Arkie Mama: There’s not room for a rodent in my bedroom

“Did you move this box?” Hubs asked me Friday morning, gesturing toward a large cardboard box a few feet away from our bedroom door. (Said door leads to the deck.)

“No,” replied, not paying much attention. “I think the kids did it when they were playing in here.”

“Well, I moved it there before I left to go hunting,” Hubs said indignantly. “There’s a hole at the bottom of the door from all the rain. I didn’t want any wildlife to get in.”

Niiiiiiice, I thought. I love the way he didn’t bother to mention a critter-attracting hole BEFORE he left town. For a week.

Hubs continued puttering around the room and I left for work. He had the day off. So unfair.

Around 3 p.m., he called me.

“I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but — ” He paused.

“What?” I asked distractedly.

“Well, this morning, when I was moving some things around in our bedroom, and this little furry thing went racing across the floor, so I chased it around the room, and then it ran back toward the door, where the hole is, only I’d put the box back in front of it, and then he disappeared, but I think he managed to squeeze behind the box and through the hole.”

“Furry?” I asked. “Like a mouse?”


“Noooooooo,” Hubs said reluctantly. “I think maybe it was a small rat.”

Now I don’t know why, but whereas I can kind of convince myself that a mouse possesses a sort of whiskery cuteness, the thought of a rat brings up images of the beady, yellow-eyed rodent — with glistening fangs — in Lady and the Tramp. You know, the rodent that’s out to make a snack of the new baby.

“WHAT?!” I screeched. “Are you telling me that I’ve sharing my bedroom with a RAT while you were off hunting all week?!”

“Er, yes,” Hubs replied.

“Well, are you sure it’s gone?”

“Oh, yes,” my spouse assured me. “I’m positive.”

I spent the rest of the afternoon wondering what the rat had been up to each night. Had it perched on my nightstand, watching me sleep? I thought of the glistening fangs, of the long, creepy, stringy tail. Thank God it hadn’t made its presence known while Hubs was gone. The kids and I would have been squealing down the driveway on our way to a hotel if I’d caught even a glimpse of the littl varmint.

Hubs told he he’d patched up the hole, and by that evening, I’d put the sighting out of my mind. Until, that is, I heard a yelp in our bedroom.

“Cathy!” Hubs yelled. “Get in here, quick!”

I tossed the remote and ran for the bedroom. Hubs was crawling on all fours and looking underneath our bed.

“What is it?!” I shrieked, even though I already knew.

“It’s still here,” Hubs gasped, still circling the bed. “I chased it across the room and opened the door, but then it swerved and went under our bed. I need you to stand there and watch for it. Make sure it actually goes out the door this time.

Does the man really think I’m going to just stand here, waiting for a rat to emerge? Is he out of his mind?

I shut the door and returned to the living room.

Fifteen minutes later, Hubs emerged from the bedroom, panting yet victorious.

“I’m sure he’s gone this time,” Hubs said.

“Did you actually see him leave?”

“Well. No. But he isn’t anywhere in our room. I checked.”

“What if he got out before I shut the door?” I asked.

“I’m positive he went outside,” Hubs assured me.

“Yeah, that’s what you told me this morning, remember?”

Still unconvinced, I made Hubs scour the house. When we finally turned in, I made a running leap for the bed.

“What are you doing?” Hubs asked as I landed in an ungraceful heap.

“I’m not giving that thing a chance to sample human flesh,” I said. “It might develop a taste for it.”

Needless to say, I did not sleep well. The next day, Hubs set out a trap in our bedroom. Thus far, it remains untouched and there have been no further sightings.

This does not comfort me.

Because I just know that rat is waiting for Hubs to leave town again before making his presence known.

Hello, my sweet.

Hello, my sweet.

Arkie Mama: I touched a dead deer, but only cuz I needed a potty

Over the weekend, I took the kids down to the Buck Fever Festival, which is held in south Arkansas each year to celebrate the opening of gun season. If someone had told me 10 years ago that I would one day be dressing my kids in camo and partying in the deer woods, I would have declared them certifiably insane and laughed my ass off.

The only camo I ever purchased in my single-girl days came in the form of a skirt, which I figured would make for a cute clubbing outfit.

One day, I wore that skirt to work (yeah, I know, but women in their 20s have questionable fashion sense) and it immediately caught Hubs’ eye. At that time, we didn’t know one another, other than exchanging random hellos in the newsroom.

Anyway, Hubs saw that skirt and thought he’d finally found himself a gal who liked to hunt.


We started dating in September 2000, and when Buck Fever rolled around, Hubs invited me down to Banks, Ark., where his family has lived for generations.

“So you’re the latest girlfriend,” Hubs’ dad said with a laugh.

I determined right then that I would somehow distinguish myself from the other women who’d been dragged down to the deer camp.

And that night, as we sat around a campfire drinking bourbon and Coke, a moment of brilliance struck.

“I’d love to go hunting tomorrow evening with you,” I purred, sidling up to an elated Hubs.

So the next day, Hubs decked me out in hunting garb. All you could see of me were my eyes — which shimmered delightfully thanks to three shades of sparkling, autumnal eyeshadow — and my hands, which boasted 10 fingers tipped with shiny, burgundy nails.

When we got to to Hubs’ favorite spot, I trotted dutifully after him, prepared to prove myself as a sporting sort of girlfriend.

“OK,” he whispered. “Sit here and DO NOT MOVE.”

I plopped down into a position that I figured I would able to hold for the 30 or so minutes I estimated it would take Hubs to get a deer.

An hour passed.

And then another.

By this time, I desperately had to pee, but I knew that Hubs would frown upon A.) moving around and B.) leaving my scent behind after a drop-and-squat. He’d already made me shower with some sort of descenting soap. I figured peeing in an area where deer roam probably wouldn’t go over too well.

Please, oh, please just let him kill a deer, I prayed.

Bear in mind, I really had no idea to see a buck die. But in my haste to prove myself as The New and Improved Girlfriend, I’d neglected to ponder the fact that I would have to witness death in the woods.

Finally, just as my potty situation was becoming truly dire, Hubs silently and speedily pointed his gun.


“Yay!!!” I cheered, hugging him. “Now we can find a potty!”

But when Hubs tried to drag his buck out of the woods, it became clear he would need help. This was one big deer.

Crossing my legs, I mulled over my choices.

I could lag behind, maybe cop a squat when Hubs wasn’t looking. Or I could help him haul that damn deer out to the truck.

Believe me people, when I say that only a bathroom emergency would enable me to touch a dead animal.

After we heaved the buck into the truck, I ordered Hubs to take me to Grandma Hattie’s house, where a wall-papered, old-lady bathroom awaited.

And thus, my introduction and initiation to deer hunting was complete.

I married Hubs the following spring and I have never set foot near a deer stand again.

Instead, I take the kids to the Buck Fever parade, the Buck Fever catfish lunch, the Buck Fever Talent Show and the Buck Fever Beauty Pageant.

I find these activities both fun and totally surreal. And when I hear the occasional boom of gunfire, I thank my lucky stars that I got that ring on my finger before my second hunting season with Hubs.

And these days, my camo isn’t deer-woods friendly. It’s pink. And meant for sleeping.

The mighty deer hunter

The mighty deer hunter


psst … Make sure you go here for a chance to win a pair of sparkly earrings!

The life of the wife of the deer hunter

In the months before the birth of our first child, Hubs and I spent many an evening discussing nursery decor.

“I know!” Hubs declared one night. “We’ll run with a Bambi theme, maybe paint little woodland creatures on the walls!”

“You realize that one day you will be explaining to our child that Daddy shoots those cute little woodland creatures, right?” I inquired.

“We’ll just redecorate before we get to that point,” Hubs replied.

Uh, yeah. Riiiiiiight.

This, ladies, is life with a devoted hunter. Doesn’t matter what time of year it is, the man is consumed with dreams of deer.

I can’t plead ignorance. I knew what I was getting into. The first time I went to Hubs’ house, I couldn’t miss the tangle of antlers on his fireplace mantel. His couch was plaid — maroon and hunter green. The place looked more like a hunting lodge than bachelor pad.

Over the years, I’ve grown accustomed to the weekend absences, the overly full freezer, the sight of drying antlers hanging from one of our trees.

What I can’t get used to is this —

Christmas present, 2008

Christmas present, 2008

— my husband’s desire to see me decked out in camo.

This is the second camo camisole the man has bought for me. What, exactly, is he envisioning — a sexy romp through the living room with him as the hunter and me as the hunted?

Trust me. I do not run like a gazelle. I lumber.

Last night, the following exchange took place on Facebook:

Hubs is happy, cathy is in camo
Yesterday at 8:22pm

Kin Man Hui How would you be if she was also holding onto a compound bow? 😉
Yesterday at 8:29pm

Hubs even better
Yesterday at 8:30pm

John Lynch Is it date night?
Yesterday at 8:43pm

Mark Wilson maybe she’s trying to hide from you
Yesterday at 9:44pm


It’s bad enough that all our friends are now envisioning me in camo. But to imply that I’m engaged in some sort of Amazon warrior princess seduction?

Really, it’s too much.

Which is why Hubs is getting this for his next birthday:


I believe these are called Tutti-Frutti.