Wood-eating visitors

So yesterday for fosteronfilm‘s birthday, we had many guests over who abused our hospitality. And they’re still here! They’re small, six-legged, have ravenous appetites for wood pulp, and are uneducated on the nuances of etiquette and good manners, especially the “don’t eat your host’s house” one and also “don’t overstay your welcome.”

Yep, we have termites. We’d let our termite coverage slide during the year-o-poverty-and-unemployment, but now that we’ve got a regular income coming in again, we’re taking care of all those things we let lapse in order to minimize the amount of money hemorrhaging out of our savings. Renewing our termite coverage was high on our priority list and good thing too. Seems the little buggers haven’t done a huge amount of damage yet, only chewing through one baseboard (which is fortunately no longer on an outside wall, as it’s on the side of the house we built a sunroom on during more prosperous times.) But there is a hole there which we’ll need to see about calling a contractor in at some point to fix.

The exterminators are charging us $850 to evict our unwelcome visitors. *Gurgle* But, as a bonus, they’ll take care of our yellowjacket wasp nest for free.

Sigh. We’re sort of over a barrel on this one, so we gave them the go-ahead. We could get an estimate from another company, but we’ve had Terminix before, and they would charge comparable rates (if I recall correctly), and I wasn’t particularly impressed by them.

The creepy-crawlies here are bigger, meaner, and scarier than their brethren up north, one of the few things I dislike about living in the South.

   


Writing Stuff

Received:
- 201-day sale of “A Parade of Taylups” to Aberrant Dreams, my third to these fine folks. Woohoo!
- 254-day French reprint sale to Faeries of “Of Two Minds in Lanais” (which originally appeared in Brigham-Young’s Leading Edge in 2004). This is also my third sale to this excellent publication. Yay!

Stopping to smell the flowers

Went outside to feed the cat this morning* and was inundated by the most amazing scent–sweet and delicate and decidedly floral. It was like perfume, but not the bottled, artificial variety, more like perfume the way it’s supposed to smell. And I followed my nose until I came to this flower:


Sprouting from some unnamed and unknown ornamental horticulture specimen in our front yard.

It’s lovely, and it blossoms only briefly. Anyone know what it is? Pulled-back picture of a branch herein:

Beastie updates

Went out to feed the cat this morning, and I saw the teeniest, tiniest, adorablest snail latched onto the edge of her food dish, undoubtedly brought out by the deluge we had last night:


That’s my thumb on the left for size comparison.

I think the kitty knows I’m trying to get closer to her. She’s been visiting and chowing down on the food I set out during the wee hours of the night when I’m unlikely to be peering out the window. Getting a little anxious; I’m running out of leftover ferret food.

In other beastie-related news, Hobkin hasn’t sicked up in over a week, which makes me very, very happy.

   


Writing Stuff

I’ve hit the Eugie-overwhelmed, brain-useless-now stage of my research project, so I switched from poring over theory to writing up the applied sections. Making good progress. I’ve got three out of seven sections completed–give or take a citation or two. Hoping to have a couple more squared away by the end of this weekend.

Received:
- Preliminary sketch from Dragonfly Spirit for “A Patch of Jewels in the Sky.” I know it’s not industry practice to involve the writer in the art selection or development, so I don’t expect to be consulted, but I always really appreciate it when I am. Also, *squee!* I think it’s going to turn out to be quite spectacular.
- 91-day form “no” from Polphony. Sigh.

Pending Human/Present Cat Caller

dude_the is flying in for Frolicon tomorrow evening. Hurray! House cleaning must commenceth . . .

For the last few days we’ve had a four-legged caller, a petite, gray and white kitty, very pretty and very fluffy-looking. She’s been hanging out on our porch, lounging by our front step and bird watching among our holly trees. I managed to snap a picture of her through the window:

She’s a dainty thing. In the picture she looks rounder than she actually is. I don’t think she’s thin, just sleek, although I can’t be sure through her fur. I’m not seeing ribs, though, which is good, and her coat looks pretty healthy.

Behavior-wise, she’s not terribly skittish; when she saw me peering at her through the window, she approached–although, of course, there was still a wall between us. But when I opened the door, she bolted. I’m betting she’s someone’s outdoor cat and not a feral, but just in case, I’ve been putting food out for her. (We’ve got a bag of leftover dry ferret food that we never got around to giving away to a shelter.) She ate the first bowl of kibble I put out, but didn’t snarf down the second, so I don’t think she’s starving or anything like that. Although I do worry that she’ll get hit by a car as we’ve got a road by our house which gets fairly heavy traffic during the rush hours.

I’d like to be able to figure out whether she’s someone’s pet or if she’s feral, or perhaps if she’s someone’s ex-pet looking for a new home, but I’m not sure how to proceed. Obviously, we can’t adopt her if she’s in need of a home–between Hobkin and my cat allergies, that simply isn’t a tenable option–but we could get her to a vet, make sure she’s spayed/neutered, and make sure she’s properly looked after for the duration while we try to find a good home for her. I figured I’d keep putting food out for her and trying to get her to come to me so I can look her over better–see if she’s thin, has all her claws, determine whether “she” is actually a “he,” that sort of thing.

She’s a sweet-looking thing. I hope she doesn’t kill the birds who flit around our holly trees.

   


Writing Stuff

It’s my turn on a collab. story I’m doing with mtrimm1. I’ve never done a collaboration before. It’s exciting . . . and a little intimidating.

Received:
- Galley proofs for my two flash pieces, “The Wiggly People” and “Sins of the Mother,” for the Dark Cloud Press Thou Shalt Not anthology. The editor said he plans to send the finished product to the printers by early May. Rah!

New Words:
- 500 on a story for mroctober. This one’s going to be short, a one-scener. (*smacks muse* “You hear me? I said short!”)

Club 100 For Writers
      1 <--
500/day
      19

Should we build an ark?

The sky opened and poured the contents of several clouds on our corner of Georgia yesterday. If we had a basement instead of a slab foundation, I’m sure it’d be squishy in here. We actually wondered if the water level could possibly overtake our front porch and start coming in under the door. Fortunately, the deluge stopped before it got that high, but it was quite impressively flooded out there. We’re at a low end of our cul-de-sac, hill-wise. Not the lowest, that distinction belongs to our neighbor, but the water course goes through our backyard. During the worst of it, we had water depths that could be measured in feet, not inches–deep enough to drown a critter, surely. I hope all the wild beasties got to shelter on higher land.


Backyard flood!

Another flood pic

Blood, blood, and biters

The hospital vampires took their two vials. I’m quite fond of the main technician there. She’s both extremely pleasant and speedy proficient with the sticker. fosteronfilm and I had a discussion about needle technology. He thinks they’ve improved since he was a wee bairn, smaller needles with larger openings or something like that, because overall the blood letting procedure is much less painful and arduous than it used to be. I’m not so convinced that it’s the technology and not just a run of good techs. However, we are agreed that the little plastic collection thingy that allows them to switch vials without having to withdraw the needle is a lovely invention.

In other blood-related news, the vet called with Hobkin’s blood test results. He got a clean bill of health. Hurray! In fact, the vet said that Hobkin’s numbers were VERY good, not just “acceptable” but excellent. The only exception was his calcium levels which, while in the normal range, could stand to be higher. So, more cottage cheese and instant milk for our skunk. I’m just so delighted and relieved that his blood panel came out so well. More proof positive that omnivores thrive on a vegetarian diet.

In less good news, fosteronfilm went out to mow the lawn yesterday, and while he was doing some preliminary weeding, he disturbed a nest of fire ants. They nailed him four times on his hands before he could shake them off. Man, those buggers are vicious. So my hubby spent the next hour icing his bites and the evening in a Benadryl haze. Poor Matthew! And, of course, the lawn went another day without mowing. That’s something we didn’t have in Illinois, fire ants. Scary enough to make burly contract workers scream like little girls and go running pell mell away. In our first year here, we were ye verily puzzled at the behavior of these hairy, macho, grunting men we’d hired when they were constructing our sun room and encountered a fire ant hill. We thought, “It’s just some ants, sheesh” and mocked the big, burly contractors (behind their backs, of course, because we are neither insane nor foolhardy). Since then, we have come to understand the peril and menace which are fire ants. Fortunately, I haven’t been bitten, but considering how much more sensitive I am to insect venom, and how brutal fire ant bites are, I’m hoping to continue that trend. I’ve never been stung by wasp or bee either, so I have no idea whether I’m allergic.


Writing Stuff

Ooo! I received my contrib. copies, the contract, and invoice form for “All in My Mind” that was reprinted in Polish in Nowa Fantastyka. Yay! It’s strange receiving a contract after a story has been published, but it’s not like I’m about to make a fuss. I’m just pleased that I’m going to get paid. Not to mention that I now have copies of this story in a language I can’t read. How cool is that?

And another “ooo!” The Sword Review just published my reprint “Second Daughter.” This must be my week for reprint stuff.

Asian tiger mosquito attack!

Went out berry picking again yesterday. The last few days, fosteronfilm has been going without me because the mosquitoes don’t seem to like him as much, but he also mowed the lawn, and found a couple blackberry bushes we weren’t aware of before that were overflowing with ripe berries and wanted my help. He was out for over an hour, mowing and picking. No bites. I was out for five minutes and got half a dozen bites on my arms. (He sent me back inside after I spilled the berry box while slapping away an evil bloodsucker.) I am, apparently, a tasty treat.

After putting ice on the largest welts and having a shower, I looked up my bitey nemesis, as they were stripey and scary-looking. We have Asian tiger mosquitoes, a particularly aggressive species that bite during the day, rather than the more usual dusk and nighttime biters. Lucky us. They’re not strong fliers, staying within 100 yards of their birthing spot, and I know where they’re spawning–in the fetid koi pond the previous owner installed. I want to tear out that larvae-infested morass and fill it in. I liked having the turtle winter there, and I’m fond of the toads that occasionally go *plop* into it when we get too near, but the mosquitoes are horrible. I wish there was a way we could encourage dragonflies, which would eat the damn mosquitoes, but I haven’t seen any. I suspect the water is too stagnant for them. We’ve periodically emptied it, but as soon as it rains, it fills in again. Gah.

Until we get the thing excavated and filled, I’m putting some vegetable oil in the pond. Supposedly it will suffocate the mosquito larvae. And next year, we’re investing in some Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis. No point in doing it this year. Berry season is only for a few more weeks, at which point I can’t imagine me needing to go near that pond again this year. Might even install that bat house I’ve longed for. I want more natural mosquito predators.

We hatesss mosquitoessss. *itch*

Lizard watching: Anolis carolinensis

God, I love stormy mornings. The air is so soft and cool, and the dark skies are beautiful. I know it’d be crap to drive in, but sitting at home, gazing outside, it’s lovely.

I was making dinner last night when fosteronfilm called me over to the window with much excitement. I dropped what I was doing to discover we had a gorgeous little green lizard perched on one of the branches right outside the window overlooking our backyard. So I grabbed the camera and started clicking. Isn’t he fantastic?


After the camera-clicking frenzy (and dinner), I Googled him. He’s a Green Anole, Anolis carolinensis. He’s welcome to stick around and make our backyard his home, and so are any of his lizard friends.
Clickie for more pix of Mr. Lizard and one of Hobkin