Monthly Archives: July 2013

Don’t Bug Me!

Mastotermes darwiniensis or Darwin Termite, is...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Are you a homeowner, reside in an apartment or rent a single-family dwelling of some sort? If so, then you know all too well of the niceties that come with living in today’s usual fashion.

Oh there are always maintenance issues such as washing windows, cutting the grass, weeding the flower bed and or vegetable garden, along with general landscaping duties. Then we come to larger concerns, painting the house, repairing rotten wood and replacing worn-out shingles.

However, I do believe the worst household chore, nay necessity would have to be pest and vermin control. Now here is another important question. Do you call an exterminator? Or are you the more adventuresome type, i.e. cheap. If you’re like me, I’ll call an exterminator for one thing and one thing only.… Termites. (Since we will not discuss professional pest extermination, termites will not be mentioned again except to say, “no termites were harmed in this post.”)

I find that ants are one of the most difficult species to eradicate. I’ve sprayed, used a clear gel that they eat and take back to the colony, I supposed to feed their young because they keep coming. The most effective methods I have used to date, are the thumb smash, or sun through the looking glass.

Next, one of the easiest pests to eradicate are the numerous paper wasps that feel the need to build their ingenious little homes underneath the overhangs and porch ceiling of my home. All it requires is a can of hornet and wasp spray. A short blast to the unsuspecting insect and except for the death dance once they hit the ground, they’re pretty much done for on the way down. I call it the spritz and twitch.

I don’t mind snakes, but don’t particularly want them in the house. They are easily enough, picked up and tossed outside. I don’t have a problem with spiders and insects as long as they frolic in the great outdoors, however once they enter my abode they are fair game, by spray, boot, rolled up newspaper,  flyswatter or small arms fire.

I’ve never had to share a living space with cockroaches so I know nothing of how to eliminate these critters other than, place roach under shoe and press down firmly. From what I understand roaches are rather stupid anyway. They can live for a week or more with their head cut off, and that’s only because of starvation or lack of fluid intake. I guess that means, with or without a head they’re pretty much brain dead. Hey, that just happens to describe most politicians. Sorry if I’m sounding inordinately repetitive, but if the hat fits the empty head, and besides they make it so easy.

 When it comes to rodents I don’t care for poison as I want to see that the nasty little fuzz ball has bitten the dust. I opt more for the tried-and-true spring-loaded trap. There’s just something about those beady eye balls, popped out of their sockets when that metal bar lands across its neck that tells me, that particular disease factory won’t have another chance to gnaw or crap on my food.

As I think about it, this post is telling me to write a fantasy or maybe a horror novel. That’s it! A horror novel. A horror novel about zombies. I can see it now. My protagonist, a well armed mountain of a man. He carries two sawed-off shotguns, 50 Cal. Rifle, a flamethrower and multiple hand grenades, knives, 45’s, 357’s, and a sewing kit to mend rips and tears in his clothes.

Wow! It’s uncanny how similar that novel is to my life as a bug killer. It’s… It’s almost like an autobiography. Gonna be a bestseller for sure!

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IQ, IQ, My Kingdom for an IQ

Washington DC

Washington DC (Photo credit: Kathleen Tyler Conklin)

What kind of person are you? Are you an adrenaline junkie, or more of the do-nothing, timid type?  Would you rather jump out of an airplane or ride the merry-go-round at your county carnival?

Me personally–I’m perfectly happy watching people bungee jump while licking on a cone of ice cream.  An exciting day to me is standing on the beach, in the middle of winter, reeling in blue fish, red drum and the like or sitting down in a nice soft chair to write a rousing blog.

For the most part I’m a live and let live kind of guy but for the life of me I can’t understand why a man would pick up a snake by the tail (and not just any snake but one that can inject enough venom in a single bite to kill thirty elephants) and sling it around in front of the camera, all the while talking about the deadly creature as he attempts to avoid being bitten himself.

Another thing that confounds me is mountain climbing, i.e. Mount Everest.  Every short windowed climbing season, international parties sojourn to the base of the tallest mountain in the world hoping to reach the summit.  Each year the mountain claims human lives.  Once you’re up there, if you happen to run into trouble there’s no way you can receive assistance.  If you can’t descend the mountain under your own power you are doomed.  I can only imagine the heartbreak as man after man walk past a fellow climber lying in the snow dying and being unable to help.  Nuff said.

Some folks would call this behavior nuts.  I believe you should be able to do the things that you enjoy without fear of persecution.  All I ask is that you be careful.

Of course, when I bring up the word, “nut,” it always instills an influx of emotion due to the proximity of a place so geographically close as to strike fear in the heart of any sane man.  I reside in Virginia only two short hours from the place that I speak…none other than our nation’s capital, Washington, DC.

How true doth the saying ring, “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”

Now the average mentally challenged person’s IQ would be 75 or below.  It is my belief that the average politician’s IQ is also in the double digits but more like .06.  In fact I heard the other day that the only difference between a politician and a bucket of dirt is the bucket.

Suffice it to say I avoid our nation’s capital like the plaque.  Although on a clear night I can often feel the far reaching stupid hanging in the air.


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Squirrel, the Other White Meat.

English: Squirrel eating from bird feeder. Thi...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you have a garden? How about bird feeders? Do you like to watch the various types of avian swoop down to enjoy the bounty of nuts and seeds you have placed on high for their nourishment, only to have their smorgasbord pilfered by the scourge of the forest, the thief on high, the pine top marauder, the villainous vermin, the tree rat of record… I’m speaking of none other than the common gray squirrel?

The truth be known I enjoy looking at colorful birds as much as the next guy, but I figure they can get their own food. When it comes to squirrels, all you’re doing is ringing the dinner bell when you fill those bird feeders… although I do take exception when the furry little critters commence to gnawing on things other than nuts and seeds.

First, let me explain that I haven’t hunted for many years. I don’t mind the sport. In fact, I feel it is necessary for a healthy ecosystem. I enjoy the exotic cuts of meat I receive from friends that do hunt; it’s just not in my nature to sit out in the freezing cold at the crack of dawn waiting to blast Bambi to kingdom come.

However, it is in my nature to stand out on the beach, in the middle of January, at the crack of dawn, with the wind blowing twenty knots, trying to catch a striped bass.

I don’t know why, but this is the best segue I could come up with to get back to the squirrel thing. So hold on tight cause here goes:

I used to enjoy watching them frolic in the trees, gathering food for the winter. Then one day my pickup truck had an unusually strong smell of gasoline. When all was said and done, the cute little fur balls had done over three hundred dollars’ worth of damage. I was a bit perturbed, but also perplexed as to why they would chew on a fuel line. Eventually, I just let it slide.

Sometime later my pickup truck began to smell of gasoline once again; the odor of which was unusually strong. You guessed it, three hundred plus green backs. This time I swore vengeance, but I eventually cooled off and let it slide. Wow! What a nice guy.

Soon after this we attempted to hook up our trailer to our car. Low and behold our psychotic tree rats had given up petroleum fumes for hydrocarbons. In other words, they chewed up the plastic electrical connection housing on my trailer. I don’t know what I did this time, but I eventually let it slide.

Just got the van back… six hundred dollars’ worth of damage to the wiring system.

You’ve heard the old adage, “fool me once shame on you; fool me twice shame on me.” I guess, fool me any more than that and I’m just stupid. At any rate, I’m now armed and the carnage has begun. I’ll keep you apprised of the body count.

On a lighter note my wife found that something was gnawing on our hot peppers. Upon closer inspection we discovered not one, but two lime green caterpillars approximately five inches long and the diameter of an adult thumb.

I hope my petroleum junkie squirrels and my pepper grubbing anaconda caterpillars don’t get together. I’ll end up with fuzzy green cold blooded tree climbing mammals that drink my gas, eat the neighbors and demand to sleep in between me and my wife during the winter.

Post script:   Ya gotta be careful when it comes to this stuff, cause if you take time to think about it (and I hope you do) you never know what might happen. If you don’t want to take my word for it, then just ask the 400 pound crawfish that lives under my house.

Hmm, sounds like my next science fiction novel…Time to get busy.

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Beeps, Clicks and Things that Go Bump During the Day

LED digital clock radio with analog AM/FM radi...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I can remember as a young man growing up the warm lazy days of summer. Out of school for three months; all was right with the world. As I lay across my bed in the early afternoon, a warm breeze blowing through the windows, the occasional car could be heard traveling down the road in front of the house. In between snoozes I might even hear the drone of a prop plane in the distance. The birds were always in excellent voice and cicadas filled the trees with their song of love.

After the sun retreated behind the horizon the soothing nocturnal sights and sounds spread their comforting net for all to enjoy.  Crickets (the violins of the natural world) rubbed their appendages to and fro in an attempt to attract a suitor.  Lightening bugs whiled away the hours in a silent display of affection.  All these and many more acted as sleeping pills, soothing me to slumber safely surrounded in natures lullaby.  Then early mornings would bring the lonesome wail of a far-off freight train providing a soothing alarm clock to start the day.

Do you remember those days?  I can’t be the only one.

In a few short years I seemed to have moved from a slow peaceful existence, to being shot-gunned into a montage of beeps, bleeps, buzzes and grunts.  Let’s delve into this a tad deeper, shall we?

We awake in the morning, our alarm clock spewing out loud music or some other annoying buzz or beep to toss us out of bed.  The sound of the radio blaring in order to be heard over our hot shower, gives way to our electric toothbrush grinding against our molars and razor chewing off the facial stubble.  Once dressed we retire to the kitchen where we are greeted by the beeping of the coffee pot, the kids tossing Cheerios, The Morning Show on the kitchen TV and the cell phone call reminding us of that early morning meeting.

Once out of the house we jump into our automobile and clamber for the spot in that parking lot we refer to as a highway.  As The Morning Show plays on our auto stereo, horns blare, roads rage and a lap soaked with hot coffee, we manage to complete our six mile commute in under an hour.

We reach the office; a bell at the door announcing our arrival.  The entire building seems to be alive with keyboards tapping, fax machines faxing and copying machines doing whatever they do.  You sit down at your desk and push a button to start your computer.  A quaint little tune announces that it is functional and your work day has now begun.  If you’re lucky you may be blessed with a fire drill, tornado, hurricane, volcano, killer comet, or some such other noisy drill to participate in.

I believe I’ve made my point so there’s no reason to play this scenario in reverse.  Noise pollution has become a part of our daily lives and I’ll have to admit there are a lot of advantages to this technological society we have constructed for ourselves.

It tickles me to think that if I applied these two situations to the way I write my first novel would be a lesson in hometown values, moral fortitude, reeling in the big one down at the ole fishing hole; dinner at Grandma’s on Sunday after church and just an all-around Mayberrian type of existence.

On the other hand, my second novel would be an object lesson surrounding an ant colony with hundreds of thousands of the little segmented critters all scraping their fingernails down a blackboard at the same time.

They say: The more things change the more they stay the same……….that may be, but things sure seem different to me.

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