Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Beach Bummed

I hate the beach.  Yeah, I know, someone in Kansas is calling me un-American right now.  When I was young, I enjoyed going to the beach.  Atlantic City and Jones Beach were awesome when you live in the North East and have winter. You need the beach after freezing rain, snow and slush.  Sometime after graduating high school, the beach lost its appeal for me.

Living in Florida, it's tough to avoid the beach but I've managed to do it for 20+ years.  I went a few years ago but that visit didn't involve any beach-y frolicking and it did include beer, so it wasn't too bad.  Two weeks ago, I wasn't so lucky.

Every once in a while I get together with two old friends.  We have a regular "girl's weekend".  Calling us "girls" is a stretch but we'll go with it.  This time we went over to the west coast of  Florida to Sanibel Island. Of course, this involved going to the beach.  For me it was almost like childbirth - I forgot about the pain and horror until I found myself in the delivery room ... again!


There I was in a bathing suit (THAT'S where the HORROR!!! comes in), sunscreened to my eyeballs walking on sand as hot as Satan's balls, to enjoy all the pleasures "the beach" has to offer.  We spent two hours sweating our tits off lazing in the water and doing "beachy" things. Without alcohol, I might add!  Two hours was enough time for me to get sand in every orifice (and I mean EVERY! SINGLE! ONE!)   I managed to get attacked by some kind of semi-transparent baby fish that caused my friends to think I'd finally lost my mind 'cause they kept trying to nibble on my legs and toes, causing me to fly out of the water like my ass was on fire every so often.  The fish didn't bother my friends at all!  I also got bit by some venomous insect that caused me to scratch my thigh so much I raised a bruise that looked like I got hit with a 100-mph fast-ball.  And last but not least, I got the worst sunburn on my back and shoulders that I've ever had, EVER!!!
Sanibel Island Lighthouse

You recall that I did use sunscreen.  Well, apparently profuse sweating and salt water diminish the effectiveness of sunscreen.  WTF! do I know about sunscreen? No beach - 20+ years!  I usually avoid the sun like the plague which means, I'm not really a sunscreen expert.

Oh! The PAIN! My ass didn't hurt but my back did.  I carried Bactine and aloe with me everywhere.  I asked total strangers to apply them to my back.  The ITCHING! I slept with a body brush so it was handy when I woke up in an itching frenzy.  The PEELING!  I had enough skin come off my back and shoulders to make Ed Gein a prom dress.  ACK!

I birthed two children.  After the second, I remembered why I waited eight years in between.  I'm pretty damn sure that eight years for my next beach visit won't be long enough.  I'm striving for a least another 20.

Sanibel Beach
Smiley from millan.net

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Urbanization of Florida Woodpeckers

Back in March, my office moved from its location to a freestanding building next to a wooded lot. The building is made from cement block and wood-frame stucco. Not long after the move, I was out in the parking lot smoking, (Yes, I know it will kill me but so will 87 other things in my life) when I heard a tapping/knocking sound coming from the building.  I thought someone was trying to get my attention by rapping on the window.  Nope.  It turned out to be a woodpecker.
  He was high up on the side of the building, pecking away like there was no tomorrow.  I figured this was the stupidest woodpecker since Woody!  There must be 200 trees in the lot for him to peck on and there he was going hell-bent for leather, on a building.
Winston At Work

I noticed after several days of this behavior, he'd actually managed to make a hole in the building, obviously in the stucco part, and was now madly tearing out insulation!  Not long after, lady woodpecker swoops on by and tucks herself right in the hole.  Damn! Mr. wasn't a dumb shit after all!

Watching the hole each time I went outside, I'd see Mr. and Mrs. take turns going in and out with nesting material.  When the babies hatched, they'd do the same thing bringing food.  Soon, the babies grew, learned to fly and the hole/nest was abandoned.  I felt sad.

I wasn't sad for long. About three weeks ago, I see not one but two male woodpeckers, jack hammering the side of the building!  This time, the females would fly by to check progress before taking off for the woods to get lunch.  I started to wonder what the conversations might be like between those birds...

The Woods Behind My Building
Charles ~ Christ!  I'd like to peck a hole in Winston's head!

Arnold ~ Me, too!  Thinkin' he's special 'cause he's a fancy city 'pecker!

Charles ~ He's a pecker, all right!  When Gloria saw that Phyllis had a nest in a nice beige building, she HAD to have the same. Just like when Winston brought home a baby snake for dinner.  Gloria had to have one of those, too.  I fucking HATE snake!!!

Arnold ~  Tell me about it, Brenda's the same way.  Winston, this! Phyllis, that! You'd think they were eagles or something!

Charles ~ I started a great nest in a nice Australian pine, but OH! NO! Gloria wasn't havin' any of that.  "What if there's a hurricane, Charles? What if the tree falls down, Charles? What if a squirrel climbs up there, Charles?"

Arnold ~ We've been makin' nests in trees forfuckingever but because of fancy-feathers Winston, we gotta be breakin' our beaks on this damn building!

Gloria and Brenda do a fly by ...

Gloria ~ You boys almost done? We need to lay these eggs, NOW! Y'all are talkin' more than two old owls!

Brenda ~ Winston didn't talk to anyone.  He had Phyllis' nest done in two days.  You guys are gonna be here all week at this rate.  Shut-up and get to work!

Charles and Arnold ~ Yes, dear!

Gloria Screaming for Charles to Get His Ass Home

Smiley from millan.net
My new meds totally rock!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

First Picture From Mars

Smiley from millan.net