Why all my future posts will be typed with my feet suspended in the air

May 15, 2013 | 41 comments

I had a whole other paragraph here but I just deleted it because SCORPION!

So there I was, carefully typing out said paragraph, and I see a dark, moving object on the floor to my right. I knew even before I looked down what it was, since dark moving objects are only ever one thing in this house.

But here’s the worst part: It was moving away from my desk in a clear trajectory. You would think that the “away” part would be good, but, nay, it was in fact deeply troubling, as it indicated that only a few seconds before, the scorpion must have been RIGHT UNDER MY DESK. Where my FEET are. It is extremely important to my mental health that the space under my desk, which I cannot easily see unless I scoot my huge chair way back, remain a FEET-ONLY zone.

To give you an idea of what I’ll be fixating on for the next 1, 000 days or so, let’s take a moment to re-imagine me typing that paragraph in light of this information. Picture it like it’s a movie:

There’s the protagonist, smiling, dashing out her brilliant prose for her blog. You may have noticed that I’ve been slow to update the ol’ blog lately, she types. That’s because I’m so tired from getting up with a newborn that I’ve forgotten all of the English language except for about fifty words. Also, our house has been hit with a particularly disgusting stomach flu — but on the plus side, sometimes our two-year-old has to take a break from screaming and hitting me to puke. But I’m treasuring these moments since they go by sooooo fast!

Now the camera pans to her bare feet under the desk. We hear the clicking of her keyboard as we see the malevolent arachnid inch toward her toes. She pauses to come up with more scintillating content for her blog, and in the process stretches her legs. Her feet brush past the scorpion, missing it by mere millimeters. The scorpion feels threatened by the giant foot. It turns to engage, its dagger tail in the attack position, ready to plunge into the unsuspecting foot.

Just as it moves in for the kill, the protagonist thinks aloud about another possible sentence for her blog post. “I don’t even mind the fact that I also have a raging sinus infection, because I’m counting it all joy!” she says, which causes her to laugh so hard that she scoots her feet back just as the venomous point of the scorpion’s tail was about to be stabbed into her flesh.

If this were a good movie, it would end with the protagonist seeing the scorpion and promptly buying a new house. As it was, I screamed at Joe to come deal with it, which was unfortunate since he was evidently suffering from temporary amnesia in which he no longer knew that you can never, ever, ever kill scorpions on carpets:

Joe: [Raises up shoe and stomps on scorpion.]
Jen: That’s, uhh, that’s not going to –
Joe: [Angry scorpion now running at him with tail in the attack position.]
Jen: It doesn’t work to –
Joe: [Stomps scorpions a few more times. Scorpion stops moving.]
Jen: It’s not dead.
Joe: [Beholds silly woman and her crazy-talk with bemusement. Touches scorpion with tip of shoe. Scorpion jumps up and starts running at him again.] Whoa! This thing isn’t dead!!!

Joe eventually disproved the Can’t Ever Ever Ever Kill Scorpions on Carpets rule, but it was only after going all Michael Flatley on it for about five minutes. I maintain that the rule holds for me, though, as I would never try to kill a scorpion by stepping on it. I feel certain that I would somehow miss it and it would end up gripping onto my shoe with its little pincers, hoisting itself onto my ankle, then running up into the pantleg of my jeans, where it would sting my leg over and over and over again as I writhed and screamed in agony. (I assure you that this is only one of many things-going-horribly-awry-with-scorpions scenarios I have all worked out in my head.)

All this is a long way of saying: If my tone seems painfully strained for the rest of my writing career, it’s because I will henceforth be writing while holding my legs at least three feet off the ground.


  1. Angela

    “Going all Michael Flatley on it”, LOVE it. Made me LOL!

    • Jessica

      oh my gosh that is the best description i’ve ever heard. seriously laughed so hard!! glad the scorpion is dead now!!

    • Cheryl

      Yup, I loved that line too! Awesome description. Especially if he ended in a flourished pose (Joe, not the scorpion, that is).

  2. Kristen @ St Monica's Bridge

    I needed a laugh today and the mental picture of Joe going all Michael Flatley on the scorpion did it.

  3. Amanda

    Oh my goodness, I would have TOTALLY flipped out! Perhaps you can get a hanging desk and chair and write while suspended in the air? Or put your computer in one of those plastic bubbles to keep the scorpions out? Yuck!!

  4. Eugenia

    The scorpion didn’t move?! I didn’t know scorpions could play possum! Sooo creepy. Thanks for the laughs. πŸ˜€

  5. Jessica

    Scorpions are the worst! I’m not sure what is more deadly, the fear of them or their actual sting. They’re in certain parts of the greater Phoenix area and my friends who live by them have to put glass around their cribs so they don’t crawl up and attack their babies!! eck!! Screw around the crib…. I’d be tempted to move to a glass house! But of course that’s not practical, so I’d probably just blog with my feet in the air too… πŸ™‚

  6. Claire

    I think the time has come to change the name of this blog… Conversion Diary just doesn’t cut it anymore. My suggestion is ‘Scorpion Diaries’… also a possible title for your book! LOL!

  7. Considerer

    Blimey that sounds awful! Still, they say that writers who have to struggle with adverse conditions become the most successful – you’re on your way πŸ˜‰

  8. Colleen Martin

    The silver lining could be that keeping your legs elevated will help with your clotting issues πŸ™‚

    • Leanne

      Hey — it sounds like the Fulwiler household is getting back to normal (well, normal for the Fulwilers). I don’t know how you cope with scorpions *shudder*. I grew up in Australia and am afeared of all scuttling/slithering things because they don’t cause owies but could kill you.

      So, let’s look on the bright side, with elevated legs, you’ll also be working on strengthening your calf muscles (point and flex your toes) and the muscles around your knee. The other choice is to learn how to type with your feet. That way nothing but the chair legs are touching the ground.

  9. Maia

    My cousin spoke once about, while on a mission trip, waking up in a tent, and finding baby scorpions covering her sleeping bag. That I would take as a sign from God to give up tent-sleeping. As your experience may be a sign to give up desk-sitting.

  10. Elisa | blissfulE

    “If this were a good movie, it would end with the protagonist seeing the scorpion and promptly buying a new house.” I have wondered about this. Are other houses in your neighbourhood as plagued by scorpions as you are? If so, how do you all live there? i sincerely don’t understand. Either way, have you thought about praying over your property? My husband has prayed against mosquitos at our house. It’s interesting because they haven’t disappeared, but they are fewer, they bite less frequently, and they are also waaaaay easier to kill.

  11. Happy

    you need a scorpion-killing pet. maybe that pony that defeats dragons?

  12. Marcy K.

    That is why God invented foot stools. Your feet hardly have to touch the floor again.

  13. Jen G

    Is there a patron saint of protection against scorpions/scorpion stings??

  14. Mary

    I just…don’t even know what to say. Most bugs I can take. Scorpions? Not a chance.

  15. Gina

    THANK YOU for the mental image of going all Michael Flatley on the scorpion. I needed that laugh.

  16. ichen

    “I had a whole other paragraph here but I just deleted it because SCORPION!”

    That was the best thing I’ve read all day (and I spent the whole day reading Neil Gaiman in Barnes and Noble!)

    That’s also as far as I got because I just had to comment. πŸ™‚

  17. Heather

    I feel as if you deserve a break. From scorpions and vomit, especially.

    Also, I wrote something super fast today because it came to mind and now you reminded me of it. It’s a vow to the mother of toddlers and babies. One part of the vow is that I won’t ever tell a mom in the trenches of the early years that it goes by so fast. Sure, we know it does in some ways, but on a day like this? Terrifying scorpion and all the puking? Nope, not fast.


    I will also do my best to always imagine you typing with your feet in the air.


  18. Donna

    Maybe it’s time for a new pest control company?

  19. Ramona

    You crack me up! We lived in Fort Worth in the late 80s. The best piece of advice my SIL, a long term Texan , gave me was, ” Always turn your shoes upside down before putting them on .” I’m gonna remember that “go all Michael Flatley ” terminology . Here in SC you do that for palmetto bugs- a euphemism for huge, ugly cockroaches .

  20. giarose

    Oh Jen, I feel your pain all too clearly now that we are living in the country. The first week in our new house we filled up a jar of about fifteen scorpions. I thought of you often. the third night in the house I insisted that we finally get our bed off the floor (yes, our mattress was just sitting on the floor!!) so that I could finally have a restful night of sleep and there, on our mattress, right next to the wall, was a scorpion!
    Then I found my one-year old playing with a dead scorpion one day last week and so when she saw a live one the next day she picked it right up. fortunately, it didn’t sting her. my nine year old has now figured out how to pick them up “correctly” and break the stinger off. he plans on making scorpion habitats with instructions on proper care of your pet scorpion. insane.

  21. Veronica

    Hahahahaha! I am laughing out loud! You are hilarious! I am always happy to see your blog in my inbox! I can just picture the whole event thanks to your descriptive language. I am sorry these things happen to you, but thanks for making something humorous out of it for the rest of us πŸ™‚

  22. Mary

    Hilarious, as usual! I alwaya look forward to reading your posts and you never disappoint. I’m sorry to hear about your many difficulties. I think the foot stool sounds like a good idea, barring the “buy a new house” idea…

  23. Anita

    Ok, this post came up in my Google reader as “Why all my future posts will be typed with my feet.” And aside from the fact that I now have a mental picture of you typing with your toes, I really didn’t think that was odd at all.

  24. Lena

    Are there any parts of Texas that are safe to visit? The only thing funnier would be Joe going all Michael Flatly while wearing his banana suit.

  25. Allison H.

    Whenever I get fed up with Alaska and suggest moving to Texas, my kids whine about “that lady you know with scorpions in her house” and the conversation’s over.

    And “going Michael Flatley” is my new favorite phrase!

    (A little sorry to be laughing at your stress…)

  26. Tanya Gallo

    Truely needed that story this morning! Laughing hard…I should not complain so much about the summer fruit flys that we get. Would much rather be swatting at those.

  27. Tina

    Is it wrong that I thoroughly enjoyed the comedy in this post?!
    Because I did.
    Sometimes, the misfortune of others, brings much comedic relief to those who are not encountering it!!

  28. Michelle

    You are hilarious. And your scorpion posts are always the ones that convince me I’m never moving to Texas.

  29. Laura

    People keep talking about moving to Texas, but you have thoroughly convinced me that I never want to live there. Thank you πŸ™‚

  30. Maggie @ From the Heart

    Since we moved to our new house my husband has been paranoid of spiders. I’ll tell him he’s lucky that’s all we have to worry about!!!

  31. SABR Matt


    I think you once again for your particularly distinct brand of humor in the face of adversity. πŸ™‚ You’re a role model…whether you wanted to be or not!

  32. Adrian Gallacher

    I’ll never complain about the weather in scorpion-free Scotland again. Although we have midges that prevent you going quite a lot of places in the summer unless it’s blowing a gale, including most places we would holiday at.

  33. Bonnie

    I live up north, so no scorpions. But we get mice. Mice like to find a nice warm place to live in the winter, so in the fall, mice try to find little chinks in the fortress wall and squeeze their way in, where they can feast on Cheerios and pasta noodles all winter long, and maybe even find love and raise a family. Now, my feelings about mice are very similiar to yours about scorpions. When I was a little girl, I was afraid to go to the bathroom at night because I was sure a mouse would run over my foot. Not that our home was overridden with them, but every fall my mom would catch two or three. Anyway, a few years back I was helping take care of my mom, which required an extended stay at her house. I only went home maybe once a week to pick up clothes and to check everything was okay. When I finally was able to stay at my own place again, I was sitting on the couch watching TV when I saw something small and dark streak past my right foot and go under the couch. I KNEW what it was. Here was my childhood fear of mice running over my foot almost coming true! It turns out while I was gone mice had infested my house. I will spare you the details of the horror, but honestly, I couldn’t even sleep there. My dad told me, “They’re more afraid of you than you are of them.” I rather doubt that, Dad. It took me a while, but with poison and traps (which I stopped using because I couldn’t think of how to dispose of them. If I used a broom to sweep it onto a dust pan, then into a plastic bag that I could tie and carry at arm’s length to the outside garbage, I’d have to throw the broom and dust pan out too, since there was no way I could ever again sweep the floor with a broom that had touched a dead mouse). Then I got a cat. It’s cheaper than moving.

  34. Monica

    HOW of EARTH do you handle small children and scorpions? I don’t think I would EVER sleep!!!!!

  35. Monica Benninghoff

    As long as you have your sense of humor, you’ll be fine. I type with my feet on the base of the chair… I’ve seen a few huge, jumping spiders in my house over the years, and don’t want them walking over my feet….

    On a creative note, perhaps you could post the names and contact information for a few local pest-control businesses on your blog. Your followers would jump at the chance to call/email them to encourage them to offer their services to you for FREE in exchange for some free press and goodwill.

    If “octo-mom” can get free diapers for life, you should be a shoe-in for scorpion eradication services!

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