Girlie Men, or If Things Get Really Tight, I Can do Squeegee Work at the Off Ramp

I’ve washed the same windows every day for two weeks. Except for today. Fool me 13 times, shame on you; fool me 14…

I keep thinking the work is done and I can clean up and call it good. Construction makes a lot of mess and every morning I’ve gotten up and said to myself, “Okay, I’m going to mop these floors and wash those doors one more time..” and then somebody shows up with a power saw to cut deck boards. Then the movers show up and shuffle in and out, in and out. Yesterday, while I tangled with Wachovia some more (yeesh! I’m trying to help Abby pay back an educational loan! They’re playing way too hard to get to complain about people who default) the paver guys came. This was to reset the original pavers that got moved out of the way of construction in the first place. Since there is now a surplus from where the new porch is I asked them to make a small circle for a little bird feeder/fountain area and then a walkway out of the extras. Hannibal, the Coopers Hawk, is looking on with keen interest and thinking this is timely good fortune as he gets ready to raise his family in our tree again this year. And I’m starting to think this was not the best combination of form and function.

Anyway, the Snarl was the one who pulled the pavers up in the first place. This was hard labor but she did it fast and efficiently and stacked them all neatly by the fence where they’ve been for the past five months. When these guys started to unstack them there were a few Palmetto bugs, aka giant cockroaches. I think these are the Florida state bug. In three years I haven’t seen one in the house; I think they prefer to be outdoors. You’ll be glad to know that, back at the Lincoln Park Zoo, where all creatures are designated, in part, by their survival status ranging from near extinction (‘EW’) to least concern (‘LC’), these sprightly insects have no need to worry. I don’t like them but as long as they are not in my space I’m not particularly anxious about them.

So these four big strong tan guys are here working away and I’m trying to get a blog post up and I hear this high pitched shrieking. I looked out and all four of them are hopping about in a circle and squealing. I went out to look for myself and it was this: a little Southern Ringneck Snake (Diadophis punctatus punctatus). Little. Diadophis_punctatus_punctatus_1a_tallaha
About 8 inches long and really pretty with a reddish-orange necklace and a red underbelly. She was fast moving and not pleased that her sanctuary was being disturbed. I snatched her up for a closer look and there was more squealing. Rich was happy to pose her for me. She is harmless, a friend to humans as she is perfectly willing to dine on roaches and quite a lovely addition to the natural order of things.

Not ten minutes later, I look out and see these girlie men engaged in this activity.
They have the biggest, loudest, sharpest masonry saw and one of them is using it to file the edges on a paver that another is holding in midair. Between his legs. Plus they are breathing in this fine brick dust without any face masks and they have no eye protection. (Those of us with just one that works are particularly concerned about eye protection. And sun hats to protect us from dangerous UV rays. Thanks to Bonnie and her remarks about knitting myself a bike helmet cover, my brother, the expert biker, called to suggest I wear a helmet over my wide brimmed hat. There’s a vision of aging gracefully.)

As always, it’s important to know your enemy. Rich boinked the cable right in the middle of 24 so we are still guessing at the myriad possibilities there.

If I do ever get the windows washed one last time and the plants in the ground and the porch together, I’ll take a picture of the done deal. Right now I’m going to wander about the neighborhood.

(I wrote this last night. Despite Ol’ Horsetail’s ceaseless efforts to eradicate butt crack, there’s way too much of it around here at the moment. This morning we have 4 paver guys, 2 crushed shell shoveling guys to work on the issue of grading away from the garage and the Irritation Man and his crew. That’s what we have started to call the guy who is correcting the irrigation system. Remember that I am trying very hard to have minimal irrigation here with xeriscape and native plants. The two lines that we are running will provide for some slightly more lush growth right by the house and water to our feeble fruit trees. The trees cost 29.00 each, the fruit they produce would cost 8.00 total to buy at the market and the irrigation work to run lines to water them is going to cost, oh, about 300.00. What’s wrong with this picture? Although now might be the time to start Tilapia farming

Rich is leaving for Chicago this afternoon for a few days and here is my plan: for the next 48 hours there will be no testosterone in sight here in Florida. None. I will clean up this dust one last time and plant my plants and hang my feeders- and then I have to race up to Chicago for a couple days to do zoo. So I will be posting from there come Sunday.)

24 responses to “Girlie Men, or If Things Get Really Tight, I Can do Squeegee Work at the Off Ramp

  1. What?!? No pictures of the movers?????#@#!~@#$#$%^& 🙂

  2. heh I wish there was video of those men screaming, that would have been classic.

  3. What a cute little snake! As long as it isn’t one with black, red, and yellow stripes; or is it black, yellow and red stripes… the coral snake… the snake was probably moving as fast in the opposite direction as the guys were.

    All that dust makes me thirsty….

    How often are you going to get back to Chicago? Going to the NFL championship game this weekend?

  4. That snake is darling. I don’t mind them small like that. Had it been larger, I would be squealing like a girly girl. Which would be in form, in my case. 😀

  5. I like snakes. Snakes like me. We’re a happy-*ow!*

    Do you have rain barrels? Out here we are all about the rain barrels. Unfortunately I rent so we don’t have any. I keep some Jones Soda on the back porch in case of earthquake.

  6. Dust…buttcrack…snakes…Palmetto bugs…noise. Sounds like you’re just having a wonderful time, Vicki.

    Chicago won’t be like that. No. Wind…snow….cold….zoo animals with cold noses.

    I am getting anxious about your porch. When it’s installed, gimme a picture of you sleeping with the fishies.

  7. HA! I love it when women aren’t afraid to handle snakes that make big strong men squeal.

    Good God, it sounds chaotic down there.

  8. Nice snake! And I knew I could count on you for quality contruction crew underwear shots too. 🙂

  9. “myriad possibilities there” is all I saw under the butt in shining armor. You’ll excuse me if I can’t get past that.

  10. St. Petersburg-ite wannabe...

    It is hard to belive those 4 guys were afraid of a tiny snake. Scheezh, you would think being outdoor workers they would be used to such things.
    I hope your trip to Chicago goes really well and you do not have to deal with any weather delays.
    Can’t wait to see photos of Rich’s space. You are fortunate to have a garage. Those are sometimes hard to come by in that area.
    Looking forward to zoo photos too. “:^)

  11. When we first build our swimming pool and it wasn’t screened in, those little ringnecks would get in for a swim. One day I looked over in the skimmer, and there must have been five or six of them.

    At first we got out of the pool–like they were going to hurt us or something–then finally just got back in.

    I hate to tell you this, but if you live in Florida, you will have a cockroach or two in your house, no matter how you try to avoid it. I heard a lady say that she had no bugs in her house. It just isn’t true, not true.

    They do conjure up all sorts of thoughts, though. Yuk! I personally like the little lizards that come in, but I hate it when they can’t find their way out and die and dry up.

    Then there;s the lovely tree frog that was jumping around in my bedroom one night, knocking things off the windowsill. I could go on and on, but I won’t bore you or take up the space.

    I do want to see it all when it’s all done.

  12. On a completely unrelated topic – if you are seriously considering moving to wordpress, there is a (mostly) painless way to do it. Email me if you want some more info… it looks like I’m going to be able to have my archives/comments moved over and I checked and they do “imports” from typepad, too.

  13. The palmetto bugs make me squeal just thinking about them. Let alone running into a nest of them in the pavers. They make the tiny snake bearable, but I have visions of it crawling…..nevermind.

  14. Nothin’ better than a bunch of butt-crack showing he-men squealing about a snake the size of a twizzler stick.

    I hate construction at my house. Dirt, dust, butt-cracks, not to mention IRRITATION.

  15. Agnes and her sister Doris Dei tell me that punctatus is Latin for spotted. Does your little Ringneck have polka dots somewhere?

    Pictures requested regarding you in your bonnet and helmet, please.

    On the testosterone front, Rick’s enthusiasm for sports and your workers remind me of one of our sons’ favorite family books: REAL MEN DO YOGA – 21 Star Athletes Reveal Their Secrets for Strength, Flexibility and Peak Performance – by John Capouya

    Ah, the joy of flex!

  16. P.S. Big Dave has an even more disturbing image than derriere-crack over at his place, by the way.

  17. I love the photo of the men working. You really capture the dust and their efforts. It’s quite a striking shot. It’ll be good to finally have all the dust settle, won’t it. I’m amazed that you are flying back to Chicago for the zoo. That’s impressive dedication.

  18. Gorgeous snake, Vicki.
    I can’t believe these guys work in that dust without masks or eye protection.
    There’s a point where macho fades into stupidity.

    Your neighborhood looks nice and quietly quaint.

  19. The house looks so wonderful! Okay – everything except for the snake…cursingmama can’t do snakes – not even the harmless garden variety.

  20. All those big guys afraid of that itty bitty snake? Yeesh. I can imagine how that much dust would make me crazy too.

  21. The weaker sex?
    Yeah, guys…bite my a**.

    I married a definitive non-manly man, and I do all the reptile/dead bird/poppy diaper handling around here.
    But he gets to smack all the big creepy bugs.

  22. I don’t know how I missed this one – but I’m going to have a talk with Bloglines!!

    I know the dust is frustrating for you. Did the girlymen scream when you picked up the snake? That must have been funny to watch!

  23. I would scream having to clean all that dust every day!

  24. As they laid our stone patio this summer I watched as you did in amazement. It was 90 plus degrees and humid. I watched them using that saw for two days without respirators. I finally went out with a hand full of dust masks. This Adonis smiled and explained that limestone dust wasn’t toxic. I realized it was hopeless. I then took out my mega-fan with an extension cord. They happily used it for two weeks. It destroyed the fan, but every time I heard that awful noise or looked out the window I felt this strange mother-henish satisfaction – way out of proportion to difference it made in their lives. Strange.

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