Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fruit Flies are Really Disgusting.

I've spent the better part of the last 2 hours researching fruit flies on the internet. Why would a well-known insect phobe like myself do this?

There are two reasons.

Reason 1: For someone living in constant irrational fear of the insect world, bugs are the enemy. It's always wise to know as much as you can about your enemies.

Reason 2: I had no choice but to investigate the little beasts after the fruit fly Armageddon that erupted out of my trash can yesterday morning.

In case you're in the lucky (probably very small) faction of people who have never experienced them, I maintain that nothing makes you feel like a filthier, dirtier slob than having fruit flies in your house. Having fruit flies is different than having other bugs in your house.

Spiders? Crafty little jerks who can fit through very small crevices and generally do not indicate unsanitary conditions. Not really your fault.

Bees? You accidentally left a window or door open too long. Not really your fault.

Ants? Yes, ants are attracted to trash, food, and sugar, but they are not actually SPAWNING in it. You've seduced them, but you did not create them.

Cockroaches? Even the cockroach, the bane and constant nuisance of everyone residing in a humid climate, does not really WANT to be inside your house. They live outside in the trees and inevitably end up in our homes from time to time because there are SO FREAKING MANY of them. When one of these gets inside your house, people take pity on you and offer suggestions for eradication, but don't generally blame anything except the part of the country in which you live. 

And then you have fruit flies.

Fruit flies are a direct result of your own filth and neglect. If you have fruit flies, it's totally your fault. In my case, it was some unknown refuse left in the bottom of a trash can for too many days. One of the perils of living by yourself, I suppose, is that it takes a while to fill up a trash can when it's just you making the trash.

When I went to throw away a mostly-empty bag of stale Baked Lay's yesterday morning, I did that thing where you push down the other garbage in the can with the thing you're throwing away so you can make more room. As a result of that, coupled with whatever rotting mess had become a fruit fly breeding ground over the last few days, my usually tranquil kitchen erupted into fruit fly MAYHEM.

As I was telling someone this story, they asked me, "Well didn't you get rid of most of them just by tying the bag shut and throwing it out?"

Well, yes, a normal person probably would've gotten rid of a bunch of the flies in that way. Not me though. No, instead of shutting the bag as quickly as possible and fleeing to the trash chute, I dropped the entire bag of festering trash on the kitchen floor and ran screaming into the hallway.

By the time I calmed myself down and walked back in my apartment, fruit flies had escaped everywhere. I finally got the nerve to go back to the trash bag. Flailing my arms wildly in front of me to combat the cloud of fruit flies hovering ambiguously in the kitchen air, I managed to get the trash bag shut and sprinted. Holding the bag as far away from my person as possible, I SPRINTED down my building's hallway to the trash chute and hurled the bag into it.

Now, it's been 24 hours of full-on fruit fly war up in the 503. Just as I've sat writing this post, I've had 3 (I counted) different flailing episodes due to fruit flies having absolutely ZERO regard for personal boundaries. Fruit flies are the worst invaders of your personal space. Jerks. They have red eyes and they fly slowly and hover and they literally incubate their young in rotting garbage. I know that cockroaches will always hold the #1 spot on my list of hated insects, but fruit flies are now running them a close second.

There's also no easy way to rid your home of fruit flies once you've created them with your own mire. I had a different fruit fly encounter last year due to a filthy roommate situation, and tried a whole host of different remedies. I picked the best remedy from that experience and plan on putting it to use getting rid of the rest of the little red-eyed scamps this time around.

Here it is, in case you ever need to try it yourself.

Easy and relatively inexpensive! All you do is pour a small amount of wine in the wine glass, set it in a high traffic fly zone for the fruit flies, and walk away for a couple hours. When you come back, the glass should be teeming with the disgusting winged beasts. Then, you simply take the Raid can, super stealthily creep up on the glass with your hand on the trigger, and go APE SHIT with the Raid can all up on that wine glass. The flies that haven't already drowned in the pool of wine will be taken out in one fell swoop (or spray).

And so my ongoing battle with the insect world rages on.

In other, less disgusting news: the cat statues have moved. It took me a few days to notice, and I have no earthly idea when Anna sneaked into my apartment and made it happen, but all of a sudden I went to open my pantry this morning and...........

 BAM! Cat statue in the pantry!

Then, I went to use a paper towel and.......
 BAM! Cat statue on the paper towel holder!

I went to shut my closet door, and....
 BAM! This one literally fell off the door onto me and had to be placed back in position for the photographic evidence.

Finally, the last thing you want to see when you are half-asleep, fumbling for your Neutrogena during your 6 am shower, is THIS.

Thank you Anna, for continuing to make Hermitage life entertaining! The bad news? I only re-discovered 4 cat statues, meaning there are two more hidden away waiting to be found. You'd be surprised how much anxiety two missing cat figurines can cause in a girl. Well, that....and fruit flies.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

That Awkward Moment When...

Recently, I've run into several awkward situations.

I think I'm a pretty awkward human being. Maybe not awkward looking or awkward in the way I carry myself, but certainly in my interactions with other people.

I know, I know. Everyone describes his or herself as being "so awkward" and it's tired and cliche and overused at this point. I'd argue that everybody is right, though. We're all really freaking awkward. I think human beings are inherently awkward and we've all gotten a whole hell of a lot worse at being socially acceptable people, what with our debilitating iPhone addictions and all. MTV created an entire television program devoted to the condition and Zooey Deschanel and her bangs are riding that awkward train all the way to her multimillion dollar bank account.

Recently, however, I ran into some doozies, and this is coming from someone who very regularly feels uncomfortable in social settings and makes Star Wars or Lord of the Rings references to assuage a prolonged silence in conversation.

Here we go.

Awkward Scenario 1:
The University of South Carolina Gamecocks played, and dominated, the University of Georgia Bulldogs 35-7 this Saturday.

Oh wait. This isn't awkward. This is just really freaking awesome and I had to figure out a way to incorporate the fantastic revelry that occurred into this post. People went completely nuts down at the stadium yesterday, and the camaraderie that's created in a city like Columbia when your football team wins at home is an unparalleled one.

So, while the game itself wasn't awkward, tailgaters were subjected to signs like these all day long:

And my personal favorite...........

On a sidenote, Steve Spurrier is one of my top "old man" crushes. I have many old man crushes ranging from George Strait to Tommy Lee Jones to Mitt Romney, but the ol' ball coach is up there. Yum.

Awkward Scenario 2:
I discovered another cat statue.

In case you're keeping count, that would bring the number of cat statues strategically placed/hidden around my apartment to 6 cat statues.

Anna and I were posting back and forth to each other on Facebook circa about 7:45 A.M yesterday,  so naturally she was at my apartment door a couple minutes later. She made the odd request that we go stand on my balcony because it was "pretty out" or something.

Standing on my Herm balcony at 8 am on a Saturday morning, both of us clad in nothing but mismatched pajamas, I found the 6th statue. Perched ominously on the edge of the air conditioner unit was the sixth, and arguably the creepiest, cat.

Yeah. Awkward.

Awkward Scenario 3:
Your students call you out on your apparently very poor taste in music selection for figurative language review activities and writing prompts in class.

 "This was a weird subject that I haven't thought about much."     God forbid I ask you to think outside the box, kid.

 Deep thoughts on Ke$ha and Coolio: 

"Kesha's songs are like Lady GaGa's clothes. WEIRD"
 "I don't like this song very much, but Coolio can practically sweat waterfalls. Also, I like Weird Al's version better."

Well alright then.

 This child apparently thinks Lupe Fiasco is overplayed, and that "Katy Perry's songs aren't as numerous and similar as Tyler Perry's movies."

I'm honestly still trying to interpret what that even means. 

 You've got to love a kid with a sense of humor on an assignment. "Love is not a drug.....or maybe it is, who knows what they're doing these days...."

Remember that song "Wavin' Flag" from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa? Yeah, none of my kids did either. Instead of eliciting emotions of pride for his favorite soccer team, this student simply mulled over the fact that this "felt like the start of The Lion King.

As for the Jay Sean comparison to "Obama's little brother, if he had one?" I don't know, you tell me.

He may actually have a point.

Excuse the hell out of me for not picking songs with better guitar riffs, as Lean On Me is "probably the easiest song riff to play since 'Smoke on the Water.' Good song, though." 

 The Chris Brown song was Forever, and evidently "the instruments sound like if someone started playing DJ Hero on the SNES. I like those old video game 'bloop' sounds."

I think that's the best analogy/analysis of a Chris Brown song I've ever seen. And what 14-year-old these days knows about the Super Nintendo? A thousand gold coins for this kid.

It's probably safe to wager that this student does not much care for Taylor Swift, and especially not T-Swift's "Love Story." At least he got the "ill-fated love" part right.

And then I guess he ran out of jokes.


Awkward Scenario 4:


Living about 2 minutes down the street from the high school where you work has its pros and cons.

Pros include: a short commute, less frequent gas tank fill-ups, ability to run home on a break for something you forgot, knowing the community your kids are living in.

One of the biggest cons, however, is the potential to see kids outside of school every single time you leave your house. This means having to do annoying things like put a bra and/or pants on, not wear inappropriate clothes, be prepared to have uncomfortable small-talk convos with both the kid and their parents in your yoga pants, etc.

Usually, I don't mind this at all. It's why I purposely choose to live in the same neighborhood in which I work.


As with most things in life, there are exceptions to my enjoying this. I discovered one such exception on Saturday when I went to my neighborhood CVS.

I needed two things at CVS on Saturday. Just two things.

I was planning on being in and out as quick as a minute, but as we all know well, the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray. (shameless literary reference from the English teacher)

I parked my truck and hopped over to the automatic door. I walked in and did a quick scan of the part of the store in my view from the door. No students in sight. Whew.

I zoomed over to my first aisle of necessity and grabbed the product from the shelf. I still hadn't seen anyone I knew. Happy fun times in the CVS so far. I kept moving, and trucked it over to the refrigerated section to scoop up item #2. Still hadn't seen anyone I knew, much less a student.

Sweet! I had one more stop on my trajectory and I was outta there. I just had to make it from the refrigerators to the registers.

I turned around, 1 of each of my 2 objects tucked under each arm. As soon as I turned around to head to the registers, I all but collided guessed of my 9th graders.

Oh, and the two objects nestled securely under each of my arms?

Beer and tampons.

That's it. Just beer and tampons. Beer, tampons, and me. I was just a vessel for my beer and tampons and shame and embarrassment. Naturally, it had to be a male student.

Picture this. You're standing face to face with a 14-year-old male in a CVS in literally the most awkward, uncomfortable silence you've ever had the misfortune of being a part of. You look at your student. They look back at you. They look down at your beer. They look down at your tampons. They look back up at you. You look at the ceiling or off into space and would prefer the option of a slow, painful death when faced with the choice of standing in that spot even 20 seconds longer or dying that slow death.

Things I would prefer doing over standing in a CVS with one of my students where the only things between us are tension and a box of Tampax Pearls:

-Watch a sex scene in a movie with my parents
-Trip on the bricks in the middle of a jam-packed college campus
-Accidentally mistake a fat woman for being pregnant
-Accidentally mistake a woman for being a man
- Fart in front a significant other
-Jump off a cliff
-Be in the vicinity of a cockroach

I can only thank the Teacher Gods above that the one thing that could have occurred to make the situation worse---did not occur. The kid was not with his parents.

I think I blacked out a little during the entire encounter, but after what seemed like eons of silence, the conversation went something like this:

Me:   Oh, Hi.
Kid:  Hi Ms. Townes.
Me:   Having a good weekend...? (poker face. do not glance down at your beer or tampons. do not glance down at your beer or tampons.
Kid: Yeah! We're going to the game today. (looks at beer again)  I'm guessing you are too?
Me: Yep. Well have fun. I'm gonna go die now.

It didn't end up being THAT big of a deal. I plowed past the kid as soon as I choked out my 3 lines of "conversation" and didn't look back.

Needless to say, I think I'll be buying my tampons and beer at a more distant CVS or in a grocery store where I can bottom-of-the-basket camouflage them with more socially acceptable grocery items like bread and Lunchables.

Here's hoping you had a slightly less awkward week than I did.

And Go Gamecocks.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cat Ladies of the Herm

I've become a cat lady before my time.

Do I own a cat? No, I don't.

Okay, so I live by myself, I'm single, and I go to the grocery store check out line with nothing but Lean Cuisines and Cabernet.

Still, do those things qualify you as a cat lady at the tender age of 25?

Maybe, if you buy into the super-Southern super-traditional mentality that females essentially only attend college for their M-R-S degrees and should be popping out Sperry-clad spawn by age 25. 

For the time being, I am choosing not to adopt that very dated mindset. Sure, I'm 25, but I have a Bachelor's and Master's degree under my belt, a job I like going to in a field I adore, and the ways and means to live by myself and pay my own way.

AND YET............last night I became a cat lady. 

I was in the Juniors section (what? 25 year olds still shop in Juniors...) at my local Dillard's when I started receiving texts from my fabulous freak of a best friend/neighbor, Anna.

Anna and I used to be roommates, and now we live across the hall from each other in a condo building very affectionately referred to as The Herm.

When Anna and I get bored and are too lazy to walk across the hall to see if the other is home, our text message conversations start looking something like this:

 We are lazy weirdos.

So I'm at Dillard's, impulse buying a pair of fantastic new cowboy boots, when I feel a series of 3 vibrations from the phone nestled in my pocket.

When I get done paying and pull out my phone, I find these text messages from Anna:

I understand that this is probably creepy to a normal person, but I found it endearing. Plus, Anna and I swapped apartment keys when I moved in back in June.

I told Anna it would probably be 30 minutes until I was home, as my "local" Dillard's is a little hike from downtown. I suppose it was during this time period that Anna concocted and carried out her plan...

Fast forwards 30 minutes:  I walked into my apartment, and there she was, taking a snooze on my couch. We exchanged salutations, and I bee-lined it to my closet, because obviously I can't stand to have on real clothes or a bra even 60 seconds after I walk in the door from work. 

As I was hastily shedding my constricting work clothes and changing into my go-to yoga pants and men's size happened.

I turned my back to my bedroom door, facing my 5th floor bedroom window, and went to glance out of said window. I noticed Anna had followed me into the room to continue a conversation when I'd gone in, but had mysteriously vanished into the common area of the apartment when I turned my back.

I looked out the window....

I then let out a scream usually only reserved for encounters with roaches or when I feel a hair or fuzz tickling the back of my neck and think it's a serial killer.

When I looked out the window, I saw this:

That's right. The creepiest face on the creepiest cat statue figurine I've ever seen. There's something oddly sinister about that cat figurine's face.

Where did it come from? How did it get there? Where do you go about purchasing something awful like this? My guess is the same place you buy decorative wall-plates and needlepoint kits and those dolls with the blinking eyes that make "crying" noises when you hold them upside down.

Anna was delighted that I had discovered one of the treasures she'd hidden during her alone-time in my apartment while she was still there to witness it. I think she was especially pleased that it scared me to the point of eliciting a full blown I-just-saw-a-roach scream.

It got better/worse from there though. One look at Anna's face and I could tell that that was not the only cat statue I'd find in my apartment that night.

 A few minutes later, when I had to go pee..........


Later still, when it got a little warm in the apartment, I went to adjust the thermostat.........

Cue the stabbing music from low-budget horror flicks, because around every turn was a new evil cat statue staring back at me.

 I started to get scared to open my pantry or fridge. I returned to the bathroom to inspect behind the shower curtain. I tentatively opened every closet door in my little Herm apartment.

There came a point where I could avoid the fridge no longer though, because I had to have my glass of Cab as I watched DVR-ed re-runs of Jeopardy.

 As I reached for the refrigerator door handle to open it.........

 There was THIS GUY. Sitting up there like he is BFFs with my ceramic ducks!!

At this point in the night, I had found 4 cat figurines and really didn't want to encounter any more, so I stopped looking. 

 Anna and I continued our night of DVR-ed episodes of Jeopardy and Criminal Minds, and eventually both went to bed.

I went to work today, corralled my 9th grade minions around all day, and came home from work soon after school got out to enjoy a relaxing afternoon.

After I came home, I needed to get an envelope out of the bookshelf where I store my envelopes.

Lurking among the smiling, happy faces of my framed friends and family was this ominous creature:

 There are a lot of questions still unanswered.

Where did Anna acquire SO MANY CAT STATUES?

Why did she decide to torment me with a cat statue easter egg hunt in my apartment?

How many more cat statues are lurking, undiscovered around the Herm 503?

I suppose I'll find out in due time....

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