Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Unwanted Guest

When I feel like being flippant about divorce, I like to say, “Being divorced isn’t actually any lonelier than being married, and it’s a lot less laundry.” It’s actually less lonely, but inconvenient in certain respects, such as when I suddenly realize I’m the one who has to deal with unwelcome guests.

Living in an apartment affords many luxuries, not the least of which was finding out that I didn’t even have to mop up my own kitchen when it flooded. They brought in this machine in at six in the morning and sucked all the water up for me, which was a lucky thing considering it was at that moment that I noticed I don’t actually own any scummy towels.

But while they will spray as often as one can stand to have one’s apartment covered in chemicals, they don’t actually offer a bug removal service. It took me a mere four days to dispose of our latest houseguest, a giant tree roach. These days I can actually walk past a giant tree roach in the parking lot without even taking a detour. Lucky for me, because they kind of come with the giant tree territory in the older parts of Houston.

Those guys are definitely tenacious. I think the turf war over the bathtub could have lasted well over four days if I hadn’t made the effort to be brave. At least I didn't run out to beg a security guard to dispose of the big guy for me. Yes, I've looked down the crater of an erupting volcano and asked a security guard to come save me from a bug.

I don’t recommend this method, ‘cause it’s way too cruel to the roach, but here’s how we got rid of our pal:

Day 1:

Jared comes running in to tell me that a roach has staked out his or her territory in the bathtub. I lollygag into his bathroom, figuring he’s panicked over nothing, not really having heard any of his specifics. I gasp at the size of the intruder. Panic for a few seconds. Try to remember that giant roaches are merely disgusting and not life threatening.

Yell to one of the kids to go get our cat, Sugar. Put Sugar into the bathtub & blow on the roach to get it moving around. Cheer Sugar on as he gains interest and paws at the poor creature. Plead with him to at least maim the dreaded thing if not swallow it whole. Groan as Sugar loses interest and exits the bathroom.

Spend another moment panicking as it looks like our new friend has bought himself a map and is looking for the first exit out of the bathtub. Wash him a little further into the tub with a cup of water while blowing on him.

Ask one of the kids to make sure he doesn’t escape while I go get a heavy clear glass pencil holder. Capture him or her under the glass. Ask one of the kids to get something heavy. Lay the two pound weight Jared brings me on top of the glass.

Day 2:

Check on our buddy. Decide he must have escaped. No, says Cassie, he’s on the side of the pencil holder. Decide since he’s had no air or food, he’s probably dead. See his antennae wiggle. Gasp and tell kids to take another bath in my tub.

Day 3:

Know he must be dead, but give him another day for good measure.

Day 4:

Certain he’s dead, remove weight, turn pencil holder over and tap it against toilet seat. Look into the pencil holder in surprise as he refuses to fall into the toilet. Notice the antennae waggle just enough to cause Cassie and me another gasp of horror. Panic for a moment.

Tell myself that if he were capable he would have escaped the cup already. Tell myself I can take my time, but then rush to fill the glass of water and flush all contents at lightening speed. Breathe a sigh of relief and wonder if I should ask the maintenance people to exterminate or if this takeover of our bathroom was a solo effort.

Back when I was married, a giant roach decided our garage looked like a great hang out spot. My ex-husband was trying to dispose of it when he accidentally let it into the house. You know those old pictures of women standing on a table while a rodent circles menacingly? You know how outdated those pictures seem?

The moment the roach ran into the house, Cassie, then maybe eight years old, hopped up on the coffee table exactly like one of those old fashioned pictures. And one thought and one thought only raced through my mind, (although to my credit I didn’t act on it): “What a GREAT IDEA!” Maybe those old pictures aren’t so outdated after all.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Short of Scandelous...

I hope. Since I stuck with tame the past couple weeks (except for a mini-volcano-heart-attack for my mom and dad), I guess I’ll go ahead with blogging about birth control and random phrases this time.

I couldn’t help but notice one day when I went into the pharmacy that they have their birth control in a *locked* cabinet. Curiosity got the better of me and I had to ask the pharmacist about it while picking up my daughter’s prescription. “You really gotta lock that stuff up?!?” He was quite chatty about it and I was immediately glad I had inquired. “Yes”, he told me, “and you’d be surprised at how long it takes the men to ask me to unlock the cabinet. They’ll stand around here for *hours* waiting for there to be nobody around.” He went on to explain that studies had actually shown that women were much more likely to waltz right in and ask to buy what they needed, the theory being that they were accustomed to having to buy tampons in public so it was easier for them to generalize their lack of discomfort to other products bound for that particular part of the body.

I could be way off base on this one, but if I were a store owner I’m thinking the birth control would be the last thing I’d lock up. Surely there must be more expensive items sitting right there on the shelf for the taking. And in all honesty, if I were a store owner planning on keeping my business around a good long while, perhaps even leaving it to my children someday, I’d be pointing shoplifters in EXACTLY that direction. I’d be like, “The disposable cameras and perfumes are locked up right over here, but the condoms are evenly distributed around the store. Try stealing some on your way out, would you?”

Doesn't it make perfect sense to encourage people who steal NOT to reproduce for lack of the measly cost of a condom? Why make it so difficult for them?

I got three new words/phrases this week that I’m pretty pleased with:

Hyper-focus – My dictionary had no interest in this word, although Wikipedia provided the definition I would have expected. This word perfectly describes those times when the world disappears except whatever particular endeavor MUST be completed at that time.

Next time regular life-spackle, phone calls, and even food are ignored in favor of a creative outlet, try helping me use this word in a sentence. I haven’t quite yet figured out how and I forgot its original context. Is it “Yes, I was home, but I couldn’t answer the phone. I was working in hyper-focus on a handmade card.”? Or “No, I didn’t end up making those cookies I was talking about. I was a victim of hyper-focus that day.” Or maybe it’s more of a verb: “No. I didn’t actually do any laundry today. I was hyper-focusing on a painting.”

Acci-date – The original definition I got for this word actually sounded sort of awkward and unpleasant, and I imagine it’s hard to dress for the occasion much less avoid garlic. But an accidental date definitely has potential, especially if one gets to describe it using the word “acci-date”.

Mental margarita: These are bound to make tough days a lot more bearable.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


Been tagged...Ok so the game is to post seven random facts about myself and then tag seven other people:

I buy plastic wrap so rarely that my almost 12 year old recently looked at a piece and exclaimed, wide-eyed, "This stuff is SO COOL!"

I can and have taken off a toilet tank and changed the entire flappy contraption.

Walking early childhood jukebox here. Give me a subject to teach and I’ll know one or more songs go with it.

Unfortunately, I'm about what the preschool teachers have to offer for a computer person too. After showing a coworker how to do something fairly simple on the computer she asked me "How do you learn to do all this stuff?” I shrugged. “I just figure it out. I guess I’m kind of a low level computer geek.” “OH NO!” She exclaimed, her eyes widening, “You’re a HIGH level computer geek!” Ummm…thanks…I think.

I’ve looked into the crater of a volcano at night as it erupted out the other side. I was very happy not to have been the person who died there of smoke inhalation a couple of nights later, since it seemed a distinct possibility at the time.

I can learn the names of my entire class each and every first day of school, but still can’t remember the parents’ names by the end of the school year.

Was that seven? No? Ok, how about this then: I can say in seven pages, typed, single spaced, small font what other people can sum up in a sentence or two (but at least my friend Melissa says, “They’re seven entertaining pages!”). Which might actually have something to do with why I'm seldom tagged...

Now then...I tag Slow Joe for all seven of my tags!!!! :-0 :-0 :-0


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