Thursday, June 24, 2010

If I see one more fly . . .

Is it just me or does it seem like we are being taken over by flies this summer? Are you noticing this? Has there been some sort of population boom? I mean, it's outta control. In fact, I think a family of flies actually tried to buy a house down the street. Seriously - they are EVERYWHERE right now . . . and they appear to travel in groups of a thousand.

I can't take it anymore.

We've been spending a lot of time outside by my mom's pool so she has invested in some fly swatters for us to have out, almost as decoration for the patio table. My sisters and my mom have become consumed with killing flies - with a fly blood lust, if you will - so it's nearly impossible to have a conversation with them anymore. You know - what with the fly massacre going on around me and all:

Me: So guess what happened to me today!
Erin: [looking at a fly on the table] What?
Tammy: [looking at a fly on a Coke can]
Mom: [looking at a fly on my arm]
Me: Well, I was driving home from work and this car swer-
Erin: DIE!!!!!!! [TWHAP!!] That's 7 for me. Sorry, Catchy - what happened? [looking at a new fly]
Me: Well, this car swerved in front of me and it almos-
Tammy: Come to mama . . . that's it . . . just a little closer . . . HA! SUCKER!! [THWAP!!] That's 8 for me now!
Erin: Whatever! That's only 7 for you!
Tammy: What??! That's 8 for me. I got the one on the plate, the one on the can, the one that fell off the table, the one that -
Erin: Oh yeah - forgot about the one that fell off the table. That was a good one.
Tammy: Sorry, Catch. So what happened with the car? [looking at a new fly]
Me: Well, it almost hit me and I had to swer- [THWAP!] OUCH!!!
Mom: Sorry - it was right there on your arm. I couldn't just let it get away . . .

I'm SO much more mature than they are.

Not only am I having to deal with constant interruptions in our conversations, I also have to hear my mom tell everyone about how gross flies are all the time. I mean, I already know that they're gross but my mom has made something of an art of telling people what flies do. And I'm talking the gory, blow-by-blow details that make your stomach turn. She knows way too much about flies.

See, my mom is one of the most curious people I know. And I mean “curious” as in inquisitive, not as in strange. If she hears something she doesn’t know, she will get on the computer to research it then read approximately 400 books on the subject until she is an expert on the topic. Then, regardless of whether you want her to, she will tell you all about.

Multiple times a month. For the rest of your life.

And that's how it is with the subject of flies. One night when she and my dad were newly married, they were lying in bed listening to the annoying buzzing of a fly overhead. My dad, unbothered, was drifting off to sleep but my mom was wide awake growing more and more irritated by the sound. She began swatting and cursing at the fly until my dad, now disturbed from his almost-slumber, said “Just go turn the bathroom light on and it will fly in there. Then you can close the bathroom door and leave it in there. And then we can get some sleep.” My mom thought he was crazy and told him so. But she also thought it was a worth a try so she did as my dad instructed: she got up and turned on the bathroom light and, sure enough, the fly flew right on in. She was dumbfounded. And totally intrigued. The next day, she was at the library when it opened (this was long before the days of Google) and she checked out every book about flies that she could find. Since that day, my mom has been an expert on the little suckers and loves to enlighten us with various facts about them whenever she can. The tidbit she most frequently shares with us is that when a fly lands on your food, it eats it and throws it back up. Right there on your food. She also likes to tell us that a fly’s legs are covered with a sticky substance that helps it grip onto flat surfaces and that, since flies are very frequently in dirty places like rotting animals and piles of dung, you never know what disgusting substance is rubbing off the fly’s legs onto your food. For 34 years, I’ve been subjected to conversations like this:

Me: [waving off a fly that just landed on my hamburger] Shoo! Stupid flies are everywhere. [picking up hamburger to take a bite]
Mom: [hand on her heart and look of horror on her face] You're gonna EAT that??
Me: Yeah.
Mom: You know what flies do when they land on your food, right?
Me: [Oh crap, here it comes. Maybe I can head it off . . .] Yeah - they throw up on it. [Quick - think of subject change . . .] Guess who I ran into yester—
Mom: No no. That’s not all. They take lots of little bites and immediately throw them back up. All over your food. Not just in one little spot.
Me: Well, I can just pick that part of the bun off so I won’t eat any fly throw up. [Change the subject, Catherine.] Guess wha-
Mom: [raising her eyebrows judgmentally] Well, I GUESS you could do that. But what if you don’t get the right spot?
Me: It was just on this part of the bun.
Mom: Did I ever tell you about their legs?
Me: Yep. [Quick - let her know that you know the story so she won’t tell it again . . .] They have that stuff on their legs that helps them grip onto flat surfaces.
Mom: Yes! They have sticky substance on their legs that helps them grip onto flat surfaces - it’s what helps them stay on the wall or the ceiling. You know, places like that. But think about where they land . . . Have I ever told you about THAT?
Me: Yeah - it’s gross. Dead animals, poop, nasty places. You’ve told me lots of times before . . . [She’s still gonna tell me, isn’t she?]
Mom: Exactly! They land on rotting animals, dung, dead people, sewage, trash, city dumps, biohazardous waste . . . You can’t even imagine! And then it comes and lands on YOUR hamburger.
Me: That’s pretty gross.
Mom: Have I ever told you about how I learned about all that?
Me: Yeah. You were in bed and heard a fly buzzing and dad told you to turn on the bathroom light and you did—
Mom: Yes! Isn’t that amazing?
Me: Yep! [She's gonna tell me the story again in 3 . . . 2 . . . ]
Mom: I was just laying there listening to the fly buzz around and I was getting SO frustrated. Then Dad told me that I should get up and turn the light on and . . .

So this huge increase in flies is really going to be a problem for me. I guess I'll just ha-


That's 10 for me tonight!


Unknown said...

They throw it up because they can't chew and swallow. They have to chew and throw up what they've chewed so they can then lick it up. They are gaaaross!

Emma said...

Once again all that is missing is a byline (sp ??)!! You need to have your own column somewhere....that was so funny, but it's the writing that always impresses!


Unknown said...

Catherine! I had like 20 plus flies one day and Tammy has NEVER been ahead of me! Seriously. Never.

Hilarious blog! I also laughed at mom's comment! She is still schoolin' you on flies catch!

Phyllis Eddings said...

I feel your pain, Catherine. While my mom is not such an avid researcher, (that task falls to me in my family) she does insist on making sure no one is ignorant of everything she knows.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

TOTALLY agree with the increase in flies this year. As a matter of fact I had an annoying fly in my car this morning. Several weeks ago I went outside to check on my dogs and there were probably 50- 100 flies all over my dog igloo and my poor dog. I was so grossed out. Everything was clean and there was no standing water around! I couldn't figure out why. They weren't any where else in my yard. I hosed it down with bug spray and brought the dogs in the house. Also, did your mother learn about how long flies live and how far they can fly? I mean, what are they chances they were just at a biohazardous site and then flew to your mom's house to get on your burger? I'm just saying.

Unknown said...

They can fly for miles girl! They only live a month or so but in that short time they can lay THOUSANDS of eggs. That plus the fact that they poop every 5 minutes or so means that it they land on my hamburger -I'm not eatin' it!

Anonymous said...

I think Nora once told me that if you left one male and one female fly in your house, sealed it, and came back in 30 days, your house would be FULL of flies...LITERALLY!!

Hayley said...

I've noticed the increase in flies too! We had a 40th anniversary party for my parents a few weeks back, and there were more flies than invited guests!