I No Longer Go To the Library

library-shelfI went to the library a few weeks ago. Shocking I know, but sometimes I actually have to go to the library live and in person not just online. Anyway, when I got to the counter to check out my stack of books, the librarian told me that she needed some information to update my library card.

I gave her my address and phone number and then she sat for a minute scanning the other information on the computer screen while I waited patiently. Handing my library card back to me, she cheerily announced, “We were both born in 74.”

“Really?” I said smiling back at her, but I was sinking inside. Here was a woman that I would’ve assumed was older than me, a woman that I might have referred to as ma’am, telling me that we are the same age. I’m a ma’am too. When did this happen?

She must be older than me. She must’ve have been born in January, I thought. “When’s your birthday?” I asked.

When she told me it was in September I almost fainted. She was younger than me. It’s true, I thought, I am a ma’am.

Overwhelmed by the knowledge that I wasn’t 21 anymore, I drove home in a daze. As soon as I walked through the door I asked my husband, “I don’t look as old as you, do I?”

That question isn’t as bad as it seems. You see, my husband is 9 years my senior even though some people don’t believe it. I don’t know if those people are complimenting him or insulting me.

“I should hope not since you are younger,” he said.

“You didn’t answer my question. Do I look like I’m as old as you?” I pressed knowing what he would say if he wanted me to cook dinner that evening.

“Of course not. You look the same as you always have.”

Satisfied, I smiled and refrained from examining the wrinkles around my eyes in the bathroom mirror. That wouldn’t solve anything anyway. Memorizing the lines on my face will not make me look any younger. The only possible way to keep my head buried in the sands of eternal youth is to avoid going to the library. I’m not sure how I’m going to return this stack of library books though.

Photo by twechy

What Do You Want to be When You Grow Up?

When I was a kid I wanted to be an oceanographer, or a marine biologist, or the Bionic Woman. As an adult, I realized that becoming the Bionic Woman would be way too painful. A skydiving accident and a series of painful and costly surgeries wouldn’t really be worth bionic hearing or being able to run at 60 miles per hour.

The whole idea of being an oceanographer went out the window when someone told me that the job would require math. I struggle to figure out what my change should be when I buy something from the store. I failed Algebra II. I took a course in college called Math for Poets and nearly failed that. Math for Poets involved a lot of long division and adding, subtracting, and multiplying fractions. On my part, it also involved a lot of sweating during tests and a lot of meetings with the professor. What a nightmare of a class! Luckily, I passed and was officially declared a poet.

With all of my other childhood careers out of the running, the only thing left was marine biologist. Here is the thing about the ocean and marine life. On the surface it may seem all peaceful and nice, but the deeper you go the more freaky and frightening everything gets. Maybe you could say the same thing about life in general. Anyway, deep water sea life are the things that horror movies are made up of. Everyone who knows me knows that I’m a coward, so marine biologist had to be scratched off the list too.

Once I had to abandon all of these career choices I needed something else to fall back on, something stable that could make me piles of money. I settled on the only logical choice … writing.

The Greatest American Cockroach

The good thing about Florida is that the heat makes it an ideal environment for all sorts of insects. That’s not really a good thing to me, but I’m pretty sure the bugs like it. At least they seem to when they’re flying into my house and stinging me. I’ve been surprised by the fact that there seems to be less mosquitoes when I’m outside these days, but somehow at night one always seems to have made it into my house to terrorize me while I’m trying to relax.

You probably know this, but Florida is famous for it’s palmetto bugs. Up until yesterday, I had apparently confused the palmetto bug and the American cockroach. It’s an easy thing to do, but now that I’ve straightened this out I thought I’d share the information with you.

A palmetto bug is the disgusting segmented creature I find when I’m pulling up weeds in the garden. They’re slow and look like this:

palmetto-bug

I figure you can image what this thing looks like when not being eaten by a lizard. While they are horrible they aren’t nearly as horrible as this:

American-cockroach

This is the American cockroach. It is the enormous, disease ridden abomination that flew into my house carrying an egg sack the other night. Yes, it flew, like a fighter jet straight from Hell. If you ask him, my husband would tell you it was about two inches long, but if you ask me I’ll tell you it was about a foot long. It landed in the corner of the living room right above my head. I would’ve taken a picture of it, but I was too busy screaming like a little girl to do that.

My husband believes in being kind to insects and prefers the catch and release method of dealing with them, but this one was too fast for that. With me yelling “Just kill it,” in the background he decided to use the electric fly swatter on it. While the electric fly swatter works well on flies and mosquitoes, it is no match for giant pregnant cockroaches. It just slowed her down a bit so my husband could catch her and set her free in the backyard with all her buddies.

Our backyard seems to be a haven for these giant roaches. Herds of them buzz around in the air at night. They give me nightmares. I hope none of them decide to venture inside again.

Palmetto bug photo by kthypryn

American cockroach photo by Gary Alpert

Mr. Postman

SONY DSCCan you really trust your postal worker? I mean the one who is actually delivering your mail not the one that you buy stamps from at the post office. Today I was out in my front garden pulling weeds when the postman put some mail in my mailbox.

“How are you doing?” he said.

“Good. How are you?” I replied.

He smiled widely. “I’m great. I get to walk around in circles all day. It’s a great job.”

He seemed a bit too enthusiastic about delivering the mail to me. I wonder what he must be up to.

When I lived in Watford I read a story in the paper about a postal worker who was discovered going to the park every morning and opening people’s packages. What he liked he kept, and what he didn’t he threw away. I’m not accusing my postman of doing that, but I clearly remember handing him the envelope that contained the check to pay my internet bill. A few weeks later the internet company claims they never received my check. I wonder.

Now that I think about it, isn’t strange that I chose to pay my internet bill by putting a check in the mail? Who does that anymore?

I learned my lesson and paid my late bill online. I guess my postman was just trying to teach me that lesson as he dropped my envelope in the street while he was merrily walking in circles. I have no proof, but I’m trusting my gut on this one. From now on all my letters will go directly into the big blue box outside of the post office … expect for the water bill that I gave the postman this morning. Maybe I haven’t learned my lesson.

Cheeseburger Trees and Lychees

SONY DSCNow that we have a house, I’m looking forward to planting some food around it. No, I don’t mean I’m going to bury a cheeseburger in the backyard. A cheeseburger tree would be interesting and I’m sure it would make us the most popular house on the street, but I was thinking more along the lines of fruit and veggies.

We went to the garden festival the other day, where I nabbed a lychee tree. I just love lychees and they are quite expensive. If I can get a tree to produce some fruit that will be mighty exciting. The problem is that I have a bit of a brown thumb. I used to say that I walk into a room and the plants wither and die, but I’ve decided to change my thinking a bit. I mean, you are with you think, and if I think I have a green thumb, I’ll have a green thumb.

When I go to bed at night I imagine that my thumbs are a lovely shamrock shade of green, and that I just look at plants and they start growing, flowering, and producing fruit. My technique seems to be working with the Mona Lavender I have. It’s turning into a regular shrub. I should probably put it in a bigger pot or plant it outside.

All of my visualization and positive thinking has helped, but I think what helped the most is actually reading the instructions. If you look up how to care for a plant and simply follow the instructions, it’s actually quite easy. Who knew? All this time I thought plant people had mystical powers. Apparently, the only power they had was the ability to follow instructions. So I’ve set aside my old ways, the ways that made my kefir making go horribly wrong, and I’ve started following instructions … at least for this week.

Walking on the Beach at Sunset

beachThere’s nothing like going for a nice walk on the beach at sunset. I just wish the sand wasn’t littered with so many razor sharp shells. Sometimes I feel like someone purposely came along and sprinkled them in my path. This person is really brilliant too, because somehow they managed to arrange the shells so that they would jab me just when I was in the midst of saying something particularly insightful.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about my purpose in life and these days I really think it’s …. awww. I hate shells,” I say doing a strange hopping chicken walk.

“You were talking about your purpose in life,” my husbands reminds me.

“Ouch … awwww …. jeez … These shells are ruining me.”

When we walk on the beach my husband likes to walk in the water. I’m not a big fan of getting my feet wet, so I walk right at the water’s edge. This seems to be the area where all of the sharpest shells gather. I keep telling myself that they’re toughening me up. It’s kind of like walking on hot coals except much more painful.

Every once in a while, a stray wave will wander up on the sand a little farther than the others getting the edge of my foot wet. I always respond by wailing and running away from it.

Other than the shells, water, and getting sand stuck between your toes, walking on the beach at sunset is wonderful. Maybe I should buy some water shoes.

Note: Aiming Low published an article I wrote about my wonderful packing and unpacking skill. Check it out here.

The LED Light Fight (Not Actually A Fight At All)

lightbulbOur house hadn’t been lived in for a while before we bought it. That means that the light fixtures are all full of incandescent bulbs. When the closet light went out like a million years ago my husband suggested that we replace it with an LED light bulb. I was all like, “LED’s cost like $300 per bulb! No can do.”

My stepson wants to hang onto incandescent bulbs as long as possible because he has an unhealthy attachment to the past. He regularly tells us about how much he likes the incandescent bulbs. While my husband wants to tear through the house replacing all of the bulbs with new fancy expensive ones right away, I think it’s best to at least wait until bulbs burn out before we replace them.

We haven’t replaced the two bulbs in the house that have burned out already because of my difficulty committing LEDs. The last time we were in Home Depot, we spent at least twenty minutes looking at light bulbs. They are much more difficult to understand than it may seem.

You know how you buy an incandescent bulb and it says something like 60w on it as a measurement of brightness? Well the LED bulbs said things like 9W or 6W. That seems super dim to me. I like to read and if that’s as bright as these light bulbs get I might as well read by candle light. One bulb even had little plastic bars all around it like it was a prison for a tiny fairy. LEDs are probably so cheap to run because they don’t use electricity at all. Instead, they use fairy dust to create that pleasant glow.

Since today is Earth Day and I totally forgot to buy the Earth a gift, I’ve decided to reconsider the whole LED thing. I’ve been reading up on them so I know what I’m doing the next time I go light bulb shopping. Even though I’m used to spending a buck on a light bulb and LEDs cost $13, I’m going to buy a few and give them a try. They do use 75% less electricity and last 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs. After all, that will save me money and the precious time I’d normally spend changing light bulbs.

Note: I just made this joke up just now.
How many Bettisons does it take to change a light bulb?
None because we never get around to it.
Okay maybe that wasn’t funny, but it was funny in my head. This is why my stand-up career never went anywhere. That and my crippling stage fright.

Picture by anthonystoro.

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.

Murder in the Backyard

SONY DSCI witnessed a murder today. I’ve been keeping it to myself for the past five minutes because I was afraid for my own life. You know how it is. You go to the authorities to report a crime. The person who committed the crime finds out and next thing you know you wake up with a horse’s head in your bed and find out that someone’s boiled your bunny rabbit … or something like that.

It happened in the backyard. I went out to think because thinking is improved when you get some fresh air to your brain. That’s a very well known fact. Don’t question it. Anyway … I was trying really hard to think when a herd of birds came stampeding into the yard and landed in the tree. They promptly started yelling at each other which ruined any chance I had at getting some good thinking in. I don’t speak bird so I’m not sure what the argument was about, but I’m pretty sure they were just trying to distract me from the events that were about to unfold.

Here’s what I saw from my vantage point which was about two feet away from the scene of the crime. A Monarch butterfly floated gracefully into the yard and landed on a blade of grass. From what I could tell this butterfly was minding his own business. His only crime was flaunting a pair of very nice wings. A wasp, who as obviously jealous, promptly attacked him. I was horrified as the butterfly struggled to survive, but I did nothing. Yes, I just became one of those people. You know those people who witness a terrible crime, but don’t bother to call the police or do anything to intervene. In my defense, I wasn’t in the yard alone. There were those yelling birds and plenty of bees who went on gathering up nectar like nothing was happening.

When it was all over the dead butterfly lay in the grass and the wasp flew off to commit yet another crime. I took some pictures of the dead butterfly because isn’t the what you’re suppose to do? Later, I’ll make a chalk outline around the body for evidence before burying it next to the three baby squirrels I buried a few weeks ago.

Note: Every picture I took of that stinkin’ dead butterfly was out of focus. I think it’s because my hands were still shaking from the horror of what I had just witnessed.

Shopping At Home Depot

home-depotNow that we have a house I can’t believe the amount of trips to Home Depot we’re making. Previously, I could count the number of times I’d been to that store on my fingers. I think I exceeded that amount in just one month.

I find Home Depot to be almost as embarrassing as Joann Fabrics. The problem with Home Depot is that the employees I’ve encountered are just way too helpful. If you ask them where an item is located in the store not only do they escort you to the appropriate aisle, but they explain each choice to you and stand there while you try to make a decision. Give me some breathing room. I can’t decide on anything with you standing over me like that.

I would like to wallow in my confusion alone. I like the stress of wondering whether the item I’m about to purchase really will work for me. It makes life more of an adventure. I’m pretty sure you don’t get a commission so why is all this hovering necessary?

I wonder if this happens to other people or is it that obvious that I have no idea what I’m doing. Maybe it’s the fact that I don’t know what anything I’m looking for is actually called. I have to give a description of what the object does instead of just saying a name. It’s almost like I don’t speak English. Actually I speak English, I just don’t speak Home Depot.

Maybe the glazed look I get in my eyes when I start looking at my various choices tips them off. I swear my husband and I spent twenty minutes in the lawn mower aisle the other day trying to make a decision. We should discuss our options before we head out to the store.

Eventually, I’ll get good at this Home Depot thing. Maybe then they’ll give me an honorary degree in DIY and a bright orange smock of my very own.

Note: I used to be so ignorance about home repair that I thought DIY was actually DYI. I’m not sure what I thought it stood for.

Photo by Neubie