It’s hard to know where to start writing something like this, other than to say that everyone who has lost the companionship of a little animal friend knows exactly where I’m coming from. Some of you probably weren’t even aware I had a chinchilla, since as a cage-dwelling small pet, Willow was generally less interested in trips to the ranch or the beach than are the dogs.
In order to explain why I’m all broken up over a rodent (and they are rodents, though a family of their own within the order Rodentia), I will introduce you to chinchillas a little bit.
I ran across this link on Buzzfeed the other day: 25 Things All Basic White Girls Do in the Fall. I looked through it, and I am shocked to note that I don’t do any of those things. Now I’m distressed! Am I not white? Am I not a girl? Am I not basic?! What does “basic” even mean? Why can’t I identify with the items of this list? Is it because I live in California, and it’s a lot less satisfying to fling crap from a pepper tree up in the air, compared to the brilliant red-gold leaves of whatever trees they’re Instagramming back east? Is it because I’d rather eat mealworms in Miracle Whip than any of the food marketed as Pumpkin Spice?
This list is clearly an unsatisfactory representation of my experiences as a white girl in the fall, so I will provide you with an alternative list.
Today at lunch:
Josh: Oh man, I can’t finish this pie.
Me: You could always box it up and split it between the kids.
Josh: Are you kidding?! I am going to take this home and hide it in the fridge and eat all of it tonight so they will never know about it. Ain’t nobody getting my pie.
Spoken like a true parent, with that pained, instinctive wariness that comes only from many years of having your snacks poached by children. Until now, I only knew this dessert-based PTSD as the look in my mother’s eyes when I ask her for her chocolate covered cherries immediately after she opens them at Christmas time. In a culture full of Pinterest Moms crafting paper-mache worlds for their children out of relentless perfection and unceasing sacrifice (because nothing less will do), I find it endlessly heartening to discover that some of the best, most selfless parents I know just want to be left alone with their damn pie sometimes. Or their chocolate covered cherries. Sorry, mom! ❤
As some of you may know, I returned last night from an 11-day trip to Colorado, where I was making a visit to my company’s headquarters. I was out there in order to make a dedicated effort to stuff my brain full of slightly more work-related knowledge than it can comfortably hold. The time was right, as it’s just about done digesting the last batch of knowledge I stuffed into it like a helpless brain-goose making all that information into delicious telecom foie gras. I also made my presence known to various Powers that Be, to ensure that they won’t forget my smiling face and business-casual devotion in the turmoil ahead. “I love my job,” I told them, “because I find the challenges rewarding and I’m eager to pursue a promising future in this career path.” The truth is actually a lot more like, “I love my job because I’ve built my life around an archaic livestock-related hobby with little to no relevance in modern industrialized societies and also I’m done wearing pants ever, and this job facilitates both things,” but sometimes honesty isn’t the best policy. Last but not least, of course, I also made my presence known to Vicky and Sara, my intrepid, indomitable, long-suffering manager/coworkers, to ensure that they won’t forget me either. No matter how hard they try.
I love walking outside barefoot. The feeling of the sun-warmed dirt between my toes, the sharp pain in my heel as I unexpectedly encounter a rock, unidentified plant matter stuck to my feet with sap, I love it all. The soil is soft and silky with the rich silt that makes it such good agricultural land for the neighboring farms, and I like the look of my poorly-applied toenail polish sparkling in the sun.
“Are you walking around outside barefoot?” Josh asked me, the other day.
“Yes,” I smiled, “I feel connected to nature.”
“You’re going to get hookworm.” Josh is less sentimental about my connection to nature. Or maybe Josh just has a better understanding of how many hookworms nature has in it.
The Joshlings went back to school this week, which means that their paternal unit is now home with me on Tuesday mornings (Tuesday is his day off). Since you know that we love each other to a saccharine degree bound to end in a Ryan Gosling movie, Nicholas Sparks novel, or all of our friends unfriending us from Facebook, you can imagine that we’re glad for the extra time together. This is how we spent today.
There are porta-johns rolling along the farm road outside my house. Because I can’t see the truck or tractor pulling them, they look like large, stolid blue beasts placidly moving on their own initiative to a new pasture, wherein they hope to find a greater number and variety of humans to poop in them. These are the things which are important to migratory porta-johns.
But enough about that, you want to see some pictures of the inside of the Tiny Tiny House, don’t you?