Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Love Is In the Air … And I’m Furiously Squashing It

My Groom-A-Saurus Rex (GAR) wanted to get out of painting the exterior of our house so badly he “conveniently” threw out his back to avoid it. After spending all weekend lugging around 5-gallon cans of paint, rolling large sections of stucco, contorting and twisting around obstacles in our path, toppling over bushes, reaching up high (and bending down low) to access trim and, above all, sweating it out in the hot sun for hours on end, he somehow managed to twist or pop or pull or strain (or possibly all of the above) his back. And this is bad news for me because, frankly, there’s still a lot to do. About 75% actually. Because, even though 2 full days of work seems like a lot, it’s still a really big house. And in a nation where everyone wants to go big or go home – big SUVs, big paydays and Big Macs – this is one instance where having a house big enough to leave us with at least 3 superfluous rooms we almost never use is a bad thing … because, use it or not, that extra square footage still needs to be painted … inside and out.

The timing of GAR’s medical mishap is all too coincidental though considering that we had just embarked upon this project and, more importantly, he had promised me that he would work on painting it this week while he is between semesters and has lots of extra time … extra time that can now only be put to use sitting on the couch watching “Maury” and “Cheaters” (yes, these are his two favorite daytime television programs and he often calls me at work to tell me about paternity test results and confrontations gone awry). Nonetheless, he has some medically prescribed painkillers, along with a doctor’s note instructing him not to perform any manual labor for 2 weeks, to get him off the hook. Look at him – just lying there propped in awkward positions with stiff pillows as he yelps in pain every time a slight breeze hits him. What a lucky dog!

I know I sound insensitive, but you don’t understand what I’m facing out there alone. Not only is the heat brutal (as always I procrastinated long enough on this project to let the weather get to an unbearable point before I actually set out to make myself miserable doing it), but GAR spent most of this past weekend warning me about snakes he saw in our bushes (and he just happened to mention this fact to me while I was standing waist-deep in said bushes). Still, that’s not the part I hate the most.

You know that scene from “The Birds” where the birds descend upon Tippi Hedren, squawking and pecking relentless as she tries in vain to swat them away? Well that is exactly what it’s like when I step out my front door.

Except it’s not birds who are attacking me – it’s lovebugs. Thousands of them coming at me from all directions. They’re relentless, swarming and buzzing and, worst of all, no matter how much I attempt to push them away they just keep on coming at me. For those of you who have never lived in the Gulf Coast area, let me explain – lovebugs are small pests with a singular purpose: mating. You rarely, if ever, see a single lovebug in flight. No, they fly in pairs – attached and constantly copulating – so that they can produce more of their kind who will, naturally, do nothing but make sweet, sweet love to another lovebug their whole life long. Fortunately lovebug season lasts just a few weeks (though there can be 2-3 “seasons” of this per year including, if the past is any indicator, the week of our wedding), but during those weeks they make a serious impact on outdoor living in Orlando. They don’t cause harm, but they pester you non-stop, destroy the visibility on your windshield, spoil more than a few picnics and (granted I’m just assuming on this one) lead parents to have some difficult “the birds and the bees” (or “the bugs and the bugs”) conversations with their children. And they can’t be shooed away for anything (something more pressing like, I don’t know, continuous acts of ecstasy, seems to distract them from caring about us mere humans). They’ll land in droves on your car and no amount of smacking them with your handbag will force them to fly away (don’t I know it!)

And now, with GAR incapacitated, I have to face these beasts – and the snakes and the heat – all alone. But, so help me, if they keep getting in my way I will squish them. I’ll roll paint right over them if I have to. But don’t think me cruel for causing a crushed ending for these perpetual sweethearts because I do it out of love – love for my fiancé and my desire to keep his back safe so he can heal in comfort … which should be accomplished just in time for lovebug season to be over. How nice for him.

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