In the house of 26 windows

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Why yes, I’ve taken up house keeping in your walls and I’m quite comfortable. Thanks for asking.

 

 

I live in a house with twenty-six windows.

I am a Vampire.

My home is on a hill so that creates a nice cool space under the house where we keep wine, camping gear, yard tools, and boat stuff, among other things. There are no coffins under there. There are no coffins anywhere in my home.

Windows let in the light. Windows also let in the night. They let us watch rare lightning storms. They let in the moonlight. Windows let me view the fog without the dampness.

Wait…I was just going to muse on about living next to an oak forest, and the peaceful setting, and more windows, but I think I just heard gunfire. What the fuck is wrong with people? Sure shooting guns is fun but not in a residential area. Not near a public park. It doesn’t matter that there is a lot of undeveloped land around. Assholes.

A few nights ago, about a mile away, some white trash yahoo shot a gun into the air a bunch of times then shot up a car. Needless to say he is in jail right now. We’ve had two drug related drive by shootings in our quiet relatively crime free community in the past year so everyone is a bit on edge. One was a sixteen year old who had been involved in drug traffic. What a sad waste.

So back to my musings on windows but I’ve totally and completely lost my train of thought.

I’d like to say that I can take care of annoying people. Not as in bringing them chicken soup when they are sick, but as in making them live in fear, or have nightmares that drive them crazy, or other creative solutions. I can, but I don’t, as long as they stay away from me or those I love. As with most Vampires, I just take a deep breath and keep writing (or doing whatever I was doing.) We aren’t super heroes or keepers of the calm. We’re just Vampires. We pick our battles carefully. Then again, doesn’t everyone with half a brain.

Oh great. Now I hear squirrels running around in the wall, between the floor of the upstairs and the ceiling of the downstairs. I am not happy. Squirrel squatters are the worst kind of animal trash. And no, my cats are not earning their keep right now.

Ants are in my house too. I can usually manage them. Our neighbors haven’t been so lucky. They put their cat food dish in a bowl of water so the ants can’t get at the food.

Turkeys are in my yard. I can hear them in the back picking through the dry grass (we’re in a drought remember.) They have done their best to try to dig up the roses in my front yard. There are six of them. All females. They make their rounds digging in yards, looking for whatever turkeys eat. The small calico cat used to stalk the turkeys but now she just ignores them. Don’t suggest shooting them. Just don’t.

Last winter I came home to find a large dead male turkey right in the middle of my front yard. I have no idea what happened. No idea. But there was a broken branch in one of the trees above the dead bird. I just figure he was drinking and fell out of the tree.

So if you thought Vampires are solitary creatures you are wrong.

Speaking of which, I have to get the door. I’ll be back.

That was my charming young hipster friend Cody. I suppose I can’t call him a Vampire in training anymore, or even a new Vampire. He has been part of the community for four years now.

I told him he could take my squirrels and make a beard out of them. Or maybe a coat. Those were jokes of course. Bad jokes but jokes never the less.

My young friend (he is in his mid-thirties) stopped by for coffee and lively discussion. It is what Cody and I do. Today, in a rare burst of emotion, he was asking a lot of questions.

First he asked, “Why do I still need to wear contacts or glasses during the day, but I can see crystal clear in the dark?”

“Our eyes are sensitive to the light,” I told my young friend. “It is just part of being a Vampire. Our night vision, the ability to see in the dark, is a gift. One of many gifts.”

“Is it wrong to be in love with a woman who is six hundred years older than I am?”

“No.” I answered. Of course it that was one of my kids I’d flip and have to go beat the living moonlight out of that old Vampire. But Cody is an adult…long story for another blog post.

He talked, while I listened, about the fact that he could feel the emotions and even the thoughts of others. It was overwhelming to him sometimes.

He talked about how he could smell warm blood inside of live people and it reminded him of summer barbecues and that bothered him. I told him that it happened to all Vampires from time to time.

Then he asked the one question that got on my nerves. “What is that noise?”

“Squirrels.”

“What are you going to do about it?”

“I don’t know. Maybe I’ll blast roller skating music at them. You know, organ music played to popular songs in classic dance beats.”

“That would do it. Or you could hire someone with traps to come out.”

“I could do that too. I could also feed them peanut better cookies until they get so fat they explode.”

We had more coffee and spoke to the transitions in our lives. Even Vampires have transitions. Even 155 year old Vampires have transitions.

“Sometimes I miss things, like being warm. In the winter I can’t see my breath in the cold air,” said Cody.

I’ve always been like this, but I remember as a child wishing I could breath out fog like regular humans could. Growing up this way makes being this way normal.

“Cody,” I said, “your feelings are normal. Your new world is normal too. Take it from me, no matter where you are, make it your normal.”

I’m sure that made no sense at all to him, but he looked at me as if I was some self-help guru.

“Like a new normal,” he said.

“Like the normal you’ll always had but just different. Even if you had never become a Vampire you’d still have major changes in your life.”

Then we talked about books, and had more coffee, and went for a walk down by the lake.

And now, I’m back here with my cats, the squirrels, and still no ideas about my twenty-six windows and how I’m going to tie those into a life lesson story. Oh well.

Have a good week everyone. And don’t feel stupid to ask questions. There are no stupid questions. OK there are stupid questions but I’m a mom and I’m not supposed to say that.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

The house with 26 windows

The house with 26 windows

 

 

 

 

 

The Mysterious Death of a Turkey, Vampires and Thoughts on the Randomness of Life.

Many people swear that all things happen for a reason. They believe there is a driving force behind everything good or bad. They send inspirational messages. They start hate groups. Sure the hate group thing is harsh but look at those truly evil fiends from the Westboro Baptist Church. Anyway, most people just send lovely little inspirational messages and try to make lemonade out of lemons, dirt clods, illness, rocks, roadkill. Hey you can make lemonade out of anything if you squeeze it hard enough and add toxic amounts of sugar.

That said, I do believe in love at first sight, the goodness in the world and that some people are destined for greatness (but most aren’t and greatness happens just randomly, which in my eyes makes it even greater.)

So, back to real life…

I believe that most things are random. My life, even the organized portions, are full of random events.

Sure, somethings may happen for a reason, but most don’t. Most things are just random. We can then we can take whatever we want or whatever we need from the experience.

Part 1: The Turkey

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Tuesday night I arrived home to discover a dead turkey in my front yard. Let me go back a minute or two. When I pulled into the driveway with the kids in the car we noticed a skinny female turkey picking at the grass. How cute – a giant bird is in our yard.

Then we noticed two turkeys. It was one of those WTF moments when we saw that the second turkey was a very large male and it was very dead. There were no signs of injury or trauma. It was just dead on it’s back, in my front yard.

We have no idea how it died. We’ve seen turkeys fall out of trees so I figure it must have hit it’s head on the fence or a tree branch and died.

The kids proceeded to take photos with their smart phones and post it all over their 20 thousand social media outlets.

Turkeys aren’t native to our area. I believe the Fish and Game department introduced them to California in the early 1960’s. Our turkeys have ancestors in either North or South Carolina from what I remember reading a while back (correct me if I’m wrong on that.) Turkeys were going to be the next big sport bird. They’re sport for some but for most of us they are just huge prehistoric looking backyard birds. The big birds have thrived and now are all over the place including crossing main streets holding up morning traffic, hanging out around office complexes, in parks and in my yard. One day last spring I counted 28 of them in a parade walking up the narrow lane I live on.

This (Northern California) is not their native habitat. It is like their native habitat, but turkeys, like a lot of wild animals don’t always mesh with suburbia, and that includes my front yard. We love our turkeys but the still seems sort of alien and out of place.

Actually I take that back. They DO get along despite our expectations. They thrive. THRIVE around humans. Nobody eats them. Nobody dares harm them. Coyotes and bobcats can only eat so many of them. My calico cat stalks them but she can’t catch one. Dogs ignore them. So they thrive. So much in fact that every child and grown man and woman around here can do a turkey call. If you gobble the turkeys will gobble back at you. Now THAT is fun stuff.

Teddy (the husband) arrived home and helped me get the turkey in the garbage can. I declined the offer to keep some of the beautiful feathers. As soon as we dumped it in the can the entire tail opened up like a giant fan. Yikes. It was big – at least 25 pounds if not more. It had to go in the garbage can because of coyotes and raccoons and other critters that might have come by for a fresh feast. Not on my daffodils.

Now it is time to ponder the meaning of this all…

Humans have transported animals, plants and other humans all over the world for centuries – leaving their living cargo in places foreign and hostile. But soon the newcomers thrive and nobody (except maybe Vampires) can remember a time when they were newcomers. They’re now as native as natives. That is why most wars and a lot of political nonsense makes no sense to children. Children see everything in their world as belonging – that is as if it works. And until last night the turkey thing seemed to be working just fine.

There is no reason to believe I’ll find another dead turkey in my yard anytime soon. I hope not. I’m not holding out for any expired politicians or dictators (but that is an interesting if not both repulsive and exciting thought.)

It is out in my side yard in the garbage can. I know it is there, feet sticking up with claws waiting in death to grip me and drag me inside the can. It is sad and weird. I know, that sounds weird coming from me – that I think a dead turkey is weird. But it is. It really is.

The dead turkey in my front yard was just another random event in my life.

Part 2: Vampires

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Unlike Turkeys, Vampires are nocturnal creatures. OK we’re nocturnal for the most part. Anyway…

After ridding my yard of a dead turkey I got a call asking for my help. It wasn’t the school asking for bake sale items. It was for work. Part of my job is to help new Vampires and old shadow creeping Vampires adjust to their new status in life. Yes, I train Vampires and hold their hands when needed.

I was glad to go as my husband was on one of his self-righteous cleaning kicks. You know the kind where they bang stuff around in the kitchen so you’ll hear them because YOU, the woman, didn’t do your job and clean things like you said you were going to. It isn’t like I don’t already do enough… so….

I called Cody, my young Vampire friend, a thirty-something guy who’d adjusted well after his surprise conversion two years ago. See the previous post for his Quiche recipe. He is quite the enlightened young Vampire.

He mentions that he hopes someone is recording Justified. Of course, and Ink Masters. Hey, we have to get in our culture. One cannot live on Opera and Magical Realism alone can they?

Our project this evening was Willow, a young woman who had recently found herself charmed by an unscrupulous man who just happened to be a Vampire and had turned her into one as well. Then he left her alone without the tools or the friends she needed to become successful in her new existence.

When we arrived at her house she was in a panic. The dark Celtic designs that had once been tattooed on her arm had vanished. Cody could relate to that. He had once had a large elaborate tiger on his arm (for reasons I can’t fathom.) Tattoos don’t stay on Vampires. Our bodies reject the ink turning it to dust.

Next she showed me a letter of acceptance for graduate school. Of course she could go. Why not? There were no rules in the student handbook forbidding Vampires to any public university that I knew of.

“Nobody knows you’re different Willow,” I explained to her. “You’re normal. More than normal. This is still your world, your place, no matter what happened to you. It is all just the start of your new life as well as a continuation of everything you’ve already experienced.”

Half of that was bull shit but I’m good at inspirational talk. It’s what I do.

A celebration was in order, as well as a quick bite, so we walked about 3/4 of a mile to a local Irish brew pub. It is always busy – full of locals of all ages, but most popular with the young high tech professionals and state workers. It also just happens to be a popular hang out for hip young Vampires. It was one of those places that Willow would have never found on her own.

Alex and Rob were there. They’ve been friends for years – since WW1. Alex had been around for a while (his father signed the Declaration of Independence). Rob had just become a Vampire. He was alone in Europe. Part of the US Army but now considered missing in action. And now, they were here, like all the other young men, talking about work and flirting with the women.

I introduced them to Willow. Later I told them in private to do me a favor and watch out for her, introduce her to friends and help me guide her along.

Then Angela, a lovely thing with copper colored hair who’d been a Vampire since 1985 showed up. She lived in the neighborhood and had a lot to talk about with Willow.

Cody and I watched as the evening unfolded and Willow made new friends. It was a good thing.

Feeling different and alone with no future or hope is a horrible thing. That is why we need to always be aware of others who need help. We also need to be aware of ourselves so we don’t become isolated. It isn’t always easy for some of us. Friendship and fellowship with like minds and like kinds can be random, but it also takes some work. It is one of those random things that we all need to seek out and nurture.

I left Cody with our friends and arrived home just in time to get the kids in bed and watch Justified with my husband. Even Vampires need to just chill sometimes.

Part 3: This Morning

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This morning, just as the sun came up over the oak trees the garbage truck came and took away the turkey.

While getting ready for school my kids and I talked about what is going on in the Flight 370, the building in New York that exploded and the tragedy at SXSW.  It was all so random and tragic. None of those events were near us but we could connect to them in our own experiences (that six degrees sort of thing.) We talked of what is going on in the Ukrane, which isn’t so random in many ways, but in a way it is – and tragic as well.

But good things will happen too. A lot of good things. For absolutely no reason, which sort of makes it even better.

Life is random. We can work for things and make things happen, but we can’t predict everything. But sooner or later it all connects and you end up where you are, right now. And right now, in my life, that is exactly where I’m supposed to be.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman