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Mosquitos: A Treatise on Why We Should Murder Them All and Let God Sort Them Out

I hate mosquitos.

 I know, I know – I’m in Texas. What do I expect?

Not this.

Image from: ABC13 - https://abc13.com/weather/quarter-size-mosquitoes-plague-area-amid-heavy-rainfall-/4235028/

I’m used to mosquito swarms during summer, even the end of summer, especially when it’s been especially wet and rainy, like it is right now. But this is not the normal level of swarms.

They swarm the front door, turning it from its usual not-so-clean white to a mottled grey with moving bits.

They swarm into the car the minute I open the door to get in. (And then I’m in the situation of not crashing the car trying to swat at a bug, which, of course, I would never ever do, but, for argument’s sake, let’s say I did, and let’s say that I believe the wasp in the car died when I hit the telephone pole, so it was sort of an even trade: the front end of the VW for a vicious little bastard of a wasp.)

They swarm me the minute I sit on the back porch. I wind up not being able to do anything, including just sitting there and watching the dogs run around or listening to nothing, because I spend every second swatting them away, and I still get covered in bites.

There is a bit of joy in the situation, though. There’s nothing like the feeling when you get revenge on one for landing on you. But by then, it’s probably already bitten you, so that revenge is tempered by the fact that there’s often a little splot of blood when you kill it. The blood that splots out might be yours (gross! Bloodsucking bastard!), or, even worse, someone else they bit before they bit you (extra gross! You bastard whore of a mosquito!).

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I hate mosquitos. I hate them very, very, very, very, very much. But not as much as I hate Trump. So there’s that.

And for your viewing pleasure – the In-Laws from 1979! Peter Falk’s description of tsetse flies is what I think of when I see our current mosquito swarms…

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The real test of a relationship…

26013000 Ice cubes on blue background

There are a billion (okay, maybe a billion and one) pieces out there that purport to provide the ultimate tests to see if your relationship will last or if it’s doomed to destruction. Based on some simple characteristics or a few innocuous actions, you’ll be able to dump your partner or live a life of bliss.

Except.

Those are all full of shit.

The real test – the only test that matters – is what happens when you have a refrigerator that doesn’t make ice. In July. In Texas.

It doesn’t matter if you or your partner farts. Or picks their nose. Or scratches themselves. Or doesn’t change the toilet paper roll. None of that makes any difference in how well your relationship will run. Nope. The only thing is that damn ice tray.

Here’s the thing: when we moved into our house, it came with a nice, new, contractor-special, low-grade, standard refrigerator. White. Plain. Boring. But it had an ice maker.

I loved that ice maker.

Ice, all the time.

I’m addicted to ice in my drinks. The more ice the better. I would put in two ounces of a drink and twelve ounces of ice, then let it melt. Cooooold.

Then that lovely refrigerator bit the dust. Repairs – if they would be possible – weren’t worth it. But we didn’t have much money. So we did what we had to do.

We bought the cheapest refrigerator that had a fridge and a freezer.

It didn’t have an ice maker.

That’s okay, we told ourselves. We can make ice. It isn’t hard. People used to do it all the time. And it’ll save $50! That’s more than a tenth the cost of the refrigerator! Totally worth it!

I want to go back in time and bitch slap myself.

I haven’t had to make my own ice in 10 years. Ten years. Now I’m doing it twice a day. (Yes, I use that much ice. Don’t you judge me.)

I’ve also learned the ice issues.

First, I bought the cheap ice trays. Cheap doesn’t mean bad, right? Yeah. Yeah, it does. They have to be seated a certain way in order to stay one on top of the other. Ask me how many times I put them the wrong way and have water well up, covering the counter, floor, and my feet? At last count it was about 467. And that’s only been in the past two months.

Second, you discover the ice tray tricks. Things like always leaving one ice cube in the bin so that you don’t have to dump out the trays and make new ice. Things like sneaking a single ice cube from the trays so that you don’t have to dump out the trays and make new ice. Things like choosing to go without a drink so that you don’t have to dump out the trays and make new ice.

Third, you also learn how quickly your spouse catches onto those same tricks when you go to get ice and find out that the tricks have already been pulled and you’ve been screwed into the position of being the ice maker.

We’ve been together for 25 years and married for 20.

All the things we’ve gone through. All the things we’ve done. All the stuff that’s supposed to make or break a relationship. But it all comes down to the ice trays.

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Why the world is a scary place, part 8,345

Prison image from kconnor at morgueFile (http://mrg.bz/od4grb)
Prison image from kconnor at morgueFile (http://mrg.bz/od4grb)

As anyone who knows me (or has read one or two blogs on here or any of my other writing) knows, my son is autistic.  We have pretty much acknowledged that, while we aren’t stopping trying and while we wouldn’t give up, we know that he will probably wind up in an assisted living type circumstance where he will need help with his daily life.  We’re lucky in that we have lots of insurance for when we’re gone, and we know how to apply to get him what he will need.  In fact, we’re already on waiting lists because many of them are eight to twelve years long (no joke).

However, for those that aren’t in that position, the world is, simply put, fucked up.  I prefer not to go all out on the cursing in my blog, but this is one time it deserves it.  Lubbock, Texas, has a state-supported living center.  In 2009, they were investigated.  At the time, they were at 20% compliance.  Wait, let me repeat that.  Fucking 20% compliance.  20%.  20-fucking-percent.

In the past four years, though, they’ve made gains.  To 23%.  Wait, let’s go over that one again, too.  In four years, they improved less than one percent a year. 

The state home is meeting requirements in 37 out of 171 areas. 

And that is – scarily enough – not the worst of it.  Between January 2011 and August 2012, there were 202 allegations of physical abuse and 188 allegations of neglect.  Now, to be fair, only 50 allegations of physical abuse were substantiated, and only 83 allegations of neglect were substantiated.  But a lack of substantiation doesn’t mean it didn’t happen; it just means that it wasn’t proven.  And with the way things work, how long did it take to see if these things were true?  Long enough that it *couldn’t* be proven?  And how many people couldn’t even make allegations because of their conditions?

And, because I want to keep being fair – there’s one more thing you should know.  Remember the year and a half including 202 allegations of physical abuse and 188 allegations of neglect?  Here’s the thing you should know about that.  There are only 211 residents.  What do these numbers tell us?

Now, again, I want to be fair – I do not have the 500+ page report that details all this, so I don’t know if multiple allegations came from a single individual.  In fact, they probably did.  But it’s still just beyond troubling that there are only 211 residents and 202 allegations of physical abuse.  Those numbers just seem overwhelmingly out of whack with a world that cares about the people in it.

I know I often quote from Hair, and maybe because that’s because I’m a hippie at heart, but sometimes it’s just so appropriate to ask “how can people be so heartless?  How can people be so cruel?”  What is wrong that this is going on, and no one is fixing it.  Yes, the state is stepping in now, and they are claiming that they will do evaluations every six months with plans for the state home to hit 100% compliance in four to five years.  But what about those four to five years for the residents?  They’re expected to keep suffering while the state slowly fixes a world that is abusive and neglectful? 

No, I don’t know the solution here, but maybe we need to start looking for one.  This isn’t the only state home, and I’m afraid that if I kept looking, I would find even worse numbers out there.  But for us as the general public to act horrified when we hear about an individual child abused, why aren’t we outraged now?  Why aren’t we getting the people involved removed and putting in a whole new and well-trained staff?  Why don’t we care enough to speak up and step up? 

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Part III of Why I Don’t Like Mondays – Guns in Schools

Loading up.  By MConnors, MorgueFiles.  http://mrg.bz/Swjz99
Loading up. By MConnors, MorgueFiles. http://mrg.bz/Swjz99

“Violence rules, guns are cool, and we have guns in our school…”  Or so sayeth The Dead Milkmen in their song “Violent School.”

When I was in high school in New Jersey many a year ago, we had an “incident.”  Even with our security guards (who hit on the teenage girls and ignored it when they smoked in the bathrooms), there were still drugs and violence and bullying and other typical – or what seemed like typical – high school stuff going on around us.  Except that one day, a security guard apparently walked into the boys’ bathroom and discovered that one of the low-level drug dealer teenage boys had a gun.  Oh my (as George Takei would say).

The school extended our homeroom period and asked us to talk about it.  Because that would fix the problem. And we’d all feel safe then.  A few friends and I walked around, singing from the Dead Milkmen song.  We didn’t feel safe, but we didn’t feel any less safe.  Way back when I had started there, the big news was about someone who had gotten stabbed in front of the local diner (Ralph’s) and gone through the window.  And at some point, I can’t remember if it was before or after the incident with the gun in the bathroom, we had a neighbor a few blocks over who had shot and killed his father.  There were claims of abuse; I want to say it was the eldest who shot his father, and I only remember that he had a sister named Gia who was closer to my age. It was so long ago that it’s only a faint memory. 

What’s my point again?

That this isn’t new.  In Houston, right up the road from me now, a high school student was found with a loaded gun.  This isn’t new either. 

I’m not going to make any comments on guns and the NRA and all the other things in the news.  I’m not trying to make any point about how guns are good or bad.  I’m just going to say this – guns exist.  Guns are already in schools.  And if you’ve read my two previous posts in this series, then you know that I’ve looked at two other things: the fact that we’re fascinated with bad things and that we love to blame “others” for those bad things.  We’re still doing the same things.  Nothing has changed. 

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“Accidental shootings”

Sculpture symbole de "Non-Violence" réalisé par Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd (Malmö - Suède) from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Non_violence_sculpture_by_carl_fredrik_reutersward_malmo_sweden.jpg
Sculpture symbole de “Non-Violence” réalisé par Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd (Malmö – Suède) from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Non_violence_sculpture_by_carl_fredrik_reutersward_malmo_sweden.jpg

Before I say anything else, it’s important to giggle over the fact that as I write this, I checked my iGoogle page, and the following quote was at the bottom: Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of congress. But I repeat myself. (Mark Twain)

Now, it’s time for the “funny” part of the posting.  Two news stories showed up that convince me that someone is trying to push anti-gun legislation.  But all the stories really show, to me, is that it’s time for anti-stupid legislation.  Either people need to get smarter, or they need to come up with better stories.

First, a man in San Antonio accidentally brought his gun to bed, rolled over, and shot his wife in the stomach.  Uh-huh.  Cause I always grab my gun off the nightstand when I’m reaching for a pillow. 

But it’s okay because the sexes are equal.  In College Station, a woman was trying to shoot a skunk in her backyard, and she accidentally missed the skunk and shot her husband.  Yeah.  Why would she be shooting a skunk?  And isn’t the term “skunk” used in another way when it refers to people?  Hmmm.

Anyway, I’m just saying, this is Texas.  Don’t we have a saying about someone just needing killing (or shooting in this case)?  Why not just come clean and admit that they were on purpose.  It sounds a lot better than claiming it’s an accident.