Tag Archives: bugs

Bee Firmly Fixed in Bonnet

It started out OK, this day, but the list of things — stupid things — that were irritating me just collected and collected like a layer of dust until it was impossible to see the road ahead of me, so dusty was my windshield.

How Dusty My Windshield: Collected Stories.

A list, in no particular order, of the stupid things that somehow were impossibly irritating today:

— The smell of flatulence in a certain area of the office and before you suggest it was me, it wasn’t. I even, at one point, considered that I MIGHT be farting, that maybe my sphincter is LOOSE and farts are escaping my person without me noticing? And then I thought no, that is ridiculous, you would also then be pooping in your own shoes, surely, it is merely that someone in this office, or possibly everyone, needs to eat less junk food and get outside for a walk.

— This dude on the skytrain this morning had a baseball cap that said something stupid. I know. I don’t even remember what it was but it pissed me off.

— Whenever I take an escalator I think about a tweet I saw once; this person said “one thing that really bugs me is when people stand rather than walk on an escalator.” Now I do not give a shit what you do on the escalator as long as you keep right if you’re standing and walk left if you’re walking. But what the hell is wrong with standing on an escalator? It’s a MOVING STAIRCASE. If you want to WALK, take the STAIRS. I think about this tweet almost every time I take an escalator. I imagine that people who walk on the escalator are judging me, and then I get mad about them judging me.

Guess what, they are not judging me. Also can we take a real minute to appreciate my hypocricy, in taking someone’s stupid annoyed statement and making my own annoyed statement about how annoying it is.


— Also transit related: when people line up for the bus and then slowly shift forward in the line, even though the bus has not yet arrived. Holy shit. I am about to start swinging a baseball bat at the bus stop, people. If the bus is not at the stop, you don’t need to keep moving. Just stay put. Why are you moving? Do you think moving will make the bus come sooner? It will not come sooner. It’s the same as people in cars who are at stop lights and they can SEE that the cross-light is nowhere near ready to change but they still inch up, up, up, until their dumb car noses are in the intersection and for what? Two seconds of lead time? You don’t even GET that lead time in the bus line up because you get on right after the person in front of you and right before the person behind you. So I stand still. The person in front of me can inch, I will not inch. Today the person behind me was nearly licking my earlobes, so close to me was she, because when the person in front of me moved up an inch, the person behind me did too. I WILL NOT MOVE.

— The lady in front of me in the bus line up was wearing tights of the panty-hose variety, not the footless tights that are like exercise pants variety, and I could see the dimples in her butt cheeks and I did not want to see that.

— There was this kid on the bus who wanted to hold a bouquet of dandelions and his mom said no, your hands are too dirty and he was whining like whoa about this so I had to put on my headphones. YOUR HANDS ARE TOO DIRTY TO HOLD DANDELIONS THE MOST PRISTINE FLOWER IN ALL THE LAND AND ALSO RARE, WHAT? Sorry little dude, I feel you, but your voice is like a knife on a wine glass.

— This stupid computer program at work that makes me do extra clicking and is full of bugs and no one cares. It’s like an addled co-worker that you have to check up on all the time, to make sure it’s not breaking or losing things. Which is pretty much the OPPOSITE of a good computer program, can I just say.

— My music player was on shuffle and it kept playing PJ Harvey and the Pixies, as though it knew I needed to be pushed into a dark, cranky space and then forced to explode my way out. So I turned it off.

I left the headphones on, though, because of the dandelion kid & etc.

Yeah I think that about covers it.

If you have any irrational irritations feel free to share. No irritation too small, that’s my motto. Even the tiniest chafe can make a blister. Etc.


I was outside this evening in our common outdoor area (we call it “the courtyard”). Eli and I were looking for ladybugs to bring home to eat the aphids on our rosebush. Yes, we have a rosebush. For the first four years we lived here, it provided one rose per year, then for two years it made two roses, and this year we’ve had three and there are four more buds! It’s exciting. Especially because I am not a gardener and know next to nothing about plants (aphids bad. Ladybugs good! That’s the sum of it.) so it’s very like magic. Seven years in this house, seven roses. The rosebush has some kind of spell on it.

Well, what it has on it is aphids and I sort of know they shouldn’t be there so we went looking for ladybugs. Didn’t find any. Found a woman and her ten month old baby girl, though. Neighbours I’ve never met. Then another woman with another baby girl came out of her house. They mentioned a third neighbour with a baby girl. I’m excited about this, too, because the place we live has a preponderance of boys. So many boys, ranging in age from 3 – 9. One girl (until this recent influx) among seven boys. Nothing wrong with boys! Or girls, either! I like there to be some of each. The circle of life.

It was so fun to be next to these two women talking about their babies. One baby is ten months, the other is four months, so it’s all naps and fussiness and milestones and teething. The moms are on maternity leave and are nearly finishing each other’s sentences because they are so grateful to have found each other, someone who understands. A fellow soldier. “Oh the naps will get better,” says the ten month old’s mother to the four month old’s mother. And then disappear entirely! I prevent myself from saying. Yay me, I am not that old lady who tells you to enjoy every moment JUST YET.

Meanwhile Eli, not used to not being the youngest person in the room, is running around, wearing only boxer shorts and four hundred temporary tattoos, waving a can of sunscreen, yelling, “I’ve got sunscreen and I’m not afraid to use it!”

We all laughed, some of us more nervously than others. Don’t worry, I also didn’t say. You’ll get it someday.


There are those days when your face feels like an avalanche. Bright smiles and happy eyes (smizing!) start the day and then, several hours later, you find yourself recounting the afternoon’s events to your partner and feeling rather like you might be taking down every tree and sweet meadow flower in your path. SNOW IS COMING DOWN ON YOU MOTHERFUCKERS.

“This morning,” I said to Saint Aardvark, “this morning they were great. They put on their rubber boots and raincoats and got their umbrellas and went out at 8 am to walk around the courtyard. I heard them, counting snails and marvelling at how green the trees were in the rain.”

Saint Aardvark smiled and nodded.

“It was so lovely, I was crafting sentimental blog posts in my head,” I added. “But now? Those posts are gone. My head is a pile of dead leaves, the posts are COMPOST. The WORMS are eating them.”

“Great things come from dead things,” said Saint Aardvark.

Onward, Friday; Fun Day, rain, last day of preschool, and all.


(I wrote this back in September.)

Tonight Saint Aardvark went off to his beer club meeting (no, really, it’s a club, not just a bunch of people drinking beer) and I did the long shift with the children: 7 am – 7:30 pm. When I do the long shift, I reward myself. I cook food for the kids that they will like and food for me that I will like. Tonight, for myself, I made a frozen macaroni and cheese (1 kg!) in the oven and added extra garlic and red peppers and some slices of salami all crisp and salty on top. After I tucked the kids into their beds, I came downstairs and doused a bowl of macaroni and cheese with Sriracha sauce and sat down on the couch, remote controls in hand and ready for some trashy TV.

Of course we don’t have cable TV any more so I was going to watch Pan Am or Damages on Netflix. Those are the shows I am watching on Netflix lately.

Except Netflix didn’t work. I restarted the Boxee Box and it still didn’t work. You will trust me that these things are supposed to work, right? If you are reading this from the future or from a place where a Boxee Box is a container of delicious food that you get from the deli? In this case, that is not what a Boxee box is. A BB is supposed to make Netflix happen on my television while I sit on my ass and eat mushy things and get old.

Netflix didn’t work. My macaroni and cheese bowl was getting cold so I came over to my computer and tried to read some things. I don’t like to just eat, you see. I know I should just eat. I have read all the things — some of them I have read while eating, some not — that say you should appreciate your food and be in touch with the flavours and feel the feelings but I say this is frozen macaroni and cheese and I just want to shovel it in my mouth and do something else until my stomach is full. Heck you don’t even have to chew it. It’s practically pre-chewed.

Now that sounds disgusting, but it’s comfort food. You understand.

I read a couple of articles, quick ones, and followed a link to a third and when I did, the computer seized up and did that thing where it feels like it’s half-closed its eyelids and is having a spell and will soon be in need of smelling salts. The screen went grey and hung there, while I read the same paragraph several times and shovelled several mouthfuls of rapidly colder macaroni and cheese into my mouth.

“OK,” I said. “OK. I guess I should just restart.”

I did. I restarted and it took two tries and I got mad and cursed at god and everyone and then finally looked over at my bookshelf and grabbed a book. It’s called Prisoner of Tehran: A Memoir and it is about a woman who was taken prisoner in Iran when she was sixteen years old. It’s an excellent book, very gripping.

That’s when I heard the noise. It was a low buzz, like a dragonfly. I know about dragonflies because in the summer I was in Ontario and I thought the noise I was hearing was a giant mosquito — don’t laugh, it could have been — and it was instead a dragonfly all low and hologram-blue vibrations over the lake. Tonight when I heard the noise my first thought was “Dragonfly?” My second was, “This computer is dying now.” My third was, “A noisy car outside.” Then, out of the corner of my right eye I saw a small item flying through my living room, landing on the thin shelf attached by bracket to my wall.

I looked down at the cat, whose head was cocked and eyes were wide.

I looked back at the shelf, where a large insect now rested.

Was it a wasp? A bee? Where had it come from? The nights are cool, we keep the windows shut and the one window that’s open has a screen. Because I don’t like bugs in my house.

I got up from the table and slowly walked towards the bug. It was a beetle. It looked like a larger version of the beetles that used to come in our house at the end of summer, a couple of years ago. Large, beetle, that flies. A shiver ran down my spine and I came back to my table and tweeted about it.

I was hoping for commiseration but no one was paying any attention to me on twitter that night.

After some hemming and a great deal of hawing, I decided to stare at the bug and maybe take its picture. I tried to zoom in from a few feet away but the photo was boring and did not capture the full excitement of the bug’s size and peculiar attributes, namely being in my living room, having appeared from nowhere.

Or was it nowhere, I thought, looking behind me at the open clamshell container of organic grapes on my kitchen counter. Could a live bug have been resting in a container of organic grapes and just woken up and taken a buzz around my living room? Was it a tropical bug? Was it going to BITE me?

The shivers down my spine turned into ripples. Something would have to be done. Luckily the bug did not keep me waiting but took a short, exploratory flight to a flat surface, the wall. I went quickly to the plastic container cupboard and took out a sandwich container, then clapped it over the bug before I could lose my nerve. It dropped to the bottom of the container with a sickening crackling noise and I nearly dropped the container but did not.

I slid a canvas of my child’s artwork against the container to trap the bug (many sheets of paper within my grasp having been discarded for this purpose for being too small, too thin, too likely to wobble and let the bug free again) and brought him over to the table so I could update twitter.

The bug stayed still. I was not without empathy, after all if he *was* a bug from a tropical grape forest, who knows how long he had been in that clamshell full of grapes. Who knew how cold he was, or whether he could even see anything. My empathy stopped short, as he was still a creepy looking beetle. I am not a bug-phobe, obviously or I would have run outside and waited for Saint Aardvark to get home, but I do not much care for things with more than two legs. Especially if they are strange to me, and can fly, and also look like beetles.

Which really makes no sense; after all, a spider would be likely to bite, and a wasp would sting. A beetle just crackles along and sounds like it’s wearing tiny high heels and maybe it’s the resemblance to cockroaches. Maybe. I used to live in a cockroach infested apartment and I am not fond of beetles.

Anyway, I eventually garnered the courage to take the bug outside, where I placed the canvas on the stoop across the sidewalk from my patio and then removed the plastic container, as though I was a fancy waiter revealing a mouth-watering dish to a hotel guest ordering room service. The bug didn’t move. It was a great deal colder outside than inside, and that much colder than where those grapes had come from.

The bug just sat there, under the light. I knocked the canvas with the plastic container and he slid off, into the dirt.

Back inside, I drank a bit of rum. And then picked up Prisoner of Tehran again and went to bed.