This morning started out like all others. I woke up a little before 7am to the sounds of bickering and the Wild Man imitating an ambulance and “wee woo”- ing throughout the house. There were shouts of “Mom! I’m hungry!” and “Mom! I don’t feel good, can I stay home from school?”
Yep, normal day so far.
My little Drama Queen comes stumbling into the bedroom, and I notice she’s a bit glassy eyed. Oh, oh. Time for the thermometer. Which, is apparently out of batteries. And, it’s one of those fancy watch batteries. Damn! I have a collection of every battery size, but watch size. Crap! Now, where did I put the old mercury one…
Found it! “What’s that thing, mom? A pen?” No, it’s a thermometer. “Where’s the battery?” It works with mercury, not batteries. “What’s mercury?” Deadly, liquidy, metally, silvery stuff that goes up and down in this tube to tell me if you have a fever. “I’m not putting that in my mouth!” Fine, it’s a rectal thermometer anyway, so bend over…
After peeling the DQ out from under her bed, I finally find the 30 year old forehead thermometer. I put it on her, and it glows green off the charts. Crap!!! One kid down for the count, and now I have to call out for my volunteer training. And it was canoeing day, too! Darn.
Now comes the fight over medicine. Advil or Tylenol. Grape or cherry. Liquid or chewy or tablet. “I’m allergic to grape, mommy! You’re trying to kill me with grapes!!!!!” Well, at least we now know that those drama club classes are working—she could win an academy award for this performance.
I shove a brown ibuprofen at her, to the cries of “but this is that store brand stuff!!!! I want the sugary Advil, not the gross one!!! Ahhhhhhh!!!!”
Downstairs we go, where I cram coffee grounds into my ancient Mr. Coffee, and go outside to pick up my Washington Post—potentially the only thing I will read today that is in any way “grown up”. With the DQ at home, I know I have a day of reading American Girl books and watching the Disney Channel ahead of me.
Two steps out, I see it.
A dead, freaking opossum.
In my driveway.
Covered in blood. Staring at me.
I’m pretty sure all the neighbors heard me scream “You’ve got to be effing kidding me!!!! What did I do to deserve this piece of hot hell!?”
Out run two rumpled, pajama-ed kiddos. “Mom, mom, mom!!!! What is it?” “Is is dead?” “ Is it hurt?”
“ Can we keep it!!??”
I explain it’s a dead possum, probably hit by a car, that crawled its bloody body up our sidewalk and driveway to die. I also explain that I’m pretty sure this is an act of karma, since I once hit a possum when I was 16, and it crawled into my friend Leah’s yard to die. This was obviously payback time… Or, we really pissed someone off around here. Horse head in bed—possum in the driveway. Same difference.
Now the kids’ shreeking goes up a notch. “If it’s dead, can we keep it! Please!!!!! We can put it in the freezer!!”
Oh, hell no—it’s not going in the freezer. We already have a dead beta fish and a dead hermit crab, sans shell, in our freezer, since no one wants to go out back and dig a mass grave and bury our long lost pets. We also have a cremated cat on our fireplace mantel, so I have about as much death surrounding me as I can handle at the moment.
“But mom!!! We have room in the big freezer downstairs!!!!”
Yeah, right. I’m putting Paddy O’Opossum in the freezer with my frozen pizzas and wild salmon filets. Not in this lifetime.
So, we get the bright idea to call MacGyver at work to tell him how our morning is going so far, and get his opinion on whether or not we should freeze dry our new friend in the deep freezer.
“Daddy, daddy!! We have a dead possum in our driveway! It’s all bloody and gross and staring at us. Can we keep it?”
This is where I find out that “Daddy” already knows about ol’ Paddy. Why? Because he saw the damn thing in the driveway at o’dark thirty when he left for work. You know, when he BACKED AROUND IT TO LEAVE!
“I thought it was playing possum.”
At this point, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I decide to laugh, since this morning totally represents the crazy life we have. Dead animals, high fevers, cheap generic medicine, and my kiddos constant desire to bring wildlife into the house. Turtles. Bugs. Worms. A four foot long black snake. (“But mom—we even named him Snakey. He can live in my room and sleep with me!”)
So, today I had to come to terms with the fact that the only use my hiking boots were going to have today was to carry me out back to the woods with a stiff carcass on a snow shovel, and then out front to bleach the living crap out of the CSI worthy blood stains on the concrete. And, that the Wild Man was going to have one heck of a story to tell at the bus stop.
“Hey everyone!!! Don’t step in the wet stuff—it’s bleach and possum guts!”
Yep. I’m sure our neighbors just love us.