Thursday, September 23, 2010

Old Spice

I suppose I should be used to it by now:  the apparently inevitable ant invasion of my kitchen and bathrooms come spring and come fall.  One day, my counters are sparkling clean and bug free -- okay, bug free, at least -- and the next, they're alive with pesky little creepy crawlers.  After my initial revulsion, the killer instinct kicks in, and I go about squashing the little boogers and flushing them down the sink.  When that fails to prompt retreat, I bust out the Raid.  I've yet to move onto actual baits, but I'm not ruling it out.  I also keep making a mental note to call "The Bug Guy," but I'm lazy.  And forgetful.  And trying to save my pennies.  

This year, they pulled a new trick out of their tiny little hats:  they invaded my spice/noodle/baking goods/pet treats cabinet.  I go to grab some pepper, and suddenly, "Them!" is there!  Making Themselves right at home, in the dog's chewy chicken treats, and tracking across the lovely contact paper my Mom so graciously installed for me 3 years ago.  Gack!! 

For a couple of days, I stayed the conservative course -- smashing them as I saw them, pitching the dog treats and any other obvious "come hither" sorts of foods.  Finally, though, I realized I was losing the battle, and more drastic measures were needed.  Time to clear out the cabinet, and let my Raid flag fly.

And since I was clearing it out, anyway, it only seemed appropriate to check expiration dates on the odd assortment of items it had accumulated.  It was then that I discovered, much to my surprise, that spices have expiration dates.  Spices?!  Seriously?!  I was so shocked by this discovery that I did what any normal person would do -- I announced it as my Facebook status.  (Some revelations are simply too amazing to keep to one's self.)  

What was even more unsettling was the realization that some of the spices I'd been housing in there had apparently expired several years ago.  And here I was, assuming my lemon pepper, chili powder and garlic salt were all alive and kicking.  The thing is...none of them tasted old, or smelled funny.  Which leaves me wondering:  At what point does a spice truly qualify as "old"?  And when does it make you smell like a man, man?  

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Fear of Success

There’s a certain solace to be found in always falling just short. A comfort offered by the bittersweet longing of “maybe” and “if only”. Failure isn’t what’s scary. Success is. For, when and if we reach our goals – when we find true contentment – even happiness – we then become truly vulnerable.

Deep down, we know that it’s all fleeting and fragile, and can be ripped away in a heartbeat: sudden illness, a car accident, all manner of things over which we have no control. But if we always hover just this side of our dreams, then we somehow feel shielded from the pain and disappointment of having them shattered. Are we just kidding ourselves? I think…maybe…yes.

Friday, September 10, 2010

What I Remember

I originally wrote this several years ago,'s that time of year again.  Time to remember....

I remember so much about that day:

I was getting ready for work and had the radio on, a little before 8:00 a.m., CST. The DJ's mentioned something about a plane hitting the World Trade Tower and they were watching it on the Today Show. So I turned on the TV, and was watching the video of the first tower. And as I watched, live, I saw the second plane come in, low and slow, and thought, "Oh my God!" And it hit. And I dropped the brush out of my hand and fell on my knees with my mouth open. After about a minute of just staring at the TV with my hand over my mouth, I got up and went to the phone to call my then-husband. He was out of town for work, in Dallas, working at the airport there. He was still asleep, and I woke him up and told him to turn the TV on. Then realized -- his brother was a pilot for AA, and started getting really worried. He didn't think his brother was flying that day, but I told him I'd try to get ahold of him to be sure. I finished getting ready and left the house, got in the car and turned the radio on. I called my then-BIL and was able to get ahold of him. He was home, safe. So that was a relief. On the radio, they were saying that all flights were being grounded, and one or two were unaccounted for. My route took me past the STL airport, and as I drove east toward and past it, I could see the planes all lined up, heading west, coming in one right after the other. And all I could think was, "Get down, birds. Get down." I know that seems weird, but that was what was in my head.

I pulled into my parking garage around the time the Pentagon was hit. I got out of my car and walked toward my office, looking up at the bright blue September sky, which suddenly seemed empty. And, even though it was warm out, I got the chills. The TV was on in the office, of course. And we all just stood around it, watching. We'd try to go to our desks and do some work, but it was futile. My MIL called me in a panic, because she knew my office was located next to the Arch. I told her I was fine, but we'd gotten word they'd be shutting our building down, and we'd be heading back home. Watched in disbelief as the first tower came down. Then the second. Then left and started the drive back home, still in a state of shock.

Just so happens, I was 7 or 8 weeks pregnant at the time. Got home, and there was a message on the machine from my doctor's office, asking me to call them. I did, and they told me there was a problem with my hormone levels, and I was at risk for miscarrying, so I needed to go pick up a prescription. The realization that my husband was likely to be stuck in Dallas for an indefinite period at that point, and I was pretty much on my own, hit and made me feel very much alone. I got in the car and headed to the pharmacy, and remember thinking to myself how odd it was that it, and the grocery stores, and most businesses were still open and carrying on like it was a regular day. I know the people working there weren't FEELING that way -- it just struck me as odd that, even in the face of this evil, awful thing that was unfolding, we were still plodding ahead with our day. I picked up the prescription and read the warnings, which included all sorts of potential awful things that could happen to the baby, including some mutations. THAT freaked me out. So I called the doctor's office and they reassured me it was okay to take the medicine. So I did. And I sat down on the couch and watched the endless coverage, and wondered what kind of a world my child -- assuming he or she would be okay -- would be born into. And I cried.

I was thousands of miles away from the destruction of that day, but I -- just as everyone else -- was profoundly affected by it. And it's easy, almost 7 years later, to forget just how much, to forget all that was lost that day. We can quibble from now until the end of time over what actions since then were appropriate. And I'm sure we will. It is, perhaps, the largest political football of our lives. But we should never, ever, ever forget that day.