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Brookline, MA



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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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Antennae on the Potato Salad? That’s a Paddlin’!

I live in a house.

And no, this hasn’t suddenly turned into some sort of bloggy kiddie book, dammit. I don’t mean, ‘I live in a house.‘ in the same way I’d say, ‘I like to play with my toys‘ or ‘I’m going to grow up and be a princess‘ or ‘It’s bad when daddy touches me there‘. So don’t get confused; it’s not that kind of post. Particularly not that last one. Don’t get creepy on me, people.

What I mean by ‘I live in a house‘ is that it’s a real, honest-to-god (and hundred-year-old, to boot) house. Not a condo. Not an apartment. Not a double-wide crapshack on the outskirts of town. I’m talking about a proper house, with two (slanty) floors and a (creaky) porch and even a little yard (buried in leaves; why oh why did I go and buy a fricking goddamned house?!).

But I digress, parenthetically.

The point is — me. House. Together. And it’s been a while since I’ve lived in a house. The missus and I have been here for a year and some amount of months or other, but before this, we lived in — in order — separate dorms, separate apartments, one ‘together apartment’, me briefly in a condo when I moved to a new job first, and then another together apartment. And then, two winters ago, we went shopping for a condo. In Brookline, where we lived.

And ended up with a house. In Watertown, where we didn’t live. Way to stick to your guns, you two! We fucking r0x0r!

(And yes, the ‘r0x0r’ is ironic. Don’t get all choked up and leave. No more l33t-speak, I promise. U have my wrd.)

Now, before we dig into the particular house issue that I’m thinking of today, I thought I’d explain something else mentioned above, and that’s the difference, attitudinally and otherwise, between Brookline and Watertown.

Here’s basically how it boils down: Brookline is a buzzing little town, right next to Boston. From our apartment, we could walk to Fenway Park, hop the subway downtown, and take nice, short walking jaunts to many of our favorite bars and restaurants. Very cozy.

Watertown is… well, let’s just say this: Watertown is only slightly less boring than you’d think a town named after ‘water’ might be. I mean, honestly, you’d think there’d be something in the town’s history, geography, or topography to distinguish it, other than ‘oh, hey, yeah, you can get water here‘. I don’t know what, exactly — ‘Flattown’, or ‘Lots-of-trees-ville’, or even ‘Looking-enviously-to-the-east-and-wishing-we-were-Cambridge’. Any of those seem more interesting than ‘Watertown‘, though maybe not so easy to get on an address label. But shit — who doesn’t have water, this side of the Gobi? Get some damned creativity, people.

All right — enough of that. And in all honesty, Watertown’s not that bad. We’re pretty much shit outta luck for walking to much of interest, but it’s still a short drive to some decent greasy spoons, and passable dive bars… and Brookline. It just doesn’t have the same feel, is all. Not so cozy. And I miss that.

Anyway, none of that is the point. As usual, I’ve put the tangent before the horse. Or shoved the cart up the tangent’s hoohah, or something. I’m no good with those folksy metaphors. It’s something about a horse, and leading it to an apple cart or something, and if you shake the horse more than twice, you’re only playing with it. I dunno. Something.

But let’s get back to the house (and away — yes, away — from that mental image of double-shaking a horse; nothing good can come of that, people). There are many things that are different when you have a house, as opposed to an apartment or a condo. Even besides the crippling, soul-splitting mortgage payments, I mean. There’s nothing remotely funny about those. Bastards.

And maybe one day I’ll talk about some of the other differences, but for now — since I’ve just wasted eighteen paragraphs trashing the city I live in for no good reason — I think I’ll stick to just one. And that one has to do with insects.

You see, when you live in anything besides a house, you don’t have to worry too much about insects. Unless your non-house is a tent, perhaps, or a cardboard refrigerator box. Or a gingerbread house — I imagine those would have quite the problem with bees and the like, but to be fair, it actually has house right there in the name. So it only proves my point.

Which is, once you buy a house and move in, all manner of little six- and eight-legged buggy fuckers will want to set up shop with you. Flies, beetles, spiders (yes, I know they’re not insects; don’t be a smartass), various kinds of -pedes… it’s like a fricking commune for the lazy little shitbags. It’s not like they pay rent, either. Hell, they don’t even take out the trash, or do the dishes — at least the dog will lick the plates clean. These bugs are just creepy fricking freeloaders!

Unfortunately, I’ve decided there’s no way to get rid of them all. There’s simply too many, and the damned things breed like horny little bug-eyed rabbits, so there’s always more of the greedy assbags marching in. And that’s why I’ve come to an agreement with our bugs. We’ve worked out a deal. We have an understanding.

(In much the same way that my wife and I ‘have an understanding’ when we disagree. She understands that I’ll occasionally stick to my opinion, no matter how she might try and convince me otherwise. And I understand that she’ll then call me an assmunching idiot and make me sleep in the kennel with the dog.

Hey, I said we had an ‘understanding‘ — I never said it was pretty. But at least the dog will lick my plates clean while I’m in there. If you know what I mean. Ahem.)

So, back to the bugs. I’ve worked out a set of ground rules with them — and lord knows, the little bug-eyed bitches love nothing better than testing their boundaries in this arrangement of ours. The entire contract is pretty long, but here’s the gist:

  • Bugs are allowed to show themselves in any room in the house, except the kitchen and bathroom. Bugs seen in those rooms will be cursed at, taunted, and smushed on sight.
  • Bugs that are particularly creepy — including, but not limited to, hairy spiders, centipedes, mantises, or any bug larger than a small poodle — will be berated, pointed at, and stomped until dead.
  • Any bug that invades our personal space, which includes an area of about three feet from us, or from any food we might be planning on eating, will be ‘Oh, no you din’t‘-ed, snapped at, and bitch-slapped with a rolled-up magazine until pulverized. (Preferably, Cooking Light, as it’s heavy and dangerous, but any periodical in a storm, as they say.)

That’s about it, really. So long as I’m not showering, brushing my teeth, making a sandwich, or eating said sandwich, and assuming that I’m not faced with a critter the size of a fricking Buick, then me and the bugs are cool. Surprise me on the toilet, though — and come to think of it, this doesn’t just apply to the insects — and you will bleed on my bathroom tile. Homey don’t play ‘itsy bitsy spider‘ when his pants are down. No, ma’am.

So, that’s the deal, and I for one think it’s more than reasonable. But the bugs don’t care. Once or twice a week, they crawl into the shower with me, or buzz around the light in the kitchen, or simply grow up big and ugly and show up on the wall. And dammit, that’s a paddlin’ offense, so I have to lay waste to the little fuckers. If only they’d learn.

Maybe I misunderstood when that ladybug crawled across the copy of the treaty I laid out — I thought it was some sort of emissary, come to make peace and ‘sign’ the pact, as best she could. Apparently, she was just attracted to the paper because it was made of nice, juicy wood pulp. Stupid bugs. Can’t we all just get along?

Permalink  |  4 Comments



4 Responses to “Antennae on the Potato Salad? That’s a Paddlin’!”

  1. Carrie says:

    I hate bugs. They really freak me out when they’re inside. Outside is usually ok. But not inside. It sounds like you need an exterminator!! Get thee some bug traps or a nice person with toxic chemicals. At the very least, if you get a couple of cats they make great bug hunters. :-)

  2. Sychotic1 says:

    Bugs are not allowed in showers, sinks, kitchen areas or in the bed. Beyond that, I let the cats deal with the situation.

  3. bushcat says:

    you know, you are right. a house is a pain in the neck. don’t you love those commercials were the cheesy mortgage companies wax poetic about “owning your own house”? not only do you have to pay for said house, you have to buy insurance, you have to repair said house, and last, buy not least, you have to PAY to keep the mooching bugs out of the house. i think we all ought to start living in hippy micro busses like they did in the ’60s.

  4. Anne says:

    Thank you for you blog. You made me laugh my ass off on election night. You deserve a medal. My advice? Don’t read mine. It isn’t remotely funny. Why, I can’t really say. I’m kinda funny. Just not there…

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