Spider spray

Wow. Where’ve I been lately? Oh, who’m I kidding? Nobody cares.

Life just gets busy. I never catch up on laundry. Never. This aggravates me to no end, too, because I was one of those know-it-all 20somethings who used to utter things in my mind like, “Stupid people. Why are they so domestically handicapped that they can’t catch up on laundry? Poor little hobos.”

I probably never did think, “poor little hobos” in my head, but you get the idea. I’ve turned into those people. That’s how it works. You are an authority on everything until you get to do it yourself. Then suddenly you are just as dumb, or dumber, as everyone else. Maybe not Baron Wetty. She has a pretty good laundry system going, but she doesn’t live with my boys, either. I will lean on that as my excuse.

At any rate, it doesn’t matter where I’ve been, what I’ve been doing, or which year of taxes I am working on for an October 15 deadline. And it doesn’t matter if you are normal and do your taxes in April (or January like the Informinator). And it further doesn’t matter if you are a reject like me and do your taxes in October and have done them already. I don’t care.

I really do care. Can you hear the desperation in my tone?

Well, anyway. All that matters is that I’m delaying a torture chamber in TurboTax and sitting here on WordPress. And I’m going to tell you a story about the spider I killed today.

It was a quiet Sunday afternoon following a good morning at church. The TV was off and the kids were all playing downstairs and nearby. I was in the kitchen unloading the dishwasher. I rounded the corner into the dining room, to return something to one of the kids when I saw it.

There it was. The spider I’ve been waiting to see. The one I’ve been dreading. The one that haunts my dreams at night and that makes boys cry in the corners. It was a large, brown, spider–positioned perfectly in the doorway between the family room and the dining room. There was no getting over it without risk of sending it crawling away into a place where I’d never find it. It was almost big enough to go under it, but I’m not dumb enough to entertain that thought for long.

This spider was about the size of a silver dollar. Not too fat. Not overly hairy. But big.  I froze. I do that when I see something I have to catch or kill. I freeze and its life passes before my eyes in pictures of execution methods and animal reactions. I picture the many different options I have and what could conceivably happen as I do this. For instance, if a roach is on the ceiling, you simply MUST go through this exercise to ensure that you will not have a still-living roach in your hair after a botched kill attempt. In that situation, failure is not an option. That’s why I go with the flat, heavy paperback book and the technique of a fancy waiter. Smack, smack. It’s done.

So as I froze there today, considering the life of this spider, I decided to call in the troops and go with spider spray. I would do a combination spider spray, paper towel approach. SPRAAAAAAY and smash. Done.

But the spider spray was upstairs in the kids’ bathroom and I’ve already told you I wasn’t going to step over that thing.

“Mama’s Boy?” I called out for him tentatively. He was playing on the stairs. I think he does this because it’s the only place in the house with carpet. The boy likes his carpet.

“Yes?” He answered.

“Run upstairs quickly and get me the can of spider killer in your bathroom.”

“What for?” He perked up. “What is it?”

“Just go get the spray and then we’ll talk,” I urged. He ran off. It seemed like a million years before he got back. As he was running around upstairs, I backed slowly into the kitchen to grab a paper towel for Phase 2 of Operation ArachniKill. When the boy returned, he saw the spider and said, “Whoa.”

I know. Right?

“Throw me the can carefully,” I instructed. “Toss it to me underhanded.”

“What?” He was flabberghasted. “I can’t do that!” He said. We don’t play baseball around here. Clearly it was not a good plan to start out throwing cans of spider killer around. OK. New plan.

“OK. OK. Climb up on the piano bench and hand it to me through the door.” At this point, Beloved came around the corner on Mama’s Boy’s side of the spider and wanted to know what was going on.

“STOP!” I hollered. “Big, HUGE spider. Don’t take another step!!” She stopped and her eyes got large.  Mama’s Boy was perched precariously on the piano and was reaching the can across the threshold to me.

I took the can, aimed it, and sprayed…paper towels ready.

FIZZZZZZZ.

I doused that spider good. I expected it to go crazy. That’s what they do. They hate the stuff, but it paralyzes them on a short journey to DEATH.

There was no movement. No reaction. No death. No life. Nothing.

I sprayed again, totally shocked that nothing was happening.  Then I inched forward to look. Then I nudged it with my paper towel.

The kids were now laughing.

“Mama, it’s fake. It came out of the Halloween box.”

And so it had.

I crumpled it up in the paper towel I had prepared for it and threw it away, just the same as I would have if it had been real and dead.

That’s what you get, you stupid plastic spider.

Now who’s the real loser?

(It’s still me, isn’t it?)

Country Run

So I was supposed to start exercising when Numero Quatro started preschool. And give up twinkies. That didn’t happen.

I did go running today, though. I was not a gazelle, but I got it done. You have to go through that first phase before becoming a gazelle. My gazelle days are coming.

I now have a route I really like, which is comforting somehow. About halfway down one of my sidestreet country roads, I saw an older couple standing out in front of their property, inspecting some vegetation. It looked like a garden of sorts. The leaves coming up were a deep, healthy green. As I ran by, I said,

“That’s quite a crop you got there.” I was proud of myself. I had spoken. I had used the word crop. And I had seen humans. All in the same place.
The lady chuckled at my comment. Why is she chuckling, I wondered.

“What is it?” I asked, following up on my crop question. I was guessing broccoli in my head.

“These are elephant ears,” she answered blankly. “They spring up naturally.”

oh.

I totally knew that.

 

 

 

When chickens are left to their own devices.

I know he’s my kid and all and I’m sure this is just me, but I can’t stop cracking up at the triangle thing. You had to be there. Really.

I should be exercising right now. Or cleaning. Or doing laundry. But I’m not. Stop judging me. You aren’t doing those things either. You’re on your computer. We are the same. Except that you probably don’t have Price is Right going in the background. It’s embarrassing.

Anyway. Last night I came home from playing Trivia with some friends and wrote a blog. Then, in a moment of realization, my eyes got suddenly large as I looked up from my laptop and said to the husband, “Did anyone put the chickens away?” That was a stupid question. (There really IS such a thing as a dumb question.) No one puts the chickens up except for me. AG will put them away if I mention it. Beloved will, too. No one else cares about the chickens. So, of course, his answer to my panicked question was, “No.”

It was 10:15 and the chickens were still at large. So I donned the rubber boots, grabbed a flashlight, and went out into the night. It wasn’t long before T was out there, too.

As I started this process, I wondered to myself if the chickens might possibly put themselves to bed. The door was open to the coop. Might they just go in and get settled?

Nope. They are way too dumb for that.

Instead, four of them were 4 feet from the open coop door, huddled on top of the bunny hutch. Good grief. Come here, ladies. So, one by one, I picked them up and put them in the coop. But there were only four there. I was missing two chickens.

I was just slightly concerned when I started my search. I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach as I went, though, because the missing hens were not in the usual places. I looked under the deck. Nothing there. I looked under the sycamore trees in the side yard. No chickens.

Shoot. This was my fault. I should have told the boys to put them to bed before going to bed themselves. I scratched my head and looked around again. Then I did a sweep with my flashlight. It landed on something. It was Goldilocks, perched very uncomfortably on the edge of a wire fence.  She bocked at me. It was a cry for help. Was she going to sleep there all night? I have no idea. I put the flashlight in my mouth and picked her up to carry her back to the coop. She was clearly relieved and said so as I set her on her perch with her 4 little friends.

There was still one missing. I stood inside the coop in the darkness, counting them over and over, hoping maybe I had miscounted or that one had just wandered in while I was occupied. We still had just the five. I started noticing all the feathers on the ground inside the open coop.

“Do you think something already got her?” I asked Todd.

“I don’t know,” he replied. “That IS a lot of feathers.” As we stood there together, deciding what to do next, there came a kerfuffle above us.

Plegonkinbgggggwwwkg.

bonk.

There on the ground was the missing chicken. We stared at this scene like you might stare if a chicken fell out of a space ship. It really was that strange.

We really don’t know where she fell from. Maybe the roof of the coop. Maybe a tree.

I made a fairly strong mental note not to forget the chickens anymore. I better get some eggs out of this deal.

Things that make you go “hmm…”

I had six kids today. So in the interest of reducing chaos and causing disease, I took them to McDonalds with the Play Place. On a day when I bought 30 minutes of sleep with pop tarts, McDonalds seems to fit the theme. I’m not proud of this. You can scoff quietly to yourself. I do have a backyard garden. There’s just nothing alive in it right now.

At any rate, we all got happy meals because it’s $1.99 day.  And then the kids ran off to climb in the tubes. I was watching them and spacing just a little. It apparently doesn’t pay to look away from your table in a spacy way, because when I looked back over, there was a squatty toddler eating one of our happy meals.

It was a strange moment.

“Hey!” I said. That’s all I said. It’s all I could think to say. His mother was at the next table, engrossed in her smart phone. I do mean ENGROSSED. She never looked up. Her older kids were watching the younger ones. Or not.

I guess that’s what you get when you go to McDonalds.

When I got home, I forced all six kids into some role of cleaning the chicken coop. This was way, WAY more disgusting than eating a stranger’s happy meal. Honestly. Chickens. I had no idea…not one…what I was getting into. Did I think they were going to take showers and cuddle with me? Did I really believe my kids would remain interested in them after 90 minutes and help me take care of them?

What I would actually have is a new task that no one would help me with. I’d have poop, pecking roosters, and maggots. Yes, maggots.

Ick.

So I decided to google how to keep a coop clean. I figure I’d let some experienced chicken farmers help me out. So I began my research.

I read. And I read. And my eyes grew large. And then squinty. And I kept reading.
Finally, I stopped. Because it became apparent that, not only do I not keep a quality chicken coop, I don’t even know the correct vocabulary to discuss keeping a quality chicken coop. Manure box? I don’t have one of those. Laying mash? What is that?

Here’s a quote from one site:

My hens always have plenty of fresh water and quality laying mash. I supplement with greens, fruits, and vegetables every day for treats. Any uneaten treats also go into the compost bin. Chickens love their protein, as much as their grain. Do not be alarmed if your chickens eat a mouse, small lizard, grasshopper, snail, worm…these are also perfectly natural foods for chickens.

She gives her chickens treats. Her chickens have a manure box and laying mash and fresh bedding in their nesting boxes. My chickens have the ground. And the thing they sleep in. And that other thing.

Ground and things. And no treats.

I think I need to find a more remedial website.  Or just get my eggs at the store like other posers.

I did make the kids help me do things all wrong, though. And somehow, for today, that makes it all right.

Summer lazies

My husband just pointed out that my answer to the “I’m hungry” at my bedside this morning was, “Get yourself a pop tart. I’ll be up in a minute.” When he pointed that out, I defended myself with, “Some families don’t promise to be up in a minute.” I probably should tell Family Circle that I’ve moved to the country, in case they want to write a feature story on me. I’m not sure they’d be able to find me back here.

We have been taking it slow the last week. Once July 14th arrives, we’ll be moving at breakneck speed and the summer will pass me by.

After I sent my boy into the kitchen with his cooking instructions, I fell into a brief sleep and had a very strange dream. In the dream, I was in a locally owned downtown toy store. The owner was a 60something-year-old woman named Mary. She showed me around. I liked what I saw. I kept saying that I needed to come back and buy a skateboard. By all means, Missy, buy a skateboard for the country where there is no pavement. That will go over GREAT. Anyway, when I walked out of the store, Mary invited me onto the company jet and said that my husband and family should join me for a quick tour of New York City at Christmastime. And then we were off. Without warning. Without strapping in. Without even sitting down. And without the husband and kids she invited along. The next thing I know, I was on a rickety wooden back deck that had been added to the tail of the plane. We were walking around back there. In space.

There were stars. There was conversation. Never in the conversation did I ask, “Why can’t we sit in the seats INSIDE the plane and have a coke?” I never asked why someone thought rotten wood porches were good on the backs of jets.  Then Mary got very close to the edge and I gasped as a section of wood crumbled under her weight.

“Watch out!” I yelled to her. She stepped closer to me, unruffled. I pressed my back up against the jet and grabbed a handle. When I turned back toward Mary, she was gone.

She fell off the back.

Dead.

And then I woke up. Disturbed. Maybe if I hadn’t sent the child off in pursuit of a pop tart, that would have gone better…

I’m going to go fry some bacon now.

Rain, as it pertains to me, chickens, small girls, and bugs

That is the dumbest title for a blog, ever. But I am not going to change it. Instead, I may try to make a limerick out of it later, if time permits.

It is raining here. Not the kind of rain you let your kids play in. Not the spring showers poetic kind of rain. This is the kind of rain that kills old ladies and fledgling plants. This is the kind of rain that wakes up children and lures bugs indoors.

This is crazy rain. Pounding rain.

I knew last night that SnugglePants would never make it through the night without coming down to me. She’s been in a strange sleep pattern anyway, waking up at 3something each night. This, I do not prefer. But it is very difficult to be mad at her when she is whimpering and scared and begging you for help right there at eye level. At 1:30 a.m., she came for me and dragged me out of bed. I walked her back up to her room. After the whole go-back-to-sleep song and dance that we do, I noticed a sizable roach on the ceiling, oh…about a foot from Beloved, who sleeps on the top bunk. This was not ideal. My choices were very limited. Run for Todd? No. No time for that. Our room is like 6 miles from the kids room. By then the roach could be anywhere or in Beloved’s bed. No. Not running for Todd. Paper towel execution? Not so much. I don’t like the paper towel method of murder. It just leaves too many nooks and crannies. Too many things can go wrong with that one. Bug spray? Nope. Too toxic for Beloved and who even knows where it is at 1:30 in the morning?

There was only one way to do this.
A book. Waiter style. Kung fu strength.
I got a thin, but large, hardback book off their book shelf and climbed the ladder into Beloved’s bed. This killed me to do, because (1) I was about to be really close to a bug, and (2) I was about to have 2 wakeful children instead of just one.  I moved Beloved aside, which of course awakened her. She was very cool about the roach thing. Surprisingly so. Chalk that one up to sleepy, I guess.  Like a fancy Disney waiter, I raised up my book and

SMASH.

Done.

It was a beautiful thing to behold. I was a bug ninja. Of course, we were all wide awake now.

Beloved went back to sleep rather quickly. Not so with the other child. I ended up falling asleep in the girls’ recliner, just to be a presence in the room with the little one. I woke up at 3:45 a.m. with a crick in my neck and went back to bed.

The rain pounded all night. I do mean pounded. It was relentless. I’ve been in Florida all my life and haven’t seen much like this, I can tell you. It looks like the last day on earth when you look out and see thick sheets of rain being blow about by the forces.  Apparently the tornado sirens were going off at the university while we were on our way to church.  I did think more than once that maybe we shouldn’t be out in it. At one point, AG leaned in to me as he watched the storm outside the church windows, and said, “Why are we here??”

Well, we went because we wanted to and I wasn’t sorry we did. The lesson tonight was amazing. Very inspiring and uplifting and I felt changed by it. So inspired and changed that AG talked us into Dunkin Donuts after church. Yeah, that’s what you should go do in the middle of a tropical storm.

The good news is I haven’t eaten any and we still have plenty left for breakfast.

And then, after all the short order cooking and getting ready for bed, I felt it necessary to walk out into the storm to deal with…the chickens. I know. It’s almost boring now, isn’t it? Maybe we should get a mountain lion and splash things up a bit. They were all in a tizzy. Hungry. Freaked out. A little more tender than usual. So tender that I thought about cooking one up.

But I’m not yet the chicken ninja and it was raining really, really hard. So, I did what I needed to do with efficiency and speed, wearing a trash bag for rain gear. And I went back in.

And I’m not going back out until Friday.

Proud Moments

Sometimes I find my own idiocy rather enigmatic. I can’t always put into words why I’m an idiot.

Tonight, however, it is clear. I will share, because I know my being an idiot is the only real draw to this blog.

It occurred to me at 11 p.m., just a few minutes ago, that I hadn’t fed or watered the chickens today. It also occurred to me that they had appeared hungry.  In retrospect, I wonder why I chose to care.

I was sitting in the brown chair watching the Miami Heat spank that other team (not gonna pretend to care) like bad pet goats. I knew I had to go feed the dirty beasts. I was wearing pajamas. None of that was going to change. I just needed shoes. So I rolled up my pajama pants to my knees and put on my turquoise Keens. No sense in going into the coop with a bad sense of fashion. Just my appearance alone was going to demand their respect.

Like any smart idiot farm girl, I got myself a high powered flashlight and went out into the night, forming my plan in my head as I walked. I would turn on the lights to the pole barn. I would go into the coop and use the food in the red tupperware. I would quickly feed both sets of chickens, check their water, and get out.

The lights on the pole barn definitely made things less scary. It took the ax murderer element out of things. But it added the scary big spider element and I had to take a detour from my plans to go grab the spider killer. I am much braver in fights against spiders now that I know they make aerosol cans of toxic spider killer. I win every time. Even against this bad boy.

OK. Back to the chickens. I went into the coop where I stupidly left my red tupperware and stopped dead in my tracks. The little boogers had gotten the container open and had made a huge mess. It looked like a crime scene. Apparently they were NOT underfed today. They fed themselves like kings and then pooped like this was their last day on earth. Guess who will get to deal with that? Me again.

“You little stinkers,” I said to them. “Look what you’ve done.” All four of the big ones looked very guilty. Trust me. They did. This was a cartoonesque moment for me. They totally hate me. They totally know what they’re doing.  But then there were the little guys, inside a bunny hutch in the coop. They weren’t privy to the thieving going on just outside their cage. And they were still hungry.

So I got some food, cleaned the water containers out inside the house (normally I do this in the garden using a hose, but the garden was the most frightening place on earth tonight), and washed my hands both literally and metaphorically.

Many mistakes were made in this process. They are as follows:

  1. Forgetting the chickens early in the day when sunshine was my ally.
  2. Remembering at 11 that the chickens were hungry.
  3. Caring at all that I forgot and then remembered.
  4. Getting up to do something about the caring and the remembering and forgetting.
  5. Turning on the porch light, thus inviting every fly and scary bug in the county to come to a party at my back door, where my face was.
  6. Leaving the extra stored food in the actual coop (pretty sure this was an oversight, not a conscious decision).
  7. Traipsing through my downstairs with chicken water bottles, wearing the Keens that have just walked in a chicken coop. Yes, there were souvenirs.

It’s done now. I will leave you with this.  I have at times heard the “Cost of Eggs” conversation between people who’ve never met an actual chicken. Eggs cost so much. Why does it cost $2.59 for a dozen? How do they get them so white? Should I buy organic? But eggs cost so much.

If you think you are paying too much for eggs, you are not.

You are not paying NEAR ENOUGH FOR EGGS.

That is all.