The Sting of Defeat

paperwaspI was stung by a paper wasp last week, and I did nothing to deserve it. They’ve taken up resistance somewhere beneath the siding of the house near the front window. I was minding my own business checking out the progress of some herbs I planted when suddenly one of those evil little creatures decided to sting me. What? Was I a little to close to the rosemary for you? Did I touch the Holy Basil in the wrong way?

That wasp sting hurt so badly that it prompted a spontaneous dance of pain and a short sprint up the sidewalk. I still bare the scars of the assault, but my husband just keeps saying, “I was stung by a yellow jacket once and it really wasn’t that bad.”

Because I was tired of hearing that I decided to look up the yellow jacket and the paper wasp on the Schmidt Sting Pain Index. Yes, there is a man who went around the world getting stung by insects so he could rate the pain of the sting on a scale from one to four. You can hear all about him on this episode of Radiolab. I’m grateful for his suffering because without him I would be unable to prove to my husband that I have suffered more than him.

According to the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, a yellow jacket sting is a lowly two on the pain scale. A two is just one step away from a one which, when you think about it, might as well be a zero. A paper wasp, on the other hand, is a three which is one step from being a four which might as well be like being stung a million bullet ants.

When I told my husband that he protested. “But it was a European yellow jacket,” he said.

“Yep, still a two,” I said.

Looks like I won that one. The taste of victory is sweet even when I have a red, blister-covered sting on my side.

Photo by touterse

Hurricane Season with a Twist

The thing about not having a television is that I don’t know when to panic. We have now entered hurricane season here in Florida and normally I’d be glued to The Weather Channel tracking the various approaching storms. This time of year is all about trying to figure out the latest spaghetti model from the National Hurricane Center and hoping that the piece of spaghetti that goes nowhere near my home is the most accurate one.

A few days ago we got an enormous amount of rain in this area and a ton of thunderstorms. I spent most of the day wondering if I should be worried. My husband saying that it feels like a hurricane is coming didn’t help matters. I’d look out the windows at the dark clouds hovering in the sky and listen to the rain pounding down on the roof and wonder if I should be scared.

Without any television news people warning me about my impending doom, I don’t know whether to stock up on bottled water and hunker down, or go out and skip through mud puddles whilst singing Anchors Away. Instead, I’m left in limbo spending my time looking at the multicolored maps on weather websites and wondering which color should scare me. Blue could mean, “Oh no a ton of water will sweep you away.” Red could mean, “Danger, Will Robinson, danger!” Are all those lines and circles supposed to mean something to someone who hasn’t gone to meteorology school?

I’m not planning on getting a television any time ever. I’m just hoping that if a category five million hurricane were headed straight for my home someone would call and tell me.

Water Spouts, Funnel Clouds, and Cameras

I’ve determined that my husband doesn’t seem to have the same survival instincts that I have. This month we’ve seen four funnel clouds and while my natural tendency is to run away from them, he always seems to want to get closer.

We saw the first one whilst driving. People were pulling over in their cars, but my husband started driving faster. “Maybe we can get to it before it dissipates,” he said.

“Other people are pulling over. Maybe we should do that,” I said.

“It’s a water spout. It will disappear before it hits land. We’re safe.”

Safe? I’ve seen Twister, and I knew we were not safe.

The other three funnel clouds occurred in the same storm yesterday. It’s funny how so many people in the park with us kept trying to get closer to them.

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That little band of white is the first funnel cloud forming over the water.

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That’s the same cloud stretching down to the water. At this point I was saying, “Maybe we should get in the car and head home.” My husband was walking closer the to water’s edge talking about how amazing it was.

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This is the second one forming.

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Here is the third one forming. At this point I overheard a conversation that went something like this.

Person One: You don’t have to worry. The tornadoes here in Florida will pick up a tree or tear the roof off a house, but they are rarely strong even to pick up a whole house.

Person Two: That’s good to know because that one is looking pretty close.

How does that make you feel any better when you’re standing in a field looking at this coming across the water at you?

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That’s the point were the first funnel cloud is hitting the water and coming right toward the crowd on-lookers. This is also the point where I said, “That’s coming straight for us. I heading to the car.”

I wasn’t the only one heading to the parking lot, because just then a massive bolt of lightning struck the ground accompanied by thunder so loud the earth rumbled beneath our feet. That got everybody moving. I sprinting to the car, and I wasn’t the only one.


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The Zombie Apocalypse

With the much anticipated movie World War Z in the theaters and the recent sightings of two zombies in Miami nightclub, I’ve been wondering how I’d do when the zombie apocalypse finally does come around.

I’m not a particularly fast runner, but when it comes to zombies that usually doesn’t matter. I can’t shoot a gun and every time I’ve swung a bat I’ve missed my target. So far the odds aren’t looking very good for me, but I’m thinking that if I hurl my family and friends toward the zombie horde as I try to escape my odds of survival go way up. A distraction always makes escape easier.

You’re probably thinking, “How selfish! This woman has no heart!” I got an EKG of my heart before we moved back to Florida, so I can assure you that it’s in there beating away. It might be made of potato chips instead of smooth muscle tissue, but that’s unimportant. The important thing is that it’s in there.

I have a strong sense of self-preservation, and I may have a slightly skewed moral compass. Besides I’ve seen plenty of movies where someone sacrifices his or her life for the survival of everyone else. In the movies that person usually volunteers, but is volunteering really that necessary? I don’t think so. I guess the lesson from this post is don’t stand next to me during the zombie apocalypse because when the zombies are deciding whose brains to devour, let’s just say they won’t be choosing mine.

Note: You may be wondering why I’m suddenly writing about the zombie apocalypse. Truth is it’s not so sudden. I’ve been secretly working away at a series of funny books about just that. I’ve published them under a pen name. You can check them out here.

If you’re not really that into silly books with lots of gore you might want to read my serious book, Flying Lessons, if you haven’t already.

Another Note: I started a Facebook page for Nebulous Mooch. You should like it. Yes, you can get stay up to date with the Mooch on Facebook too. Life really is that good. Check it out here.

Just one more thing: I’m starting a newsletter. It will most probably be delivered to your inbox once weekly and include something funny. I’ve put together some of the best posts from The Mooch in one convenient PDF file that you can have in exchange for signing up. That’s right, you can have all the funny in one place. Here’s the sign up form.

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The Rasberry Crazy Ants Are Coming

Nylanderia_pubens_workerJust when I thought I had absolutely everything I could possibly worry about covered, I find out about Rasberry Crazy Ants. Have you heard of these things?

Apparently they’re making their way through the state of Florida leaving ruin and destruction in their path. Their name makes it sound like they are the life of the ant party. They’re the crazy guy in the corner with the lampshade on his head who had one too many shots of tequila. They’re not that kind of crazy.

They are the wipe-out-other-ant-species-and-reek-havoc-on-the-ecosystem kind of crazy. They are normal-ant-pesticides-have-no-effect-on-them kind of crazy. They’re like the antibiotic resistant gonorrhea of the insect world, except they infest your home instead of your genitals. Wait there’s more … apparently they are attracted to electricity and short out all kinds of electronics. They even short circuit entire buildings.

I’m so concerned because I tend to have an ongoing problem no matter where I live. My husband has heard me utter this question many times during our marriage. “Why do the ants always want to make my house their house?” This is usually said in a fit of frustration as I angrily squash the line of ants marching across the floor. I’m a neat person. It’s not like I leave cookie crumbs lying about, but still ants seem to take up residence wherever live.

It probably won’t take long before I have a raging case of Rasberry Crazy Ants in this place. I don’t know what I’ll do when that happens. I’ll probably just have to give up and lay on the floor waiting for the ants to short circuit me.

Believe in the Power of the Green Thumb

A few months ago I decided that whatever I believe must be true. When you think about it that makes perfect sense … or not.

You see, I used to always tell people that I had a brown thumb. Okay, I literally do have a brown thumb and brown fingers too, but in this case I was just referring to my ability to care for plants. At one time plants that I cared for always died, but not anymore.

I changed that a few months ago when I decided to think of myself as having a green thumb, not literally of course. I’m not the Incredible Hulk, but wouldn’t it be cool if I were? Since I’ve changed my mind, I’ve been successfully caring for plants. I’ve had one out of nine plants in my care die. That’s pretty good odds, especially considering that the dead plant wasn’t my fault.

The dying lychee tree in my front yard is making me doubt the power of my mind though. Maybe my thumb isn’t so green after all. Maybe it’s more of a yellowish color. Maybe unicorns don’t exist, and there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I guess I should just stop believing in trolls too. I don’t mind giving up the trolls because the thought of one living under my bed keeps me up at night.

Break Out the Tissues, I Bought a Dog

After a year of looking at dogs online and trying to figure out what kind of dog would be right for me, I finally got one. For most people getting a dog would be a happy, fun experience of discovery and bonding with their new pet. Well, I’m not most people. I started regretting my decision in the car on the way home for the animal shelter and it only got worse from there.

Yes, I tried to play fetch and tug with him in the backyard and did all the things you’re supposed to do with a dog, but I also cried for three days straight and talked seriously about giving him back. You might wonder why. Having a dog was like stabbing myself in the eye with a knitting needle. It felt like I went to the SPCA one lovely Saturday and paid them for the privilege of stabbing myself in the eye everyday for the next 15 years. I thought having a dog would kill me.

It wasn’t just the random barking in the middle of the night and having to get up at 7:30 in the morning (the butt crack of dawn) that was getting to me. It was the general upset to my schedule. My husband says I’m autistic because I get so upset when my schedule isn’t followed.

On top of all that, the dog just kept looking at me. I’d play with him and walk him and then he’d just lay there and look at me with those sad dog eyes. What does he want from me? I don’t know because he can’t speak English. He only speaks dog. See how upsetting this is. If you had a stranger staring at you silently while you tried to work you’d turn into an emotional wreck too. Don’t believe me? Tell me where you work and I’ll come stare at you for a while and see how you feel.

Don’t worry, I kept the dog. As time passes, he’s becoming less and less like a knitting needle in the eye. I guess that means I’m growing to like him even though he still hasn’t had the common courtesy to sign up for an English class so we can communicate more easily. I guess that means I’ll have to learn how to speak dog.

Introducing Reginald P. Chompyface ….

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It’s a Special Day

Everyone has a birthday, even if at times they’d like to pretend they didn’t. Whether getting older is good or bad all depends on how you look at it. As of yet I’m undecided, but my husband seems to think it’s a blast. It’s his birthday today. That’s right, on this day 48 years ago the world became a better place.

Happy birthday to the best husband in the world.

39/365 Falling

Mow the Lawn

We finally got around to cutting the grass. Yeah, that was last week really, but I’m only getting around to announcing this exciting news today.

We went to my favorite store, Home Depot, and stood in front of the lawn mowers for forever discussing which kind of mower to get. We were considering getting the cheapest gas one when my husband spied the manual push mowers. “Maybe we should get that,” he suggested.

I didn’t tell him this, but I was thinking the same thing. I actually researched these mowers online to find out if they really work. I research a lot of things online. Like yesterday I found out all about the angler fish, because this knowledge will really help me move ahead in life.

Frankly, we need all the exercise we can get. When you sit around writing on the interwebs all day, you need to get up off your squishy behind and push a lawn mower designed in the 1800s. So we got an old school push mower against the advice of the Home Depot employee who was hovering over us the entire time.

The best thing about having a manual lawn mower is watching those little blades spin. There’s something so satisfying about it. The worse thing is that it stops abruptly nearly impaling you through the chest with the handle every time even the smallest little stick gets stuck in it.

I’m sure my husband is loving the new purchase because anytime I notice that he is cutting the grass I get all jealous and have to do it too. He’s hardly doing any mowing at all. Yard work is fun, even in Florida heat.

Note: Here a joke courtesy of my father …
How do you say cut the grass in French?
Mow the lawn.

Note 2: That picture up there is an affiliate link in case you want to buy a manual mower of your own.

On the Radio

Did you know that I used to have a radio show? It was wonderful, of course. Isn’t everything I do just wonderful? Don’t answer that.

I was a college student with a plan. The plan was mainly to “borrow” CD’s from the radio station, copy them onto cassette tapes, and then return them. I’ll probably get arrested for admitting that, but I’m hoping the statute of limitations has run out. I mean I was in college like one thousand years ago. The only remaining evidence of my crime is this confession, and I’m sure there are plenty of people who did a lot worse in college. Are those enough justifications for you?

The show radio was called Juice Up with Lovelyn and Kate. I was Lovelyn and Kate was not Lovelyn. Every good radio show has to have a theme of some sort. Our theme was that we talked as little as possible on air. Do you want to know the name of the song we just played? Well, too bad because we’re going to play ten songs and maybe only mention one of them by name.

We also probably confused the audience because we played a variety of music. We weren’t an indie rock show, jazz show, or classic hip hop show. We were an everything we like show. Everyone from John Coltrane to Biz Markie to Liz Phair to Al Green were featured. No wonder Juice Up didn’t last long.

I mention all of this because the other day my husband told me that someone causally offered him a job as a radio DJ at one of his gigs. When I heard this I was incredibly jealous. “How come they didn’t offer me that job?” I asked, “I have experience. No one ever offers me radio jobs.”

“Maybe because you weren’t there,” my husband replied.

So all of this has got me thinking. Now that I have some space to record and a fancy USB microphone (here fancy means something cheap from Best Buy) maybe I’ll start a podcast.

You’re probably thinking that my podcast will eventually disappear into the ether just like the weekly Nebulous Mooch videos, but there was a reason for that. My laptop is too slow to edit videos … and my camera broke … and I didn’t really have any place to record them … and I started thinking that if I’m going to be putting my face online a lot I better start wearing makeup which I haven’t gotten around to purchasing because what do I really know about makeup (there should be some kind of punctuation there, but I’m not worrying about that. This is jazz, baby.) … and the dog that I don’t have yet ate my hard drive … and I’m full of excuses. Videos will be returning shortly though and they’ll maybe even be a podcast.