When Spiders Attack

nature-artThe other evening, Gary and I had just gotten home from a quiet, peaceful dinner, and I was putting my shoes in the closet when I heard him call to me frantically from the living room.  It sounded serious.  I rushed into the living room to find him standing stiffly, staring in horror down at one arm, and he gasped out, “There’s  a spider on my arm.”

One thing you must know about Gary: he hates spiders. Despises them.  Will kill them on sight, except I’m a spider-hugging arachnid fanatic who tenderly carries spiders outside and saves them from spider-hating people.

I could tell he was barely controlling the urge to smash the spider to smithereens.  Through clenched teeth, he half begged, half commanded, “Get it off me.”

I was trying not to laugh.  The spider was about the size of a quarter, but its legs, tensed up like it was ready to jump, made it look huge.  “Oh, that’s a big one,” I said without thinking, instantly realizing that is NOT the correct thing to say to someone who hates spiders and currently has one plastered to his body.  Gary damn near started vibrating with his overwhelming urge to squish it into oblivion.

“Okay, just walk outside, and I’ll get it out there,” I said quickly, leading Gary to the front door.  He walked tensely like his legs couldn’t bend, staring the entire time at the spider perched happily on his shoulder.

All was going well until we got outside, and I cupped my hands around the spider and lifted it off of Gary’s sleeve.  Gary immediately backed up like I had just removed an explosive device from his person.  Unbeknownst to him, however, the spider had defensively fired off a thread of web as I lifted it from Gary’s shirt, and the spider was now firmly attached to Gary.

As Gary backed up, the spider flew out of my hands and directly at Gary, pulled by the nearly invisible web now connecting them. Gary backed up faster, retreating into the house.  The spider slid along the floor right after him, almost like it was flying.

“WHY IS IT FOLLOWING ME?” Gary was nearly hysterical, his desperate attempts to save himself from the ferocious spider seemingly fruitless, as the tireless little eight-legged demon stayed right at his side, no matter what he did, zeroed in on him like a missile.

“Stop!  You’re going to hurt him!” I called, rushing into the house to rescue the spider from Gary’s attempts to free himself from its clutches.

Gary shot me a look like I was certifiably crazy.  “I’m going to hurt the spider?” he sputtered.

“He attached himself to you with web,” I explained, but I shouldn’t have, because that led to Gary’s eyes widening even further and then rabidly windmilling his arms to get rid of any and all web currently in contact with his body.

Luckily I rescued the spider before Gary stepped on it or slung it into the ceiling fan, and I carried the spider outside and placed him gently on the grass, away from the crazy man still stumbling about in the living room, tugging at his shirt and batting away invisible webs.

Now that the crisis had been averted, and the spider was ambling away in the front yard wondering what the hell our problem was, and Gary was recovering safely in the house, I could now do what I had been dying to do the entire ordeal: I burst out laughing.

Gary was still inspecting himself for any more wayward spiders or web, and he shot me a withering look.  It might take some time before he finds it even half as funny as I did, but I couldn’t wait to tell the kids all about it.

Posted in funny, Gary, spiders | 2 Comments


This morning, as I was rushing to get ready for work, I happened to pause at the bathroom door and turned to glance back at Gary.  He was sitting on the edge of the bed, cell phone in hand, intently checking the kids’ grades online.  Something about the moment  made me stop and just tenderly watch him.  He was rattling off an ongoing update to me as he checked each one, who got a good grade, which teacher he has to e-mail, who got a 100.

I smiled.  He has busy days ahead of him, but every morning, one of the very first things he does is see how the kids are doing in school.  I wish they could see moments like that, see how his day begins with them in his heart, and how much they are always on his mind, whether they are here or not.

Posted in Gary, kids, love, school | 1 Comment

Mixed Messages

Where did summer break go?  The kids are trudging back to school around here already.  In case you are tempted to tsk-tsk sympathetically and pity them for being back in school in August, don’t: they more than make up for it with a ridiculously-long Christmas break.  Not that I’m bitter or anything about only having a few measly days off for the holidays way, way back when I was a kid.

Something else we didn’t have when I was in school was orientation before school started. We got our teacher’s name from the newspaper and just showed up the first day.

Gary and I trekked to Hickville to meet the kids’ teachers and make sure the kids knew where to go the first day.  Well, at least that’s why we were there.  Crow’s witless contribution to first-day-of-school preparations included beaming fatuously at Dove in her classroom and cooing delightedly as she jabbed a finger toward the desks, practically jumping up and down, “Oooh, you’re across from your boy-crush!”  Yes, that’s what we want Dove to focus on, not her education or learning or anything silly and pointless like that.

Ever since the girls were in pre-school, Crow and her inbred family have pushed the crush/boyfriend thing onto them like they were mail-order brides.  The only aspirations and ambitions the girls are supposed to have, apparently, are attracting boys, giggling about boys, and getting married as soon as humanly possible.  This plan resulted in Crow failing miserably in two marriages and being stuck in an entry-level job as she’s pushing 50, but I don’t want to dampen the zealous enthusiasm for this incredible life plan for the girls, now do I?

Actually, yes I do.  The concept of any of the kids looking to Crow or her family as role models for life is terrifying.  Lying, deceit, manipulation, maniacal denial about their laundry list of mental issues…that’s all the kids will find in that bag of crazy.  They live with it every day, though, and I’m not quite sure they don’t just accept it as normal, which is scary.

Gary made a point of reminding Dove that she is at school to learn, not worry about which boy is sitting near her.  She nodded, but I’m not sure she understands the mixed messages that come from Crow’s whacked-out sideline vs. ours.  I hope what we say sinks in.  Having only every other weekend to scrape out the sludgy garbage that Crow pours into their heads, and replace it with anything valuable and rational, feels impossible, but we will certainly keep trying.

Posted in kids, mother fail, nonsense, school, summer | 2 Comments

Random Observations

As you can see, once the hockey season ends, I am at a loss for things to write about. Stamkos ended up staying with my Lightning (yay!), or else you would have seen a long, ranting, curse-filled, teary tirade of grief and fury.  See what you missed out on?

Random observations since I last posted:

  • Your cat just might be a bit too fat if his attempt to casually jump onto the windowsill results in him clinging frantically from the edge of the sill, dangling like a dead weight, fat belly swinging slightly to and fro as his chunky, furry legs scramble to save face and climb up, all while certain people who shall go nameless (okay, Gary) laugh hysterically and call him unkind names.
  • There’s a really, really long gap between the end of hockey season and the start of football season.  What on earth are you supposed to do with yourself in this empty void of time?
  • Long road trips with 4 kids in the car really require headphones and my own music.
  • Long road trips also require copious doses of Dramamine, at least for those of us fortunate enough to get carsick as soon as the vehicle is shifted into drive.
  • Sometimes you are unbelievably busy, work leaves you exhausted, a long road trip right now isn’t the best timing in the world, blah blah blah, but when you are visiting family…do it anyway.  Glad we did.
Posted in cats, kids, random | Leave a comment

My Stamkos

stamkos-08-stick-DLThere are two important facts you should probably know about me. First,  Steven Stamkos is my favorite hockey player, and second, I can’t stand the Detroit Red Wings.

Those two factoids seem like separate, random items, no?  They used to be.  Unfortunately, they are are very much related now, in a most diabolical manner.  Steven Stamkos is a free agent, currently in discussions with his own team (my Tampa Bay Lightning) as well as being courted, wined, and dined by other teams who would like to woo him and win him over to their dark side.

Turns out, the Detroit Red Wings fancy Stamkos as well.  Rumor has it they craftily traded a player to free up the cash for Stamkos’ bribe/salary.  Hopefully all for naught.

I have always said, most generously, that if Stamkos leaves the Lighting, then I don’t blame him for seeking better opportunities, greener pastures, and a stronger team.  I graciously said I would still follow him, wherever he ends up, while still loyally rooting for my Lightning.

For some reason, though, the very concept that Stamkos might end up with the Red Wings (or even worse, with the Canadiens) never crossed my mind.  I don’t know why.  It’s not like Stamkos and I sit around shooting the breeze, kicking back cold ones, dissertating my likes and dislikes in the NHL, and it’s not like Stamkos personally calls me and urgently seeks my counsel on which team he should play for.

What will happen if Stamkos ends up a Red Wing?  I can’t really say, because I’m still in the grieving and denial stage right now about it even possibly happening.  Whatever happens will happen within the next few days: the deadline for free agents to make a decision is July 1.  If you don’t hear from me for a long, long while after that date, then you will know that Stamkos made the wrong decision and I am still buried beneath box after box of Kleenex, sobbing inconsolably over his foolhardiness.

Let’s hope he makes the right decision: anywhere but Detroit!  (Oh, or Montreal.)

Posted in Detroit Red Wings, hockey, Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning | 2 Comments


rfra-1While I am an equal-opportunity venter, I tend to generally steer clear of politics here because there are already so many venues for people to shove their political beliefs onto the world.  Why add another?  But today I will make a slight exception and harp on something that ferociously grates my nerves.

A friend of mine posted an article on Facebook that, for some reason, I took the time to read.  The writer used the word “transphobic” to refer to people who don’t fully embrace transgender people.

Well, let’s just stop right there. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to spiral downward into an daffy discussion about bathrooms.  I am just fed up with people misusing the English language. Does anyone own a dictionary anymore?

Phobia is defined as an intense fear of something.  Synonyms include horror, dread, terror, and loathing.

Tacking “phobia” onto “trans” assumes that people who don’t embrace transgender people are afraid of them.   But not liking something doesn’t mean you hate or fear it.

Phobia and phobic are suddenly America’s favorite pet words.  Homophobic, transphobic, you name it, phobic has been grafted onto it.  It’s come to mean something other than what it actually means.  Instead of its dictionary meaning, it’s come to mean “you don’t agree with me, so you are wrong.”

I have my own mind and can formulate my own opinions.  Many of those opinions, if not most, do not align with society’s don’t-offend-certain-groups bullshit spinelessness.  The issue is, my and anyone else’s disagreement with those pre-approved opinions have been twisted into the accusation that we hate, loathe, despise a certain group of people, hold deep-seated bias, and apparently, are secretly plotting their gruesome demise.

No one is required to embrace homosexuality, or men wearing women’s clothes, or women who believe they should have been born male.  Not supporting these things is not inevitably equated with hate or fear.  I can dislike something and not support it, and not feel malice or fear about it.  I can not agree with something, and that difference of opinion not originate from anger or hatred or terror.  I simply don’t like it.  Hell,  I don’t like brussels sprouts or people who say “literally” too much, but I am not afraid of them and don’t hate them.

By tossing around “phobic” defensively, people attempt to cut off any discussion of any opinion other than their own, and brand anyone who thinks differently as wrong, barbaric, angry.  I believe there is a reason for that.  Many people are puppets to what society has told them to believe, what to think, what to accept, and they mindlessly parrot the socially acceptable rhetoric but have no idea how they truly feel about any of it, have devoted no time to critically thinking about any of it on their own, so they need to instantly and desperately shut down any possibility of discussion of these issues, because excavating into their photocopied and cloned thought processes will reveal that there is nothing of worth to find.

I don’t need to agree with you.  You don’t need to agree with me.  No one is phobic of a damn thing just because they hold a differing opinion.  Calling someone phobic for not holding your opinion is a cheap and easy way to put that person down and perch smugly on your self-righteous high horse, rescued from any intellectual dissection of your own words or thoughts.

The most butchered, savagely misused, and mangled word lately, though, is tolerance. The dictionary definition is the willingness to allow the practice and occurrence of something, without interference, in particular the existence of opinions or behaviors that one does not necessarily agree with.  It does not mean a homogeneous, one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter opinion forced upon the many by a few, with all outliers subject to finger-pointing, insults, and accusations.

Underlying all of this nonsense seems to be a real fear, that of people willing to say “I don’t agree with you.”  Shutting down discussion of varying opinions by labeling people as hate-mongers is moronic, mindless, and childish, at best.  Dismissing all other’s opinions as biased or prejudiced simply to erode their credibility and refuse to hear them is counterproductive and asinine.  It leaves me thinking that perhaps the only ones with phobias in this arena are those terrified of differing opinions and of people willing to critically and honestly confront and debate them.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

They’re Out

I’ve been waiting 12 years for my Tampa Bay Lightning to take the Stanley Cup again.  All they had to do to make it to the Stanley Cup finals was survive game #7 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.  And Stamkos was back!  What could go wrong?

Well, apparently, a lot.  I’m going to spare the details of the horrible, rotten, no-good game, and cut to the dark and miserable chase: my Lightning lost, 2-1.  That sounds like a good game and a good fight, but the score is deceiving.  Pittsburgh had over twice as many shots on goal, and half the penalty minutes, as my Lightning.  So, good game?  I think not.

The Lightning played like a team who didn’t care if they won or not, and their reward was a resounding loss.  Not just a loss, mind you, but elimination from the Stanley Cup finals.

Disappointed doesn’t cover it.  If they would have played hard, put their all into it, and still lost, I could handle that.  Playing like they have never stepped onto a hockey rink before, and nothing was at stake, is inexcusable.

The only Lightning player I don’t want to slap soundly in the face today is Vasilevskiy, the back-up goalie who stepped in after Ben Bishop’s injury.  He had to stop nearly 40 shots on goal last night.  Obviously if the defense is going to let the puck stay at the Penguin’s net for most of the game, eventually a few are going to go in.  Even though the Lightning lost the game, Vasilevskiy was the star of the game to me.


Andrei Vasilevskiy rocking it in the goal for the Lightning

Posted in hockey, NHL, Stanley Cup playoffs, Tampa Bay Lightning | 1 Comment