Monday, May 18, 2015

Clearing Out Some Clutter: Scatterthoughts
I've got those Beatin' Back A Headache Blues. It's tough to collect my thoughts lately, so why even try? Time for a little clutterbusting post to sweep out some thought nerfuls.

1. 6. The approximate number of times we were asked if we had any guns to sell at our garage sale last weekend. Sigh. Also the number of times I wanted to shoot the people asking. Well aware of the Irony, yes, thanks. (ZERO. ZERO GUNS will always be the answer.)

2. Just Do It! Today I scanned an article about Personal Finance. It said that it was time to think less traditionally about Money, and that since the interest on savings accounts was so terribly low, it was time to make your money work for you instead of save it. It also said that you should look for ways to make money. Write an e-book, it suggested, and get income from that. Holy crap. What in the hell have I been waiting for? Why don't I just sit here and write an e-book and watch my cash come rolling in? Anyone can do it.

3. So You Don't Have To. Currently, I am testing a toothpaste. It is in a plain white tube with only a number and ingredients on it. As part of a polling group, I agreed to use it for two weeks and then answer some questions about it later. While I am using it, I am supposed to think about building healthy gums and strong teeth. Because I am naturally a Directions Follower and Quite Studious about all Task-Oriented things (former teacher, remember), I really and truly do this. The whole time I am brushing, I think, "This product is meant to build healthy gums and strong teeth for me." The last product I tested was kitty litter. Of course, Piper and Marlowe did that testing, but I was supposed to observe whether or not they were averse to it in any way and whether or not it helped eliminate litter box odor. (They weren't and it did.)

4. 1. The number of black watersnakes I have attempted to kill thus far in 2015. One was sunning itself on the shore, and I was seized with an uncharacteristic desire to get rid of it. I grabbed a nearby log, hefted it up over my head, and brought it down with as much force as I could muster right on top of the snake. It writhed and reared back, opening its mouth. I immediately doubled over and retched, nearly fainting, seeing those patches of light and dark as I struggled to remain upright and conscious. When I felt able, I looked to see if I had killed it. I saw it floating in the rocks at the shore, half in and half out. Later, it was gone. My brother-in-law gave me a long-handled ax for future snake killing, should the need arise again. Jared feels this is A Bad Idea.

5. Get Ready. I feel like this is the year that the bugs are beginning their takeover of Earth. I have never, ever in my life seen it so damn buggy. Of course I blame the republicans and their constant watering-down of Environmental Legislation, but this is beyond political. Spiders the size of Kennedy half-dollars are roaming the countryside and everywhere I look there are bugs, bugs, bugs. Crawlies and fliers and hard-shelled thingies that explode into spattery guts when you squash them are leaving marks all over my stuff. I can't go anyplace without there being a bug that has gone there before me. They're staking out their territory; their multiple feet are in The Door. And you can't kill them! They're immune to everything but Brute Force. Heaven help us if they ever, ever join forces with the snakes.

What I really want to test is a good bug spray. One that works on snakes and gun nuts, too. Sign me up.


  1. 1. Zero Guns. Sign me up. I wonder if any of those gun seekers were planning a trip to Waco.

    2. Well, heck yes, Nance. Publish all of your blog posts as en e-book. Done! :-) (I would buy it...)

    3. Is product-testing lucrative? I did that once a long time ago. It was for “Shh Toilet Splash,” and, no, it was not my choice of product to test. Just what they sent me. It’s used to, uh, get rid of odors. In the toilet. I think testing kitty litter would have been easier, at least in terms of writing about the experience.

    4. I would be afraid of chopping my foot off instead of killing the snake. But my instincts are the same.

    5. I haven’t noticed any more bugs that we usually get in these parts, but it’s early days. I am waiting for someone to invent a cockroach taser.

    1. Ortizzle--The fact that the axe is long-handled makes it safer than a hatchet, which is what Rick first suggested I use after the Log Incident. I would never try to use a hatchet, which brings me far too close to the Target and far too close to chopping off my own body parts.

      Thank you for saying, along with Ally Bean, that you would buy an Ebook by me. I am overwhelmed that you would purchase a collection of stuff from the Dept. that you've already read and that you can access and read for free.

      Product testing is NOT lucrative. I get rewarded with points, which I then use for gift cards for places like Amazon, Home Depot, Zappos, Itunes, etc. I usually take Amazon because you can truly get anything from there. Since I have a lot of time, I can take surveys and do product testing at my leisure and rack up a lot of points. It's bonus money for me.

  2. Mom, come on. No. Axes. Ever. Certainly not in a situation bereft of supervision and/or swift, and professionally trained medical care. I still hate (HATE) the fact that you and Dad refuse to move the giant heavy things from the top cabinets to the bottom ones. For the longest, that was my nightmare. Until one day you go "I think I need a long handled axe. So that I can really swing it". Horrifying stuff here.

    I hope that you love that toothpaste and that it turns out to be Arm & Hammer. Arm & Hammer makes the elite powder (talc), laundry detergent, and toothpaste that we have available to us today. The real crime with them is that there isn't a body wash/bar soap option available to us as well. Tragic, really.

    I will be purchasing the four of us a small gift in an effort to vanquish our bug issue so that we can be outside without the perpetual swatting, shooing, and cursing the flies. If it works, well, that is a win then, isn't it? If not, we can still go "Hey! This thing is a thing that they make and we tried it!"

    1. Jared--If I had not gotten so bowed by thirty years of Guerrilla Parenting (or Gorilla, even, judging by your Playoff Beard), I would still have enough stature to reach my big red salad bowl on the top shelf without straining. Just saying.

      Regarding the Toothpaste Testing: sadly, I will never, ever know what the toothpaste is. That is the upsetting part of being on the panel. I never get to learn what the products are, even after the tests. Sometimes the packaging gives it away, but more often than not, I must try to Move On In Complete Ignorance, satisfied with the knowledge that my participation helped others. I do like some things about this toothpaste, but I don't know how I can gauge its effectiveness on my gum health and tooth strength in such a short time.

      Please do not spend a lot of money on The Bug Thing. I would rather you buy a nice swimming pool for Zydrunas. That would bring me a great deal of joy.

  3. 1. Gun nuts are depressing. So sorry.
    2. Will gladly buy your book when it is finished, just so I can say that I knew you back when you were a poor struggling author.
    3. I plan on adopting the positive thinking approach to oral hygiene. What can it hurt?
    4. We have a corn snake out front that you are welcome to do in with your ax... at your convenience.
    5. We've got so many gnats around here. Creepy little pointless things. Kind of remind me of Lindsey Graham. ;-)

    1. Ally Bean--LOL on the Lindsey "Gnats" Graham comment. So many analogies for bugs and the republican field, the least of which is that like bugs, the candidates keep crawling out of the woodwork.

      It's nice to know that I have a buyer already teed up for my Ebook. I think I'll take this week to think about it, and then I'll start tossing them off at the rate of about one or two a month. How hard can it be?

  4. Ants are swarming in my kitchen and my husband doesn't seem to care. I may post photos on Facebook in an effort to shame him into action. Until then, I am not cooking. Ha!

    1. Rose--Ugh. Ants. We do battle with them every summer, and I try everything. Rubbing orange peel in their traffic pattern is remarkably effective, and leaving the peel in cupboards is also. Wiping the counters with a sudsy sponge and letting it air dry is also helpful. I watch the kittens since they will stop and focus intently whenever they see a bug. Do they kill it? No. Marlowe especially is unhelpful since her paws are so fluffy and tufted. She cannot kill anything by stepping on it.

      Passive-aggressive Fb posting sounds like something that can lead to bigger, more terrible somethings. Just go get some kitchen and pet-safe bug stuff and do it yourself. Then write it down in your Journal Of Wrongs. (I'm on Volume IV.)

  5. I need a bear spray, once you get one that works on gun nuts. Do that first ... I will put up with the Bears in anticipation.
    Re Jared comment. My kids are like that too. mom is incapable of lifting her own suitcase.
    The last time I met a black water snake, the grandkid wanted me to catch it for her. As I was explaining that we did not have a container big enough to hold it, the snake apparently got wind of the grandkid's design on its freedom and got the hell out of there. Forget the axe. I will rent out the grandkid. For a fee, which will be a signed copy of your book. 😊

    1. Mary G--Thank you for tolerating All Bears while I hope for the Gun Nut Repellent. Thankfully, pandas and koalas will be immune to Bear Spray, since a koala is a marsupial and a panda is just too wonderful and cute to repel.

      How lovely to know that I have now sold three books even as it is yet unwritten! I still prefer the axe since it does not eat, requires zero care, and will not show me the still-writhing snake in triumph. ;-)

    2. The grandkid is now cooking for me. Not too shabby. She does, however, put away a lot of food herself. I am child minding all next week, but her parents are supplying the groceries.

  6. It isn't that I think she's incapable. I just don't want her to have to be in a position where she has to complete tasks that have a risk factor. Especially with Dad, Sam, and me being at work while she's at home....alone. As scary as the idea of a humongous ceramic bowl falling on her head is, it pales in comparison to the thought of some sort of wound from an axe.

    Also, I will buy a copy of The Unwritten E-Book for everyone, but I reserve the right to submit an entry to be considered as the forward. Forwards are important, I think.

    1. Oh, my Jaredy--It really is a humongous ceramic bowl. I just love it. So bright and shiny and RED.

      As far as the foreword, you can write it, but be careful with such a generous offer. Who do you think you are, Oprah or Dr. Phil or Ellen? "AND YOU GET A BOOK! AND YOU GET A BOOK! EVERYONE GETS A BOOK!"

  7. I think Jared writing a forward is kind of a "well of COURSE" situation - ha! And put me down for a copy. In fact, I have friends who would very much appreciate what you have to say, but don't read blogs - I'm thinking that I'd need about four for Christmas gifts!

    And I'm in total agreement with him about the ax - but that just might be projection on my part (I am entirely too klutzy to be trusted with sharp implements. Although I do use a knife in the kitchen, Mike can't watch). On the other hand I'm amazed & in awe that you attacked the snake at all - I would probably just take a picture of it & then flee :)

    1. Bug--Oh my goodness. I suddenly have a market for my nonexistent Ebook. And I don't have the first inkling as to how to even go about the whole thing.

      BUT IT'S ALL SO EASY! And I will make a ton of cash.

      I do share your amazement at my whole snake episode. No reason exists as to why I felt that I could/should go after it and try to kill it. I deserved the immediate aftermath for my troubles. But I do think a nice, long-handled axe will be plenty safe. Probably I'll lose my grip (physically, that is) and it will go soaring into the lake.

  8. You should never have mentioned that snake in your post, Nance. Why? Because you reminded me of this joke.

    A man in a movie theater notices what looks like a snake sitting next to him.
    "Are you a snake?" asked the man, surprised.
    "What are you doing at the movies?"
    The snake replied, "Well, I liked the book."

    1. Nancy--This is a great joke because you can use it for anything! Substitute virtually anything for "snake" and the joke still works. I'm keeping this one in my arsenal. My mother will love it.

      Lovely to see you here. Looking forward to a new post at your spot soon.

  9. 1. Nancy's joke is perfect.

    2. Jared, you should just move the heavy things if it bugs you that much. Your mom will eventually thank you.

    3. Arm and Hammer is indeed great toothpaste.

    4. The ebook thing reminds me of the Don Lapre ads, where he said all you had to do to get rich ($50k a week!) is to think of an idea, then place tiny classified ads in papers all over the country, and then sit back and wait for people to come to you to buy your product. That idea, indeed, is the hard part. I know a couple of people who have had what seemed like very good ideas, and have written ebooks. None of them are even close to rich. Mostly frustrated. Don Lapre killed himself after being investigated for fraud, by the way.

    5. If there is any bright side at all to be had with our horrid drought in CA (aside from the beautiful weather) is that there are very few bugs running around.

    6. If you BUY a gun, you can then either sell it (at a loss, I'm sure) or shoot the next person who asks. Either way, you will be prepared.

    7. I don't think we have watersnakes here. We do have rattlesnakes. I need to get my ax out, I guess.

    8. I'm sorry about the stupid headache. Blech. I hope it's gone now.

  10. you; my headache left. That one, anyway. The weather here is from one extreme to the next, very typical Ohio, so that triggers them like crazy. Same old, same old.

    The bug situation is ridiculous, with the emphasis being on spiders at present. They are abundant, and they are spinning very big and complicated webs. It is also cottonwood time, so all the webs are catching the cottonwood seeds, and this makes things look ugly and untidy.

    I am officially OUT of the snake-killing business. Not brave anymore. I tried to go after one lying fully exposed on the rocks, and that did me in. I'm over it now.

    Still hoping you get rain out there. It's not helping, I see.

  11. I know several people who have written marginal and boring e-books that have ended up on Amazon's 'top 100 sellers' (for e-books) list. Speaking comparatively, you should have no trouble reaching #1 in short order, and I would buy one unhesitatingly.
    1. Guns: MrL is a hunter, born of Deep Southerners, and is a former military officer. Even he thinks the gun situation in the US is pitful. I don't know if you have ever watched 'King of the Hill' but there is a great scene where Hank (the prototypical Texan) walks up to the counter at the 'Megalomart' and asks, 'Where's the children's gun section?" That line says about a zillion things.
    2. I am a rule-follower, too, and would be testing the toothpaste in exactly the same way. It must be a teacher thing. Of course, I have an anxiety disorder, too, so I'd be worrying the whole time about whether or not I was thinking the thoughts properly and sincerely enough, whether I was accurately assessing my oral health before and after the process, and (eventually) whether or not I had signs of a Terminal Mouth Illness that I was overlooking through carelessness.
    3. Snakes - If a log works, I don't see why you need an axe, but I support your right to have an axe if you really want one.
    4. bugs: this may be just me and my house, but as far as I can tell, very few (if any) people in England have screens on their windows or doors, and (since there's no AC here) that means an almost constant parade of annoying insects. I bet I have at least one errant bee, wasp, or fly in my house every. No ants yet, but that may change.

    1. MsCaroline--Wow! Thank you. Of course, I have zero idea as to How To Go About Writing/Marketing An E-Book. How ironic would it be for me to write an e-book about THAT? (Also, I do not possess an e-book reader!)

      I have completed my toothpaste trial, and the followup survey was ridiculously worky. I had to even GO AND BRUSH MY TEETH WITH MY PREVIOUS TOOTHPASTE RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF IT and answer questions comparing the two. Sigh. I was incredibly sincere.

      I thought an axe would be more accurate and more lethal. Now I will never know, since my last encounter rendered me faint and completely nauseated. I was made to promise I would never do it again, regardless of weapon.

      We are summering at the lake, and the variety and intensity of Springtime bugs is (are?) astonishing and disgusting. If we didn't have screens, I'd flee back to civilization immediately. I cannot tell you the number of spider webs I have gone after with the broom, or the number of blackflies and wasps I have obliterated. Why aren't the birds--of which there are many--eating all of these things?

      I should like to borrow MrL. With his aim, he can undoubtedly annihilate any bug around these parts. I have sprays. Send him over.

  12. Hi. Just commenting on your Sidebar Clink-the-Glass offerings.

    O.K., first of all, I am astounded that it was a democrat who protested his 174K salary as being insufficient to deal with Life in the Fast Lane in D.C. He cites his rent going up from $2100 a month and having to move to slightly less fancier digs. Let's see: 2,100 x 12 = 25,200. That would leave 148,800 to pay for the "groceries" that he states he has to buy like everybody else. Cuz he never eats out, of course. But of course this poor guy may have to fly home to Florida every weekend. Round-trip to Florida where he lives is around $200. So that x 52 = another $10,000 dollars. Now we're down to $138,000. Oops... maybe he pays all of his taxes, which only leaves him 64% of his gross pay. Wow. That lowers it to a worst case scenario of $111,360 (without loopholes and other deductions). Subtract the 25,000 for housing and flights = 86,360. OMG. How does he survive? I wonder if he has any idea how people who make minimum wage, which Congress refuses to raise on a national level, pay for a whole family trying to survive on $15,000 (gross pay) a year. Or make that $30,000 a year if both parents in a family are working for minimum wage.

    The Clown Car Video: Beautiful. It will be interesting to see who crashes and burns first. Maybe more interesting to see who the Koch brothers get behind.

  13. Ortizzle--Thanks for coming back. I'm sort of in a Posting Funk right now. It's terrible.

    I'm with you in your outrage: first, that it's a Democrat who is bitching and moaning and so horridly out of touch about what it takes to live and support oneself, and second, that he is being such a privileged sonofabitch who is clutching his pearls and fanning himself over absolutely nothing. Or, more accurately, over plenty when it comes to his salary being more than enough for most of his constituency. Perhaps it is time to dismantle Washington DC as we know it physically, and force these Congressman to work from home offices where they might be a little more actively aware of the people they represent. It might do everyone some good.


Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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