The Norman Transcript

December 20, 2013

The unpleasant threesome


The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — According to unsubstantiated lore, bad things happen in threes.

Is this because when something bad happens our pessimist side rises like a vampire from its coffin compelled to hunt for more bad things? Let’s face it, if all you seek and hope to find are unpleasant things, then you will surely find them because bad things crave attention.

However, there are countless good things out there just waiting to be noticed. Some may be great and spectacular, but for the most part the good things are small sparklers that light up our lives. Therefore, one could probably say that good things come in threes as well. We just have to look for them with as much diligence as we do the bad things.

Some will say that “Bad things happen to good people because God knows they are capable of handling it.” or “Sometimes bad things happen for a reason.” Such platitudes are not what a person in pain wants to hear. In fact, if that is all you have to offer, please super glue your pie hole shut.

The big bad thing in my puny life started with the ice/sleet storm that kept so many people housebound or stranded in vehicles for countless hours. In the grand scheme of things and of the two aforementioned possibilities, housebound is the lesser of two evils, unless the Fates decided to pile on and your power was out for days as well. Whichever unfortunate crack you happened to fall into, eventually the roads became passable and we could leave our homes in relative safety, but everything was schmutzig (schmoo t see y g; German for dirty, grimy and filthy).

For some, the second or perhaps even third unhappy event may have included trees falling on their houses or cars, or both, or ice chunks crashing down on cars from nearby buildings when folks ventured out to shop.

My second bad event was painful hickeys, courtesy of fire ants that invaded my pantry and master bathroom. The hickeys popped up because unbeknownst to me, they jumped from the shelves to my neck. When that burning sensation got my attention, I performed the shrieking, stomping I don’t want a hickey dance.

Although fire ants are normally found in open spaces such as pastures, this pesky group found our home to their liking. When you open the pantry door and are greeted with frolicking fire ants on every shelf and inside containers you would never imagine such as Kosher salt, you must clear out the pantry and get rid of the ants. The latter was easier said than done.

Starting with the top shelf, every item was removed, checked, discarded and/or wiped down. On the first go-round with those Solenopsin (toxic alkaloid derived from piperidine venom) injecting critters, the shelves where cleaned and sprayed with orange oil, an environmentally safe product. When the ants returned with a vengeance (I think I even heard them laughing at me), I sprayed with House and Garden Raid. The third time, I wiped all the shelves with straight Clorox bleach. Of course, with each attempt to wipe out the critters my hands and arms were bitten.

The fourth time, I called in the big guns, the exterminator.

Just when things were starting to get back to what passes for normal, the third event happened. The dogs chased a skunk into our garage. El Stinko became irritated and sprayed the garage and our vehicles.

Driving to work in 20-degree weather with the windows open to air out eau de skunk was both a chilling and odiferous experience. Even after a week, I can still smell my car from five feet away in our company parking garage. I’m tempted to douse my Lexus Lite with gallons of tomato juice to get rid of the smell.

Whether the events which befall us are good, bad or indifferent, the best we can do is roll with the caresses and the punches. Eventually, it will all pass.

Elizabeth is a freelance writer and author. Her novels The Dionysus Connection & The Marathon Man are available on amazon.com. Visit her website: www.elizabethcowan.com.

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