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The Yard In All It’s Glory (And Fear And Disgust) September 5, 2008

Filed under: Bad local. Bad! Bad!,Uncategorized — charbear @ 11:42 pm
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What a morning in the backyard! I love my backyard. Despite the million mosquito bites I collect every night; despite the flies that like to get all up in my grill; despite all of this (plus my neighbor’s yard decorated with dog poo law ornaments), I love being back here. When the white trash family isn’t out (yeah, the other neighbor), it’s peaceful. I have a garden and my cat and I’m in my 11’x16′ piece o’ heaven. But now I want out. Sure, I’m out here typing this. But I’ve got my eye trained on anything that moves. Not on the white trash. Not on the smell of poo. Nature has reared her fearful and ugly head. All of my childhood anxiety about nature have come back with a vengeance. Oh, and there’s a fruit fly stuck in my glass of wine.

Yeah, I grew up in the country. You’d have thought that that would have made me immune to things that squiggle and things that slime (and small things that attack). But it didn’t. You see, my uncle lived behind us (and by “behind”, I don’t mean in the city-block, rationally organized row sense, or the suburban cul-de-sac sense. No, I mean in the field in back of our field). But both my uncle and parent’s rented a large portion of their land to a farmer (Amish, so that meant seasonal application of manure. Yeah!). He planted corn. Corn is, like, 100 feet high to a child. And I would have to run through a narrow path that the farmer left connecting both homes. Yes, I would have to run. Because that was the only way to dodge the 100-mile-per-hour projectiles known as “very large bugs”. I would stand at the mouth of the path and watch as millions upon millions of these Chevy Tahoe-sized bugs jumped between the rows. I would close my eyes and run as fast as I could through this gauntlet, all the while feeling those hard bodies smack into my cheeks, my thighs, my lips (yeah, it’s that gross). And then I’d have to do it again. “Aunt Patty, can you drive me home?” “No, you idget, you live a 1 minute walk away.” So then I would have to stare down that Funhouse entrance again,close my eyes and… SMACK.

So this was my upbringing. Imagine my surprise when I found nature at the ripe ol’ age of 30. I mean, heck — I even got myself a worm bin in the basement! I was cured! Or so I thought until this morning…

My little morning routine: I let the cat out while I water the plants. As soon as I opened the door, he rushed out and I realized that there was a squirrel in the yard. Aww. How cute. I grabbed Sparky, tossed him in the house. But the squirrel didn’t leave. He stayed in a corner. “Yikes”, me thought. “This little bugger’s got balls”. So I’m a brainiac. You know, a regular smarty-pants. So I squirt the little a-hole with the hose, thinking that he’ll run away (I know I would). Nope, he runs right to me and towards the alley. I go around the corner and instead, he’s right there and he lunges at me! What the ef! So I have the hose, he’s at my feet and I’m screaming like a mental patient, squirting the hose and jumping 360 degrees. I looked like a human water sprinkler. Idiot! I failed at the squirrel test. That little bastard psyched me out and I took the bait and ran (with a hose, mind you). But the day gets even better.

Now, a normal person would probably put going outdoors on hold for a bit. Especially on a hot, Philadelphia day. But no, I went back outside (once I was assured there were no squirrels) for my other daily ritual of eating breakfast, reading the news and watching my good-for-nothing cat try to escape the yard. Only this morning, he was playing with something. With what you say? With a creature that I can only describe as “FUCK!!??!!?!” Not even a “What the FUCK?!!?” No. Just “FUUCCKKKK!!!!” It’s head looked like a baby bird, maybe? But it had the body of a caterpillar. At first I thought Philly got herself both a nuclear plant and a nuclear accident in 1 night. But no. I realized that this disgusting creature wasn’t a chromosomal accident. It was in fact a caterpillar. How did I know this? Because it started walking backwards. “Do caterpillars walk backwards” you ask? Nope. But they do have fake heads on their butts. That’s what this was: a fake head on it’s less-needed-for-brain-activity butt. You know what it’s real face looked like? You remember in the first (I mean the real first) Star Wars, where Luke and Obi-Wan go into that bar? The dude that kinda looked like a walrus that swallowed a mustache? That’s what it looked like. Here are some “Before and After I Thought That It’s Butt Was Really It’s Head” pics:

gross, gross, butt for head

gross, gross, butt for head

even grosser, you're heads your butt

even grosser

But seriously, I wonder if that’s the thing that’s been eating all of my tomatoes? Faw-ker…


Garden of Flies: Pestulance, part 1 August 26, 2008

When flies overrun, is that one of the signs of Armeggedon? Well, it should be. I’m being attacked as we speak. Fly fights in my hair. The most disgusting thing EVER. What gives? I thought that this was just a Port Richmond problem (3 locations that I’ve been too, including my own house). But I was in Willow Grove last night and BAM: fly fights. In my hair.

Ok, let me make it clear: I am a clean person. There are never dirty dishes in my sink. My laundry remains clean and fresh. Floor, spotless. Flies? Assholes. They’re EVERYWHERE! What gives? Global warming? Or will one of the Pharoah’s sons be killed? You know, the favorite one…


The “New” Shotgun Wedding August 13, 2008

What’s the opposite of “prophetic”? I mean, what do you call it when you do something like, say get married for health insurance coverage and then read about it the very next day in the NY Times? I call it cool and kinda sad at the same time. Cool and sad? Like Robert Downey, Jr, pre-Iron Man.

So you probably can fill in the blanks here: yesterday, August 12, a day that will live in obliviousness because I’m bad with dates, was the day that I got married to my b-friend of almost 8 years. I like writing b-friend instead of “boyfriend” because it could also mean “best friend”. Which is exactly what he also is. He’s fantastic and I relished the thought of being 80-years old and still calling him my b-friend. But alas, those dreams were dashed with a bout of unemployment and an even more frightening case of “I don’t need a job! I’m going FREELANCE!” Add to that a scare from a little asshole I call the deer tick and you’ve got the makin’s of an ol’ fashion SHOTGUN WEDDIN’! YEEEE HAAAAW!

So I guess now, you just replace “pregnant gal” with “coverage-less gal (or guy)”. And instead of an angry father presiding with a shotgun, you got greedy creditors waiting to pounce at the first sign of lyme’s disease. And where once stood a dirt floor, bare feet and a minister named Jeb, there’s now a Thai restaurant in Philly’s Chinatown on a Tuesday with our best pals and closest family who could make it on 2 days notice. Or maybe I’m just extrapolating my experience. Probably not the best idea because despite the short notice and the business-like arrangement, I have known the dude for a ton of years. We own a freakin’ HOUSE together. So it wasn’t like we were blushing at the thought of sharing the marital bed for the first time. Christ, we’ve been together for so long I’ve seen spinach stuck between every single one of his teeth. Why do people feel the need to have (insert your state here) bless their love? I mean, I hate to tell you this little ones, but marriage is a business arrangement.

Ever since Abraham strolled into Canaan with his hottie Sarah, marriage has been about donkeys and land and pieces of gold. In other words, everything that sustains two people EXCEPT love. That “love” thing is just a novelty. So I’m lucky. I DO love him. In ways that are beyond words. Ways that are too special to simply write down. Ways that reside in the joy when you look at him and he doesn’t know you’re looking at him. Or when you see something that you’ve never seen him do before. Those are like the little precious jewels of a relationship and they escape words. So I’m lucky. And I didn’t need a piece of fucking paper to tell me that.

But apparently, his insurance company did…


Fear and Localing in Lebanon, PA August 3, 2008

Raw Milk is for Winners

Raw Milk is for Winners

What a day, what a day. Straight into the heart of what I didn’t realize was enemy territory. Hey, I’m from Amish country. I thought I kinda had my head wrapped around the whole “Amish (bonnet, no zipper, no patterns)/Conservative Mennonite (bonnet, yes to zippers and patterns)/regular-Mennonite (no bonnet, regular but conservative clothes, hells yeah to zippers) /Party-hearty Mennonite (these guys play footsies with the devil by basically looking like us but don’t curse. Yowza!)” thing. I guess not. Man, there were Plain Peoples of all walks and stripes. I couldn’t categorize them. Do you understand? I COULDN’T CATEGORIZE THEM! There were people that looked Amish but had zippers, people that looked “back-to-the-land, I-gave-birth-at-Lilith-Fair-but-now-I-gave-it-all-up-to-serve-my-Promise-Keeper-Husband”, people who looked like hippies-for-Ron Paul, Amish ladies who looked like they were married to Rivers Coumo, but without the irony. I was confused. And everyone — I repeat, EVERYONE — had Ron Paul shirts on. And they talked empathetically about him. They love this guy here. (more…)