Skink-a-do, Skink-a-don’t

There are little lizards all over the outside of our condo. Even a few baby ones on the inside! Eeek!

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Inflated neck skin and all! Adult Skink on our porch this morning

We have seen two baby skinks (that’s what we call them, IDK if that’s the scientific name) in the kitchen. There are so gosh darn cute, but not for inside cohabitation. We trap them under a cup and slide a piece of paper under the cup. Then we scoot them out the door. Then we burn the cup. (LOL JK) Did I say we? I meant, my husband. They are fast and squirrelly and lizard-y. Trap and release! No harm has come to these creatures except possible emotional trauma from being trapped by a screaming giant.

We see skinks every day here. They often inflate their neck skin like the weird little dragon dinos from Jurassic Park. Then they do a little hip-hop dance where they bob up and down. Pop and lockin’ like a dance troupe on America’s Got Talent. Go, Skink, Go, Skink, it’s ya birthday. Shiboy Skink-a-Freak!

I love these little critters, but the babies gotta stay with their mamas. They like to scurry in the space between our front door and screen, so we are on constant skink watch when we go out to the mezzanine. They change colors. They appear to be light, almost white and the older ones are sometimes black, sometimes dark greenish-brown.

Fascinating. I don’t get squeamish when I see them scamper about outside, but when the little ones wiggle in, I freak out! Housewife on the chair, like every Tom and Jerry episode with the 1950s lady in heels and an apron (WTF??! who’s doing laundry or dishes in heels??) in the kitchen or dining room, on top of some piece of furniture. “Get it, get it, get it!”

I saw a third baby skink try to wiggle in when a workman came to fix our bathroom. Thankfully, he caught him with his clipboard and scooted him out the door before he camped out underneath our sofa. Phew.

I tell you this–I’d take a baby skink over a dirty little field mouse any day! We had mice at our house in KC. NOPE! Mice are so gross. They poo and pee on everything. The world is their toilet! And buffet. I seriously considered burning the house to the ground and starting over when we had our mice problem. Gah!

I imagine the little baby skinks crawling all over us at night. Skitting in and out of our open mouths and ears. I know. It’s probably not happening. Probably. But haven’t you heard about how spiders like to sleep in your open, gaping, snoring, moistened mouth hole at night? Like the statistic about how many spiders you actually swallow during an entire year? Have you heard about that?? LOL

Please, Skinks, just don’t.

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Great Jorb!

If you ever watch Homestar Runner. Then you will know who Coach Z is. He has a thick Great White North accent. That’s what it sounds like to me. Anyway, he says, “Great jorb!” a lot, which is “great job” in Minnesotan. I assume that Coach Z likes a good hot dish. Tater Tot Casserole, anyone?

So, I’m looking for a great jorb. One that satisfies my passions, interests and mostly, outstanding bills. I would take just about anything at this point. I technically have a job, but it doesn’t start until October. There’s several weeks of unpaid training and I wouldn’t start making money until January. Sigh. It’s through a local tax service, so we’ll see. If I can find something before then, obviously I will take it. But jobs are scarce around here during the off-season. Off-season being June through late November. Not many tourists around.

During the on-season, you have to make as much money as you can to supplement those lean months. That’s what we’re learning from locals anyway. There’s stupid amounts of money to be made when the tourists are here. If we need extra jobs during the holidays, I’m okay with that if we can breathe easy during the summer. Whatever it takes.

So I’m currently up for 3 different jobs. One is through the school district. It’s a minimum wage job, but fairly easy with limited responsibilities. I would mainly take the job to get my foot in the door and benefits. Although, I don’t know if I qualify for benefits if I’m part-time. But to be in the district as an employee has advantages. I can at least start applying for better jobs and receive free testing for those better jobs. If you’re not an employee, you have to pay for testing.

The second job is at a local Escape Room. You pay someone to lock you in a room and you have to sleuth your way out. It’s a modern-day Agatha Christie novel and you solve puzzles to open the door. Locked-room mystery! Ever play that computer game, MYST from the 90s? Don’t, if you haven’t! But it’s kinda like that. Is there anyone who doesn’t know what Escape Room is? Let me Google that for you. LOL

I think that this job would actually be perfect for me, but the pay isn’t great. I would definitely take it. But if a job that pays more came along, I wouldn’t be able to turn it down. Maybe they’ll take me part-time? Don’t know.

The third job is freaking awesome, but it seems too good to be true. Photography assistant. Boy. I would love this. And the pay is awesome. They want someone with marketing, photography and Photoshop skills. That’s obviously me. I hope they like me, like my skills, actually want to pay me what they are advertising. I go for an interview Monday.

The job market down here is sketchy. People advertise positions, but sometimes never call you. People claim benefits and great pay, but don’t always deliver. Make appointments and then cancel. Say things in front of you like, “Oh yeah, there’s no state income tax so I could actually pay you less than what I just quoted you.” And then never call you back because they figured out mid-interview they could hire someone else for less money because they never published the pay rate in their shitty Craigslist ad. Some employers here are just downright crazyflakes! I’m hoping this guy is legit and not just another Florida nut.

It’s for a high-end automotive car dealership. The guy is nice, but down-to-business. He says what he’s thinking. That can be a blessing and a curse. I think it’s a good fit, but how can you ever know?? Wish me luck! I just need a job. 🙂

Losers

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I feel so bad! Sorry, Losers!

I was driving two weekends ago and one of my rides was from a bar. I don’t judge.

When the call came in, the lady said, “Can you come pick me up? I’m at Losers.”

Now. This bar was loud. She was drunk (thank you by the way for calling a cab!) and I *thought* she said Losers. I still don’t know this area very well. 🙂

“NO! Hoosiers!”

Sorry! Sorry! Sorry!

“Oh! Okay. I’ll be right there!”

I felt so bad. You’re not a loser, Ma’am. You just like to party.

Would you go to a bar named Losers?? A place you know you belong. LOL 😉

Owl Haven

I love our new apartment. Condo by the beach. Whatever you want to call it. I call it home.

The exterior is straight-up 70s with a fake, jagged flagstone walkway and mezzanine. (We call it the mezzie, lol) It’s sculpted or stamped cement with painted grout lines. This collection of condos has a horseshoe layout, but horseshoes are lucky, right? Brady Bunch styling, dirty-brown doors, flat roof with shingled, shallow gables. It looks like any roof from a 70s fast food eatery or miniature golf/arcade complex. But it’s surrounded by lush, well-kept palm trees and tropical flowers. Well-trimmed bushes and exotic vegetation. Rock garden with multiple pristine spiral-shaped shells. AND when you walk through that dirty-brown door? The entire interior has been remodeled. New carpet, new appliances, new vanities, new bathtub/shower. New ceiling fan. New granite countertop in the kitchen on top of??? The same old cabinets. Wah-wah. The cabinets are well-worn, but clean-ish. I can work on that. Who has dazzling cabinets? “Put your crap in and shut the door! Worry about it later…or not at all,” is what I tell myself. (Which is something I never tell myself!) Everything else is too beautiful to care. I am not complaining!! Plus, the beach. Sigh. I’m not going to be in my kitchen enough to care what the cabinets look like inside.

I love the old feel and design. New apartments don’t feel like a home. They feel like a big rectangle-ly box with lights. A space that you must carve out on your own. Some people love that. And I get it. But new apartments come with problems, too. Like badly installed plumbing and sinks. Like thermostats that tell YOU what the temperature should be. Like drunk people at the pool. Most Missourians that I’ve met assume Florida is one, big Margaritaville where everyone relaxes on the beach or at the pool with a lady cocktail, tiny umbrella skewering multiple citrus fruits and olives. They pretend to be Floridians by the pool, downing mas cervezas and burning their skin until they’re a dark-golden, fried Twinkie. They don’t do that here. At least on our beach. We go out after 4 pm. We wear sunscreen. We don’t drink on the beach. And we don’t have any tiny umbrellas. It’s usually just our little family of 3 on the beach. It’s nice. All to ourselves.

New apartments come with noisy neighbors. I haven’t heard one person make a peep here. Except a few workmen during the day downstairs. I’m sure it’s different during the busy season. But we have 6-8 months of peace.

At my old apartment, I had a rude upstairs neighbor who used to dance on my head. Dance is too graceful a term for what she did up there. It’s nice not having Twinkle Toes on top of me.

Our apartment building feels like a summer camp dorm on a lake. When all the campers have left. I feel like a kid again on vacation. I feel like I did when we stayed at the Owl Haven Motel in Stockton, MO.

The Owl Haven. Kitchenettes. Wood paneling. Outdoor pool! The Owl Haven still stands.

We stayed at The Owl Haven a few times. Once or twice as a kid, once when I was a bit older, a teen.

I loved it. It was one of the few times that my dad would venture on vacation. He usually had 4-6 weeks off during the year as he was a long-tenured diesel mechanic. He worked at the same company for 25 years. It was a hard job, but came with a few perks. One was a good amount of vacation time.

I think my dad loved fishing. He at least loved being near water. Maybe love is too strong a word for a man like my dad. He enjoyed it. As much as a man with 2 young, noisy kids could enjoy the logistics of making our way to the lake.

It was a 2-3 hour drive. Most Kansas Citians (and KC suburbians), at some point or another, make their way south to enjoy the lakes in Missouri. Truman, Bagnell Dam, Osage Beach, Ozarks, and Stockton. I never heard many kids talk about Stockton as their vacation retreat, but as I said, we went there more than once.

Beautiful. Serene. Not a lot of people. That’s what my dad liked. Not a lot of people. He liked having elbow room. At the dinner table and in life. We moved to 14 acres when I was 5 so Dad could have some elbow room.

He liked being outside, but he also liked A/C. He kept the air conditioner so low that all you had to do, if you were too hot in the summer, is run inside, lay your face down near the floor vent and let the air blow on your hair, teeth and eyeballs for about a minute. Good as new. And he kept the shades drawn most of the time. Our dark-wood paneling and drawn curtains made the inside look like…well, The Owl Haven! lol

The Owl Haven offered an outdoor pool. A coveted asset of the 70s and 80s. In-ground complete with a diving board and slide. For a south-Missouri motel to have such a delightful treat was mind boggling. How? Me want.

My mother allowed us to go to the pool if our older brother went with us. Can we go now?

Can we go now?

Mike?? Can we go now?

We finally went.

Within minutes of being in the pool. I threw up. In the pool. I don’t know why, but I did. It could have been because I just had lunch? It could have been because I usually swallowed a bunch of pool water on accident? It could have been because I was so excited and keyed up for swimming that I bubbled over? I don’t know.

I wasn’t the kind of kid who threw up. Quite the opposite. If it went down, it stayed down. Forever. A lot of food went down, too.

I hated throwing up. Still do. The awful feeling of knowing your insides are about to come outside. I fight it. I fight it for hours. But this urp came out of nowhere.

I just remember everyone being completely disgusted. Mainly because it was chunky. Sorry.

Mike made me sit out for a while. THAT was excruciating! I’m very near a pool and I can’t go in. What a living hell. Cool, clear water. Slide. Diving board. Water, pools and swimming were some of my favorite things. Especially water you could see through.

I didn’t so much like swimming in a pond. We had a pond at home. Turtles. Frogs. Spiders! One summer, our pond had hundreds of dead spiders curled up and floating on the surface. Very strange. But I still went swimming. That should tell you how much I like swimming. I swam with hundreds of dead spiders. Gah!

I eventually got back in the pool. Perhaps when my mom finally arrived. The cold water took her breath away when she dunked herself and her hair back. I thought she had hurt herself. No. Just cold.

“It’s cold??” I thought.

I never felt sick and I never threw up again that day. So strange.

My mom would make balonie sandwiches in the kitchenette. We would take a johnboat out for fishing on the lake. Smell of gas from an outboard motor on the water. Watching Dad steer the boat. Being quiet and watching the trees on the shoreline. It was peaceful. Fun. An adventure. And I feel like that all over again at our little Owl Haven.

Thank you, God, for such an opportunity. I’m so happy.

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There’s that fabled, gabled flat-top roof, but look at that sky! Sigh.