It is sunny and I have no tours scheduled at the library today, so I decided I would begin refinishing the desk for Maddie that I got in the Great Vintage Lockers Deal of 2012. (I actually got two desks in this deal. Lucky me.)
It's been a long time since I've refinished anything. I am a self-taught refinisher; in August 1998 I spent about 40 hours a week for three straight weeks refinishing my old ginormous upright piano (may she rest in peace) and hey, if you can pull that off, you can do anything, I say. My only technique goal for today's Phase I was not to rush. I am a terrible rusher when it comes to painting and refinishing. All this backstory is to set up an important part of the story—that I was wearing something that resembled pajamas at noon today (full disclosure: also at 2:34 pm), as there is nothing worse than taking a shower and then immersing oneself in chemicals. And, no rushing. Leaving plenty of time between coats of stripper = late shower.
On one of my in-between-coats-breaks, I took Ellie for a walk around the circle at noon. She is getting better on the leash—moving from a C- to a solid B- in the last few weeks, so walking her is relatively enjoyable unless she senses there are bunnies and squirrels within a 300 foot radius. Bunnies and squirrels are not just menaces in her world, they are morally reprehensible. Just last week I was walking her down Randall Ave. when we came across live squirrels in squirrel traps (plus a perfectly preserved dead squirrel a few feet away, YUCK) and she very nearly lost her mind (much to the amusement of the base law enforcement parked a few feet away from the scene, I'm sure). I don't like squirrels much either—they destroy pumpkins and chew through our giant plastic trash bins—but I don't lose my mind when confronted with them. Until today. Ahem.
Anyway. It is fairly well established that I share a ridiculous startle reflex with my sisters, yes? It is also a fact that my family's genetic code includes a sound called the Willis Cold Weather Whinny, which is as obnoxious as it sounds. But today, unshowered, and mostly in my pajamas laced with a faint smell of toxic chemicals at lunchtime, I discovered I have another category of obnoxious noise: the Pet Has Caught a Rodent noise. To call it a noise just doesn't do it justice, though, because apparently it is accompanied with an unfortunate element of full-on flailing around and waving of arms in such a way as to indicate seizure. And maybe speaking in tongues? Definitely some channeling of my mother's yuck noise, too, which she often made when we were little and were about to/had already put something yucky in our mouths—kind of an active throw-up sound/stick out one's tongue move, while saying BLEH! YUCK! BLECHY! Do you have this picture in your head? Because that's pretty much what it looked like when Ellie somehow managed to catch a baby squirrel in her mouth in our front yard—from the radius of her leash. Speaking in tongues and blechy-ing is not effective, but there was no way I was going to TOUCH the baby squirrel peeping frantically in the dog's mouth.
After about 30 seconds of this (count to 30, it's a long time) the dog dropped the squirrel, which I attribute to sheer desperation on my part. The baby squirrel proceeded to peep and hobble over to the tree while I ran inside with the dog and my embarrassment. Neighbors! This definitely tops the night I dragged the Christmas tree out of the house at 1:59 am!