Posted by: canthold | April 18, 2010

House of Critters

Not last night but the night before, I had just gotten into bed, taken my glasses off and closed my eyes when my oldest daughter called me into her room to “take care of” a spider. A black one. I got out of bed and didn’t grab my glasses. I think I thought I would talk her out of being afraid – as if that’s ever happened before.

I walked through her doorway and she pointed above the door.


I squinted, but barely saw it. She has high ceilings and I’m nearsighted. No sooner had she pointed this one out that she screamed that, “There’s another one!”

This one, being a cellar spider, was very difficult to see and I couldn’t figure out where “there” was. I kept trying to get her to be a bit more descriptive but didn’t get anywhere. Finally, after realizing the futility of inaction, I returned to my room and got my glasses – and the vacuum.

When I was ready, I looked up to the black spider above the door and was a little shocked that the little black spider that I could barely see without my glasses was actually quite big. The body of this thing was the size of a Good And Plenty. Just as I was about to suck it up, it jumped.


It was as if the spider said, “Oh, well. I’m outa here!” It jumped. Did I tell you it jumped? Almost on top of me, too. I jumped, my daughter jumped. There was screaming. Of course, after it jumped, it tried to make a run for it and I was prepared with my Spider Sucker. With my glasses on I was able to suck up the cellar spider, too. Then, because some wise-guy told me they don’t die in there (thanks, Joe), I put the vacuum in the bathtub for the night.

As I was writing this, my laptop battery died on me. Walking downstairs into my bedroom to charge it, I almost walked face first into a dangling red spider in the doorway of my room.

Fortunately for me, my kids are fighting and taking my mind off being creeped-out.

I can’t conclude this post until I mention one other thing. A little earlier today my kids informed me that there was a bird in the house. The news morphed into the fact it was a dead bird. I went into the dining room to find a bunch of little feathers and my cat’s latest victim. As I gently picked it up on the towel it was on (because, yes, there just happened to be a towel on my floor. Don’t ask what else is down there.) and carried it outside. It is still alive and there doesn’t appear to be any gaping wounds, though its eye is a little mangled. I put it in the shade (the sun is a bit much to be sitting directly in for an indefinite period of time) and we’re watching it.

As if I’m running a play-by-play, I can hear my kids yelling that the bird is gone. Thankfully, my furry killer was unsuccessful today. And so it goes in the house with all the critters…

Posted by: canthold | April 1, 2010

The Why

I had a miserable sort of “aha!” moment today when I woke up. “Aha!” sounds so much like a positive thing, fun even, but this was not fun.

My vertigo is back with regularity now and I’ve resorted to taking allergy medicine again. I take it at night so that I can get it into my body without feeling the effects as much, but it really makes me tired. So tired. I-can-barely-drag-myself-out-of-bed tired. What a trade-off!

Then, this morning while leaning forward to pick up a lunchbox, I was knocked almost to the floor (had it not been for the wall to grab onto, I would have) with a violent bout of vertigo. It took about a minute or two to pass. That’s when I realized, amidst the groggy medicine hangover, vertigo from the slightest trigger, and strong desire to crawl back into bed, that I know exactly how I got to be where I am today. This is how I gained all this weight. This is how I stopped exercising. This is Why.

We moved into our house in April of 2006. The insane vertigo started the spring after that and with a few exceptional periods, it has been nearly constant since then. I was able to get rid of it last summer for the longest break I’d had, at the time, but it came back in the fall with less intensity. Off and on through the winter, but I suspect that all the rain we had explains why it was mostly “off.” Now that the rain has stopped, it’s come back with a vengeance.

I don’t feel like doing anything and I suspect that if I can figure out how to rise above feeling like I’m wearing leaded boots and a 40-pound helmet, I can start living fully again. You know, get over it. Keep my glass half-full without dumping onto the bushes. Right now my glass is empty, (which might explain why I’m thirsty) but I want to refill it with coffee instead of water.


Get this, today I was doing drop-off for my youngest and I saw a woman whom I dislike. We were in a mom’s group briefly and I don’t think she liked my input. Anyway, since her son started school where my kids went, I’ve always said hello to her since that’s what I do. I put the feelings of dislike in the closet to pretend that being a part of the same community is more important than past grudges.

When our eyes met today, she looked away!

She snubbed me!

I shouldn’t be surprised. I don’t really like pretending to like someone that I really don’t. But then again, I would have preferred to be the snubber rather than the snubbee. Though, in my defense for my lack of bitch-like behavior, I’d say that it takes a bigger (wo)man to rise above it and nah nah nah, I won.

Posted by: canthold | March 31, 2010

I Got It!

I was sorting through what could have been the Himalayas worth of clothes piled in my hallway when I reached down to get something from the bathroom floor and there it was. The Giant Spider. The elusive, almost mythological tarantula that disappeared.

Or it could have been a second one.

And it wasn’t a tarantula. It was big, don’t get me wrong, but I know a tarantula when I see one. Oh, it was big.

I sucked it up and as much other stuff that I could just to keep the vacuum running for a while. My vacuum has been making a funny noise these days. It’s the kind of funny noise that would make any normal person take their vacuum to the vacuum repair shop. I will not be going, however, because my to-do list is way too long and there are many items in front on the list.

As I get all the clothes in the wash and out of the dryer, I’m going to focus on the simple yet very challenging task of getting them folded and put away.

Posted by: canthold | March 29, 2010


I visited my daughter’s class the other day and I sat in a circle with the kids. We went around the circle and said which season was our favorite and why. Most of the kids said Summer and Winter, for all the obvious reasons. When my turn came, I said it was whichever season I was currently in and that I could always find something great about each season.

I take it back.

I do like the new growth of spring, but I think it’s my least favorite. In fact, I’m not sure that I can use “spring” and “favorite” in the same sentence.

We’ve had a very wet winter this year. I haven’t minded the rain one bit. I’m going to miss it even. We’ve had a dry spell (until today) and once the weather cleared, the bloom has gone on full force. I’ve had major allergy problems ever since. My vertigo is on red alert (meaning it could happen at any time) and The Bugs Have Arrived.

As you are probably aware, I have some issues with spiders. They are showing up and setting out their welcome mats in all the corners and crevices of my house. I think I’m getting a little desensitized to them, but still. I could do without the steady influx of new residents.

In addition to the spiders, however, our dining room has been over-run by ants. Rather than a trail of them to a specific item of food, they were all spread out on my floor and kitchen table as if someone had mopped with sugar water. (Or rum, as they weren’t crawling around, but just there!) I have no idea where they’ve come in and whether this is a spring thing, a food-left-out thing or a fluke.

I managed to mop my floors with something other than sugar water and I’m crossing my fingers that it was a fluke and they won’t be returning. If they do, my spring just might sprang.

Posted by: canthold | March 29, 2010

Thinking Again

Do you ever hear or see something that you can’t get out of your mind? I had a couple things lately that my mind keeps returning to like my tongue to that popcorn kernel stuck in my teeth.

The first one was when I was driving to work the other day. I was annoyed that the car in front of me was going SO DOGGONE SLOW! But it was because I was so close to my exit that I didn’t end up in front of them. So I sat behind them at the light after getting off the freeway and when the light changed, they didn’t go, either. A few seconds later, a red BMW came flying by – running the red light at twice the speed limit. All I could think was if I had been first at the light, I might have been in a massive T-bone accident. I might not even have survived.

I might have also seen the car and not gone, too. Who’s to say? Either way, I have had the feeling that I was taken care of by the universe that day.

The other thing was that my daughter went to use my bathroom the other night and walked in, but quickly walked back out. She said there was the worse black spider you’ve ever seen and never go into the bathroom ever again. (Like that’s going to happen, but still…)

Today she claimed it was a tarantula and was a little reluctant to take her shower. I never saw the spider personally. Once she called it a tarantula, though, I couldn’t help but think about that spider I saw that time. I tried to find the link, but could not. It was the time that the black spider was so big that my vacuum almost couldn’t suck it up. It’s not inconceivable that she saw a baby tarantula in my bathroom and the one referenced was a tarantula, too.

I can’t stop thinking of where it could be now. It’s not like the darned thing would just show itself to the door. Where is it going to turn up next?

Posted by: canthold | March 12, 2010

It’s Heeeerrrrreeeee!

My vertigo has returned to roost. It’s been haunting me with more frequency these days.

Today I went to the bathroom at work (did I mention that I’m back part-time right now?) and I got vertigo while in there. It was the weirdest thing. I’m really glad I didn’t fall in.

Even though I’ve discovered the connection between my allergies and vertigo, I’m not having any luck dealing with it. You see, dealing with the allergies is pretty awful, too. If I take allergy medicine, I’m super-tired all the time. I’m sure there is “no drowsy” formulas, but apparently I don’t have one. That’s the oral medication that I take. Another one of those doesn’t really seem to help. The nasal steroid that I have just grosses me out. The bitter taste dripping down the back of my throat gives me too severe an aversion that I simply cannot make myself do it.

I’m not at that completely miserable stage yet, but I can see it coming. I hate getting vertigo. I really do.

Posted by: canthold | March 10, 2010

I’m sitting here FREEZING. I’ve got wet hair from the shower and I’ve dragged myself back out of bed – again – to make tea. No, I’m not sick or anything, just lazy. I just looked at the thermostat and it read 52 degrees. No wonder I’m cold. I went for a bike ride today and I took along my new computer to have it installed – as I did an amazingly lame job on the last one.

I went to my local shop, which just happens to be on the way and I asked if they would install it. The guy asked if it was one of their “own” brands (whatever that means) and then hemmed and hawed and said that he couldn’t do it right away because it might require too much reading (instructions.) I was a little shocked, to tell you the truth. So I left – never to return again. For any reason. You know, he never even asked the brand. I said I had it in my camelback (and then proceeded to carry it up the mountain and back down again, still wrapped in its original packaging.) How was I supposed to know what their “own” brands are?

If they don’t want my business, then I won’t give it to them.

I saw two wild turkeys on my ride.

Posted by: canthold | March 8, 2010

Nearly Normal

So much for “normal.” I got a call to work tomorrow. This is a good thing. Except that I don’t know who will be watching my kids just yet.

And I had the most productive day today. Ever.

In between the sunshine and hail, I never got out to run or bike, which I had hoped for, but that’s okay. I worked up a sweat cleaning house, strange as it may seem. I cleaned my kitchen top to bottom, including the front of my fridge, which is now white again. And I took down my Christmas cards. And I swept everything and vacuumed all the spiders in my living room to keep the dust bunnies in the vacuum company. I did so much that I can’t even list them all here.

Everything looks fantastic except for the stuff that has yet to be done. I can’t even continue cleaning because my hands are busy patting myself on the back.

I even prepared two meals for myself from scratch! For lunch I had a salad with different kinds of lettuce that I cut up myself (and rinsed and “spun” dry.) I also cut up mushrooms and included some feta with a balsamic vinaigrette. For dinner, I had Minestrone soup that I got from a can that opened all by myself with a hand-cranked can opener! I am quite the gourmet! In case you’re wondering if I even know the meaning of the word “scratch” I’ll inform you that I had to put a pot on the stove and turn on the burner to distract you from your fact-finding mission. And did I mention that it was organic?

Alas, my feet hurt, the kids are fighting and I’m running out of steam.

But the house is clean.


Posted by: canthold | March 8, 2010


You know that line in “Private Benjamin” when the platoon is marching in a circle in the rain and they’re all mad at Judy? And she says, “I want to wear my sandals. I want to go to lunch. I want to be normal again.” Well, I love that.

I’m starting to find my normal again.

Apparently, it’s not at work. But my home-life is feeling pretty darned great. I’ve slipped into my old spot and it feels good. Comfortable. Familiar.


I have today ahead of me full of opportunity, possibility and best of all, the time to achieve all of that. I’m probably going to do some rushing and cramming, but for now, it feels just fine. And after two cups of coffee and having already walked the dog, watch out.

(Now where is my list?)

Posted by: canthold | March 3, 2010

Drop Everything And…

The school that one of my daughters goes to has a term they use – DEAR Time – when they Drop Everything And Read. I love it. I’d love to have DEAR Time all the time, if I could. Sometimes it evokes the thought of Stop, Drop and Roll, the exercise necessary if you find yourself in a fire. Or is it on fire?

In any case, I’ve spent the last couple of days picking up Dropped Balls. You know, those pesky balls you drop when trying to juggle. I only mean this in the figurative sense, since I’m really good at juggling two balls and horrible at juggling three balls so that I never really juggle three anymore. But I juggle all kinds of other things. I juggle children, schedules, a Very Demanding Dog, sleep, a job(?), and anything and everything else that flies up in the air. When I have more than two going at the same time, they magically morph into chainsaws and dropping them becomes even more risky than it would already be anyway.

My crazy job ended on Monday. I was so sad. We were trying to find a solution that worked for both sides of the table and we couldn’t reach an agreement. I loved my job. Mostly. I didn’t feel good when I said good bye, and the funny thing is that it didn’t feel final, either.

Tuesday I woke up (after a restless, nearly sleepless night) feeling a bit relieved. I felt that I had a chance to pick up said Dropped Balls and reconnect to all the things in my life that I had put on a shelf while completely submerged in my new experience. It was not the same relief that you feel when something bad has ended – because I didn’t think what I left behind was bad – but it was a relief like crawling into bed after a long day, or coming home after a hectic business trip. The stress that I’ve been carrying around in my shoulders and tightly wrapped around my head and neck seemed to loosen and slowly start the process of fading.

And then the call came.

Would I be willing?…And so we begin further negotiations. Welcome back, Stress! I missed you for those two moments! I am looking forward to a resolution. A good one. A satisfying one. A resolution with a win/win outcome. Is that possible? Can’t it please happen?

And what of my time? I just want to take a nap. I just want to have accomplished all that I intended to when all business Dropped on Monday. I want to have some DEAR Time. I want to Drop Everything And Relax.

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