COVID Conundrums

So there I was, reading about all the new spikes in COVID-19 cases throughout the land, then jumping up and running with great speed to the garden to do some weeding and maybe some picking; and no, I didn’t really jump or run because it’s CRAZY HOT OUTSIDE so it was really more of an amble, or perhaps a sashay, but even a sashay would take too much energy in this heat; and although this sentence is way too long I just don’t care because I’m the one who’s writing it and you’re the one who’s reading it so like who’s the real silly person now, right??

Ha ha on youse!!

Speaking of youse… are youse kids staying safe out there? Social distancing? Wearing your hands and washing your masks? Or maybe the reverse of that last one?? Well by golly I sure hope so. I know we are; and that of course means that my Beautiful Girlfriend and I have been very closely visiting with each other for the past um… 4 months I think. No going to the movies, no gatherings, and only able to hug a very select few family members because we are very certain that they are doing their part also. And yes, by doing their part I of course mean wearing a mask in public, washing their hands 6 feet apart, and socially distancing their hand sanitizers. Or something like that.

Don’t lick the counter tops at the store please.

Thankfully, my Lovely Bride has not yet removed my nostrils with a pitchfork due to any perceived wisecracks or nasty looks. And I’m hoping she is grateful that I have not put her Tupperware in the oven at 400 degrees just for that one thing she may or may not have said; or that eye-roll I may or may not have noticed. That’s not to say that we haven’t had any interludes of abrasive verbal stinkrot or spontaneously combustible annoyance. I mean hey, it’s not really likely that two people who are cooped up together for months will never have a tense day.

Especially if you’re married!!

But we’ve done pretty well I think. I can say that reliably because we’ve confessed our ornery ocky-pitoo poopenheimers to friends and family and both of us have reached the same conclusion: our spats have been very few and very brief.

One may well ask, “how do youse two kids remain so stinkin’ harmonious??” The answer to that is simple, really. We do really weird things that we’ve been doing for many years. We say, “please,” and “thank you.” We tell each other “I Love You” every day (OK, probably multiple times a day). We stay in tune with each other’s moods; and when we smell trouble we try to nip it in the stinkbag as quickly as possible. Communication. Kindness. Love. Things that probably should come naturally, but in reality these are skills that take practice and constant honing. And when we fall short, we do another really weird thing: apologize. And that is followed up by something even more really weird: we try not to make the same mistakes again. Reminds me of that ancient philosopher, Henny Youngman:

A guy goes to the doctor, moves his arm and says, “Doctor!! It hurts when I do this!!”

The doctor replies, “Don’t to that!!”

So this COVID stuff can be a test of all things human. But there really are no conundrums. All of us just need to work together, stay safe, and try really hard not to bite each other’s heads off.

Simple, right??

Life Without Facebook

Oh my God!! I haven’t been on Facebook today!! At all. Not even a little bit.

Am I OK??

Yes, I think I’m just fine. Whew!! I was worried there for a few nanoseconds. Well OK, I wasn’t really worried. Actually found myself doing things other than what’s found on the interwebs, believe it or not. Weird stuff like visiting with family for example. I mean, we were in the same room together and everything!! No hugging, unfortunately. Our dear Niece and her family have been traveling so we had to use caution.

Oh wait!! It’s my Beautiful Girlfriend’s birthday so I did get on the BookFace briefly to: A) post a Happy Birthday greeting and 12) show her (again) how to get to her other greetings.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love to stay in touch with family and friends. Way back when, I tried MySpace for awhile. That was fun, then Facebook came along and seems to have largely run away with the prize. Sure there are other “fascinating” things like Pinterest, Instagram, Tik Tok and Twitter, whatever the heck those are. Oh alright, Tik Tok is cute, maybe even addictive. I’ve tried Twitter, but I must be too much of a twit to tweet. Twitter just doesn’t rock my socks if you know what I mean. And as for Pinterest and all those other ones out there; I have a very open minded opinion of them all: I just don’t care!

Seems like I’m drifting more away from Facebook as time goes on; although I’ll be the first to admit that it was kind of a blast when it first arrived. Wasn’t really that much different from its predecessor MySpace; maybe a little more robust. A warped mind like mine likes to play with names; especially when they are famous brand names. Therefore, it wasn’t too long after I signed up for Facebook that I began calling it Spaceface or Mybook. Then a friend at work told me it was actually Facepage. I’ve decided to compromise and call it BookFace; which is really not a compromise at all but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

So there.

When I started watching what folks were posting on Spacebook, at times I was a bit astonished. Personal phone numbers, address information, everything short of their Social Security numbers! My job as a computer support geek boy has afforded me some healthy respect for hackers; spam marketeers and identity thieves; so there is very little personal information about me on my Twitface page. Even my name is altered: Mudwinkle Dustflinger. Of course, I do write this blog thing in which I basically pour my heart out to whoever cares to read it. But at least they won’t have much to go on if they try to steal my identity or send me very important e-mails about male enhancement pills or inheritances waiting for me in Nigerian bank accounts.

Then of course you have the mean, nasty and often completely false posts that are simply to designed to get a person’s hackles up and / or prey upon their gullibility.

So here I am, writing “Happy Friday!!!” when it’s very late outside, because we were having “face time” with our wonderful family. And no I don’t mean virtual Face Time… this was actually face to face, in person, in living color. And what am I gonna do after I get done with my scribblings? I’m gonna blast it out to the netweb via e-mail and Pagebook.

However, I’ve made an important decision that I believe will enhance my serenity and mental health: I’ll probably be posting to the SpaceFaceTwitBookPageThing less and enjoying real, live-and-in-color life living a lot more.

Now this has absolutely nothing to do with the interwebs or PageTwit, but I hope you like it as much as I did. The story is from 100 years ago, no interwebs, no TV… no sound!! Give it a try. You might like it.

Everybody (Still) Has Cooties

During prehistoric times when I was a kid, there were no video games or interwebs; so we had to find creative ways to amuse ourselves. Often, games of tag were morphed into various forms. One such form was to tag someone as “it” and proclaim loudly that the person had cooties. “Aaaaggghhh!!! Kenny’s got cooties!!! Run!!!” And we would scatter like wild little animals to avoid becoming “it.”

There was a more serious (and even repulsive) meaning back in those days, as many adults of the time referred to head lice as cooties. However, it would seem that the childish notions eventually won out, as evidenced by the arrival of The Game of Cootie; which involved constructing a cootie from parts that were garnered via the rolling of a die. These days, to say that someone or some thing has cooties is a way of expressing a dislike or perhaps even disgust toward that person or thing.

Now here we are in the midst of a pandemic. People all over the globe are getting killed by this deadly virus called COVID-19. By now we’ve all heard the guidelines to prevent contracting and spreading the virus. Here in Michigan, our Governor drew sharp criticism for issuing executive orders to prevent a bad situation from becoming worse. Her willingness to make tough decisions based on scientific evidence has paid off: the rate of new disease cases has fallen dramatically. Things are looking better, and slowly but surely the state is opening back up.

My wife and I tuned our brains into all the precautions very early for two simple reasons: 1) she has a preexisting lung illness and 2) we are in the “high risk” age group (over 65). We still wear a mask when we go to the store; and diligently wash or sanitize our hands and other objects when we’ve been outside our home. We’re also very selective as to which other humans we allow into our home. If we are not completely confident that they are following the guidelines; we make sure we minimize contact or at the very least we maintain social distance.

My Beautiful Girlfriend (a.k.a. my wife) and our Beautiful Daughter are both nurses. They know how to stay safe; which means they know what’s OK and what’s not OK. It has only been recently that we were able to visit with our grandchildren. And even more recently, hugging was finally allowed (no smooches!!). We have a list of “safe people” which includes our son, daughter, son in law, grandchildren, and a very small number of friends.

Since the opening up of various businesses, etc. we have noticed an increased number of people who don’t wear masks. There are also gatherings that are taking place; some of which are not being very mindful of social distancing. While we’d love to join the fun and have everything return to normal; we are holding back and remaining cautious. My Beautiful Girlfriend has often referred to me as her “social butterfly.” I’m the one who welcomes new friends and new social situations. But this COVID-19 stuff is serious business. It would likely kill my Lovely Bride. Therefore, until we each get a proven vaccine; we’ll continue to assume that everyone still has cooties.

Hope all of you are well; and hope you stay safe. This is not a game!

Well OK, these videos are about games…

A Real Opportunity

Those of you who read this column know it as “Happy Friday!!!” Well I’m sorry but after all the unrest in our nation this past week; I can’t be very jolly tonight. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very grateful. I’m grateful that we raised “colorblind” kids. Well as colorblind as middle class white folks can be anyway. Recent events have provoked deep sadness in our hearts. Everyone in our family feels a continuous gnawing pain in our hearts at what seems to be a perpetuation of racism, violence, and discrimination in our world. The effects of the pandemic were already exemplifying the economic inequalities all over the planet. Add that to preexisting racial injustice and the horribly sad death of George Floyd; and the short fuse of humanity’s powder keg was lit.

People who know me understand that I’m forever the idealist. In spite of all the horror, I’ve latched on to what I see as an opportunity for meaningful change. Early protests have been marred by instigators and opportunists who took advantage of police forces being stretched thin. However, more and more mobilization of peaceful protests have garnered the attention of the entire world; and protests have spread globally.

When I was a kid we protested against racial injustice. We protested against war. We protested against gender inequality. We protested against the poisoning of Mother Nature. Yet here we are again. I’m not foolish enough to suggest that these crimes against humanity and Mother Nature can be rectified quickly. It will take constant effort; and yes, most likely, more protests. But protests are empty actions if we sit on our laurels and watch the yelling from afar. At the very least, all of us must VOTE. And of course, all of us can treat everyone we meet with respect.

Every day.

We can do this. We must do this. Otherwise, we’ll just end up sad, frightened, frustrated and exhausted.

What kind of life would that be??

It’s all been going on too long.

Gratefully Safe

The news has been rather dreadful this past week. Milestone numbers of Covid-19 deaths, racial injustice; international tensions. It’s almost unhealthy to tune in and witness it all.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I’m a spoiled American. I live in a safe community. With very few exceptions, folks around here are decent, caring people. If I had a magic wand, I’d wave it and make the world safe and healthy for everyone. Obviously, it just doesn’t work that way. To paraphrase one of my favorite prayers, I have to accept things I can’t change. I will definitely vote and hope my voice helps to promote a better world. I already vote with my money; by spending it at local businesses wherever possible, but otherwise doing my best to avoid products that insult Mother Nature.

Lots of folks are all buzzing about and grimacing from the stay at home orders and social distancing. Life has changed in some very big ways. Nobody loves change, including me. However, I’m getting a little better at keeping the negative fire storms out of my head. Being annoyed is one thing; but my magnifying mind can, if let loose, really run with a grudge that ends up being harmful to me and those around me.

At our house, we’re being careful to listen to the medical experts and scientists. We are staying at home to stay safe. We wear masks in public places; sometimes protective gloves also. We wash our hands regularly, and when we can’t do that we sanitize as quickly as possible. We’ve also learned to stay in close contact with folks who are very good at reminding me to stay grateful and just try to do the next right thing. Bless them… they’re probably getting a bit weary of my rants when I start spouting off about all the injustices in the world. They’ve heard it before, and before that, and before that. Yet, they seem to love me anyway! Not sure how anyone else works it all out; but I need to vent to someone who understands when I’m hurting inside. The way it works for me is to vent until I get tired of hearing it myself. Fortunately, I’ve become aware that if I allow anger and resentment to fester in my heart, I’m basically poisoning myself. Being livid about things over which I have no control is about as effective as eating a poison pill and expecting someone else to die.

My Beautiful Girlfriend and I will continue to strive to be safe and as happy as possible. And I’m going to try to avoid dipping into the poison pots of social dysfunction. After all, the only thing I have any control over is how I react to all these “wonderful” things that are happening in the world.

When my serenity alarm goes off, I need to remind myself to run through my “gratitude list.” I am healthy and I have the love of a beautiful woman. She even let me marry her! We have cars that work, a nice home, plenty to eat. We have loving relationships with our offspring, relatives and friends. Life really is good at our house.

No poison for me thanks. I need to make gratitude my attitude. Sometimes it takes a bit of work to pull it off, but life is much more peaceful when I succeed.

Can you tell I’m practicing?

So here’s proof positive that we are spoiled Americans. If you are reading this, it means that you have access to the internet. And if you have internet, you have access to Buddy Hackett. Say what?? Well just watch. We all could use a good laugh right now. Thank you Buddy… even though you’re in Heaven you gave my Lovely Bride and me some very nice belly laughs tonight. Very good medicine after watching the news!!

Quarantine Quirky

So there I was, a couple months ago, working remotely because of the Corona Oh No, almost retired, then furloughed, then on vacation, then retired, and all travel plans that weren’t really planned but kinda were planned because we wanted to go places but with a deadly virus lurking in the bushes (and elsewhere) we dare not venture about in an unsafe manner so we hunkered down at home and began eating too much and OK, maybe we still are, a little bit, but that’s OK because whatchya gonna do anyway except make a sentence that is way too long about all this shelter in place stuff? Anyway??

I like chocolate.

Yes, these are strange times, but one thing I’m very sure of: my Beautiful Girlfriend and I are quite blessed, and we are truly grateful for it. We have more than enough to eat, a safe, warm place to sleep, and money in the bank. Spoiled rotten we are already!! Oddly enough, this quarantine business has actually helped us save money. We don’t drive around much, so we’re not spending much on gasoline. I go to the grocery store once a week now, which before was a multiple days per week sojourn. We cook more at home, so our dining out bill is cut drastically. We don’t go to the movies unless they are on our TV.

Cookies and milk are delicious.

Alright, we do have the Netflix. Lots of stuff to watch on there. But then I found this whole series of a show called True Blood that was available for free. For those who don’t know, True Blood is about vampires, werewolves, fairies and shape shifters. You know, ordinary folk we meet every day. Often my Sweet Honey Pie has watched similar shows that just didn’t really interest me. True Blood, however, was different. It was well written, scary but also quite funny, and I actually became a bit hooked on the shows for several episodes. It has everything a red blooded male likes: lots of sex, violence, and explosions.

Any more of those peanut butter cups?

Well as the saying goes, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. True Blood is not a new show, but it ran for 7 seasons. Toward the end of season 6 of binge watching, HBO wanted money. This caused both me and my Honey Pie to say things like, “those dirty snot lickers!!” By this time I had pretty much lost interest in the show, but she was still quite hooked and became very sad. So, being the thoughtful boyfriend I am, I found that Amazon Prime had this True Blood series, and was offering a 30 day free trial. Bingo!! So she got to watch the first 3 episodes of the last season and guess what?? When trying to get episode 4 to stream, a message came up: “start your free 7 day trial of HBO to continue watching.” This cause us both to say bad words again… “those stinky bug poop licking mugglesnorts!!” Or something. So now I have two free trials to cancel. Oy yoy yoy.

Mmmmm Ring Dings.

Hey, these are really high-class problems, ya know? Sheesh!! There is an “up” side to all this: we’ve renewed our interest in snacking while watching a (sort of) big screen. And when I say “up,” I do mean “UP!!” As in weight gain.

I like ice cream.

We don’t have the problem of being bored out of our minds during quarantine. Well OK, technically we’re not quarantined at all, it just feels like it sometimes. I know some feel it’s OK to resume “normal” activities; but we are choosing to listen to those crazy science people and are staying home much of the time. When we leave home, we wear our face masks in stores, and other public areas. We also use disposable gloves in some cases. We wash and / or sanitize our hands regularly. And as extra precautions, we’ve chosen not to lick doorknobs, counter tops or pavement. Oh wait, we didn’t do that before either.

I like potato chips.

I think maybe I need to find something to occupy my time besides eating. Perhaps I’ll illegally change my name every other day, and create a new e-mail address to match. Then I’ll wait and see how many of my friends complain that they got some weird e-mail from Mirplop Burpsocket that included a picture of a roll of masking tape. A few days later I’ll follow up with a note from Zonina Grabblesnacks that has urgent instructions to ignore any e-mail that includes a picture of a roll of masking tape. Then again, maybe that’s not such a good idea.

I like radishes!! Maybe I’ll go plant radishes!!

Not sure how many of you watch the video, but I try to pick something that is either relevant or just plain fun. This one leans more toward the fun side…

Collar Your Plants Before The Cutworms Kill Them!

Here in West Michigan, it’s the height of planting season. We had a wet, cold spring this year so I’m a bit behind getting stuff in the ground. I did get my plants in pretty early though.

“Gotta get yer peas and potatoes in by Good Friday,” Grandpa Bunny used to always say. Well I didn’t quite make it. Just a week before we had quite a bit of rain. Since we live in Bear Swamp, I knew full well that tilling the garden would be very much like running a rototiller in ankle deep chocolate pudding.

So I waited a bit. Went to Weesies just before Mothers Day to buy my plants before the rush came. Around here, all the veggie plants become slim pickin’s by Memorial Day. Of course, if you let your peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes sit in those little tray thingies for very long they get root-bound. Therefore, each year I “commit sacrilege” by putting my frost sensitive plants in the ground before Memorial Day.

I love to share my adventures in the garden When I tell my friends I’ve had my peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes in the ground for almost three weeks, their eyes get big and they shake their heads and say things like: “Aren’t you worried about frost??” “I thought you weren’t supposed to put anything like that in until after Memorial Day!!” I reassure them that it’s very OK so long as you have enough “hot caps” to cover each one if there’s a danger of frost.

“Hot caps??” they ask quizzically. “Yeah, you know, buckets,” I explain. “Keep them handy so you can put them upside down over the plant before you go to bed. That way when the frost comes they don’t get killed. But make sure you take them off first thing in the morning or your plants will get roasted inside those things.” They’ll say “OOoohh…” but I can sense they are wondering whether I’m OK in the noodle or not. Of course when they hear I went to Dollar General and spent $50 on buckets they may really think I’m nuts (at least they were made in the U.S.!!). Seven buckets at $1.75 each and 13 waste baskets at $2.25 apiece. The guy at Dollar General said, “you must have a lot of trash!!”

Hot caps or no, there’s nothing quite so unnerving as carefully planting your baby tomatoes, etc. and waking up the next day to find a decapitated stem with its head lying next to it. It’s happened to me… but only once. The stupid pest didn’t even have the decency to eat the leaves that fell to the ground!! Here’s a picture of the culprit:

It’s called a cutworm. It’s not a worm at all, but a caterpillar; and after it devours the stalk of your baby plant it curls up just under the soil and takes a nap. Then off it goes later to search for another unsuspecting plant stalk.

The simplest way to prevent damage from cutworms is to install a cutworm collar when you plant. I learned about cutworm collars after one of my babies got decapitated many seasons ago, and I’ve been using them ever since. Very easy to make. I’ve tried paper drinking cups, but they often have plastic inside or are coated with wax, and I want something that will return itself to the soil after the danger of cutworms is gone. My new magical material is… drumroll… toilet paper tubes!! Yes!! I start collecting them in the winter and have more than enough by spring. I simply flatten the tube and cut slits about halfway up the roll.

Then I carefully prepare the seedling. For tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, I trim most of the leaves off the stalk and bury the seedling “up to its neck in dirt.” All of these plants are members of the nightshade family, so they will grow roots out of the stem if it’s in the soil (makes for a very good root system). Slide the paper tube over the plant and press it into the soil and cover with some dirt so the wind won’t blow it away, while making sure the leaves of the plant are above the top of the tube as shown.

Well, enough of that. This week’s video has absolutely nothing to do with cutworms. I’ve never grown Black Eyed Peas, but in my professional opinion, this video of theirs is a lot of fun.

So there.

The First Day Of The Rest Of My Life

After much hoopla and zippity doo, last Friday, May 1, was the first day of the rest of my life. In other words, I am officially retired!! As many of you know, I’ve been looking forward to this for a very long time. I even installed a little widget by the name of “Free Countdown Timer” on my work computer, Every day for about 2 years I had a little window in the top right corner of my screen that reported the number of years, months, days, and even minutes left to go till my retirement date. It’s also possible that I reported this information to friends and family on a regular basis. Got to the point where folks what ask, “what’s the countdown?” when they saw me out and about. I’ve been rather geeked about the whole idea for a long time!

So now I’m retired!! I’ve been asked how it feels… actually it feels pretty much the same as it has for the last month or more. The corona virus had me working at home since late March. Then I was on bereavement for 3 days; and finally took 20 days of vacation until my retirement date. Can’t really travel much, since the stay at home order keeps getting extended here in Michigan. Although some may not agree, that’s actually a good thing. I have no interest in contracting the virus; and I absolutely don’t want to bring it home to my Honey Pie.

I can describe my feelings toward retirement with one word: grateful. Fortunately for us, we paid off all our debt long before The Big Day. No mortgage, no car payments, no loans. We have money in the bank. I moved our 401k and IRAs to slow growth / low risk funds long before the economy pooped out; so we haven’t lost any of our retirement savings. We have plenty of food, and since we aren’t burning much gasoline we’re saving even more money. There’s even enough to donate to our local homeless shelter.

Many have asked what I’m doing with my time. And of course, I’ve been sitting in front of the TV eating bonbons and binge watching vampire shows. Well maybe not all the time. Yes, we really have been eating candy and watching “True Blood.” which is a vampire series available for free from HBO. Let’s hear it for the Roku!! Those who have one know what I’m spewing about. My Beautiful Girlfriend has a greater appetite for binge watching than I do; but I’ll admit do get sucked into the shows.

Other times I’m doing foolish things like cooking meals, doing dishes, and cutting firewood. I’ve gotten some work done in the garden; and am looking forward to doing more once winter is over. Yes, I said winter!! In May!!! Sheesh!!! We had some nice warm weather in late April; but now we’re getting little snizzles of snow and have a hard freeze in the forecast. None of my frost sensitive plants are in the ground yet. I’m guessing the tomato and pepper seedlings were wondering why the !bleep! they were getting pelted with snow globs when I had them outside for some sun today. I’ve brought them inside for two nights now, worried that it would still dip below freezing in the shed. Oh, and I made my first “tulip tent” to protect my Lovely Bride’s tulip blooms. She planted a bunch of bulbs a while ago, but would shake her head in frustration when only a couple would bloom each year. Well this year she counted 15 blooms, so to protect them I built a tulip tent from some poles and tarps.

So yes, retirement has been very exciting. And no, I’m not being sarcastic! I’m excited that I don’t answer to anyone but myself… oh and my Beautiful Girlfriend. Yes, I’ve answered to my Beautiful Girlfriend for many years now; but that’s very OK with me. I’m excited about going to bed late and getting up without the screaming of an alarm clock. I’m not so excited that my britches are getting a bit tight from all the goodies we’ve been eating. Part of that is a result of the stay at home order I think maybe. We cook, we eat, we snack. When we don’t feel like cooking I’ll do the unthinkable and cook with my credit card (takeout). But most of all this eating too much is that we like food. A lot.

For now, retirement will mean obeying the stay at home order. Travel will happen only as needed for groceries, prescriptions, and so on. And yes, when I go to the store or other public areas I wear a mask and often some disposable gloves. But when the corona virus threat is over… LOOK OUT!! We’ll probably just keep doing what we’re doing now.

And that’s just fine by me!! And while my Honey Pie enjoys binge watching vampire shows, I’ll sneak off and watch some educational programs like this…

Boris The Spider

So there we were, enjoying a Facetime session with our grandsons, when Ollie’s face fiffled away so he could point the camera at a spider that was scrambling to safety on top of a bucket. “No!! NO!! Leave him alone!!” Ollie shouted at his brother Gabe. Not sure how one can tell the gender of a spider, but anyway that led me to go to the YouTube and find a video of The Who singing their famous arachnid song, “Boris The Spider;” and I found a cute video so I shared the link to our daughter’s phone so she could maybe show it to the grandsons later which of course gave me the ability to make a long overdue run-on sentence that I often like to stick into a story somewhere for really no good reason.

Yes.

Since we are all on lock down due to this terrible virus, we have not seen our grandsons in person for at least 2, maybe 3 moons now. That’s a long time for gentle people like us!! Fridays were often the day they’d come to visit, and they’d stay till Sunday evening. They know that I write “Happy Friday!!!” every week; and when they’re here I ask them what they’d like me to write for them. Since Gabe was off and about doing Gabe things, after coming inside from showing us the spider I asked Ollie what tonight’s story should be about.

“Let’s see,” he pondered, “we’ve already covered the cows that migrated to the moon.”

“Yes,” I said, “we did that one a while ago.”

“I dunno…” Ollie’s well seemed a bit dry. The Facetime call was the 2nd for today, and it was getting time to say bye-bye; so I just threw out a suggestion.

“How about Boris The Spider?” I asked.

“Yeah, that sounds good. Boris The Spider,” Ollie replied with a smile.

Of course, I don’t think I can really improve on The Who’s rendition of the song. I mean hey, spiders are very important creatures, this I know. But still, when I find Boris or any other spider on me (and it’s always by surprise), my first reaction is to do a very animated running dance. And the bigger the spider is, the more I freak out. I’m what you might call a spider wimp I think. I’m sure the spider is way more frightened of me than I am of her (or him), but I’m sorry, when a creepy crawly spider is walking around on me, it’s just time for the shake shake holy moly dance!

Over the years, my respect for spiders has grown considerably. I normally try to catch them if they are in the house. Any that are larger than a pencil eraser are caught with the old drinking glass and piece of paper trick. I shoo them into the glass and put a piece of paper over the top to trap them until they can be released outside. Smaller ones… believe it or not… I can actually pick up the smaller ones. Sometimes. If I have the nerve. Which is sometimes. OK they still freak me out even if they’re tiny; but yes, I can actually cradle one in my hand if they’re small enough. However, I still have a bit of killer instinct at times, and yes, if a spider comes out of nowhere there must might be some smooshing (please, don’t tell Mother Nature).

Boris The Spider has always been one of my favorite songs by The Who. I went looking around for a creative video that fit the song, and I found this one. Same one I sent to our daughter’s phone. Hope you like it. But remember, spiders are people too. Be nice to them.

OK so they’re not people. They’re spiders!! Just be nice. We need them!!

The Glass(es) Menagerie

As some of you who are reading this are aware, getting old is not for wimps. I’ve enjoyed 66 trips around the Sun on this globe we call Earth. My brain is pretty much convinced I’m still a young pup, then I go do something silly and try a spontaneous sprint. The result: a pulled calf muscle. OW that hurts!! This was never an issue when I was, oh… like maybe 30. But now if I choose to exert a burst of energy, I better do some stretching first or suffer the ouchy-wouchies.

And that’s just one example.

Fortunately, I somehow was blessed with pretty good eyeballs. Corrective lenses only became needed in my late 40s; and then all I really needed was some +1.00 readers. Used those for many years, and then I started needing stronger ones. When I went for an exam, I was told twice now that I “have an onset of cataracts,” but nothing requiring any action. I was also told “you passed the driver’s test without glasses.” Yet when I went to renew my license a few years ago, they said I needed glasses. That’s a bit confusing, but I just use readers (I’m up to +2.50 now) and all is good.

My Beautiful Girlfriend had cataract surgery a while back. She was offered a choice to either have good long range vision and only need reading glasses for close-up stuff, or no glasses for near but corrective lenses for distant vision. The choice was pretty obvious to her; and after some 60 years of nearsightedness she can now see stars like never before.

Over the years, I’ve built up a collection of reading glasses of various strengths. Still have most of them, and there are some favorite “John Lennon” style wire frames that I use for cooking special meals, even though a stronger pair might work better. It’s a spiritual thing I guess; if that makes any sense. I have glasses that come in two-part metal tubes. I keep a pair of those in my pocket when I’m in the garden. Nice because they don’t get smooshed, and I don’t worry about dropping them in the dirt. Of course I’ve also acquired several pair with cases that clip into a shirt pocket. Those really flashed the “computer geek” fashion statement while I was working. Although my Honey Pie could easily use one of my many pairs of readers, she has built up a collection of her own. I guess mine weren’t girly enough (duh).

These days, it’s possible we have 729 pairs of reading glasses between us. Some are kept in the car, some in the bathroom, some in the kitchen, some in the bedroom. So what happens when either of us tries to read a soup label or something? An exclamation is repeated over and over: “where the HECK are my glasses??” Often, this is answered in the same breath with a sighing, “oh there they are!!”

Regardless of the fact that we always know a pair is near (somewhere), one of us inevitably picks up a bill or prescription or something and squints almost painfully while barely making out the words. Then the other will say, “Honey!! Why don’t you grab your glasses??” Oh, and not to forget the frantic scramble to grab a document or something while on the phone with the doctor’s office and then muttering, “where the bleep!! are my blankety-blank glasses??” and hoping the nice person who called didn’t hear.

Got some pretty big chuckles the other day when was trying to read with a pair of cheap wire-rims. I thought one of my eyes was going bad, only to discover one of the lenses had fallen out of the frame. After finding the missing lens I howled with laughter. Then later I noticed my computer glasses were not working too well. That’s because they are +1.75, but now I’m better with +2.50. Sheesh!!

Yes, it’s a glasses menagerie around here! There are times, though, when I can’t help but amuse myself while hunting for glasses. I do some Three Stooges dialog out loud: “I can’t see!! I can’t see!!” “Whats the matter??” “I got my eyes closed!!”

On the other hand, you have the looking glass…