“That” Time of Year

  ginger ale“It’s cold out this morning

You should be getting into bed

Can’t believe it’s that time of year again”

~Sick Puppies

To me,  “That” time of year refers to the time of year when you walk into The Dreaded Wal Mart and the first thing on display are green bottles of ginger ale and boxes of saltine crackers that look like a game of  Jenga in progress. It’s the time of year when your family gets invaded by a bug and it goes through your house like wildfire. You know what I’m talkin’ bout. Rumors of it circulate quicker than the latest gossip. People talk in hushed whispers about having had it, knowing full well they will be banished to the Quarantine Corner if anyone gets wind that they may be contagious. News of it sends us into a frenzy of alternating between hand sanitizer and Clorox disinfecting wipes.

It’s the Dreaded Stomach Flu.

Dun dun dun!

One thing I have grown to learn as a Universal Truth is the last one in the family to get the stomach virus, typically gets it the worse. I say that now from the catbird seat, watching the rest of my family stumble down the Road of Recovery, not quite well, not exactly sick anymore, but somewhere in-between. Paranoia rumbles in my tummy as the duel continues in my mind: I don’t have it / yes, I do.


Let’s face it. It’s statistically inevitable that I’m gonna get sick and we all know there ain’t no cure for the Stomach Flu.

If there was a Stomach Flu shot, I’d be the very first in line to get one each and every year.

And I don’t do needles.

My twelve year old has become my third leg, never wanting to leave my side during this epidemic (The Dreaded Wal Mart allows me to call it an epidemic with their display). I know he expects me to somehow make it magically go away and I would if  I could but all I can really do is assure him that it will be over soon and nag him to take little sips of his ginger ale and tiny bites of his crackers.

My teenager, on the other hand,  is very laissez faire when it comes to anything involving his mother.

Unless of course he needs, say, the keys to the car.

So he has kept pretty much to himself these past couple of days, only groaning at my suggestion to avoid dehydration by taking little sips of water (he doesn’t do Ginger Ale) and little bites of his crackers.

And that was where I made my cardinal mistake while sitting in the catbird seat.

What I should have said was “Honey, don’t eat or drink ANYTHING and you’ll be fine.”

Silly me to have forgotten teenagers need a whole lot of reverse psychology to get them through sick days, well days, and frankly any days that end in “y”.

Eventually, my family recovered from the Dreaded Stomach Flu.  I knew we were in the clear when my sons resumed fighting. I scoured everything with bleach like a cleaner in a mob movie. I disinfected our house top to bottom. I was spared this time but I am fully aware that the Stomach Flu lurks year round and does not discriminate.

But for now, we’re good to go.

Until the next time…


The Sticky Trap Scenario

When we moved into our new house, we had a bit of a spider situation that needed to be addressed. Because our house had been vacant for over a year, the spiders apparently felt free to move in and take over. Brown Recluse spiders are not uncommon in this neck of the woods and I was no stranger to them. I called a pest control service, and as an extra precaution, set out some sticky traps that I got at the Dreaded Wal-Mart.

Prominently displayed on the package of the sticky traps was a picture of a snake as well as spiders and other vermin. Although I shivered at the thought, I laughed at the picture of the snake, thinking it a ridiculous notion such a thing could happen on a rectangular piece of cardboard with adhesive on it.

As with anything one thinks improbable, typically an opportunity to prove otherwise presents itself. My opportunity came while preparing for a garage sale. Things that go into garage sales generally reside in places unvisited for lengths of time. My stuff was in the downstairs storage room below the car port. It hadn’t been left unattended completely. Intermittently I would venture down there to retrieve something such as holiday decorations, a stray DVD or a forgotten piece of furniture. On several occasions I had gone down there in flip-flops desperately trying to locate a missing photograph or the likes.

On Friday morning when I set out to organize for my garage sale, the only thing on my mind was determination. I had the day off work and the sale was scheduled for the next morning with no time to waste in between. I was on a mission and enlisted the help of two of my bestest friends, Tammy and Stacy. (One has to insert words such as “bestest” when referring to friends helping with such things as garage sales). I warned them there could be Brown Recluse spiders and advised them to avoid the sticky traps as they were hard to remove from shoes.

I went solo to get started, rushed as usual, wanting things to get done so when I flipped up the plastic shelves, it took me a moment – ever so brief – to realize what I was holding in my hands.

A sticky trap…

Stacy later posted on Facebook “Heard a scream from Melle Richardson like I have never heard come out of another human being. Tammy and I were fairly certain a dead body had been found or a limb had been amputated. Thank goodness it was “just” a snake.”

Actually it was”just” two snakes. Two snakes stuck to the sticky trap. Just like in the picture from the sticky trap wrapper that I found to be a ridiculous notion. According to Tammy (who launched into BEST FRIEND EVER status by going down and dealing with the snakes) one was still alive!  (Spoiler alert: Photo below!)

The three of us weren’t that interested in making money at the garage sale once we realized snakes were involved  but our choices were limited. Signs had been hung up. There was an ad in the newspaper. It had been announced on Facebook. People were coming at 7

“We should have had the Hemlock!”

o’clock the next morning and the stuff needed to be brought up to the car part so it could be priced and prominently displayed. Stat!

So we donned our big girl pants and our gloves. Stacy, pregnant to boot, offered to get the boxes on the top but not the bottom (launching her to BEST PREGNANT FRIEND EVER status). Tammy assured me we could tackle any more snakes we might encounter and I believed her.

We survived without any further ado with snakes.

Later, I spent some of our garage sale profits on more traps and lined the storage room floor with them. It’s my feeling if there were two snakes, the rest of their family is probably plotting their revenge.

But that’s just me.