Monday, June 22, 2009

My Mother's House


Last Fall, my mom had a raccoon outbreak. A raccoon (she suspected it was two of them appearing at different times) suddenly appeared in her kitchen from a hole no one knew about in the pantry. At first she was willing to work with it. Mostly it was there for Grey Kitty's cat food. The raccoon would raid the dry food dish, taking cat food and rinsing the pieces in the water dish, leaving a soggy floating mess in their wake.

She would put Grey Kitty's bowl of dry food on the kitchen table to hide it, but the raccoon would climb on the table to get to it. She accepted this, too. She told me about combing her hair and watching television in the living room and getting up to get a snack in the kitchen. As she walked into the kitchen, there the raccoon would be, on top of the kitchen table. It would watch her without moving, until she returned to the living room, then it would go back to eating. Later when she returned to the kitchen, it would be gone, leaving behind its calling card of the mess in the water bowl. Sometimes when she came into the kitchen to make dinner, it would be sitting on one of the chairs at the dining room table. As she fixed dinner it watched her from under the table, still sitting in the chair.

Others in the household were not as zen-like about the visitor. Grey Kitty would avoid the issue all together. He'd pretended there wasn't a raccoon on the table eating his food and just walk on by. My younger sister Chrystal would scream when she saw them and run from the room. My mom's husband Leon wasn't at all pleased with the new guests and wanted them gone. They tried to shut the pantry door, but then it seemed to be coming in from a hole a plumber had left in the bathroom floor.

This went on for a few weeks, until one day, for some reason, the raccoon became a vandal. My mom would wake up the next morning to find it had pulled cereal boxes down off the shelves, torn them open and dumped their contents all over the floor. It marauded through the kitchen while they slept, shredding apart anything plastic, including medication bottles, and throwing the contents about the room. It was then the raccoon had to go. Her solution was reasonable: she simply got a humane trap for it, caught it, and set it free in the woods far from her house.

When I visit her, the room I stay in is the back room of the house. At night (and often during the day), you can hear squirrels that live somewhere inside the roof and inside the walls. They scamper loudly all across the ceiling, sounding like they are actually in the room with you. They've even appeared inside the house, freaked out and hostile, on occasion.

Another thing about the house is the electricity. It's an old house, and the wiring has never been updated. One time when I came for a visit, as I was putting my bags away in the back room, I noticed a handwritten sign above a light switch by the door that said "Do not turn off". Curiosity overcame me, and I turned it off. Dramatically, all the electricity groaned to a halt in the entire house. My mom had to call the electric company to turn the power back on. Turns out an old friend had installed a ceiling fan in that room, but once the fan was in, the switch that turned it on and off now shuts off all the power. (That light switch is now duck taped in the on position looking like a silver cocoon against the wall.

In the back room I stay in, there are two outlets. On one wall by the television, the bottom socket doesn't work. I found that out the hard way during a visit when I plugged something into it. The outlet made a loud popping sound and a bright flash of light. Now most all the appliances for this room are plugged into two piggy-backed extension cords that stretch across the kitchen floor from behind the stove and across the back room.

One visit, as I was showering there, when I touched the hot water faucet, I could feel it vibrating with electricity. Not enough to hurt, but enough to give that creepy electrified feeling. Of course I told my mom about it, but like her philosophy with the raccoons (before they became delinquents), my mom felt that as long as it wasn't hurting anyone, it isn't worth all the fuss I was making about it.


My mom and Grey Kitty



The reason I'm writing about my mom's house is because tomorrow I am going to Kentucky to visit her. I love visiting her, and I love that house. To be there is like a totally different world. And now, in the summer, if you sit in the back yard after dusk swatting at the cloud of mosquitoes surrounding you, you can see something that fills me with such unreasonable joy that I can't even describe. Just as the sun is setting, the fireflies come out. They rise from the grass, winking yellow-green, rising to the trees. In a good year, they are so plentiful that it looks like the trees have been hung with thousands of tiny winking lights. Everywhere you look the earth is sparkling. And I can't imagine anything more beautiful than to stand in that tropical humidity, toes deep in emerald grass, surrounded by little winking stars in every direction.




18 comments:

Yan Tan said...

hey hunn just stopping by showing your blog some love...very interesting...we love it..as well as your hair!!! can't wait until our grows!!!


**yantan**


come stop by sometime.. ;-p

Former Mushroom-Haired Child said...

Hi Yan Tan,

Thank you so much for stopping by! I love what you are doing with your blog. The more of us out there showing how beautiful our natural curls are the better.

LuvDeluxe said...

Sounds like my house. We called critter control and for a few hundred dollars they relocated a couple of animals to a distant location. He covered up the hole and sprayed something... What ever he did we haven't had the racoon/critter problem anymore. The do live in pairs though he was only able to catch one. The "left behind" lives next door in the hole he made in my neihbor's rotting roof. That is another story for another day. But what I like about this place is the family of bunny rabbits that often come to visit and chew up my neighbors garden. Fire flies, WOW!

Laurie said...

Teri

I swear I almost cried reading this. My parents house has the same effect on me. When I go home to visit, I can feel land itself sort of welcoming me, the trees, the critters ( deer, rabbit and pheasants) all looking up from eating the flowers to stare. Thank you for sharing!

Peace said...

I am with your sister. I am all about running, lol.

Anonymous said...

awwwwwwwww sounds like my parents home in Texas. Boy do I miss that now; I'm currently living in NYC.

Ola said...

Hi Teri! Love your blog and wish you would update more often but ofcourse I know you are a busy person:) I tried leaving this on biracial.org but I cant access the page due to some wierd computer problems-I dont know if its just the Polish formula or its the same thing in the States but i just noticed that HE hello hydration contaiins sodium chloride! It gave me really defined but unfortunately very dry,crunchy curls..do you think the Nacl is too low down the ingredient list(its 12th) to matter or should I stick to using it as a rinsing conditioner now? So sorry about this long post!

LuvDeluxe said...

For Ola... I tried Hello Hydration for the first time this month, all the while thinking I love the scent but I like the Pantene for women of color better. Then while in CVS drugs I picked up...Hold on let me grab the bottle...Okay I am back. I got Herbal Essences Hydralicious Reconditioning Conditioner. I like it better for the following reasons: scent, co-washing, combing/slip, and leave-in. My hair did not come out hard and crunchy,& it's the same price. I don't know if it is on Terri's approved list though.

(((((HUGS))))) sandi said...

*THANK YOU!* for posting this!!!! It sounds like our house, and honestly there are times I struggle with discontent. I feel ready to MOVE! LOL! I appreciate a new perspective. ~smile~

BTW~My boys are now using the same methods with their hair as I do with their sister. They may pick it out or brush it rather that let it separate into curls so much, but they look GREAT!

(((((HUGS))))) sandi

Janis said...

Hi, Teri. :-) We've exchanged e-mail a few times. I'm the one with the thigh-length Italian mop. I just wanted to let you know that ... hrm, I'm still wrestling with the idea of just letting my own texture out instead of braiding it and bunning it to keep it firmly strapped down 24/7. It took me so long to get it to start growing after a ten year stall and look decent that I'm nervous about changing anything in my routine.

But every time I see your blog, and every time I pick up the hair from inside my shower and see the individual hairs curl up like tight springs about the diameter of a nickel, I get curious about how I'd wear it if I ever let it out to play. At its current length, I have to wear it up, but I want to just let it be itself for a bit, too. But it's braided almost all the time wet or dry (literally) and wrapped up in a bun almost every waking moment.

How do you wear your hair up when it's curly 24/7? Do hairstick buns or ficcare clips work for it? I just feel like wearing it up in an office-appropriate style and letting its own texture out to play are mutually exclusive.

Former Mushroom-Haired Child said...

LuvDeluxe: Wow, so I guess having raccoons is a common thing...and that's interesting that your raccoons came in pairs. My mom thinks the raccoon she saw was a pair, though like you, she was only able to get rid of one. I wonder what the guy sprayed--my mom could sure use it since the holes in her house are still going strong. I love that you have a family of bunnies. It does seem like your neighbors are getting the brunt of the destructive wildlife activity now.

Oh, and the new Herbal Essences (the ones with the swirls on the bottles) make me unhappy (the ones I've seen so far) because they are sneaking in Sodium Hydroxide and other awful things. But I haven't checked them all out yet, so maybe there are some good ones too.

Laurie:Thank you for what you wrote. There is something heartbreaking and haunting about going back home and seeing how intertwined nature becomes with daily life, especially farther south.

Peace:Yes, running is often the thing to do :)

Anonymous:I bet your parent's house in Texas is beautiful and quirky, too.

Ola:You are totally right--I mean to write more, but I'm often working on the site, or the ingredients dictionary, so don't get a chance as much as I want to. Agh! I'll go out and check the Hello Hydration! Thanks for the head's up. It does seem like the formulations outside of the states love to add salt for some reason. Very frustrating. Since I'm paranoid, I always err on the side of caution, so I'd say for now, rinse it out. There may also be other formula differences with it, if it's making your hair feel dry and crunchy, especially next day.

((((Hugs))))Sandi:I do love visiting my mom's house, but would probably have some concerns about being there long term. I'm glad if my affection for her house has helped you in yours. And I'm so glad to hear your boys' hair looks great!

Janis: Hi there! I'm glad to hear from you. To answer your question, I wear my hair in a simple braid most of the time when it's not down, like for sleeping, and when I wake up too late in the morning to do much with it. However, I make sure to let my hair totally dry after washing, conditioning and combing it. This gives my curls a chance to "set". Then they stay around, even when they're braided up for days. When I want to wear them down, I wet my hands, add a bit of conditioner, then smooth that over my ends and over my hair, repeating as necessary, until the fuzzies are gone, and the curl is firm and refreshed. So you can both keep your hair up, but maintain texture (the key, though, is to give your curls a chance to set before putting them up). I hope that helps!

Janis said...

I'm just not sure how to wear it up other than to strap it down as firmly as possible, which doesn't seem to work well with letting its curl out to play. :-( At its current length, I pretty much HAVE to wear it up ...

I think the best thing to do to let it dry for me might be to do the smoothing, then just go to bed with a microfiber towel on the pillow ...

Former Mushroom-Haired Child said...

Hi Janis,Yes, it has to be challenging to know what to do with hair as long as yours is...what about letting it dry on a day off. Like wash and comb it (combing with a good slippery conditioner to eliminate wear and tear, and leaving it in are my recommendations) first thing in the morning of a day off where you don't have to be anywhere, and just see what it does? After it dries, then put it up. I worry you may end up with a mess if you sleep with it wet and down. I know I would probably have to be cut out of my hair if I tried that.

Janis said...

Oh drying it down isn't the hard part -- I don't have any idea how to put it up when it's curly. :-(

Anonymous said...

Janis: Check out the picture of Teri on her website (http://tightlycurly.com/HairShots.aspx). She has it up, but you still see her beautiful curls and texture. I also think you'd be able to do the long hair styles from your site with your curls, just make sure your curls are set/dry before doing the styles and don't pull it back too tightly.

Good luck in finding what works for you.

Janis said...

Oh, I know it's possible to put curly hair up. The issue is ... well, how? My hair's pretty heavy, so if I want to keep it up, doing it firmly is part of it or else it collapses under its own weight. :-P

I guess I just have to take some time, let it get curly, and mess around. Wah.

Anonymous said...

Hi Teri, I know what you mean, I live in Hebron, KY and we have critters everywhere...

missmoni4x4 said...

HILARIOUS!!!! (what did the sign say???) Lol! Very interesting! You should be a writer. I am trying your method on my BC...2 days now so far so good. :) I'm looking forward to your book