Posts Tagged ‘West Texas’

Hello, Blog!! Been a while!

Yeah, yeah…I know. I am a neglectful blogger, but life has been hectic and crazy. Want some updates?

Well, when I logged back in I found that I still have quite a few visitors (thanks y’all!!!), and some new peeps who’ve found me in search engines. I just had to click over and see some of the search terms that they’ve used to find me…

And found a GREAT addition to my Odd-and-Crazy Search Terms archives:

“Shake me like a monkey”

Yep. Someone typed THIS into their search engine and it brought them to me. I’m pretty sure this one scares me more than my Bandaid-Butt fans. At least I know which post brought those guys to me.

But when did I ever write a post about shaking monkeys??? Literally or figuratively!?

Freak.

So what else has been going on?

I coached a tee-ball team. By accident (although I had a blast with a great little group of guys and girls)…

See, I checked “yes” on my daughter’s sign-up form, stating that I would be willing to help out and volunteer. I figured I’d be asked to bring some snacks to a game or two, and maybe sign up as team mom for a few games or practices.

Ooooh no…they called me the next day to let me know I’d been “given” a team. At least the rules for tee-ball are pretty lax. My softball playing years didn’t exactly prepare me for explaining the fundamentals to a group of 4-5 year olds.

And I never got to sing and dance in the outfield when I played.

Another high-light of the last few weeks…my husband launching us into a whole new realm of Redneckery.

There was a Rattlesnake Rodeo his peace officers’ association decided to hold. They needed snakes of course. In lieu of buying snakes, they handed a catcher out to the officers in the area and told them happy hunting. (we do live in West Texas, but still…)

So the Guru comes home one day with a lidded (thank God) 5 gallon bucket, a 4 foot long catcher stick, and a shit-eating grin.

“Honey, look what I caught! There are four of ‘em in here!!”

 This began the scramble to find something of an appropriate size and secure enough to hold multiple live rattlesnakes until they could be taken to the event.

After some digging, he comes up with a white plastic barrel (with no lid), a metal-grate lawn table, my concrete stepping stones, and a handful of bungee cords.

I was concerned.

It grew as he dumped the snakes into the barrel, placed the tabletop on the top of the barrel, and weighted it down with the stepping stones.

Then he bungeed the whole thing to a tree in the front yard… ”So the dogs won’t tip it over.”

Great. I took that moment to come to the computer and put out an APB (via Facebook, of course) to anyone who had a cage of some sort that might be a little more secure than the Guru’s Bucket-O-Snakes.

My cousin’s girlfriend (Dude, MARRY this one!!) saved my sanity by donating a rabbit cage to the cause. I reinforced it with metal fabric and forced the Guru to take it (and the snakes) to our kennels…which thankfully are about a quarter mile from the house.

In the meantime, he did attempt to make it safer for trespassers by using a magic marker and marking it with “DANGER: LIVE RATTLEBUGS!”

Although, if someone HAD come up to burglarize the house, we’re probably the only ones around who had guard-snakes in the yard…

Has anyone else reached any interesting levels of Redneckery? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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I just love road construction, don’t you? It’s right up there with pulling teeth…

Don’t go to Lubbock, Texas and expect to come out unscathed, traumatized, or with a much higher insurance deductible…

No kidding...

They’ve apparently turned the planning of the city layout over to a committee of the most vocal at the nearest psychiatric institute. And the road signs are now in the hands of three drunk transients who can spend all night moving road cones and other orange contraptions to random places…

I think an aerial photograph of Lubbock would currently reveal thousands of orange dots in the shape of a giant hand with the middle finger raised.

I kept expecting to see something like this...

 

Planview is no better. The main highway running through town has been halfway diminished to two scary little lanes for the better part of 2012…that wasn’t good enough though. Now they’ve taken out the rest of the way through town.

Unless you have a death wish, just go buy everything at your nearest convenience store, cut your own hair, and forget about anything in any of the shops on the South side of the main road there. I’m pretty sure most of them have gone out of business by now…they were all woefully abandoned when I took my last trip through Plainview for this year.

And for those brave souls around here who can’t live without Wal-Mart…email me, I know a super-secret back way to get there. 😉

 

Does anyone else believe in ghosts? I don’t want to start a huge debate, but I actually do, and I have one here.

A ghost cat, actually.

Or maybe I have proof that cats do have 9 lives.

We had two cats born a while back, one solid black with unusually green (grass green, not typical eye-color green) and one white with very light gray markings and blue eyes.

I named them The Ghost and The Darkness. Good movie, better book, and it fit in with my unique pet-naming habits.

They grew up into beautiful cats, both very sweet. Unfortunately, life in rural West Texas can be tough for domestic felines…the bigger ones (bobcats, mountain lions) seem to do just fine.

The Darkness had a difference of opinion with a badger one night, and didn’t win the argument. He was hurt badly.

I don’t want to freak anyone out, so I’ll be vague. The poor things injuries were not something that he could possibly survive, and were concentrated on his chest and right front leg.

I cried over him for a while, and then let the Guru take him away to end his suffering. I couldn’t let him hurt anymore.

Come on PETA, give me your best.

So three months have passed by, and I walked outside onto the back porch  few days ago to our cats hanging out as usual. The normal view includes the two loopy cowdogs, two white cats, a gray tabby, and one black cat with white hairs on his chest.

In case you’re curious, they are (in the same order): Schatzie, Scamper, Sassy, the Ghost, Flint, and Lite (yes, the black one).

This day everyone was in attendance…along with an extra black cat.

An extra black cat with no markings of any other color, grass-green eyes, and a noticeable limp on his right front leg…

Just for the skeptics:

  • No, he couldn’t have survived the injuries. I know injuries, and I have owned animals my entire life. It was not possible.
  • That aside, he could not have survived the “ending of the suffering.” Again, for those with delicate sensibilities, please just trust me. My husband checked, because he couldn’t stand the idea of him possibly surviving and hurting anymore.
  • If he was injured out there somewhere, he could not have survived three months on his own. A healthy cat has little chance out there with badgers, coyotes, wild hogs, and bigger cats.

He has a single scar on the inside of his leg.

So yeah…I have no good reasonable explanation.

Except that The Darkness is back.

 

A rare sight in the hot, dry climate of the West Texas Panhandle today…

Rare Spotted Minion Foraging for Sugar and Caffeine

A Spotted Minion was found foraging for sugar-containing food and drink, wearing a shoe robbed from another, larger minion. Most forms of food and drink, and many kinds of clothing and accessories are commonly found missing after a sighting of a Minion of any kind, especially the younger ones.

Minions are cuddly creatures that love to be held and played with, and make great pets and family members. They are sometimes a handful, as they love to climb and dismantle things. They get along well with other creatures, often sighted snuggling with domestic cats and dogs. If you see one, a Minion can often be coaxed near with a handful of mini-marshmallows or a beverage with a straw.

A Sweet and Happy Critter

These creatures are scavengers, eating and drinking what they find. Some are picky, but they are almost always up for something sugary.

Spotted minions are extremely rare, and often mistaken for those of the more common species. This is because the spots are only evident in special circumstances…in this case, a sheet of pricing labels was left unattended and was taken by two minions, resulting in the appearance of spots.

There have also been sightings of Striped Minions, usually in concurrence to the disappearance of markers. Fancy Minions are often seen in stolen beads and tiaras, and are normally larger in size than this Spotted Minion seen here.

Other names for the Minion include, Little Sh*t, Buddy, Klepto-Kid, and Dammit Son

Yeah…I am fairly sure I flashed the guy flying the spray plane over my house today. There was no crash, and he didn’t do a repeated fly-by routine, so maybe (maybe) he wasn’t looking down.

Or maybe he just wasn’t shocked to see some chick having technical difficulties with her tank top in her front yard at the house on the Back 40.

Maybe he heard the rumors that she’s crazy, and didn’t think it was abnormal...

See, living in the middle of nowhere in the new-age dust bowl has it’s advantages. I have the best tan I have had in years, thanks to the comfy teal lounge chair in the front yard and the (usually) complete and utter privacy. There are occasionally spray planes or air force contraptions that fly overhead, but these are usually too high to see much of what I am up to…and waaaayyyy too far away to know what I am drinking on some of these brutally hot days when I know I am not going anywhere anytime soon 😉

No, for those of you that took a swan dive right off into mental gutter-land, I do not lay out tanning in my birthday best! I usually go for a pair of short shorts and a thin strapped tank top. You dirty-minded people…if ANYONE comes cruising by out here claiming to have been on a scenic drive or lost you have had it. I will shoot!

Anyway…today it occurred to me that all my tank tops have different straps, and that some are placed differently than others. This results in the possibility of a white, untanned stripe of skin running alongside the strap of some of the shirts. Not cool. 

Rather than running around topless in the front yard (I do occasionally have people that show up out here unannounced, and wasn’t crazy about the idea of sunburned boobs), I decided I could just shimmy out of the straps, leaving the top more or less in place. Easy breezy, right?

Well…I didn’t take into account just how breezy it would be as a gust of wind hit just about the time I shimmied that second strap down my arm and let it go. Of course the wind couldn’t actually steal the shirt, but it did manage to add to my shimmy enough to take that whole loose-fitting shirt down into belt/sash mode.

This all occurred about the time a low-flying spray plane decided to take the shortcut from wherever he had been to wherever he was going that took him right over me.

Thanks to the fact that I had stood up from my lounge chair to get the tank situated, and the fact that I had to perform some very deliberate movements to get my arms out of the straps, I am pretty sure that from a bird’s-eye view I looked like a crazily desperate woman struggling to get her top down for the sole purpose of flashing the pilot of the little plane.

Of course I immediately grabbed the shirt and pulled it up.

Of course a plane moves fast enough that by then he was past…probably laughing at the crazy topless woman living out in the sticks.

Oh well…hope he enjoyed the show.

Apparently I did piss off the Scorpion King…

The other morning I woke up to my daughter’s unmistakable “oh dear…MOOOOOOMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!”

That is the alarm bell that is real…not the one that you hear when her brother steals a crayon, turns off the TV, or drinks the last of her orange soda. This cry of alarm is the one you hear when there is a wasp attacking her head, she is actually bleeding, or the dog has knocked her down…OR when there is a scorpion lying in wait just inside the door to the microwave in her play-kitchen.

The last one is what happened this time, the evil little bastard was just sitting in there alone on the beige plastic. Evidently the tiny microwave-shaped compartment just looked and felt like a homey new place for a scorpion nest. Probably a better bet than the hand-sprayer on my water-hose, but if you read the post about that one I’m sure you jumped to the same conclusion I have.

I did piss off the Scorpion King and I am being visited in ten-fold scorpion karma.

If it were the one incident I could shrug it off and say maybe coincidence (although I don’t truly believe in coincidence), but that hasn’t been the only tiny minion of hell that’s been hanging around.

A few days ago I interrupted one on his disturbingly militant march across the carpet in my bedroom, where the carpet was installed with them in mind…the tan on taupe mottled colors match the pattern and coloring of the back of the scorpions perfectly. Seriously, I could not use paint sample cards from a hardware store and come up with a better match! This one was marching purposefully towards the bed and I saw the slight movement of what looked like a carpet design.

This one got sprayed with Sevin…a few drops, because I realized I was out of that and he got shot with BugStop. The combination of the two made him drunk, he began to weave and bob as though attempting to avoid those carpet spots that looked so like him. Hell maybe he was drunk and thought he was weaving through a crowd of his evil little friends. I’m sure that the fact that we laughed at his drunken journey means that the scorpion karma is going to be even worse. He got put out of his poisoned misery with a watery burial in the toilet.

The one this morning is the one that has me convinced of my pre-determined haunting, though. If nothing else, it served as a great lesson to me and my daughter both, in the shaking and checking of any article of clothing before putting it onto your body…she was an up-close and personal witness to this attack.

I grabbed a pair of jeans from the bathroom floor where I had tossed them before I bathed, and proceeded to pull them on while I chattered with Cheyenne about something mundane (I think we were trying to recall all the lyrics to a Taylor Swift song). She reached and pointed about the time I noticed the little wad of hair or string on the jeans I was pulling on. She giggled and said she saw it and was going to get it for me…about the time it began shimmying up the leg of the jeans. I squealed like a girl and began shimmying the pants down my legs, and the race was on!

I won the race, thank goodness, there were no places easily accessible from his position that I would have cared to be stung at that moment. The scorpion and the jeans were quickly abandoned in a heap on the floor while I tiptoed into the hall for the pliers. For some reason critters scaring the daylights out of me causes an instant ninja-mode and I can’t move without tiptoeing.

Cheyenne had hit a ninja-mode of her own and made it onto the bathroom counter in a single bound. I was proud, she did it without knocking over a single thing and without the bruises on the butt that I had after my last leap of faith (from the snake…previous post). She didn’t even lose her flip-flops!!

Anyway, this scorpion followed his buddies down the toilet after I found him and grabbed his tail with the pliers. I briefly considered the Bugstop, but it was a clean (other than the scorpion apparently) pair of jeans and I hate laundry sooo much!

Y’know…I really hope scorpions can’t swim…

No one answer that, I think I want to remain blissfully and willfully ignorant on that one as I continue to flush the evil bastards.

It is sometimes almost scary to be in here, and at the very least it is often quite confusing. I tend to run on several channels at once, with interference from each one creating an undertone of distracting noise on the others.

I figured I might be able to record a sample of my typical thought train and see how it looked in writing.

Ok…yes, I am bored and couldn’t think of anything brilliant to write about for the moment, so I am writing a post about nothing in particular.

I was sitting on the front steps earlier watching my son play in his sandbox with his favorite cat and found myself contemplating the energy drink in my hands. It bragged: non-carbonated, all-natural, guaranteed to quench even the “most intense thirst.”

I found myself thinking about thirst-quenching drinks and wondering why some work better than others. Tea and water, for example, work everytime…if the tea is unsweetened. Add sugar and it seems to detract from the tea’s thirst-quenching abilities. Sugary lemonade, though, can work great. So it really doesn’t make sense, since apparently the presence of sugar doesn’t really have an effect on thirst-quenching success.

That got me on a tangent of why non-carbonated beverages work so much better than carbonated ones…since you would think bubbles wouldn’t really make that much of a difference. I second-guessed myself on that one when I remembered the “crisp, clean taste of Sprite” which is carbonated, sugary as hell, and kills thirst as well as any tea or lemonade…if it’s cold. The cold vs. warm debate was not one I wanted to get into with myself, so I ignored that thought.

Speaking of thirst, I wondered…is that what it is like to be a vampire? The most thirsty you can get, where only tea or water will work, seems to burn in the back of your throat. If that is how a vampire feels, then I truly feel sorry for them. It would be horrible to not be able to turn to a huge glass of iced tea…

Furthermore, how can blood quench a thirst? It’s hot and sticky and I can’t imagine that would be a good feeling on the back of a parched throat. Would chilled blood work better? And would it somehow not be as good if they drank it from a cup with a straw? Somehow that just seems more civilized and less messy. Preferably a cup that is not clear… A lid would also be good, bloodstains suck to get out of carpet.

In Twilight, Bella drank her blood from a cup when she was pregnant with the half-vampire child. Wouldn’t that be impossible? A vampire is essentially dead…wouldn’t the sperm be well past swimming and fertilizing??

Anyway…those books (Twilight series) were so much better than the movies, even though the movies were entertaining. I liked the cast they chose for everyone except Rosalie…for some reason I didn’t think the actress was pretty enough to live up to the books’ descriptions of “the most beautiful creature anyone had ever seen.” I mean, the movie Rosalie had black eyebrows and white-blonde hair. That isn’t all that attractive on any creature. That’s just me though…I’m not really into tall blonde chicks, hehee.

Speaking of books, movies, and vampires…

Why can’t they make movies of the Anita Blake (Laurell K. Hamilton) series? Those were a hell of a lot more entertaining and imaginative than Twilight…and wouldn’t have sparked an entire nations disbelief in a sparkly vampire. Hamilton’s vampires were just as sexy as Edward Cullen any day…but they didn’t sparkle. They were too cool for that.

I liked that the were-animals in the Blake series were far more diverse than a few small-town werewolves. There are gun-toting wererats and stripper wereleopards…so much cooler!

No, I actually don’t read only about vampires…I read all kinds of things. I like crime thriller type books, and am a fan of Iris Johansen and Sandra Brown. Some of Stephen King’s stories are okay, but a little over-rated. Except Christine. Christine was probably one of my favorite books of all time. I loved that mean, jealous, bitchy car!

The movie was ok…not great. I am not usually thrilled with remakes, but that one would be a good one for the “movie people” to make a newer version of. They would have to keep the make and model of the car though…she just wouldn’t look right as a shiny new Chevy or something.

Too bad they’ve really run out of ideas for good movies. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen more than a handful of really good movies. They are all tedious and boring now. A few have been ok. The Ugly Truth was a little cheesy, but fun. How Do You Know turned out to be really good. Of course, I love Jack Nicholson…you cannot beat his sarcastic charm.

Did Robert Duvall die? I always liked him, too…he was (is?) an awesome actor. I loved his character in Lonesome Dove. I still cry everytime Gus dies. He was also pretty good in Days of Thunder.

Tom Cruise was so much better back then…when he wasn’t afraid to “act outside the proverbial box.” Interview with the Vampire…he made a great Lestat. I wonder if he is still into the whole Scientology thing, and how they felt this weekend when the world didn’t end? Were they one of the groups that were expecting us all to get snatched up out of our shoes Saturday?

Someone made a joke that the Rapture didn’t happen because God and Jesus decided it wasn’t worth the price of gas to come down at this time… I thought that was freaking hilarious, some people didn’t see the humor. I was one of the ones in favor of buying a bunch of blow-up dolls, filling them with helium, and releasing them at 6 o’clock Saturday evening to watch people freak out. I’m not exactly politically correct though.

I wish the wind would stop blowing…my daughter has been wanting to get out her slip n slide. Lately though, it would turn into a mudbath that I really don’t want to clean up. Not to mention, poor Dylan would blow away if he were on a slippery surface.

Cheyenne’s program at school is tomorrow morning, then they are going to spend a couple of days with Grandma. YAY!!! Peace and quiet!!

Maybe I will get some more done those two days…I really need to write some stuff for something other than this. Even though this is my favorite project. I also need to clean up the house. I have dishes in the dishwasher that need put away, and I have laundry that needs folded.

Those are my two biggest pet peeves…putting up clean clothes and dishes. I have no idea why, but I don’t mind washing either, but putting them away is annoying. My clothes stay in a pile most of the time until they get worn. This bugs the crap out of me sometimes, and other times I think, “who really gives a rat’s ass if they are in the closet or a basket anyway?”

I guess I answered my own question…sometimes I give a rat’s ass. Life would be so much less stressful if I could just let go of the notion that they needed to be put away neatly and let them sit in their basket. Then I wouldn’t have to put them away, but I also wouldn’t have to feel guilty because I haven’t yet.

Okay, that was over 1200 words on absolutely nothing at all, and I have better things to do. Hope you enjoyed the ride on that thought train!

I haven’t always lived on a ranch, or even in the country…but I am learning. Slowly, painfully, sometimes disastrously, but I am learning.

Yesterday I killed my very first rattlesnake, all by myself!

There was some squealing and jumping around involved, but the end result was the demise of a rattlebug that posed a threat to the critters I’ve collected over the last year. Cats and kittens, two loopy cowdogs (aren’t Heelers supposed to be smart?), a raccoon that steals the shiny things from the garage, and the “funky armadillo” are the critters that have names. Deer and birds are everywhere, but they’re not quite pets…yet anyway. Give me time, I have birdseed and deer corn, I will make friends.

Anyway, back to my rattlebug…

I was driving down my half-mile long driveway (you can’t see my house from anything paved), and saw my first snake of the year. I stopped the Chevy in the middle of the road and sat there frozen, staring into yellow eyes that seemed to stare right back at me. Somewhere in the back of my mind I heard the “old cowboy movie whistle” that always plays when the gunslinger faces his foe.

Thanks to my Country Guru, I had the necessary tools in my truck for just such an encounter. The bed of the truck holds a shovel, a bag of critter food, some wire, a bucket of sand, and a baby walker. Inside the truck are two knives, a roll of toilet paper, and my “cowboy gun.” I call it that because “.22 with snake-shot” just doesn’t have the same ring, and because the gun has a hammer that pulls back and a barrel that spins…just like in the movies. I’ve learned the hard way that there is a trick to spinning that barrel without spinning the gun out of your hands and across a hardwood floor…causing several grown men to shriek like little girls and take cover behind the couch. I’ve also learned that a quick-draw isn’t as easy as it is in the movies, especially if you have boobs in the way.

So there I was with the snake staring a challenge at me, and I’m trying to remember where I put the cowboy gun. It finally takes slowly opening my door and creeping around the back of the truck to the passenger side, where the gun is hiding under the backseat. Handy, right?

Gun in hand; I sneak around the front of the truck like I’m tiptoeing up on a sleeping giant. Right there in front of the bumper, where I’d left the evil creature, was…nothing but dirt. The sudden image in my mind had my snake just under the edge of the truck, sighting in on my bare calf, and that was enough to elicit a squeal and the freaky snake dance that took me high-stepping backwards at a high enough rate of speed that I lost my flip-flop. I swept it up with my non-gun hand and jumped up onto the side of the truck, teetered there for an infinite few seconds, and tumbled in rear-end first.

Thankfully I didn’t shoot myself or put any new holes in the pick-up. I did get an interesting bruise from the shovel though. I took a breath, got my bearings, and got mad! Somehow falling down or losing a shoe taps into that part of my brain that holds pride and ego, and sitting half-barefoot with a sore butt in the back of my truck was just humiliating enough to tick me off.

Gun in hand, I crawled back down from my silver tower and crept up past the bumper again, this time a safe distance from the dark abyss underneath. There was a clear trail in the dirt where the snake had slithered away to the side of the road and under a bush. Part of me hoped to find the evil thing hiding under the bush, and part of me hoped it had crawled a mile away never to be seen again.

Not sure whether I got my wish or not, since I was undecided what the wish really was (other than a fast move back to a place with stores and traffic), but I did find the snake under the bush. I shrieked again and did a milder version of that freaky snake dance, managing to startle the snake into rattling at me. Actually I don’t think my noises startled it as much as the branch that slapped it in the face when I let go of it. Apparently snakes don’t like being smacked in the nose with shrubbery any more than husbands do.

So the snake was rattling, I was shrieking like a little girl (or a grown man diving for cover from a loaded cowboy gun bouncing across the floor), and I’m sure my guardian angel was about to turn in her resignation. I couldn’t see the snake without the branch moved, and I wasn’t risking my toes again to get close enough to touch it…so I leaned, on tiptoe, as far as I could towards the bush. When I caught a glimpse of scales, thanks to the snake for continuing to rattle angrily, I pointed the gun, pulled back the hammer, and fired.

The silence that followed the pop was thick with tension, as I realized that I’d have to move the bush to find out whether I’d hit my target (I wasn’t sure snake-shot bullets would go through a bush with enough oomph to take out something underneath).

It was an eternity before I had one of those moments where you have to slap yourself in the forehead. That is when I went back to the truck, got the shovel, and used it to move the branches around. Apparently, snake shot will travel quite well through a bush, and I managed to use the shovel to drag a very dead rattlebug out into the daylight.

This time, the freaky snake dance was a triumphant one, and I didn’t even care that I lost my flip-flop again. I walked (sort of, considering the one shoe) back to my truck with a newfound sense of accomplishment and the echoes of the western movie whistle in the back of my mind.

One down, 837,000 to go, I’m sure.

Scorpions that is…the first one of the year, if you don’t count the one I rousted from his winter nest inside my hand-sprayer in the front yard. I’m not counting that one, though. He wasn’t much of a threat anyway, considering the many cold floods I gave his residence before I figured out why the sprayer wouldn’t…well…spray. By the time I diagnosed the issue, the thing was missing a couple of legs, one pincher-thingy, and it’s tail/stinger/weapon attachment was kinda crooked over to one side and twitching.

Well, crap.

I bet I pissed off the Scorpion King.

It’s going to be a long year, if that’s the case…and would explain why I found one of the evil creatures in the kitchen just now in April, when I didn’t see a single one last year until sometime around July, maybe even August.

Speaking of freaking out about things…okay, I wasn’t freaking out, but…

Never-mind, I’m just going to change channels.

I completely freaked out tonight…and if you know me, I’m really not the type to freak out. Except for clowns and centipedes…but everyone has their phobias.

Anyway, I was on the phone with my husband…sitting at my desk in the living room. TV is on with the volume low, the kids are asleep with their TV turned down low…and a woman yells something from somewhere in the direction of my bedroom.

Instant ninja-mode…I creep through the house (after whispering the problem to my husband), finding nothing. I finally find the culprit in the scanner I had left on, I was hearing a dispatcher.

…aaaannnnddddd my husband has to ask the question. “Got your gun?”

For the sake of honesty, (because I REALLY wanted to say, “Of course, locked and loaded,” or something equally cool and cavalier), I answered with the truth, “Nope, flashlight.”

Silence…followed by the voice he gets when he’s trying (unsuccessfully) to mask amusement, “In the house? With all the lights on? With guns, knives, at least one bat…?”

“Yes, dammit! With all the available weapons in the house with me…within reach…I veered out of my way to get the freaking flashlight, okay? MY ninja-mode requires lots of light, thankyouverymuch!!”

After I hang up the phone, still slightly freaked (not that I would have admitted it) but calmer, I sit down at the desk again. It is quiet. The scanner is off. A toy in the basket across the room (that I had jostled coming back to the living room) begins singing the Wheels on the Freaking Bus.

And so, here I sit typing with a pistol in the desk drawer, and a child’s toy (probably singing) somewhere in the front yard.

I married a man who shrieks like a little girl and does the freaky dance if he walks through a spiderweb. This is the same man who wears kevlar and carries an M-something-or-other on his shoulder, a pistol on his side, and a knife in his boot. Gun-wielding psychopaths are no match for him, but a single strand of silk will bring him to his knees.

A wasp can extract almost the same reaction in this tough man…minus the shrieking, with more arm-waving. If we didn’t share this ranch with a population of roughly eight thousand wasps, it might have escaped my notice for a few more years.

Unfortunately, we live in a place where the bugs were (at some point in history) exposed to radioactive chemicals that gave them super powers.

The scorpions glow under a black light. Seriously. They also play dead if you poke them with a stick.

The spiders average the size of my closed fist, and can create a web that might actually stop a man in his tracks…they certainly have an effect on cops.

We have a few mosquitoes…they don’t bother me too much, they think my husband is skeeter-candy, though. More than those, we have what I grew up calling Mosquito-Hawks. I don’t know if that is a name I made up as a child or an actual reference, but they are basically giant mosquitoes. They fit right in with our overly-healthy arthropod/arachnid population.

Porcupines actually do shoot quills from their nether regions with the flexing of a muscle. I did not believe this, and dismissed it as an old wives’ tale until I actually witnessed the hissy fit that ensued from Officer Spiderman and his gun.

There are still some who don’t believe the centipede I found one day was ten inches long and had a red head. These same people actually saw the aftermath…I moved EVERYTHING out of my house in one afternoon. Seriously folks, I wouldn’t have done that for some little bug! …still never found the damn thing.

I am deathly afraid of centipedes. And clowns.These are actual phobias that will make me stop breathing for a space of time. People who love me don’t torture me with these things, people who grow to love me learn quickly that it’s not like jumping around a corner with a Scream mask on…it’s not a funny prank to pull.

Spiders, snakes, mice, and porcupines I can handle, and my husband is pretty good about exterminating any centipedes and scorpions we run across, and I take care of the things that can attack from above.

At least I don’t have to worry about bad guys…when someone breaks into the house, I get to be the one that screams like a girl.