Monday, June 16, 2008

a week in whitewater

I’ve just returned from a week in Kansas. I anticipated a very relaxing week, and parts of the week were great. But other parts? Terrifying!

I arrived at my grandma's house on Sunday night and hooked up the digital converter box I'd picked up at Wal-Mart. The house is close to Wichita, so I figured I'd pick up lots of channels. Not so. I got the NBC, ABC, FOX, and CW stations. The next morning, I also got the CBS channels (one regular and one weather) and MyNetworkTV, but very rarely could I get all the stations at once. With the digital signal, "fuzzy" stations don't come in--you either get it well or not at all. I'm thinking my parents, who don't live that close to any stations, are in trouble.

Grandma lives in a nursing home near her farm. She hasn't really felt like getting out much lately, so I hoped that I'd be able to convince her to go out some. She seemed really good on Monday, but she didn't want to go anywhere. I mentioned that I'd like to get some ice cream at Braum's, and I thought we could go on Tuesday. Then I called her Tuesday morning. She said she wasn't feeling well . . . and each morning for the rest of my trip was the same. On Thursday, we talked about going out for lunch on Friday. She actually sounded excited about it. Then Friday morning rolled around. I called her at 10, and she wondered if I would get there soon. I took this as a good sign. When I arrived, we kept talking about where we could go for lunch. But when it was actually time for lunch, she decided we should eat at the home. Can we say disgusting? We had chicken nuggets, mac & cheese, green beans, and yellow cake. The nuggets were edible but not good; the mac & cheese was mushy and fakey (and not in a good Kraft Mac-N-Cheese way—for some reason, I love that stuff!); the cake itself was fine, but the frosting tasted like Lemon Pledge; the green beans were the best part of the meal, and I generally wouldn’t choose to eat a green bean unless forced! (I should note that I used to work in dietary at this nursing home; I remember serving really good meals—perhaps this was just an off day!)

Now for the relaxing part of the week. I made a trip to Wichita to go to Borders (where I picked up the Singin’ In The Rain soundtrack and a tobyMac cd with a gift certificate) and meet up with a cousin. Once a year or so, she goes through her family’s closets and gives us a bunch of hand-me-downs. Pretty much all the Rittas have access to this stuff. None of the clothes work for me, but we do have the same size feet, and she buys some really cool shoes :-) I also made cookies and bread, played the piano, cross stitched, drank lots of coffee with Tiramisu CoffeeMate, and watched tons of What I Like About You. I brought lots of movies and a season of Lost, and What I Like About You is the only thing I watched. I started with season two, and it was like I just couldn’t stop! Season two? Check. Season three? Check. Season four? Check. Pathetic, I know! (For all you Full House fans—Scott Weinger, who played Steve, has a bit part in season four. Sadly, he has not aged well!) I taped the episodes a couple summers ago, just as the WB and UPN were about to form the CW. Remember the annoying CW song? If you don’t, count yourself lucky. “Get ready, ‘cause here we come!”

Besides relaxing, I also dealt with some fears—one that I knew about, and one that I didn’t. I’ve never been afraid of being alone at night before, but being out here by myself at night kind of freaked me out. No matter what time it was, I was OK if I was up doing something. But the second I’d try going to sleep, I’d hear noises and picture ways that a prowler might break in. Then I’d plot out ways to escape if someone did break in. It was pretty much terrible. Plus, I had to deal with that other fear . . .

SPIDERS! I’m so glad I never watched Arachnophobia. I saw about five minutes of it once, and that was enough to give me a nightmare. Last week, I was living that nightmare. Grandma’s house has had a spider problem for as long as I can remember. I can’t remember the problem being this bad, though. In the first 24 hours, I killed 3 spiders. It was all downhill from there. I think I’m becoming a little obsessed with this blog: I took pics of almost all the spiders so I could post them and you all could know how brave I am to have resided in the same house with them and, in most cases, killed them. The first spider was on the wall by the grandfather clock. I tried to kill it, but when I whacked at it, it jumped behind the clock. I think I hit it, but I don’t think it died. Then, I went back to the bedroom I was staying in, flipped on the light, and looked directly at the spider’s twin brother! This one, I did kill. And I switched rooms. The next spider (spider #2 in the slide show) was literally inches away from my foot. I glanced down from my cross-stitching, and there it was! (For reference, the little squares are 1-½ inches, and the big squares are 3 inches.) Then the last one. This was the creepiest one. On Friday, I vacuumed the entire house to get rid of all the bug carcasses. I started in the basement, which we’ve long considered “no man’s land” as the spider problem has always been worst down there. I opened the closet in the bedroom and saw this “little” guy. Now here’s where my sanity left me—I actually hollered, “STAY RIGHT THERE!” and sprinted upstairs to get my camera. You know what? The spider listened. But after I took the picture, I wasn’t sure what to do—what if I tried to hit it, missed, and it escaped? Fortunately, there was some spider spray in the basement, so I sprayed the living daylights out of the sucker! I also encountered two other nasty bugs—one was large, red, and cricketlike, and the other was gray and looked like a spider with cricket legs. Ewwwww!!! I also killed several wasps and little, black, fuzzy spiders outside. I am SOOOOOOOOOO thankful my apartment doesn’t have a spider problem!


  1. wow, where to begin?...
    a) i really need to get the converters!
    b) bummer about never getting to go anywhere. that would drive me crazy!
    c) i have a friend who purges her stuff frequently too, but the clothes never work for me either. i end up with purses and necklaces. :)
    d) TIRAMISU creamer?!? where have i been?!?
    e) i loved steve! i'm dying to see how bad he looks now!
    f) nice job w/ all the photos. i have so much admiration for you to deal with that! just seeing the pics grossed me out! good for you!

  2. d) The creamer is part of their limited edition Italian line. It's amazing.
    e) The pic on his imdb page is pretty good--not really representative of how he looked on the show.

  3. Ha, ha....You should come live with me for a while! We not only have random spiders here and there, mostly outside, thank goodness...but lots of other random bugs. Yesterday we were spraying flea/tick killer I got from the vet, and Paul moved some boxes that must have had cockroaches in them. We were chasing those things around and smashing them all afternoon! Yuck!


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