Sometimes the daughter of one of my friends says jokingly, in the tone of a much put-upon teenager, “Oh, why can’t I come and move in with you?” I generally respond with something like, “You’d hate it. We’re too messy. And yesterday I found a mummified rat in the couch.”
I accidentally sucked the mummified rat up with the vacuum, and when it lodged in the hose I had to remove it by the little string of bones that was all that remained of its tail. Then I shrieked a bit and went and washed my hands 20 times.
The couch is in our granny flat, which is a shed and not exactly rat-proof (in case that piece of information makes the existence of a mummified rat less horrifying). We were cleaning it out prior to visitors coming to stay. Nothing gives a warm welcome like the absence of mummified rat, that’s what I always say. It’s something people always comment on. “What a beautiful view from the verandah,” they say, “and what a lovely absence of mummified rat. It’s very striking.”
Some friends came to stay the night, with their chatty toddler (who criticised my bird drawing skills – “I think both the wings are ‘sposed to look the same“), and their four month old baby, who is in the ‘rolls of fat and enormous head’ stage of development. He is terribly cute, and spent this morning sitting on my lap gazing with serious frowning concentration at the cats, the bacon on the breakfast table, and a moth. They all headed further north today, where we’ll join them next weekend, and we promptly collapsed in exhaustion from being in the mere vicinity of children. Well, it’s more the staying up late to talk to their parents and then waking up at the same time as the children which tends to exhaust, rather than their mere presence. I need to get the hang of going to bed earlier if there’s a baby-alarm-clock the next morning.