Categories
Diary Housekeeping

Terror!

Last night when I opened the dishwasher to set my dinner plate inside, I saw movement at the place where the door meets the washer.

My eyes were there in a flash, in time to see a cockroach skitter out in a mad, looping retreat.

I screamed my I’ve-just-seen-a-cockroach scream and slammed the washer closed.

I’ve dealt with cockroaches before. I’m not really sure why I scream when I see them, or why I recoil from them the way I do. I can handle them dead–well, not handle them, but I can deal with throwing them out, but when they’re darting at inhuman speeds across my floors to potentially hide among my belongings, scurrying into little cracks where they can’t be killed and just waiting for the opportunity to terrorize me, then, well, yeah.

The cockroaches here in Marietta are different from the ones back in Augusta. They’re black rather than slightly reddish, and while I have seen one on the ceiling I’m not sure they do much flying. (Wishful thinking?) They also look like they would crunch a lot more when stepped on, but as I haven’t actually caught one yet, I don’t know for sure.

Regardless, one of these abominations had been in my dishwasher, probably because I’d left it open a crack rather than fully closed, and now I had no idea where it was.

I armed myself with shoes, just in case, then pulled the dishwasher door back down. No sign of the thing on the bottom or among the dishes. I slid my eyes upward…

…and there it was, on the back wall of the dishwasher, nestled right near the corner with the left wall and ceiling.

I had, of course, been giving Sean the running commentary, and as I went for the broom I informed him, “You know, guys are supposed to handle this stuff.” He made some sort of noncommittal noise and I sighed and opened the dishwasher a third time.

Sliding the broom in above the top rack of dishes, I jabbed it forward as hard as I could at that awkward angle, hoping to catch the roach in the bristles of the broom. But maybe Marietta roaches are harder and slicker, or maybe I didn’t jab hard enough. Whatever the reason, the thing simply fell down the wall into the bottom of the dishwasher, and then, as I leapt back, preparing to guide him out with the broom and stomp on him, he crawled with impossible speed into a two-inch wide hole on the back of the dishwasher door I hadn’t noticed before, a place that had apparently been broken out accidentally.

Furious, I closed the dishwasher again.

And that’s the situation as it stands now. I apparently have a cockroach in the door of my dishwasher. Not only that, but there’s a hole in the door of the dishwasher where just anything can crawl in and hang out. Ew.

Today, irritated, I opened the dishwasher, loaded it, put in a detergent sac and ran the thing. There was no sign of the cockroach. No water spilled out of the dishwasher, so I have to assume the closure is airtight…so where’s the roach, then? Still in the door? Did the heat from the drying cycle kill him, or can roaches withstand that much heat? If I open the dishwasher now, will the roach scurry out and get all over my clean dishes?

Or is there a dead cockroach in my dishwasher door…and if so, will he at least serve as a warning to the others?

I’ve changed

I’ve changed.

In five short years, I’ve changed.

Five years ago, I’d write about anything, with hardly any reservation. I wrote often. I didn’t care what anyone thought. I voiced every opinion I had. I put it all down here on my blog with no fear and no sense of responsibility.

I’m in my 30s now. And I’ve changed.

I don’t know if I’m more mature, or if I’ve lost something.

Now, there are so many things I want to say that I don’t. Writing has always been my one true outlet…but I’ve become more aware of the power of words. With words, I can injure. And with words, I can inadvertently give away my own being.

Sometimes I want to write and don’t because I don’t have time.

Sometimes, I’m afraid to write.

But I miss it. I miss scattering my thoughts with abandon. And I know at least some of you miss following behind to pick them up again.

Whenever I resolve to write more, I mean it. It doesn’t happen because I’ve changed.

I’m not sure how to change back. I’m not sure I even should.

Terror

I discovered a new fear yesterday.

It’s kind of a funny story, really. Fichtel remarked to me that after that day, the new female evening anchor wouldn’t be available for photos with the rest of the team, so if I wanted to get some shots I should run down there right after the 6 o’clock show. He added that the sports director had to leave right away, so I’d have to be quick. I thanked Fichtel for letting me know and put my camera on my desk so I’d remember.

Right before the show started, I got a call from the 6 o’clock producer. “[Male evening anchor] wants you and [my boss] in the studio during the first break,” he said.

“…what for?”

“He just wants you down there.”

Now, it did occur to me that it could be for pictures. But the entire team wouldn’t be down there at that time; it would just be the two anchors. And what would we need my boss for? I started to freak out. Surely the anchors weren’t going to talk about the website or something and try to put me on the show!

Frantically, I checked the script. I didn’t see anything in the second block about the website. But it just seemed too weird. I went to my boss’ office to see if she knew anything.

“Do you know why [male anchor] wants us during the first break?”

“What?”

It turned out that she knew nothing about it. I told her what the 6 o’clock producer had said to me. She turned to give the male anchor a questioning look–one wall of her office is a window into the studio.

Apparently we were rolling video at the time because he started gesturing to explain what he meant. He pointed to either side of himself.

Horrorstruck, I thought he meant for us to sit at the desk next to him, and I blurted out, “I’m not going on air!” I’m pretty sure my voice was shaking.

Finally he mimed taking a picture with a camera. I almost died with relief. And so I went down there during the first break and got a few two-shots of the anchors.

But it doesn’t end there!

Right after the show, the 6 o’clock producer stopped by my office. “[Male anchor] wants you in the studio,” he said.

“Are you sure?” I asked, feeling my nerves start to thrum again.

“Yes, he just told me.”

“Why?”

“I don’t know, he just wants you.”

I’m pretty sure this lack of information egged on my paranoia. I mean, the show was over, so obviously I couldn’t be on it now. But didn’t the sports director have to leave? Surely it wasn’t about pictures again.

I was headed down the hall without my camera when I saw the 6 o’clock producer stop the sports director on his way out. “[Male anchor] wants you back down there,” he said.

The sports director looked at me. “What is this for? I have to go.”

I said “I don’t know” in a voice that sounded like I was having a panic attack. Then I turned around and ran into my office to grab the camera.

And yes, it was for pictures again. This time it was to get the four-shot with the sports director and the chief meteorologist.

The reason they wanted my boss there was to approve the photos. Apparently there had been a previous photo shoot in which none of the photos had been acceptable, and they’d had to call everyone back in to do them over, so the anchors wanted to avoid that entirely. That had happened with someone else taking the pictures, though; my boss didn’t even look at mine :>

I managed to take some pictures from two different angles. All but two of them turned out fairly decent. As I headed back to my office, though, I was still trying to calm down.

So I guess I’m more afraid of being on live TV than I thought. Though I’m sure having no idea what was going on and worrying that I would have “perform” in public had something to do with it.

Wacky dreams

Last night I had a funny dream and a very vivid one.

In the first dream, I dreamed that a guy I deal with a lot in the Chicago corporate office, Mike, had sent me an email to tell me that I was annoying. Then, in the dream, I “woke up”, and I told Mike about that dream. And he said, “Well, that’s kind of true.”

(I emailed Mike to tell him about the dream today and he thought it was hilarious. And, for the record, he said it wasn’t true at all ;>)

In the other dream, Sean and I were with my family and some other people outside when all of a sudden a big cloud of gray and yellow dust started moving towards us. As we looked at it, we saw what appeared to be little birds riding on top of things three times their size, but as they drew closer we realized they were actually large bees carrying huge white and yellow flowers.

I ran for my camera, but couldn’t find it.

The bees didn’t seem to care about us at first, but for some reason as time went on they became hostile, and at that point I noticed their five inch stingers. One of them stabbed Mom in the behind as she was fleeing indoors, the long, thin, needle-like stinger going all the way in.

“Did it hurt?” I asked her.

“Not really,” she grimaced.

I thought we should just leave the bees alone, but many people started to go for the bug spray. Four-year-old Logan grabbed some and started spraying it around, then lost his balance and almost fell off the table he was standing on. I and someone else grabbed him and sat him down.

“Do you know why we’re mad at you?” I asked him, because I wanted him to understand that there might not always be someone to catch him when he fell, and he needed to be more careful.

“Yes,” said someone else, answering for him, which was annoying. I’m not sure who it was…it didn’t seem like Mom or Faye, so maybe it was just a character interjected into the dream to represent bad parents, even though Logan actually has very good parents.

Later I was headed off somewhere and I was a little paranoid that the bees would sting me, so I hurried, and then I heard Mom behind me saying “They’re going after Faye–er, Heather.” (She will sometimes go through a whole list of names before finding the person she’s talking about ;> I’ve been called Bev, Carol, Sally, Faye, and Amanda many times.) Regardless, somehow, I managed not to get stung.

This dream, of course, partially reflects my experience every day when I leave the apartment and have to walk through a horde of wasps and hornets. Occasionally I think about calling management to have pest control come out, but they’ve never stung me, and it’s only nerve-wracking for those few seconds while I walk to my car, so usually I decide not to worry about it.

(This morning they were even crazier than usual, actually running into walls. Is it mating season? Still didn’t get stung, though.)

At some point during the dream about the bees, I remember meeting a nice older couple who were talking with Sean about his wedding ring. He apparently needed to have it fixed (although I have no idea what could possibly go wrong with a plain white gold band), but due to various tax and political family issues, he didn’t want to have it done in Augusta. The couple was recommending he send it to Kentucky and then we could pick it up at Christmas.

“Oh, and while you’re there, you should meet the so-and-sos,” the woman said. “I know you’ll like them!”

To my great surprise, Sean was not only thoroughly enjoying the conversation with the couple we barely knew, but also seemed eager to meet their friends in Kentucky.

And that’s about it for last night’s dreams :>

Professional detachment

So I’m sitting at work, updating various things about tonight’s special election and some exciting news about two carjackings that happened on the same street within about an hour of each other, when my boss asks me if I’m wrapping up.

“Yeah, just waiting on video,” I said, as I was still recording the late newscast.

“Well, when you leave, make sure someone walks out with you. You know, those two carjackings.”

“Oh yeah!” I said. They had occurred rather close to the station, hadn’t they?

Finally those two realities–the fact that there were carjackers out there, perhaps two groups of them, and the fact that I was far from home in the middle of the night and I was going to have to walk to my car–came together in my head, and slowly and steadily I began to freak out.

As I was clocking out, Female News Anchor made some comment to me about the election and I somehow managed to respond, though at that point I could care less about whether there was going to be a recount in the narrow victory of Broun over Marlow for the runoff with Whitehead. I wanted to get out as fast as possible. I hurried down the hall to the newsroom, which seemed oddly bright and cheery for 11:30 pm, and I gazed around at all the happy faces, looking for someone to escort me.

Jeremy came up the hall at that point, and he’s a decent-sized guy, so I said, “Want to protect me from carjackers?” and he laughed and said sure and walked me to my car.

I thanked him and he started turning around too quickly for my comfort, so I practically flew around the car and jammed the key in and leapt into my seat. All around it was dark and quiet. Anyone could come running out of the night and try to take my car. And those carjackers, at least in the first incident, had a gun!

A car appeared on the road behind me then, so I left my headlights off lest the driver realize I was there and then, once it was past, flipped on the lights, slammed the car into gear, and jerked away from the side of the road.

The drive home was surreal. I decided to avoid my usual route, as that was the road where both carjackings had occurred, but the alternate route was dimly-lit and eerie. My eyes darted back and forth, looking for predators in the shadows. I stayed in the inner lanes whenever possible to make it more difficult for someone to suddenly run up alongside the car. When I came up on other vehicles, I tried to drive so that the drivers wouldn’t be able to see into my car and tell I was a girl.

Every time I thought about relating my terror in writing, it threatened to overwhelm me, and I had to growl at myself and shake my head and force my hands not to grip the steering wheel.

Finally I pulled into my parking lot. But did I feel safe? After all, one of the carjackings happened in an apartment parking lot, and the other in a man’s driveway. How could I think that anywhere was safe knowing that, even if both events had happened across town? They found the first car but not the second. If I could have driven across town in that time, so could they.

And of course, my usual spot right in front of our door was taken because I was so late in getting home, so I had to park a few doors down.

I decided to walk along the railroad ties holding our landscaping in place to get to the door, rather than walking around the cars in the parking lot. And it was with much paranoia that I fumbled to get my key in the lock.

But I’m home now. Home and safe. I suppose.

If my boss hadn’t mentioned an escort, I probably wouldn’t have even thought about the proximity of the carjackings to my workplace. But after she did, the fear consumed me. Funny, that.

Categories
Diary

I am a total baby

There was a cockroach in my bathroom.

With a clacking flutter of wings, it darted up my wall as I was finishing washing my face.

I screamed, ran out, and shut the door.

“There’s a cockroach in there!” I told Sean. He just looked at me. “Ew!” I said. But he didn’t move.

I went back to the bedroom and put some pants on (pantsless computing is my thing), and then I put socks and sneakers on because shoes without socks is too naked, and then I crept back out to the main living area and cautiously approached the bathroom door.

Sean was still sitting at his computer. He hadn’t moved. I looked at him, then moved the rug in front of the utility closet with my foot, wondering morbidly if there was an army of cockroaches in that closet. I looked back at Sean. He looked at me.

He obviously wasn’t going to do anything, so I opened the door.

The cockroach was nowhere in sight.

“Where did it go?” I simpered. Sean still didn’t move.

I edged the door open slowly and looked behind it. I looked along the wall. I looked over the floor. Then a sickening thought settled into my stomach and I reached out to the towels hanging on the wall, near where the cockroach had scuttled up.

I knocked the first towel.

Nothing happened.

I knocked the second one.

Hideous clack-flapping was my grisly reward, as the cockroach burst out and slapped onto the floor. I shrieked and ducked out the door.

“Get it,” Sean said.

I reluctantly looked back in to find where the roach had scurried to. And I didn’t see it.

“Where did it go?” I moaned.

“It’s under your foot.”

What? Where?” I backed up. And there it was, zipping at unhuman speeds out of the bathroom and onto the carpet. It nestled itself snugly in the corner.

Predictably, I squealed again.

“Step on it!” Sean said. He was getting impatient. “I don’t have shoes on! Just step on it!” As I raised my shaking foot, he added, “Remember you have to twist, because that carpet’s going to be soft.”

Ewwwwww…” and the toe of my sneaker came down on the cockroach.

“Twist,” Sean said. “Twist.”

I did.

When I finally raised my foot away, Sean said comfortingly, “There you go. Now vacuum him up.”

I did.

I then collected all the garbage in the apartment, because certainly it’s acting as bait for these freaky little assholes. Then I came back to the office and clung to Sean’s shoulder and let out a little whimper.

He just chuckled.