You know what really BUGS me?

It all starts innocently enough.  My daughter says to me, “I have to go to the bathroom”.  Well, thanks for the info I guess.  I appreciate the heads up.  This isn’t school, you don’t need to raise your hand and ask my permission.  Anyway, just a moment later she reappears at my side with her eyes as big as saucers.  “What is it?” I ask.  “There is a bug as big as my head in my bathroom!  I cannot go in there.  Can I use the hall bath?”

There are 2 very important things you need to know to truly comprehend this situation.  #1 – Why would my daughter ask if she could use the Hall Bath?  Well, we live in a 3000 square foot home and the only areas that truly belong to my husband are the garage and the hall bath.  And about a year and a half ago we got a cat who overtook the garage.  My husband hates cats.  So the only time I ever allow anyone to use the hall bath, other than my husband, is immediately after I’ve cleaned it.  Hell, there might be a Playboy magazine in there for all I know. 

#2 – What the hell kind of bug would be in a bathroom in my house that could be as big as a teenager’s head?  Well she was exaggerating . . . a little.  They are called Palmetto Bugs.  They are called that because we live in South Carolina, known as the Palmetto State with Palmetto trees and these insects like to live in those trees among other places outdoors.  That makes them sound so sweet right?  Sweet, southern, South Carolina bugs.  Or Florida Bugs – depends on who you ask.  Anyway, they are actually huge cockroaches with wings and while all the research you do will tell you these wings are useless and they can’t fly . . . they can!  I’ve seen them airborne!  The good news is that these nasty insects really can’t survive inside your home or infest it because they live and thrive outside.  They can only survive indoors for about 3 days.  BUT – when you see one in your bathroom you don’t know if it’s day 3 or day 1.

Anyway – my daughter tells me there’s one of these things in her bathroom.  Well, normally I’d get my husband to take care of it because while some people marry for love or money or fame, I got married so that I would never have to kill a bug or jump-start my own car.  So far, this arrangement has worked out well.  But right now my husband is 200 miles away.  It’s slowly dawning on me that I’m going to have to handle this situation on my own.  Since I have a fear of all things creepy-crawly bordering on a phobia, this is a BIG deal.

My first thought is that we can move.  My daughter and I can leave right now and just move away never to return to this house again.  Of course I soon realize how silly that idea is!  We can’t MOVE!  But we could go to a hotel and stay until my husband returns and can kill the bug.  Yes, that’s what we’ll do.

“Well can I use the hall bath or not??” my daughter asks probably needing a bathroom even more urgently now that she’s seen a Palmetto Bug.  Her fear is almost as strong as mine.  “Use my bathroom.” I reply.  I’m beginning to think that the whole ‘going to a hotel’ thing is probably not going to work either.  I should set a good example for my daughter that women are strong and capable human beings not weaklings dependent on a man for their well-being.  So I take a deep breath, get up, grab one of my running shoes and tip toe towards my daughter’s bathroom as if I’m sneaking up on a burglar with a baseball bat. 

When I get to the bathroom I see the big sucker right in front of the toilet.  Just sitting there looking all gross and disgusting!  He’s ginormous!!  Almost 2 inches long and nearly an inch wide, black with antenna and . . . wings.  I also see my daughter’s tennis shoes.  As a good mother, I should want the Palmetto Bug gunk to be on my own shoe instead of hers . . . that’s the kind of sacrifice that good mother’s make.  I put down my shoe and grab one of hers.  I’m not proud.

I stand there for an hour – or so it seems – calculating my next move.  It seems simple, smash the bug with the shoe and he dies, but I know that so many things can go wrong.  I can miss and this giant bug runs straight towards me and onto my foot.  Or dear God what if he can fly and comes right at my face?!?!?  What if I do smash him, but he doesn’t die and sticks just a little to the shoe but then comes loose and flies right in my face?  And lastly, what if I do smash him and he’s dead – then what?

Ok, it’s all down to this moment.  This is where I can show that I’m a tough, independent woman capable of taking care of herself . . . and her child.  I manage nearly 25 people a day, I gave birth to an 8 lb baby, I can complete level 1 of Jillian Michael’s 30-day Shred – I can defend my home from this invasion!  I can kill this bug!  So I raise the shoe and with all my might I swing down hard!  I hear a very disgusting squish and crunch noise and then I put all my weight into squishing and crunching him even more.  Whew!  It’s done!  My heart is pounding but I’ve done it.  The bug is dead.

My daughter comes in “GROSS!!  EEWWW – get rid of it!”  Me, “What do you mean?  It’s dead, just walk around it until Daddy gets home.”  Her, “Mom – it’s right in front of the toilet and Daddy comes home on Friday.  Today is Tuesday.”  Me, “Can’t you just use my bathroom until Friday?”  She just looks at me like I’ve lost my mind but I notice that she’s in no rush to clean up the dead bug either.  Wimpy, wimpy teenager!  I thought I raised her better than that.

So I grab what must have amounted to half a roll of toilet paper, pick up the bug, drop him in the toilet and flush him.  Because when it comes to dead bugs I think they are all like Jason from Friday the 13th and if I do anything short of driving a wooden toothpick into his cockroach heart, he’ll come back to life.  It’s happened before.  I’ve killed one of these SOB’s, walked away and come back an hour later and the corpse is GONE!  As the water rushes out of the toilet and the bug disappears into the sewer, I allow myself the thrill of victory.  I have survived killing a giant Palmetto Bug!  I think there’s a Girl Scout badge for that.

Then my daughter says, “Is that my shoe??”  Me, “Um, yes, it was all I could find.”  She reaches down and picks up my running shoe and then stands there holding it looking at me.  “Wow,” I say, “where did that come from?”  I am woman, hear me roar!

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To be or not to be . . . Friends on Facebook

I admit that I was very late to join the Facebook bandwagon.  I had heard of it, but I didn’t really know what the heck it was.  The first time I logged on a few years ago, I set up an account but then honestly couldn’t figure out what the big deal was so I forgot about it.  It wasn’t until a friend of mine found me on Facebook and asked me – face to face believe it or not – why I didn’t use it.  So I logged back in after more than a year and that was all it took – I was consumed!

That was a little more than 2 years ago and since then I would hate to try to add up all the hours I have wasted there.  Posting nonsense about my day, my family, the fact that I’m cleaning my house.  I mean really, there was no end to the crap I would announce to the world.  Then my Mom joined and I thought that would end my fun.  No more posting about “Time to open that bottle of wine!” or “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere!”.  Nope, now my status updates would only include the mom approved verbiage like “Headed to church . . . again” or “Spending quality time with my husband and family”.  But Mom didn’t last long on Facebook, thankfully.

I found my high school class, most of whom I had not heard from in more than 20 years.  There were so many people who I enjoyed catching up with.  There was the class valedictorian who was a colossal nerd but a wonderful guy.  I had made it a point to befriend him in 7th grade because I felt sorry for all the crap he put up with from the rest of the class.  We would call that bullying these days but back then it was just referred to as being picked on.  I always thought that if I was really smart I would marry him one day.  I was convinced he would run the world when he grew up.  Turns out he doesn’t control the world, but he became a world-class heart surgeon . . . of children.  So now he’s rich and a really good person.  Turns out I was right about that one.

I also reconnected with my former childhood best friend as well as my best friend from high school.  Both still lived relatively close to where we grew up and had beautiful children.  That was rewarding to see and hear.  I also found my first love from high school.  At first I was very alarmed because his profile picture showed him behind bars.  Well, considering all that he was into when we dated that didn’t seem to be a stretch, but it turns out he works in law enforcement and he thought that picture was funny.  He is also extremely overweight.  So I showed that picture to my daughter when a boy she liked broke up with her.  I assured her that sometimes things turn out for the best.

Then there was that weird guy, David, that friended me.  (ok I have to take a moment to say that I still find it odd that ‘friend’ and ‘unfriend’ are now verbs)  I remembered the name and I was sure I went to high school with him, but beyond that I really didn’t remember much.  Then one night I was scanning my newsfeed to see what interesting things my friends were up to while I watched Grey’s Anatomy, and David sent me a chat message:

Him “Hey there, what are you up to tonight?”

Me, “Just watching to TV” while thinking ‘who is this guy again?’

Him “I’m enjoying my first bourbon and coke of the night.”

Me “Oh, good” thinking ‘yuck bourbon and coke!’ and ‘so??’

Him “It’s really good after such a long day”

Me “I bet” thinking still ‘what excuse can I make to get off of here?’

Him “How have you been beautiful?”

I just sat there.  Now, I ain’t ugly but when someone who hasn’t seen me in more than 20 years calls me beautiful it kind of creeps me out; however, I was raised in the South so I didn’t want to be rude.

Me “I’ve been well and you?” thinking ‘why am I asking him open-ended questions??’ then I add “Were you in my graduating class or the year before me?” thinking ‘I’ve got to figure out who this guy is’

Oh holy hell, I did not yet know rule #1 about creepy Facebook friends:  Never let them know you have no clue who they are!

Him “YOU DON’T REMEMBER ME!” the all caps were his.

Me “Of course I do.” thinking ‘crap’

Him “I’m hurt you don’t remember me”

Him “I can’t believe you don’t remember me”

Him “That really hurts”

Me “I have to go, my husband just walked in” thinking ‘got to unfriend this kook tomorrow, can’t do it tonight or he’ll notice and track me down’

Now I have the good sense to always appear “offline” so that no stalkers-in-training can find me.  Also, my employees who are also friends can’t tell when I’m goofing off on Facebook when I should be working.  Nor the CFO of the company who unfortunately is also a ‘friend’ of mine on Facebook probably for the same damn reason I friended my employees.  You have to be careful when your employees are your friends though, because even if you post something as innocent as “Long day at work today” then one of them feels the need to comment “Sorry!!  I’ll be good tomorrow” or “Was it that thing with Kelly??” to which Kelly will address passive-aggressively by posting on her Facebook page, “I will not allow myself to be brought down by other’s negativity” or a bible quote that I know is actually comparing me to the devil.

And then someone that I fired 5 years ago “friends” me.  Really?  I mean really??  Now I have to say that I had noticed that she was a ‘friend’ of several of my other co-workers and friends and that kind of pissed me off.  She was a fruitcake which of course was the reason I fired her years ago!  But being the mature, well-adjusted woman that I am, I had moved past all that.  Now she was “friending” me.  I couldn’t just ignore it . . . could I?  I mean here she was being mature enough to reach out and if I ignored it wasn’t I holding a grudge that really wasn’t mine to hold?  Crap – I had to accept.  Then she posts on my Wall “Your daughter is beautiful!  So good to see you and your family.  Hope you are doing well!”  Really?  I mean really??  Because I’m pretty sure you have a voodoo doll of me and tried to curse me and my whole family with Ebola

And finally I have one of my former best friends on Earth.  I only say she’s former because I haven’t seen her in person in more than 4 years.  We never had a fight or real disagreement or anything, but we moved away 9 years ago and just haven’t had time to meet up in recent years.  I always thought of her as a funny, vibrant, wonderful, professional human being.  Well, according to her Facebook posts she’s a vindictive whiner.  That’s mean . . . she’s just a whiner.  Lately her posts have consisted of:

“I don’t have time to hate people who hate me, because I’m too busy loving people who love me” or “May your friends respect you, your troubles neglect you, your family protect you, and negativity not affect you!!!” or “Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die” and my personal favorite “If you allow people to make more withdrawals than deposits in your life, you will be out of balance and in the negative”.  Really?  I mean really??  If you have to spend that much time reminding people you don’t care what they think then maybe you need to stay off Facebook.

Lately most of my own Facebook posts revolve around sports.  I’m a college football nut who used to have season tickets but now I have a big screen HDTV.  So my new seats are climate controlled and there is never a line at the bathroom.  I watch the game and lurk on Facebook posting things like “Really refs?  Why don’t you just wear the other team’s jerseys??” or “Catch the ball you dufus!” or “Have you seen our defense because they haven’t shown up to the game yet!” or “Wreck ’em Tony we need this win!”.  (yes I’m a NASCAR redneck, let’s move on)  In other words, posts just as useful as my whiney friend’s.

So my love / hate relationship with Facebook continues.  I’m able to keep track of my nieces and nephews who are out starting lives and families of their own and I can keep track of friends I haven’t seen in 2 months or 22 years as well as know what grocery store my employees are currently shopping in – all while I sit comfortably on my couch.  And the entire time it appears as if I am “offline”.