Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Adventures in Housesitting

For the past week we've been housesitting for someone, whom we'll call "M." (he'll be gone through the end of August). Our primary responsibilities are watering the garden, taking care of the fish and their pond, and maintaining the swimming pool. It's a pretty sweet gig.

Also, M. told us to feel free to eat anything from the refrigerator--"Nothing is spoiled," he said on July 27, 2008. Those were his exact words. When we arrived at the house on July 28, 2008, we found in the refrigerator several rotting vegetables (and when I say "rotting" I don't mean "wilted"--we're talking covered in mold and liquifying), moldy hot dog buns, funny smelling leftovers, two bricks of unopened cream cheese--one of which expired in March, the other in 2007--and about a half a dozen cheeses in various stages of decay. Strangely enough, there were a couple blocks of cheese completely covered in mold which were still unopened, in the original packaging.

Anyway, I guess that's just what happens when people who used to live with someone else now live alone: lots of food gets wasted.

The other interesting thing that's happened so far is that one day, I was going to fetch the large bucket which M. uses for collecting yard waste, and found that it contained four or five baby 'possums. They were pretty big--about six inches long--and at first glance, cute. Not so cute when they bared their horrible little 'possum teeth. And when we decided to tip the bucket over by the side of the yard to let them out, it was inexplicably creepy to watch them crawl out of the bucket and disappear into the bushes.

Could 'possums be the most hideous animal there is? How do they compare on the ugliometer with, say, Amazon river dolphins, or naked mole rats? Yeah, yeah, I understand that ugliness is in the eye of the beholder--my lovely pet spider of five(? six?) years ago taught me that. But I think it says something about the 'possum that even it's young only make it to "almost cute" status.

In fact, a couple days after we let them loose, one of the baby 'possums managed to climb back into the old bucket, and then couldn't get out again. In just two days' time, its coat had gone from looking soft and furry, to scraggly and hairy. Another of the baby 'possums we found dead in the fish pond, its teeth clenched around the electric wire (which is meant to keep out raccoons). It apparently didn't harm any of the fish. My guess is that it thought the fish would be good to eat, ignored the shocking pain as it crawled over or under the electric wire, found it couldn't swim, and electrocuted itself on the wire trying to get out. 'Possums are so stupid!

And that's about the closest I'm gonna get to a meaningful conclusion. Nonetheless, I take this little writing exercise to be a sign that my brain is recovering from the three two-week intensives I just finished (kind of--there are still papers due. Speaking of which, I should start working on one of them ...).


Miranda said...

I once found a dead baby bat in the bucket of a half-flush toilet. It had apparently fallen from the ceiling. I was traumatized. Bats are also hideous, but then I've never seen a possum (an 'possum?). With all that, is the pool actually maintained and usable?

Virgie P. said...

Oh, um, the 'possum drowned in the fish pond, not the pool. Also, I am astounded that you have never seen a 'possum! Although I guess I've never seen a bat up close, either.