Cryogenic Pacifica

I mentioned the green anole lizard that inhabits my classroom in a prior post.  This lizard has been a pain in the neck, but I think it actually likes me now.  I really never thought reptiles had the capacity to “like” a person – but its eyes no longer look at me with contempt but relief.  I know, it sounds crazy, and maybe it’s all in my head, but whatever.

Anyway, it eats ONLY little feeder crickets (they are icky little things, they eat each other, they attempt to bite the lizard if you don’t feed them, and have no redeeming qualities aside from the fact that they think they are safe inside a paper towel roll, which I find somewhat endearing).  The drunk guy at the pet store has taught me so much more than I ever needed to know about crickets, meal worms, lizards, fish and the like that he should be a professor with a flask in his blazer.

So for the past week I’ve been meaning to drive the half hour round trip to get the dang crickets because nowhere else in that radius sells the dang things.  I gauge when to get the crickets by many things, but one major indicator is if the lizard shows any ribs at all.  I’ve been feeding him a lot, because I feel bad for him, so he’s actually got some meat on his bones.  I’m sure you care about the lizard, right?  LOL.  Keep in mind that I didn’t buy this lizard, I’d never buy a reptile, they deserve to be left in their native habitats.  If I get clearance in April, I may take him to the Carolinas and set him free.  He had a cell mate when I first started at the school.  However, the cell mate was very ill when I got there, and I couldn’t revive it no matter what I did.  I read that if they are sickly that they may come back around with some fruit baby food – whoever wrote that was not correct.  When I came in the next morning after following that advice, the sickly lizard was covered in bananas, and they had dried, and he/she couldn’t open his/her mouth.  Therefore I gave him/her a bath which caused the poor thing to literally have a heart attack (my theory) and the next day it was dead.

SO ANYWAY….I go get the crickets after work on Thursday after asking if anyone lives near the pet store and finding out no one does, and my boss saying she’d get some but she forgot…and I get home and the kids are hungry and the kitchen is a mess and my stomach hurts and laundry needs to be done…I forgot about the crickets in my car.  It got down to like 25 degrees that night.  I came out in the morning, saw the bag of crickets – and due to the fact that they were all feet up, I called myself every name in the book, $4.00 in crickets, dead because I am absent minded.

I am flying down the road trying to get to school on time, and I crank the heat, and decide I’m going to put the bag of crickets on the dashboard and hope for resurrection.  I laugh at myself for hoping this will occur.  As I pass motorists, they look twice at this huge plastic bag of 40 crickets on my dashboard.  It’s how I roll, yo.

Halfway to school, I see movement.  At least 10 of the crickets are hopping around, most likely asking each other what day it is, what year it is, if anyone got eaten in the night.  I’m amazed, and happy that I can feed the lizard something at least.  I get to school, grab the bag, and lo and behold, almost every one of those crickets is alive and jumping.  I kid you not.  So the Pacifica has cryogenic powers.  I knew I loved that car.

Mavis was a Germaphobe

I’ve been in the teaching field for over a decade.  I’ve had several illnesses, some as awful as meningitis (the non-lethal kind) as shocking as conjunctivitis (pink-eye – which recurs periodically), and several stomach bugs and colds of varying degrees.  Everyone knows that a preschool classroom is a germ camp, and I WAS spraying every square inch in Lysol (the generic kind because Lysol costs like $10 a can – what is it made out of, plutonium?!?) but I got a bit lazy I guess, and in the two days of laziness (actually more of a  hurry to get out of work), I’ve had two stomach bugs.  I just recovered from the first one fully last night.  Finally felt normal.  Then, early this afternoon, I smelled a horrendous smell in my classroom.  I have a green anole lizard, and I have to feed it crickets, so I keep them in a small aquarium.  I need to feed them and water them or else they will try to eat the lizard, and he won’t get any nutrients because they will be vacant vessels if not fed.  I figured it was them that smelled so I cleaned their enclosure and continued to bop about with the kids playing.  The smell had morphed into what seemed to be an evil cloud of decay, so I said, “Excuse me, but did someone poop?”  A boy front and center said, “Me did.”  This is not normal.  These kids are 3 and a half, they don’t just poop and play on.  I sent him to the bathroom and called for help – I asked the office to send someone to clean him up.  The person who they sent is honestly one of the most hilarious people I’ve ever met – so as she’s cleaning him I’m cracking up, as she’s loudly proclaiming:

“Lord Jesus, oh my lord!!”

“How did you get poop there?  I mean how DID you do it?  Did you use your hands?  Your feet?  It is up under and behind the toilet for goodness sakes!!”

“Oh Jesus, be with me, make the devil leave this room, Lord, I can’t breathe.  OH MY!”

“What have you eaten?  Was it evil?”

So his Mom comes to pick him up and I’ve used a whole can of generic Lysol and I can’t use enough hand sanitizer, I have the window open, and I don’t realize that my room controls the heat output so my neighbor room is cooking because the heat is compensating for the open window…anyway, the Mom is like, “So, how was he today, did he seem lethargic?”  I said, “Not really, no, he was fine, but there was poop everywhere.”  “This morning he seemed tired and not himself, but he said he wanted to come see you,” she says…(is she ignoring that there is POOP EVERYWHERE?).  “He has no shoes because he got poop on them, and he’s wearing someone else’s pants.”  “Was he good for you today?”  “Yes, he was good.”  As I’m driving off on my lunch break, I’m thinking to myself that the majority of these people must come from some netherworld where denial and oblivion reign supreme.  When I returned and told the woman who cleaned him up about my conversation with the mom, she said, “Did you tell her the boy was a FOUNTAIN OF POOP?!?”  LOL.  So I don’t know if it was the bug that he had but my stomach was a mess – maybe it was psychological – I don’t know – but I haven’t been right since – had 10 Cheezits for dinner and should have been in bed an hour ago but I hardly ever exercise good judgement when it comes to my health, so here I am.

Yesterday afternoon I asked the class if they wanted me to bring Mavis (the Mantis) in and put her in a glass case so they could observe her and she could avoid the snow and cold temperatures that were forecasted today.  I had 5 kids at that point, and 3 of them said yes, but 2 didn’t want me to.  This morning, I thought I’d take her in with me.  I went out, and she was gone.  I don’t blame her, poop fountains, booger eaters, butt sniffers abound.  Mavis had her threshold.  I wonder where she went, I wonder if a bird ate her, but I have to say I’m relieved not to feel guilty about her anymore.

Mavis the Mantis


I have a very large Praying Mantis I just named Mavis on my front door.  She has been there for a week now.  She is five inches long, apparently has a visual radius of 360 degrees, and has my whole family scared to use the front door or go on the front porch.

My mother, who has an uncanny knack for getting “in my head” has made me feel bad for the creature – made me consider bringing her inside and making her a little shoebox home – but my husband is firmly against such an idea.  He believes that we will look in there and she’ll be gone, and then we’ll wake up with her on our face.

Today, I was thinking that she hasn’t really appeared to have the strength to go for food and water, although she has changed her position several times.  I drenched a paper towel in water and put some pomegranate arils on it.  By the way, WTF is up with pomegranate arils?  I will never buy them again, they are the weirdest thing I’ve ever eaten.  I saw a coworker with a pomegranate the other day, and I’d never seen one before, so I asked her about it, and she said, “They’re too much work, you wouldn’t want to bother.”  Of course, when people make such assumptions, I must challenge them, so I bought the arils, which were what she seemed to be digging out.  Turns out she’s right, if the arils are all there is, then, no, I don’t want to bother.

Excited to see if she had eaten any of the arils, she’s the first thing I look for when pulling in the driveway.  What she appears to be doing is trying to get to the bugs that are circling the outside light, but she can’t get there.  She’s like a senile old lady, leaning back on her back legs and swooping at the air with her spiky front legs.  So, I go out there and I try to help her out – I push the cornstalks diagonally to give her a ramp to get to the bugs, and I nearly put my hand on an Ohio tarantula.  I hope she eats him.  Then I notice that she’s reacting to my movements even though her back is to me – so I see her little eyeballs are able to fully rotate.  I’ve looked into her face so many times over the past week – I think maybe these bugs are small versions of aliens – sent down to see if the planet is worth the trip.

When I was in grad school in Ithaca, I saw a male praying mantis in my driveway, and I got down to get a good look at him – he ATTACKED me – flew in my face and was like trying to  scratch me with his spikes – I’ll never forget that.  However, he was maybe 1/4 her size.  If she attacks me I’ll really freak out, like I may need to be sedated freak out.

My husband wants to toss her into the woods so I’ll stop obsessing over her and offering her food.  But thanks to my mom (in West Virginia) and my cousin (in Florida) I feel an obligation to this extra-terrestrial gigantic carnivorous insect that can apparently kill black widows and snakes.  Why she has chosen my front door as her roost I don’t know, but I’ll let those corn stalks sit there until Christmas because now I’m convinced they’re infested with big furry brown spiders.  They came from this weird roadside stand – the lady was so mean and bitter and rotten I wouldn’t be surprised if she threw an egg sac of tarantulas in them.

Anyway, I looked out there prior to bath time for my kids, and she had fallen into the paper towel but wanted nothing to do with the pomegranate arils.  She’s probably like what the heck are these things?!?  As I’m preparing to go to bed, she has roosted on a cornstalk, and I hope she’ll get herself dinner.  There is a dead fly in the dog’s water and I considered putting it with the arils, but then I’m like, “REALLY?!!”

Goodnight, Mavis.  If you’d like to vanish in the night and head for West Virginia, I’d be much obliged.