Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Improper Poll: …and Putrefaction

Once again, Val Thevictorian anticipated this week’s Improper Poll topic. I mentioned this before in a St. Peter’s Journal column years ago, but when we lived in Savannah, Georgia, my daughter once informed me—via scream—that she’d found a mummified lizard in her bedroom. The clincher was that I had been carefully cleaning around it (this was back when I cleaned house) because I thought it was one of those rubber things you throw against a window to make it stick.

Also, here is a confession. I fairly recently blogged about our pond frogs. And I mentioned one of the original two just couldn’t figure out how to navigate the net I put over it in fall (I’d left a back way in). I wanted to believe he hopped away to someone else’s pond…but a couple of months ago, I found what appeared to be a frog-shaped piece of beef jerky sitting right outside the net. I keep thinking of Scarlett O’Hara’s line in Gone with the Wind right after she shoots the Yankee. “Well I guess I’ve done murder.” I truly feel awful about it.

Any more petrified critters out your way?


  1. I killed a pet snake once. It was a boa and had not been in the cage--dead--long enough to become petrified, but it felt gross nonetheless.

    (It was a classroom pet, it was Christmas break, the cage was in the basement and the heat lamp died. The snake got too cold and died. I felt awful.)

    I had to chuckle, thinking of you cleaning around the mummified lizard, careful to not disturb it...

  2. My summertime yard always finds some sort of dried up animal, baked to complete crispy-critterness.


  3. I already used up my grandma's mummified cat, so I'll have to dip into my bag of inanimate creatures and pull out...the parking lot bird. I stepped on it for months, but I did not kill it. Birdy was a proverbial doornail before I first set foot on him. I'll put the full story on my blog, and I thank you very much for the inspiration.

    Here's hoping that next week's poll is not about birds or parking lots or things that you unwittingly have stepped on. Or in.

  4. No, nothing mummified that I can think of, but last summer I let my black Lab in from the back yard and in her mouth she had what I thought was a gooey piece of landscaping fiber she had dug up. I put my hand under her jaw and told her to "drop it," and she did. It was a dead mole. His little beady eyes stared at me from the palm of my hand. There was quite a ruckus after that, and my pup was rather pleased with her gift. Ugh.

  5. Okay, this is really terrible. I killed two school pets! We had a Thanksgiving feast; each child brought one ingredient for a garden salad. I gave Miss Piggy, the classroom guinea pig, some scraps. The teacher across the hall gave carrots to her gerbil. In the morning I heard her scream at the sight of her gerbil four feet up. I calmed her and laughed at the irony. We had both recently complained as we cleaned their cages, "I wish these things would croak, they smell so bad." I went into my classroom and Miss Piggy who had long red hair and resembled an old lady's cheap wig, was petrified, cold stone, rock solid hard. I screamed! Talk about guilt.

  6. LOL, you sure have a way with amphibians. I once had a kamikaze fish that would swim to the top and then nose dive into the bottom :)

    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  7. I can totally picture myself cleaning around a petrified lizard!

  8. Funny you should ask! Our washer crapped out after 15 years on the job, so we decided to just play it safe and replace the drier as well. They were delivered today, and when the guy pulled off the drier vent hose, all this STUFF fell out. He told me that a mouse had built a nest in the vent. I freaked. He said he would clean it out for me, but I needed to call an exterminator. I just finished killing a huge nest of roaches that came with the new dishwasher. They were living in the electrical panel. I dumped borax mixed with sugar into the bottom of the dishwasher, and Rod has been washing dishes by hand for the last three weeks. Only two more weeks to go before we can use the dishwasher again. I was not born to live with all these disgusting creatures. It's bad enough that we have to put up with rattlesnakes!

  9. That's probably one thing I've been able to avoid, although does an exhusband who brought home the frozen pet dog before getting it cremated count?

  10. Lynn, tell me you didn't let him in the house with it! OMG! Glad he's an ex now!!

  11. Pat, it seems to me there was once a cereal called Crispy Critters! Eww!

    Lisa, I can so relate to that. My dog once had what looked like a giant hunk of rawhide in his mouth. When he barfed it up, it was a squirrel with legs and a tail that came up intact. It took me two hours to clean up because I kept having to stop and gag. I actually cried!

    Linda, why would garden salad kill the class pets?? I've seen those long-haired guinea pigs, and your wig-description is perfect!

    Judie, I have a friend who actually dried the mouse in the dryer. I'm guessing THAT was petrified. Good luck with your critters.

    Oh, Lynn. Not only does that count, if I were handing out awards, you would win. Big time.


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