Friday, August 29, 2008

In a Fog

Yep, this past week, I have been living in a fog. And it’s not half-bad, really. Come to think of it, it’s pretty sweet! On THIRD thought, there’s probably nothing cooler!

No, I am not referring to an alcohol or drug-induced fog. That’s the self-destructive way.

Nay, the fog that I describe is the smoky poison that wafts from the business end of a mosquito fogger.

I got one last week, and every time I set foot outside, I just dare the dagger-mouthed demons to fly in my direction. “Go ahead, punks, make my day.” Where they used to ascend in a great buzzing cloud, they now rise in smaller formations of only the most seasoned and battle-hardened individuals out for man-blood.

But not mine; not today, ladies.

I fogged our house a couple of times on Saturday, then went to my Mother-in-law’s house to provide at least some relief from the swarming hordes of skeeters that have plagued her the last week or so. Then I returned home and spotted a couple more loners that just flew in on the Southwest breeze, and I gave them a little taste of my medicine.

Still not completely satisfied, I fogged my left-side neighbors’ front yard and entry-way, and then, just to make it even, fogged the right-side people’s flower bed and entry way. On the way back to my garage, I gave the boxwoods and hibiscus(es)(s) another snort of Black Flag, and made a quick dash down the concrete side of the house. The satisfying “ShhhHAAAAAf” rang in my rejoicing ears.

Sunday, I went to my sister’s house to repeat the steps. And of course, had to come back home to make sure the status quo was status quo-ing.

When I had gone to the store to make the purchase, the twenty-year-old kid working the register in the garden center asked if I had ever used the hose-end spray that kills mosquitoes in your grass. I remarked that a couple of neighbors had in the past, but that wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted smoke. Lots and lots of smoke. He told me that his parents used the sprayer and it lasted about six weeks.
So what’s the point? Even if fogging lasted six weeks, I’d do it every few days, just cuz I want to.

There is nothing, I repeat NOTHING manly about standing in the yard with a hose-end sprayer, probably killing pests. What IS manly, then? Trotting around purposefully with a smoking wand puffing a toxic flume into known hiding places of your target pest. And watching them fold their little wings and plummet earthward, as their little ghosts speed past them to the dark, fiery regions of Hades from whence they came.

Although I didn’t actually SEE their little wings fold, etc, since my eyes were full of tears and burning venom. But I know it was happening in the midst of the glorious vapor. I am sure I heard them coughing.

My eyes have recovered almost completely, and the odd copper taste in my mouth that caused everything I ate to resemble turnips in flavor and texture, is all but gone.

Just in time, too. I get to repeat the actions tomorrow.

Monday, August 25, 2008

You Are What You Eat

In the past few weeks, the dietary habits of some Olympic athletes have been of interest; Michael Phelps with his 12,500 calories per day, Russian gymnasts eating only half a kernel of wheat and 3 gallons of water.

It brought to mind a poem that I read years ago, but only bits and pieces could be brought to the front of my mind...

But regular life marches on, and I was fogging for mosquitoes at my sister’s house on Sunday, and after I finished, she we stood around and talked for awhile.

As we talked my eyes fell upon an old volume of “Best Loved Poems of the American People”. I remembered that it was my grandfather’s book that I had read selections from many times. And there was that poem in there that I had remembered a couple of lines from. These few lines had haunted me for somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty five years.

Below is the entire poem, finally.


Methuselah ate what he found on his plate,
And never, as people do now,
Did he note the amount of the calorie count;
He ate it because it was chow.
He wasn’t disturbed as at dinner he sat,
Devouring a roast or a pie,
To think it was lacking in granular fat,
Or a couple of vitamins shy.
He cheerfully chewed each species of food,
Unmindful of troubles or fears
Lest his health might be hurt
By some fancy dessert;
And he lived over nine hundred years.


The book carries a 1936 copyright, and my mother gave it to her father for Christmas, inscribed:
“Merry Christmas
To Daddyboy
From Lila” (with a little circle dotting the “I”)

My sister and I agreed to share the book back and forth to read all of those old poems again.

I'll likely eat some ice cream while doing so.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Russia Invades OUR Georgia, Too!

They did it, while we were watching the Olympics or something. Coke is headquartered in Atlanta, right? Yeah, well, they took over one of our most sacred institutions, the venerable Coke can.

I bought one this morning and to my surprise, shock and indignation, there in white on red, was the Language of the Invaders on my beverage can.

I hear Alabama is next. Prepare, Southern Gentlemen, for WAR!

Charlie Daniels will kick them out...

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Quite Possimus

My sister is a participant in the “varmint curse” that seems to be plaguing our family of late. She has employed my Dad’s live traps in the past. Her quarry of necessity: the Opossum.

She has been plagued with the little marsupials lo these many days, and had captured a couple of them recently.

Her plan, on catching the little fellows, is to bring them to our parents’ house to leave them to be disciplined/rehabilitated. We don’t ask too many questions, being animal tolerators. Suffice to say, the boss decides which direction to take on a case by case basis.

The latest catch has given my mother a different idea for this possum. She plans to bring it in, dress it in doll clothes and keep them as pets.

This seems very viable, considering my mother’s patience and the inherent gentleness of a possum. I will keep you all posted if she goes through with it.

This could be fun.

Wollf submitted a foto that perhaps indicates my mother's intentions better than the original I posted.

I have to agree. Thanx Wollf!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Mystery Solved

For a couple of weeks now, there have been little conical holes drilled in our yard, with tufts of St. Augustine grass strewn about the lawn. Only a few at first, then in ever-increasing numbers the mysterious holes appeared every morning.

My first thought was a skunk, since I have smelled them in our neighborhood in the past, and from experience in my history, I know that they bore in their relentless search for grubs.

More and more, the minefield grew, day by day. As did my frustration. I would venture out at night to try to catch a glimpse of the little trespasser. Never did I view the deeds.

Every day, though, the holes were punched so perfectly in my turf. Another thing that bugged me was the fact that animals don’t do this kind of thing because you look at them funny when they cut in the line at WalMart, or if you accidently cut them off on the Bypass. Nope, they’re after food, and usually that means grubs.

My yard has grubs…dang.

Last Thursday, I went out just a little earlier to head to work, and lo and behold, there was an armadillo rooting up the divots on my property. I grabbed my camera and snapped a quick photo of the guilty party, then went out to confront him. As I approached, the little worker didn’t lift up its head even as a giant, booted enforcer closed on him.

Even as I reached out with my foot to wake him from his task, I was ignored. So I booted him in the behind, not a full-fledged kick, mind you. Just a slow-motion foot-lift under his shell. At that moment, as if awakening from a dream, the little dasypus novemcinctus gave the characteristic jump and then took off toward Larry’s truck, uttering the “‘dillo grunt” the whole way.

I am wondering if that’s the last I’ll see of the little critter; my parents’ garden out at Soderberg’s Farm and Chicken Resort is under attack from armadillos from all quarters, and there may be a family curse or something. The proprietor and head security officer, my Dad, has a couple of live traps that he sets up in prime traffic areas on their property. He even puts up landscape timbers in a squeeze chute configuration to funnel them in to the trap.

I have lost count of how many of the breed have been trapped, but suffice to say, their fate is not as gentle as the one my little vandal received.

And I think the lenient treatment may have worked; the rotund criminal has not shown his elongated face around here since. I hope for his sake, he didn’t go to my Dad’s place.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Breaking News!

The preparation for the Killer Hurricane Edouard was stellar. The NewsPeeples have whipped the public into a respectful, wary nonchalance. After the Frenzy of Rita a couple of years ago, aided by the fresh memory of Katrina, everybody has had a cool-down period back to the common sense that usually prevails in these situations.

It was really funny to watch the news this morning with the multiple news crews committed to the coastal areas, standing in drizzle, sometimes heavy showers, trying to gin up some sort of drama.

Wayne Dolcefino was standing in a parking lot on Bolivar with the rain falling, and rounding a corner, encountered a local. He asked him about the conditions, to which the old-timer replied that they had experienced similar weather when a “Norther blowed” in. Ted Oberg was standing in Galveston in a slicker without a hat, his hair plastered down to his head, while seagulls strolled around unconcerned in the background.

Power outages eased into the picture on Bolivar and High Island, with the reporter admitting that the power just faded out rather than flashing out with the impressive display of sparks.

This morning, I called my parents (who had put up the plywood over the numerous and sizeable windows on the East side) and we were watching the lame news reports. I pretended to be Geezer Dolcefino and stepped out on our patio.

“I’m standing on a patio in Alvin and as I look to the North and East, I can see that the fence is 12% wet…”

My Dad even took down some of the plywood on the North side windows of their house. All the while the news intoned, “the killer storm is headed in over Bolivar, and the eye of the system seems to be traveling straight up a drainage ditch, almost touching both sides of the channel…”

The buzzword now is apparently migrating to “ponding” in reference to the rain standing on the area roads. “Wow, look at the rain…boy, it’s really bad out there…stay in if you can, there is the danger of ponding on the roadways…”

Wayne was even talking to one of the TxDot trucks headed through La Marque to put up some stop signs. He asked him if they noticed the freeway with any “ponding” being a problem. The guy, who looked a little bemused, replied with his fingers about three-eighths of an inch apart said, “No, not really…no, not TOO much…”

Finally, some of the hype is dying down, after the three hours of strained coverage. One of Channel 13’s on-the-scene reporters has even acquiesced. She was talking to a Galveston resident who insisted on doing the interview in the rain. He told how he enjoyed the weather today, and even used the time to stroll to the Seawall and reflect on the water.

So, Tropical Storm Eduoard has turned into a big swirly thunderstorm getting everybody, except Alvin, fairly wet.

Enjoy your day off, and go back to bed, whatever you do, try to avoid the “ponding”!