Cleanliness is…not all it’s cracked up to be

Since my dirty little secret was discovered by my Dad a couple of weeks ago, I’ll just come out and say it. The backseat of my car looks like a landfill. Okay, fine, if we’re being honest…my entire car looks like a landfill. So much random crap has somehow piled up, I don’t even know how it got there. My daughter gets about 10 letters a day from colleges and universities about available scholarships or why she should pick their institute. Toss it in the back. On top of that I get my own fair share of junk mail. Toss that in the back, too. Then, there’s leftover plastic and paper from the fast food we get all too often (who has time to cook these days?). What else is in the trash heap I call my car? Oh, empty plastic bottles. Lots of empty plastic bottles. We drink a lot of water and soda in that car.

Somehow, none of this stuff, not the mail nor the bags nor the bottles nor the balled-up napkins, seems to make it from my car to the place it belongs…the garbage can! So what ends up happening is whenever someone has to get into my car I have to apologize like an idiot and blurt out something dismissive like “Oh, ignore the mess!” as I sweep away enough of the debris so they can sit down without making a loud crunching sound. It’s bad enough when I have to shamefully clear space for a friend, but it’s even worse when a family member, like my aforementioned Dad, has to get into the car for some reason. My fear when he returned from his foray into the confines of my precariously overburdened vehicle was that he likely thought something along the lines of, “Is this what I’ve taught my daughter to be?” Why yes, Dad. This is me in all my glory.

It’s so bad I’m not even sure someone could ride in the backseat if they had to. Not without doing a massive cleanup effort first. At the very least I’d have to shove the mountain of refuse to the side and whoever’s unlucky enough to be stuck in the back would have to lean on the pile lest it consume them like a tidal wave if I take a turn too sharp.

Peppered throughout the mess are useful things, things I need. Things that just haven’t made it into the house yet but that I will eventually, most definitely need to use. Whenever I have to find one of these things I end up tossing litter over my shoulders while I swear up and down that tomorrow will be the day I finally get around to cleaning the car once and for all. It’s always tomorrow. And tomorrow never seems to come. The intention is there, it’s just the follow-through that’s lacking.

Recently, my daughter and I were driving to the sole convenience store in our rinky-dink little town. We were laughing because, just like every night after 8pm, the roads were pretty much deserted. It’s like the town rolls up the streets at dusk and a curfew goes into effect because nighttime is when the zombies come out — you know how they do. Oh, and in a complete and utter horror story mash-up, I must say that with the way this store is situated, when we leave and I look out across the parking lot to the other side of the main street, I fully expect to see Michael Myers standing there, under the street light, his hockey mask gleaming in the faded yellowish glow…or is that Jason over there? Why hello, Jason. Excuse me while I freak out a bit over here. That’s how creepy my town is after 8pm.

So anyway, on this particular night, after we were done in the store and getting back in the car, my daughter reminds me to look in the backseat just to make sure no zombies or axe murderers are hiding back there. Cause you never know. It’s always a good idea to look in the backseat. I mean, we’ve all seen the movies. We know how that ends.

Then I realized that even if a zombie or axe murderer or kidnapper wanted to hide in the back, they wouldn’t be able to hide. Too much junk! He’d be flailing around back there like a kid in a ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese, only noisier. At the very least, his presence would be quickly detected by the loud rustling, crinkling, and crunching from all of the discarded papers and plastic bottles. It would be very similar to the old Looney Tunes cartoons where all of the mousetraps or tacks are set out for the hapless victim…you just couldn’t miss one if you tried and hitting one would start a domino effect where you landed on another and another and another. It would give even the most stealthy of zombies away in a heartbeat…okay, well, ummm…maybe not a heartbeat since they’re zombies…but it would be pretty damn fast, let me tell you.

So, that’s the bright side I’m choosing to focus on. My car has its own handy-dandy alarm system that I installed myself one piece of junk mail at a time. It’s a rather cheap alarm, but damn if it’s not effective. And since the “trash” has been re-purposed as an anti-theft device, technically I’m also recycling at the same time. Go me!

Soooo…we’re clever, smart, frugal, AND most importantly – safe.  A win-win situation…unless you’re a zombie.

Fresh Faces

So, I went through the McDonald’s drive-thru for my daily dose of caffeine this morning. The same McDonald’s I always go to. Actually, the only McDonald’s in my small little town. I dislike this McDonald’s; I’ll get that out upfront. They cheat on the sodas by not filling up the cup (every single time), the orders are correct only half the time, and the people, well…the people leave a lot to be desired. Let’s just leave it at that. But hey, I don’t envy them their jobs whatsoever and I do feel for them having to work in the fast food field, so I never complain. But I’m not sure it’s the business in general that has them displaying not so polite tendencies or if it’s just this McDonald’s in particular…which does seem to have more than its fair share of burned-out employees. Either way, I try to be patient, which you all know is not my strong suit. That’s not to say that I don’t mutter to myself, in less than subtle terms, over their attitudes once I’ve left though. I am human after all.

However, this morning I was greeted by a bright, cheerful, polite, smiling, upbeat, and happy woman at the window. Coffee with whipped cream, ma’am? Here you go and I hope you have a wonderful day.  Take care!  

All I can say is, she must be new.

Hello Old Friend

Monday, oh Monday, I have to be honest with you. I dislike you. I dislike you very, very much. I’m sorry, it’s not me. It’s you. At least there is coffee to get me through. Ahhh…coffee – you hot, strong, sweet thing you. I love you so much, my dear coffee, that I’ll even forgive you for filling my head with such outrageous delusions of grandeur.



Surfin’ Safari

I’m in love with Africam! And no, this is not a promo for a service. I’m just overly excited because I’m a nerd.

I watch webcams on a site called  These webcams are set up at different South African game preserves (the kind that actually protect the animals from poaching and hunting — or so they say). These preserves are Tembe, Naledi, Idube, the Olifants River, and the Nkorho Pan; each protecting different kinds of the “big animals.”

I have to admit I’m hooked on these web-cams, and they’ve ignited a desire in me to go on a photo safari to these game preserves and see the magnificent animals there for myself, up close and personal.

I’ve been to zoos, of course, and even a couple of conservation sanctuaries. Most zoos today are a far cry from the tiny, dingy zoos of old where the poor animals, regardless of how big they were, had to exist in a cage that gave them just enough room to pace and that was it. Nowadays, zoos strive to give the animals substantial living space and protect their health as much as possible. However, they’re still not perfect and many if not most still have a long way to go before the whole concept of captive conservation can be considered truly successful and beneficial for the animals being held captive.

There’s simply no denying that actually seeing majestic lions, elegant leopards, lumbering elephants, and graceful giraffes – not to mention all the other wild animals – roaming about wild and free is a different kind of experience entirely. Even if it’s just on my computer screen.

I have to admit that I’ve yet to see “nature red in tooth and claw” during my voyeuristic endeavors. I haven’t seen a lion or leopard track down a beautiful antelope or giraffe and… well…eat it. For which I am eternally grateful, I must say. I live with that dread each time I log in, but so far, that part of nature has eluded me and I’m not sorry.  I did come on to a scene right after two lions, who apparently travel together, had done just that. I could see the blood on their mouths, manes, and feet as they lazed about, but at least I missed the action!

africam allows the user to take “snapshots” of the action – like this one of the two lions I mentioned


nap time after eating


getting a drink while his friend naps


there’s just no privacy anywhere anymore

What I really like to watch are the elephants. They are so huge, so magnificent, and so gentle with each other…although having said that there’s a baboon troupe that comes to this one watering hole all of the time (early morning Africa time) and the little ones are simply adorable to watch, so comical in their antics.

family trip to the watering hole


my favorite


I just love elephants

One thing that has me shaking my head most often is the sheer volume of noise. The birds – I’m assuming they are birds though sometimes it may be monkeys – are so incredibly loud!  When I have the volume up it drives my dogs crazy as they try figure out what could possibly be making those sounds.

The calls, from these birds, monkeys or whatever, can be so eerie sometimes, something out of a creepy movie. And then sometimes they’re quite funny because they sound like human laughter (which I guess really should be sort of creepy). Whatever is making the sounds, and why they are making them, I have no idea – whether they are having conversations with each other, warning of predators, warning other birds to stay away…all I know is that it’s always very, very loud. And they have a lot to say apparently as they’re constantly chattering.

One of the webcams is situated close to where people stay when on vacation, so when the camera pans around, you can see the lodges. They are pretty cool – and I like to imagine myself sometimes being in one of them myself.

But while I like this particular webcam for that reason, I also kind of dislike it for that reason because I want to see animals, not jeeps full of people leaving for their photo safaris.  (I know they are going off on a photo safari because I can see that they are all carrying cameras, not rifles!) The webcam can’t distinguish between animals and people – it’s activated by motion sensors and records everything, so you see it all whether you want to or not.

There’s a bit of techno-love here, I admit. Okay, more than a bit. I just find it amazing that I’m watching something on my computer that is actually happening a world away, while I’m relaxing cozily in bed. AND it involves animals. A win-win.