rat based disillusionment… 

I’ve written multiple times here about my fear of opossums. It probably wouldn’t shock anyone to hear that I’m terrified of being eaten by something lurking in the deep end of a swimming pool. I’ve never gotten over my fear that a witch or monster may be lurking beneath my bed to snatch at my feet as I sleep. And I’ve always been terrified that I would have my fingers or tongue trailing out the window in the breeze on a road trip and get the outlying appendage snagged on barbed wire and ripped off.

So you, you know, stuff that makes total sense and is super likely to happen.

There are others too. Some that I can’t even recall at the moment but that emerge when the moment is right. Or ridiculous.

But of all of them the one that stands out the most. The one I have always, for as long as I can remember, been afraid of. The one that is the most startling. Is that something would wriggle up from the sewer and emerge from the toilet bowl while I’m… you know. Using the toilet. Specifically since I can remember being a user of the toilet I have been afraid that a snake or rat would make its way up from the sewer, through the pipes, up the toilet bend, and emerge from the bowl of my toilet. And so I have worked years with myself to get the hell over it. Because that is the stuff of horror movies and urban legends, right. Right?

Until Friday night.

Because on Friday night I was home all by myself. I was exiting the bedroom with an arm-full of laundry. And as I passed by the open bathroom door motion caught my eye and I saw the head of a sleek wet little rat poke up from the toilet seat.

A RAT POKED ITS FUCKING HEAD OUT OF MY TOILET.

I did what, I believe, even the calmest and most rational person would do. I screamed. I screamed loud. I screamed hard. I screamed unintelligibly. I screamed a scream that I’m fairly certain horror movie foley artists would have killed to record.

It’s possible that the scream had the intended impact and the rat fell back into the toilet just before I grabbed a nearby yardstick, slammed the lid of the toilet shut with it, and jumped on top of the toilet screaming more and furiously pushing the handle to flush that rodent back from whence it came. I also called my brother screaming at him to come over while I texted my partner to tell him that A FUCKING RAT CLIMBED OUT OF THE TOILET.

What happened next was a blur. I flushed the toilet like a million times. I poured bleach down it. I boiled a huge pot of water and flushed boiling water down the toilet. I filled the now empty bleach jug with water and set it atop the toilet lid so I could stop standing on it. I called my landlady. I texted some more.

Rats live in the sewer. And a rat climbed out of my toilet.

I’m 40 years old and I have spent a good 35+ years of my life convincing myself that rodents and snakes do no climb out of toilets. Telling myself that is just the stuff of legend. Of horror movies. Of nightmares.

Well no more. Let’s admit the truth.

PSA: Rats can climb out of your fucking toilet. For real.

Apparently it usually happens after a substantial rain in a basement or first floor toilet And apparently it’s pretty common for them to die on the climb up. So I was just lucky?

For real. This is a thing. A gross thing.

I have nowhere to go from here. It’s taken me days just to be able to write this part down. But in case you’d like some helpful tips I’d really like to tell you that you should always keep the lid on your toilet shut. Just do that. And make sure you call the city and let them know. Because wow.

And apparently putting dish soap in your toilet tank, aside from the delightful funny side effect of making your toilet bowl sudsy, makes the pipes more slippery and harder for critters to crawl up.

Also I feel that I’m now totally justified in indulging all of my phobias. Because seriously. Rats can climb out of your toilet.

I’m so sorry. But I thought you needed to know.

 

 

 

 

there are still problems with living in the future…

At 7am on a Sunday I’m not expecting much. But I am expecting to be asleep. This 7am in particular had other ideas. Or Alexa did. Her little notification tone chimed. It’s a gentle tone. It didn’t make me sit bolt upright. It just made me ask Rick what was going on while I slowly opened my eyes to the rhythmic pulsing of Alexa’s yellow glow.

I thought Alexa was having a meltdown. Or the wifi was. Or we’d lost power at some point and she just came back online.

So I asked her. “Alexa, why are you flashing?”

And she carefully explained to me that the flashing light meant I had a new message or notification. And that I could ask her to play that message or read that notification. 10am Cami would have already known that. 7am Cami isn’t sure where her nose is located.

So at 7am on a Sunday when I would rather be sound asleep I didn’t really want to hear that message. I wanted to be asleep.  Which means I wanted the yellow flashing to stop so I could pursue that elusive Sunday morning sleep-in.

So I asked her to play that message figuring it would cover things adequately.

“You have no messages. You have 1 notification. To hear notifications ask me to read notifications”

ARRRRRGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

“Alexa please read notifications”

It’s important to be nice. The future robot overlords will have a record of how we treated these devises. And I don’t think they’ll care how early it was when we are rude.

Alexa began to read the notification. A shipping notification.

It’s the holidays after all and while I’ve already changed the setting to not  tell askers the name of any items shipped when asking for a status on orders, because secrets, I didn’t recall setting up notifications when items did ship. And certainly not directly to my bedroom dot unit. Or any dot unit. And certainly not at 7am on a Sunday. But apparently I had. And I had no idea what she might say. And I certainly didn’t want her to tell Rick about any specific items that might have shipped because, again, secrets.

“Alexa STOP” I cried hoping to keep the secrets with me, Alexa, and the robot overlords.

So a note to all of you: make sure you have your notification settings updated to your liking.

And a note to Amazon and our future robot overlords: please let us setup do not disturb hours.

Because no.  I didn’t get back to sleep…

surviving the sunpocalypse… 

Yesterday North America witnessed a celestial event the likes of which many of us had never seen. Or that we just couldn’t remember.

Not because this doesn’t happen every few years, but because it doesn’t happen every few years here. And it’s never happened in North America during the age of the internet when all the details on anything you could want to know are available at the touch of a finger. Not even at the touch of a button. Just a finger!

Today we saw a solar eclipse. People from all over made their way to the path of the totality, which is a fancy way of saying where you can see the total eclipse, and made themselves at home. Some for hours, some for days. Probably some for weeks. People planned their weeks around this event. Their summers. Their year. THEIR LIVES! Folks were excited for this once in a lifetime experience. Though it’s worth mentioning that the once in a lifetime part is probably an exaggeration for most since there was a solar eclipse viewable from North America 1979 and there’ll be another in 2024. People have already started planning for that one too.

But what I’m saying here is that the excitement and mania were real. Folks were so prepared for every little detail. They were willing to be stuck in their car for hours or days. They made sandwiches, filled flasks, stocked up on water. Made charts. Researched optimal places. Made reservations. Camped and stuff.

But me? I just kind of worried that it would bring about the zombie apocalypse. Or at least the end of the world as we know it. And it felt like something I just had to deal with. Had to make a plan to see. But it was a chore. It felt rote. A celestial event is happening. We must see it because we must. Do the things you must do. I had no room for wonder or joy.

That morning Total Eclipse of the Heart was stuck in my head so I played it as I worked. We had our glasses and a vague plan to walk to the park as the totality neared. We could see the sun from the back patio and decided we would just go out and peek every once in a while and then get going when the eclipse was well under way.

And then it happened. I stepped out onto the cold concrete with my bare feet and walked to the spot with the optimal view of the bright orb hanging  in the sky. I slid on my cardboard eclipse viewing glasses and I looked up into the sun. A tiny little nick of the sun was missing. Just a smidgen. A nibble from perfectly round cookie.

And my breath was gone. And my resting bitch face softened and stretched into a smile. And I maybe did a little dance on the cold concrete of the patio. And I snatched up a cushion from the nearest patio chair and placed it on the ground at the optimal viewing point. I snuggled up against my partner to feel a tiny bit of human warmth and connection in this absolutely stunning moment of a tiny little bit of the eclipse starting to show.

I called for my kid, I wiggled in place like an excited puppy about to go for a walk and I marched them out into the backyard with instruction to stand on the chair cushion. And they looked up at the sun and said “that’s cool” before taking off the eclipse shades and heading back inside.

I worked for a while, keeping one eye out the back door waiting for eclipse signs. Or apocalypse signs. Whichever.

I was excited. Anxious. It felt like Christmas morning and I was waiting to unwrap the mysterious package under the tree. We went out onto the patio a few more times. All of us, not just me the excited Christmas morning puppy of joy. And then we made our way to the park. Where I danced and squealed and jumped and snuggled and took photos of a bright orb that to my iPhone camera in no way looked like an eclipse. And it was good. And I embraced a surge of joy for the first time in a while.

Let’s face it, this year has been a rough one with all of the horrible goings on in the US. And it’s been a struggle personally as well, on many levels. But there in the park watching others gaze up into the sky or peer into their cereal boxes. Watching my two favorite people stoically participate. Inspecting the patterned shadows on the ground. And the dusk sky well before noon. There was joy.

And all fear of the sunpocalypse, armageddon, of the world ending in a giant beam of light, of zombies, or newly powered super heroes and super villains faded away to a moment of peace. Reflection. And joy.

We walked and babbled and looked up as the moon made its way out of the sun’s light. We went to our favorite coffee shop for a treat. And then we came home and I settled in to work the rest of the day. Calmer. Happier. Listening to It’s the End of the World as we Know it and I Feel Fine.

And I did…

this is not forty…

Forty is a landmark. A milestone. It’s a fixed place in time. It comes with a set of expectations. A certain amount of understanding. Of yourself. Of the people around you. Of the world.

Tomorrow, as far as my birth certificate is concerned, I’ll hit that landmark. But for me nothing feels set in stone. It doesn’t feel like the 40 I pictured as a child. It doesn’t look like the 40 I was warned of in my twenties. It isn’t the 40 I imagined I would look back on with wisdom when I’m old.

39 and 364/365ths…

I’m messy and imperfect. I don’t know how to live in this world. I’ve lost friends. I’ve lost family. I’ve lost my way a few times too.

I forget to pick up my socks off the floor and I leave wet towels on the bench by the bed. I lose things. I only clean up my kitchen before I go to bed so I can prep coffee for the next day. And honestly sometimes I just move aside the dirty dishes to fill the pot. I either go to bed too early or far too late. I buy comic books that I forget to read for months. I watch too many cooking shows, but I rarely cook.

I’m still a little bit in love with Han Solo.

I’ve gone through way more iPhones than I feel is acceptable. I’ve never gotten the hang of eye makeup. I still don’t know how to accessorize. My kid and my boyfriend both have better fashion sense than I do. My love of polka dots has probably reached the level of mania. And I still haven’t found the perfect shade of nude lipstick.

But I have found the right red lipstick. And I can make a perfect omelet. I know that espresso can be correct. My favorite boots and I have seen a bit of the world. I still love a good gin martini, but I’ve also gained an affection and appreciation for bourbon. I’ve made friends that I truly know, and who know me. My family is close, in proximity and in my heart.  I’m fortunate to be the parent to a most amazing person. Privileged to be partnered to the person I didn’t know to dream of.

And I’ve learned how to love and let others love me.

This is not the forty I thought It would be. But it is mine.

because I have a huge crush on technology…

Living in a time when so many of us can hold a world of knowledge in the palm of our hand -or shove it in our pocket or toss it in our purse- it’s easy to lose sight of just how amazing the technology of today is.  When I was a kid watching shows like Star Trek and the Jetsons I always wondered if I would live to see the imagined technology.  I hoped I’d drive a flying car and have a floating robot house keeper to look after my space aged children and my talking dog while I vacationed on the shores of some stunningly remote island from the privacy of my very own holodeck… or maybe just took a quick trip there via my transporter, though that would have made my flying car obsolete.

I sometimes wonder if the reason I have steadfastly refused to drive a car my entire adult life is because I figured it would be a wasted skill in time.  I mean not really, but wouldn’t that be a fab excuse?

Back to my point.  Technology is amazing.  Mind numbing, pulse quickening, breath taking, and amazing.  Not just because it saves lives and makes the world go round.  Every part of our lives is altered by technology.  I would say bettered, but that’s a matter of opinion.  Some feel technology robs people of social skills, family values, humanity.

I feel it opens new doors and provides a whole new universe of opportunities.  A world where anyone can thrive if only they have the will and determination to do so.  We’re creating a world where we can see individuals for what they can and will do and not for the skin suit they’re born into.

Wow.  I’ve gotten so serious when all I really wanted to do was marvel over my ability to stream movies online or reserve a movie and walk a few blocks, swipe my card and pick up a dvd without any further instruction.  I wanted to tell you how much I love technology’s ability to offer me entertainment at a moments notice.  Instead I got all -technology can make the world a better more equatable place- on you.

What I’m saying is that the future is pretty much here and I welcome the technology overlords. Until they get all terminator on our asses…

the zombie apocalypse begins here…

A quick search of the internet for signs of the coming zombie apocalypse yielded results that I feel are fairly inaccurate.  Bizarre parasites, mutations, and idiotic political leaders don’t seem to herald the end of times to me.  Maybe it’s just the time I grew up in?  But today something hit much closer to home.

Do you guys remember Fish?  He came to live with us in March.  Well my friends, today Fish died.  Again. I mean,  I think.  I’m almost certain of it.

Shortly after Fish came to live with us I was in my kid’s room and I looked at the tank… there was fish motionless, limp, and floating.  My mother was visiting at the time and I called her in to counsel me, after all, Fish had only been with us a few days.  I wasn’t entirely sure how to break the news to my girl.  But as first my mother and then daughter came in to the room to see what all the commotion was Fish began swimming around jauntily.

What, you’ve never seen a swish swim jauntily?  They can.  Fish does.  Stop mocking and keep your comments and questions until the end please…

That little fucker had some sort of fit, went into paralytic shock, had a seizure and was rendered unconscious, or he died.  Or he has one hell of a sick sense of humor.  He scared me nearly to death.

Well today while my kid was out I went in to her room to put away an errant lip gloss.  As I walked past his tank I chimed Hey Fish. He didn’t reply, but he’s a fish so that’s cool.  What wasn’t cool was when I stooped down to take a look at how my fishy friend was doing I noticed that he was entirely motionless floating belly up in the corner of his tank.

Fuck.

That’s what I said, because what else do you say in a situation such as this?  Remembering his fake-out last time I tried to push the panicked feeling back and I watched.  I sat down on the bed and stared at his tank and waited while tears welled up.  I fished my phone out of my back pocket and dialed speaking into the headphones I was already wearing.

I babbled and ranted and cried, not knowing exactly how to deal with this damn dead fish.  Should I flush it before she gets home? Wait for her to attend the flushing?  I wasn’t ready.  Not that I ever would be, but I was particularly unready for a dead fish at that moment.  On this day.  It’s going to be a crazy enough week without a fish corpse to deal with.

I paced from room to room and babbled and listened carefully to comforting words.  And I felt completely ridiculous.  All this over a fish.  I mean, not just any fish, Fish.  But still, I’m a grown ass woman.  I can handle stuff.

And then I walked back into her room to take another look at the corpse and that beautiful red bastard was not floating where I expected him to float.  He was on the other side of the tank.

Right side up.

Swimming.

Fish is a fucking zombie.  I think the rest of them are coming.

 

precisely 22 minutes…

Today, as I sat in the waiting room waiting for my girl’s class to finish, there was a problem. A disturbance. In the force, if you will. As if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.  They were totally in my head though…

But still, they needed silencing.

You see, someone stuck 3 stickers to the otherwise perfect, unadorned, totally clean half-wall.  Stickers. On the wall.

Now I don’t know about you, but there are some places I can’t stand to see stickers. Mirrors, windows, furniture, and of course walls all fit neatly on that list.

But these walls are not mine. I’m a guest here. A guest, sitting and patiently waiting for my kids class to finish…  Her 90 minutes class. And there were those stickers. 3 of them. 3 stickers from Trader Joe’s… You know the ones, they give them to your kid while you stand in the checkout line. 3 perfectly round colorful stickers some cashier at Trader Joe’s gave to some kid.  A kid who likely has a sibling going to class here.  Some kid that had to sit and wait for its older sibling for what must have seemed like hours upon hours. Potentially some kid whose parent was sitting right there not paying attention as the child stuck those 3 perfectly round stickers to the clean, unadorned, pale green half-wall.

I fucking hate that parent.

It took precisely 22 minutes for all my irritation and irrationality to come to head before I took two steps (one forward and one to the side) and removed those 3 perfectly round stickers, strode across the room, and threw them in the trash.

Somehow I’m sure this makes me the crazy one.

a note on creepy men…

This isn’t about the socially awkward slightly clueless guys that can’t really figure out how to approach a woman.  Not guys that stumble over their words.  It isn’t the shy guys.  It isn’t even about the overly confident cocky assholes who think they’re god’s gifts to women.  This is for the creeps.  A bit of advice from me to you?  Don’t be creepy.

Don’t talk to me in parking lots.  Don’t catcall as I walk down the street.  Don’t come up to me in a crowded place and try to take my hand to get my attention.  Actually don’t touch me at all. Anywhere.  And don’t follow me down the street to talk to me.

All of this is triply true if I have my kid with me.  You may have a bit of a MILF fetish or something, but I really don’t care.  All of that behavior is out of line.

As I was walking with my kid today a man came up behind us.  He’d been following at a somewhat respectful distance but I was still aware of him.  Then he sped up.  When he was about 4 feet away he tried to engage me in conversation.

“Hi!  How are you doing?”

We walked on.

He followed.

“Hey, do you need some help?”

“No.”

I shifted a bag I was carrying, put my hand on my kid’s back protectively and we walked to catch up with a large group of people crossing the street ahead of us.

“Hey, is that your kid?”

“Yes.  Goodbye.”

Walking and putting some distance.

“Do you have a boyfriend?”

Still walking

“Yes.”

“Oh.”

And he stopped following, but stood there watching us walk away.  I breathed a sigh of relief but continued on with that large group of people longer than I really wanted to, making sure we weren’t followed.  I kept looking over my shoulder the entire way.

My mind was racing.  Thinking through each question.

Did I need help? I guess I was carrying a bag, he could have thought he was being chivalrous.  He was dressed in work clothes, he could have been a day laborer looking for work.  Still, I didn’t like it.

Is that my kid? Fuck you.  You’re a stranger.  What if it wasn’t my kid?  If I had a litter of kids with me and a stranger giving me the creeps asked me if they were mine I’d probably get my mama bear hackles up and say yes.

Do I have a boyfriend? Guess what creepy dude?  Regardless of my relationship status there is no way I’m going to tell a creepy dude following me I’m not seeing someone.  I’m always going to say I’ve got someone in my life. Someone that likes to whack creepy dudes across the face with a giant stick.  For being creepy.

Perhaps I should have stopped talking sooner but talking seemed to keep him at bay and give me the means to maneuver my kid and I into a safer situation.  As I write this, I’m still a little shaken.  If it had just been me I would have recovered sooner.  Sadly I know this because it’s not the first time some creepy guy has followed me down the street.  Or around a coffee shop.  Or through a store.

The only good I can pull from this unfortunate experience is to use it as a teaching tool.  All kids should be taught how to be safe in situations like this.  It’s a scary reminder that recalls lessons from my childhood.  Don’t take candy from strangers.  Walk on well lit streets.  Don’t talk to strangers (yeah… I know. my bad). Just say no (that’s to drugs, but it comes to mind).  Stop, drop, and roll (if you’re on fire… not when a creepy guy is following you).  It’s a delicate balance between scaring kids unnecessarily and making sure they understand that not everyone in this world has the best intentions.

Regardless of lessons learned, I just can’t make sense of “creepy” behavior.  I can’t imagine that it would ever work to gain someone’s favor or affection.  All it does is frighten, freak out or piss off the object of interest.

So creepy guys?  Knock it the fuck off.

tale of a (temporarily) stay at home mom…

I bought a mop.  I needed a mop.  I went to the store for a mop and I bought one.  And some hair dye, it was on the list too.  A mop and hair dye because a girl has to have her priorities.

I’ve been hiding in a little box for over a year, tucked away from the outside world focusing on doing very few things, but doing them well.  Getting my head together.  Deciding what to do.  Figuring shit out.

Do you know what I learned during all that quiet box dwelling figuring time?  I mean aside from that I needed a mop and some hair dye (and peanut butter, duh).  That I need to climb out of my quiet little hidey-hole and get with the program.  I need to do some doing while I’m figuring out what to do.  Big life changes, even when you are the one who instigated them, touch your entire life.

No shit, Sherlock.  I know.

So what do I do?  What am I doing?  What the hell is going on with me?  How am I going to pull this shit off?  When is it all getting underway?  Why am I asking these questions so loudly?

…did you read those loudly?  because they are so loud in my head.  echoing…

Because I’m trying to figure out who I want to be when I grow up.  I’m looking for work after 10 years of being a stay at home parent and I don’t know what it is that I do.  I know what I used to do.  I know who I was then.

10 years ago.  Then it was black and white. But then it was just me.

I’d like to make it as simple as that list I made for the store yesterday.

mop
hair dye
peanut butter
cottage cheese
bagels
tomato juice

To be able to walk out into the world knowing what I need and how to get it.  It isn’t.  It won’t be.  I’m doing it anyway.

Any advice?

 

a new pet peeve is born…

Can something be a pet peeve if you’ve only experienced it once?  I ask because something happened over the weekend that made me bat shit bonkers annoyed and I never ever ever want to see it again… but the times being what they are I’m quite sure it’s going to happen at some point.  You see this is about shoes.  Yes.  That’s right.  Shoes. Kind of.

Now I love me some shoes.  I do, I most certainly do.  Even now I’m contemplating what shoes I’d like to wear tomorrow.  It’s been a while since I’ve been able to go out and indulge my love of shoe shopping but that doesn’t mean it isn’t very real to me.  All that being said, I’m not much of a sneaker girl myself.  But I understand that they are a necessity for many and they have their place.  I’ll wear them if I’m exercising.  Most other activities I firmly believe there is a boot for, but exercising is mostly a bootless activity.  I accept that.

Exercise is not at all the activity I am thinking of though.  I got off track a little.  I think it’s fine for people to wear sneakers.  Viva la fitness shoe.  Especially kids.  Awesome great!  Keep those feet healthy and comfy.  And they do great things with sneakers now.  I love it.  Have you seen those knee high Converse?  Be still my heart.  Really!  There seems to be a sneaker for everyone.  I’m a little sad that I can no longer find the awesome sneaks I wore in my teens.  I think they were called Side One or something like that.  They were black leather and rubber with an over-sized tongue that folded over the laces.  Other than those I was a Converse girl all the way.

Over the weekend though I met my sneaker nemesis.  A shoe I never really worried over in the past made it to my list of irritations.  Because it became a rudeness thing.  RUDE.  That’s what this is really about.  I was at the movies in the dark theater enjoying a very funny film when I saw out the corner of my eye a camera flash, or what I assumed was a camera flash.  I did my best to ignore it, irritated.  Then again.  And again and again.

MOTHERFUCKINGDAMNTITSTOPTHATRIGHTNOW!

I looked over my shoulder and saw nothing.  I faced forward.  I watched the movie.  I laughed and then FLASH FLASH.

Ah.  It’s a camera with a red eye reducing flash set on it.  I looked around.  Irritated.  It had stopped again.

I cautiously turned to face forward and then whipped my head back around quickly thinking I might catch the perpetrator.  And that’s when I saw it.  This is also the moment when my sneaker rant starts to make a little sense.  It was a little girl with the fucking flashy light sneakers that were so popular a few years ago.

It’s totally possible that they are still popular with kids now and I’m just unaware.  I may be out of the loop on little kid sneaker trends.

But as I was saying, this little girl was wearing them in the movie theater.  Happily stomping her feet and kicking away making bright flashes of light every few minutes.  I should make it clear that I don’t blame her.  She’s a kid.  But I do wish her parents or whatever adult took her to the movie had thought that one through a little better.

So that is my new crazy pet peeve.  People wearing flashy light shoes in dark theaters and kicking things.  Just don’t do it, okay?  Okay.  Also?  I won’t be calling those things sneakers anymore because I don’t know how you could sneak up on someone in them.

Okay.