So the question of the day is this: Have I, in fact, lost my mind?
In exactly one month I will turn forty-one. Last year I celebrated my fortieth birthday by increasing my push-ups from thirty-nine (thirteen per set) to forty-two (fourteen per set): forty for my age, plus one for good luck and one for good measure. This year I wanted to raise the bar, but I was already far past forty-two total push-ups. So Emilie suggested I do forty-one in a row, and never mind the two extras. Like the lunatic I am, I agreed.
When the madness began, I was already up to somewhere around twenty per set. Meeting my goal would require me to add one additional push-up per set per workout. It wasn’t so bad at first, but as the days passed and the reps piled on, it got harder and harder. On Monday, my left triceps muscle detached at the elbow end somewhere in the third set of twenty-seven, and I began interrogating myself. Why am I doing this? I don’t have to do forty-one consecutive push-ups on my birthday or at any other time. I could be sprawled on a sofa right now, eating those so-called bonbons I hear spoken of so often in connection with stay-at-home moms. Eating them straight from the package. Why do I have to be such a nut?
I haven’t really given myself a satisfactory answer yet, but I know this: next year I am NOT tripling my push-up output in celebration of my forty-second.
In totally unrelated news, we were visited today by Ed Moses of Ed’s Dead Bug, and Ed’s assistant, who shall remain nameless as I didn’t catch his name. We have been having recurring problems with ants getting into the electronic gizmo of our well pump, wedging themselves between the contacts and perishing of electrocution, thereby clogging the contacts and causing the pump to shut down until I go out and scrub away their foul little anty-bodies with an old toothbrush. Also they have been hanging around the outdoor electric outlets in a disturbing manner. What strange attraction does electric current hold for them? I don’t know, but I do know we can’t have them messing up our wiring.
I led Ed and his assistant to the well pump, where fire-ants had built a mound directly under the electronics box. This mound is roughly the size of a North Dallas industrial park. Ed took one look and just laughed.
Ed has done work for us before, when we lived in a 750-square-foot rental house that was inundated with, well, ants. These ants didn’t foul up the well pump, though; they crawled into one’s bed at night and bit one, as well as getting into every bit of food in the kitchen that was not stored in the refrigerator. Ed, like many people in the Greater Luling Area, is my husband’s distant cousin. (We go to church with a married couple who are both Greg’s cousins, but on different sides; they are not cousins to each other.)
Preparatory to Ed’s work, we rounded up the outdoor cats—Tiger, Toofie, Jane, Chat, Roscoe, Viggo, and Dulcy—and stowed them indoors to keep them away from the insecticide. Tiger, the patriarch, had to be confined to a cat carrier to prevent him from spraying. Roscoe, his young buck of an adolescent son, teased his caged father so mercilessly that he, Roscoe, was finally moved to another room to give Tiger some peace. Tiger lay morosely in his prison for a time, his white front paws sticking out between the bars, until he decided to have a claustrophobic fit that made the carrier jump.
Tara barked like a mastiff when Ed and his assistant first arrived, then calmed down and followed Ed companionably from room to room as he sprayed. She wagged her cocked curl of a tail as if to say, “Whatcha doin’?”