The Good, The Bad, and the Digging Little Bastards


Another week has begun here at the House of Peevish. Our weekend is done, and for this I am sad. The weekend went too quickly, and although full of good things, having another day off or two would have been nice.

We are feeling the festive season here, and as such there are always things to do. But they are by and large good things. We rearranged our attic so that it is getting to be just so — or, at least, as “just-so” as it will get until we can get new furniture to replace the giant and cat-damaged furniture we currently have. Still, it has taken a couple of days of concerted work, a fair bit of faffing and waffling, and we’re getting to the point that were really starting to like the space. It’s a hard space to figure with the angles and lines and such, but it’s getting to as good a place as I think it might ever be, short of bringing in a professional and spending a buttload of money.

It’s a welcoming space that we now want to spend time in, and have made the effort — sometimes with Stinkerbelle’s prodding — to go up there and just enjoy it. We’ve watched The Vicar of Dibley with That Girl snuggling between us at bedtime. The “one TV show at bedtime with Mommy and Daddy” tradition is something I remember fondly from my early childhood, if you put aside the strange pathological fear of The Smothers Brothers I had for awhile.

We’ve also started watching some holiday movies — “auditioning”, as it were, some new movies to add to our collection before we break out the favourites and the season gets into full swing. Last night we watched The Polar Express, or “the Trains One” in Stinkerbelle parlance. She was enchanted, and if one memory will endure from this season so far, it is That Girl sitting in the light of the Christmas tree, her little voice soulfully singing along to the main Christmas song in the film.

But the downside to being excited about the festive season for the first time in years is the expense. We’re very conscious of our spending now, as a single-income family, and so as the excitement carries us away we’re finding we’re spending, obviously, more than we normally do. And after eleven months of budgeting and watching the bills and such, it’s hard to get to grips with the sudden OMG OUR VISA BILL IS HOW MUCH.

But perspective is important, and we remind ourselves that we are actually spending much less this year since we are not travelling. And we are spending conscientiously, although more than usual, with the thought that we will have to plan for some frugality once again in the new year. But still, as the month progresses, I’m sure there will be more than a few long dark tea-times of the soul as we regret the ridiculous number of books Santa is bringing and the three adorably schlumpy new elves we’ve added to our collection of holiday decorations.

The only real negative of the weekend just past was in coming home from dancing class on Saturday to find we have new tenants. Our lawn was looking particularly scruffy, as though a dog or something had come along and scratched and scrabbled at the ground and laid bare big patches of dirt. Divots had been created, with tufts of grass thrown about, like an entire family of raccoons, say, or maybe skunks or something, had come rooting for grubs in our lawn.

On closer investigation, it looks as though voles have decided to take up residence in our front lawn, and the wreckage is from them tunnelling under the grass at root level, munching away. Usually, we see the tunnels in spring, after the snow is melted, and they’re superficial because by the time those tunnels get created, the ground is too hard for them to do much damage other than scrabble around at ground level. But it’s been rainy and damp and cold, and, well, I guess they’ve been looking for food early and with ease.

Now, voles are as cute as all get out, like a cross between a hamster and a field mouse — but they are destructive little bastards. And, to be fair, we haven’t really been tending to our lawn much in the last little while, so the leaves and the long grass must have been tempting. And we DO live next to Nature-O-Rama here, so you know, it’s not like we can bang up a sign saying “No Voles Allowed” and they’d think “Oh, well then Mildred, let’s take the family down the street for dinner”. You get what you get. And we got voles, the furry digging little bastards.

So, while we’re enjoying our festive season, no doubt the voles will be as well. And when we budget for the new year, to pay for our festive fun and excesses, no doubt we’ll be budgeting for some grass seed to pay for theirs.

2 thoughts on “The Good, The Bad, and the Digging Little Bastards

  1. Well, if I lived anywhere near you (which I’m pretty sure I don’t since you can still see lawn…) I would lend you my dog. He happens to be the best mouser/voler??? I’ve ever met. Bit odd for a dog but he actually digs under the snow to catch them, flings them up in the air and gets quite upset when they quit playing his “game”. I’ve tried to explain the whole “when you fling the mouse/other rodent in the air they have heart attacks and die” but nope, he just doesn’t get it. He very proudly brought me a dead mouse a few weeks ago and spit it out on our dining room floor! Might have been more happy to see that a few weeks prior when we were trying to locate the garter snake that hitched a ride into our basement in the hose reel box thingy and escaped into the underworld that is our basement…

    Voles are super cute, too bad they are soooo destructive!

    Just started up the Christmas music, on to decorating. I was going to wait until Dec but hey, it’s almost here and you’ve inspired me to chuck convention out the window and start the celebration now.


  2. Oh ha ha! I jsut read Allison’s story and forgot what I was going to write.

    Poor voles being chucked in the air.

    Oh ya, At least grass seed is inexpensive…kids books and toys…not so much! Sigh!

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