The Mice and The Cattle Prod

Once upon a time, a girl was so in love with a boy, she would do anything to make him happy. Including move into a run down 1970’s mobile home just because the owner would grant the boy permission to hunt on the land surrounding the trailer park (which consisted of 5 trailers on a dead end dirt road in southern Missouri.)

So this girl (me) was from the city.  And I didn’t understand country living, much less country living in a run down trailer with a tin roof. We could hear the constant pitter patter of little mouse feet above our head at all times. It didn’t matter how many traps we put out, these were obviously intelligent mice who could avoid being caught in our simplistic traps. One evening, when the little prancing of mice like sugar plum fairies was more than we could handle, Phil got up from his comfy living room chair and started rummaging around the spare room, y’know the one with all the junk piled up that didn’t get unpacked in the move. He comes out with this long yellow rod.

“WHAT is that?”

“My cattle prod.”

“Why do you need that?”

He didn’t answer. Over the past twenty years, I’ve come to understand that he doesn’t always feel it necessary to answer me. Even if I ask like a kid, repeating myself over and over. He’s just silent. He doesn’t hear me. At. All.  He’s concocting or scheming or thinking or something. All I know is that it doesn’t involve me. And if it does, I think I’m supposed to be reading his mind, but I’m still not good at that yet. Maybe in the next twenty years I’ll get better.



Ta-ting. Ting. Tang.

Ta-ting. Ting. Ting.

Phil has got the cattle prod, business end to the ceiling, zapping the mice. They’re zipping around up there like a huge batch of popcorn. And Phil can’t stop laughing. And neither can I.


Ta-ting. Ting. Tang.

Ta-ting. Ting. Ting.

* * *

So one night while we were sleeping in our bedroom, far, far away from the kitchen end of the trailer, I heard noises. Like mice. IN my cabinets. I wake Phil up. He grabs his pellet gun.

We sneak vewy, vewy quietly to the kitchen.  He motions for me to open the cabinets. I tiptoe to them. Slowly reach my arm out. Before I grab the cabinet door, I make eye contact with Phil. He’s ready.

He nods.

I fling open the door.

pop. pop-pa-pop-pop.

“Got’em!!!” He yells.  And that he did. The mouse was dead. He walked over and grabbed it’s tail and flung it out the front door.

And then it hit me.

I am now officially a redneck. Not because we were mouse hunting in the middle of the night. Nah.  But because we were mouse hunting butt-ass naked in the middle of the night in a run down trailer in southern Missouri.

Butt. ass. nekkid.

Voice Commands

I seriously couldn’t wait to post this story. Phil and I must have laughed for a half hour about it when it happened around 2am and then again just as hard when we woke up. And this is one of those stories that will be around a lifetime!

Remember that our bed is in the living room because we’re remodeling? There’s a door we let the dogs out of in there, so when Patches got up at 2am and scratched to go out, I was not a happy camper. Okay, happy that she’s a puppy and not piddling on my floor, but it was -23 degrees overnight and our poor furnace is not keeping up. I also don’t sleep with much between me and the covers. Can you say COLD?

Plus, I think I’m getting sick. Phil didn’t know I was letting the dog out so he asked, “Honey? Are you okay? You’ve been making a lot of noise and you’re not sleeping good.” I was all stuffy and my head hurt and I was having bad dreams.

But I stopped whining long enough to let the dog out.

Then I let her back in.

Before I could get back to bed, she was already on my side, snow-covered paws walking circles in my little comfy spot. I was not about to lay down on a snowy bed.

So I found a nice fleece blanket (soft!) and rather than turn the obnoxious bright lights on, I opened my cell phone as a nightlight.

I accidentally hit the voice command button, so while I’m trying to straighten the fleece blanket over my snowy side of the bed, the voice command lady saying with her robotic voice, “Please say a command.” Pause. “Please say a command.”

Phil: “Butthole.”

Robotic lady: “Please say a command.”

Phil, louder: “Butt. Hole.”

Robotic lady: “I’m sorry. Did you say, ‘Call Phil?'”

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Zane is 8. And is obsessed with his peach fuzz.

Zane: I have one chest hair. Look

Me: Wow. That’s great son.

Zane: I can see 4 dark spots when I look in the mirror on my lip right here (points to upper lip)

Me: Wow! So you’re getting a mustache, huh?

Zane: (smiling big and proud, sticking out chest)

Me: That’s something all right.

Zane: I have maybe a spot on my armpit too.

Me: You’re just getting hair everywhere. That’s great. (because he’s obviously proud)

Zane: I have one more kind of hair.

Me: Stop. If it’s anywhere near your privates I don’t want to know.

Zane: Well, it is, but I wasn’t going to tell you that.

Me: Stop talking. I don’t need to know about that hair.

Zane: But I wasn’t going to…

Me: Stop. Talk to your dad about that.

Zane: Well I have 4 kinds of hair now. (Walks away proud and laughing)



Last night Zane said, “Why is there still a Christmas Tree in our living room?”

“Because I haven’t taken it down yet.”

“Because you’re lazy.”

“Oh really?


“You really think that?”

“Yes. The only work you do is on the computer with your fingers.”

“Oh. Really now.”

“Daddy does physical work all day long. You just use your fingers. That’s lazy.”

“I see. So you don’t think my brain is engaged when I’m writing my stories?”

“Okay. You use your brain and your fingers. How hard is that?”


Guess who’s scrapping the current homeschool schedule? And guess who will be writing short stories for, oh, maybe a month?

And Zane will quite possibly have to stick by my side for a week and do all the things he doesn’t see me doing. Laundry. Dishes. Toilets. Sinks. Cooking.

Oh the joys of homeschooling!

To be fair, he’s got a point about the Christmas tree. I don’t think it’s laziness as much as avoidance. I just don’t want to do it so I keep doing other stuff. I don’t want to do it because it is so very tall and I am so very short. It is overwhelming and I have been letting that eat away at me.