I read this recently and loved it….
“In this house we are real. We make mistakes. We say I’m sorry. We give second chances. We have fun. We give hugs and forgive. We do really loud. We are patient. We love.”

That is until the day came when my second chances, fun, hugs, forgiveness, and patience diminished rapidly as referenced in response to a targeted group of aggressive critters. And I scored zero on the multidimensional sense of humor scale. I get the usual deliveries of newspapers, mail, and Thai takeout. So getting the unexpected delivery of the great ant invasion of 2013, happily helping themselves to my kitchen contents as if they were overindulging at the Home Town Buffet, was not exactly a moment of cheer. I became tantamount to torture and a bio-terroristic attack. I got extremely loud yelling at them to leave the premises. And everyone thinks Muslim nations are startling the US.

The ants came marching one by one onto my parmigiana, waah, waah! Then they were prepared to settle on my saltines and peaches, ready to raise a few million more family members. Apparently they had mistaken me for someone who runs the local food bank facility. Now it would normally occur to me to floss before having guests. So you can understand the rather pallid look on my face when entering my kitchen to see an uninvited hoard of the Formicidae family making themselves at home in every nook, cranny, wall cubbyhole, cupboard, even leading up my fridge, into my fridge, and hiking the freezer. One has to wonder how such a teensy tiny little thing can open a monster upright side by side door that excretes a drafty coldness in order to confiscate my freezer favorites. Herculean came to mind. When they stumbled across my treasured tangerine gelati, then they had some real s’plaining to do. Sweet snatchers always put me in the spirit of annihilating someone. My blood pressure rose even more when I discovered I was dangerously low on bombs. It was time to use my own superhuman strength, or at least that of an Orkin ecologist.

The exterminator must have detoured for lunch and a movie somewhere. So I had to brush aside my longing to do laundry to seize the moment. I’ll betcha all those people on Air France 447 didn’t seize the moment and passed up the Barquette of Shrimps a la Parisienne on their fateful flight. Nonetheless, I needed to take possession of a forklift to scoop the gazillion little buggers out the door. Then again, they would just come back in for a return foraging feast fest. Securing my position as an ant murderer, the promise of clean cupboards and countertops became a priority, along with an appointment with a psychiatrist. I didn’t want to go down on record as being a slayer. Not even of the exoskeleton kind.

But the kitchen draped in many trailed brown blobs got to me. I figured if Dexter did a good job of destroying menaces, maybe I could as well. Torching my house was a possibility, but I loved the wallpaper too much. I saturated every area with my poison of choice, then wiped down with an entire pallet of Costco paper towels. I began feeling a little like Hannibal Lecter on a mission. Because both of us I’m sure, on occasion, have completely devoured these predatory individuals chocolate covered cousins. The Science Advisory Board reassured me that entomophagy (bug eating) is acceptable, although I won’t be rushing to audition for Fear Factor. Unlike Hannibal, I’m not into cannibalism. If I find one moving creature in my stew, I’m seriously taking strict action. I can rest easier if I watch the wee ramblers convalesce into a coma, then fall into a very deep sleep.

Now that the scavengers were dead and buried (because everyone knows that a few would come noticeably crawling out if I left them on life support like an open trash can), I began my career in organizational management. I packaged every single thing in secure containers while throwing out gobs of food. It pained me to discard boxes of cereal at those prices. I have a hard time throwing out leftovers let alone a months worth of costly eatables. But nothing exudes the personal warmth that comes with clean cabinets, other than a beer in my belly when it was all done.

Home invaders like me. But I don’t like them. I do like hair, mostly the mini mane on a baby’s head, and beard stubbles. But not when it backs a varmint. “Egads” was not even close to the exclamation I used when spotting the tarantula making his way through my living room on another scary occasion. And I usually wander around in my bare feet. The thought of a creepy crawler becoming bosom buddies with me in my sleep sends quivers down my spine. In preparation for battle, I ran like heck. I positioned myself in a place where I patiently watched him entertain me by doing the limbo when he decided to exit the screen door. When I finally climbed down from the top of the refrigerator, I went shopping for sonic plug-in repellers. I haven’t seen hide nor hair of him since.

We all need that special someone to share the couch with for a movie, the sunrise, a sunset, or a cheesy Crostini. But I don’t want that special someone to be an ant and his entire army of an extended family, or anything else mimicking an arachnid. I LOVE that my kitchen got a good cleansing. I would have been a bit more chipper if they apologized for invading my space. I’m applying PATIENCE in understanding why bugs harass. Not that I will be able to HUG and FORGIVE the next one that crawls along. But I’m working on that.


What would be a good way to die? As if there is a good way. I just hope it’s sudden and not drawn out. In my case, the toxicology report could very well reveal death by an abundance of fried cakes. Findings could also affirm that battery I swallowed when I was three, which was conclusive proof of my lasting energy.

The recurring argument whether or not lives are extended due to vitamins could be strictly heresay. And we may face dismissal if we fail to demonstrate due diligence by eating All-Bran for breakfast when most of us really really want Dunkin Doughnuts. Our time on earth could also be significantly lowered to maybe a day if we happen to be a pesky insect that’s into flea bargaining. I can assure you that the prison life of a person charged with the capital offense of Pedophilia doesn’t last much longer than that either. It’s kind of like watching the mothers who want to bump off Barney.

There is enough testimony and corroborating evidence to say that everything alive will eventually die, even with all the warning labels in the world. If pollution doesn’t kill me, surely hidden mold in spaces between the walls may do it. I have often wondered why some small birds live longer than German shepherds. Or why longevity just wasn’t in the cards for my calfskin ankle boots. You can buy a goldfish on Monday and the thing is a goner by Wednesday. Moor-slaughter is always in question, and I can voluntarily disclose that it is never premeditated. I looked into documentation describing said longevity. So this morning after I checked my pulse, and the pulse of the fourth flipping little swimmer this week, I reviewed a list of living supercentenarians just because I carry such a colossal curiosity about what lives longest. So just how much aquatic food is one suppose to put in tanks? I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that it may incriminate me.

In the case of longevity, I concluded that fossils, geoducks, zombies, the sludge sitting in my drainpipes, and those buggers clinging to every surface in schools live longest. The giant barrel sponge is estimated to live 2,250,000 years. I’d probably live that long too if I was lying around a tropical Caribbean coral reef in a wet-ness protection program without a stress in the world. I’d like to think I’ll live as along as a Bristlecone pine. And sturgeons live long as well. Not to be mistaken with surgeons, especially if they have to off themselves after being stricken with monster malpractice. I really want to thank my parents for making me food all those years so I wouldn’t die prematurely. Although my domestic partnership kept asking if I wanted Brussels sprouts, and I said I’d rather have a Barbie dollhouse instead. I was sworn under several oaths not to feed my veggies to the dog or they would issue me a bench warrant. But I was just following suit of my fellow sibling repeat offenders before me.

Now I can attest to the fact that the longest living defendant is the indestructible stink bug. They cause widespread damage to my tomato crop. I can trap them long enough to torture them, poison them, shower them with acid water, run them over a few times with the lawn mower, douse them with lighter fluid and torch them, use blunt force with a hoe, and try to deprive them of a cushy existence within my jurisdiction. No matter all my assassination attempts, I’ll plead the fifth, and still bear witness to these criminals crawling away breathing. I also learned water bears are quite resilient. Gummy bears, not so much.

I almost died today. First of all, the people at P.F. Chang’s were extremely close to murdering me when they witnessed my being in contempt of Cortaderia. I picked their graceful inflorescent grasses to take home for my very own vase viewing enjoyment. Then walking across the street after that, a car missed me by a quarter of an inch sending me into a tailspin. Guess I need to look both ways next time to avoid collateral damage and a possible death sentence. While cars go about their business on the roads, I find that crossing guards are the best counsel. I guess I had the same curiosity that killed the cat. But in closing arguments, when the almighty courtroom tells me to stay off the streets and quit picking plumy objects from public property or else, I must obey or suffer some severe penalty without ever the possibility of parole. Some inmates could get their hands on me and inflict undue hardship, in which case I would be exercising my right to remain silent, forever. I’ve seen what can happen in Papillon, Midnight Express, and Law & Order. I’d kill myself before I ever reach jail bars.

My personal conviction is that it’s hard to even think about dying when I’m wondering when hot doughnuts will be served again at Krispy Kreme. What’s worse is the possibility of going out not knowing whether the kingdom is set up nicely with a fabulous bakery. If I have to exit this world, I want death by chocolate cronuts – those hybrid croissant doughnuts. Although I’d be happy expiring at a comedy club, so I can die laughing.


At a very young age my parents taught me that money found under the tooth fairy pillow were pennies from heaven. Except I always wanted dollar bills. And that those pennies saved were pennies earned to go out and buy just about nothing. Eventually I learned that we come into the world with nothing, leave with nothing, and pretty much have nothing in between once bills are paid. I also truly believed that if I ate one of those pennies from heaven, I’d be an angel. Not true though when they kept saying, “you little devil.”

I was never starved for sapience. All the lessons I digested through the years began with that good old home schooling called parents. Although most of the time when they were lecturing, I was hiding in the bathroom. The same with academic school, which is probably the reason I don’t know much about history, don’t know much biology, don’t know much about the science book, or much else about the French I took. I did learn that one and one is two, and that it was probably not in my best interest to daydream. Thankfully Sister Jane Marie didn’t use the Rocky approach on me. She simply asserted, “A penny for your thoughts.”

My mother taught me about time management. “Do the dishes now or you won’t be getting a popsicle from the Good Humor man!” Then dad interjected with his philosophy on reasoning. ”Because I said so, that’s why!” Both of them educated me about war. “I didn’t do it.” “Yes you did!” “No I didn’t!” “Yes you did!” And I got an earful about medical science. “Keep feeding the fish gummy worms and you’re going to make the little guy sick!” My parents instructed me on having high hopes. “Play in that muddy ditch again and I’ll wring your neck!” And they even taught me the Twist & Shout. “Can’t you see the dirt on your rear end? And quit screaming! If you cleaned your ears like I asked you, I wouldn’t have to clean them for you!” They also taught me humor. Because time went on and I had kids, and kept repeating all the very same things to them.

Yes time evolved and I gave birth to my own good fortune. I fed myself enough strawberries while pregnant to ensure that I’d bear good fruit. I was fairly self taught when it came to mothering, since I had no idea what the heck I was doing and lived too far from mom and dad. It was like the blind leading the diapered kind. With each new baby, I learned that it did not matter how many pink outfits I bought, people were still going to ask me if I had a boy or a girl in my buggy. I also learned that just about everyone else wanted to provide me with their wonderful pearls of parenting wisdom, which cracked me up because they either didn’t have any children of their own, or theirs were delinquents. I acquired the knowledge that pennies do pass through the digestive tract but pencils don’t eject from VCR’s. And a microwave can be easily substituted for an Easy Bake Oven, but there was no substitution for a hamster after electromagnetic radiation. I also found out that a mother could be her death bed with a raging fever, have plastic tubes plugged into every aperture in her body awaiting surgery, and still be required to make cookies for the class field trip.

If I never taught my children anything else, I wanted them to wake every morning with a smile and be grateful I didn’t give them up for adoption. I taught them to stay away from nests of locusts, try not to apply eyeliner in moving bumper cars, and practice safe sex. I hope I was clear enough in my teaching technique when I said, “You don’t want to be assaulted by a male with a deadly weapon.” I didn’t know what else to do besides stitch a few dozen needlepoint pillows with the “Rules” on them, or the cardinal virtues of abstinence, continence, and temperance for every room in the house. I hoped it wasn’t obsessive that they found pillows placed prominently next to the pretzels in the pantry and nestled in their panty drawers. When they asked me about sexuality, I felt stricken with Narcolepsy, but shrugged it off with a fast case of indigestion. I ran for the Mylanta, locked myself in the bathroom, and dialed 911 to heaven for help. I almost wished I’d been a carrier of Cholera, which would have sent me to the hospital for days so at least I could ponder my next moves and explanations. I also wasn’t able to follow my kids around to make sure no little misters were educating them through hands on illustrations. I didn’t mean to be the saboteur of sex education, but I wasn’t prepared for those moments. I tried surpassing questions like “Why did God make pee pees?”…when they could have just asked, “Why does God makes bubbles?” I offered them two rolls of pennies if they’d just walk away, no questions asked.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to bypass all those girlie lessons. Like learning that every single paper product in the entire house can be used to make puppets, and tops of dressers while holding onto a ceiling fan is not a stable situation when a caped child wearing a Wonder Woman costume is attempting to fly. But a moving fan comes in mighty handy when you want to shower the room with glitter or Barbie accessories. Hearing the words “uh-oh” usually meant that I was in much bigger trouble than they were.

I’m grateful my dad is still around to teach and assist me. “Need anything else at the moment honey? Stock tips? Current Kardashian news? Your inheritance right now? Because I’d be happy to give you my penny jar!”


My semi-rational everyday thinking gets interrupted by the whys and ways of the world. Why some people’s ways are different than my way. Why some beat to a drum and others a bongo, or a tabletop, or their little brothers heads. Why someone is content going to the zoo and another has to fly off to Africa to a much broader wild kingdom for the real thrill of animal agitation. Why mass murderers have sweet eyes. Or why some next door neighbors keep to themselves, and others cultivate interference? What insurance do you need if you’re like a good neighbor, when some harm is there?

The Appalachian Trail isn’t normally my route, neither is nosiness. I am merely marked by a desire to investigate and learn. This applies to a man who lived across the street from us once. My suspicions about him had me peering from behind closed curtains. I get really nervous about the strength of my relationship with Taliban type neighbors and worry I’ll awaken a sleeper cell. They just don’t fight the same as the McCluskey’s. Always dressed in a lab coat with what looked like hemoglobin stains, we assumed our close dwelling blood brother worked as a forensic technician. His reddish and densely coated clothing made us think he could have been either a butcher, a baker using cherry puree, and undeniably not a candlestick maker. He may even have been a barber that reaped the wrath from bad hair cuts. I was always afraid to borrow eggs. My girls had their friends at school thinking we had Jack the Ripper living near us. We could have been scheming our worst-case scenario. It did make me want to take a crash course in Kung Fu, and contact the Department of Homeland Security. For all we knew, maybe he just got super sloppy eating blood oranges. Or maybe a few crimson tides washed in. I was never rest assured of anything until the day a moving van showed up in his driveway. We watched to make sure no extra freezers were going bye-bye.

Robbery could very well be a terrible thing. Let me set that scene….
One frightful evening way back when after being gone all day, I came home and noticed my back door was wide open. I instantly froze with fear. Especially seeing papers scattered on the floor and a few things amiss. I quivered at the thought of someone being in the house and I told my two young girls to stay close behind me. They grasped my shirttail in horror as I tiptoed through the kitchen to grab a carving knife. Because nothing screams survival quite like clutching Costco cutlery while crying, “Go ahead, make my day you home wrecking son of a burglar!” I slowly scoured each and every room. One of my darlings yelled, “Come out, come out, wherever you are!” I cupped her mouth in request for silence. I kept picturing a muscular man jumping out at us. Or would he be the devilishly handsome, never the robber type? I didn’t live on a mansion lined street where thieves were regularly intruding in search of priceless pieces. They wouldn’t find bags of cash or extravagant jewels. It’s more likely they’d make out with a bounty of breakfast bars and a wide variety of dollar store food storage containers. I would have been livid if those were taken and not returned. My insides twisted in this tyranny of possible injustice. I had a tray of pecan brittle….gone! I would have reached for the almond bar myself. But nothing else was missing. The characteristics of the people living next door, aside from the fact that that they weren’t concerned with watching thy neighbor as they would watch thyself, weren’t apt to deal with break-ins. When I found my house void of strangers, I closed the door of possibility that there was any wrongdoing in the first place. The kids drawings had blown off the fridge from the breeze, one daughter confessed to taking the brittle to her teacher, and with a jarred memory, I was the ding-a-ling who left the door open. If my destiny were pre-determined, I’d say I was doomed even back then to the point of needing middle age accessories. Like a live in care provider and brand spanking new brain cells. I may be the reason they invented sanatoriums. I won’t go quietly into the night. But a straightjacket, a muzzle, or an abductor may force me to.

Since we are such darn good neighbors, I played a joke on an adjacent resident when she owed me money. She told me to go to her house and her excess baggage of a brother who was visiting would give me the cash. After leaving I sent her a text weaving this fictitious tale. “I went to get my moolah and all your doors were ajar. In the process I tried stopping a tree service from mulching what was left of your cherished Kwansan tree. I went inside and saw that somebody had ransacked your place leaving nothing but bare carpeting. They swiped your valuable paintings down to every last sconce and the new blinds you just bought. I could have possibly been bludgeoned had I caught them in the act. Your adorable brother said that not even a bevy of bison could wake him because he slept through the whole thing. He was sitting on the stairs in the buff since the robbers took his clothes. He was so traumatized that he ran into my arms. So I gave him preferential treatment and took full advantage of him. You know, just to relieve him from his forlorn condition. You still owe me that hundred bucks, and P.S….
April Foolishness!”
She wrote back with such abundant affection saying, “They could have left the paintings and taken my brother!” My instincts were saying that she wanted to kill him, and me for my zaniness.