Something new to add to my list of things that suck: cicadas

Troy and I were married on Friday the 13th thirteen years ago this coming June 13.  I had forgotten that the year we were married coincided with the arrival of the 13 year cicada invasion which is probably some sort of omen. May started out kind of cold here and the cicada invasion was on hold which was perfectly fine by me. I hate flying bugs. I especially hate mass legions of flying bugs. I knew trouble had started when I spotted the first one:

Loud, obnoxious and gross. Look at those beady red eyes.

One is bad enough. Millions of them are intolerable. It is hard to describe the sound so I have thoughtfully recorded it here:

Seriously, this sound will haunt me for years.  It’s like a million rattle snakes hanging in trees shaking their rattles simultaneously. This afternoon, I went to wash the kamikaze cicada debris off my car at the local car wash. Bad idea. I was attacked by dozens of the damned things. One flew down my cleavage. The outrage. As I gingerly tried to locate and remove the buzzing insect from underneath my sweaty left breast, I noticed I had attracted the attention of a few fellow car washers. In my mind, I bravely stared them down and flung the carcass of the dead insect at their feet. In reality, I probably stuffed my not quite as perky as it once was boob back into the sports bra and hid behind the car wash vacuum cleaners. What the hell were they staring at anyway? It’s not like I was picking the underwear out of my ass or something.


Road trip to Miami: Part I

It’s been a hectic month. So I got a call from my niece who was on board a cruise ship in the Caribbean to tell me that my sister Susan was being pulled off the ship by Coast Guard cutter due to extreme illness. To normal people, this would be horrifying. My first reaction was “Seriously, you’re fucking with me” to which my sensible niece replied “I would never joke about something like this.” I only occasionally wonder if she’s really related to me.  My second reaction was to break into a Kathy Lee song “If they could see me now..” which is also probably inappropriate.  Sure enough, Susan got on board the ship 48 hours after having a shunt put in her liver. To most normal people, that would mean you would not get on the ship. Not Susan. I guess she was dying to sit at assigned seats for dinner, play shuffle board and be entertained by off off off Broadway musicals.

I would rather pull out my own toenails and drink them from a glass of sweat than have to cruise.

This created great consternation in the family since someone had to go get her. I made mention of my trial calendar, depositions, etc., but my Dad and uncle played the age card. Clearly, the writing was on the wall. Nashville to Miami is closer than Kansas City to Miami so I drew the short stick. I would drive to Miami since Susan could not fly.  To those who have only looked at Florida on a map, Miami is a long way from anywhere. The state of Florida is a really long state and it takes a long time to drive through.  It is full of old people who drive 30 miles an hour on the interstate and insane Yankees who drive 85 on the interstate and Europeans who don”t know which side of the road to be on. Seriously, my hat is off to the Floridians who drive there daily.

Florida has "Silver Alert" posters. To help find old people behind the wheel. For real.

To say that I was less than thrilled with the drive would not do justice to the word “annoyed”. Rearranging my calendar was not easy and also I had to drive through the entire state of Georgia. I should get some kind of medal for that. I had one major concern about where I would stay. This trip occurred the third week of March at the height of spring break. I should have known I would end up in Ft. Lauderdale. During Spring Break.

My personal nightmare. Katy Perry totally rules y'all!

Drunken twenty-year olds were far less traumatic than the legions of unbelievably cut gay men parading around in tiny swimsuits. If you would like to feel inadequate, put a swimsuit on and walk South Beach in the company of the gay beach brigade.

This man's ass is smaller than mine

I could never ever live in South Florida.

I have no reason to live

I have long subscribed to the theory that I am bulletproof and immortal. This despite multiple orthopedic surgeries which I have largely lumped under the heading “design defects” which have no real impact on my immortal status.  So on Monday when I could not stand up straight due to stabbing pain in my stomach, I forced myself to visit the doctor. Since I had spit up blood and no one having met me could ever accuse me of wasting away from consumption, it was a fair guess that I likely had an ulcer. I’m no rocket scientist (I went to law school which pretty much excludes extra smart people), but it kind of seemed obvious that this was an ulcer since I don’t have a flask in my desk drawer and despite my claims that my liver fled to live with Keith Richards years ago where it’s less toxic, my drinking days are largely now the stuff of myth.  The ER doc was less than amused by my self-diganosis and insisted on “tests”.

The tests included the following:

1) Stabbing me repeatedly in both arms and hands (which sucks epicly) attempting to take blood.

2) Realizing I am a lawyer and have no blood.

3) Stabbing me again for good measure because the nurse just realized I’m a lawyer.

In the end, the learned doctor determined I have an ulcer.  Thank you Captain Obvious. Aside from forcing me to take medicines, he laid down the following edicts:

1. No alcohol. I argued that no self-respecting lawyer can make it through to Friday without a martini?. He did not care about my problems.

2. No chocolate. I protested this was un-American and he told me to suck it up.

3. No caffeine. I attempted to rebel at the thought of no morning Red Bull, but could not stand up straight to kick him in the balls.

The end result of this is that I have survived for an entire four days on entirely healthy, non-caffeinated substances. I would cheerfully roll a nun for a Red Bull right now. They tell me this is part of a “lifestyle change”. I’m not sure I see a continued reason for living without caffeine, chocolate and vodka.

I am one step away from “Help I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up“.

Trekking through the Everglades: flora and fauna

The two single most glorious words in the English language that pertain to outdoor activites for me are the words “sea level”. (Side note: the best single word is “spa”). Troy typically takes me hiking in mountains where I wheeze at high altitude or fry in the deserts. This time, we decided to visit the Everglades. I had never been to Miami or Southern Florida and my vision of the Everglades was derived from that episode of Miami Vice where Crockett and Tubbs travel to the Everglades to grab some guy who did not want to give testimony in a trial. Since Miami Vice also served as the basis for my vision of what a hooker looked like until I moved to an area that had actual hookers, I should have known that Miami Vice was not precisely concerned with accurate depictions.

Crockett and Tubbs reenact Deliverance in the swamp

What the Everglades actually looks like is an endless sea of grass with some islands of trees here and there:

The world's biggest sea of grass

I had a list of animals I planned to see while in the Everglades:

1. Bear

2. Panther

3. Python

4. Alligator

5. Crocodiles

6. Manatees

7. Bigfoot

I did not get to see a bear. I did get to see bear shit, thus answering the question “Do bears shit in the wood?” Clearly, they do:

Definitive proof for the doubters

 I also did not get to see a panther (I did see panther tracks), a python or Bigfoot. I was especially hoping to see a python and Bigfoot fighting in a swamp and I was on the lookout. Bigfoot has a long documented history in Florida so I was pretty sure I’d get at least a glimpse of a hairy man-beast. Alas, the only hairy man-beast candidate I saw was running an airboat tour.

Troy stares at me like I am an alien when I ask him questions like "If a panther and a bear had a knife fight, who would win?"

I did get to see crocodiles and a lot of alligators. I am pretty sure Troy planned to feed me to them, but they seemed pretty placid and not all that interested in us.

Allligator at Big Cypress not being interested in eating Troy