Sunday, August 12, 2007

Some New Experiences Are Bad

We've had some fun here in Oklahoma, and for the most part we've learned a lot of things that we appreciate, and that benefit us. Today we experienced a couple of things native to Oklahoma that we'd rather not repeat. Michele blogged about this here.

The first was a bout with the insect life of the state. We've had a slow drain in the master bathtub since we moved in, and over the last few days I've tried some chemical treatments to fix it. Today I had poured some Liquid Plum'r down the drain and was flushing it with hot tap water when I thought I heard some squeaking. I shut the water off and turned to find Michele hopping up and down in the doorway with a grimace of discomfort on her face. My first thought was that she needed to use the toilet, but that wouldn't be a problem here as we have two bathrooms. She continued squeaking.


At least, I think that's what she said.

"Huh?" I said.

"There's a spider in the laundry it's on your shirt come and get it off."

At least now the words were identifiable. I walked down the hall behind my little wife, who was skipping and hopping and shuddering. She's had some girly-girl moments since we've been here, demanding that I dispatch bugs, from the formidable pill-bug to the less-formidable dead beetle. I wasn't all that alarmed as spiders are the worst things in the world as far as Michele is concerned. (Though earlier in the day she had stopped in the Target parking lot to pet a grasshopper--go figure.)

When I looked into the clothes dryer (which is in the guest bathroom) I saw a small brown lump on my blue shirt. I almost grabbed it with my fingers and tossed it in the toilet (which is what I normally do), but as I bent closer I thought, "That is kind of an ugly spider." So instead I picked up the shirt that the spider lay on.

Michele said, "Is it dead?"

"Yes." What she didn't know wouldn't hurt her. The spider curled its legs a little as I picked up the shirt, and when it was floating on its back in toilet water its movements became more frantic. I flushed it and closed the lid. Michele was still shuddering and hopping.

I wanted to know what kind of spider it was, so I looked on the internet. The first picture that looked like a match was this one:
It's a brown recluse spider. Poisonous.

The second experience was gastronomical. Yesterday we picked up a new wine for dinner tonight. We decided to try an Oklahoma winery, and we settled on an "Oklahoma Shiraz" from Nukaya Winery. It should have concerned us that they called it an Oklahoma Shiraz, since that's the Australian term for the American Syrah. American = Syrah. Australian = Shiraz. It should have bothered us that we were buying a wine from people who didn't know the terminology as well as we did.*

We didn't heed that warning. Dang it.

When I popped the bottle open I was surprised to smell something like char on the cork. Then I poured it, and it came out thin, with a golden hue and a muddy tone. It looked a lot like brown lake water. The mouthfeel was fine, but the flavor was more in line with a bourbon whiskey than a Shiraz--woody and sweet with a harsh alcohol aftertaste.

The assessment we agreed on was that this wasn't a bad beverage, but it certainly was a bad wine. I wonder what my reaction would have been if it had been presented to me in a snifter or a goblet with the request that I try Beverage X.

*Actually, both terms are used in the United States, but I feel like being a wine snob. Even if I'm a dumb one.


dchmielewski said...

Ah, giant poisonous spiders. I must share this with my wife the next time she gets the urge to move somewhere warmer. Throw in the poisonous snakes and I am guaranteed to be near the 45th parallel for a long time to come.

Also, I never suspected that Okie shiraz would taste like anything that Paul Hogan would recognize. I don't know that minnesota wine is any better, but I have stayed away from that too. Its always interesting to see how ingenious people can be with regard to growing something where it has no reason to grow. However, that doesn't mean that they can make it taste good. Better luck with your next Beverage X.

Jerry said...

Just make sure you check your produce carefully. I have seen black widow's dead in produce here in good ole MN. Also, I believe I have heard of cases of brown recluse spiders here as well. Just be careful dammit.

Anonymous said...

check out the web on that spider again. I thought a recluse was to have the shape of a fiddle or violin on it's back. You didn't want to take the time to flip it over?????? They are bad little guys!

Anonymous said...

Venomous is the word you're looking for.