A Ghost Story

I stayed in a old hotel in wine country that is said to be haunted by a man named John. Once I stayed here with my sister and she refuses to ever stay here again. She had an encounter in the bathroom of this establishment and for the rest of her stay, I had to go everywhere with her, including the bathroom. I never doubted my sister’s experience, I was actually over the moon about it. During my recent stay at this hotel, some interesting things happened that make me want to stay here more often.  The incidents were small and could be easily explained away by any skeptic. However, if I could get Josh Gates from Expedition Unknown to join me there for a weekend. It would be a dream come true.

I have been watching Josh Gates for years. For those who do not know of him and his TV shows, he investigates popular unsolved events. I started watching Destination Truth years ago.  Josh and his crew would investigate places that were said to be haunted and he would also hunt for evidence regarding mythical creatures like Big Foot and the Chupacabra. I found his show to be fascinating. I was addicted to Josh for a bit.

The other night while I was sleeping, I was awoken by unfamiliar sounds that I couldn’t figure out. At first it sounded as if maybe Ella left some magazines sitting on her bed and kicked them off in her sleep. I got up to inspect, but I found nothing that could explain the sound. This shuffling sound brought me to almost every room of my house, but I could not find the cause of the noise. By the time morning arrived, I was tired but excited about the possibilities of the cause of the sounds, until I wasn’t. I guess I was a bit slow, reluctant or just in complete denial to realize that the noises could have been caused by a mouse.

I’m a reasonable person, mostly. The prospect of my house being haunted was the less terrifying option to perhaps having a mouse. At least with a ghost you don’t really “have” to do anything, as long as it is not the dramatic “GET OUT” kind of phantom.  It could be a roommate of sorts that doesn’t need a bed. On hot days, you can request that it walks by at a regular pace, contingent your location, so you get the cold air conditioning effect that some tend to get when a spirit brushes past.

I could see us becoming close and forming some type of relationship where he/she will agree to be the big spoon at least 50% of the time, cause I like to be the big spoon too. Perhaps, that is a bit much, but if it wants to set my alarm clock off at weird times and throw things randomly across my room that’s just fine too. I doubt I would notice much, considering that I have 7 different active alarms set on my phone that go off weekly at odd times that I fail to inactivate, and my housekeeping skills are atrocious. A ghost would not change the dynamics of my household much.

However, the thought of having a mouse in my house is terrifying! Coming face to face with a mouse makes me weak. I might have to move or just burn my house to the ground. To set out on a mouse expedition seems too daunting. I mean, why would I cover the entire square footage of my home (it’s only 750 square feet, but this is beside the point) to find something I am not interesting in knowing I have, and then what? Do I put a collar on it, name it Carl and teach it to use the toilet?

I was sharing this concern with the man I am presently dating. I let him know that I was still hoping that my home was haunted and not adopted by a needy vermin. I was informed that he would break up with me if my house was haunted. I didn’t share that I most likely would be spooning with my ghost, so his decision seemed almost fair. I have been ghosted, but never dumped because of a ghost. Dating after this would be interesting, I wonder if I would put “must like ghosts” on my  online profile. Things to ponder.

He did offer to help me to get to the bottom of this mystery, and  he did not seem to be put off at all with the possibility of a wayward mouse. That’s something. If it was the other way around and he asked me to help him, I most likely would say, fuck this! You are on your own! It seems I feel the same way about mice as he feels about ghosts.

Do I really want to get to the bottom of the noises?  In my mind it was a mouse or a ghost. Either way, I lose. After the investigation, I will most likely have a new pet or have to update my dating profile. Both prospects are equally horrific in my mind.

As I said previously, I am a reasonable person. Most reasonable people would think that the likelihood of my house being haunted is slim to none, but most don’t know my luck.  When I see a bird sitting on a wire that I have to walk under. I have a small, but short internal battle with myself every time, because I want to force myself to walk directly under the bird with the hope of get crapped on, because I hear that it is good luck.  I believe that I am getting off on a tangent, but it’s important to point out that I am desperate enough to get shit on if it would make my luck go in a positive direction.

To be clear and to get back to the subject at hand, I don’t feel that having a ghost is unlucky, but going through the whole rigmarole of online dating is epitome of bad luck. I hope to change all this bad luck with either not having a ghost or a mouse. For now, I will just buy a Mega Millions  lottery ticket and take a walk. I’ll be on the look out for birds who look as if they have full stomachs, perched above.

I Made A Friend

Over 12 years ago I developed horrible stomach issues. I visited the doctor and had several endoscopy tests. I had so many of these tests that I actually looked forward to them, because I can’t express to you how much I LOVE the medication that is used for sedation. The medication used is Midozolam, it’s also called Versed.   This drug induces drowsiness, relieves anxiety and prevents one from remembering the events. How I love thee.

Every time I have a unfortunate lifetime event, I think about how if I were psychic and if I had endless access to this medication, well, life would be WONDERFUL. Every time I woke up after one of these procedures I felt as if my mind just had a vacation. I would leave from this outpatient incident feeling like a woke up from a month long vacation where I was not required to use my brain once. The reality was that I just didn’t remember any brain use. I find this equally blissful.

However,  once my mind recovered from its vacation after the procedure, my stomach would return quickly to its crappy state, and the test never told me what was the matter.  I tried eliminations diets, not allowing myself to eat or drink anything that made life worth living. Nothing really worked, and the only thing I regretted was the food, wine, and coffee that I restricted for as long as I did. I drank straight aloe vera juice, popped expensive probiotic pills like Tic Tac mints . Still nothing seemed to stop my stomach from churning in its sick like way. Imagine having a nauseous, upset stomach from sun up to sun down regardless of what was eaten. Even plain water upset my stomach.

I am not sure if I searched the internet or if a friend told me to try kombucha. For those who may not know what kombucha is, it is a drink made by fermenting sweet tea with a culture of yeast and bacteria. I started by buying a few bottles from my local grocery store. It became evident that after a few weeks that my stomach was acting less bitchy, so I bought more. However, at almost 4 dollars a bottle I thought deeply about making it by myself, and a friend eventually gifted me with a starter kit to make my own.

The kit is simple. It comes with a big glass jar, sugar, tea, and a SCOBY. A SCOBY stands for: Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. This is the one of the most necessary ingredients for making kombucha, aside from the glass, tea and sugar. The SCOBY comes in a small shape that looks like a round, tan frisbee. When all of these ingredients are put together, after a few easy steps, the fun starts.

I have been brewing kombucha for 10 months. The small SCOBY has grown, big. Actually, it’s massively terrifying.  I have two batches of kombucha brewing at the same time. I used the original SCOBY to make a brother or sister to keep the other one company.  They both sit in my living room, because it tends to be the warmest place in my home, next to my fireplace. Their placement also ensures that my guests don’t stay too long.

These fermenting vats look like a holding tank for the blob. If you ever saw the movie, you know what I am referring to. The movie frightened me as a child. The remarkable difference between the blob and the SCOBY is that the SCOBY looks more like flesh. Every week, I need to remove it from its home in order to harvest its hard work. I can’t help but get full body chills when I have to touch it. It seems to want to hold my hand when I grab it out of the jar.  I pretend not to mind. I don’t want to make it feel bad.  I’m sure it has grown some feelings over the last 10 months.

I also think it might have grown some sort of brain over the past several months, because it seems confident. I often tell Ella to seek math advice from SCOBY when she has homework.  At the least, I think SCOBY likes the conversation and simple math seems to be something that it might be able to manage.  SCOBY seems engaged during the conversations I tend to have with it. I wholeheartedly believe that it listens to everything that is said, kind of like Alexa or the Echo devices that people have in their homes. I can only assume at some point SCOBY will begin to answer my questions about what the daily weather forecast will be or maybe play my favorite song.  I have high hopes.

I believe that SCOBY will be my best companion as long as the temperature remains between 68-78 degrees Fahrenheit. Summer will be tough, I hope that our bond is strong enough to get through it without air conditioning as Portland summers keeps getting hotter and hotter. Once it grows arms, I have all these knitting patterns that we can try and I have an endless amount of weeds that it can assist me removing.  Now that my gut is cooperating, the options will be endless.