Take Manhattan, Just Give Me That Countryside...

Or, the One About the Dead Animals.

Part of the attraction to exurban living, at least for my children, is bestial. As a bribe, we promised them a new puppy upon our arrival. We tantalized them with the image of our cossetted housecat being set free to sunbathe al fresco. We showed them pictures of the stables, the chicken coop, the pond, and allowed their little, fecund minds to wander to 4H-y type thoughts of all creatures great and small.

We didn't talk, or think, about the other parts of the circle of life.

Our intrepid cat, Fiammo, spent many of our first days here skulking around the property (and, by property, I mean NOT the entire fifteen acres, but rather, the boundary of the house and its porch) doing his best to appear important while chasing bugs and scooting under the porch at the slightest unexpected sound (woodpeckers, anyone?) Dido kept hopefully asking him if he'd found anything--"Did you see a mouse, little boy?" and so on. I was surprised and secretly delighted, assuming that contrary to what I suspected, not every cat is born to be a great mouser, or, even better, our barns were not, in fact, housing plague-carrying rodent colonies.

Then, two mornings ago, while Dido and the Babe were outside supervising the Puppy's morning gambol (the prelude to her satisfying pee and poop on my kitchen floor), I heard a shout of glee and Dido came barreling in through the dining room. "LOOK MAMA!! LOOK!!!" I didn't really have to look, because the glimpse of gray fur in the palm of his hand -- did I mention, IN HIS HAND???-- was enough to tell me that Fiammo was at last fulfilling his feline destiny. After some vigorous soapy hand scrubbing and a compromise burial at the root of an oak tree ("You CANNOT put him in the trash, Mom. You CAN'T.") I heard another shriek of delight.

The Puppy trotted up with something stringy, brownish gray and vaguely slimy trailing from the corners of her smiling mouth. "Look, Mom. We do have frogs."

Indeed. We do.


Our story thus far

After an epic journey--through the highways and byways of Google, mind you, merely to log in to this &*(^^%))_ blog, I am back. As per usual, I've been doing a great deal of FANTASTIC writing in my head. Not so helpful for my loyal readers. It's late, and I've had too much white wine (with a very good, if not great, shiitake mushroom risotto the H and I enjoyed for dinner, accompanied by incredible parmesan smuggled upstate in an enormous block by our dear Jerry. Up here, it's $17.99/lb., and just ok. In Little Italy, it's 30% less, and divine. God bless Jerry, and the Italian cows.) Due to the hour and the wine, this will be brief, but: we are MOVED. Not in, mind you, but moved.

Wildly unfurnished and unpacked, highly disorganized, but we are here. Dido loves his new school so much that it makes me wonder what the hell was wrong with the old one. The Babe is so lonely that every time she sees a child near her age, she stalks them through whatever public place we happen to find ourselves in, until they take pity (on me? on her?) and deign to converse. We've gotten several phone numbers this way. If I had had a lonely two year old daughter back when I was single and dating, I would likely have gotten laid a whole lot more. We are all....adjusting. The H has had several nervous breakdowns, but is now seeming to get into the groove of empty streets and pleasant service people. I'm waiting to make a friend, and remembering how truly hard that is, when you are starting from ground zero. Is it the sweet woman in the funky rug store? The mother of the boy Jordan has become smitten with at school? I don't know. I had a moment of real loneliness this weekend, but mostly, I am ok. I look out at the fields and hills and woods and sky that surround our home and I cannot believe I am allowed to live this way.