Monthly Archives: October 2013

Changing Places with The Chosen One

The Chosen One I live with turned into a liability. I was tainted by association with the human mosquito magnet. Whilst helping Jimmy to back the car onto the trailer hitch, I signaled two hand gestures back, one slap, three karate chops, one more back gesture, two windmills, a stop gesture and a clap. He’d no idea what to do so he gave up and laughed at me – not helpful. We changed places.

English: A female mosquito of the Culicidae fa...
English: A female mosquito of the Culicidae family (Culiseta longiareolata). Size: about 10mm length Location: Lisbon region, Portugal Türkçe: Culiseta longiareolata türü dişi bir sivrisinek. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The mosquitoes went into attack mode when they saw Jimmy which was quite funny until they followed me in to the driver’s seat. How did they know that was his side? They hummed all around the door seal ready to hop in with the driver, in this case me. The action of opening the door sucked the mosquitoes inside the car. They knew this would happen. It was part of their insidious plan. Jimmy was highly amused to see my gyrations inside the car – clapping and slapping, whirling round, twisting and stretching for that last mozzie just out of reach. He was lucky my foot didn’t slip off the brake or I would have run him down.

When I had decimated the mosquito population zinging round my head and Jimmy had hitched up the trailer I phoned him from inside the car, “Don’t get in the driver’s seat. There are dozens of them outside the driver’s window. Shake your jacket and jump in the passenger seat. I’ll drive to the trash cans. Maybe we can . . . .”

He’d hung up on me and was making a beeline for the passenger door.

“Shake your jacket. Shake it! Shake it!”

A dozen mosquitoes were on his back and I kept the doors locked. I didn’t want him dragging them into the car. “SHAKE YOUR BACK!” I shrieked through the glass not wanting to unlock the door for him as he gave me a wild imploring look.





He snapped off his jacket and I unlocked the door for him. He snatched the door open and leapt in. There were still hoards of mosquitoes outside “his” window on the driver’s side and none outside “mine” on the passenger side and no more in the car so between us we’d outwitted them. On the rear window behind the driver’s seat, two mosquitoes have been immortalized by the palm of my hand. I left them there as a warning to others that dare to cross my path.

Image231 (Photo credit: Edward the Bonobo)

We had been driven ever so slightly mad. As much as he hated to, Jimmy covered up as much as he could in hot weather, from cap to sock, and spritzed any exposed skin with his new Avon scent. We twitched and clapped spasmodically, trying to kill things that were just floaters in our peripheral vision. Dust motes were dealt with harshly. We slapped and stung ourselves and each other and pinged our hands on the windows of the car only to discover that the mosquitoes were outside. They flew off complacently and unharmed.

Jimmy scratched his bites. I scratched at the thought of them.

words are cheap

Nancy’s post kept resonating with me so I thought I would share it with my followers. The blogs I follow – travel, RV life, expat life, humor, photography, poetry, fiction writing or just life – are all original material, a product of the author’s mind, heart and soul, not the product of an internet search. Have a look at her post. See what you think. Let us know!

Poems for Boys (and Girls) Three Little Dogs

Dressing up for Dog-o-ween! It’s all the rage, don’t you know.

Three Little Dogs

Doggie number three looked so forlorn I felt I could read his mind so I have composed another poem. Edited version:

Three little dogs,

Dressed up for Halloween,

Two are very happy,

But the other one just feels stupid and wants to go home.

Three Little Dogs

He is The Chosen One

I live with a mosquito deterrent. He’s called Jimmy. They prefer his flesh.

English: Logo of Target, US-based retail chain
English: Logo of Target, US-based retail chain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If he’s not scratching he’s sleeping, and sometimes he does both at the same time. In the little free time he has, he smears on an oily Deet product intended for life in a tropical swamp, then complains that it doesn’t work when he finds a new welt. He’s not satisfied with the little bump most of us get from a mosquito but sports great white welts the size of a quarter centered nicely in an inflamed red patch two inches across. With a daub of red paint in the middle of each welt, he’d make an amusing advert for Target.

As a backup repellant he has discovered Avon Skin-So-Soft which has been proven to be effective against mosquitoes. He sprays himself liberally and ends up smelling like a girl. I find it rather attractive on him. Unfortunately so do the mosquitoes.

A Mosquito feeding on blood
A Mosquito feeding on blood (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These little blood suckers are strangely drawn to my husband. A happy family of eight people, three generations of them, sat outside their RV at the site next door to us drinking, relaxing, laughing, chatting with nary a flap of the hand. Jimmy was up to a count of 15 angry weals.

Mosquitoes have a regular diet of nectar and the juices of plants but the females need a blood banquet before they can develop eggs. Jimmy should feel proud that he is The Chosen One – vital to the reproductive process of the species. And the reason they like him so much is that he is hot. Mosquitos prefer hot skin.

We were in North Dakota, not a place we had previously associated with mosquitoes but should have twigged when the local diner advertised Mosquito free dining. After the vicious monsters had bitten himself on the bum through his trousers, I went on the hunt for products, any products, to help.

The local Wal-Mart had a vast array of choice: electric zappers, sprays, lotions, coils, candles, oils, special tablets to heat with a candle, power lanterns, towelettes, clip-on personal fans with refills (so one could walk around in permanent fog of mosquito deterrent) – all available in several different brands. They were displayed prominently in the hardware section, the garden center, an island display at the front of the store and in the grocery section.

There were dozens of choices and hundreds and hundreds of items for indoors and out. This was a town declaring war on mozzies. I plumped for a citronella oil burner meant to be used outdoors. It was so teeny I figured it wouldn’t do any harm if I burned it indoors. I was right. It didn’t even harm the mosquitoes.

Where were they coming from? Mosquitoes like standing water. We were camped in a dry field.

The Missouri in North Dakota, which was the fu...
The Missouri in North Dakota, which was the furthest upstream that French explorers managed on the river (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A sluggish, brown stretch of the Missouri River flowed two miles from the campsite. It wasn’t exactly standing still but was certainly damp. Was it their source? With their ability to smell a victim from 50 meters, perhaps Jimmy’s breath was so extraordinarily intoxicating, his skin so delicious and blood so hot and fortifying that the mighty mozzies overcame their limitations to fly up from the river against gale force winds – winds so strong they rocked the trailer – to feed on The Chosen One’s blood and perpetuate their kind – Mosquiticus jimmerei.

We-B Pumpkins!

Aren't we cute?

Aren’t the little ones cute?

You may be wondering how they built that huge pyramid of pumpkins in the background.

Building the pumpkin pyramid

Building the pumpkin pyramid one by one.

It took several days:

Another pumpkin on its way!

Another pumpkin on its way!

The finished display was amazing, complete with King and Queen!

The Pumpkin King and Queen

The Pumpkin King and Queen:

A handsome couple!
A handsome couple!

Oh Hush! They Wouldn’t Want to Live There!

Click pics to enlarge:

In Kalispell, Montana, near Glacier National Park, we met a couple escaping the summer heat of Texas so we used our usual conversational gambit on them.

Me, “We’re traveling around the country looking for the perfect place to live.”

Him, “You should move to Comanche, Texas. It’s cheap. It’s quiet.”

Her, “Now why would they want to live in Comanche?” This is the lady who lives there with the cheapskate.

Him, “A lot of retirees are moving there. There’s no income tax.”

Himself (a.k.a. Jimmy), “I like the first thing you said. It’s cheap.”

Him, “Yeah and property’s cheap, too. It’s quiet.” Yes, you said that already. “You’d love it there.” I’m not so sure. Vast tracts of Texas are quiet. That’s not necessarily a recommendation. Just lonely.

Her, “Oh hush. They wouldn’t want to live in Comanche.”

Now the obvious question at this point was why wouldn’t we want to live in Comanche? But they were in a hurry to get going. They were hitched up and ready to launch into Canada, so we’ll never know why they were divided on their opinion. Was it because she had admitted to being originally from Louisiana and we Americans never lose our devotion to our home state?

What is your home state or country?

Is it your favorite place?

Poems for Boys (and Girls) Afloat in a Boat

You may have seen this picture in yesterday’s post:

Pleasure boat on Crater Lake National Park

Due to full zoom and operator shake (can’t really blame the camera) the people in the boat are quite fuzzy. By enlarging the original picture and fudging a bit, I estimate there are about 24 people in the boat. To give you some perspective of the distance involved, look at this:

Pleasure boat on Crater Lake National Park

And this:

Pleasure boat on Crater Lake National Park

And this! The boat is just a little white dash in Crater Lake:

Pleasure boat on Crater Lake National Park

Have You Ever Met a Bear?

In Bend the skies were blue, the sun was shining and the mercury had risen. We were both suffering from heat exhaustion and migraines from the sun. I fear there will be no pleasing us as we discovered that local roads in Bend can be snowed in from mid-September to mid-June. That puts both ends of the temperature spectrum at an extreme for us. We have sadly crossed the attractive town of Bend off the list of possibilities of a perfect place to live and gone back to chasing after National Parks.

“We need to have another mishap . .”


“ . . so I’ve got something to write . .”


“ . . about.”

“No! No! No! No! We do not need anything else to happen to us. We’ve got enough to cope with as it is.” Jimmy’s leg had not improved even with physical therapy and daily exercise. He was annoyed with it and impatient for the nerves to heal.

“I can’t write, ‘We drove to Bend and that was nice. It was hot, but it would soon get cold. We went to Crater Lake National Park and it was very beautiful. Then we went to the Newbury National Volcanic Monument and saw the Big Obsidian Flow, which was quite something and then drove to the top of a lava butte.’ I don’t know how to make it interesting unless something goes wrong.”

“No-o-o-o! You’ll just have to think of something. Make something up.” I didn’t.

Whatever is his problem? We’ve only had a trailer tire catch on fire on the interstate, had a con man take a wheel off the trailer, got caught in a microburst, raced the floods in Palm Springs, hit a bollard on I95 ripping our awning off, were scared witless on the narrow lanes of the George Washington Bridge in NYC, took all the skin off our knuckles with “house”hold chores, deafened ourselves with the trailer alarm, narrowly missed being sliced in half when high winds brought down trees in a state park we’d just vacated, sprayed ourselves with sewage, nearly had my soul stolen by a creepy woman in Kentucky, risked losing a finger or two to a snapping turtle, played chicken with an alligator, got caught up in a Border Control incident, sat in the Keys waiting out a tornado watch and towed the trailer into San Francisco by mistake, got lost and ended up on the Golden Gate Bridge.

We moved on to Glacier National Park in Montana. Perhaps a black bear would step out in front us in the park. Now that would make riveting reading.

I’d like to meet a bear. We have a lot in common. According to the National Park Service website “Individual bears have their own personal space requirements, which vary depending on their mood. Each will react differently and its behavior can’t be predicted. All bears are dangerous and should be respected equally.” Gee, who does that sound like?

We did meet a bear. She did run in the road in front of us. Jimmy kept hold of my shirttail to keep me in the car so my photographic efforts amounted to a picture through the window of her rear-end as she dashed off in pursuit of her cubs. Ten people have died from bear attacks at Glacier in the last 100 years. Isn’t it sweet that himself doesn’t want me to be number 11?

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Here are few of our uh-oh moments:

There are more. Enough already!