Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The 8 Legged Visitor

It may come as no surprise to regular readers (since I'm pretty sure I mentioned it in another post) that I have an almost pathological fear of spiders. It's not something I brag about and in recent years, I've actually become quite adept at killing the ones that dare to enter into my space. (Hammers, shoes and any flat surface become weapons of bug destruction around me!) This last weekend, however, I had a relapse.

There I was, stark naked, just starting my morning shower, when a shadow seemed to move in the corner of my vision.  Always mindful of bugs and yeah, spiders, I turned to see if this was a real shadow, a trick of the light, or perhaps just a mote in my eye moving across the surface.

The shadow, easily the size of a small car, moved up the shower curtain between the curtain and the liner.  Fast.  It was up and over the top of the shower curtain before I could do anything.  So, now it was on the outside of the shower curtain...waiting for me.  And that noise, what was that?  Oh yeah, that was me screaming....and pounding on the wall...and screaming some more. 

My lovely wife, thinking I had just fallen and needed help came running.  She took one look at the spider and began speaking to it as one might speak to a child.,  "Aw, it's just a widdle wolf spider..."  She is Native American and spiders mean a lot to her so she ran out and came back with a container.  She carefully captured the offending mutant arachnid and safely placed it outdoors in the bushes. (It was huge, I swear!   Big...Really Big, you know?)  My pulse slowed to a decent level by the time she got back and I finished my shower.  But I still kept checking the shower curtain for lurkers.  

Twice a year I spray for bugs.  I use a household bug spray that kills when you spray the bug but also is a deterrent in that it has cedar oil in it and the scent chases away bugs and, most importantly, the spiders. The cedar oil causes spiders to come out and run around looking for a new place to live. That's usually when I squash 'em!  Today, I have no idea because we sprayed a good 3 weeks ago.  I may have to reapply, but that also bothers me because they seem to be getting immune to the spray.

My wife actually suggested leaving the giant wolf spider in the bathroom to take care of the other less- er desirable spiders.  Yeah, that's a good idea.  I can just see it now, waking up and finding this spider on my shoulder staring at me like I'm an all-you-can-eat buffet. (Cue more screaming and pounding on the wall.)

For now, the giant mutant-yet-friendly spider has taken up residence in the crawl space.  We don't charge him rent and he's pretty good about not playing loud music after 10 pm.  Now, i just have to find a new spray which won't make the cats sick while keeping a hammer ready for the continuing 8 Legged Roundup.

Life in the South sure is fun.  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Tale of the Pink Suspenders

Working in the out-of-doors is part of the Suthun Experience. With the moderate climate, we've got the ability to work outdoors most of the year. Even with that, I find myself outdoors more in the summer than any other time.  Because of this, I have my 'work' ensemble for replacing roof shingles or for mowing or just for work in the heat of the summer.  This includes a pair of lightweight work shoes, carpenter pants, light tee shirt, and a sun hat (my good ol' hard-hat in the shape of a pith helmet.)

A problem has arisen in that in recent years, I've lost considerable weight.  I cinch the belt on my pants and head out but in no time, thanks to humidity and the sweat it brings, the pants are sliding down and I'm stopping every few seconds to pull them back up on my near-non-existent hips. (No comments about that, Bubba!)

Not too long ago, my wife bought me a nifty tool belt and the accompanying heavy suspenders to keep them up.  I got the great idea that a similar pair of suspenders might keep my pants up and allow me to keep working without having to yank up the aforementioned pants. Off to the closet I skip (ok, so maybe I didn't skip, but I did move jauntily and with purpose), remembering that I had several pair of suspenders hiding in my closet.  

Many years ago, I was in college and performed a lot on stage. For these performances, I had not one, or two, but FIVE full tuxedos, complete with bow ties, cummerbund and suspenders.  You can imagine my dismay when I discovered that I had only one set of suspenders left. Where the others have gone, only time knows.  And, this one pair? They are pink. Yeah, bright Pink. 

There is no way I'm going out in the heat wearing a pith helmet (I already have enough people snickering at that) and pink suspenders. Just thinking about it I can hear Neighbor Bubba guffawing down the street!   Then I remember the way in which denim seems to get a life of its own (as well as double in weight) in the humidity of the South.  Ok, I'll wear them, but I'll hide them UNDER my shirt.

So, now when Neighbor Bubba comes over to ask about my cats (" taught that SEE EM EEZ to fetch a beer yet?") I only have to be careful that he doesn't see or even suspect the suspenders carefully hidden below my work shirt.

Life in the South is getting complicated.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Get a Grip!

I've owned a lot of gloves over the years and not just the kind that keep my fingers warm when I'm walking to the bus on a cold winter's day.  I'm talking about Work Gloves.  Gloves are a requisite item for working anywhere, not just here in the Lovely South.  But, (you knew there was a but, right?) once I got to the South, I discovered that gloves can also be wrong.  Above you can see my very own collection of gloves that I use for different chores.

For the most part, in the past, I used a pair of medium weight leather gloves. You can see them there in the photo to the right. They gave me a grip, saved me from cuts and thorns and overall made me feel like a construction worker. Growing up out west, they made me feel like a cowboy, too.  

Then I found that those were almost too much glove when doing some jobs. For doing small jobs around the house, I bought a set of those cotton gloves with the little dots on them. They are ok, but one trip into the shed, and they look like dead mice... smell like it, too. Wash them once or twice and they fall apart.
Skip forward a few years and I'm walking through the local Big Box Store and I spy the pair of gloves above.  They are made from a stretchy spandex like material which has had the fingers and palm dipped in Nitrile rubber.  They are thin, light and fit like second skin. Not only that, they give a grip like no other glove I've ever owned.  I bought two pair immediately. 

Never mind the fact that they say "BOSS" on the back, they are great for working on anything.  I can even keep them on when I dig into my pocket for my pocket knife! Get them wet and they only get a better grip! Only drawback I can see is that the more you use them, the less life they have. (Well, DUH!) By that I mean that the rubber will stick to the spandex for only so long.  My oldest pair is already losing the Nitrile off the area between the thumb and forefinger and it's less than a year old. The grip is still good though, so they will remain useful for some time to come.  Much longer than the dead mouse looking cotton gloves I mentioned before.  

In addition, the Nitrile gloves are cheap, by comparison to leather, which means I'll pick up another pair soon to put into the rotation when the time comes so I'm doing ok.  Though by using them I'm not sure if my not using the old leather work gloves will keep me from being a good ol' boy.  

Only time (and neighbor Bubba) will tell.  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Convention on the Roof

Recently, I had a chance to drive across the downtown area.  Actually, I was trying to get around some traffic jams and ended up driving a bit out of my way.

Anyway, I was driving along when I discovered myself driving past the new convention center.  This massive several block long structure is a conglomeration of shapes, colors and unfinished cement in unending awe.  I took the picture above from my dashboard.  The thing to note here is that this is one small corner of the structure. Here is another showing the front (?) of the gargantuan building. (You get the idea that this place is rather large? Good.)
The next day, as I was downloading the photos from my phone, I found out something even more awe terror inspiring.  The roof of the new Nashville Convention Center will be GRASS.  That's right, they are covering the top of the convention center with PLANTS!  I know what you're thinking. "Oh, hey, like wow!" says your hipster induced ejaculate.  "A green roof made of green plants!" (For the record, the roof will not really be grass, but will be Sedum plants, which are green plants with a yellow flower.) 
4 Acres of Sedum Plants up on the roof!
And then comes the realization that SOMEONE is going to have to go up on that roof to TRIM or MOW said Sedum plants. (At least my heat addled brain would assume so.)  Plants mean trimming or mowing and regardless of whether they are in front of my house or on the 4 ACRE Roof of the Nashville Convention Center, they gotta be trimmed or mowed or sedum-ated...or whatever you do to them.  (Do you mow sedums or just trim with a string trimmer? Maybe you have to get down on your hands and knees and cut them with a scissors! - Oh the horror!)  I get the picture of someone having to go up on the roof in the dead of winter and trim the dang plants so that the place can be considered "green." Just knowing that some poor Suthunah has to go up on the roof to do battle in the Lawn Wars is enough to give me nightmares.

And the worst thing?  I can tell all you guys about it but if you come visiting, there is no way to take you up there to show it off.  It will forever remain just another hidden gem here in the South. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I Didn't See You There - WTF Division

I caught this pic as I was crossing the street the other day. I stopped and backed up to get a photo of this truck and the guy must have thought I was REALLY interested in his ferrin' truck. Yeah, being a true suthunah, or at least a Suthun Wannabe, I'd only be interested in 'MERICAN made trucks.

But let's get back to the subject at hand, shall we?  It's not the truck I was fascinated with.  It's that panel on the front.  Can you see it there?  It's CAM-UH-fllaged.  Now, stay with's camouflaged, which means that when needed, like in the forest, it's going to blend in with its surroundings and not be seen. Ok, you got that?  Are you now at the same level of WTF that I am?

For those that don't truley get it yet, the only part of the truck that is camo'd is that panel. What happens to the rest of the truck?  Does having just that one panel sort of camo the entire truck by proxy?  Does the deer (or other game you're hunting) look around and see the truck, but since the panel is camo'd they think there's a hole through the entire truck and it freaks them out so much they forget that there's a truck there?

I'd  like to think that maybe the guy bought himself a camouflaged truck and could only afford to paint 99% of it a nice shiny black.  Then again, maybe this guy has this special cover for his truck which is all camo'd that covers the whole truck EXCEPT for that one space...Yeah, that's got to be it.

Ok, I can see that.  Now I got to hunt this guy down and ask him to see that truck cover.