Friday, May 21, 2010

Books & Bugs

Things have been quiet on the blog because guess what? I'm FINALLY working on a new novel! My day job is currently like a triathlete pausing briefly to change from swim to biking gear, and while the wet suit is stuck to its thighs, I'm taking full advantage of the break to write my guts out.

I am also battling a massive aphid infestation on my rugosa roses. More specifically, on their beautiful buds, which I'm not about to lose to a bunch of little creeps without exoskeletons. Yesterday I ordered 1,500 ladybugs and several hundred lacewing larvae, because as much as I want to at this point, you can't spray heavy-duty chemicals on rugosas, or they'll completely defoliate. Even Miracle-Gro fertilizer will cause them to drop their leaves faster than a CEO can shift blame during congressional hearings. The best thing to do with rugosas is leave them alone, because they are tough little bastards.

So how did they get aphids? Because I hung a nursery-purchased planter above them last year that by the end of the season could have been featured in a B-movie called SWARM! (or in this case, CRAWL!)

I was reluctant to tell J about ordering bugs through the mail, even the "good guys," because the rose bushes in question are right below our front entry, and the idea of 1,500 ladybugs swarming around our front door didn't really appeal to him.

I know!

Anyway, the box just came from FedEx. I suppose I should open this OUTSIDE, lest I have something new and horrible to blog about later.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wake me when I can laugh about it...

Our furnace died yesterday. It’s been giving us grief annually, usually kicking it in around January or February, and this time we just decided to replace it. To the tune of $3,300.

Hello, trip to Ireland! I mean good-bye, trip to Ireland!

The silver lining is, it’s May (albeit a May that feels closer to early March), and there are state and federal tax breaks and rebates to help offset some of this. Also, more positives! The silver lining is not made of mercury. It is made of tin foil, which I feel like chewing on in frustration right about now.

Because our house was clearly built by a magical race of elfin pranksters who had no sense (yes, there is a password to get into one of the upstairs closets, and no, I can’t remember it), our furnace is accessible via our first-floor office. Daisy decided to prepare the room for the repairman’s arrival by furtively shitting on the office carpet in the middle of the night, right in front of the door to the furnace.

Yes, our furnace has a door. One day, when I have worked up the nerve and we have long since sold this house to new suckers I mean owners, I will post a photo of what previous tenants did to the wall around the toilet tank in our upstairs bathroom. I may also post a photo of what WE did to the stairwell doorframe in order to fit a new dresser up the stairs.

Here’s a hint: it rhymes with “Gnaws all,” and you want to watch your fingers while using it.

Anyway, Daisy and her poo. She does this in the house on occasion to protest one thing or another. For example, after I return to work in fall and am no longer home all day with her, she usually starts pooping in the office to express her displeasure at being alone all day again. This happens even if she gets an hour-long walk, because her colon is longer than I-94 and has trap doors to secret hiding places I don’t want to know about.

This is the part where I get a little too honest, so avert your eyes if you’re eating, or if you just have good sense.

When a dog shits in your house, you clean it up and usually toss it in the toilet. When you live in a busy household with children or animals with working colons, sometimes the toilet isn’t always flushed immediately. And sometimes, even if you flush, a bit of evidence remains.

When that happens, you have what some people affectionately call “floaters.”

Back to this morning. Before I was even fully awake, J called up the stairs, “Great. Daisy shit in the office again.”

I don’t know how the poo was removed, but even though I haven’t even seen our downstairs toilet yet today, I suspect what happened next.

So when the furnace installer asked if he could use our restroom, my stomach seized in terror. Because there is a 96% chance that there was still a bit of Daisy’s poo still floating in the toilet.

The furnace guy doesn’t know my dog shit in the office and we tried to flush the evidence. In fact, because Daisy is shut up in our bedroom, he doesn't even know we HAVE a dog. But there I was, tapping away on my laptop, drinking coffee. Me with my bedhead hair and slippers and (ostensibly) my working colon.


Poo in the toilet.

No dog in sight.

I hope I never see this repairman ever, ever again.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Ain't That a Bish!

Every year, I start a few of my seedlings waaaaaaay too early. Exhibit A--a delicata squash blossom in my portable greenhouse. It looks sad because it's thinking, "Where are the bees? Where are the bees? How can the bees get in here to help me do my thang?!"

Exhibit B: the redwoods of tomatoes, squishing up against the roof of the greenhouse.

I had to plant a few of the tomatoes in containers already, because they I simply ran out of room for them. So I succumbed to the gimmicky "Wall-O-Water" contraption, which would supposedly protect the young plants from frost, high winds, storms, evil gnomes...

It's not too hideous, is it? I guess it beats the water-filled 2 liter soda bottles I used last year.

We're still going to have one or two nights with temps in the 30s over the next few weeks, so I am reluctant to transfer much more from my greenhouse to their permanent homes in my garden. But guess what? Mother Nature herself solved some of my problem for me. Because not an hour after I took these photos, the winds picked up. And by "up," I mean they became strong enough to push you down the street should you be wearing rollerskates and Hammertime pants.

The entire greenhouse blew over, spilling plants and dirt and hopes and dreams all over my porch. I lost four tomato plants, six Mexican sunflower seedlings, some perky zinnias, and two hot pepper plants. (I'm not going to admit it made me cry a little in frustration...okay, I will....but it was just a little.) Other plants and herbs were crushed, but the prognosis is fair.

This is probably karma because we giggled like little girls during last night's tornado watch when a swirling dervish of dust, leaves, and dirt went into our neighbor's pool.

Oh! Speaking of neighbors, I almost forgot! A police officer stopped by last night to inform us that we have a new neighbor just one block away. A recently released sex offender. Yay! "Oh, who are the creepies in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood, in your nay-bor-hood....oh, who are the creepies in your neighborhood, they're the people that you meet...HOPEFULLY NEVER!"