It's probably no secret that we live in a rural area. When I say rural, I mean RURAL. It is nothing to drive two hours to a larger city (still not that large) for one thing or another. It doesn't take much more effort to drive 5-6 hours for a meeting, a class, or to see family. We are used to it. Sometimes when I arrive at a destination so far from home, people just can't even believe that I have traveled such a distance.
Good grief, when you grow up doing something like driving long distances, you kind of get used to it. In high school, we traveled hours and hours a week to sporting, band and other events. We went to college several hours away. When we came back, we lived almost a 30 minute drive to the country.
So, over my lifetime, it is safe to say I have spent a lot of time in the car.
When you have the opportunity to do a lot of driving, you learn things. You learn patterns of other drivers. You learn where the speed traps are. You know the speed limits in specific places. You know when a passing lane is coming up. Yeah. Maybe I get a bit cocky sometimes. I may or may not know where the wide open, flat spaces are. I may or may not have tried to "air it out" a little. Here's the deal. I am aware of my surroundings. I feel confident that I would never put myself or anyone else in danger. So.... both hands on the wheel, I may or may not have exceeded the speed limit by 4-5 miles per hour the other day. Or something like that. Who knows if my speedometer is properly calibrated? While I was driving, I was passed by two vehicles that absolutely blew right by me. I kept going at the same speed, and I'll be darned if I came up behind a highway patrolman (did I mention, this was in another state?), and I instinctively looked at my speed. I was probably 300 YARDS (way far) behind him when I could tell what he was.
Right. So I discovered I was going about 2 miles per hour over, and this officer was going maybe 35 in the right lane of a split four lane highway. I continued at what my vehicle said was 2 miles per hour over, used my blinker, obeyed every rule I knew, and as I am passing him, he flips on the lights, and it was not a suggestion to please check your speed. Immediately, I pull over. Trying to think of every rule I know, I reach for nothing, roll down my window, take off my sunglasses, and place both hands up high on the steering wheel. Watching him approach in the rear view mirror, I have already decided, this guy is bored. I must look really threatening because he is slowly approaching and looking all around. He has nothing better to do than to pull over a grandmother from out of state and tell her that ever so slightly exceeding the speed limit is unacceptable. I may or may not have had time for this. Quite possibly, I had a doctor appointment, was somewhat irritable and in pain (dang teeth and gums), had no interest in chatting, and now I am sitting on the side of the road for going 2 (TWO!) miles an hour over the speed limit. He told me he stopped me for speed. I verified the 2 mph over by asking him how fast I was going. Whatever. I give him everything he asks for -- drivers license, insurance ... and I am thinking, "go ahead -- call that in, and see what a threat I am to society." (My attitude definitely suffers when I am in pain.) But the actress in me totally comes out, and my best "yes, sir" and "no, sir" are on display. Seriously. I can't ever remember getting a speeding ticket. I don't think I ever have. And I thanked him for not giving me one that day.
And here is where I circle back and tell you about how living in a rural area pertains to this. There isn't a lot of traffic. You may or may not have to break a big rule to get the opportunity to visit with a law enforcement officer. The weather plays a factor. It doesn't rain around here very often, but if it is raining, you probably won't be stopped. If the wind is blowing 50 mph, maybe not.
But living way out west has its advantages. We live near a local airport, and I am notorious for hearing different planes coming and going. I run to the window or outside, and people always make fun of me. We have the greatest sunsets. The people are beyond the best anywhere. It's generally pretty quiet. It takes as long to get to the East coast as it does the West coast. And when you travel, you can listen to an audiobook (or two) wherever you go. Trying to keep it positive!
My mouth is still mad. But I have been able to be quiet and not do a lot of talking today, Win for everyone!
And on a happy note, I FOUND MY PASSPORT!!!!!
I. FOUND. MY. PASSPORT!!!!!!
It has been missing for about 8 months. I kept thinking it was going to show up. I kept thinking, "it's around here, somewhere." I had just started to go through the motions of obtaining a replacement passport. Luckily, I hadn't made it very far. Makes me want to turn on some Pharrell Williams and do the "Happy" dance.
I never would have thought I would have done it. Sure would have never thought I would tell anyone if I did. But it really happened. I ate one of these with a fork and a knife. *eyeroll*
I haven't had a big candy bar, that I can recall, in something like.... years. It's just not something I crave. I like them fine, but I can happily do without. (Now a daily Coke,
I must have.) But today, I had to have this candy bar. There was one in my refrigerator, and I had to have it. At least part of it.
I think I have mentioned before about my dental doctor visits and appliances that I have had in my life up to now. You know, I have had braces (two kinds,) a headgear, a painful tongue trap (because I swallow backwards), I took swallowing lessons, (they didn't work - I still swallow backwards), retainers, four wisdom teeth cut out, a subepithelial gum graft on my front lowers because my gums there were receding (at the ripe old age of 17,) root canals,
and yesterday, the mother of all procedures I've had.
A subcutaneal acellular dermal matrix graft. Here's the awesome part. *sarcasm* They use donated, medically processed, human skin tissue for the graft. (yes, cadaver) Once you get over that good news, you get the details about how you can't use your front teeth to bite anything for a minimum of five weeks.
Fine, a diet. I'm in.
The full-blown details of the appointment were not fully disclosed to me, so I had to drag out the few tidbits of information I could get. I asked if there would be a lot of pain, "of course not." I asked how long it would take, "about 2.5 to 3 hours." I asked about anesthesia... "why would you need that?"
They told me they would "do it with a local."
We weren't 5 minutes in with the anesthetic, and when they took the equivalent of a Dremel tool to my exposed roots on my top teeth. Not comfortable. Not a pleasant sound. I went prepared. I had my iPod AND my noise-cancelling headphones. It wasn't enough. The deadening, or the local, kept wearing off -- I kept having to point and request more. Silly me, I thought I should feel no sharp needle pains while sutures were going in. Apparently, that's just being a whiner. Now that I am north of 50, I have decided I am going to whine. I am going to complain when someone tries to pull something over on me. I am going to stand up for myself with strangers. Politically correct, psssssshhh. Polite.... only if I feel like it. I'm the boss of me. Don't try to push me around.
Yes, it hurts. Yes, I'm fine. Yes, I'm a little cranky. I always feel like when I tell someone about something like this, I hope they can learn a little something. Like you should never agree to a dental procedure for something like an unknown amount of hours in an office where they can't give you anything for real pain. I hope you learn like I did, that your questions, no matter if its two or twenty, are most likely going to annoy a specialist. But suck it up and ask them anyway.
Well, I didn't tell that story right. Just goes to show, facts can be represented correctly or incorrectly. I represented the Tarantula story like it happened the other day. I stand corrected. Apparently, this was over two years ago. I'm losing it, I guess. The memory is still pretty vivid.
While I'm coming clean, let's talk snakes. Chief and I lived in the country for about 15 years. We lived in a couple of antique houses that had been renovated, added onto, and had porches closed in to make the homes larger. After all those updates, certain openings may have been created by chipping away at the foundation, new cracks may have formed, a variety of different things could have happened. Before we ever moved in, we knew there was the possibility of varmints getting inside.
Let's just say it doesn't take a city girl, and I use that term loosely, very long at all to figure out how to get a handle on mice, spiders and snakes. Oh, yes, the snakes. Just walking from the house to the car, you had to look down as you walked. I don't know how many times I almost, or actually did, step on a snake. Yes, some were rattlesnakes, and those are the most dangerous snakes we have in our area. I was easily spookable at first, but I suppose I have built up a tolerance. I have reached a level of okay-ness with them all. After all, the weirdest things can happen, and you never know when they will.
We pulled several snakes, okay something more than 60, out of the basement of that first ranch house. With the addition of central heat and air, the foundation had to be broken through in a few places under the house to make room for the ducting. Apparently................... snakes began to sneak down under the house, into the foundation area. It was cool and dark there. Great place to winter if you are a snake. Or possibly live year round...?
Chief knew he had seen a snake or two down there. He sealed the door to the room that had the air conditioning and heating equipment in it. Then there was another door that completely sealed off the stairs and whole basement from the floor level of the house. I felt pretty secure. Additionally, those snakes must have been helping keep the mouse population down, because I only recall a few in 15 years. But one day he was working on the hot water heater down there, and he had a flashlight. As he was leaving the room, he decided to point the light back up under the tiny crawl space created by the running of the "new" heat and air conditioning ducts. When he did, he saw eyes. Yellow eyes. Tiny yellow eyes, and a whole lot of them. He was pretty calm when he came upstairs and said, "Come with me downstairs, I want to show you something." Since I had only graced the basement with my presence a few times, and it never ended well -- I said, "Okay, hang on a minute." I went to put on sweat pants, a hoodie and shoes with socks. There are always spider webs, crickets, something.
Photograph by Chris Johns -- National Geographic
When he put the flashlight up to show me the snake eyes, I think I screamed. He calmly explained to me why screaming wasn't the best idea. I gathered my composure, and from that moment on, I was the "Flashlight Holder."
The resourceful Chief grabbed a piece of pipe, now he tells me it was about a 5 foot telescoping pole for a volleyball net. And of course, weed-eater string. You know, stuff everyone could have in their basement. The Boy Scout crafted a large loop coming out one end of the pole. So, holding the pole with one hand, pointing the loop toward the snakes, and holding the weed-eater string firmly with the other -- we gave it a try. Remember, I am holding the flashlight. Chief is able to keep his distance, and within seconds, we have our first snake. He has a firm grip on the weed-eater string after pulling it back and cinching it around the snake's head and throat area. So he pulls it away from its buddies in the den. It's just a racer. Nothing venomous. Nothing to stay awake at night over. But there is an exit from the basement straight to the outside. Chief knew that thing wasn't going to be walked through the house through the front door. It didn't live. None of the 7 snakes we pulled out that first night did. At this point, we didn't know how many more were down there. We got all we could, and we must have scared the others back further into the darkness, because they disappeared.
Guess what? They were back the next night. And the next. And the next. This was a spring through summer project, and seriously, we lost count after we pulled out the 60th-some-odd snake. Yes, there were some rattlesnakes. Not many, I would say less than five. Hopefully, you can see how I would get used to things like this. I didn't want to accept it as normal. You can imagine why I am sometimes offended to be called a "city girl." My tiny hometown is not a city. And just because I didn't grow up milking cows and driving a tractor doesn't mean I am incapable of being a decent "farm girl." Don't pigeon-hole me. There are a lot of things I don't like, but that doesn't mean I can't take care of them. In the words of Kelly Clarkson, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."
This is my tarantula story, with no pictures. But this happened in my house in town (city limits). Within the last year.
I swore I would never admit that a tarantula was inside of my house. After all, how could that even happen? But I feel it is time to come clean. Honesty is always the best policy.
One morning this past spring, I am getting ready for the day. My bathroom, bedroom and closet are at the far end of the house. They are not near a door or entrance. I look in the mirror, and behind me, on the tiffany blue wall, there is a tarantula. It is the size of my hand. It is about 4 feet up on the wall -- just clinging there. I am the only one home, but I scream anyway. I keep my eye on it, and grab my phone, while climbing up on the bathroom counter. From eight feet away, I call Chief on the phone. He doesn't answer. I leave a desperate message. I sit still on the counter. I will not leave without one eye on this arachnid. It feels like 30 minutes. When he calls back, I beg of him, "I have never asked you to do this before, but I need you to come to town and deal with this tarantula in our bathroom." He hears the fear and anxiety in my voice, and he says he is on his way. I say, "THANK YOU!!!!!"
I remain on the counter, eyes glued to the tarantula on the wall. The phone rings. It is my friend, Mel. I tell her I really can't talk, I am dealing with an unusual emergency. When I tell her what is going on, she says, "a tarantula? I love tarantulas! Do you want me to come get it?" I scream into the phone, "YES!" And she is on her way. When she arrives, she is carrying a canning jar and a flyswatter. She strolls in, takes the flyswatter, gently encourages the tarantula into the jar like a turtle, and puts the lid on it. I stare in awe. I say, "what are you going to do with it?" She says she will take it home and let it go. Okay, fine, bub-bye, talk to you later.
I have no idea how a tarantula could get into the house. I mean, it's not like our doors stand wide open. We don't open our windows and leave them unattended. The best I can tell is that Chief brought in a pile of undesirable farm clothes, and this fellow was hidden amongst them. We don't really have mice -- it's because I let those nice snakes live and inhabit my yard and neighborhood. But there is no explanation for a tarantula sneaking into the house. It's not like a mouse that can squeeze under a door or through a small hole. A tarantula is large and hairy. My guess is that they aren't very limber. And my theory on how the tarantula got into the house is that Chief, being the considerate guy that he is, brought in a pile of clothes and boots from working cattle earlier that week, and he laid them in the garage for a few days. If you don't know what "working cattle" is, there is a lot of stinky stuff involved. Then he carried them into the laundry room to be washed separately from everything else. Yes, it's that bad.
Then just this week, I have killed two scorpions. Inside the house. Throughout the past year, probably seven.
Call me tough. Call me an idiot. I am afraid varmints are everywhere. But they are not the boss of me. And they usually don't win.
I haven't felt like I could put together a complete blog post in almost 3 months, but how about I let go of trying to make it perfect and just chat?
Normally, I try not to stir up any stuff by talking politics. It's not my thing. I will never run for office, and I don't have the answers, so my stance is silence. But a couple of months ago, a political person, I guess that's what you would call her, took a shot at soccer. Whaaaaat? Was it a slow news day or something? I'm going to put the link to the whole article here.
You can read it yourself and draw your own conclusions. Clearly, she isn't soccer-savvy. I consider it just wrong to tell people a bunch of random things that are your observations and based on nothing.
Here's the part that set me off:
--- If more "Americans" are watching soccer today, it's only because of the demographic switch effected by Teddy Kennedy's 1965 immigration law. I promise you: No American whose great-grandfather was born here is watching soccer. One can only hope that, in addition to learning English, these new Americans will drop their soccer fetish with time. ---
Wow. She promises you.
I watch soccer. I watch almost all the major sports. I watch golf. I was born before 1965. I had eight great-grandparents that were born here, and I WATCH and LOVE soccer. Doubt I'm the only one. I have Native American blood and am a card carrying tribal member, which probably means my soccer-loving heritage and relatives were here before hers were. Puh-leez! Learning English? I would challenge her to any form of English language competition or flipping spelling bee. Oh. My. Gosh.
And lastly, "these new Americans"????
The only reason I read the article was because it had the words 'hating soccer' in the title, and it was on a major news feed. It was around the time of the World Cup. I feel like some people just can't talk about anything unless it is negative. Well, I'm not riding that train.
I thought it was hilarious (jealousy, perhaps -- sarcasm) that she wasn't impressed with that handsome David Beckham. You know the one who is trying to establish a MLS team in Miami? He wants to build a ginormous stadium, (just like soccer stadiums all over the world) maybe on the waterfront, but he is flexible. He just wants to make it happen.
We live in a nation of immigrants. Could we possibly get along? Could we possibly be happy for others? Could we possibly act to improve things instead of complaining?
So here's to being positive. Here's to being nice.
Here's to not wallowing in whatever you want to pout about.
Hi, I'm Lily! I've always wanted to write a blog purely for entertainment value. Sometimes I have an opinion; sometimes I don't. People think I am organized, but, uhm… not so much. I tend to talk with my hands. Sarcasm is my favorite form of humor. There's more... Here. We. Go.