Currently in recovery from my news junkie and politics addiction… Secure in who I am. Are you?
In July 99, Suzie-Q and I bought an old house. One of the first projects was converting the back porch into a sunroom. It was a concrete slab surrounded by a porch-rail height brick wall. Brick columns supported the roof. The prior owners left porch swing anchor bolts and roll-up shades hanging on the side facing the neighbors. They took the swing. The shades, I expect, were to hide from view of the neighbors otherwise it only blocked the afternoon sun. We threw them out. Not the neighbors, the shades. Although it remains debatable about which was easier on the eyes. These days, a nice lilac bush serves the same function as did the ugly shade.
The neighbor’s dog, the one that would chase a cloud’s shadow across the yard barking like he was possessed, liked to steal our flip flops. The neighbor’s kid always returned them, each time having a few more chew marks. Squirrels also liked the porch. It was their favorite place to gnaw through mounds of acorns that fell from a giant oak that leaned dangerously over the house. The remnants of that potential house crusher produced aromatic smoke from the fire place chimney for a couple of winters. When the leaves began to fall from the small forest that was allowed to grow up too near the house, the porch turned into a catch basket filling to the top of bricked porch rail. Despite the charm of the little porch, it was not user friendly unless you were a no account flip flop chewing hound dog or a squirrel.
We enclosed it with windows all around and a full glass storm door. We ripped out the natty indoor outdoor rug and replaced it with faux wood flooring, and added some wicker furniture. We turned it into our own little Shangri-la where we could sit and enjoy the view of the back yard without concern for the critters, dogs, acorns, leaves, mosquitoes or the neighbors. Or so we thought.
One day a concerned Suzie-Q called me out to the porch and pointed toward what appeared to be a trail of critter poop. Now I am not an expert classifier of critter crap, but I do know that it did not resemble what deer leave in the yard nor did it look like a land mine from the neighbor’s dog. Concerning the neighbor’s dog I can tell you that using a technique I perfected during the cow chip wars of my youth I can scoop his leavings up with my spade and chuck them a good thirty yards effectively airmailing them back to their rightful owner. It is all in the wrist action and achieving the proper arch – according to my 6th grade basketball coach before the sport grew too tall for me.
I was assigned the duty of depoopafying the porch. A couple of days later I was again summoned to the porch to view a new trail. A critter invited him or herself into Shangri-la and then decided it was okay to crap all over it. This newest poop trail was on the window ledge behind the wicker chairs. I moved a chair and there sat one of those little blue tailed lizards that hide around the yard in the rock piles and crevices. When you pursue one of them, he may jettison his wiggling blue tail to distract you while he bolts – if a lizard can indeed bolt.
I made a grab for Larry the lizard or it may have been Laura, but since I am not up on my lizard anatomy I cannot be certain. Larry fled across the porch to the cover of the wicker couch. When I moved the couch, he bolted again. Before I could grab him (you see my intent was to capture Larry and return him to the back yard) he managed to get beneath the edge of the siding. I could not get my fingers under there and every time I touched him he would skitter away. Suzie-Q accused me of being afraid of him. I assured her I was not and that I always wanted to put my hands on a slithering miniature komodo dragon. I finally forced him to leave the safety of his hiding spot. By now, Larry was tired. He was not moving very fast so I knew I had him. As I was lying out like the great second baseman I once was, it turned into a slow motion replay. He was within my reach and destined for a return to the wild. Then faster than Bruce Lee could yell nunchucks, Hiyeaaah Whack! Suzie-Q ninjaed Larry with a flip-flop. His jettisoned blue tail was flip flopping around like it had a purpose, but Larry look stunned. I picked up him and his wiggling blue tail and chucked both into the yard. Either he would recover or become crow food.
Since then, caulking has been squeezed into every crack and crevice that might permit lizard entry into Shangri-La. Later I may add motion sensors, but for now we believe we are secure. Larry and friends are free to roam and eat all the bugs they can find – on the other side of the wall.
The moral of this story is that if you make it into Shangri-la, do not crap all over the place. Suzie-Q does not play.
© 2016 J. D Pendry