For Christmas we bought our younger daughter a pet. Yes, I know. Pets are NOT gifts. Gifts are things you can exchange, or forget about, or give to Goodwill next week. Pets as presents? CRAZY TALK.
On Saturday we went swimming. And by ‘we’ I really mean my husband & our daughters. I just sat on the bleachers and watched. It’s not that I don’t like to swim; even with my wacky ear, I do. And our community pool is nice. The reason I skipped swimming is because of a certain pool policy. What I call The Pool Rule. The Pool Rule states that everyone w/ chin-length hair or longer MUST WEAR A SWIM CAP.
When I first learned of The Pool Rule, I tried to be a good sport. Swim caps help prevent hair from clogging the pool’s filter, keeping the pool working and limiting nastiness for the unfortunate soul having to clean. I didn’t argue. Even though my only option at the time was to borrow a swim cap from the Lost & Found, and the only one that fit was plastic and had ear flaps. Getting it on nearly pulled half the hair from my head. I put on that cap! My kids wanted to swim with their momma and I wasn’t going to disappoint my husband. But I vowed that next time – if there were a next time – I’d bring $$ to buy my own.
The next visit, I remembered my swim cap money. YOU KNOW I DID. I bought a stretchy spandex number from the pool office, in black to match my swimsuit. I put it on, got in the water and it promptly fell off. I put it back on, dove underwater and it came off again. I put it back on again. And again. I spent half the swim session retrieving my cap from the pool floor. But I didn’t give up! Even though the swim cap wouldn’t stay on, I wore it the next time, and the next. Until finally one Saturday I’d had enough. I was done dealing with the indignity of that useless cap and said NO MORE. So now I sit & watch.
The Pool Rule may make sense in theory, but when I spend half my time in the pool retrieving a swim cap and replacing it what exactly is it accomplishing? I’m losing far more hair in the pool doing the ON-OFF-ON-OFF routine than I ever would going without. And if the ultimate goal is to minimize hair in the filter, why stop at swim caps? Wouldn’t swim SHIRTS be applicable too?
Until then I will be on the bleachers.
When I was little I was deathly afraid of spiders. So much so, that when I found a big ugly one on me in the night (circa 1983), I moved into my sister’s bedroom and slept on her floor for a whole month. And no, it wasn’t the least bit comfortable.
As I’ve aged I’ve gotten past the terror a spider can induce. I’ve matured. I’ve come to realize that spiders are small creatures who for the most part mean us no harm. We are the scary big monsters THEY cower in fear from and try to avoid. Part of this is hogwash, I know, part is rationalization. But for the most part it works. I can calmly shoo a spider away when need be – or even catch it gently in a cup, paper pressed against the opening, to escort it outside. I never kill spiders – they have their purpose after all, and I much prefer them to the biting insects they call food.
Anyway, the reason I am sharing this is b/c I spend a goodly portion of each day tending to a fire which consumes vast quantities of wood. I wrote about this whole wood situation before (feel free to refresh your memories here). We keep most of our wood stacked outside, but weekly my husband & I must bring in a new stash for burning. This wood is home to many, many spiders. For safety (and peace of mind) I wear protective leather work gloves while shifting wood, lest I get bitten by a startled arachnid. But I can’t get past the paranoid fear that one day I will encounter a brown recluse and wind up losing an arm.
I know this is paranoia at its best. These little spiders are terrified of me, stomping around in my heavy snow boots, cursing audibly with each heaving wheelbarrow of wood. But it remains so firmly planted in my psyche that any time I get a tiny unexplained cut on my hand, I watch it the same way an underpaid office worker watches the clock. I check it 60 times an hour, just waiting for it to change. IS IT GETTING BIGGER?? IT’S LOOKING BIGGER!! IS IT BUBBLING??!!
All of this is nonsense, of course. I scratched my hand sweeping up debris from the floor, or caught it on [insert whatever it was] but the fear remains. It doesn’t help that all this firewood we haul inside is stored in the hearth in our kitchen. The room in which I spend most of my time. And now that this firewood is stacked inside the warm & pleasant walls of our heated home, the formerly hibernating army of spiders living inside said wood is now WAKING UP. And converting my kitchen into their Spider Village.
In the changing light you see them. The vast network of spiderwebs dangling above our heads, crisscrossing the room from the windows to the doors. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been standing at the island, chopping or kneading or simply going about my business, only to look up and find a spider dangling inches from my face. Looking at me as if to say, “What’s for Dinner?”
For the most part I don’t mind living amongst so many many-leggeds. Sure a few of them are HUGE (we’re talking inches) but for the most part they’re very small. And they do in fact seem to be helping us with the bugs. Not that you’d expect a home in the dead winter of Maine to have an insect issue, but for some odd reason we do have them. Not gross ones, no cockroaches or big scary beetles or anything. No, we have ladybugs.
We noticed them right after we moved in. It was hard not to, seeing as they’d taken over our attic. At some point in the course of The Dole House’s long and illustrious history, these ladybugs took up residence and now, 600 generations later, we’re still sheltering their kin. It was odd at first, finding we had so much company. But over the past (almost) 18 months, we’ve gotten used to each other. We no longer think it strange, the small piles of expired ladybugs trapped between the window frames and storms. The ladybug corpses littering the window sills (which must be dusted periodically) or the occasional ladybug you find clutching onto a curtain. For some reason, our younger daughter’s bedroom seems to be the ladybugs favorite room in the house. Ladybug Land. Our little girl spends her nights counting the tiny red dots on her ceiling, watching them weave their way from point to point. They’re sweet really. Perhaps if you look carefully you’ll find another world living inside your home, too.
Last week was Vacation Week here in Maine. If you are picturing me lounging in the sun, fruity drink in hand, keep dreaming. The only downtime I got was Sunday, between the hours of 12:30 and 2pm. I didn’t see a single fruity drink the whole week, unless you count the orange juice I had to wipe off the windows when the kids missed the sink. The one highlight? My husband also took the week off. Normally this would have rocked beyond belief. But since we are LIVING THE DREAM of 250 year old home ownership, Vacation Week was Hell.
Highlights of Hell included:
Cleaning out the basement. Normally I wouldn’t complain, a little tidying here & there, but our basement was so congested we had to rent a jumbo sized construction dumpster. It arrived Friday afternoon.