Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Of Ants and Elections

Did you ever have one of those days where there's a big master grandiose plan and you can just see how it's all going to fit together perfectly and then one tiny little stumble and the whole thing goes to hell in a handbasket? Welcome to my world.

So, today is election day in California. Nothing much big going on as far as the nation is concerned, but some important initiatives and local races, etc. I pride myself on always making it out to vote and that was the plan for today as well. I made arrangements with the spouse to take the kidlet to daycare this morning so I could vote on the way to work. Then, I'd pick the kidlet up and drive him home and spouse would vote on the way home.

Normally, I prepare in advance of an election so I know what the heck I'm voting for/against, but due to some circumstances in my personal life in the last few weeks, I've had zero bandwidth for anything other than sheer, daily survival. But, I say to myself, all is not lost. I'll sit down with the voter information booklet so kindly provided by the state of California (via my tax dollars at work) over breakfast the morning of the election and get myself all read up on the pros and cons of everything so I can make my decisions. Not perfect, but at least not voting blindly.

I went to sleep last night with this beautiful plan in my head. Nothing gives us OCD-perfectionist types more restful sleep than a well-thought-out, detailed plan. So, I slept well and everything moved forward on schedule through the alarm going off and showering and then I headed downstairs for breakfast with my sample ballot and info booklet in my hands...visions of scrambled eggs and English muffins dancing in my head.

And that's when the sh*t hit the fan.

You see, our kitchen was no longer a nice, safe place to eat and get informed. It was a battlefield...and the enemy had breached the gates. The enemy, of course, being the small black ants that are ubiquitous to homes in Southern California. They're tiny, but they descend en masse and are impossible to get rid of. The best you can hope for is a long-running stalemate with occasional incursions. And no, it doesn't matter how clean your house is. My mother has problems with these and it's a well-know fact that you can eat off her floors without any qualms. Plus, our cleaning guy was just here yesterday.

So, there I am in my nightgown, hair wet from the shower, holding my voting materials in one hand and surveying the disaster that my kitchen has become. The ants are everywhere. They are on every counter and chair. They are in the sink and the dishwasher. They are making looping patterns all over the kitchen floor, which, when I follow them, lead to the back door, then across the entire length of the living room carpet to our entry way and out the front door. This time, the little bastards aren't even in the walls of the house (an exterminator got rich off of us last summer making that bit of progress happen), but are coming in from outside by going under our front door.

I can't even find a clear spot of counter to put my voting materials down while I figure out how to begin waging battle. With a toddler and two birds in the house, I can't just begin randomly spraying ant poison everywhere. So, with the intention of at least stopping the immediate invasion and clearing some floor and counter space so we can have breakfast (although the thought of eating where all these ants have been made me slightly queasy), I grabbed a bottle of Simple Green and started spraying the disgusting critters and their entire trail.

I sprayed and sprayed and sprayed. Then I went up and interrupted the spouse's shower to alert him to the situation and request his presence on the battle lines post haste. Then I grabbed paper towels and began mopping up the dead ants floating in puddles of Simple Green. Yeah, I know. EWWWWWW! That was my reaction, too. At least you're only having to read about this.

The spouse arrived shortly thereafter whereupon a command disagreement was had as to whether it was better to vacuum up the entire floor (thus removing any remaining strays) or to mop the floor. I was winning up until the point where I stomped my foot and it accidentally came down in one of the as-yet-unmopped-up puddles of ant/SG solution.

Now, when bare foot meets wet wood floor, bad things happen. BAAAAAAAD things. To wit, I involuntarily did the Chinese splits for the first time since I quit dancing when I was 24. I'm now 40. For those who need help with the math, that's 14 years during which those muscles haven't been stretched to go that way (and they weren't too keen about doing it even back when they WERE in shape to assume that position).

So, now, I'm on the floor in my nightgown and two sensations are fighting for top billing in my brain: the pain from my twisted leg/hip/back and strained groin muscles vs. the increasing desire to throw up over the realization that dead ant/SG solution is soaking through my nightgown and I'm not wearing any underwear. Wait, was that TMI? It probably was. Forget I said anything. Besides, even if I had been wearing underwear, the solution would have soaked through it too and...oh man, I'm still talking about this.

Never mind.

The spouse's mouth is hanging open as he stares at me and finally pulls himself together long enough to ask the age-old dumb spouse question: "are you all right?" Errr...do I LOOK all right? What do you think, brainiac?

(And btw, I always thought "brainiac" was just an expression, but I learned today that there was a character (villain) in the Superman comics by that name and that character will be played on "Smallville" this season by none other than our beloved James Marsters (formerly Spike on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"). Go James!)

Now, where was I? Oh, right. Massive humiliation and grossness in my kitchen. So, the spouse picks me up because neither of us are sure my leg is going to take any weight yet. Fortunately, nothing seems permanently damaged, although I'm sure I'll be REALLY sore tomorrow. So, I limp off upstairs to change into a clean gown.

All of this has sucked up the time I was going to use to get prepped for the election. And, I still have to get breakfast, get my hair and makeup on and get dressed as well as get the kidlet up and fed. And then there is the giant trail of ants on the living room carpet and the entryway to be dealt with before either the spouse or I can leave for work.

It quickly becomes obvious that there's no way I'm going to make it to the polls before I have to go to work. And, I wouldn't have a clue what I was voting on anyway because I had no time to read up on the issues. And yeah, I know, I could've done it Monday night before I went to bed, but Brett Favre was instituting one of the most amazing comebacks of his career (especially considering the Packers were 0-3 going into that game) and yeah, I know, he missed the conversion on 4th down by 2 yards and they lost anyway, but I don't care. It was a beautiful thing to see him in action making up all those points and 2 point conversions and doing it all without a defense, a running back (Ahman Green having gone out earlier in the game with a knee boo-boo...wuss) or an offensive line. What a man!

No way I could make it all the way across town to my assigned polling place on my lunch hour so that's out. And the spouse is biking tonight so I have to pick up the kidlet and it's pretty hopeless trying to vote and keep an eye on a toddler at the same time. I'd be like "punch", "Ryan, come here", "punch", "Ryan, Mommy said come here", "punch", "Ryan, where are you? Ryan? RYAN!" Well, you get the idea. I'd probably end up voting for Mickey Mouse by accident.

So, the great wheels of democracy will just have to roll on without me this one time. And I'll have to trust you, my fellow citizens, to make wise choices in my absence.

Now, where's that can of Raid?


P.S. Yes, I know there was no book review last Friday. That's because I was still slogging my way through that Holly Lisle book which did finally get interesting on freakin' page 224. From there until the end, it was awesome. But skip the first 223 pages...blech!

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