Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I Wish I Had a Shell

The feeling of swatting at angry hornets that I mentioned in my last post has diminished slightly, so that now I only feel as if I'm juggling many balls--and that any ball I drop is going to bounce right into that hornet's nest and agitate all those suckers again. Still, I'm grateful for that small improvement.

One of the issues that's troubling me (not the most serious but probably the most expensive) is that we're going to have to replace our roof. I mentioned in an earlier post that our long-time homeowner's insurance company is discontinuing coverage in Louisiana and our policy won't be renewed. (I won't mention any company names, but picture a bunch of men wearing overalls and straw hats, holding hoes or pitchforks, and you'll figure it out.) One of my tasks last week was to check on getting a new insurer. I filled out a bunch of paperwork and thought the process was going pretty smoothly until the agent told me that our roof is way too old under their guidelines and that they--or anyone else, he said--can't write a policy until the roof is replaced.

We're waiting now for a roofer to come out and give us an estimate. This is one roof, but it covers two houses, so it's going to be costly. We've known it was just a matter of time until it would need to be replaced, but there's still some good left in it, so we didn't think we'd have to do it so soon--and on such short notice. We'll do what we have to do.

Anyway, the roof issues reminded me about something that happened the night before we got the bad news about the roof. I stayed up late and took the dogs out for the last time after 11:30. They went to separate parts of the yard and were doing their respective business. All of a sudden both of their heads snapped forward and they tore across the yard to the same spot, where they began to dance around some kind of critter I couldn't see. I called them several times (softly, didn't want to wake the neighbors), and they ignored me, so I came back in the house and got a leash, a flashlight, and my camera. This is what had them so excited:

I know it looks like this shot was taken in broad daylight, but it wasn't; I used the flash.

Now, this guy needs a new roof. That's the worst looking shell I've ever seen on a turtle. There's a chunk missing from its back end. (An old chunk; believe me, I checked.)

The dogs stayed back while I took pictures of the turtle, which I did until it started walking again and turned its head toward me with a pointed look I interpreted as, "Give. Me. A break!" So I did. I had to put Levi on the leash to make him come back to the house with me, but Gimpy followed Levi, and the turtle was gone by morning.

I've thought about that old turtle in the days since then. First, I wondered if a turtle's vantage point allows it to see high spots under a chain-link fence easily or if it has to slowly walk the fence line until it finds one. Secondly, I wondered about this: Wouldn't it be nice, on the days when the dogs of life are dancing around and poking you with their big, cold noses, to have a shell you could retract your vulnerable parts into while you sit and wait out the chaos?


  1. I'm glad you're doing better, even if it's only today. I feel your pain on the home insurance issue. After the wild fires Texas had a while back, the insurance companies decided they could assess that risk to everybody (which they hadn't done before.) Our yearly premium almost doubled this year!

    1. I think it was Bob Hope who said, years ago after his house burned down, "The 'good hands' people just gave me one finger." Seems to be the norm.

  2. I need a shell of my own RIGHT NOW!

    My brother in law is in the same boat.. He's hoping to downsize houses before he has to deal with it.

    1. As much as I like the idea of a shell, I'd hate to wear one in this heat. It would be a shell without the S.


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