Living small with a drawl

How do you measure success? Does the one with the most toys win? I use the toilet bowl method. The fewer I have to clean, the more successful I am. Since my kids left home, I have been downsizing to the point where I have one bed, a couch, and a few mouse droppings. The mouse is living more lavishly than I am.

When they laid the concrete pad for my house, I could walk across it in a few steps. Now that I have to negotiate walls, baby gates, and dog chew toys, it takes a couple extra steps to get from point A (my bed) to point B (my refrigerator).

My bed and refrigerator are both located in the south. I moved to South Carolina five years ago for a) the lower cost of living; b) warmer weather; and c) cheaper cigarettes—don’t hate me because I smoke. I discovered a land of rare beauty, and people who aren’t (contrary to popular opinion) idiots—until they get behind the wheel.

I’ve been here long enough that I drink sweet tea, call strangers “hon,” and have a growing contempt for the condescending attitude of northerners. We put our camouflage hunting pants on one leg at a time just like you do.

The south is a wonderful place to simplify your life. There’s no work—simple. It’s too hot to leave the house in the summer—simple. I enjoy the simple pleasure of napping during a football game, although the people in the sports bar look at me pretty funny. Maybe it’s because I wake up with my head on the table and barbecue sauce in my hair.

I would highly recommend South Carolina to all you Yankeelanders who want to escape the rat race that is Bismark, North Dakota. You’ll find a warm welcome, a glass of sweet tea, and a mouse in your garage.

Godzilla vs. the Mall

As a rule, I would rather be tied to an ant mound and covered with honey than go Christmas shopping. My shopping trips are normally very focused and carried out with military precision. I locate the item(s) on my list, sprint for the register, and throw money at the confused cashier on my way out the door. Continue reading

Daddy long legs

Spiders! I hate spiders. I wasn’t born with a natural fear and disgust, but experience has taught me that you don’t want to get within hopping distance of one. Don’t try to tell me that spiders don’t hop. With a magnifying glass you would be able to see the anticipation in all the lenses of their compound eyes, and the gnashing of their venom-filled fangs each time a person gets within range.

Last weekend I took on the challenge of cleaning the screened porch. This involved sweeping away cobwebs along the roofline while standing directly underneath them. Tiny strands and egg sacks were flying every direction and I was at ground zero. I struggled to be strong and not beg for rescue each time I had to gish a live one. I couldn’t wait to strip out of my shorts and t-shirt so I could take hot shower.

The night after my ordeal when I went to bed, I felt some discomfort in my yoo-hoo area. I was itching and scratching in a most unlady-like manner. Fortunately, as we all know, scratching is acceptable as long as you are under the covers with the lights out. Finally, I turned on the light to investigate and found a spider bite right where the panties meet the inner thigh. Let me be perfectly clear: there had been a spider IN MY PANTS! Thank God for those extra pounds that kept my panty elastic stretched tighter than shrink wrap, forming an impenetrable barrier between my lady parts and any 8 legged creatures.

I should be used to it by now. I live in South Carolina where they grow spiders as big as saucers. A walk through the woods involves a lookout man with a baseball bat, and a revolver. On one such walk, my son stopped to do what guys normally do when confronted by alligators, snakes and giant spiders: he poked one of these monsters with a stick. I swear I am telling the truth. The spider grabbed the stick and took it away from him. Then he shook the stick menacingly at my son. Even the armed and dangerous lookout man wasted no time getting back to the car.

I don’t want to discourage anyone from visiting our beautiful state, but you might want to stay out of the woods and off of my back porch when you come.