Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Do carpenter bees sting?

I hate nature. I really do. I mean, I like it in theory...you know, like in photos or through the car window. But experiencing the actual outdoors...not so much. People who knew me when I was a child might be surprised to learn this. After all, I grew up in the country. We had cows. And a garden. I rode on tractors. I fished. I rode 4-wheelers. I played in the mud. I climbed trees. I played outside from dawn to dusk. I'm not sure what happened. (Although I do suspect it had something to do with college and the sorority dorm and roaches that were as big as my foot and could fly. Maybe that taught me that all living creatures aren't pretty. Especially when you have to kill them yourself.)

Anyway, after surviving this year's long, cold winter indoors, a miraculous thing happened. Seemingly overnight. Spring arrived! Hooray!!!!!! Hibernation = Over. Not only for me, but also for the rest of God's creations. Ugh. Over the course of working in the yard this weekend, I encountered each of the following: lizards, spiders, frogs, wasps, and my newest nemesis...the carpenter bee. Let me address these pests one by one.

Lizards: They slither, which is creepy. They change colors, which is...freaky. They like to hang out on the side of my chimney, which means they're RIGHT THERE staring at me when I open my back door! Ooooooaaaaauuuuhhh! (That was a full-body shiver.) I suspect they lurk there waiting for the door to be left open so they can slink right inside.

Spiders: While bees are my most recent annoyance, spiders are my most hated. I despise them. I spend entirely too many of my waking hours worrying about them, mistakenly feeling like they're crawling on me, and researching parts of the earth that don't have them (which are unfortunately all too frigid for my taste). Because of my paralyzing phobia, I refuse to reach into any place (particularly in the garage) that I can't see. I even make my husband put his hand in my gardening gloves, before I do, to make sure they're arachnid-free! (In my defense, I first squish each and every finger from the outside, so if he does encounter a brown recluse...it'll be a dead one!)

Frogs: No thank you. Also, why do I keep finding scorched, dried up specimens in my yard? Are frogs that dumb that they just sit outside in the sun and roast? Are they getting zapped by the HVAC unit? What is this about?! Gross, dead, dried frogs in my yard. Blech!

Wasps: They sting. That is enough. Also, they've found a way to get into my house. We've killed FOUR! IN OUR HOUSE! (By "we," I mean David. After I pitched a big fit.)

Bees: Hovering, buzzing, stunt-diving, menacing bastards. I hate them. And I'm pretty sure it's mutual. Because these winged critters were out in full force this weekend and were encroaching on my personal space (one flew into the back of my neck while I was planting flowers!), I felt compelled to research whether or not they could actually hurt me.

As it turns out, the chances are slim. While female bees are capable of stinging, they rarely do. However, the bees we often see are actually the males of the species. Their job is to bring food from flowers and other sources back to the nest. They are also responsible for patroling their territory (which at my house is the area surrounding the new flowers in my window box) and keeping the airspace free from any other flying critters. (I must admit that I did get excited for one little guy when I saw him blindside a wasp and show him who's boss!) This is the reason they zoom towards you, dart about, and then deflect at the last minute. They simply want you out of their area. Which has forced me to find some really long, creative routes to get me from my back yard to my front yard. Alas, the wasp spray doesn't seem to phase them.

Q: Do carpenter bees sting?
A: Probably not. But that doesn't make me want them any less DEAD!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I work in a building that contains over 1,000 people. Some of them are weird. Or at least look weird or act weird. It's inevitable. There are a lot of us. We can't all be normal. So in order to be able to quickly refer to people we don't know, without having to go into a lengthy description of them, my friends and I have developed quite the long list of nicknames to describe them. It's nothing personal. We have nothing against any of these people. In fact, we've never spoken to most of them. They're just amusing characters in our everyday sitcom. I'm sure the following list won't be nearly as humorous when you can't experience the actual visuals, but...use your imagination!

Debbie Downer: She doesn't want to be here. She's tired. She doesn't feel well. She's tired. She wants to go home. She's tired. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Mimi: That's right...

Perpetually Pregnant Girl: This one can be explained by either one of the following explanations. 1.) She's always 16 weeks pregnant. 2.) She is actually, in fact, a 50-year-old man with a beer belly.

Sponge Bob Square Head: Fairly self-explanatory. His head is gigantic in proportion to the rest of his body...and rather square in nature.

Sponge Bob Whale Pants: A derivative of the above. This character has a fuller body, small head. He is also often seen sporting pants dotted with tiny embroidered animals.

Kitty Cat Guy: This one is rather abstract. He's a fairly normal-looking dude, if a bit creepy. But his mannerisms suggest that he lives alone with a house full of cats. And that if you rang his doorbell, he would answer the door...cradling a cat.

Hot Mess: This chick looks as if she crashed at 3 a.m. after a hard night of clubbing, only to awaken at 7:45, just in time to come to work in the clothes she slept in and whatever makeup she was able to apply during her commute (on top of any makeup left over from the night before).

Flock of Seagulls: This one's easy. The chick's hair looks like this...

The Entire Cast of "The Office": Oh, yeah. Michael, Angela, Dwight...they're all present and accounted for. You think those people don't exist in real life, but they do. I work with them.