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Archive for the ‘grrrrrrr’ Category

Stop with the soggyfest already!! grrr…

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And the winter battle begins

Every year, as winter approaches and temperatures drop, my husband and I start our annual battle of the thermostat. We’ve been at it for many years, because I get cold and he doesn’t, and we are both stubborn people. I can remember clear back when we lived in Flagstaff, AZ, which is at 7000 feet and gets pretty chilly in the winter. He wanted to turn the thermostat off at night. I insisted on 50 degrees. I won. I said that my houseplants couldn’t survive with nighttime temperatures in the low 40s all winter, and I would have trouble getting up in the morning, so if he didn’t want to sleep with houseplants and ever wanted a damn cup of coffee in the morning again, he’d better set that thermostat at 50.

Now we live in a milder climate, but our house has no insulation and lots of big windows. All of the heat just seeps out through the floors and walls and windows. This summer we finally got new double pane windows, and they are making a positive difference, but we still can’t stop the heat loss from the other sources. Having finally realized that he couldn’t win the nighttime temperature battle, my husband has the thermostat programmed for 51 degrees at night, which is fine with me. We sleep with our bedroom window open except during the cold spells, because we both like the air. When I get up, I close the window and turn the thermostat up to 64. We keep the furnace vent into the bedroom closed in the morning so that the bedroom doesn’t heat up while my husband is still in bed.

So the battle shifts to daytime. Last week my husband started pulling the door to the bedroom mostly closed when he got up. I opened it. He closed it. I confronted him. He said he didn’t want to waste energy. I explained, not so patiently, that we HAVE to have air flow in this house all winter or the mildew grows on the walls. I explained, AGAIN, that all he is doing is shifting energy usage from the heater to the hot water heater and my personal energy usage, because I have to spend all winter scrubbing walls. And I reminded him, AGAIN, that if he shuts that room off, I have to run the wonderful dehumidifier that my sister got us even MORE, which just uses energy. SO LEAVE THE FUCKING DOOR OPEN!!!

Last year he complained that my turning on the heater in the morning woke him up. I told him I tried to hold out, but when it is so chilly that my hands go numb and I have to put on my outside hat to sit at the fucking computer, I don’t give a damn if it wakes him up. DEAL with it. He should just be thankful I’m usually satisfied with 64, and that I’m not one of those people who likes their house at 80 degrees.

So the other thing he does, when he comes home from work, is open a bunch of windows, because he is hot from walking home. If it was a warm day, I maximized the intake of solar warmth with open doors and windows and curtains, but with nights getting noticeably colder, I shut everything up the moment the temperature difference between inside and out hits the neutral point. That minimizes the likelihood of having to turn the heater on in the evening. So he marches in with his jacket still on and starts opening everything up. I just march right behind him and close everything, and then tell him to take his damn jacket and socks off and stop stealing my warmth.

Sigh. It’s barely the middle of November and we are already in full battle mode. My only consolation is that I ALWAYS  win, because I hate being cold more than just about anything in the world. And I never give up.

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Humming, whistling, and head songs

I have always had a tendency to hum or whistle mindlessly, but it used to be in moderation, such as humming Jingle Bells when I take a shower (for which I’ve taken huge teasing from my husband) or tunelessly whistling while sweeping the floor. But it is completely out of control now, and it is driving me bonkers. Basically, if I am not watching tv, listening to music, or talking to somebody, I am humming some musical riff my mind made up, and I am humming it over and over and over and over. . . .  I still do some whistling, but it has been mostly pushed out by the humming. They aren’t even real songs, just simple boring tunes, repeated endlessly until I catch myself doing it, and then starting up again if my mind wanders.

And to make matters worse, when I go to bed at night, the chorus from some simple song (like Que Sera Sera) starts playing over and over in my head. It is there when I get up to use the bathroom. It is there when I wake up to roll over. And it is there when I wake up in the morning. It makes me want to scream.

I’ve begun to wonder if it my mind’s way of trying to soothe me during this difficult year, kind of like musical worry beads, but it is so damned irritating that there isn’t anything soothing about it. It is driving me batty (yes, I know, short trip). I’m thinking I need to start playing music on the stereo constantly to shut this thing down. I haven’t been playing music as much as I used to because I’m rather bored with my CDs. I haven’t had much new music the last year so I’ve overplayed all of the ones I do have, but I’m going to dig through them and find some I haven’t played for a while, before I start smacking myself in the head to shut down that infernal bad radio.

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Waist to face, front and center, updated

I’m back home after being gone almost three weeks. The hardest part of coming home is dealing with everything being out of place. I can handle the general grubbiness of the house, as I am thankful that my husband took care of my mom and the pets and the house on top of his regular job. But my very compulsive nature has a hard time with everything being out of place. I have always liked having everything in a specific place, but my need for that has increased as mom is able to do less and less. Aside from all of the things I use regularly, which are organized based on frequency of use, like with like, etc., all of the things that mom uses, or I use for mom, are based on the principle of waist to face, front and center. Mom doesn’t have the energy to dig around in the cupboards or fridge, and it also takes more energy for her to reach up for things or bend over for things. Therefore, anything that she might need on a regular basis is situated in the zone from waist-high to face-high, and never behind other stuff. In the fridge, anything that is not situated front and center doesn’t even exist in her world. Even though she only makes occasional forays into the kitchen now to get things for herself, they still need to be in the “zone” in case she does. And it is very convenient for me to have her favorite cups and dishes right in front so that I don’t have to dig for them when I prepare her food and drinks. She ONLY wants certain cups and dishes, and before I started preparing virtually all of her food and drinks and delivering them directly to her in her room, she would grab a dirty favorite and give it a quick rinse (without soap) if there wasn’t a clean favorite available.

Anyway, after being gone for weeks, I find that my kitchen is no longer organized in the proper manner. I spend the first few days regularly exclaiming, “what the hell is this doing here?” or “where the hell are mom’s bowls?” Both the mom-zone organization and the regular organization are completely gone. Doesn’t EVERYBODY know that you don’t put the company silverware in with the regular silverware? Doesn’t EVERYBODY know you don’t stack bowls on plates?

I am so alone in my little world of organizational logic.

Update: Steve claims it is all Martha’s fault, because she was the one in the kitchen doing stuff. Not so fast, Stever Beaver. Thatmaywellbeebutt…Steve has lived in this house for almost three years, whereas Martha was just visiting and apparently doing all the work on her “vacation.” So, Steve, I’m falling back on my favorite fridge magnet saying, “I didn’t say it was your fault; I said I was going to blame you.” Most of the stuff in the kitchen is in the exact place it has been for the last almost three years. Given Steve’s completely unrepentant lack of interest in putting ANYTHING back where it belongs in this house, I really am going to carry through with my oft-repeated threat to him at some point: I’m going to go to his office (the house and kitchen are MY office) and rearrange everything that he regularly uses, just to annoy and confound him. And probably his tool bench and tool chest in the garage too. As happily disorganized as he is, he still keeps some of his office and tool bench relatively organized, so that he can actually find his frequently used items. Payback, baby, payback.

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Some of you remember the banana sammich post a while back. I mentioned that the guy who got me to make it was extremely persistent, to the point I finally just made the damn sandwich to shut him up. Well, he’s one of those people who never shuts up, which is why I cut off interaction with him on the Internet. Broken record on steroids. Over and over, the same tired talking points. Over and over trying to get my goat. Over and over pretending he’s the “reasonable” guy and everybody else is just touchy. Well, I made the mistake of responding briefly to him on another friend’s Facebook comment. The friend I was commenting to is an old Internet friend whom I’ve met a few times. Sweet guy I really really like.

Anyway, I never should have responded to banana guy when he commented about my comment to sweet guy. I know better. So I end up saying FO, to which he responds, “lol, just like old times.” Nope. Instead of responding to him again, I come here and trash him. Not playing his little game. Somebody needs to take one of his banana sammiches and smack him in the face with it when he opens that stupid mouth of his. I have zero tolerance for Internet buttheads.

In fact, I just may use my Ken doll to do a photo shoot of banana guy getting what’s coming to him.

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Incorrect use of apostrophes is rampant on the Internet. It makes me grit my teeth in annoyance. The correct usage for apostrophes is for possessive words and for contractions. The possessive use of apostrophes has an important exception: possessive pronouns. For example: “Tommy’s dog is black and white. It’s also fat and likes to lick its balls.” But what I constantly see on the Internet is this: “The Smith’s have a dog. It likes to lick it’s balls.”

Basic punctuation, folks. You supposedly learned this in school. No apostrophe for plural words. Just because the plural word is a name, as in more than one Smith, doesn’t mean you put in an apostrophe. And the possessive form of “it” does not have an apostrophe. It is its, just as “hers” is hers, not her’s. The contraction of “it is” or “it has” is it’s. Got it? Don’t make me kick your sorry asses into next week.

Now on to something more interesting than correcting lame ass writers on the Internet: tarantula hawks. If you’ve never seen one of these creatures, you have missed out. Despite their misleading name, tarantula hawks are not birds. They are wasps. Big, scary wasps. You can hear them coming. You can see them coming. But they have no interest in you. Aside from mating, their entire focus in life is to track down and capture tarantulas to feed their young. Yikes, you say! Big, scary wasp taking on big, scary spider? What will Nature think of next? (ooh, setting myself up for another buggy post!)

I became fascinated with these wasps when I lived in Arizona. I was startled several times when one of them went buzzing past me at high speed. Then one day I was outside chasing gophers and I spotted a tarantula hawk dragging a tarantula across my yard. We’re not talking push shove pant pant. This thing was booking. Across my large yard, through the fence, down one side of a ditch, and up the other side, then disappearing over the lip and into the brush. Wow.

One of my favorite books, “Seasons in the Desert,” by Susan J. Tweit, has a great description of the life and times of tarantula hawks. I’m going to let her do my talking, as I cannot hope to compete with her lovely prose:

Tarantula hawks, two-to-three-inch-long wasps with metallic blue black bodies and striking, bright orange wings, kill tarantulas to feed their young. The fight between the wasps and the much-larger and heavier spiders is a dramatic one. A female tarantula hawk lures a tarantula out of its burrow, probably by plucking the silken web lines. When the spider rushes out, the wasp hops on its abdomen and paralyzes the tarantula with one or more jabs of its half-inch-long stinger. The wasp then drags the comatose–but not dead–spider back into the burrow, crawls out from underneath it, lays an egg atop the tarantula’s limp body, and seals the burrow. When the wasp larva hatches, it is provisioned with a cache of fresh meat–the comatose spider–to consume as it grows. After spending the winter in a pupa, it digs its way to the surface as a winged wasp the following spring.
A less well-known part of the tarantula hawk story is their mating game. male tarantula hawks, similar to but smaller than females, cruise for mates by “hilltopping.” They position themselves in a tree or shrub atop a hill or other vantage point, and scan the desert airspace, watching for passing females. (This behavior is comparable to a human male picking a barstool with a good view of the dance floor.) When a female tarantula hawk flies by, the first male to spot her gives chase, and, if she is willing, the two copulate briefly on the ground. Afterwards, they go about their separate business: he flies back to his post to scan the air for another potential mate; she heads off to feed on flower nectar and build up her strength for the perilous job of hunting tarantulas.

Female tarantula hawks are apparently somewhat opportunistic about where they bury the tarantula. If they find one in its burrow, they use that burrow to lay their eggs. But they also dig their own holes, or take over empty holes, and then go searching for roaming tarantulas and drag them back to the hole.

Although stings from tarantula hawks aren’t common, because they are too focused on their life mission and are relatively docile as wasps go, they do happen if the wasp is provoked enough. Here is a description by David B. Williams, on the Internet site, DesertUSA, that will make you cringe:

Tarantula hawk stings are considered to be the most painful of any North American insect. Christopher Starr wrote an article entitled, “A Pain Scale for Bee, Wasp and Ant Stings.” On a scale of one to four, Pepsis formosa was one of only two insects to rate a four. This compares with a one for a Solenopsis xyloni (desert fire ant), two for a Apis mellifera (honey bee) and three for a Dasymutilla klugii (velvet ant).

One researcher described the tarantula hawk’s sting this way: “To me, the pain is like an electric wand that hits you, inducing an immediate, excruciating pain that simply shuts down one’s ability to do anything, except, perhaps, scream. Mental discipline simply does not work in these situations. The pain for me lasted only about three minutes, during which time the sting area was insensitive to touch, i.e., a pencil point poked near the sting resulted only in a dull deep pressure pain.”

Tarantula wasps are unusual in the severity of their stings. Generally, it is the more social insects that deliver the most painful stings because they have a large nest to defend. Researchers hypothesize that the Pepsis as well as the Dasymutilla have evolved such painful stings because they spend so much time out in the open, exposed to potential predators.

Although painful, the Pepsis sting is not especially lethal. It rates a 38 on a lethal capacity scale. This compares with 5.9 for a Dasymutilla klugii, 54 for a Apis mellifera, and 200 for a Pogonomyrmex maricopa (a desert-dwelling seed-harvester ant).

Here are some cool (scary) pictures of tarantula hawks:

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250px-Tarantulawasp

Here are  some Youtube videos of tarantula hawks in action:

Online references for pictures and text:

mysistersjar.wordpress.com/

www.gravityh.com/wildlife_encounters.htm

http://www.desertusa.com/mag01/sep/papr/thawk.html

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarantula_hawk

www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-dewline/2007/0…

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Screw you, Prop 8!

I usually don’t do political posts. Politics make me grumpy, and there are lots of good political blogs out there that say what needs to be said better than I can. But here is my answer to California’s infamous, anti-civil-rights Prop 8 and the stupid decision by the state Supreme Court to uphold it.

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