vacation is good / possums are bad

I’m on vacation this week. The WHOLE week. This is the first substantial amount of time off I’ve taken in a few years. People at work kept asking me where I was going for my vacation and seemed less than satisfied with my answer. Home. Now I have time to sit on the porch swing and watch the possums go by.

The Heights (perhaps all of Houston – I’ve just lived in the Heights for 13 years running) is full of possums. There is one fat, brave possum who hangs out on our street. He is especially fond of drinking from the fountain on the porch of the house directly across the street and then making a mad dash under the house next door. It’s all very exciting.

Reminds me of the first time I saw a possum. My family had just moved from the big city to a small country town and a house that was over 100 years old. Which means it was built before people had indoor plumbing. Which means one had to traverse the scary expanses of an enclosed back porch, which was not open to the outside but still remarkably scary, to get to the bathroom. My brothers later admitted they used to try to leap across the back porch from the living room to the potty so whatever evil we all thought was out there couldn’t get them. Like it couldn’t just reach up and grab you by your feet pajamas as you leapt through the air.

So, I’m going to pee in the middle of the night shortly after we moved up there (that would make me about ten). As I’m quickly moving across the back porch, I see an animal hanging from the hose thingy that feeds water to the washer. I run to my parents’ bedroom to tell them the news. “There’s a koala bear on the back porch.” Does a possum look like a koala bear? Of course not. It looks like an ugly, pinkish, spitting, blind, dog-sized rat. But the way it was hanging there was like a koala bear. I was a city girl. What the hell do I know from koalas? Koali? Whatever.