Is This the Face of a Killer?

Last spring I was quite traumatized when my cuddly, little cockapoo became—well, there’s really no other way to say it--a murderer. He killed some bunnies living underneath our deck. It was AWFUL!

Oreo is normally a great listener (better than most teenagers) and responds instantly when I call him. Except then. He reverted back to his wolf instincts, or whatever, and refused to come. He was a dog on a hunting mission and nothing was going to deter him.

We’ve rebuilt our deck since then, and he can no longer fit underneath it. But apparently the bunnies can. Several weeks ago they built another nest under there. I had to keep Oreo on a leash for two weeks straight so he wouldn’t dig holes all around our deck in his attempts to get at them. It was quite frustrating. I wondered how long the life cycle of a baby bunny was and when they would finally move on. But eventually they did, and Oreo enjoyed free reign of the backyard once again.

Then two days ago, I noticed a bunny digging a hole in the middle of our yard. When I went out to chase it away, it just looked at me and laughed. (I hate it when wild life isn’t afraid of me!)

I pulled myself up to my full five feet in height and roared at it. It performed a couple of bunny hops and stopped. I roared again, running at it, and flailing my arms--much to my teen daughter’s hysterical amusement. The bunny hopped just across the border of our property into our neighbor’s yard. I filled in the hole it had dug, and marched back inside.

The minute my back was turned the bunny was back.

In desperation, I let Oreo out, hoping his menacing 15-lb. presence would terrify the bunny enough to find a new home. He sniffed around, keeping the critter at bay.

But the minute his back was turned, the bunny was back. Digging.

I chased it away again, then got our big, orange snow shovel. I filled in the bunny hole again, and laid the shovel on top of it. Ha! Let’s see it try to move THAT, I thought.

But the following morning…yeah. The bunny was back. No, it didn’t move the shovel. This time it was digging next to the shovel. I filled it in and covered both holes with the shovel. The bunny just moved to a new spot in the yard and started digging.


Here’s something I don’t get. There are no protective bushes where this bunny is choosing to create its nest. There’s no shade. We have a dog. And we mow the lawn regularly.

Our next-door-neighbor’s house is currently empty. They have no dog. And they have lots of trees and bushes. For cryin’ out loud, where would you pick to build your nest? I think I’ve just figured out where the expression “dumb bunny” came from.

Anyway, now frustrated beyond reason, I eyed my husband’s BB gun, propped up in the corner of our kitchen…

Naw, I couldn’t do it! Not only did I have no idea how to shoot the thing, but what if I actually killed the bunny? Could I really handle that? Plus, I could put my eye out, right? But my husband wasn’t returning from a work-related trip for several days. What to do?

Well, I’m sorry to say I’ve become about as cold-blooded as Oreo. I’ve seriously reached my breaking point. I’m just going to let the dog continually patrol the property--let nature take its course. If the bunny’s number is up. It’s up. I know that may sound cruel but this is basic nature, “Survival of the Fittest,” “Circle of Life,” and all that.

Dumb bunny! Sick ‘em, Oreo.

Stayin' Alive

I’m very excited. It’s been over a week and a half and I haven’t killed my Mother’s Day gift yet. As I love flowers, but alas, did not inherit my mother’s green thumb, I tend to unintentionally kill the plants I love.

This is why my home is currently filled with lush, green, fake vegetation.

But isn’t this real orchid beautiful? It’s called a “Just Add Ice” orchid. To care for it I’m supposed to give it a mere three ice cubes per week. That’s it. So far so good…

European Vacation: Adventures in Rome - The Final Episode

For our last full day of touring in Rome we decided to appease our 14-year-old son, and headed out to tour some catacombs. We chose the Catacombs of San Sebastiano. These were a bit further away, but were supposed to be less crowded.

There are around 40 catacombs scattered outside the ancient walls of Rome. The catacombs are burial places, primarily for Christians since they preferred to be buried as opposed to cremated. By law, nobody was allowed to be buried within the walls of Rome. Land was expensive and many Christians were poor; so to make the most of the space available, the catacombs were dug into the ground and contained multiple levels. The Catacombs of San Sebastiano have four different levels.

It was quite amazing how elaborate the underground construction was. We saw empty grave after empty grave dug into the walls of the catacombs, but no bodies remained.

“I’m sorry we didn’t see any actual skeletons, buddy.” I apologized to Joshua after the tour. “I was sure there’d be skeletons.”

“That’s okay, mom,” he replied in characteristic easy-going style. “It was still cool.”

Using the bridge known as the Ponte Sant’Angelo, we crossed over the Tiber River that runs through the city. In the middle ages, this was the only bridge that connected the Vatican and St. Peter’s with downtown Rome.

And the angel statues on it are Bernini designed.

From the bridge we viewed the exterior of Emperor Hadrian’s tomb, the Castel Sant’Angelo. (Because even an emperor’s tomb couldn’t be inside the city.) Originally built in 139 A.D., the tomb has been used over the years as a castle, prison, and papal refuge.

We hadn’t yet experienced the infamous shopping mecca of Rome, Via del Corso, so we headed there next. This street is lined with super expensive, designer shops.

But even more interesting than the stores were the people. Because it was so close to Easter, the street had a distinctive carnival-like atmosphere. It was jam-packed with people. Toy hawkers attracted customers by blowing bubbles at them, clowns made balloon animals, and creative types looked to make a buck from the multitudes combing the streets with Euros to spend.

We came across these street dancers hoping for donations, and Joshua took a short video of them.

We ate more gelato and listened to street musicians perform beautiful music while watching artists create colorful pieces right before our eyes.

We also saw lots of this, too.

I enjoyed mortifying my teens by snapping pics whenever possible. “I want to capture the true flavor of Rome,” I explained as I snapped a few more. Joshua just shook his head and moved quickly away from me. “Don’t they have homes?” Ashleigh wondered.

While Josh and Chris were browsing in a boy-oriented store, Ashleigh and I waited for them outside the shop. We noticed that Twilight is just as popular in Rome as it is at home.

Saturday evening came to an end, and on Easter Sunday it was time for us to say farewell to Rome. But our adventure wasn’t quite over yet…

We arrived at the airport around 4:30 a.m., and wheeled our luggage around until we finally figured out where we were supposed to be. Chris travels so much he has one of those special frequent flyer cards, so we skipped past the long line of “regular” people, sailed through baggage check-in, and the security check. An airport employee directed us to our terminal with an “Arriva Derci” and a smile. We had just started walking when, BAM! All the power in the building went out.

I’m not making this up! At the same time, an incredibly loud siren started wailing in our ears. We stood there, for the second time that week, blinking in total darkness.

Using Joshua’s pocket flashlight, we made it to one of the terminals and sat down in some empty seats while Chris strolled to the massive windows and peered out into the blackness. “Yup,” he called over the siren. “It’s just our terminal. They’ll probably end up evacuating the airport.”

It took all my willpower not to throw myself on the ground and start screaming above that blasted siren, “NOOOOOO!!! I want to go home!”

The weird thing was, nobody appeared to be panicking. Actually, considering our apartment neighbors’ earthquake response, it probably wasn’t all that weird. Security guards strolled casually past--occasionally answering questions in Italian, which we of course couldn’t understand.

We sat in the dark for almost an hour before the power came back on and the siren quieted. Everybody in the terminal cheered.

Slowly everything came back to life. They never did evacuate the building; and we finally boarded the plane a mere two hours late. Thus, our two-hour layover in Amsterdam consisted of 65 people racing through the airport, hauling our carry-on bags, as we attempted to make our flight home.

Believe it or not we made it! And our luggage even made it home too. (There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.)

So ended our European Vacation: Adventure in Rome. Farewell ancient ruins. Farewell gelato. Ciao Roma! All-in-all it was quite a fascinating trip. Hope you all enjoyed it as well!

Final Family Impressions:

Joshua:“I don’t want to see any more naked people!”
Ashleigh: “Yeah, I’m kind of sick of naked people too.”
Holly: “I hope the next museum we visit has an audiotour.”
Chris: “Do you think we took enough pictures…”

First catacombs image
Second catacombs image