So, I bought a new printer.
It’s an HP Officejet 6110xi, and it’s really cool!
See, a few weeks ago, while printing out resumes (I’m still jobless!), I had a nasty paper jam, and in clearing it, I fubared the feeder roll on my old printer… while it would still print OK, you had to hand-feed each sheet of paper individually to get the old printer to accept it, and when it finally did, grudgingly, accept the sheet of paper, it would spitefully tear a tiny rip at the top of each and every sheet just to show me that it wasn’t happy. [sup]oooh! Long sentence![/sup]
Anyways, after much consultation, wailing, and gnashing of teeth, Astrogirl and I decided that we needed a new printer (and since we were at it, we decided to get an all-in-one printer, fax machine, copier and scanner… overkill, but we have had need of a fax machine recently, and I have wanted a scanner for a long time, so what the heck?). So we bought one. The previously mentioned HP Officejet 6110xi.
I brought it home. I installed it right away! By the time I had finished installing it last night, however, it was quite late. I printed out a test page to verify that it worked and went to bed.
Now (it currently being the next day), I am sitting here, admiring my new printer as it sits, slightly above eye-level, on the shelf over my Ikea desk. It looks cool! I want to relax and play with it. Copy some stuff, print out a porno picture or two, scan something… but I can’t. Relax, that is.
And I’ll tell ya why:
You see, the day before yesterday, Astrogirl decided to do some gardening. Outside our door, we have a small (very small)patio area surrounded by a chin-high fence (well, chin-high if you are, as I am, 6’4" tall…). In the patio, we have 3 fledgling Jade plants, 1 Aloe plant, and 10(!) Apple Mint plants (we started with 1 Apple Mint, but Astrogirl soon discovered the joys of cloning, and next thing I knew, there were 10. I think she was breeding an Unholy Apple Mint Army of the Night. I held an intervention: “Honey, you’re out of CONTROL!”). So she donned her gardening gloves, grabbed a pair of scissors, and spent the next few minutes happily snipping away out on the patio while I, err… I don’t recall what I was doing at the time. Probably surfing the SDMB. But I digress.
Anyways, there she was trimming away, when I suddenly heard, “AAAHHHHHHHHH!!!”.
Re-swallowing my heart, I said, “What??”
‘Heh,’ I thought, ‘Women and their silly vapors!’
I made my way to the patio, saying, “Pabo! (“Foolish one”, in Korean) It won’t hurt you!”
“It’s right there!” she said, breathlessly, “On the plant!”
Bending down to look more closely, I perceived some little arachnidy legs sticking out from beneath the lip of the plant pot in question.
“It won’t hurt you,” I said again, in my best grown-up-patiently-teaching-a-child voice, “poke it with the scissors and make it run away!”
So she did. Poke… Poke, Poke
The spider resisted for a moment but soon decided that it was beat, and made a break for the cover of the fence, scuttling rapidly across a strand of spider silk.
That’s when I got a good look at it.
“Holy flocking SNIT!!!” I said, or words to that effect, “Get away from there! That’s a black widow!”
I grabbed her by the back of her overalls and half dragged, half carried my beloved back several feet, overturning plastic chairs and Apple Mint plants in the process.
“Is it poisonous?” she asked.
“Hell yeah!” I said.
I then became aware of two things: 1) Someone was keening like a little girl in terror and hopping rapidly from foot to foot, and 2) that someone was ME! Oddly enough, there was still a part of my mind, that even in a blind panic, was doing a Crocodile Hunter voice-over “Crikey! Look how GORGEOUS!”
I calmed down. And quickly formed a plan.
As it happens, I know a bit about Black Widows. My father happens to hold a doctorate in Entomology, and I have, throughout my life, been exposed to rather more than my share of insects and arachnids… including, when I was about 12, holding in my hand several hundred baby Black Widows (when informed of what they were, I rapidly dropped them! Long story…). I mention this because my quickly-formed plan featured a can of Raid[sup]TM[/sup] bug spray that we had under the sink (left over from an insect problem Astrogirl and I had had several weeks before. Another long story… suffice it to say that we learned that we should take the garbage out more frequently than we had been taking it out before we had this little problem…).
Now, Black Widows, I happen to know, are rather resistant to most commercial pesticides. Resistant that is, not immune! A half a can of Raid[sup]TM[/sup] sprayed right into her eight buggy little eyes handily dispatched that spider!
Her corpse now resides in a plastic box on the kitchen counter. My wife wants to throw it away, but I’m having none of that! I have yet to decide whether to contact a taxidermist or simply mount her with a tack above my new printer (remember the new printer? This is a story about my new printer…).
ANYways, shortly after croaking the spider that had suddenly made our afternoon so interesting, I undertook a complete survey of the fence, plants, furniture, and various knick-knacks in, on, and surrounding our small patio. And discovered three more Black Widows! We were infested!
This called for serious action. Understand, please, that I have nothing against spiders in general, or Black Widows in particular, but it unnerves me to know that there are 3 or 4 of the little bastiges within arm’s reach of where I sit in the evening to have a pleasant smoke!
Off we went to the store for more bug spray. Specifically, after some quick research, I was looking for spray that used Permethrin or Pyrethrin as its active ingredient. While Raid[sup]TM[/sup] will kill them if directly applied in great quantity, I was (and remain) unsure whether smaller dosages will kill them or simply annoy them into seeking revenge.
On the way to the store, I realized something very profound about my wife. She was remarkably unflustered about her encounter with the Black Widow, even though she now realized how dangerous a bite could be… And this is a woman I have personally witnessed screaming and fleeing from a LAMB that tried to eat a potato chip from her hand in a petting zoo! After a few queries, I discovered that In Astrogirl’s mind, there is absolutely NO difference between an encounter with a Black Widow and an encounter with your average, everyday house spider! Whoa. Take a shot of tequila (or a bong hit. Whatever floats your personal boat) and contemplate THAT for a moment; I have. Whoa!
So, we purchased a couple of cans of Raid[sup]TM[/sup] (that being all the store had) and a box of room foggers.
When we got home, I dosed the patio area and fence very heavily, hopefully decimating the Black Widow population at least temporarily (all the ones that I knew of died… I saw them!).
But here’s the problem: the aforementioned patio is right outside our front door. The door that we habitually leave wide open, when we are home, to enjoy the lovely weather here in sunny yet spider infested San Diego.
HOW MANY BLACK WIDOWS CAME INSIDE AND ARE CURRENTLY CAVORTING AROUND BEHIND THE TV, UNDER THE COUCH, UNDER THE BED?? I don’t know.
The next day, I fogged the apartment after Astrogirl had gone to work for the day. I popped one can of room fogger, and retreated to the porch (yes, the same porch). Listening at the door, I heard the fogger run out… so I opened the door a crack and peeked inside. It was plenty foggy in there. But Black Widows are resistant to most commercial pesticides.
I debated a second, then, taking a huge gulp of fresh air, I darted inside (holding my breath), and popped a second can of fogger… exhibiting great manual dexterity, I managed to spray this one directly into my face (karma, I suppose… I had done the same thing to the poor spider that started all this, after all!). I ducked back out to the porch for a new breath of air, then went back in and scrubbed my face very quickly in the bathroom. And ran back out to the porch. Again, I heard the fogger run out… and peeked inside. WAY foggy now! Good.
Black Widows are resistant to most commercial pesticides.
BLOODY HELL! Damn my slight case of OCD, anyways! Another gasp of air… and back in to pop a third can of fogger. Back to the porch.
When the third can had finished spraying, I again peeked inside… EXTREMELY foggy in there. Very good.
Black Widows are resistant to most commercial pesticides.
DAMMIT! I hate my brain! (“But Astroboy,” you say, “you are creative, horrifically intelligent, and devastatingly funny! It must be a pleasure to live in your head!” It isn’t. Not always.)
I perused the label of the fourth, and last can of fogger, which I held in my hand as I stood on the porch. What I wanted to see was something like this: Got Black Widows? Two cans ougtta do it, and CERTAINLY three! No need for a fourth can at all. Nope. Instead, what I saw was this: This product contains a highly flammable ingredient. It may cause fire or explosion if not used properly. Follow the “Directions for Use” on this label very carefully. [sup]“Directions for use”? Huh. Who woulda thunk it?[/sup]
Christ in a sidecar! I’ve just turned my apartment into the Mother of All Urban Fuel/Air Explosives! :smack:
I reviewed quickly. Was there ANYTHING in the apartment that could conceivably cause a spark, thus blowing everything the wife and I own to smithereens and probably putting me in jail for criminal stupidity for the next 15-20 years?
Computers? Off… check. TV? Off… check. Hmmm… refrigerator? ON! CRAP!!
Should I run in and unplug the frig real quick? If I did so, would the unplugging cause a spark? Would I absorb a lethal dose of pesticide through my skin in the now London-thick fog of chemicals in there?
How the HELL do I get myself into these situations?
After much debate, and changing of mind back and forth, I simply left… went out and grabbed a sammich at a small restaurant nearby.
In the end, the apartment did not blow up. God truly does take care of the drunk, the mentally ill, and the abysmally stupid.
So anyways, Black Widows are resistant to most commercial pesticides. Which is why I can’t relax and play with my new printer.
As I sit here at the desk, I keep feeling little ticklings on my legs that my brain interprets as vengeful, sickened Black Widows coming to get me! :eek:
I bet I’ve checked under the desk for spiders a hundred times already today…