Arachnophobia or just being a girl?

I don’t know about you guys but I love to self-diagnose via the Internet.

WebMD anyone?

If something goes wrong, whether it’s mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, or whether I simply need to know when Johnny Depp’s birthday is, the trusty World Wide Web is there at my service.

After today’s incident with the Spider From Hell, I am on the edge of declaring myself as an arachnophobe.

Hear me out.

Here I was, minding my own business at my desk at work, tra la la, and suddenly from behind my desk against the wall crawls a huge brown spider. This thing had a long body and creepy legs and caused me to choke at first sight. I really started to panic because I didn’t know if I could kill it with a paper towel because it was so big. (Because squishing them gives me the heebie jeebies.)

It crawled up towards the ceiling but then it started rappelling down on its silky strand things. I really started freaking out that it was going to decide to jump either on me or onto my desk, also known as the Forbidden Land, as far as it was concerned.

Practically putting a fist into my mouth to keep from screaming, I went down the hall and I asked a male coworker (who is very busy) if he could help me with a girl problem I was having. I said, “Are you afraid to kill a really big spider?”

Mercifully, he was so nice about it and happily obliged me. He came around the corner and said, “Whoa, that is a big one.” So I’m not being irrational. It was huge. It didn’t belong in an office, hovering over me and watching me with all of its eyes. And legs. And possible fangs.

In trying to smash it with my recycling bin, Big Scary Spider decided to do the equivalent of what would be committing suicide for us humans and simply let go of the wall and dropped back behind my desk. My coworker even went so far as to look for it with a flashlight but it had disappeared.

So far, it hasn’t reared its ugly head again.

Yet.

My weapons are Kleenex and a can of electronic duster spray. I know that from the movie Arachnophobia, they used fans to get the spiders to move where they wanted to, so my thought is, if it decides to pull a Terminator and comes back, I’ll be ready. I also don’t think I could keep myself from screaming for a second time should it rear its ugly head.

After I calmed down and I checked behind and under my desk no less than thirty times to make sure it wasn’t there, I decided to Google “common spiders Illinois.”

Big mistake. Big. Huge! (Sorry, channeling a little Pretty Woman there.)

I can’t even LOOK at the enlarged photos of spiders while trying to read about them. I start to shudder and get goosebumps. And, I forgot to mention this, but if I think about the spider long enough (especially if I were trying to eat), I could easily make myself throw up.

Then I decided to look up arachnophobia and while I’m not having a panic attack, I am still looking for it as I write this.

So what do you think? Am I just overreacting and being a total girl about this? Or do I qualify for my Arachnophobe Card? 

Daniel Stern's reaction is what I would do.

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Kringley, Jingley, Cookies and Trees, Gluttony, Family Gatherings and Obligatory Gifts: sounds like Christmas!

suicidal-snowman13Howdy and Happy Holidays, everyone!

It’s been awhile since I’ve written, I’m well aware. Thanksgiving brought with it the last four weeks of getting ready for Christmas; and let’s just say I’ve been figuring out how to make Christmas work this year (read: sleeping, worrying, stress eating, sleeping, watching mindless TV, total avoidance, etc). 2008 has brought many a fiscal disaster and while my finances are far from disastrous, it’s still a small feat to crunch the numbers to find out what I can afford in cash and what’s going on ye olde credit card.

Firstly, I’d like to give a huge shoutout to the Internet (or the “World Wide Web,” as a beloved professor once called it), simply for the miracle of online shopping. I would not have been able to keep calm about everything I had to buy without this fabulous tool. If I’d actually had to go out to multiple stores to find everything I need to buy, I would have given up on the holidays long ago. The only con to online shopping when one lives in New York City is figuring out where to send the boxes. I don’t have a doorman or an apartment that delivery folks have total access to at all times. So I am forced to send things to my office and bring large bags with me to work so I can haul everything home on the subway. Fun, huh?

But still, thanks to virtual shopping, I haven’t had to stand in a huge line to get photos printed, thanks to Shutterfly. That’s my digital print shop of choice. Amazon currently sells 99% of everything under the sun (anybody try that Kindle thing yet?). Short of buying pets on Amazon.com, I’m pretty sure one can find just about anything on there. I made my giant order and was able to carry on with my daily life whilst waiting for the gifts to arrive.

Usually I get stressed out about sending out holiday cards. I’ve actually managed to do the bulk of them but I still have pending cards to write. They’ll probably sit there until December 23. Nothing says Merry Christmas like getting a holiday card on January 3. There’s always one person’s address I don’t have and then the card ultimately doesn’t get sent out. But doing the whole post office thing in NYC is….somewhat traumatic. At no time during the year is the post office ever slow. The post office is kind of like the U.S. Senate – the locations do not go by population. There are a certain amount and that’s it. So take New York – we have 9 million people here. We have a post office for the respective zip codes like everywhere else. So every single post office I’ve ever visited, without exception, is packed, the lines extensive and people impatient. There is always one New York asshole who must stand in line to mutter and curse about the long wait. It’s S.O.P. In fact, let’s just say that if I go to a drugstore or post office without hearing muttering or cursing (and I’ve been known to do it), I wonder where I am. My world doesn’t look like this (if only!): christmas-poster1

You’d think I’m not a fan of Christmas, but I really really am. I adore Christmas and Christmastime. I love Christmas songs, I love all the baking people do, the lights and decorations, the smell of pine trees, stationery and Hallmark stores, “that Christmas feeling,” new holiday coffee flavors, and particular to New York, all the street vendors and the roasted nuts guy – all of it.  

Christmas is just best when you’re a kid, though. You have absolutely none of the worries and ALL of the expectation that when you wake up on Christmas morning, you can run down to the tree and rip open presents for three hours. It’s a divine experience that we take for granted when we’re kids. Now I know all the work it takes to get those presents under the tree on time, the Christmas ham or goose or whatever to come out perfectly, and how much MONEY it takes to really have that Hallmark holiday.

Why does wrapping presents give people diarrhea? If you don’t learn how to do it properly, you give gifts that look like a car ran over them or a 4 year-old taped together. Both of my parents are excellent gift wrappers. I learned from the best. My father is extremely thorough. He’s not just wrapping, he’s making a gift presentation with lots of curly ribbon and bows. He has a wrapping timetable so he can get it all done in time. I’m pretty sure my parents spent many a Christmas Eve wrapping presents until almost dawn – and then knock knock, it’s 6am and the kids are ready to rip! But seriously, I can attest to the fatigue that wrapping brings. I finished the first half of wrapping last night (not including packing things to ship – uuuuugh) and I just wanted to curl up right there in the wrapping paper remnants and go to sleep.

As a token to one of my favorite things, I’m going to attempt to present a link attached to this photo of the Screaming Banshee, an e-card on Hallmark. Let’s try it: banshee1

Click on that shit and enjoy the hell outta it. If that’s not an accurate depiction of prepping for the holidays, I don’t know what is. (Have your sound on!)

But through it all, corny as it is, the real gift is in the giving. I love the anticipation of waiting to see what goodies I managed to find. I’m gonna toot my own horn here because I am a very good gift giver. I could be a personal shopper, I think. Except then I’d have to deal with obnoxious clients. But I use my feminine, Zoe Intuition to really hone in on something thoughtful for the people I love. I hate having to resort to a gift certificate. It happens to the best of us, though. I love when people manage to find something really Zoe-esque that I treasure for years. Otherwise, I have been the recipient of MANY cheap and expensive bath products, because that’s the Fallback Gift that all women receive when someone doesn’t know what to get her. There probably isn’t a man in a relationship that hasn’t braved Bath & Body Works at the holidays, trying to figure out “Would she like this?” and getting an entire gift basket of “Pine cone cinnamon amethyst” or “Honeyglazed lily moonstones” products – you get the point.

Besides trying to get everything done before Christmas Eve hits (and let’s face it, December is the fastest month of the entire year), if you work in an office, you are surrounded by constant offerings of food and special treats. I know I am. Thus far this month we have had popcorn tins on each floor of the office, a holiday breakfast, lavish holiday party (coming up tomorrow night – right when NYC is supposed to be slammed with snow – woo!) and one of my bosses has received a multitude of treats, including chocolate peppermint bark, a huge basket of chocolate covered pretzels, Oreos (!!!!) and graham crackers, and a bunch of us had a holiday potluck of sorts, where we all brought something festive and exchanged recipes. (I brought seasoned pecans – a big hit, not gonna lie.) The other day, in the span of 12 hours, I was offered cookies from no less than three different people. Including myself, people’s away messages are all about “No more cookies – seriously.” It’s gluttony central.

So it’s the last full business week before the holidays. Christmas is ONE WEEK FROM TODAY. I have oodles left to do but thankfully putting up and decorating the tree isn’t one of them. I have no pets or children, so I can relax without wondering if I’m going to come home to a fallen tree in my apartment. By the time January 2nd is here, I’ll be ready to swear off cookies and treats….for a little while. But even I, with my famed sweet tooth, get sweeted out at this time of year. I offered someone a “chocolate covered something or other” and he emphatically said, “NO” and gave me a shoving hand gesture.

In a TOTAL act of randomness, I read in O Magazine about the popularity of the salty/sweet combination. A reader wrote in and said she made a batch of chocolate covered bacon. I’ve had chocolate covered potato chips (which were sinfully delicious) but never thought about chocolate covered bacon. What do you think? Would you try it? I can’t say I wouldn’t try it – my voracious love for salty/sweet is too strong.

I should take the time to ask if anybody likes Christmas but hates Christmas music. My roommate and I have had music playing and had a whole Christmas movie marathon of sorts when we did our tree. We watched National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Home Alone and Bad Santa. Three classics. But definitely on the list to watch are A Christmas Story, A Charlie Brown Christmas and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (animated OR live-action). I have a bunch of others but there’s only so much time to watch this stuff. I’m definitely in the cult fan club of A Christmas Story. I don’t get people who don’t get it. David, am I right?

In an attempt to put an end to this huge tangent about Christmas, I hope all of you have a fantastic holiday season, peaceful and bright, with at least one fun drunken moment (but without blacking out or puking) and a celebratory New Year. Just avoid getting in front of the camera at those holiday parties. I can attest that not all drunk photos come out great.

Merry merry!

chris_41