One Less Rodent

Perhaps because the Sicilian dislikes/fears snakes, spiders, rats, and other vermin as much as I do he has developed selective hearing and vision. While I can see evidence of these little pests inside and outside our house, he seems oblivious to them. (Correction, he did say he saw a rat at the bird feeder. I think this was said so I would remove the feeder since he is not fond of birds. )

I never saw any rats at the feeder, but did discover a fat black rat dead in our swimming pool one morning. Perhaps Spot chased it there and it died of exhaustion trying to get out, or maybe it was on a suicide mission. Either way  I was not happy about a rat that close to our home.

rat gnawingSeveral days later when I went into the garage to fetch my plastic container of bird seed, I  saw that the hinge had been gnawed off by some rodent.  I declared war.

My solution was traps, baits, or even grenades. The Sicilian opted to go pacifist and put a heavy wrench on the top of the bird seed container. So much for passivism. The varmint knocked the wrench off the container and gnawed off the other side of the lid.  I brought the container into the house and put my finger on the Nuclear War button.

The Sicilian moved to terror threat red at my urging. We set a T-rex trap, baited with peanut butter in the garage for a week. Nada, zip, zilch. Nothing took the bait.He moved his terror threat back to green. Mine remained on orange.

T-rex

The next week as the Sicilian slept, I heard faint tap dancing in the attic above our bed. The dancing never started until Spot the Wonder Dog had given up barking for the night. By then, the Sicilian had been in dreamland for more than an hour. Several nights I woke him to listen, but the attic varmint always became quiet. Finally, one night when the varmint was performing an Irish Step Dance the Sicilian heard the noise.

“I’ll set a trap there tomorrow,” he said.

“Tomorrow? Are you nuts. I don’t want to sleep with vermin in the house another night?”

“I’m tired. I’ll do it tomorrow.”  He returned to his soft snoring while I lay awake listening, fearing that at any minute a Godzilla-like rodent would fall through the ceiling and kill me.

The next night he set the trap. Bedtime bought a short attic tap dance followed by two loud noises. “I got it. Now go to sleep,” the Sicilian said.

“No, I want to know what we caught. Go up and see what it is,” I said.

“I’m asleep. I’ll get it tomorrow,” he replied.

Go get it please,” I begged.

“No. If you want to see what it is, you go up there.”

“I’m afraid. What if it is not dead. It might leap up and bite me. We don’t even know what’s up there. It could be a monster.”

“Go to sleep.”

End of discussion. I read into the wee hours. No blood dripped through the ceiling. I’d been spared.

The next morning the Sicilian announced,”The trap was sprung, but there was nothing in it. The varmint knocked the trap off the ledge and it hit the floor. That’s what made all the noise. Don’t worry, I’ll catch the bastard tonight.” He shifted into his High Red alert. Determined not to be outwitted.

rat in trapThat night when the trap snapped, he went into the attic without my asking.  I followed closely behind him. A large rat was trying to free itself from the jaws of the T-Rex. “I’ll toss it out tomorrow,” he said .”It’s not dead yet.”

I suffered another night of terror. Rat Ghosts haunted my dreams.

A dull THUD in the garbage can the next morning ended the tragic life of Mr. or Mrs. rat.

Days later the Roach man (our bug exterminator not the seller of funny cigarettes) came to our house. A Roof Rat he announced. Good grief what next?

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Traveling in Style, If Only Once

Sardine manIf you have every flown more than 4 consecutive hours in the main cabin of an airplane, which I refer to as a cattle car, you can sympathize with the lowly sardine  mashed into a can.

In their quest to increase profits, airlines have narrowed the distance between your seat and the one in front of you to the point that only a person who has had both legs amputated can ride with any degree of comfort.

For a higher-priced ticket, you can move from the Sardine can to the Pork and BeansPork and beans in bowl area where you have an extra 6-8 inches of leg room. This high-priced real estate usually has a swanky name like Comfort or Premium Seats, which make you think you have space and can relax. You can’t. And, if the cost per inch of this room was used to determine the value of your home, we’d al be living in multi-million dollar mansions.

Pork and Beans is better than the Sardine section, but unless you reserve a seat in an exit row or bulkhead row you don’t get that much room. An aisle seats ensures a bit of leg room, but these seats come with hazards. First the flight attendants airplane seats, man tipping chairmight ram your shins with that metal cart delivering drinks and snacks.  A “snack” in airplane language means pretzels or peanuts. Second, others on your row may crawl over you numerous times to go to the bathroom or walk the aisles to prevent their legs from becoming paralyzed. And third, (the Sicilian’s personal gripe) the person in front of you may recline their seat which leaves you feeling like a mouse in a trap.

Ever since I saw how the fat cats in the Business/First Class section lounge in Barcaloungers sipping champagne, my dream has been to fly in that section. Not because I am snooty; I’m not. Or because a better class of people are in that section, (there isn’t from what I can tell) or because the food is better (which it actually is), but because I want some room. I’m a mere  5’2″, and  I’m cramped in the Sardine Can or Pork and Beans area. I pity the super-sized people.

With due diligence, and months of checking on line, the tickets the Sicilian and I needed to fly to Spain went on sale. I pounced on two First-Class tickets. Let me tell you, there are light years between the Sardine Can/ Pork and Beans area and First Class.

drinksWe boarded the plane before the Sardine and Pork and Beans passengers and were given drinks of our choice in real glasses.  We were not told, no beverages during take off or landing.  This bonus allowed the Sicilian to be totally relaxed during take off.

Our seats were wide enough for a 300 pound person to sit in comfort. Each person had their own 12 inches wide table which separated  your seat from other person on your row. A bottle of water, a fresh, full-sized pillow, and a wonderful comforter were waiting for us at our seat. We had real headsets, not those plastic things don’t work and gouge the skin in your ears raw.  USB and power plugs, a personal reading spotlight, and a wonderful Tumi box added to our comfort. (I realized I’d lived a sheltered life, one with few luxuries. I’d never heard of a Tumi Box until this flight.)

The food and beverage service was great: real china and silver, and  miniaturefirst class salt and pepper shakers which the Sicilian placed in his carry on. This was nice, but I’ve had nice in many restaurants. What was really grand was. . . the seats lay completely flat. Yes, flat, like a bed. The Sicilian, who hates to fly took a long winter’s nap.

I’ve always contended there is no such thing as jet lag, and this flight proved it. I watched as those in the Sardine Can walked off like crippled gnomes. The Pork and Beans passengers didn’t look much better. But, after our seven-hour flight, much of which was spent napping, we walked off the plane looking and feeling like humans. We were able to enjoy a full day of activities in Spain without exhaustion.

Will I ever be able to fly First Class again? I don’t know, but I do know I like being in that galaxy far, far away. (And so did the Sicilian.)

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Vanity, thy name is man

Women are often accused of being vain.  Woman worry about having to wear glasses,  braces on their teeth, not having the right shoes, purse, or dress for an event, unruly hair, and their weight which is never what they want it to be.  I can certainly identify with some of these, especially the hair and weight problems. But I find men are just as vain in their appearance as women, maybe more so.

Major vanity issues for men include:
1. Comb overs :comb over The way men carry on about going bald baffles me. I know many women who think bald is sexy. I’ve never heard of a woman leaving her man because he went bald. Why do men think a comb over camouflages hair loss?  For my male readers, if you comb your hair over, under, around and through and need a gallon of hairspray to keep it that way, stop it. We all know you are going bald. Buy a hat or shave your head. (This comment applies to the President also.)

2. Buying Hair Restoring products as seen on TV. These items of vanity are expensive and useless. Flocking your head with a dark sprays looks weird, and costly hair implants do little to enhance your appearance. Another misused option is a toupee. bad wig 2There are good ones and bad ones. Sean Connery when he wore one was good. Nicolas Cage’s is not. If one must wear a toupee, be sure it does not look like you cut a square out of the bathroom rug and glued it to your head.

3. Hair dyes:  man-poor hair dyeNothing wrong with this at all, IF you have it done professionally or do it yourself in moderation. Shoe polish black hair on a man with grey eye brows is scary. (This applies to women too.) Be subtle, or go with green or blue hair. I would do this, but the Sicilian does not like multicolored hair on me.

bad hair dye, paul mccatney
Paul Mc Cartney

 

 

And Sir Paul, with all your money, is this the best hair dye job you could find?

beard-bushy4. Beards:  I’m sure the trend of bushy, untrimmed beards was started by a lazy man. Perhaps it was the guys on Duck Dynasty (however that was a gimmick they were clean shaven before fame) or maybe it is the unshaven NFL players, but whoever thought a bushy bunch of unshaped facial hair is attractive must be the same person who thinks comb overs are cool. Neither are a way to win a woman’s heart.

duck dynasty-no beards
Duck Dynasty Stars before TV fame.

 

botox for men5. Botox: In theory I have no complaint against using botox. I never have, but that does not mean I would not consider it. But, the thought of having a toxin injected under my skin is a bit disconcerting. But if a man wants to remove a few wrinkles, go for it. Just be sure the result is not Joan Rivers twin brother.

My Sicilian has little concern about his wrinkles, which suits me fine. He has developed that craggy look Sam Elliot sports so well. Says he has no use for botox.

adults onlyThe other day I was reading an article in the paper how men are now using botox in ways I never could have imagined. Seems some men are concerned about the appearance of a body part that should remain covered, and have injections in their scrotum so it looks less wrinkled. I know that  my real manly readers have winced and crossed their legs right now.

When I asked the Sicilian, a man who takes pride in his ear tufts, if he had ever heard of such a thing, he made it abundantly clear that men who do that are crazy.  This is one time I agreed completely with him.

For those of you who wonder where I find the fodder for this pointless blog, I read the paper, watch and listen to people around me,  and listen to TV ads. Life is full of humor. Post a comment about what in this world makes you laugh.

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The Festival Half of the Year

liturigcal cycleFor those familiar with a liturgical church, you know the members celebrate different seasons, i.e. lent, advent, Easter, etc. The months between Pentecost in the spring and Advent in the fall are referred to as Ordinary Time, the – half of the year, or as so many Sundays after Trinity. In our household, we to have 5-6 months of ordinary time and then….ta da… the Festival Half of our year.

A month before the official start of our Festival Half of the year (September 1) the Sicilian is all ready gearing up, planning where to put his holiday decorations when the official Festival Half of our year begins on October 1. The season includes Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Carnival/Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day, and Easter. The Fourth of July is the only holiday celebrated outside of the Festival Half of our year.

Halloween mantelThe Sicilian is my holiday decorator, and he loves it. The more holiday stuff in the house and outside, the happier he is. I on the other had have become a minimalist in my old age and prefer less, but since he takes it all out and puts it all away, I don’t complain too much.

The decorating rules are this: No decoration may be put up more than a month in advance of the holiday, and barring a hurricane, flood, or wildfire, said decorations should all be removed two weeks after the holiday has passed. If not, you could be subject to having a mark put on your permanent record. See this post.

halloween binsSo today, the Halloween decorations are being put out, and if 4 large bins of the stuff was not enough, we had to go to the Halloween Super Store today… “just in case.”

We walked away with a huge ghost, and a skeleton ghost. Skeletons are the Sicilian’s favorites, but when I took him to the catacombs of Palermo that had more than 1000 skeletons hung on the wall organized by sex and occupation, he was not thrilled. All he kept saying was, “They ought to bury these poor bastards.”

And lest you think skeletons are only displayed in oHalloween day of deadur house for Halloween, guess again. This guy is always by our front door. You figure out what it means.

Now that we are in the Festival Half of our year, dusting will become more of a chore than usual. I’ll up my nerve pills so the decorations do not drive me crazy, and as always, I rejoice that I don’t have to do any of this.

Come by tonight, there will be an official lighting ceremony.

The Minimalist’s decoration.

Halloween bear

The Sicilian’s decorations. (Just a few.)

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Rosemary Becomes a Real Woman

Especially for my Sicilian.

Sixty-six years ago, Rosemary,(pronounced Rose-ah-Mary) a good catholic, Sicilian girl was still childless. Despite being married for some time, she was not “a real woman.” To prove she was a real woman, per her Sicilian family, she needed a child. Fruit of her womb. A child, male or female.

NOLA city busIn the winter of 1952, per family lore, she was hit by a New Orleans City bus and drug down the street.  (Their words,not mine.) A few months later, Rosemary was in the family way. “Shook something loose,” said her family.

What she shook loose was born in September of that year, my Sicilian. And several years later, without the bus incident, she produced another son.

Today is the Sicilian’s natal day. Hard to buy him a gift when he has everything . . . me, Spot the Wonder Dog, and his own room for watching TV. But, I succeeded in giving him a surprise, a small fridge for his room which I filled with adult beverages. This morning Spot presented him with a snack basket full of the Sicilian’s favorite treats,(jerky, Junior Mints, Whoppers, M&Ms, red ballpopcorn and Lay’s Dressed Chips). Nestled among the food items was a new red, rubber ball.

Spot subscribes to the motto . . .  “Give unto others what you would like to receive.” I’m sure in her little brain she thinks, “He’s always throwing things for me to catch, so I should give him a new ball.”

The ball was a great hit. Spot immediately engage the Sicilian in her favorite sport, fetch. In the house no less which gives Spot a chance to slide scratches across our hardwood floors and shed another zillion hairs. I swear that dog should be bald with the amount of hair she loses daily.

FrogDespite writing comical incidents about what the Sicilian and I do, he is more than fodder for my blog. He is the best man in the world for me. I know this because I kissed a number of warty frogs before I found my handsome prince. He tolerates my perfectionism with only minor grumbling, and tells me all publishers and agents are idiots when I receive another rejection. So, today, dear Sicilian, I want the world to know I love you. Happy Birthday! And I wish you many many more.

happy birthday

Life Without AC

hot sunSummer in the deep south is hot, very hot, and humid. You’ve heard it said, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.”  Phooey.  It is the HEAT and the HUMIDITY. From Mid-May to Mid-October in south Louisiana every day is  hot and humid with a chance of a pop-up shower in the afternoon.

Murphy’s law struck our AC last week. If you are not familiar with Murphy, you can read about it here.  Murphy’s  main law is: “If anything can go wrong it will.” And I add, “Generally things go wrong at the worst possible time.”

Case in point. My best friend, Cindy was our  house guest last week. Thursday night the hot 82 degreesSicilian went to bed at 9:30. My friend and I retired at 10 p.m. As I passed the thermostat I noticed the reading: 82 degrees. Not good.

The Sicilian falls asleep 37 seconds after his head hits the pillow, which irks me, but that is another blog. I wake him. He’s confused, disoriented, and then disgusted.

“What do you mean the AC is not working?” He mumbles.

“It’s 82. Should be 77,” I reply. “The house will be a sauna by morning. We have to put our window AC unit in here.” (Like most folks in the hurricane zone, we have a generator and room AC unit to use if power goes out during a storm.)

“What about, Cindy? We can’t let her cook in the guest room,” he said.

“I’ll bring the futon in our room. We can all sleep in here.” Then it dawns on me, we have another AC unit in the Sicilian’s manly Escape Room above the garage. I rouse Cindy and tell her she will be sleeping in another room tonight.

So begins the wrestling of two cumbersome AC units. The window unit will not fit in our room because of plantation shutters, so we lug it to Cindy’s new guest room. Meanwhile the Sicilian has gone outside with the flash light to check the central AC unit which is humming like a large bee. I shut it off before it ignites.

He shoves the window unit toward Cindy and me. Our window sills are not flat, the unit lehot window acans precariously outside. The vents to drip humidity are mostly outside the room. We shut the window.  Before the unit  can be turned on, gravity takes over and the unit  is hanging by it’s cord outside the window.

“Quick,” I say to Cindy. We have to get it back in the window before the Sicilian sees this.”

Cindy and I pull  the AC  back through the window, lean it inward and turn it on. It works, but humidity is dripping on the window sill. Dishtowels fix that.

There is a gaping hole around the AC unit letting hot air into the room because the side expansion units won’t fit.  “I’ll get a cookie sheet.” Too small, it fell right through the window. At last a plastic cutting board and lots of duct tape plug the window. Cindy is busy putting sheets on the futon bed, while I turn on the over head fan and install a floor fan. At 11 p.m. she is relaxing in her cool bedroom.

As for the Sicilian and me, we must now bring the floor AC unit  downstairs. This is hot AC floor unit 2similar to lugging  a Volkswagen with a 10 foot cumbersome exhaust system down a flight of stairs. Thankfully it installs easier than the window unit.

Ever the gentleman, the Sicilian says he will sleep on my side of the bed where the AC will be blasting, because ” I know you don’t like fans blowing on you.”

“You don’t have a lamp on your side. How can I read?” I ask.

“It’s late. Go to sleep,” he says. And he does.

hot reading by flashlightIf only, I think. I read by flashlight, not an easy trick, but at least the room was cool.

NOTE: As for the AC repair, we were given an appoint 4 days hence. But, thankfully my post on FaceBook rewarded me with a commercial AC man who lives in the neighborhood. We were up and running a day later. Woo hoo. Or should I say COOL man, cool?

Lawn Marshall

neighborhoodThe Sicilian, aka my husband for those who are new to this blog, has appointed himself the Lawn Marshall for our subdivision. For someone who detests authority, abhorred his time in the military, and was forced  into management for the last three years of his career,  I find it odd he has given himself this position of power. Actually it is a position of no power, as the neighbors are unaware that he is maintaining a mental score card of their behavior.

If you want  the Sicilian to make notations on your Permanent Record,  do one of the following:

  • Leave a  garbage can on the street for more than a day before the designated pick up day or more than a day after the garbage is removed.
  • Put up holiday decorations more than a month before any given holiday.
  • Fail to remove holiday decorations  by two weeks after the holiday has passed.

FOR THE RECORD, one house at the front of the subdivision is on permanent report. Their Mardi Gras decorations are still up, and Mardi Gras was February 27.

spiderAnother  home owner left Halloween pumpkins in their front garden for  a year. (I  noticed them and told the Sicilian. Yes I like to needle him about his idiosyncrasies.) Now they too have a black mark on their  permanent record.

While long-term holiday decorations upset the Sicilian, they don’t bother me. One house sported a huge spider for Halloween that covered the front of the two-story house.. It  remained there for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Not your usual fall or Christmas decoration, but perhaps they were celebrating the year of the arachnid.

  • Dogs running at large irk the Sicilian, especially if they bother Spot the Wonder Dogdog running wild who is  leashed or confined to her yard. I agree, these people should have a tick mark on their permanent record.
  • If the grass is knee-high, mowing is needed, ASAP.

Every neighborhood, despite the cost of the homes, has one person who is a pain in the arse. trashy yard Ours is the Squire. He sets a high standard for blight in our neighborhood.  His dogs roam at will, cars, trailers, trucks, and miscellaneous items are strewn on his lawn and driveway.  There is not a Permanent Record large enough to record his misdeeds

horses arse 1 If you do not see a pain in the arse in your neighborhood, check your yard and look in the mirror. It could be YOU. If code enforcement, the sheriff, or animal control visit you on a regular basis, watch out. Someone has recorded this on your permanent record.

Is this YOU?s arse 2