Packing Up The Old Hobo Bag


Sometimes I dream about running away. Packing up the old hobo bag and taking to the road. It’s likely I wouldn’t get far. I mean, let’s face it, your average bandana tied to a stick doesn’t hold much. It probably wouldn’t even be large enough for all of my cosmetics. And at my age I NEED my cosmetics.

The last time I ran away I wound up two blocks away at my best friend’s house. I hadn’t even had the forethought to take my credit card, let alone fashion a hobo bag. I realized the error of my ways when we, fancying ourselves an updated version of Thelma and Louise, took to the roads. We made it as far as the local Target where, much to my disgust, I had to choose between spending the $20 in my wallet on something extravagant — you know, to make A POINT to that rat bastard I’m married to — or to use some of it for a hot dog value meal at the snack counter.

I must have been hungry because I’m pretty sure I had a deluxe dog, french fries, and a large soda. I toyed with purchasing a set of Legos that were on clearance, but decided, if memory serves, on a small shelf. My husband hates when I buy shelves. I’m sure that I thought that returning home with a new shelf would make more of a statement AND more of a noise than slamming a set of Legos on the dining room table ever could. Plus, what would I have done with Legos once I got them home?

Now that I think of it, I have no idea whatever became of the shelf. It’s probably sitting at the bottom of the hall closet with all of the other shelves that I’ve purchased, but never installed, over the years. Yeah. I like buying shelves, I just don’t like hanging shelves.

My husband will have nothing to do with shelves. He’s suspicious of them. They make him nervous. In his words, he “doesn’t trust shelves”. He has deep-seated psychological issues regarding shelves. Perhaps, some time in his youth, he was standing underneath one when it fell on his head and knocked the manliness out of him.

Yes, I said “manliness” because I’m sick, sick, sick of doing all the dirty work around here. For the record, ALL of the shelves I’ve ever purchased are NOT languishing in the bottom of the hall closet. Some of them have been installed — by ME! Outside of taking out the garbage and attending to the recycling, I do everything else around this joint.

I used to do trash duty, but I could never get the schedule right. My husband took over after hearing — from the neighbors — one too many stories that involved me racing down the street chasing after the garbage truck. These folks may or may not have been exaggerating when they described in fits and starts, through snorting guffaws, the various states of undress and shoelessness that often accompanied my failure to catch the DPW guy. I could be wrong, but I think he took responsibility for the trash more to save himself the embarrassment that these stories produced than because he wanted to lighten my load.

I even do things that send most women running for cover — like killing bugs. The only exception to this rule are bees — and that’s only because I’m allergic. Lord knows no one in this house wants me laid up with swelling or, God forbid, hospitalized with anaphylaxis. Because then who would kill the mice?

Certainly not my husband. Certainly not the teenager daughter. Certainly not the cat.

Yes, we have another mouse. I discovered our uninvited houseguest this morning, as I was bleary-eyed and coffeeless, but suddenly, upon happening upon it in the middle of the kitchen floor, wide awake. There’s nothing like coming face-to-face with a rodent at the crack of dawn to get your heart pumping, I’ll tell you that.

That I was up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday morning was because I was required to attend one of our all too frequently held staff meetings at work. I’ll bet the executives who are employed by IBM or members of The National Security Council have fewer meetings than we do. I’ll bet their meetings are a damn sight more interesting, too.

I’d guess they discuss things of importance, like new technologies and what the hell to do with that crazy guy in South Korea. We, on the other hand, are expected to listen attentively on subjects like golden beets and quinoa. It just feels silly.

I found it difficult, given the anxiety-producing events of my morning, to concentrate on new menu items. I’ll have to pretend to be excited about grilled watermelon, tilapia, and corn on the cob another day. I’d like to think that under normal circumstances I may have been able to muster up some enthusiasm for the fried green tomato, but I had other things on my mind.

Things like, for example, where could I lay my hands on some steel wool? I know this stuff will seal the small holes around the heating pipes. I had previously tried Target and the grocery store to no avail. I called my husband and asked him to take a quick trip to the home improvement store. I told him to get steel wool. I counseled him against purchasing Brill-O pads. I explained what I needed and why I needed it. I advised him, in the event that he became baffled in the vastness of the home improvement store, to ask someone roaming around in an orange apron about their steel wool inventory. I found it necessary to give these very specific instructions because I know my husband quite well.

It turns out, sadly, that my lack of faith in his ability to purchase some steel wool was not misplaced. I came home to discover that he had gotten stainless steel scrubbers. Do I even need to tell you that stainless steel scrubbers are NOT steel wool? Do I even need to tell you that my husband didn’t ask anybody in an orange apron anything.

Up until then, the highlight of my day had been waiting on the family who let me know that they were “in the business” and then insisted upon using five coupons, ordering children’s meals for their teenagers, demanding seventeen water refills each, and enjoying three courses for less than forty bucks. I’m not sure what “business” they were in, but I can assure you that it wasn’t the restaurant business. Still, I suppose dealing with them wasn’t so bad considering that prior to their appearance on the scene I thought that the crowning achievement of my workday would be all the fun facts that I had learned about kale.

Undeterred, even in light of having the wrong supplies and of having spent my day in the trenches over at The Annoying Bar and Grill, I was prepared to soldier on — to continue waging war against the furry, beady-eyed enemy or, I suspected, enemies, that were, no doubt, lurking under the appliances and the baseboard in my kitchen. Frankly, I had visions of pulling out the stove to discover a gaggle of mice sporting party hats and throwing confetti.

It was at this point that I sat aside of my husband and asked him to help me to formulate a “game plan”. I should have known by the look on his face that he had no intention of grabbing a mitt and getting into any game — even one that didn’t include rodent participants. I chose to ignore both his disinterested look and what I would characterize as mild harrumphing. In the midst of what was shaping up to be my version of the “St. Crispin’s Day” speech from Henry V, he looked me in the eye, much as the mouse had done just that morning, and told me that he wasn’t getting involved in anything of this nature.

As calmly as I could, in my best cajoling tone, I reminded him that I am, as he well knows, slightly mouse-phobic. My fear of mice in party hats under the stove notwithstanding, he flat out refused to help me embark upon Operation: Rodent Removal. Flat. Out. Refused.

When I asked him if he had a better plan, he told me that he was just going to wait until the cat took care of it. Seriously. That’s his plan. He’s going to rely upon our elderly, overweight feline to rid our living space of rodents. An elderly, overweight feline that doesn’t exactly have a stellar track record where hunting mice are concerned, let me just add.

I feel like I may as well look to hire The Pied Piper of Hamelin. I know that story is a fairy tale. So is my husband’s belief that our cat will somehow, uncharacteristically rise to the occasion and solve our mouse problem.

My game plan is to give up. I’m plum tuckered out. I’ve located a bandana. Now I just need a good stick. I’m packing my hobo bag and getting the hell out of Dodge.

This post also appeared as part of a “Best of 2014” blog hop over at Midlife Boulevard!

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9 thoughts on “Packing Up The Old Hobo Bag

  1. peachyteachy says:

    There’s some temptation to do a hobo runaway these days. Not from home though.


    • javaj240 says:

      You could run away TO home, lol! Sometimes I’m tempted to call out “well”, as in, “Sorry! Can’t come in today. I’m entirely too ‘well’ to deal with any bullshit! Thanks for understanding! See you tomorrow!”

      Ah, a girl can dream, can’t she? At least for you, there’s Summer vacation! The only thing I’ll be doing this Summer is watching my daughter and my money set off for UVM! 😦


  2. Bits to Banjos says:

    I really enjoyed reading ‘Packing up the old Hobo Bag’, thanks


  3. swo8 says:

    If I ran into a mouse in our house, I’d want to run away too!
    I see you like music. Have a look at my web page and sample the music there. I’ve got a new album out, just released on April 30th 2014.
    Let me know what you think.


  4. Paula Cavalier says:

    just like everything else, it’s our age. We did everything before enabling our household dwellers and now our bodies are tired and we want help or to escape. There must be an island with tired enabling women we can go to. Also I remember your husband and daughter very much against killing critters. Isn’t allowing a cat to first play with then torture a mouse the same or worse than using a glue trap?


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