Archive for September, 2005

Kiss That Frog

The creatures down here are something to behold. Massachusetts is home to a slew of extraordinarily boring, mundane inhabitants. Sure sure, we had our Black Widow spiders and yes, there was rumored to be brown recluses in recluse here and there, but by and large, there wasn’t anything particularly exciting. And honestly, even if there was, our area was far too urban to house anything other than a raccoon after the garbage (One night I found one sitting in our driveway scooping old cream cheese out of the container with an ancient celery stalk and licking it like an ice cream cone).

Anyway, Florida is a helluva lot more fun. We are rumored to have alligators, though I’ve yet to see one, and there was talk of panther droppings (!!) in my neighborhood. But what I’ve found most intriguing is the astonishing amount of amphibians and reptiles. Lizards, lizareds everywhere, darting in and out of tiny crevices. Rushing across paved areas and clinging to our lanai (LANAI, LIKE WE LIVE IN HAWAII) screen.

But really, it’s the frogs that fascinate me. They gather in pools, cling to our screen and teeny ones have have invaded our garage.

Invaded. Our. Garage. The ants are gone, and the frogs are moving in. At first it was cute – teeny tiny little visitors hopping around the garage happily, leaping around without a care in the world. Frogs! Cute! At least it’s not roaches, right? And then we started running them over with the car and frog carcasses were littered everywhere. Flat little splayed bodies belly up, smashed to no thicker than a piece of parchment. They were everywhere.

It was time to take some action to save the colony. I convinced myself that I was not responsible for the large-scale frogicide, as I’m rarely the individual driving the car that’s kept in the garage. Close examination of both sides of the garage where the door goes down revealed a virtual frog infestation – HUNDREDS of little frogs gathered for merriment in the corners of our garage. I don’t mind them, but the death and destruction of the frog colony was really breaking my heart. They must move on, for their own safety!

I murdered my first frog last night. Frogslaughter really, since it was unintentional. Adam and I thought we would sweep them out of their hidey holes, politely encouraging them to move along – to Lou’s garage maybe – and find a new place to live. Adam was sweeping with extraordinary enthusiasm, and when he would sweep, they would leap, resulting in flying frog bodies hurtling through the air with extraordinary velocity.

I wasn’t comfortable that this was best for their safety. So, grabbing the dustpan and brush, I began sweeping them gently into the dustpan and walking them outside. Until Larry. Larry wasn’t into getting into the dustpan, and preferred instead to hop irritatingly towards the Broom of Death. I was only thinking of his survival, I promise! I got a little aggressive with the dustpan and the next thing I knew I had STABBED LARRY WITH THE CORNER OF THE DUSTPAN! Confident that he had survived, and convincing myself that the injury was not life-threatening, I swept him up carefully and took him outside.

Larry went belly up. I didn’t mean to kill him! I never intended to STAB HIM TO DEATH! I can now add ‘frog murderer’ to my resume.

RIP, Larry. May you find comfort in the arms of your fallen comrades.

13 comments September 26th, 2005

Life Less Ordinary

I have someone who loves me enough to support me 100% with whatever I choose to do with my life, provided it’s what I really and truly want to do. We’ll make it work.

But what if I can’t? Instead of feeling like freedom, I’m terrified. I’m so selfish and absolutely stupid that I even wonder for one second if this is the best situation in the entire world – It’s just that I’m terrified that I’ll fail to the point where I wonder if it might be better to never try and console myself with the thought that I could have done it if I’d been given the chance. Or to get the chance, try, and fail.

I’m still not sure of exactly what I want to do. I need to weigh the practical and the future with what I want over the long term, and it’s so…overwhelming. In the end, I’ll probably choose something in the middle – half career, half writer. I don’t have the balls to go whole hog just yet, and income would be nice.

The truth is, I don’t even know what I want to do at this moment. Part of me wants to run off and sell perfume at Saks, and bide my time until I have a baby.

Sheesh. I’m a mess. A lucky mess.

8 comments September 24th, 2005

A Question of Time

We don’t know anybody here. I mean, I know that’s obvious, but we know NO ONE. Other than Boob Lou and Chrissie across the street.

Chrissie, by the way, is a short, stumpy hardcore New York Yankees fan (she spied my Sox hat and made sure to inform me INSTANTLY that we had a “rivalry.” Gee, thanks, Chrissie. I had no idea!) with a penchant for heavy gold chains and cutoff sweat shorts. Upon our first meeting, she came into our garage yelling in a terrifyingly deep voice, “Hello? Yo! YO!” and then promptly asked us what we had “done with the woman who used to live here,” as if we’d absconded with her then stuffed her into the garbage bins.

In other words, we have no friends. It’s a very weird feeling. I should point out that despite my raucous storytelling and outgoing nature, I have grown into a less-than-social adult. I like to be alone a lot, and can’t remember the last time I was lonely. I can spend hours and hours tinkering away on random projects in the house without talking to anyone. I prefer to shop alone, and no, I’m not afraid to eat out alone. But this is kind of different – usually, when I’m alone I am not alone [insert dramatic music here]. Like, there were people nearby that I could call or visit, I just chose not to. And when I did, it was nice, and usually with my small circle of carefully chosen family-friends I’ve known most of my adult life. I’m spoiled, I know.

No such thing in Florida, I’m afraid. Oh sure, I could call my in-laws – stop laughing – but I don’t think anyone would argue it’s near the same thing.

I’m surprised that this isn’t bothering me more than it is, but it’s not. However, we are taking extremely amusing steps to remedy it, as we can’t go home to our family and friends four years from now still knowing NO ONE in Florida. First of all, we are smiling our asses off. Again, I’m not a major smiler, but there I am smiling to everyone I see in the neighborhood like I’ve just had my teeth bleached (except for Lou – don’t want to give him the wrong idea). Adam is NOT A SMILER, but there he is, elbowing me in the ribs, “SMILE, DAMMIT!” and waving like Princess Diana on a parade float. And looking probably just a little too long to see if the Smiling Victims are our age.

We noticed a new family moved in up the street, and when we drove by, I recognized that “I’m new!” smile on their faces. Except theirs had the added bonus of also being the “Oh my god, hi, we’re new and we don’t know anyone and are trying to figure out if you are normal or not or are that crazy flasher lady we heard about,” smile.

Secondly, we have signed up for committees in our development. COMMITTEES. I am now on the Grand Opening Committee (Grand Opening? It’s OPEN. WE LIVE HERE) and the Social Committee (people who know me in real life are LAUGHING at this moment, I know it), while Adam, ever the yin to my yang, joined the Rules and Regulations Committee. He’s already driving around the neighborhood commenting, “That truck is illegally parked, per regulation code 45679, no commercial vehicles overnight. I wonder who I should report that to?”

That is more endearing than it sounds, I promise.

Anyway, the buck stops here, people. I stopped short of signing up for the Scrapbooking Club, as the idea of gathering little scraps of paper and making halos around photos of the cat with pages titled, “Our Little Sweetie” or such nonsense honestly makes me want to give myself papercuts all over my body and dive into a bowl of lemon juice. It would be less painful.

And so begins this strange adventure of finding companionship in a strange state. If I start telling everyone that I’m wearing Lilly Pulitzer and joined the Scrapbooking Club, send help, okay?

22 comments September 21st, 2005

She Works Hard for the Money

There are things I love about working from home. I love being able to focus solely on the tast at hand, rather than listening to chatty coworkers or whinging passers-by. I love that I can wear the same pair of pants two days in a row without fear of someone noticing. I love the food. The coffee. The laundry on the lunch hour. I love that I have the world’s shortest commute – one that literally involves rolling out of bed and into the home office next door.

Out of bed and into the office. A startling omission there, perhaps, is the bathroom. This is what I do not love about working from home: Yes, it’s true. I don’t shower anymore. I am honest and truly treading on the world’s most unhygienic person with the world’s shortest commute. You lose your sense of self, in a way. It becomes startlingly easy to get up, make coffee, watch a little Today show, and jump right into the office. And before you know it, it’s 2 p.m. and you are sitting there, braless, in a pair of cotton pajamas that you realize haven’t left the confines of your body for three days.

I left the house tonight for the first time in three days, to pick up yet another tool for my hermitty aspirations, an all-in-one scanner/printer/fax/copier. With this machine and the Interweb, I never have to leave again.

I’m scaring myself. You know that scene in Singles when Campbell Scott attacks Bridget Fonda because he hasn’t seen a human in weeks? That’s me.

And it’s all coming to an end soon. Talked to work today, and they have decided, as they promised, but never followed through on, to keep my contract limited through the end of the year, rather than indefinitely. Like an abused wife, I was angry, upset and FLAT-OUT PISSED when I heard this. As if I need this aggravation and torture, yet for some reason, I felt so…REJECTED.

But, um, HELLO. I moved. I moved away from my job that I hated, didn’t want to keep it up, and I was lucky enough to be offered a contract to work while I found a job. Except that I thought, for some stupid reason, that I’d be keeping it indefinitely, and that *I* would be the one to tell them where to stick it.

Riiiight. Dude, I hated it. The perpetual feeling of failure. Working for people with the most asinine expectations of entitlement. Working three jobs and 15 hour days just to keep people from screaming at me. Just Thursday night, I had to rush home from dinner with my husband to do something for that job. And we discussed quitting. I moved down here for a better lifestyle, and three times in as many weeks, I’ve had to cancel a personal event, or work late at night. It’s so funny, but as I think about it, I don’t think I ever would have left them until I had a kid. It never made me happy, but I’ve always been a sick glutton for punishment.

I feel like a kid on a bike right now, careening down the street with ribbons screaming from my handlebars. Stage three: Elation. Stage one was shock, two was fury, and three is ELATION. I am moving on! MOVING ON! I will have time to write. Time to relax. Time to find something local that I actually like.

It’s weird. There is this nagging thing in the back of my mind that says, “You’ve failed! If you were perfect, they wouldn’t let you go even if you moved to Timbuktu.”

Which is, of course, a lie. But I still feel rejected. And angry. And elated. All at once. And in a weird way, I’m totally getting what I wished for.

9 comments September 15th, 2005

Ants Marching

Ants are permeating my life. Or at least my entire existence since I moved here. Shortly before we moved, we attended a wedding in Tampa. If only I could tell the story of the wedding, for you have no idea. Ah, but alas, bloggers have limits. Anyway, at the wedding it came out that my also-attending friend Wade, (who lives in Texas and is is a brilliant designer, amazing person and just about the jolliest soul I’ve ever known) is working on a movie called Ant Bully, starting Julia Roberts. Which started a discussion on ants in Florida. I poo pooed the idea that bugs in Florida were any worse than the bugs I’d encountered in South Carolina, and ants certainly weren’t a problem. Fire ants? They stay outside!

It seems I was wrong. I have never seen so many ants in my entire life. Different KINDS of ants. There would be no reason we’d need to have our own tab in the AntWeb here, unless it was a SERIOUS PROBLEM.

And people, let me tell you what a serious problem is. It’s right here at the Jonniker household. It started with a tickle on my shoulder while I was settling in for bed. An idle scratch revealed an ant on my shoulder, under my shirt, but still. One ant. I can deal with one ant. Closer inspection revealed that there were no fewer than ten ants in bed with me. IN BED WITH ME. You know that creepy crawly feeling you get when you see a bug? Like say, in your pant leg? Only you know you’re being irrational because THAT DOESN’T HAPPEN?

I’m here to tell you it happens. I had ants in my pants. Four. ANTS IN MY PANTS. NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO KNOW WHAT IT IS LIKE TO HAVE ANTS IN THEIR PANTS.

We have trapped, we have baited, we have sprayed. AND THE ANTS MARCH ON. I had a hellish day today that involved 36 – yes, you read that right, THIRTY SIX – Trojan computer viruses (for chrissake, is it viruses or virii? I refuse to use virii, but would like to acknowledge that I might be wrong, but it is a conscientious objection). Said viruses took down not just my computer, but The Husband’s as well, along with the entire DNS server. Which meant no interweb for anyone for several hours. And certainly no fun for anyone either. There was yelling, screaming and irritation all around from spouses, employers and cats.

And the ants? Oh they marched on. Discovered a pocket of about 200 of them in my office, right under my feet. Marching, marching on in their arrogant little struts. Serving the queen my ass. I vacuumed their little brown asses right up, but I KNOW THEY LIVE ON.

Oh and the Orkin man? Stood us up. Never showed.

I’ll say it again. THE ANTS MARCH ON.

19 comments September 12th, 2005

Suburbia

So far, I seem to have made a lasting impression. Adam and I have been systematicallytaking out our MOUNTAINS AND MOUNTAINS of garbage created by the move. First of all, let me say that the garbage down here is TOTALLY WEIRD.

There are no garbage men. Garbage men! THERE AREN’T ANY! There are garbage truckdrivers, but no actual garbage men. They drive trucks that have these ginormous mechanical arms that come out and scoop up giant plastic bins. If your garbage doesn’t fit in the giant green plastic bin, then you are shit out of luck, my friend. I already felt like I was moving into a Stepford-esque neighborhood since it was a planned urban development, but this really put me over the edge. Seeing this GIANT CLAW leap out of the side of the truck to pick up my garbage was freaky.

Back to garbage adventures and Reasons Why We are Already the Pariahs of Our Development:

1) Because of the mind-boggling amounts of garbage we’re generating as a result of unpacking, we are exceeding the capacities of the Giant Green Containers nearly every single day. Because it would take us nearly 15 weeks of garbage days to make the slightest dent in the mountain of garbage, we have been forced to seek other means of disposal. The head of the homeowners association recommended we toss our broken down boxes into the dumpster near where they are building new Ant Farm houses like ours “when no one is looking.” We have interpreted this to mean, “Dump every day at least twice a day whatever you want.”

Thursday, while dumping our Eleventy Millionth Pile of Garbage in the dumpster, we heard a noise rustling behind the monstrosity:

“STICK ‘EM UP!”

We screamed as if we were being held at gunpoint by Saddam himself. It was a no more than 11-year-old boy who was hiding behind the dumpster. Unfortunately, our screams alerted the nearby neighbors to our perpetual presence at the dumpster, and brought about a fair amount of judgmental tut-tutting and stares. Dumping must now be done under the cover of nightfall, like a covert SEALs operation.

2) As if being known as the Couple Who Dumps wasn’t bad enough, Friday morning, Adam and I were taking out our giant plastic bin for the mechanical arm. Lou, our retired next door neighbor was out in his garage, as he always is and said hello. I’d only met him once, but he seemed like a nice, Midwestern man. While gesturing with my right hand, my thumb got caught in the edge of my t-shirt, and my t-shirt went OVER MY FACE and exposed my COMPLETELY BRALESS BOOBS to poor Lou, who was no doubt looking at me because I WAS TALKING TO HIM.

I panicked, pulled my t-shirt down and muttered, “Um, er, excuse me. Um, wow,” and giggled like an ex-stripper taken suddenly out of her element.

3) Sunday night, I was irrationally screaming at Adam because I am hormonal and mean. Screaming screaming screaming the entire way home from his parents’ house. SCAAAHREEEEEMING. As we entered the garage, I let it rip by screaming, “FUCK YOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUU!” and stormed off. If you listen very very hard, I’m sure you can still hear the reverb in your neighborhood. Oh and, um, I locked him out of the house.

So now we are the Couple Who Dumps with the Psychotic Woman Who Screams and Strips. Fantastic! We likely won’t be invited to any barbecues soon.

12 comments September 4th, 2005


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