Sunday, November 17, 2013

Book 26 (for real): The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

I cheated earlier and logged a book in twice (it wasn't even a good one), so this is actually my 26th book this year.

I am lucky to work in a high school with lots of people who love great books. I've picked my last couple of books by shopping on the bookshelf in my friend's office. That's where I found The God of Small Things. I'd heard great things about it, so I decided to give it a go.

Honestly, I almost put it down when I was about halfway through. I just didn't get into it. After some encouragement from a couple of friends, I decided to finish it, and I'm glad I did. I found myself needing closure for the characters.

This novel is beautifully written. The figurative language rivals just about anything I've ever read. People need to read it and write English papers over it. While it wasn't my favorite, I have a great appreciation for it. It definitely belongs in the literature section of Half Price Books.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Turns out I'm a murderer.

Caution! This post is rated PG-13 for violence against rodents and imaginary pets.

What you're about to read about happened several weeks ago. I was reminded of it tonight because of imaginary pets. Sometimes Keaton has the opportunity to play games on my phone, and sometimes in the games he creates imaginary pets called hatchies and names them very common names. The hatchies need to be electronically fed and played with and loved. Unfortunately, Keaton only plays on my phone when we're at baseball or some other such event, so his interest in these awesome e-pets is short lived. The hatchies are persistent little creatures, though, because they send notifications. Notifications that I get for about a week after Keaton's had my phone.

Madison misses you!
Madison is hungry!
Madison needs some water!
Madison is very sick!
Madison needs to see a doctor!
Madison is dying!

So throughout my week I get the pleasure of feeling responsible for the death of imaginary pets named Madison and Sarah and Julie. And I know it's my punishment for the real murder that happened in my back yard a few weeks ago.

More than once I've had the crap scared out of me when I open the grill to see a mouse scurrying across the grates. Over this past summer, I was always careful to bang on the outside of grill before I opened it in hopes that any mice would get on out of there without making me scream like a nine year old girl.

Mice on a cooking surface seems gross. I realize this, and that's why I turn the heat up very high and let it burn for a good long time before I put food anywhere near the grill. I'm certain this is a research based sanitation practice that would be acceptable in most university scientific labs. None of us have contracted mouse diseases, so don't judge me.

On The Day It Happened, I banged on the grill and opened and closed the lid a few times as is my standard practice. I emptied the trap at the bottom to make sure there wasn't any grass or twigs from the last time Trey mowed. Then I lit the grill and cranked it all the way up as high as it would go, closed the lid, and went in the house to season my steaks.

Keaton usually helps when I'm cooking, so the two of us were probably singing some Turnpike Troubadours and tossing up a salad while we waited for the grill to heat up. Suddenly I noticed smoke pouring out of the side vents in the grill. Lots of smoke. Lots and lots.

So Keaton and I went out to investigate. As soon as we got outside we noticed that the smoke had a distinctive smell, like something I'd never experienced before. I told Keaton to stay on the porch because I knew something was off. I mentally scolded myself for not having a fire extinguisher near the grill. I held my breath, stood as far back and I could, and opened the grill.

That's when I heard it.

The teeniest little shrieks of the teeniest little mouse babies that I was cremating in my back yard grill.

I was sick. Panicked. I slammed down the lid and started to run away, but as I came up the back steps I stopped cold. If they're shrieking, they're still alive.

Maybe I can save them.

So I ran back to the grill. A million thoughts ran through my mind. If I turn the heat off and douse the grill with water, will they drown? Maybe not. But I won't be able to move the grates to get to them because they're too hot. I headed back inside to get some towels to lift the grates.

But wait.

There would be no way to help them if they survived. No rodent burn unit. No mouse 911. Devastated, I walked back to the grill and told the little mice I was sorry, deciding the most humane thing to do would be to leave it on. Their tiny mouse pain would be over soon. I thought of Mr. Jangles from The Green Mile and wished them all an eternity in the mouse circus.

Keaton and I hurried back into the house, and I closed the blinds because I couldn't bear to see the smoke. Then I wished we had more snakes (the non-poisonous kind).

And so, I shall add to my resume electronic pet and mice murderer.

And halfway decent cooker of steaks. On the stove. Indoors.

And every time a hatchie named Julie dies on my phone, I'll remember.