We Ain’t Talking Zodiac

We live in the woods now. People ask how many trees we have on the property and the answer is, “We have no damn idea.”

Lots.

There was what is now referred to as “The Incident” where a branch broke off and wreaked some havoc and so we had to follow up with tree work to the tune of one nice vacation. Because who wouldn’t want to trade a trip across Europe for a dozen tree stumps and a pile of wood chips the size of Mount Rushmore?

And the impact of that radical tree maintenance? YOU COULDN’T EVEN TELL WE’D HAD THE WORK DONE.

That’s how many trees we have.

Now, this may be news to some of you, but…..things live in the woods. 

Things that we simply did not have to contend with when we were suburban-dwelling, water-and-sewer-hooked town-folk.

For instance, I never once – not a single time in all of my urban living days – had to get a bat out of my bedroom.

And never before have I had a neighbor tell me that a bear wandered through his back yard. And no, I don’t think it was his consumption of herbal refreshment that led to this pronouncement. There were witnesses.

Yet it is not the bat nor the bear that screw with my sleep.

It’s a critter about the size of a quarter.

Scorpions.

You heard me.

Black, scaly, upward-tail-pointing, pincer wielding scorpions.

What the honest fuck, people??

There is something about the shape of a scorpion that is inherently freaky. The shape is unmistakable. You can’t look at a scorpion and think you’re looking at anything else.

Here is a conversation that never happens:

“Ethel, honey, is that a ring-tailed lemur?”

“No, George, that is a scorpion. And you are an ignorant, knuckle-dragging waste of a toupee.”

And they are menacing. They’re seriously like the organized crime enforcement brigade of the insect kingdom. You know just by looking at them they’re ready to mess you up. Just seeing them makes you want to relinquish your PIN number and rat out the neighbors.

To those who would say to me, “It’s not any worse than a bee sting (true of this species of scorpion) and they’re very shy and they’d rather be anywhere you aren’t (also true),” I say, “GAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!” while running away and waving my arms violently.

We’ve found a couple in the house. They were all dead. We don’t know why. We suspect the cats (good kitty! have a tuna!) but we’ve never witnessed the actual demise, so we don’t for sure.

But then…one night…one fateful, horrible night…

I found one in the upstairs bathroom.

In a feat of cognitive dissonance that would rival Russian gymnasts for flexibility, I decided that scorpions didn’t go upstairs.  Because gravity. And stairs. And death-cats. And clapping to keep Tinkerbell alive. And bats.

Seriously, I have no sane reason to have decided that this was true. I just did.

So imagine my hysterical-window-shattering-screams surprise when I turned the corner of the bathroom and spotted the forest-dwelling-Loch-Ness-Monster wee buggie on a towel.

For scale, this is the size of scorpion compared to the size of the room I found it in: scorpion 1 Here is how it looked to me: scorpion 2 I know what you’re thinking. “Lori,” you say, in what you think is a calm but is really an annoyingly patronizing tone of voice, “Scorpions can’t fly.”

They could totally fly.

I’m sure they can also pick locks, hot-wire cars, get your kids busted for drug possession and ruin your credit rating.

You don’t know.

So after waking Himself with a rousing chorus of “Scream Like You’ve Been Stabbed With an Ice-Pick,” I allowed him to dispose of the insect by flushing it down the toilet.

Then I made him check the bathroom for accomplices.

And then check again.

And then check again before I would use the bathroom in the morning.

And then twice a day for the next three weeks.

But it’s fiiiiiiiine.

Because I’m totally okay with being a 47-year-old woman who sleeps with the light on.

I am way okay with that.

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I Wonder if the Key Still Works?

Well I suppose this is all my fault.

Cobwebs on the browser.

Rust on the Facebook page.

And don’t even get me started on Twitter. Is it supposed to make that noise???

It’s ok though, because I don’t really need those things.

Wow.

I really, really, missed this place. I missed the bubbles. I missed the illustrations. And I so, so, so missed the words.

It’s been an intense couple years. Three kids have launched to college. I have a new job with my company. We moved out to a glorious house in the woods.

But some things never change. The cats are still evil. And Himself still brings me coffee every morning.

I’ve been thinking about coming back here for a little while now. I’ve read through some older posts and missed the writing so much. But I hesitated, in part because I worry about time and commitment, and in part because I remember getting so caught up in being a blogger.

I don’t want that now, I just want a place. A space. A room.

I love this room. I always did. So I think I’ll spend some time in it again. Even if it’s only for myself and Himself and my mom now. (Hi, Mom!)

But if you’re here reading, or reading again….welcome.

I’m happy to see you.

Oh….and Happy New Year!

 

Blogging Babes with Babies

When you have a group of women

Who have a wacky hobby in common….

Give them access to an incredible hostess

And put a couple pitchers of sangria in front of them….

There’s going to be a really good time had.

They will speak in a language that normal people couldn’t possible understand.

They will make inside jokes that no one else gets.

They will still ooh and ahh over a bundle of cuteness.

They will drink wine in completely inappropriate quantities.

They will share love as if they’ve known each other for many decades.

Even when they’ve only met once or twice (or never) before.

They will understand the essential need to capture a picture of a cat in a baby basket.

And they will laugh.

And the fact that 99.9% of their relationship exists in the pixels of a computer screen will not matter one, teeny, tiny, eensy, weensy little bit.

The Ups and Downs

The first house I ever owned was a little tract home with a yard the size of a piece of lunchmeat.

The long hallway was lit by two absolutely uninteresting overhead lights.

There was a light switch.

In the living room was pair of track-lights.

There was a light switch.

In between them was a light switch with two switches, one that controlled the hall lights and one that controlled the track lights.

Here is a schemata. (This is the technical term for silly drawings that want to seem more important than they are.)

Isn’t that impressive.

So there are two switches that control each sets of lights. Convenient, yes?

Switches A and B controlled the hall lights, from either switch. If light A was up, you could turn the hall lights off from switch B.

Switches C and D controlled the track lights, from either switch. If switch C was down, you could turn the lights on from switch D.

So convenient. Yes! Yay for modern wiring!

Until one of the light switches broke and needed to be replaced.

This should not be a big deal. It’s not like we were rewiring the switchboard for AT&T’s customer service line.

A light switch. One. Simple. Light switch.

We replaced the light switch. We turned off the breaker and followed the instructions.

Something went wrong. Horribly wrong.

Turning one switch up and the next switch down stopped turning off and on the light. A up B down no longer meant a light going on or off. C down D up no longer had anything to do with illumination in the living room.

Instead we ended up with this:

A up B down C up D down meant one light on and the other blinking morse code.

A down B up C down D up  caused the garage door to open.

A up B up C down D up launched the space shuttle.

A down B down C up D down caused Donald Trump’s hair to eat the nearest journalist from Mother Jones.

A up B down C down D up made blue chips stocks on the Dow Jones dance the polka.

A down B up C up D down meant six more weeks of winter.

A down B down C down D up caused guacamole to turn black.

A up B up C up D down made 80’s pop groups to go on reunion tours.

A down B down C up D down caused a flock of migrating Canadian geese to become disoriented and poop all over our yard.

People would walk down the hallways and we would fling ourselves at them to keep them from flipping a light switch and potentially reversing the earth’s polarity, or, equally bad, causing reruns of “Who’s the Boss” to air on all available cable stations.

Having influence over the earth this way was just not as much fun as you’d think.

Nor, I must say, was walking down the hallway in the dark for fear of turning on a light switch.

I had lots of stubbed toes during that period of my life. But, it was for the best. I really hate black guacamole.

I’d Be a Wicked Good Nature Show Host

This weekend I took my life in my hands.

Armed only with a cup of coffee (a disaster in its own right- we ran out of coffee creamer and tried to buy a carton at Whole Paycheck Foods, which meant we ended up with a soy product that while labelled “hazelnut” would have more appropriately been marketed as “Wooden Spoon”) I embarked on one of the most hazardous of all house-taming missions: dealing with accumulated mail.

I had no tranquilizer gun. I had no net.

I had no smooth-tongued narrator.

I did not have Jim to wrestle the beasts to the ground.

I had only the crappy tasting coffee and my wits, which, frankly, have been listed recently on the endangered species list.

Step One: Identification and Tagging.

Mail taxonomy is often tricker than it seems. For while the major species  junkus prolificus and correspondus personalis are easy enough to identify, others can be more difficult. For instance, some very crafty species of junkus mimickus can actually resemble legitimate strains of mortgage ginormica, in hopes of tricking the unwary home-owner into forking over muchas dineros. And in the sorting phase it’s not at all uncommon to discover a violent species of HOLY  %$#&ICUS that needed to be identified, processed and transported several weeks ago. Specimen growth and the discovery of penalty offspring often accompany the identification of HOLY %$#&ICUS.

Step Two: Processing and Habitat Re-Introduction

Once you’ve identified your various mail species, you must move to the crucial processing and habitat re-introduction phases. Some species can be immediately relocated into the circular-shaped habitat receptacle of your choosing. Some require return to their habitat of origin along with a donation to ensure the continued reproduction of the species. Some cannot be properly handled without additional research, most typically the “Didn’t I already pay that?” or “Why the hell do they need the serial number from the refrigerator?” academic inquiries. And then, there’s my personal favorite, that particular species of mystery mail that if left alone, dies a quiet death. Also known as, ignoritandit goesawayicus. In this case, the proper course of action is to put the creature into a NEW pile, and forget about it for at least one mail life-cycle (about 30 days).

So despite not being filmed or featured on a nature program (although would that NOT be a killer episode?) Himself and I did manage to tame most of the wild mail-life in the house. Although there was a brief altercation over who was meant to take custody of certain specimens, no tranquilizer guns were fired, and the creatures were ultimately handled without injury.

But I’m still bummed that nothing got wrestled to the ground.

The Baby or the Candy?

Much like that classic story of temptation, “The Lady or the Tiger,” there was a choice before me. My adorable, one-month-old nephew (who I’d not been able to meet yet owing to the rampant plague that kept swinging through our house), or Easter candy.

You know me. If there’s chocolate to be had, keep outta my damn way or decide that you are not emotionally attached to your fingers.

So here I was…torn…how would it go?

Baby?

Candy?

Baby?

Candy?

Baby?

Candy?

Baby.

Yeah, like there was any question.