This week on the blog is shaping up to have a theme. Who doesn't like a good theme week? No one, that's who.
The theme? Conversations with Abby. Which has the added perk of giving me a standby name for my talk show if this blog doesn't take off. And yes, it's still a talk show even if it's just me talking to my children who I've assembled in bean bag chairs around a Disney Princess crafts table.
Today's Conversation is brought to you by PetSmart and the makers of the Havahart "humane animal trap." Because today's Conversation is a transcription of last night's exchange between yours truly and the animals slowly taking over our backyard.
I'm going to borrow from Investigation Discovery and that Chris Hansen guy who won't let a grown man prey on a child without having a microphone shoved in his face: The following is not suitable for all audiences or all daily activities. The squeamish and the allergic should have some Pepto-Bismol nearby, and if you're eating a meal or snacking as you read this, why don't you go ahead and put that down for a bit.
Me: What the EFF are you doing on my mother EFFING lawn! Get the EFF out of here, you disgusting piece of woodland bowel by-product.
Possum: You silly woman. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. Especially wuss words like "EFF." Like I'm going to be shaking in my long skinny tail in the face of someone who doesn't even have the courage to swear correctly.
Me: You watch your slick slimy tongue, mister. I'll have you know I'm cleaning up my language AND my backyard. Four-letter words and four-legged creatures are all about to meet their Ray Allen ending!!!
Skunk: Ray Allen ending? I smell confusion.
Me: A Ray Allen ending is when you get sent to expire on someone else's lawn, under someone else's watch. And the only thing you smell right now is your own putrid exhaust. We all smell it. It's disgusting.
Baby woodchuck: I don't think it smells disgusting. To me it smells like home.
Me: That's because you're a baby and you're stupid. And you also had the misfortune of being born under a shed that is constantly attacked by skunk spray. Kind of like how my son thinks food is supposed to smell burnt. You've both just been dealt unfair cards. I assure you, Skunk stinks.
Mother woodchuck: She's right, baby woodchuck. Skunk does stink. I've just been so ashamed that I couldn't find you a better home, I never told you how awful that smell actually is. So while she is just calling a spade a spade, she's also destroying the comfortable myth I'd cultivated around your life. For that, I'm going to tell everyone -- and I mean EVERYONE -- about the compost heap she thinks is "hidden" just because it's on the non-woods side of the shed.
Me: Oh, that's the way you want to play this, Mama Woody? Don't you know NEVER to threaten a woman with a highly exaggerated sense of panic and a disproportionate reaction to everything? Try this on for size: TRAP. Oh, and accessorize with this: BB GUN. Finish off the look with: HUSBAND WHO LIKES PROJECTS.
Skunk: Fear! Fear! I smell fear!
Me: Shut UP, Skunk. Again, that's just you! Seriously, what good are you? You can't even identify a smell that you are directly responsible for?
Possum: I agree. Skunks are stupid. Who needs 'em?
Me: Possum, you are the last dinosaur holdover who should be casting aspersions. I have yet to see what you contribute to any ecosystem. Also, you're incredibly ugly. I hate to be the one to say it, but man, you really are hideous. I'd much rather look at a skunk than you. And you can stop smiling at me. Your teeth are one of your worst features. Just stop trying to look cute. It'll never work.
Baby woodchuck: Mom? She's being awfully mean! Didn't you tell me we all have to be nice to one another if we want to enjoy our time on Earth?
Me: Baby Woody, I'm sorry to burst another one of your bubbles, but that's a load of b.s. I'm allowed to be mean to you because you and your gang of gross animal brethren are tormenting me. I can't leave the house at night for fear of bumping into one of you. I can't pull into the driveway in the evening without seeing one of you dart in front of me. I hear you fighting with each other at night, I see you tampering with the wire fencing my husband put in, I smell the food you drag out into the yard and leave to rot in the noonday sun. You're starting to define my life in this house and I just can't take it anymore.
Fox: Oh.....yeah.....???? What are you gonna do about it, huh.....???? What are you gonna do if, say....one of us gets hungry....maybe....for some chicken???
Possum: Chicken? Did someone say chicken? Chicken! When's chicken on the menu? Chicken! Hey look, a garden snake!
Me: Don't play cute with me, you slinky smarmy fox. I know what you did to Maggie the chicken, and frankly, I'm appalled. I'm appalled that you have access to my yard and I'm appalled that you would do that to a fellow member of your kingdom. I know that's kind of how the whole drill works with you guys, but to me that's just one feather-versus-fur short of cannibalism.
Fox: I'm so sorry.....I'd be paying closer attention to your condemnation if your neighbor's cat wasn't again playing under your car....Catch 'ya later, suckas.
Me: Hey! LANGUAGE!! All right guys, let's cut to the chase. I want you to turn around and look at the lush, dense woods that surround this house. Look at the low-lying groundcover. Think of all the insects roaming around in all that squishy dirt. Go there. Live it up. That's where you belong. Give up on your grass-is-greener pursuits. Trust me -- I will Hiroshima that grass if you don't stop treating it like your campground. All I ask is for you to just leave this little postage stamp of a lot to us. The woods are all yours. We'll live happily side-by-side, never crossing paths but each flourishing, safe in the knowledge that the other is close, but not too close . Kind of like the Clintons.
Mother woodchuck: And if we don't play by your rules?
Me: Have you ever heard the phrase "a picture is worth a thousand words"?
Skunk: I smell a set-up! I smell a set-up!
Mother woodchuck: No. You're the first human to think to talk to us. Which makes this whole evening that much weirder.
Me: It's been an unusual couple of minutes for me as well. But I'm just going to put this down here on the porch steps, real easy like. Then I'm going to walk into the house and I'm going to shut the door. And you can approach the porch steps and look at what I've left for you. Look at it real close. And then you decide: what's it worth to you? What's. It. Worth?