Of Mice, Ticks, Deer, Fireflies, Chiggers, and More Leaks

How naïve was I to think that I would have leisure to write about our mountain home experience, not once, but twice week?  After working 10 hours each day, unpacking boxes and painting walls, I fall into bed and sleep like a baby.  No energy to think or write.  However, I have learned much about life in the 6 weeks since we bought this place, and here are the things I now know:

Mice eat soap.  Upon our return to Ellijay, I noticed that a bar of soap in the master vanity drawer had been partially shredded by little tiny teeth.  The dark black “seeds” that accompanied the soap shreds gave the identity of the perpetrator away.  Maybe Mama Mouse overheard her son using foul language, and made him eat some Dove as punishment.  Or maybe they just crave the fat in the soap.  Either way, they are now feasting on mice poison.

Ticks are evil, but stupid.  This is a very bad year for ticks.  Pip and Max, our Jack Russell terriers, take Sentinel to prevent flea and tick infestation.  Therefore, the insects don’t burrow into them, but instead use them as transportation to get to us.  Pip is a regular tick taxi!  Of course the pups sleep with us, so Greg and I have become adept at waking from a deep sleep, grabbing moving ticks off arms or legs, tossing them in the toilet, and going right back to sleep.  I did discover that if you flick a tick off of you (because you are too lazy to get up and properly dispose of it), it will still be flailing around on the floor, where it landed, in the morning.  It seems they can find you once, but they’re too dumb (or lazy)  to find you twice???

Deer are magical creatures.  We have a couple of deer that live on our property.  The large doe looks like a Lucy to me, so I guess she now has a name.  She eats blueberries and other goodies on the far side of our driveway, so we have a clear view of her when we sit in the living room during happy hour.  We all agree that we could never shoot such a beautiful creature for sport.  We’d have to be mighty hungry to think of Lucy as dinner.

Apparently, the deer around here are very tame; people feed them, so they are quite comfortable coming close to the house and hanging out.  It is such a pleasure to be able toenjoy the company of these creatures. That is, until they start eating the vegetables in my garden….!

Fireflies are magical, too.   Dad sleeps in the bedroom at the top of the stairs.  Outside his window is a huge hemlock tree.  He tells us that each night before he climbs into bed, he looks out at the fireflies, and they are a sight to behold.  We hardly ever saw them in Atlanta, but here, they are plentiful.  They are another simple pleasure we have rediscovered on the mountain.

Chiggers bite!  My Dad has battled chigger bites for as long as I can remember. I just thought they were a figment of his imagination, because as long as I have lived in the South, I don’t remember being bitten by a chigger.  Well, I went down to water the
vegetable garden on Monday of this week, and didn’t bother to spray down with
Cutter.  A chigger got me on the back of the knee, and before you know it, I had a bump the size of Mt. Vesuvius! I could feel it moving around in there, which is creepy, but it also hurt.  Clearly, the little guy was wriggling around, trying to get comfortable in his new hidey-hole, but it felt like an intermittent bee sting to me.   I had Dad look at it, and he confirmed that, indeed, it was a chigger bite, and a righteous one, at that!  He grabbed the clear nail polish (the best antidote, other than Ban roll-on deodorant) and swabbed the spot.  Within an hour, my new resident had suffocated.  Lesson learned: don’t venture out without spraying on the Deet!

We have more house leaks.  Upon our return to  Ellijay, we discovered that the tub in the upstairs bath was still leaking. GRRRR!  Not only that, but the new toilet in that bathroom wasn’t flushing properly, much to Dad’s dismay.  Kerry the plumber showed up and pronounced the entire room “unfit for human habitation”. (I was in complete agreement.)  Look at the pictures below…the previous owners used floor tile on the tub walls, and adding insult to injury, did a horrible job of installing it!  The layout was awful, too.

Understandably, the demolition and reincarnation of an ugly, but marginally functional, room were way down on the list of things to be done in the house.  But when it started leaking again, and the toilet wouldn’t flush, it quickly became a top priority.  On Monday, Kerry’s people removed the tile, tub, vanity and sink, and re-plumbed everything for a new and better layout.  Guess who will be installing floor tile this weekend?

Speaking of leaks, we had a huge thunderstorm up here last Saturday.  It was so severe that we lost power for several hours.  The rain was so heavy and the winds were so high that the rain was actually forced under the metal roof and leaked out the foyer ceiling. I almost had a heart attack!  We can’t afford to fix the roof.  Apparently, though, (fingers and toes crossed) that was an anomaly, because we’ve had a lot of rainsince, and no more leaks in that spot.  It’s probably coming in somewhere else, at a yet undiscovered location in the house; that’s the way it seems to go around here. But for now, ignorance is bliss.

We are working on the kitchen.  The next blog entry will be all about its reclamation.  The pictures are priceless.  See you then!


About vkroo

I am passionate about writing, as well as design/DIY/decorating. I decided to combine these skills in a blog, that describes the joys and challenges of transforming a shaggy, baggy elephant of a mountian house into a stunning home.
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