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I Know this Pegs Me as a Pessimist, but I Can’t Think of One Situation Where More Cockroaches Might Actually Enhance My Life

Yesterday I realized that dead cockroaches in the house are the perfect metaphor for my life and got to experience my heart leaping as it always does when I discover a perfect metaphor while it simultaneously plummeted in disgust – a not uncommon reaction when contemplating dead cockroaches in the house.

This emotional paradox was precipitated by my encounter with a dead cockroach in the living room yesterday.  Actually, it was not completely dead, just nearly dead (a stage of expiration which I find highly amusing in The Princess Bride and Spamalot, but is much less laughable when I’ve grabbed an entire roll of paper towels to pick up a cockroach and he vehemently begins to protest from his prone position with legs waving violently in the air and somehow manages to wedge himself into the perfect position in our plumbing to clog up the toilet which I used to dispose of him – although I might grudgingly admit that the roll of paper towels that encased him might have contributed to that situation.)

Anyway, this reminded me of what the pest control dude told me a few weeks ago when I called him to take care of this exact problem – the regular sighting of upended arthropods within our abode.

“I’m going to put out some poison around the perimeter of the house. In the next couple of weeks, you’ll probably find some more dead cockroaches in here,” he informed me.

“So, let me get this straight. I called you because I keep finding dead cockroaches, and you are telling me that your solution is to give me more dead cockroaches?”

“But they’re dead. Dead is good.”

“No, dead outside is good. Dead inside is a problem. And dead insect corpses littering my floor and crunching every time I walk is a bigger problem that will result in me relocating to the mental hospital – and probably canceling your contract.”

Of course I didn’t say the last part.  That’s whatimeant2say.  But I knew the results of prolonging the conversation…

“You’re lucky you have dead cockroaches.  Some people live in huts with live ones crawling all over the place, spreading disease and laying eggs in their ears.”

To which I would reply, “Some people go their whole lives without seeing a cockroach.  Some people have other people who work for them and never try to persuade them that more cockroach cadavers is actually an improvement to their living conditions.”

Why can’t I be those “some people” just once?  Why do I always have to be the in-between “some people” who don’t have it great, but could have it a whole lot worse?

Just once, I would like someone to say, “Everyone has it worse than you.  There is no better-than-this.”  Just once I would like to be the happy cockroach, racing freely through an open field without a care in the world, instead of the somewhat dead cockroach counting his blessings that he hasn’t been flattened by a shoe – his last comforting thought as he is flushed down the toilet.

I forgot to take a picture of the cockroach, so I decided to give you a picture of Wonderbutt sniffing my husband's prize Amaryllis instead.  You're welcome.

I forgot to take a picture of the cockroach, so I decided to give you a picture of Wonderbutt sniffing (or getting ready to eat – depending on your perspective) my husband’s prize Amaryllis instead. You’re welcome.


There’s a Big Difference Between Mostly Dead and All Dead

It all began with a death threat…

Mrs. Cap'n FirepantsGive us your computer as hostage for 3-5 business days or your hard drive will die a slow and painful deathSincerely,Apple

Mrs. Cap’n Firepants, Give us your computer as hostage for 3-5 business days or your hard drive will die a slow and painful death.  Sincerely,Apple

Upon receiving this demand, I promptly threw it in the pile with my other death threats.  After all, I am a pirate’s wife.  I do not take death threats seriously unless they are repeated a couple of times.  Plus, I don’t deal with terrorists.

Then I got the e-mail.

Mrs. Cap'n Firepants

Mrs. Cap’n Firepants, we are not joking.  Your hard drive is about to kick the can.  Sincerely, Apple.

Okay.  Fine.  I needed to replace my hard drive.  This, of course, necessitated backing it up, which I hadn’t done in over a year.  So, I plugged in my backer upper thing, fired up my Time Machine, and let it do its thing over night.

The next morning, all was good.  Backer upper filled.  Time Machine back from the future.

One of my friends had advised me to keep backer uppering once a day, and only the new things would be added.  Sounded good.

Next morning, error message on my computer.  Time Machine seriously messing with my computer, making me feel like I was traveling at light speed and about to throw up.  Absolutely no data on my backer upper.  Time Machine apparently ate everything in the backer upper and spit it out in a parallel universe.

Not good.

Further research made me conclude that my backer upper needed more space.  This meant I needed a new backer upper.

It was Christmas time.  I was busy setting up my Harry Potter nativity, and consoling my daughter over the inadvertent beheading of her Harry Potter ornament.  I did not have time or money to purchase a new backer upper.  Besides, no new ransom notes had arrived.  So things were probably not that serious.

I think you know where this is going.

I will skip the death scene, which occurred a couple of days after Christmas. Suffice it to say, that it’s good that I take anti-depressants and that I hadn’t, at that point, seen Les Miserables yet.

I got a new hard drive.  For free.  I suspect that the kidnappers, upon meeting me in person, rightly concluded that I was not a person with whom they should trifle about ransom.  I doubt the hysterics had anything to do with it.

But a new hard drive could never replace the old one, the one that knew all of my secrets and –

I decided that I needed a Miracle Max.

It turned out that, like The Princess Bride’s Man in Black,  my hard drive was only mostly dead, and Miracle Max was able to resurrect it, for a small fee equivalent to the cost of a year at Harvard.

Heartened by this turn events I brought the new body of my old hard drive home, and plugged it into the old body of my new hard drive so they could become one.

And now, it seems, that I apparently pimped my computer to a rabbit.  Instead of years of photographs, or the complete absence of photographs, my pictures exponentially reproduced, so that I now have 4 times as many photos as before the hard drive died.  And, ironically, I once again have too much data to fit on my backer upper.

I know that, if you have suffered the death of a hard drive, you have no sympathy for me, at this point.  I mean, why should I complain that I now have 100,000 pictures of Wonderbutt hogging space on my hard drive when, a week ago, I was sobbing because I had none?

That’s okay.

When my Toyota falls apart because I procrastinated responding to their ransom note (which they cleverly disguised as a “recall notice”), then you will regret your hard heart regarding my hard drive.  I only hope you can cope with the guilt.

P.S. This one is for you, Guap:

I’m About to Jump Off the Cliffs of Insanity


Cool, huh? Credits down below.

Inigo Montoya: I donna suppose you could speed things up?

Man in Black: If you’re in such a hurry, you could lower a rope or a tree branch or find something useful to do.

Inigo Montoya: I could do that. I have some rope up here, but I do not think you would accept my help, since I am only waiting around to kill you.

Man in Black: That does put a damper on our relationship.

So, here is my new method to combat Writer’s Block.  I have decided that when this dastardly disease descends upon me, I shall Google the quotes to one of my favorite movies, close my eyes, scroll the mouse up and down as fast as I can, click the mouse, and open my eyes to see which quote I have landed upon.  I will base my post on that quote.

I don’t like this method.

What the heck am I supposed to do with this quote (from The Princess Bride, in case you are not an obsessed fan who has memorized every line)?

Am I supposed to pretend that it’s a metaphor for my relationship with my writing?  Am I the Man in Black, and my writing is Inigo Montoya?

This is stupid.

Why would my writing be waiting around to kill me?

I mean, I could see how the metaphor works for my part.  I am the strong Man in Black, climbing up the steep Cliffs of Insanity, determined to arrive at the top, no matter what obstacles get put in my way.

But why would my writing be out to get me?  That would be an example of personification gone dramatically wrong, in my opinion.

O.K.  Let’s dig a little deeper here.  Inigo is trying to kill the Man in Black because he was ordered to by Fezzik.

Who would order my writing to destroy me?

Yeah.  That doesn’t work.

Maybe, my writing does not want to destroy me; it is just eager to engage me in a test of swordsmanship – like Inigo was to show off his skills to the Man in Black.

So, my writing wants to challenge me to a duel.

Who am I kidding?  I am no Man in Black.

I am a wimpy woman in sweatpants highly skilled in the roundhouse kick as practiced on my Tae Bo video – without making contact with any flesh.  At least not on purpose.  I did kick Cap’n Firepants once while doing my video, but that was an accident, I swear.

O.K.  Let’s try switching this little metaphor around.  I am Inigo Montoya, the man who is an expert swordsman, and just doesn’t have the one person he trained to kill in front of him.

The Man in Black is my writing, trying to reach me, but I am hesitant to drop the rope and make it easier.

Why the heck would I be hesitant to drop the rope?

If my writing is any character in this scene, it is the weaselly, long absent Fezzik, who has run away from The Man in Black, leaving Inigo to deal with the problem.

Yep.  That’s my writing – a long-winded, egotistical, know-it-all – bullying and taunting everyone who crosses in front of his 4 foot 2, dumpy little, bald-headed body.

Ah, that felt good.

But I have a feeling my Writer’s Block might decided to stick around for awhile.

I think I need a drink...

Inigo Name Tag photo credit: <a href=””>Rakka</a&gt; via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;
Inigo Montoya Barphoto credit: <a href=””>Hanan Cohen</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;

Why It’s Inconceivable that I Should Be Sick

My post “Results of a Study on John Denver and Depression” referred to the fact that mental illness appears to run in our family.  In “Name this Phobia…” I admitted that I am fearful of dying with a messy house.  I realize these confessions may make me sound slightly unbalanced.  But I’m actually completely unbalanced as today’s submission will confirm.

I am related to a hypochondriac.  I will not mention who it is, although I am pretty certain this relative does not read my blog.  So, if you are a relative who is reading my blog right now, I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT YOU!

My concern is that hypochondria is hereditary.

So I am afraid that I am going to complain about being sick all of the time.

Which kind of worries me when I think I might actually be sick.

Sometimes when I think I’m sick, I think I’m just thinking it.

Especially if I just happened to watch a drug commercial or chance upon an ad in which was listed a lot of symptoms and side effects.

So, not wanting to appear hypochondriacal, I ignore the symptoms, and wait them out.

But then I start thinking, what if this is something real, and I, by ignoring it, am making it worse?  What if it’s cancer, or some as yet unidentified Terminal Illness, and I could have saved myself by going to the doctor three months ago, but now it’s Too Late?

And, I will have to tell my husband and my daughter and Wonderbutt and Mrs. P.I.B. that I have two days to live because I was paranoid about being paranoid.

But that, I think, is exactly what a hypochondriac would think.

And, as everyone knows, hypochondria comes from the Greek word meaning “under the cartilage of the breastbone.”  And Greece was the home of Socrates who died by poisoning, so I clearly must choose to go to the doctor immediately.

But I am part Sicilian, and as everyone knows, including germs and cancer cells, you should “never go up against a Sicilian when death is on the line!”

Of course, another part of me is Irish, so I am clearly fearful of terrorists.  And I suspect they have been poisoning my food.

But that’s exactly the way a hypochondriac would think, so I clearly should ignore my psychosomatic symptoms.

And then I will start laughing hysterically and pitch over backwards and die.

I’ve been watching the Princess Bride too much.

What Ye Need is a Good Scabbard!

So yesterday, as many of you know, was Talk Like a Pirate Day.  Considering my husband is now known to all as Cap’n Firepants, I thought he, of all people would embrace this great holiday.  When I reminded him of it, he merely raised an eyebrow, and said, “Arrr.  Now, do you want me to go to the grocery store tonight?”

I’m pretty sure the last sentence was never spoken by an actual pirate.

The exchange made me a little curious about the origins of this day, so I looked it up, and there’s actually a whole website devoted to it, surprise, surprise.

The website was very informative.  I particularly enjoyed the pirate pickup lines, although “You. Pants off.  Now!!!!”  did not really seem to fit into the theme.  I do believe it would work with Cap’n Firepants, however.

Don’t ask me why, but that made me think of my favorite pirate (besides Cap’n Firepants, of course) – the Dread Pirate Roberts, AKA The Man in Black AKA Westley in The Princess Bride.

This led me to a website with Princess Bride quotes.  I spent fifteen minutes reading all of the quotes and chuckling about every scene in the movie.

When I realized how much time I’d just wasted reading practically the entire script of a movie I’ve watched a hundred times, I chastised myself strongly and got off the Internet.

But then I reminded myself we were still looking for a Halloween costume for Dimples and wouldn’t a costume from The Princess Bride be so cool?

Well, I got a little off track again.  I found pictures of a man dressed as Inigo Montoya at a Purim party.  Since I didn’t know what Purim was, much less why one would dress like Inigo Montoya for such a party, I had to research that.

Then I found a Fezzik costume for sale on eBay for only $300.  I think that Dimples, Cap’n Firepants and me could all fit in this costume at the same time.


This is beginning to be my worst attack of ADD ever.  Focus, focus, focus.  You are trying to type a blog.  Stop surfing the Internet, you fool.

Inigo Montoya: Hello there. Slow going?

Man in Black: Look, I don’t mean to be rude but this is not as easy as it looks, so I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t distract me.

Inigo Montoya: [apologetic] Sorry.

Man in Black: Thank you.

Yeah.  This isn’t going to work.

It’s time for me to go see what crawled out of the bung hole.

(Find out what I’m drinking with dinner, People!  You really need to get your minds out of the gutter, you land lubbing bilge rats!)

I’ve always wanted to say that.

The Curable Romantic

After I dated my Cap’n Firepants for a year, I started expecting a ring.  I even knew how he would pop the question.  We would go back to Fredericksburg, where we had gone on one of our first dates, and head out to the peach orchard.  He would chivalrously offer to pluck the peach tree with the highest branches, leaving its particularly heavily laden neighbor for me to harvest .  I would begin collecting peaches when, suddenly, I would spot, dangling delectably from one of the branches, a gorgeous engagement ring.  And the Cap’n would get on his knees and proclaim his everlasting love.

That didn’t happen.  Oh, the peach pluckin’ occurred.  Just not the ring gathering portion of my daydream.

Six months later, it was Christmas time.  And now I was really certain this would be the moment.  I spotted a nicely wrapped package under the tree, and reasoned that, though it was far too large to be a ring box, he would certainly want to surprise me, thus placing it in a larger box.  Not exactly original, but still romantic.

It was a cell phone.  Practical.  Not romantic.  Very thoughtful, of course, since he was concerned about my safety in the somewhat antiquated jalopy I was driving at the time.

I said, “Thank you.”  I think most women reading this post know that is not whatimeant2say.

Fast forward into our marriage. (He did eventually pop the question, though not in quite the elaborate manner I had pictured.) Cap’n Firepants, unlike most men, remembers every special occasion with a carefully chosen card and somewhat thoughtful gift.  Things started to get a little too generic, though.  One day,  I tell him that I would be fine without the gift, but I would be thrilled if he would write something in his own words on a card.  On the next occasion, he gave me a particularly elaborate card.

On the inside he wrote, “I really mean everything this card says.”  Not quite the flowery words I was requesting.

A few years later, the Cap’n, who had apparently forgotten my blatant lack of gratitude the first time, took the chance again of giving me a phone I didn’t ask for.

But this time, it was an iPhone.  And I learned to like it real fast.  It was almost better than a diamond ring.

I liked the iPhone so much that I bought myself an iPad.  By that point, I was so giddy with gadgets, I didn’t even care that we did nothing special on our ten-year anniversary.

I saw Cap’n Firepants looking wistfully at my iPad, and gave him my blessing when the new one was unveiled. I was a little jealous that he would have the camera and the Smartcover, but I figured I could hold off until iPad 3 rolled around.  Cap’n Firepants, in his usual meandering manner, didn’t order the iPad 2 right away, however.

One night, he finally admitted that he had broken down and ordered one.  Then, he casually stated that he had ordered two of them – one for me, too.  We were at a bar, and I leapt out of my bar stool and commenced to produce a very public PDA.  Cap’n Firepants loves getting himself a little DA, but not so much the P part.  Nevertheless, I think he was satisfied by my reception of his gift.

And now, my birthday is coming up.  I asked for an iPhone 5.  Surprise and/or other romantic trappings not necessary.

Although it would be really, really perfect if I could stream The Princess Bride from Netflix on my new, very practical gift.

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