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sicknessandspiderstories.com is still available!

I’ve probably been making more use of the random post feature on the right than anyone lately. It’s been interesting to read about the things I found blogworthy back in the day, and I’ve been reading a few back entries at random most every day. While in this little Wayback Machine, I noticed two strongly recurring themes: illness and spider-killing.

And wouldn’t you know it, I have both to tell you about today. On the illness front, I would like to say that I took a sick day last week after spending the weekend unable to breathe, went to the doctor, and after waiting for two solid hours to be worked in was told I hadn’t been sick long enough and I should get a neti pot. And that it was probably just allergies. Okay fine. I’m so glad I spent $400 on allergy testing last month (AFTER insurance), followed by a monthly cost of $80 for two new allergy prescriptions and an asthma prescription, so that you could tell me that it’s probably just allergies and I need a damn neti pot.

When I’ve just spent $500 in a single month on medical treatment for something, I think we’ve passed the point where we get to flippantly call it “just allergies.” Plus, this wasn’t my regular doctor, and I don’t trust dudes under 70 who wear bow ties daily as a matter of course. Note to self: no more work-ins with bow-tied doctors. PS – It has now been 13 days and my head still feels like it’s full of mud, and I still can’t breathe through my nose consistently. OH WAIT I’LL JUST GO GET A NETI POT.

This morning when I dragged my ass downstairs to the kitchen for breakfast, I was greeted by a large black spider sitting on the stove top. It was one of those shiny menacing-looking ones that is probably completely harmless, but is all like “step off, bitches, I JUST MIGHT BE A BLACK WIDOW.” Like I’m going to flip it over to check.

It looked like the cats had already gotten to the spider, as it was curled up and two of its legs looked weird. They’re pretty good about torturing things to death, so I stood there and looked at the giant carcass and thought about how I would get it to the trash.

And then I blew on it to make sure it was dead. And then the carcass started to crawl, though lopsidedly, since it did appear to have two messed-up legs.

I stood there for a second all OMG OMG OMG and the cats were nowhere to be seen, of course, so I had to come up with another way to get rid of the spider. So I dove under the kitchen sink and got the spider-killing spray and hosed that mofo down with it.

Because what you really want to do to a food-preparation area capable of very high temperatures is douse it with toxic chemicals.

Side note: the spider-killing spray is emblazoned with a very giant, very realistic picture of a spider, and though I logically know it isn’t real, when I’m holding the can I try not to look at or touch the part with the spider picture on it.

So anyway, yeah, I hosed down my stovetop and its inhabitant with highly toxic chemicals, so of course that’s when the cats wanted to come investigate. I shooed them away and while I was doing so, I noticed that Robo-Spider was dragging itself toward the edge of the chemical spill. Yep. Still not dead.

Plan B: Smash with shoe.

I went in the other room and grabbed a flip-flop, and came back to deliver the killing blow. And I am a wuss, because my killing blow also failed to kill Robo-Spider. That bitch kept on army-crawling through the chemical spill, though partly squashed and a little more slowly than before.

It was clear that I’d have to be a little more decisive. So I got a bunch of paper towels and made a wad that, hopefully, would not have any gaps in it and would be thick enough to keep me from feeling the spider. And then I got a few more paper towels and wrapped them around the wad. And then I struck.

And I both felt and heard a serious CRUNCH. So I maybe screamed a little, because EW OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG THIS IS WHY I KILL BUGS WITH PHONE BOOKS.

I peeked. Robo-Spider was finally dead, and its guts were everywhere. EW. So I threw the wad in the trash, and I’d like to say I went about my business, except that I’ve been quite convinced that every stray hair or dust particle or puff of air is another Robo-Spider that is going to crawl on me and eat my flesh.

Is there irony in the fact that I used non-toxic, people-friendly, panda-friendly Method wipes to clean up the remaining harsh chemicals and spider remains?

here, try my cake balls

One of the funniest things I’ve ever read on the internet is an excerpt from this post by the very funny Mimi Smartypants. Here it is:

I baked some muffins and brought them into work, and from the reaction I got you would have thought I had shown up wearing a puffy-paint sweatshirt and spreading the gospel of Jesus. There is a place where we put up-for-grabs food in this office, and the woman who sits near that place says that all day she heard constant incredulity, “Mimi made these? Mimi? Our Mimi? She bakes?” This irritated me. Fuck all y’all, I can bake. You want a piece of me? You want to make some motherfucking cookies? Let’s go, right now. Bring the Crisco. BRING IT.

I’m actually glad I finally used that in a post because I think about it a lot and want to look it up so then I start Googling the parts I remember, such as “our mimi she bakes” and, anyway, Ms. Smartypants surely thinks I am a nutso stalker. Now I can nutso stalk my own website instead of hers.

So anyway. Most of my coworkers have functioned for years under the mistaken impression that I don’t know how to cook or bake. This is totally untrue. I can cook and bake just fine, thank you. What it is, is that I’m lazy, and don’t feel like it. So I order takeout. I live by myself (usually). I can do that.

But then several months ago I found myself in a fit of boredom and I decided to try out baking and see how it felt. I made some chocolate chip cookies and some phenomenal almond sugar cookies, and I took most of them to work, and got a reaction much like Mimi’s up there. “Lorie made these? She bakes?” I think they expected the cookies to taste like socks and be frosted with cat hair, and in all honesty, I feared they would too, but they didn’t. They were awesome, and I finally got to understand the joy of making yummy things for other people. So then I went for the gold and decided to try a recipe I’d stumbled across on my lovely internet.

The recipe, which you can find here, is for “red velvet cake balls.” I made them, and they were freaking amazing. The recipe yielded dozens, so I split them up and took some to Family Headquarters and the rest to work. I felt weird about going around at work asking people to try my cake balls, so I decided to market them as cake bites instead.

And the cake bites were a phenomenal success. My coworkers were passing them out to random people walking by, and so people I didn’t even know were complimenting them. It was kind of fun. My family also loved the cake bites, and my Nanie asked for the recipe so she could make them for an Easter gathering.

Nanie reported back to me later that the bites were such a huge hit that one of the attendees asked her for the recipe, and that person made them and entered them in a dessert contest at the hospital where she works, and she won first prize. And I thought, “oh DUDE, faculty/staff picnic!”

So I decided I’d enter the cake bites in the dessert contest at our annual picnic. Since I’m pretty much a non-joiner and also a lazy baker, I’ve never even considered entering the contest before, but I thought I had a good chance of winning this year. I even did a bunch of advance marketing, telling everyone I knew that I was making them and they were awesome and blah blah blah. So the cake bites were highly anticipated. And then I was out late on Tuesday night and ended up getting started on them at about 9:30pm, which means I finished around 3 in the morning. I SLAVED over those bites, people, because I had talked them up so much I had to follow through. I even bought a pretty tray to serve them on.

I made a hundred cake bites and took them in yesterday to be judged. I was sure I’d win something – maybe not first prize, though that would rock, but at least third. So I told all my coworkers that if I didn’t win, I was going to quit my job.

Which means I should be packing up my office right about now.

All the signs seemed promising. They ran out within the first 30 minutes of the picnic, my spies on the ground said they heard people talking about them, and the people I saw raved about how great they were. So they began to announce the winners, and once they’d announced third and second places, I started to get a little excited. Maybe I really would win!

…and then I didn’t.

All the winners were stupid people who made stupid cakes, like big freaking whoop, and enter the same stupid cakes in the same stupid contest every stupid year. I thought for sure I’d have at least the third-best dessert. All the cake bite fans assured me that the contest was rigged, the judges were biased, and that I’d surely won the popular vote, though the popular vote matters exactly as much here as it does in presidential elections.

I decided I’d make the cake bites only for those who would truly appreciate them. Next year, instead of spending six hours slaving over cake bites for random ungrateful strangers, I’ll sit back and eat my lunch and watch the cake-bakers win, and be generally far too cool for lame dessert contests. Though this is not always true, in this case being far too cool for it all takes way less time and energy than going for it, and I may even get a full night’s sleep. Imagine that!

the wigs

My townhouse is at ground level and is in an area surrounded by trees and prone to dampness. This means that my patio is usually full of mosquitoes, which makes it less than fun to sit out there in the summer. Kind of defeats the whole purpose of a patio. The dampness on the patio attracts something far more insidious than a few measly mosquitoes, though.

The dampness on the patio attracts EARWIGS.

Sammi and I screamed for like ten minutes straight while I was trying to find an appropriately terrifying earwig picture to link there. We are traumatized, you see.

Earwigs are harmless, or so the internet says. They don’t live or colonize indoors, but they will come inside if a house is poorly sealed. My house is poorly sealed, and I always get a few earwigs indoors in damp weather. The cats usually take care of them for me. But for some reason, this year the earwigs have been coming inside way, way more than usual. They’re everywhere. I used to spray some pretty harsh chemicals around my back door every spring to keep spiders and earwigs outside where they belong, but I’ve been really sensitive to chemicals lately and am trying to lessen or eliminate their use when I can. So maybe that’s why we’re seeing more. But I may have to bust out the pesticides, because Sammi and I are living in fear.

Earwigs are sneaky little bastards, because they are flat and like to hide out in small weird spaces like the folds of a dishcloth or in between sheets of paper. And they hang out there and then BAM! the next thing you know there’s an earwig, and those little fuckers are FAST. They might run across your hand before you even realize they’re there.

Sammi and I have been seeing so many of them this year that we can’t be bothered to use two syllables when discussing them. Now we just call them wigs. So now when I encounter my nightly wig and start screaming and flailing, Sammi can just go, “Wig?” instead of having to say, “What is the problem? Is an earwig sighting making you scream and flail?” So like when I was doing the image search and we were greeted with a page full of larger than life pictures of them, it sounded kind of like this: “WIGS! WIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGS I HATE THEM I HATE THEM AUGH!!!!!! WIGS! MAKE IT STOP MAKE IT STOP MAKE IT GO AWAY I HATE THE WIGS!!!”

Sometimes we see a wig and we think it’s dead and then it starts moving. And I think the cats are getting used to them. They used to be really good about chasing them down and killing them, but the other morning I came downstairs for breakfast and the cats and the wigs were all playing Guitar Hero together in my living room. The wigs are very dexterous and seem to be pretty good at the expert levels. Sometimes I’m hanging out watching TV and I go to the bathroom and I have to wait because a wig is in there using my toilet. I think they’re drinking my Scotch when I’m at work, too. The level in the bottle keeps mysteriously dropping.

If Sam and I are ever lacking for something to talk about in the evenings, we can always talk about the wigs. Sammi saw a wig in the sink this morning. I saw a wig playing dead by my phone when I went to take it off the charger. Sammi spent half a night in bed convinced a wig was crawling on her foot. I saw one on my covers before I got in one night, though I think it rode upstairs on something else. Wigs seem to prefer to stay low. We saw a wig above the back door the other night and effectively dealt with it by screaming for a while. The internet might claim they’re harmless, but I think they are emotional terrorists.

We haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate the wigs. Hate them. But we’re not sure how to make them go away.