalist. A smiling beacon of goodness.

I don't intend to apologize for my newfound feelings of skunk hatred. If you have ever had skunk smell on your hands for four days after scrubbing furiously about 25 times a day, you’d understand why.

Deer, I love. Bunnies - they are divine little creatures who are welcome to eat my plants anytime. Gophers and moles and even mice and rats, I’ll deal with. Honestly. I’ll protect them at all costs. And snakes? The fiance caught one today in our window well, in fact, and he so lovingly set it free in the woods. But skunks and raccoons might as well refer to me as Chuck Norris now. They're the gang members of the wilderness. They're the little Al Capones. And, they've screwed with the wrong city-turned-country girl. This bunny has fangs.

Skunks and raccoons add nothing to the ecological hierarchy that some non-spraying, non-stinky creature can’t fulfill. And, when all is said and done, it could’ve really hurt Tess. Or, even more evil, it could've hurt the baby, Zeke. Since the incident, I’ve seen that little skunk walking around on my property at 5 in the afternoon. Skunks are nocturnal, I’ve learned. So, something’s obviously wrong with this one.

I believe the fiancé was slightly floored when I asked if I needed a license to buy a rifle with a scope at Wal-Mart. Me, the girl in her Banana Republic ensemble (they used to have very sporty clothes, mind you) and her heels, touting a rifle and on a one-woman crusade to kick skunk ass.

What would Buddha do? He'd let the skunk live and let live in its natural state, spray my dog a few more times, and he'd love that skunk with open arms. Alrighty then. I can't bring myself to do that. Not this week, anyway.

So, instead of looking to a deity, I'll do what I like to do in a lot of life situations where I'm at a crossroads - morally, spiritually, or whatever. I'll ask myself, "what would Grandma do?"...then, I'll look at the picture on my desk of my paternal Grandma, a vision of elegance and beauty and matching accessories, and I'll ponder for a second, channeling her wisdom.

I know what she'd do. She'd put on her matching gloves, pill box hat, and heels, and she'd go kill that little f*cker with a scope and a silencer, so as not to disturb the sweet little deer.

Wal-Mart, here I come.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Welcome to the country.

I sent this to some of my closest friends about an hour ago, and I figured I'd post it here rather than have to re-tell it. What a day.

I'm sending this to let you know that no matter how crappy you think your day is, at least you didn't have mine. So, thank God, Buddha, Oprah, or whoever for such a wonderful day you're having. :-)

Let me preamble this tiny novella by telling you that I had the worst migraine of my life last night. So, I take both Imitrex AND Ambien to knock my ass out. The work was done. I was out by 9 pm, and I woke up at 5:15 with a slight migraine hangover, let my two gorgeous dogs out, and was so proud when Mr. Zeke pooped and peed like a champion. Tess, on the other hand, goes around the corner of the house where it's dark. I trust her and all, but I just can't see her. She's not one to run off, so I call her, and right as I say her name, I hear a "scuffle." She yelps a little, comes running back to me, and her eyes are all blinky and she's sort of blowing her nose. As she runs inside the back door, I realize that she's been sprayed by a skunk. No lie. If you've never experienced true skunk spray, I cannot even begin to explain it without using a description so vivid, you may actually get sick.

At this point, she is in the brand, spanking-new house. Eau de skunk ass is everywhere. She runs back to the bedroom, I'm starting to freak, my fiance is just waking, and I throw her in the tub without thinking. I'm a city idiot at this point, not realizing that I should've never let her in the house.

Long story short, it's 2:00 pm as I write this. I had to "work at home" today, and I just sat down at my computer about an hour ago. You know what I've been doing? CLEANING. I had to wash Tess about 7 times. No lie. Not with soap, mind you, but with a GALLON of vinegar, a trough of baking soda (family size), four whole bottles of hydrogen peroxide (this is all very lethal if ingested and doesn't do well in eyes), and I had to douche her friggin face. I've never bought douche, just so you know. I was raised to actually use soap and all. So, here I was at my wonderful little local grocery store this morning, hair sticking up, jammie pants on, buying three things of Massengil, a gallon of vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. (Hi! I'm the new girl in town!) The dude behind the register looked at me like I had filmed some sort of nasty video last night. I think he even winked.

Welcome to the country.

Monday, September 03, 2007

My view

A new, improved, deep breath.

So, here it is. September 2nd. Labor Day weekend has been just that - a weekend of sheer manual labor. The hard work has finally paid off. I felt it a little bit on day two of the moving and unpacking, but as I sit here in my gorgeous office, peering out of my glass double doors at Tess sleeping on her bed and a new pup a few feet away from her, I know that the life I had just a short week ago is now a memory.

We have an all-glass shower, and while you're in there, you can look into the mirror directly across from it that reflects a high window. I looked into it today and noticed the reflection. It was the landscape of a cornfield with a stereotypical Indiana red barn. Not to be dramatic, but it took my breath away. It was then that I realized how much I love it here. And how all of the shit I've been through has led me to this place. I would've appreciated this house, this landscape, and the people that surround me now, even if I hadn't experienced hardship. But I appreciate so much more because I have jumped through some serious hoops of fire along the journey. Life is funny that way.

As if the house wasn't enough, I got a surprise birthday present from the fiance'. A Great Dane pup named Zeke. He'll get his own entry, so stay tuned.

For now, though, I'm exhausted. My muscles ache from moving, the pup kept me up half the night, and I need a pedicure. I have some serious wombat toes. But I just took the first deep breath I've taken in a year, I think. And that, without a doubt, trumps the weariness.