Saturday, October 14

Sometimes, a skull and crossbones is a good sign, even if it's only moderately toxic. I can say without a doubt, this is the first time since I received my pesticide handler's certification, that I am THRILLED to use it. I asked the boss what he suggested I used to kill those pesky lil bastids...he said a Pyrethroid (basically the same stuff most flea treatments use) would do it.

Is it odd that I generally don't enjoy shopping, yet browsing for this death-juice made my day?

I chose the Lesco Crosscheck plus multi-insecticide an
emulsifiable concentrate with the active ingedient Bifenthrin 7.9% fl tc.

Large doses may cause incoordination, tremor, salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, and irritability to sound and touch

Doesn't that sound nice. Yes, yes it does.

I wonder if I use a lower does than the EPA standard for this chemical (a .25% dilution rate), if it will make them suffer more/longer.

Btw, the final recovery time for me... I missed two full weeks of work. And workers' compensation wouldn't cover it (probably because some quack called it poison ivy). I still have scars, almost two weeks later... and I suspect I will for some (if not forever) time.

Everyone I talk to about these horrid bugs says they only live in Florida... and they can't believe they're actually here. Jokingly I say, they must have hitched a ride on the backs of fire ants as Knoxville has just recently been added to the 'fire ant quarantine zone'.

Tuesday, September 26

...Now, where was I...

not Bactine, not Cortaid (spray or scrub), not aloe, not menthol, not homeopathic/herbal allergy (pill or cream) remedies, not even dog saliva... and believe you me, I'm willing to try ANYTHING.

So, I finally went to see a doctor. He claimed it was Poison Ivy.

Although I explained to him the intense hornet's-nest fires-straight-from-hell burning-sensation of each of the dozen (or so) stings which match the locations of the worst of the rash, he wouldn't listen. Told me I didn't know what I was talking about... as if I could make up something like this... because I was too ignorant to know what Poison Ivy is. "Oh, you work outside. It Poison Ivy."

So, I splains ta him:

I work (not to mention play) outside. I get Poison Ivy 5-6 times a year, every year. Every time I get it, I see it (that 3-leafed lil devil). But by the time I see it, it's too late, I already have it. I did NOT see Poison Ivy BECAUSE IT WAS NOT THERE... but I did, however, see THE SINGLE MOST DAMNABLE CATERPILLAR ON THE FACE OF THE FECKING EARTH. ( <-- Can you tell burning & itching continue, now.) I also SAW my arm on it. ( <-- notice I didn't say that the other way around)

Lucky thing, I hope, though... a steroid shot as the doctor's prescribed remedy for my 'poison ivy'... is something which 'should' work just as well for the new-found allergy I apparently have to what irony would have me remember as one the most magestic caterpillars I've ever seen (at first glance). Today's lesson: Caterpillars are ugly and plain, as a rule... when they appear fantastic: oh, they are.

Saturday, September 23

(scroll to the last article)

Once you have encountered a saddleback caterpillar, its an experience your not likely to forget soon.

Or ever. As long as I live I hope I never see, or more importantly feel, another.

No really effective home first aid treatments for caterpillar stings are available.

Not Calamine, not Cortizone, not Campho-phenique, not Neosporin, not Benadryl, not soap and water, not rest, not drinking lots of water, not tape, not baking soda, not prayer, not even selling your soul to the devil will remedy the itching and burning... or even help stop the spreading of the rash.

It felt as if I was shoving my arms into a hornet's nest... again, and again, and again. I have about a dozen stings on my legs and arms, yet the rash has spread to my face, stomach, and back. I'm as irritable as if I were having the worst case of pms ever, yet after a few days the pain/irritation didn't fade. Four days and counting. And the rash on my lips has to be my favorite, followed closely by the one surrounding my eyes, of course.

It just looked at me with those closed-grinning-Cheshire-cat-eyes as if to say how proud it was, what an accomplishment... like I had just made its day. I think this might have been the first time I have ever really wanted a bug to die... at my hand, with all the vengenance possible.

Sunday, June 18


So, as usual it's been too long since I last saw TFM. It was well worth the 2 & 1/2 hour drive. As tired as I was from working all week, I couldn't help but dance. You know what really warms my heart every time I see TFM play... it's not just the passion Jeff Holmes belts out in every note or that smooth refreshing quality in Scott Evans back-up vocals or extra levels Andra Moran and Chris C0ttros mesh together or the power behind Steve Ebe (Animal - from the muppets as I like to think of him). It's the fans... and that everyone in the venue seem to know (just about) all the words to every song (except maybe a few of the new ones).

It always blows my mind at what a strong fan base TFM have... yet still they not enough to make TFM the (infamous) rock idols they deserve to be. That's one thing I (kinda) secretly hope that the Flapper Follies business can help do for them... I can't imagine a more perfect setting that a place that would offer 'house band' status to them (should they accept is another issue, of course). Flapper Follies is preparing to do a sneak preview night... perhaps on New Year's eve. I can't imagine anything more perfect than having TFM kick it off.

Monday, January 9

I often worried if I was insane, it may even be my greatest fear... but at the very least it's always a skeptical thought in the back of my head. I guess my hope is that as long as I am aware of it I can stay away from it, right... that's the theory at least.

So, the very first night in the new house of course had me doubting my sanity yet again. I didn't have anything with me the first night here, no bed, no clothes, not even a toothbrush (don't worry I never leave home without mouthwash).

I laid down in the floor, on a blanket I found at the house, mainly just to relax from a long day of packing. It wasn't long before I heard it, at first I thought it was the neighbors and it was disheartening that it wasn't gonna be as quiet here as I had hoped. But I checked outside, that's not where the noise was coming from. So, back on the floor I laid, this time with my ear directly to the floor. There was without a doubt noises coming from the basement/garage. I went downstairs to check, but again, I found no source for the noise. So, back to the floor I go... to listen. The sounds kept up for over an hour... always the same even tone.

It sounded like a man singing, vaguely Irish, but I couldn't make out any of the lyrics. I heard it once or twice more in the next couple of weeks... always when I'm alone, at night, and the house is quiet. It doesn't sound sad at all, rather like the person is truely enjoying themselves, perhaps singing while they work, although I don't hear any noises that imply any work going on. Each time I try to listen closer, to understand the words, but no. It's never very loud, and once it starts there's no break in song until it finally stops. I wonder when there's time for a breath, but I don't guess ghosts have to breath... so it must make singing much easier.

Then, the noises started, all in/around the house, none in the basement (so far as I can tell). First I heard a few noises upstairs (in the add-on attic) and I assumed they were just my cats as they love to play up there. But after hearing the noises a few times, I decided to check on the cats and found them fast asleep on the mainfloor. So, I ignore the noises, like any sane person would, right... assuming of course, it's an old house, it's wood, it creaks, it settles, no big. The noises were of a banging sort though, not exactly creaky, but we can pretend. Then the noises moved to the mainfloor, or maybe not moved, just that I finally heard them there. First there were lil metallic clinky noises, then cracking footstep type noises. Always very faint and never lasting more than a moment... and always in another room. Far enough away that when I go to check to see what it is, it's done by the time I arrive.

And then last night... I was in the livingroom, with all the lights off, as usual, checking my email. My aunt had just sent pictures from my grandfather's funeral. A few pics into the series, the waterworks began. And a moment after that, the noise. It's right behind me, as if right next to my back. All my animals are in the room with me, none of which are moving... they're fast asleep around the room. It feels as if this cold wind sweeps down from the ceiling behind my back, almost touching me... but all I can say I feel is the wind, the wake of something moving quickly past. And that noise, I'll never forget that noise... because it's something I've heard in this house a few times before, but never could place it or follow it. It sounds like paper, if paper could fly of its own freewill and volition. I know that makes a lot of sense, but that's the only way I know to describe it. It felt/sounded as if a HUGE piece of paper flew down at me, whipped around and flew back up into the rafters. Of course it's too dark to see anything, movement or otherwise, not that I really wanted to. I did however get up, quickly, and turn on the lights, thinking perhaps there was a bat in the room, but not that I could see. I couldn't find anything out of place, muchless anything that could have made that noise.

But, it made me think... made me remember... the last time I'm sure I saw a ghost. It was the last time someone in my family died. [begin insane babble] I wonder is there some kind of connection? Is this my punishment for choosing never to go to funerals? Is there really some unseen connection between family? Is this house haunted, is that why I chose it or do the ghosts just come with me? Why does it only happen late at night, is there really something to the 'witching hour'? How do I ask the landlord if they've ever heard anything about the house being haunted before (without them thinking I'm crazy and kicking me out)? [end insane babble]

I'm really excited and a lil scared. If there is someone/thing here, I'd hope it makes contact... and that it's not malevolent. I really do love this house, I'd hate to move just because some ghost doesn't want me here. But I don't feel unwelcomed or threatened, yet... just a bit unnerved. Everyone wants an explanantion to the bumps that go on in the night, right. Especially when ignoring it doesn't make it go away.

Oh, and did I mention the drafts... there's two of them, both on the mainfloor, one in the new part of the house and one in the old. [this house is close to a hundred years old... the main part, but there's an addon that (I'm guessing) happened sometime in the 60's and thereafter] It's not all the time, and not even just at night, just sometimes I pass through the hallway and feel it. It's like a whirlwind, a mini tornado. I feel the air, colder than the rest of the house, circling me as I pass, often a bit disorientating... slowing my footsteps each time. I'm still blaming a drafty old house, but I can't help but feel the hairs on the back of my neck rise as I pass through it.

I will remain ever skeptical, but I have to admit my doubts are waning.