Friday, January 28, 2011

A bat, some duct tape, and rabies

A few summers ago, I was living in a dumpy apartment with my roommates Suzie and Allie. This apartment was total dump. There was no air conditioner or swamp cooler. The screens didn't fit in the window and there were huge Box Elder trees surrounding the building. With Box Elder trees come Box Elder bugs. Now if you've never seen Box Elder bugs... well you're not missing anything. They're these pesty little bugs with black, gray, and orangey stripes. They look scarier than they are. They're mostly annoying.

So we had this influx of Box Elder bugs getting into our apartment through cracks in the windows and the door. They were EVERYWHERE. In the livingroom, in the kitchen, in the bathroom, in all the bedrooms. It was horrible. We suffered through a few weeks of this before I got fed up. I bought some duct tape and went to work.

I taped around the screens, sometimes using multiple layers as a precaution. I taped over some of the random cracks and holes in the walls (it really was a dump). I taped that apartment up using half of the roll of duct tape in the process. The good news is that about 95% of the Box Elder bugs we previously had disappeared. There were still some that got past the barriers but they were bearable.

 Fast forward a couple of months and summer is waning. It was getting cooler at night. I determined that it was time to remove the duct tape. I spent the afternoon peeling off layers of duct tape covered in Box Elder bug carcasses. I started in the livingroom and worked my way to my bedroom, which I'd saved for last. It was dark by now. One roommate was asleep in her room and the other was gone. It was me and a garbage bag full of stiff duct tape covered in dead bugs. I started pulling the tape off. It was the same thing, dead bugs.

At the top of the scree there was a huge dent in the metal that framed the screen leaving a huge hole at the top of the metal. This was my last place. I was almost finished. I reached up and peeled it away. I was going to shove it in the bag when something large and furry caught my eye. I shrieked loudly and dropped the long piece of tape and stared down in horror.

Was that a... tarantula? I shrieked again, my heart pounding hard in my chest. I ran from the room seeking a bigger bag and a pair of rubber gloves. The two thoughts that were running my head were: How did a tarantula crawl up to a second story window? and What is a tarantula doing this far north? (I don't know a lot about this giant spider but I'm pretty sure it doesn't like Northern Utah- I could be wrong though.)

I entered my room warily worried that maybe there was a nest of spiders just outside my window. I approached the tape and reached for it. I glanced at the brown blob of furriness. My brow wrinkled (or at least I think it did) as I studied the 'tarantula'. This wasn't a spider. It was a bat! A dead, wrinkled up bat! I hurried and shoved it into the bag and shuddered. Was I going to get rabies?! Did this mean that bats were nearby? How did a bat get stuck on my duct-taped window screen? EW!!

Then the thought occurred to me, what if I hadn't had duct tape around my window screen? Would a bat have flown through my window and flapped around my room... with me in it? I shuddered again, grateful for my rubber gloves. I reached for the extra garbage bag I'd brought with me and hurriedly shoved the bag containting the bat inside. I rushed from my room for the second time in less than 5 minutes. I was headed for the dumpster on the edge of the parking lot. I gladly dumped the bags in and shuddered again. Ew.

Now that my terrible deed and my adventure was over I wanted to share it. But there was nobody to tell. Not at the moment. I washed my hands twice and stared at the window, still contemplating what would have happened if that bat had gotten into my bedroom.

And now, my biggest regret is that I didn't take a picture. But because of my reaction, I was not in any coherent mindset to think ahead. So now I'm forced to think behind and chuckle at my own reaction to such a low key and not really disgusting episode. And there was no way I was going to get rabies by touching the tape that a dead bat was stuck to.

So there you go. That's my adventure involving a bat, some duct tape, and rabies (no rabies were really involved- that's just a product of my own imagination.). Hope you got a chuckle out of it.

Until next time.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Stir Crazy

All day I've been feeling edgy and out of sorts. I first attributed it to my restless night last night but at work tonight I had a lot of time to think. It was really slow. I was mentally going over why I felt like I was missing something or that something was off. I wasn't sure if it was my bad night, or the January blues, or Senior-itis. I couldn't figure it out. That's when it hit me... I need out. I need out of Cache Valley.

Unfortunately, at this point in my life I can't just pick up and move or leave. I have two more semesters to go before I graduate. There is no way in heck I'm leaving right now. Along with that, I'm the kind of person that needs stability or she starts to hyperventilate and gives herself an ulcer. I need a plan. I guess that's something I can do for the next year... plan. But what about this edgy, stir crazy feeling I'm feeling. I need some sort of reliever.

My option is to take a day and get out of the valley. Living in the bowl the is Cache Valley isn't bad but I just need out. I need out. I'm done with being in college. I'm done with living here. I'm ready for a change. But as I mentioned before I still have about a year until I've completed my degree.

Instead, I'll take the afternoon, once I get out of class, and drive somewhere else. I don't know what I'll do. Go to the mall and window shop. Have dinner out. Just drive around and think. This will all be done outside of Cache Valley. Either in Ogden or Layton. I know what you're thinking... "that's not really out" but that's my only option. I can't exactly take a vacation two weeks into the semester and I certainly can't move. So that's what I'm going to do... take an afternoon off. I'm looking forward to it. I'm craving it. I've got to get this stir craziness out of me!

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Men in Uniform

I don't know what it is but I've just been in the mood to blog for the last couple of days. That's not a bad thing, just odd. Normally, I have post ideas but I never end up getting them on here. I guess I just need to blog more.

Recently, I've come to realize something. I know that's a shocker. I always seem to realize something and I share it with whoever reads this blog. Anyway, what I realized is that... I like men in uniform (meaning someone in the Army, Navy, Air Force, etc). Now before you roll your eyes and mutter 'duh' let me explain myself. It's not that I necessarily want to marry a man in the Army or Navy. It's more like... I like the IDEA of a man in a uniform. Especially in the fictional world. Oh yeah!

I often romanticize the whole Man in the Uniform thing. In the real world I know that it's a tough life and it's full of hard work. And the life you have to live isn't necessarily ideal. Not that I have any first hand knowledge of this. What I'm saying is that I understand that I romanticize the Man in the Uniform. But I don't let myself linger too much on the reality of the Man in the Uniform. It's not as exciting and... I live in a world of pure imagination... well not really but I do live in a fictitious world half the time. I acknowledge that much of my thinking is not realistic.

What makes the Men in Uniform so attractive you ask. Easy.... actually it's not. I'm not sure what it is. Just something about a man who is willing to risk is life for his country and his fellow countrymen just draws me in. (Please don't tell me I'm alone!) And add a man in uniform... the boots (Don't ask)... the hair (drool)...the crisp uniform... the idea that they spent time preparing and getting ready to wear their uniform. I'm not sure what it is. Maybe a culmination of those things plus more. Also add my whole romantic view of them. Roll that all together and suddenly I'm drooling and fantasizing.

I started this post with the intention of sharing how I know I romanticize the Men in Uniform idea and what that means. But here I am, unsure what that means. I just know that when I'm on campus (or anywhere else) and I see a man in a uniform (the army, navy, air force, marine kinds- not milk man/UPS uniforms... I think) I take a second glance. It's a weakness. Luckily I don't live near an army base. I'm pretty sure I'd be in trouble if I always saw them around.

In honor of the Men in Uniform I've decided to share just a coupe of my favorite fictitious men in uniform in no particular order.

I'm a huge fan of John Wayne, even though I've seen is Westerns more than his war movies. But he was a very patriotic man and he held a deep love for this country. I had to include him.

 I know Pearl Harbor isn't most people's favorite but I enjoy it. I mean, Ben Afleck and Josh Hartnett are just... gorgeous. I also enjoy the story... it's my kind of story. Even if it was hyped up to be more than it really was. I like. And I like looking at them. I mean... wow!
 And now... my favorite man in uniform. Unfortunately this picture doesn't capture the awesomeness that is Booth. But he does look great in fatigues. Wowzers! I couldn't resist putting him in here.

I also want to take a moment to thank the REAL men and women out there fighting to keep our country free and safe. They are courageous and brave people. Thank you for your service.

And on that note... I think I've incriminated myself enough. I'll just leave you to bask in the beautifulness (yes, I know that's not a real word) that is Booth in fatigues.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Underdogs (of writing)

Remember that post about The Cubicle Next Door? (It was just this morning after all.) Well that book made me realize something... besides the fact that men in uniform are... nice. Uh, anyway, back to what I was saying. This book made me realize that I find books by relative unknowns better than those books that make the best seller's list. I like to read books by 'the underdogs' (the unknowns).

You're thinking "so what?". I'll tell you so what! ...actually I don't know what. All I know is that when you look at my collection of books, most of them are by unknowns. They don't/won't make the best seller's list. They don't have millions of readers. What they do have, however, are loyal fans. Like me.

Of course, maybe the reason I like these unknowns is because they satisfy what I'm looking for in a book. A clean, funny, light romance. I guess they don't always have to be a romance. That's just what I generally gravitate towards. That shouldn't be a surprise. I mean, look at the title of my blog. But I like these stories that these authors write. And I like reading things by the 'underdog'.

On another level, I think one of the reasons I like these underdog authors is because I'll probably be one someday. That is if I can ever finish a book. I have a nasty habit of leaving off in the middle of a story. But that's a discussion for another day. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that I don't think I'm the kind of girl that will ever be famous. And, although a part of me would like to be rich and famous, the realistic part of me would rather be someone who touches a handful of people with my writing. It's like my quote says at the top of the page: I don't wish to be everything to everyone, but I would like to be something to someone. 

I don't want to be a big deal. I just want someone to pick up one of my books and know that when they put it down, they'll put it down with a smile and a more positive look on life. That's not to say that I'm trying to write self help books or anything. I write what I enjoy reading. But the point is that I want to bring joy into the world, one written word at a time. I want to be the underdog that gives other underdogs a good day... well a good read anyway. 

I don't know if this even makes sense or if it's even something that is worth it to most people. But this is essentially what keeps me writing, this idea that one day, I might be able to lift somebody's spirits from my books and my characters. This is why I like The Cubicle Next Door and my favorite author of all time. They are underdogs (so to speak) whose books I put down with a smile and a sigh, ready to go face the nitty-gritty world and the all the ups and downs of life. One day, I hope to be that author. I just have to finish a book...

The Cubicle Next Door

The other day I went to the public library for the first time in months. As I wandered the stacks, I couldn't quite figure out what I wanted to read. If you know me, you know that I can spend literally HOURS in the library. On this particular day, I was there for nearly two hours and I didn't even make it through the entire alphabet. But I had a stack of five books and I figured that would tide me over the long weekend.

I'd picked up this book called The Cubicle Next Door. I wasn't sure if I really wanted to read it but I read the end (yes I do that if I'm not sure if I want to actually read the whole thing or not) and I was intrigued. Well, I absolutely LOVED it. I started reading it on Saturday night around 9:30 or 10 and stayed up until 3 am reading. It was so good. It wasn't one of those change-your-life-forever books but it was just so... good.

It's about this girl who works at the Air Force Academy and is forced to divide her office into two cubicles so that a new teacher has an office space. The new Air Force teacher is a man... a very attractive man. But this girl, Jackie, isn't a typical girl. Due to her parents' mistakes, she has made a vow to never fall in love. She's 31 and she's never been kissed and never really dated much. (Besides the ten year difference, she sounds a lot like somebody I know really well.) The teacher, Joe, is this super nice guy who starts to help Jackie have fun. Oh, and Jackie also has a blog. Her blog isn't about much at first, just her opinions and things that bug her. But soon her blog starts to talk about 'John Smith' aka Joe. In the beginning it's all about how he annoys her and such. When her blog gets national attention as being a blog about love, Joe starts to read it. That's when things get complicated.

So what did I like about this book? I liked that it was clean. I liked that the main character was so confused and unsure of herself (like it is in real life). And I liked that she was older and really quite inexperienced in the ways of love and relationships. Also, I liked Joe. He was nice and he genuinely liked Jackie. He wasn't trying to lure her down the dark path to his bed or trying to corrupt her. He just wanted her to try new things and to have fun. And he didn't give up on her. Oh and I liked the blog. That was such an awesome idea.

I got the book from the library but because I liked it so much I'm going to purchase it for myself. I liked it that much. I'm also contemplating whether or not I want to try the authors other books too. Hmm... I guess we'll see won't we.

Until next time.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Winter Blues and Summer Pinks

I find that January through April are the longest months for me. It's cold. It's gray. And it feels like it's never going to end. By the time April comes you have hope. Maybe this year, summer will come earlier. Of course, Mother Nature is just messing with your head. One day it'll be nearly 60 degrees and the next there's five inches of snow on the ground. That's when it's warm enough to snow. Sometimes it is so cold and so bitter, you're praying for snow to help warm it up.

Living in Logan, Utah means that I live in a bowl of smog. No smog isn't a small hog. (Beverly Hillbillies movie reference). It's pollution and junk in the air. Thus making the four months darker and grayer. You may be asking yourself "If she hates the area so much, why is still there?" Here is the answer. I have two more semesters of school left. Which means, I have to suffer through at least one more winter in this valley. Realistically, I'll be here for two more.

I guess the point of this post is to ask what I should do to give me a little summer during the long winter months. I suppose I should also point out that summer happens to be my favorite season. I like it when it's hot. I love the feeling of the sun soaking into my skin and my clothes. I love when you climb into a car that has been warmed by the sun and you roll down the windows and warm wind flies into your face. (sigh) I wish summer was here. I'll take the sweat drenched t-shirts and the flip flops and ponytails. I'm ready.

If only it were that simple. Instead, like all good things, I have to wait through eight months (including October, Novemeber, December, and May) of cold until the warmth comes.

Can I do it? ...Of course I can! I've been doing it for 21 years.

Don't give in to the Winter Blues. Maybe this little guy will help. Have a happy day.