Mr. Sensitive

July 14, 2010

It Was Never Calais

Filed under: Basement War,Girls — lbej @ 16:45
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Oh no, spiders!  What happened?  It wasn’t Cartwheel, you miserable pieces of living gristle, it was Overlord!  Did you honestly think I would base my strategy around an envelopment executed by Jenny and Reagan?  Reagan was still standing by the pond when she quit–and it was never going to go any other way.  Now there’s Comet all in your air-holes and the basement is mine.

The Wet Yard Of Defeat

Filed under: House — lbej @ 11:44
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So that’s over.  We have been decisively beaten.  Not only do I believe it is impossible to prepare the yard for children by Saturday, I believe the entire thing ought to be burned and then paved.  This was a monumentally stupid idea and I cannot now imagine what I can have been thinking.  Everything is soaked and rusted and rotted and stinking.  The deathice chest freezer is taunting me.  If this fiasco is to go forward I will have to create an escrow fund for the lawsuits that will inevitably follow the introduction of innocents to this land of spiders, splinters and putrescence.  This party cannot take place or we are all doomed.

July 13, 2010

Army Of The Party

Filed under: Basement War,Girls,House,Imperial Army — lbej @ 21:10
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Jenny’s birthday party will be held this coming Saturday and I am focusing my efforts on the attendant preparations over the next several days.  I have reorganized my forces into an Army of the Party; Jenny will command a division and Reagan will be a division.  The party will be centered on the Apple Floor Room in the basement as well as the backyard.  It will be readily apparent that the yard spiders and their ant and beetle allies could pose a problem.  We have been pelted by junebugs over the past few days, although the enemy seems to have neglected to equip them with any kind of navigation system.  To prepare for the party I am implementing a strategy reminiscent of Operation Cartwheel in WWII.  We will sever the enemy’s lines of communication, supply and reinforcement by clearing the yard of trash and other outposts (akin to islands in the Pacific) before wheeling back upon the patio and basement.  We will begin in the a.m. with the pond, pending suitable weather.  We will then move up along the lines of the fence, bypassing the fort/swingset.  I expect that redoubt to be heavily defended, and the dogs will also no doubt congregate there.  I shall also open up the pinball machine in the basement first thing tomorrow.  It has stopped responding to electric current altogether and I suspect a spider silk-insulated infestation that would provide an intolerable forward operating base for the enemy.  Consider it my Guadalcanal.

June 28, 2010

A Spiderness

Filed under: Stuff I Just Wanted To Say — lbej @ 21:21

Me:  What’s that stuff up in the corner there? [pointing at some shmutz on the ceiling behind the television]

Katie:  It looks like a spiderness.

And so it does.

June 26, 2010

Exvasion Day The Rexvasion Way

Filed under: House — lbej @ 12:39

The yard sale ended at noon.  Was it a success?  We spent 7 hours on it today alone, to say nothing of all the time in preparation yesterday and in the days prior.  The take–about 300 hundred bucks–doesn’t even cover time and expense, so in that sense at least, no, it wasn’t a successful operation.  But it wasn’t a disaster, we stuck to the plan, and Planet Katie caused only two large smashings of china and glassware in the last week that I’m aware of.  Now on to the second phase, giving away lots of stuff.  Unfortunately, we had to bring back into the garage about 50% of what we put out for the sale because no one wanted it and it’s too hot now for me to figure out what to do.  A classic case of re-exvasion, or rexvasion.  I will attend to the rexvaders next week.  My brain melted a little bit the last two days and I need to stay inside to see if it will congeal.  On the plus side, any spider that attempts to cross the driveway during the day will be roasted.  It will hit the upper 90s this weekend and that will bother even them.

May 1, 2010

Origins Of Spider Détente

Filed under: Stuff I Just Wanted To Say — lbej @ 16:38

I hate spiders.  All human beings do, at least on a primal, visceral level.  The weird people who have spiders as pets are doing it precisely because it’s weird, not because spiders aren’t repugnant to them.  I watched Gremlins 2 the other day and one of the ideas they had was what if Saruman had a genetics lab in Trump Tower and he was making a bunch of potions that were “essence of ______”.  Of course the gremlins break into the lab and they start drinking the potions, and pretty soon there’s a bat gremlin and an electric gremlin and a vegetable gremlin and so on and so forth.  Well there’s also a super-mean boss gremlin (taking the role of Stripe from the first movie), and his name is Mohawk because you bet it is.  Mohawk spends most of the movie torturing Gizmo (why do the gremlins always know Gizmo’s name—nobody ever tells them but they’re all like “Geeezzmo, hee hee hee”), but once he gets bored with that he heads on over to Saruman’s lab.  And what essence does the worst, most monstrous gremlin drink to make him even more evil?  You got it.  Eventually Gizmo kills Spider-Mohawk with a flaming bottle of whiteout that he’s evidently turned into napalm with, I guess, his mind.  That movie was not a good movie.  But the point is that the worst thing people can think of is a giant spider, and I am mostly people.

Also remember the end of the Ewok Movie?  Crap, here come the dreams on that one.

When I was younger I just killed every spider I could kill without touching it, whereas now there are rules governing which spiders are to be killed and where.  After my recent black widow dilemma I got to thinking about how that change came to pass.  It amounts to a Pragmatic Sanction ending universal war against spiders and was a decision not taken lightly.  I’m not sure of the exact timing of the final ratification of the me-spider treaty because of the nature of spider diplomacy, but I believe I know when I began to consider the possibility of rapprochement.  It was six or so years ago, I believe, because Reagan was a baby.  We had a black widow spider living in the crevice in the ceiling on Katie’s side of the garage (she was still parking there at the time), one that had already descended unprovoked in front of Marcus as he was simply walking nearby.  If it bit him he would be hurting, but if it bit six-month-old Reagan…not even okay to think about.  I had it in my head that if I so much as looked at it funny it would leap at me, skitter up my nose and eat my brain.  So we called an exterminator to come deal with it.  When he arrived he asked me if I wanted him to kill her (the spider), as though it would be better just to pat it on the shoulder and escort it off the premises.  Go sleep it off, buddy, maybe when you wake up tomorrow morning you won’t be A POISONOUS MONSTER.  I asked him to kill it, please.  He sighed a little and I think he maybe shook his head.  Then he sprayed up into its crevice, paralyzing it and causing it to descend limply on a strand of webbing.  The exterminator plucked the webbing near the top, carried the spider out to the driveway, and set it on the ground.  It staggered for a moment and came to rest before he planted his heel behind it and lowered the front of his boot slowly (not joking) onto the spider, crushing it tenderly.  He brushed the body gently into the grass.  “She didn’t mean anything by it,” he said.  I was a little miffed at this guy who kills bugs for a living making excuses for them, but after awhile I realized he was right.  The spider had to die, but I didn’t have to hate it.  I try now to let practical considerations trump instinctual dislike.  I try to use my hatred to inspire me when I need inspiration, but to direct it with reason so that once it subsides I may have achieved by its energizing effect such a victory as I can be glad of upon calm reflection.  And thus has a lasting peace been achieved.  Also it’s cleaner in the house now and they hate clean.

Status Of Black Widows Revised

Filed under: Stuff I Just Wanted To Say — lbej @ 10:56

Yesterday’s black widow encounter disturbed me greatly.  Even more importantly, Katie was more upset by the incident than I was.  This is the opposite of the way life usually works for us, so I believe we have a problem.  The ordinary spider in the yard is repugnant, yes, but not truly dangerous by itself.  It was therefore sensible for me to agree to leave the spiders alone in the yard, provided they stayed there, so as to permanently avoid such situations as might coincide with swarming.  However, a black widow is extremely dangerous on its own, especially to children.  The widow I killed yesterday was in fact hiding under a pile of toys on the patio.  I understand that black widows are not usually caught roaming around and are almost always found hiding in some dark place.  But if such places can include the recesses of toys or the underside of tennis rackets, I say again that we most definitely have a problem.  To the point, I believe the portions of the spider-me treaty of non-aggression pertaining to poisonous spiders are null and void because protection of the safety of children is of a jus cogens nature.  I conclude that the destruction of spiders whose venom is known to cause severe injury or death is permitted wherever and whenever it may occur.  In practice this means that any black widow or brown recluse spiders will be destroyed on sight.  I am confident that the yard spiders will concede this point, and hopeful that they may indeed prevail upon the widows and recluses of the yard to stay the hell away from my family.  Otherwise they will surely die, along with all unsanctioned life within the bounds of the Empire, as like as not.

April 30, 2010

I Regret You Have But One Life To Give For Your Country

Filed under: Basement War — lbej @ 16:17
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I uncovered this creature cleaning off the patio adjacent to the basement today.

She’s on the side of the racket right beside SHOCK if you can’t see her.  I can’t figure out how to use Katie’s camera to zoom in on things, or else it sucks.  I knocked her off the racket–no touching, of course–and I exhorted her to get off the patio and away from the house where the children play.  I gave her two hours, but when I came back I found her under the grill.  In the end, the outcome was inevitable.

C’est la guerre.  Some challenges cannot be declined.  And yes, that is a red hourglass on the abdomen, if you can’t quite make it out.  I hate this camera.

April 27, 2010

Basement War – Going Morgenthau On The Spiders

Filed under: Basement War — lbej @ 16:18

Efforts now underway to alter the fundamental disposition of the basement with a view toward making re-infestation impossible.  On Sunday bulk waste items were taken out to the curb to be collected by the city, including but not limited to an elliptical machine, a recumbent bike, furniture, lamps, appliances, yard equipment, child vehicles, two hoses, and lots of broken wood and metal.  This was a significant effort on the part of everyone but Reagan; Jenny was cited for particular valor and awarded the croix de guerre.  People drive around neighborhoods right before bulk pickup and take things that are left out, and about half of our junk was gone before the city trucks arrived Monday morning.  Reagan retreated to the inside after one of the more agriculturally attired gentlemen hunting for junk in front of our house showed a little bit more of his backside to the world than she was willing to accept.  Reagan would like a return to Victorian dress.  I want to dress like this:

With the basement now cleared of all large items that don’t factor into my plans for it, I will proceed to the cleaning and disinfecting operations I envisioned when the war began.  I shall deploy the 1st (‘Besom’) and 2nd (‘Push’) divisions of the Mop and Broom Corps first, and I have several Chemical divisions in reserve.  I can see the future, and it has a ping pong table.

April 24, 2010

Spider Right Of Return

Filed under: House — lbej @ 08:15

That welcome mat on the porch is for you, yard spiders.  Just remember that it means welcome to the porch and not welcome to the house.  Standard rules are in place: web in the doorway or spiders in the house equals die.

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