A Cold Day in Hell

Well, it’s the End of Days here in Austin, folks. For the last 48 hours, the news has been a grim parade of warnings on the radio, the TV, the internet: Stay inside! Do not attempt to contact loved ones! Lock your doors! Mercy kill your children! Prepare to use your orifices as currency to escape certain death at the hands of roaming bands of marauders!

I’m told we’re caught in the cross hairs of God’s very own wrath. Quiver before it, ye mortals.

mushroom-cloud_897102_GIFSoup.comNice try, but the Texan apocalypse looks nothing like that. Behold:

sleetwithface

The beast shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell in Texas  shall wonder,what is this SLEET?

Yes, sleet. Sleet has transformed the proud population of Austin into a quivering pile of  yellow-bellied Jello babies. I mean, management distributed “In case of a Freeze” disaster manuals to everyone in my apartment complex last night. HR sent an “EMPLOYEES: Don’t be killed!” email yesterday at 2pm. Schools were delayed or closed long before the storm system approached the state. The streets are empty, save for the odd scrap of newspaper that blows across the road, borne aloft by arctic winds.

Let’s review the current weather forecast, shall we?

EVERYONE PANIC

EVERYONE PANIC

Mass hysteria, you contagious bitch, you’ll never have me! My Midwestern ass understands the mechanics of operating a vehicle in wintry conditions. I get that my pipes never have and never will freeze and explode, and I know we aren’t on the cusp of a societal collapse that will force us all to barter the profane use of our mouths and other parts to escape certain cannibalization. And yet….

And yet this morning I was peeking through the slats of my blinds into the parking lot to gaze upon the natural disaster that had been wrought upon the city overnight, praying to God my eyes would be met with horrors so I could just stay in my pajamas and drink coffee all day on the futon and not die like a dog in the frosty wreckage of my car at the bottom of a Hill Country crevasse.

But a couple of puddles and a light rain are all that met my eyes, and too proud to hide, I drove to work without incident and nary a patch of ice or snowflake met me along the way. But as I sit here in my mostly deserted office, drinking coffee, writing emails, billing, estimating, being mundane in every way, I wonder…do the Jello babies have it right?

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The Enemy is Everywhere

Austin, TX. Monday 7:56 am:

“WHAT. IS. THAT.”

“What’s what?” Erin answered from her room.

“WHAT. THEFUCK. IS. THAT,” I repeated, my tone drawing her out of other room immediately.

A very large…something. On the floor. Unmoving. But with insect qualities. My brain wanted it to be a rabbit foot key chain.

Sometimes Erin wears barrettes and brooches like this.

Denial.

Is it…an orange and black feathery accessory that fell off of one of Erin’s purses?

Is it a moth? It MUST be a moth. Look, those..that..part appears to be…wings? And antennae. I walked to the other side of the couch, away from it while Erin performed her inspection from a safe distance.

“Uhhmm. I think it’s a roach?” Erin offered delicately.

I thought of my bed and its proximity to this creature. Cottage cheese and coffee threatened to come up on me. I have a hard enough time getting breakfast down as it is. I couldn’t get any nearer than three feet to help confirm. I couldn’t help confirm.

We put a tupperware over it and some weight on it and resolved to tell my pal Juan, the building guy, as soon as possible. “We will tell them. And they will SPRAY.”

I got in my car to head to work. My breakfast was still sitting high, ready to defy gravity with one mental misstep. I hoped his friends wouldn’t come to visit him while we’re gone. I considered the warnings that we’d received from our friends: bugs are a given here. I didn’t believe it, but here it was. Fruition. Then I wondered what other kinds of bugs we would encounter here in the wilds of Texas.

You see, Erin and I, we have a long and loathsome history with bugs. Continue reading

Shoo Fly

Did you know fruit flies can spawn from and survive on the soil of a house plant? Did you know that they can then spread to other house plants? Did you know that house plants can also be office plants–and that the same laws of pest-infestation apply? Did you know that when left untreated, fruit flies will spawn an ever-growing extended family whose sole purpose in their very short but wretched lives is to send me over the edge by attempting to enter my brain through any and all available facial cavities, nose, eyes and mouth included?

So here’s me everyday for the last six weeks, playing whack-a-mole with the flies that treat the space between my face and my computer screen like their own personal jungle gym. They’re not terribly difficult to catch (yet another quality besides their abbreviated life spans that brings their entire existence into question), and yet one is forced to apply just one of two methods to effectively murdering them, each of which presents its own problems.

Method 1: Swat or slap. As in, “See fly on desk. Bring arm down in sweeping motion. Squish fly against hard surface”. This method is really only effective when they fly lands on the cleared desk, and not on mouse, keyboard, coffee mug, etc. Since this only happens about 20% of the time, one must consider Method 2.

Method 2: Attempt to smash offender in the air. Due to the aforementioned dopiness, this approach can be very effective. The difficulty arises when the fruit fly figures out it is being pursued and its single Darwinian mechanism kicks in, causing the fly to seek shelter near the body of its attacker. This leaves the attacker with two unfortunate options: first, to slap herself in an attempt to slap the fly. Or second, to continue to try to “clap” the fly in the air, but very near the body, we’re talking symbol-smashing motions just inches from the neck and face.

It is this second unfortunate option I find myself involved in on a daily basis. The reason this is noteworthy is because everything I have to say is noteworthy. But also because it looks completely and utterly moronic and always calls to mind this little gem:

Happy Monday!

Those Cows

On Nov 14, 2012, at 6:31 PM, Megan <megan@gmail.com> to Erin:

I am still at work. Now sitting on hold like an asshole at 6:30pm. I am not a happy person. But I want to share this.

From one of my favorites in the twittersphere:

@Pourmecoffee: Judging you. Always judging you http://www.flickr.com/photos/annemiekeprozee/8172730148/lightbox/


And I shall keep them forever.

On Wed, Nov 14, 2012 at 7:14 PM, Erin <erin@gmail.com> to Megan:

I am deeply offended by your work schedule. I hope I don’t see you at all tomorrow and that you sleep forever. 

Ps: you and I are those cows