Georgia & The Fly

Last week I was sitting on the couch reading, when my younger daughter began elbowing me.  MOMMY LOOK!  MOMMMY LOOK!  She was pointing to something on the back of the couch.  I leaned in for a better view.  It was a run-of-the-mill housefly, perched on the back of the chair.  And it looked dead.

Georgia, that poor fly is dead, quit poking at it.

She was insistent.  NOOO, MOMMY IT’S ALIVE.  REALLY!! I figured she was just pushing on the little dead fly and wiggling it with her finger. But she wasn’t.  It was alive.  Never before had I witnessed a fly sitting patiently while being petted by a human, but there it was.  On the back of my couch.  Only after she’d picked it up and kept petting it for a while did the thing finally fly off.



Georgia & friend

I was in equal parts revolted and amazed.  Here was a creature I’d always regarded as a poop-eating, garbage-dump-thriving vermin displaying what can only be described as (dare I say it?) TRUST towards my 5 yr old.  It’s not like humans and flies are the best of friends.  But that fly was as good as glued to Georgia’s hand.  She could have smashed it licketysplit.  But she didn’t.

Sometimes we are like the fly – willing to take a chance against the odds.  Sometimes we are like the child – seeing a friend in the unlikeliest of creatures.  Whether it was Georgia’s sticky hand — or the sweetness of her soul — that kept the fly there for so long, I’ll never know.  But I’d like to think a little of both.

Lord of the Flies

When we returned home from the Midwest, the first thing I did was drag my sorry self upstairs to crash out in bed. After nearly 15 hours in the car, it was all I could do. But the first thing my husband did, being the amazing soul he is, was go through the entire house to make sure everything was just as we’d left it. And everything was fine. Save for the flies.

When we left John says he noticed one lone fly bzzzzing round an upstairs room. No big deal. He figured it’d be dead by the time the weekend was over.


Remember Cutie? My daughter’s runaway hamster?? Yes, I know I haven’t written about him in weeks. But that’s b/c we thought he was still on vacation. Well… he is, except it’s that reeeeeeeaaaalllly long vacation that never ends. Ugh. we can now state w/ fair certainty that Cutie has become banquet to 50,000 flies. So we’ve spent the better part of two days shooing, swatting and otherwise casting out these winged creatures from our happy home. And in tackling this new and vexing challenge, I have noticed something truly profound.

When a fly gets trapped inside, they follow a particular pattern. First, They zoom from room to room looking for an exit. Second, they find a window. They fly back and forth past the window, assessing the possibility of escape. In a last-ditch effort, they begin to fly into the window, over and over, as though their feeble crashes will at last force the glass and they will be free. Eventually, the exhausted fly succumbs to the inevitable, either crawling up into a ball and breathing its last, OR conversely, overcoming its initial aversion and fear and FINALLY allowing me to gently scoop it up and release it out into the world.

Having watched this scenario play out OH SO MANY times over the past couple days, I have been struck by the similarity between humans and flies. These flies leave you wondering. WHAT THE HELL??!! ARE YOU REALLY SO DAMN STUPID?? I AM HERE – ARE YOU BLIND?! MY HAND! It is GUIDING YOU OUT – SEE THERE!! THE OPEN WINDOW!!!! IT’S RIGHT THEEERRRRRREEE!! I AM TRYING TO SAVE YOU, YOU MORON!!!

When a human becomes trapped – and here I am speaking rather metaphorically – so by this I could mean a myriad of things. But when a human becomes similarly “trapped” w/ no hope of escape, their response is very much like the fly. We are stubborn. We are STUPID. We do not want Help. We don’t NEED HELP. Instead we rush round looking for a means of escape. OH! And there it is. But it’s not, not really. No, it’s an impenetrable hurdle. So we bang out heads against the proverbial glass, frustrating ourselves and every conceivable attempt at freedom. And when that *Great Hand from the Sky* reaches down to help, what do we do?? We fail to see it. Or if we do, we RUN THE HELL AWAY.

Sometimes life presents you w/ a metaphor that you just can’t help but notice. I do not profess to be any more in tune w/ the great Cosmos than the next guy, but I can tell you this whole FLY THING has gotten my attention. The past several days have been pretty hard for me. I do not like vertigo. Yes, it is BAD. Having to steady myself constantly against the rotational force of the planet, whilst everyone else goes about their daily business blissfully unencumbered SUCKS. Feeling shitty always puts me in a slightly philosophical frame of mind. SO. Feeling this way, I would just like to say HEY. HEY BIG GUY. If you are up there, pitying me or watching me with amusement, FEEL FREE TO HELP. I am here, just smacking my head against the glass, so You just FEEL FREE to stick that big ol’ mitt out for me already. As long as you’re not going to smash me dead, I_am_YOURS.

Sewing basics: A Parable of Life.

Props to the lovely Lee_ahh over at Only Partially Insane for inspiring me to relate my own tale of sewing machines. and Life.

About a year ago, I was feeling a particularly intense urge to start sewing larger projects, things that would necessitate purchase of an actual sewing machine. I had wanted one for a coon’s age, but had never made the investment. So I did a little online research and quickly concluded I couldn’t afford much. Yes there are amazing machines out there, but most of them are way out of my league in both price and function. I was looking for something along the lines of my 7th grade Home Ec machine. This would be the model with 2 buttons, 2 functions, and dingus-proof threading. I am a handy gal, but I know my limitations. And since it had been a good 20 years since I turned out that last hot dog pillow and pair of bermuda shorts, I was going to need some help. My mom agreed to walk me through everything when she came on her next visit. Check and Check.

I began looking for a very basic sewing machine at a very basic price. Since I don’t do an awful lot of sewing, and had been acquiring fabric strictly at thrift shoppes, I hadn’t realized that many sewing shoppes have shuttered since I worked in one circa 1991. If I were a sociologist I might be interested in researching the reasons for this decline. The prevalence of women in the workforce and their corresponding lack of time for hobbies, the advent of technology and rise of global outsourcing. But as I am not, I will simply say Home sewing seems to be a dying craft. The expense & time involved in making your own things – clothes, housewares – is too great to make it practical for most women. Sad, but true.

With my closest sewing shoppe now out-of-business, I turned to none other than my beloved Target. And I was not disappointed. I picked up a sturdy looking simple Singer machine, along with notions, for about $100. YAY!! I brought everything home and set it aside for that weekend’s visit with my beloved parents. My mom – in addition to being an amazingly beautiful intellectual powerhouse and nursing exec, is also a SEWING EXPERT. She no longer has the time to undertake projects, but back in the day she made clothes for me & my sister, costumes, clothes for herself. She even used to make all her own clothes in high school. I KNOW I AM BRAGGING, but she is my mom and she rocks.

So that weekend rolled round, and I pulled out the sewing machine. And of course, as this is MY LIFE, it was inevitable that something would be slightly.. off. Or in this case, way more than slightly. I knew as soon as I opened the box that something was wrong. First of all, the cord was stuck on top of everything, not packaged properly at all. Upon further examination, I noticed there were several sections along the cord that were completely melted through, and the foot pedal was noticeably damaged. What the HELL?? I took the machine out of the box. The case below the needle that holds the bobbin (I don’t know the technical term for this) had cloth STICKING OUT OF IT along with knotted jacked-up threads. The machine itself was filthy, like someone had smeared it haphazardly with axle grease or their lunch. It had without a doubt been used – and not just used, but USED. DAMN! The old scrooge-a-roonie. Some a**hole had decided to buy a new Singer, plop their old nasty broken one back into the box and return it for a big fun freebie. And of course no one at Target had thought twice about looking in the box. Why would they? People are honest. Right?

Of course we took it back. That goes w/out saying. But it mandated no less than 2 trips to Target b/c that is how my life goes. When they finally took the stinking thing back – the SECOND TIME – they actually asked me whether I wanted to go get another one off the shelf. I politely declined. Yes, I know it was a complete fluke, my getting this broken machine instead of a new one, but WHY THE HELL RISK IT AGAIN? My mom had already left, taking with her her arsenal of sewing knowledge, so even if I did get another one, I wouldn’t know how to use it. YES, I KNOW I could read the manual, but I didn’t want to. I wanted my MOMMY. I wanted her to spend the time with me, bonding, and hanging out – laughing while showing me HOW TO THREAD THE DAMN THING. And since on my own I didn’t know anything about anything, I decided it was simpler to just say NO. Of course, I still want a sewing machine. One of those idiot-proof models, b/c that is the kind of person I am.

The parable of this simple sewing story is, in essence, the story of my life itself. I am a person who tries to be honest, to stay focused and determined, to enrich my life and the lives of others. To value the simple. And yet, I seem to – in some odd cosmic twist of fate – inevitably receive the shaft at nearly every turn. In this Case of the Sewing Machine, I was thwarted in my attempts to sew by the clever deception of others. And as in everything, I somehow managed to stay positive, to keep my sense of humor, even in the face of such adversity. I am not a paranoid person, but as the years pass and these weird and weirder things happen, sometimes I wonder whether the great cosmos has a bone to pick with me. Or perhaps it’s more like the case of me & my bird. I am just a favorite toy and have to be played with an awful, awful lot.