The Inherent Romance of a Hypothetical Near-Death Experience

(photo via 1000 Awesome Things)

I know I declared romance to be all but dead just last week, but I wanted to share a recent text exchange between myself and my spousal equivalent, XFE. I think it perfectly highlights how love (and concern for your partner’s welfare) can continue to bloom despite distance, bad dining choices, and self-inflicted injuries.

Sure, it’s not the passionate stuff we used to send each other 10 or so years ago, but just knowing I can inadvertently scare the bejesus out of XFE on a moment’s notice is it’s own kind of small thrill.

Let me set the scene: XFE was hundreds of miles away on a mid-week work trip in a town with limited dining options. I have made dinner for myself at home, courtesy of Blue Apron.

This fairly typical, totally normal text exchange illustrates a couple of things:

  • Fried sage is a lovely and tasty garnish, but deceptively dangerous.
  • I am prone to choking (true.)
  • XFE is a very tolerant boyfriend who is used to high drama and hyperbole.
  • Cats are horrible EMTs; ergo:
  • I will probably die at home alone from a freak choking incident only to be found by XFE days later with a cat nibbling on my toe. (My biggest fear).

XFE: Took the crew to Ruby Tuesday for dinner tonight.

Me: Nice. Did you get fries?

XFE: No, I am having a salad, fish tacos and ice t

Me: If you come home and I’m dead, it’s because I have a piece of fried sage lodged in my throat. On the left hand side. Just scratching and stuck.

Me: Thanks, Blue Apron.

XFE: Try some water.

XFE: R u going to be ok?

Me: It’s just annoying. I’m not coughing or choking or anything.

XFE: Well, the “I’m dead” might have indicated it could have been more serious.

Me: Sorry. It was really annoying.

XFE: Glad ur ok

Me: I think I’m gonna make it. Call off the 911. Petunia finally showed up to seek her dinner, so I feel like I’m in good hands.

XFE: Glad to hear HR has u covered.

Me: You know it. Whew.

Me: Also, I burned my thumb. Knew I shoulda ordered pizza.

XFE: Sorry to hear. R u ok?

Me: Yes, it was actually really good. Now I’m watching a documentary with Toons. Bye.

Totally Random Search Terms for November

Guess what time it is? Well, perhaps it is indeed Hammer Time, somewhere, say in like, an alternative universe where Aresenio Hall is still cool, Bill Cosby’s only major crime is wearing ugly sweaters, and baggy-crotched satiny pants are the thing. Oh wait. Those pants are actually back. Allegedly.

No, it’s time for Totally Random Search Terms that Brought Someone to thePoeLog this month! For those who don’t remember, here’s a couple of posts that explain it.

This month was particularly interesting for two reasons. 1) I got a ridiculous number of people who found the blog while trying to solve the mystery of My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding. Well, not the mystery of how that show exists, but rather, a murder mystery that was totally mentioned and glossed over on one of the episodes. Someone was beyond passionately curious about what had happened to gypsy Baby Pat’s baby sister. As far as I can tell, that episode isn’t in heavy rotation or anything, so I have no idea why so many people were looking for that information in November.

The other weird outlier falls into the category I call perverts. I, along with a lot of the Internet, I’m sure, get a lot of folks who – well, let’s just say, they’re not here to read about my excellent eggplant parmigiana. But this past month, there was someone/something looking diligently for any information/pictures of Indian women going to the bathroom. All kinds of “going to the bathroom” activities. But very specifically, Indian women. Or Indian aunties. Or Indian girls.

I just can’t. I don’t even. I can’t.

I can't even.

Anyway. That seems like an incredibly awkward transition to the work at hand here: a Q&A using a small sampling of Totally Random Search Terms that Brought Someone to thePoeLog in November.

What to pack for 18 day vacation? – First of all, that is awesome. I’m totally jealous. No idea where you’re going but an 18-day vacation sounds amazing. Unless you’re going to like, Stolipinova in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Apparently, that place is not very nice. And it is the home to a whole bunch of Romani, as in GYPSIES, which would make me kinda excited, but the whole rubbish-lined stinky streets thing does put me off. And the violence.

But back to your question. I have spent many a sleepless night fretting over what to pack for a trip, as you can see here, here and here. Hopefully, this post helped you out a bit as well.

My most recent strategy (and one I’ll use for my upcoming trip to Italy) has been to take everything I wore today, yesterday, and the day before, toss them in a suitcase, add toiletries, clean undies, and a blazer, and go. At least then I know I’m taking stuff I actually wear, instead of inspirational, Pinterest-inspired nonsense.

Are the American Pickers worried about hantavirus? – Ah yes, the hantavirus. I remember this threat from the Summer of Disease Outbreaks. The Wikipedia informs us:

Human infections of hantaviruses have almost entirely been linked to human contact with rodent excrement, but recent human-to-human transmission has been reported with the Andes virus in South America.

We still regularly watch American Pickers around these parts, and I have to agree: with all the disgusting foraging those guys do in really questionably conditions, they should indeed be worried about getting a disease carried by rodent excrement. They should also worry about collapsing piles of trash. That show, while enjoyable, gives me the heeby-jeebies. I can’t handle hoarders, even in the name of “collecting.” Makes me itchy.

Wikipedia also suggests some ways to prevent contact with the hantavirus. I find the last one particularly reassuring:

General prevention can be accomplished by disposing of rodent nests, sealing any cracks and holes in homes where mice or rats could get in, setting up traps, laying down poisons or using natural predators such as cats in the home.

Maybe the American Picker guys should bring a cat along on their trips. Kitty cats + foraging through junk = ratings gold.

Is Judge Loren Lake a little person? – First of all, it’s Lauren Lake. Not Loren. Second, hmmm, that’s kinda rude, dontcha think? I agree completely with calling into question her experience and qualifications as a judge, but I don’t know why her stature is under question.

Although, she does look a bit shrunken behind that ginormous “Paternity Court” bench.

Judge Lauren Lake on Paternity Court

Best Vegas hotel bathrooms. – I have spent a lot of time in many Vegas hotel bathrooms. Wait. That sounds weird.

I’ve stayed in a fair number of Vegas hotels, and many of them had very nice bathrooms. I have not, however, stayed at every hotel, so I don’t know if I can be considered an authority on them.

Of the one’s I have enjoyed, I’d probably pick the Cosmopolitan, which I think definitely had the best hotel bathrobe I’ve ever experienced. I also really liked the lady silhouette wallpaper in the separate toilet area. Very chic. Oh, and the Venetian. That bathroom was amazing. And I haven’t written about it, but the Wynn had gorgeous bathrooms as well, if memory serves.

Luckily, there are other folks who have waded through the Strip powder rooms and come up with lists. I especially like this one from My favorite in his list is the Ivory Tower Suite bathroom at the Palms. I. Die.

Palms bathroom Las

Things to put on Facebook. – Well, if my feed is any indication, what people choose to put on Facebook are their idiotic rants about politics, race in America, immigration and guns, along with pictures of the same sunsets we all saw on our way home that day, and children in apple orchards/pumpkin patches/Christmas tree farms and the family pets. The truly surprising part is that it’s the exact same group of people posting in both of those categories. Sunsets and race in America. Same person. Weird.

You know, the first rule in writing is to know your audience. There’s no easier place to know your audience than on Facebook. They’re your family and friends. You should have a pretty good idea of their tolerance level for political rants and/or cutesy stuff. But at the end of the day, Facebook is social, so be social. Whatever that means to you. For most people, it means, don’t be annoying or provoke people into fighting with you. That’s not “social.”

And, we’re all adults. If we’re fed up with your “prescription for what’s wrong with America,” we’ll unfriend or block your posts. No biggie. I do it all the time.

So post whatever you want. Maybe even some nonsense on Indian women pooping in Vegas bathrooms while on an 18-day vacation.

I Hear the Dengue Fever is Hot for Spring 2013

Like K-Stew and R-Patt’s relationship, bubonic plague is back y’all!

Yeah, I’d want her back too. I mean, she looks just awesome.

*Can we please take a moment to thank the US Weekly editor/gods that we’ve all made it past that time of national crisis?

I’m talking about the Twi-Breakup, obviously. Not the bubonic plague. That appears to be here to stay. Like Lindsay Lohan and drunk driving. Or, Amanda Bynes and drunk driving. Or Miley Cyrus and really weird fashion choices (what is all over her fingers?).

What I’m saying is….what was I saying? Oh yes. Bubonic plague.

Hot on the oxblood heels of the various Fashion Weeks around the world, the bubonic plague is back in style. Long thought to be just some bad fad from Middle Ages Europe (hello, kirtles!), the Black Death is staging a full comeback.

The latest trendsetter? Some lady in Oregon who got it from giving mouth-to-mouth to a cat choking on a mouse.

Hold. Up. Say what?

A woman who tried to help her friend save the life of a choking cat also contracted the plague from the disease-stricken feline over the summer.

The woman was bitten at the same time as Paul Gaylord, who made national headlines when he almost died from a version of the infection that killed millions in the Middle Ages.

The two had found a stray cat in distress, choking on a mouse. They were bitten when they tried unsuccessfully to help the animal.

This to me is TERRIFYING. I have an extremely soft heart when it comes to animals and a very meddling type of personality, so if I saw a kitty cat in trouble, I would, of course, try to go to its’ aid. Not sure I’d be willing to do mouth-to-mouth though. Especially if there had just been a dead mouse in that mouth. Might have to draw the line there.

Then I heard this morning about some seven-year-old little girl who was being released from the hospital after catching the bubonic plague from playing with a dead squirrel. Well, she wasn’t really playing with it so much as trying to bury it, which is really quite cute, but also? Very creepy. Quit playing with dead animals, Wednesday Addams.

ABC News reports that Sierra Jane Downing put down her sweatshirt next to a dead squirrel Aug.19 in Pagosa Springs. Five days later, she was running a high fever — up to 107 degrees — throwing up and having a seizure.

The girl was flown to Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children in Denver, where Dr. Jennifer Snow ran blood tests on Sierra Jane and learned that she had been in close contact with the squirrel, mouse droppings and a dead skunk, ABC reports.

Wow. What the heck, parents? Ever try a coloring book or a Nintendo or something? I’m not one to give out parenting advice here, but you might want to keep a closer eye on your kid.

The Deseret News reported on the plague outbreaks and even called this the Summer of Disease Outbreaks.

They also alerted me to the fact that there have been six reported cases of people catching some hantavirus at Yosemite National Park. I don’t even know what that is, but based on the World Health Organization’s very helpful advice to avoid rodents and their droppings, I can hazard a guess. (Oh, and don’t worry WHO. I will definitely avoid those two things from now on.)

I will also avoid all other animals for the next several months as we slog through the Fall of Doom and Death.

Silence of the Cat Lambs

My precious little angel face is sick. No, not XFE. Our cat, Petunia.

That’s not really a good angle for her.

(OK, so you’ve been warned: this post is all about me whining about my sick cat. I get that this is not for everyone. If this isn’t your cup of crazy-cat-lady tea, you can skip this. We’ll still be friends tomorrow.)

I know this makes me an incredibly bad cat parent, but I had not taken Petunia to a vet in about 10 years. I took her to the vet at six weeks old, after I had found her under a car meowing her little head off. They cleaned her up, gave her some shots, and sent me on my way. I took her back for her boosters a couple of times, and, of course, took her to get spayed. But that’s been pretty much it.

I always figured she’s a completely indoor cat, with no exposure to any other animals, no parasites, no weird plants. She eats a diet consisting solely of dried cat food – I never give her people food or wet food or milk or anything other than the same dry food I’ve been shoveling into her bowl twice a day for the last 10 years.

That’s better.

And, for the last 10 years, she’s been completely healthy. She’s playful and frisky, she always, ALWAYS uses her litter box (no matter how negligent I’ve been on the cleaning front. She literally has never gone to the bathroom anywhere else), and hardly ever even meows. Her teeth are clean and in good shape, and other than being a bit chubby (ok, a lot), she’s healthy.

Continue reading Silence of the Cat Lambs

Dentists and Doctors and Splinters and Such

At the risk of drawing criticism for “whining about things you could change,” or whatever (still cracks me up), yesterday was quite the medically trying day.

It started with minor (and highly unsuccessful) self-surgery yesterday morning. Actually, it started the night before. At some point in the evening, I noticed that there was a very tender spot somewhere on the ball/runner’s callus of my left foot every time I took a step. After self-examination, I didn’t see anything amiss, so I carried on, hobbling around the house and avoiding putting any pressure on my mysteriously sore foot.

Yesterday morning, SHOCKINGLY, the pain was still there. Looking at my foot under the bright sunlight streaming in through the bathroom window, I convinced myself I could see a teeny-tiny-miniscule dark dot. “AHA!” I told myself, and only myself since Petunia was still lolling around in bed. “I must have a splinter!”

But my personal nurse/splinter-removal expert XFE was in Las Vegas where he was winning butt-tons of money at Pai Gow.

I don’t want to define butt-tons on a public (and supremely popular – I mean, I have TENS of readers) blog, so email me directly for full gloating. Let’s just say it was more than some Turkish rugs, but less than others.

So, that left me to my own Florence Nightingale devices. (Dang, she looks a bit tired, no? Maybe she had to remove her own splinters?)

Continue reading Dentists and Doctors and Splinters and Such

Commercials To Set Your DVR To, and Keep You Up at Night Fretting Over Gout

Finally the major work project we’ve all been busting our collective behinds on is over. Well, can any major project really ever be over? Let me assure you the answer is no. However, the largest and most immediate deadline has passed.

I can now get back to keeping on the lookout for new, bad reality programming.

It was while pursuing this hobby the other night that I saw the most amazing commercial, obviously intended to put me in full, hypochondria panic mode.

I was watching Discovery Channel, which, by the way, has some major intriguing reality shows coming up. I mean, what is one to make of this gem?

It’s like a cross between two of my favorite shows: “Gold Rush” and “Deadliest Catch.” Which I’m pretty sure is basically how the pitch for “Bering Sea Gold” went.

Anyway, if the commercial is accurate (and I mean, come on! It’s television! Of course it’s accurate) these Bering Sea gold miners are an exceedingly tough crew. One of them says he’s involved in such a dangerous occupation because he’s got to pay the bills. Fair enough. But then he says that he has the kind of bills that you go to jail if you don’t pay!

(I’m thinking child support, although my personal experiences in the child support system suggest that paying it is really only a suggestion and nothing bad will happen to you if you choose to ignore the obligation. You certainly don’t go to jail over it, in my own experience. Right, deadbeat dads out there? High five for being losers).

So, these undersea gold prospectors seem kinda tough. I think I even saw one eating nails or something. I don’t suspect they’ll be bumbling around hoping to stumble on some gold like the clueless crew over on Gold Rush. No, I think these guys have got this stuff figured out.

I can’t even wrap my head around the concept of looking for gold deep underwater in an ocean (alright, a “sea”) that’s incredibly, incredibly cold. There are just so many easier ways to pay bills that get you thrown in jail if you forget to pay them. Like, working at Starbucks, just as an example. Who even looked out on the Bering Sea and said, “Yep, I bet there’s a ton of gold out there. Let’s go get that.”

Yes, I will probably be watching this one.

What was I saying? Oh yes, the panic-inducing commercial. Well, I mean the other panic inducing commercial, not the dying-in-frigid-seas-because-I-have-to-avoid-jail commercial. I’ll get to that other commercial in a minute.

But first, before I forget, I have got to tell you about another show coming on the History Channel and this one is completely shrouded in mystery for me. It’s a commercial for a show called “Full Metal Jousting.”

Now, obviously, the incredibly success of NatGeo’s “Knights of Mayhem” has every cable channel scrambling to rip off that money-making formula (are you sensing the sarcasm here?) And this is History’s offering.

The commercial is very intriguing and manly – just a black screen with the logo and some swishing metal blades noises. However, after my last foray into the world of watching competitive jousting, I think I’ll skip it. But I thought it was interesting to note this new “trend” in cable TV formatting. And, if I know my reality TV clichés, the next iteration of this show will feature buxom women jousters of some sort. (For examples, see: “American Pickers” + girls = “Picker Sisters;” “American Hoggers” + girls = “Lady Hoggers;” “Deadliest Catch” + girls = “Hook, Line and Sisters”)

So while these two commercials are very, very interesting, this commercial is the one that made me sit straight up in my chair in fear.

This commercial starts innocently enough: A nice gentlemen in a white coat is speaking in soothing yet questioning tones. I imagine he’s talking about cholesterol or something but then I start paying attention and suddenly I realize he’s actually telling me that the gout is going to get me!

It can attack silently, and he says I may not feel it (a quick mental check confirms that I don’t feel anything,) but if I don’t treat it right away, I’ll experience constant pain and joint destruction!

All because of this horrible uric acid stuff! Which is continuously building up in my joints! Dangit! When and where have I been injesting uric acid? And just how tasty is it: ie: how difficult is it going to be for me to kick the uric habit (with my undoubtably already gouty foot and ankle)?

Man, I’m terrified. This gout situation is likely to keep me from getting any sleep. Luckily, the fine folks at Takeda Pharmaceuticals (the ones who put that gout commercial out there) also offer prescription sleep medication to deal with insomnia.

I Have Not Died From Scuba Yet, But The Week is Still Young

We’ve been in Puerto Rico about three days now (four if you count the travel day) and there’s one thing that’s become evident: waterboarding is a truly excellent form of torture, as those things go.

I can say that because we had our third day of scuba diving today. I probably drank less of the ocean today than I did the first two days, but only moderately less.

Right now, as I sit on my patio at the W, watching (er, actually listening, since my eyes are on the screen here) the ocean come in and out on the beach, I can feel the salt water fighting with the post-dive beer in my stomach.  And my nostrils burn from all the salt water that has made its way forcefully up my nose. But I couldn’t be more content or pleased with myself.

I’m amazed that I am actually attempting something involving large and heavy equipment, and unknown spaces. At my advanced age, no less.

Does this wetsuit make me look thin?

Scuba diving is very interesting. On day three, I can’t say I love it, but there are many reasons for this, my inherent laziness being a very large part of that. Nevertheless, I’m willing to keep going to see if some sort of love develops. I’m hoping at the least that scuba and I can be friends.

It’s true that you see things you probably could not see with snorkeling. Today we saw not one but two lion fish, which are apparently the assholes of the sea. They destroy reefs, but they are so pretty and ethereal and I was beyond thrilled to see them.

The thing holding me back into a full-blown love affair with diving is that you are so busy thinking about a billion other things (Am I neutrally buoyant? Where’s my dive buddy? How much air do I have left? Are my ears plugged? I feel like I just equalized, but my ears don’t feel QUITE clear? Is that water coming into my mask? Is it a tolerable amount of should I clear it? Oh dear, I really, REALLY hate clearing my mask). Basically, I don’t really get to enjoy the fish so much at this point.

Red Beach, Day 1. Our "confined" water dive locale.

And, it seems that, like with soooo many other things,  I’m not really a natural at this. Just like running, I feel like my body isn’t totally made for this and I’m not instinctive. In fact, almost everything we’re doing feels incredibly unnatural to me. But I guess it’s hard for anything to feel natural when you’re encased in 3 millimeters of neoprene and have a 40 pound tank strapped to you.

For example, every time we come up to the surface (which I apparently do far too quickly), our very patient and super awesome dive instructor Arnaud reminds me of a ton of stuff I keep forgetting to do, like, breathe. And, oh yeah, kick. You know, so you can actually propel your body forward in a swimming motion. Apparently just sitting at the bottom of the ocean trying to equalize your ears isn’t called “scuba diving.” I think it’s called being a paper weight. Which, I might add, I’d be very, very good at.

Pirate's Cove. Day 2 locale.

There are many reasons for my uselessness and ineptitude. For one thing, I’ve had it drilled in my head that everything out there in the ocean could possibly, and probably will, hurt you. It’s hard to relish in the beauty of the sea when you’re scared of every single thing in it. I might add, with good cause. XFE got stung by a jelly fish today. He’s fine, but honestly, if that had been me, you would have heard my hissy fit all the way back to DC and probably beyond. The tears, they woulda flowed. And, I probably would have gotten a new pair of heels out of the whole thing.

And this isn’t just the fish, mind you. I’m afraid of the plants too. I’m afraid (a) I’m going to destroy the whole entire ecosystem with one kick of my fin, thereby wiping out an entire strata of endangered plankton, and/or (b) I’m going to brush the .34 square inches of exposed skin on my body against some deeply poisonous fibroid that will paralyze me before I can swim another foot.


Mosquito Pier. Day 3 locale. Full of jelly fish. And lion fish.


Plus, for some reason, without the gift of vocalization, I’m a bit docile and timid, I’ve discovered. For example, yesterday, we were told we had 3,000 psi of air in our tanks at the start of the dive. Ever Patient Arnaud explained that when we got to 1,500, we should say something. I thought we would all be on the same psi page, so when I saw I was at or near 1,500, I didn’t say anything. When I got to 1,000, I knew I should probably say something. So, I turned to my Jacques Cousteau Wannabe Boyfriend (seriously, he is great at this scuba stuff) XFE and gave him the “WTF??” sign, having expected him to say something to Arnaud. Once we established what my psi was, XFE swam ahead and notified Arnaud. Ladies and gentlemen, I got scolded underwater! Apparently, I’m an air hog, and everybody else was still at a nice normal psi, well above 1,500. So, we had to cut the dive short, because Poe was breathing like a dying whale and draining her tank.

Speaking of XFE, he is, of course, freaking awesome at everything. He completes every single skill on the first try, without frantically clawing through the water and clinging to poor Arnaud with silent, questioning (and bulging) eyes.

But, apparently, we’re doing quite well, according to Arnaud. I think he’s grading on a curve. Plus, he’s French, so I don’t know how trustworthy he is, although he has given us some pretty great dinner recommendations, so there’s that.

Wisdom Teeth Removal: Pretty Much Unicorns and Rainbows

I learned something new about myself over the last 24 hours: I must be a complete badass.

I got my wisdom teeth pulled yesterday. Two of them, the top ones. And seriously? It was no big deal. The procedure and the recovery have been a piece of cake, which is not at all what I suspected. Normally, I’m a bit of a hypochondriac who’s known to have a flair for the dramatics. So panicking over a purely elective procedure (they weren’t impacted or infected) would typically be right up my alley.

And my super helpful friends all tried to help: I had heard all sorts of horror stories – tales of excruciating pain and anesthesia that wore off mid-procedure; tales of hemorrhaging and nonstop bleeding; tales of nausea, severed nerves, etc. etc. It really sounded like the possibilities for disaster were truly endless and most assured.

What a load of horse manure.


I had an appointment with this lovely doctor at 10:30. I was out by 11. Just a couple of shots to the gums (really the worst part), a bit of pressure, a very disconcerting noise (OK, that actually was the worst part) and a mouthful of gauze later, I was in a cab on my way home. Yes, I said cab. My male-nurse-for-life XFE had a golf tournament. It had been postponed due to rain a few weeks ago. He offered to skip it, but I didn’t think it would be necessary. I was right.

I came home, ditched the gauze about 45 minutes later and waited for the promised painful recovery, a bottle of painkillers within easy reach. Nothing. To be fair, the doctor had said I could just take ibuprofen, but I thought he was being far too flippant. As the afternoon wore on, I realized he might be right. I had no pain.

And here I am, more than 24 hours later, singularly unimpressed. No bleeding, no pain, no nothing. I’m not sure why my wisdom teeth extraction experience has been so vastly different from everyone else’s, but I think it’s probably because I’m a straight up thug. Or, maybe Dr. Gitelman is worth all the positive Yelp reviews, and just really good at his job.

Nah, it’s because I’m the shit.  

Where's my money, tooth fairy lady? Don't make me go gansta on you!

Baby, I’m a Firework

Holy hot flashes. This scares me. Because, as my bed-partner-till-spontaneous-combustion-do-us-part XFE will tell you, sleeping next to me is like sleeping with the sun. I’m hot y’all. Really, really hot.

According to the Irish Times:

“A CORONER’S court has heard how a man who died in a fire in his house three days before Christmas had spontaneously combusted.

The case was outlined in Galway yesterday, where an inquest into the death of a pensioner heard how investigators were baffled as to how Michael Faherty had died.

A verdict was returned that the man died of a phenomenon called spontaneous human combustion. (emphasis mine.)

Mr Faherty (76), originally from Connemara, died at his house at Clareview Park, Ballybane, Galway, on December 22nd.

West Galway corner Dr Ciarán McLoughlin said he had never encountered such a case in the 25 years that he had been investigating deaths in the region.

Forensic experts found that a fire in the fireplace of the sittingroom where the badly burnt body was found was not the cause of the blaze that killed Mr Faherty.

The court was told that no trace of an accelerant had been found and there was nothing to suggest foul play…..“This fire was thoroughly investigated and I’m left with the conclusion that this fits into the category of spontaneous human combustion, for which there is no adequate explanation,” he said.”

The coroner said the fire had been confined to the sittingroom and the rest of the house sustained only smoke damage. The only damage was to the body, which was cremated, the ceiling above him and the floor underneath.

That's right: Dude was a human torch.

DANG Y’ALL! Among all the other things I worry about (yeah, I’m looking at you brain-eating amoebas), I’ve always been worried about spontaneous human combustion. And now, here’s confirmation that I should, indeed, be very, very worried.

Despite the fact that I freeze away during the day, I am in fact a very hot sleeper. Like, scorching hot, can’t even touch my skin hot. It’s very odd because like I said, during the day, I’m quite cold. I can’t get warm. But somewhere in the middle of the night, I turn into this lady:

This is a total exact replication of what I look like while sleeping at night. Yep, accurate as hell.

I haven’t always been a hot sleeper, I don’t think. But somewhere over the last 5-6 years, I’ve definitely noticed an uptick in my body temperature when I sleep. XFE shirks from my fiery touch (that sounds way worse than it actually is.) Petunia won’t even sleep with me in the summer, and that cat is up in my business ALL THE TIME.

I don’t blame either of them. I routinely kick of the sheets and flip my pillows over looking for a cool spot. I don’t even want to sleep with myself. But when winter comes around? Both Petunia and XFE use me like the human heater I am.

And yes, I’ve asked my doctor about it (along with a query about my oddly lumpy head. Man, I got issues). She isn’t the most sympathetic practitioner out there. She says I’m fine. I question where she got her medical degree. According to the Internet, I might be dying. Stupid Internet.  

Stuff like this isn’t helping my paranoia: According to this story in the UK Huffington Post:

“Liquefied fat is the reason that the body burns, according to one rather gruesome theory, ‘the wick effect’.

Once ‘the wick’ or clothes have ignited, fat from the burning body seeps out and acts as the fuel source, allowing the victim to burn further. Fat burns at a much higher temperature than other substances, and many of the victims have been overweight. Home Office pathologist Professor Michael Green told the BBC in 2005: ‘The way the body burns – the so-called wick effect – seems to me and to my colleagues to be the most scientifically credible hypothesis.’”

First off: EEEEWWWWW. Secondly, holy human candle! Terrifying. I better go drink some ice water. And lay off the funnel cakes so I don’t add “fuel to the fire” so to speak. Anyone else out there a hot sleeper? We should maybe form a community, hold a telethon or something, to pay for some more research into this dangerous condition.

Spontaneous Human Combustion is no laughing matter.

Great. Something Else to Worry About.

So far this summer, three people have died from a waterborne brain-eating amoeba, including a nine-year-old kid in Virginia.

Wait. I live in Virginia. I am sometimes submerged in water. True, we have not gone tubing this summer or been in any type of outdoor body of water, but sometimes I get water up my nose when I take a bath. (Aaah, I love baths. I wish I were in one now. Laced with some Jo Malone bath oil. Preferably the jasmine mint.)

Uh, where was I? Oh yes. Potential untimely death. Which I tend to think about a lot. (Honestly, is there a “timely” death? I suppose if you live to be 110 then people will grudgingly concede, “Yep. That seems timely.”)

And don’t sit there and shake your head and say you can’t get a brain-eating amoeba from a bath. One of the three cases involved a Louisiana man who used tap water in his neti pot. For those not in the know, a neti pot is some device shaped like a teapot that folks (mostly hippies, in my experience) use to rinse out their noses with warm salt water. It’s supposed to relieve allergies, colds, other sinus problems. Sounds pretty gross to me. Hot water? Up your nose? And then snot does what? Just dribbles out with the water? No thanks. You know what also supposedly works on allergies? Prescription meds! Let’s give those a try first, shall we? Before putting items and amoebas up our noses?

This amoeba even has a sinister-sounding name. Naegleria fowleri. It’s “fowleri” all right.

I did not draw this. Just so you know.

Here’s a description of how it essentially, eats your brain.

“Like something out of a horror movie, the amoeba enters the human body through the nose, usually after a person has swum or dived into a warm body of fresh water, such as a pond, lake, river or hot spring.

It does not seek out humans. But when an amoeba gets lodged into a person’s nose, it starts looking for food. It ends up in the brain and starts eating neurons.

Early symptoms of infection include headache, fever, nausea, vomiting and neck stiffness. Later symptoms progress to confusion, balance problems and seizures. Often, when cases are presented at the hospital, they’re mistaken for bacterial meningitis. Death usually occurs within a week of symptom onset.”

Holy Depends undergarments, I just crapped my pants. I need my brain neurons! But I fear it might be too late. I might have some variant of all these symptoms. I get headaches! My neck is feeling very stiff these days. I’m often confused…..wait, what was I saying? And I have balance problems!  

But before you panic, remember that infections with the amoeba, while tragic, are extremely uncommon. There are usually only two or three cases a year in the U.S.”

Oh, and THAT’S supposed to make me feel better is it? So the quota for the year is full, don’t worry Poe!?! Is that it?

And I loooove this part: “But before you panic….” IT’S TOO LATE! I’m in full panic mode right this minute!!

Maybe I should go take a nice relaxing bath.