A very fragile ecosystem


It is truly embarrassing to hear the words, “Annie, please don’t blow your nose on our embossed napkins.” But today, this was my reality. A co-worker caught me with my face buried in a company napkin, and then politely requested that I use something other than their expensive serviette as a depository for my snot.

Allergies are alive and well here in Nashville, and I am fighting the good fight. I partake of imitation Zyrtec or Claritin, and occasionally the miracle drug Singulair. However, since Singulair has been linked to suicide, and I can be depressed enough on my own thankyouverymuch, I try to keep my usage down only to when I wheeze.

Yes. I do wheeze. It’s incredibly sexy.

I am allergic to the down comforter on my bed, but I desperately need its warmth at night. As the girl with the self-diagnosed and self-named CHAT (Cold Hands All the Time), my extremities would freeze and fall off if I didn’t sleep under the insulation of goose-down. The trade-off: I wake up with puffy eyes and a scratchy throat.

My apartment is freakishly cold, though. I’m sure that I will be grateful for this come the sweltering southern summer – a seasonal experience that I am dreading with every cell in my body – but for now, I wake up and it’s 50 degrees in my bedroom. I refuse to turn on the heat, since a) it’s getting up to the high 70’s in the afternoons these days and therefore, the use of heat seems so wrong, and b) I’m a cheapskate.

Maybe I’m having an allergic reaction to the humidity in the air. I could solve this by turning on the AC, but again, see letter b above. I have told you of my obsession with washcloths; in my apartment, it takes 5 days for a washcloth to dry. I suppose that the possibility exists that there is mildew flying around in my air, and slowly rotting my lungs.

And attracting COCKROACHES.

This morning, I saw the second cockroach of my life. The first was about 2 months ago, crawling across my kitchen floor. I had never seen anything like it, and reacted in the only way I knew how: with a piercing shriek that rattled the windows and surely woke the neighbors. This time, I was more prepared. I karate-chopped that roach with a sturdy flip-flop, and killed it until it was extremely dead. Take that, HAB.

All of this is to say that I cannot find balance for my body, for my home, for my health. And my reality now includes cockroaches. And I just wanted you all to know.



  1. Kelli on April 30, 2008 at 9:15 AM

    Cockroaches?! I am so sorry!!

    Maybe a splurge and a day at the spa is what you need :)

  2. bec on April 30, 2008 at 11:45 AM

    there were cockroaches in texas, too. effing sick. but also not quite as scary as a SCORPION. greebs could have been eaten!!

    but annie, a FLIP FLOP? those things have shells! i recommend a tennis shoe if not something more drastic like an anvil.

  3. Annie Parsons on April 30, 2008 at 12:29 PM

    Becca, when you said, “Those things have shells,” I thought you were referring to flip-flops. Like you were envisioning, say, a purple one, with little shells glued to the straps. That is not my flip-flop. I have a mega flip-flop.

    But you were talking about roaches, anyway. Roaches have shells.

    And now for one of my earliest memories: one time on TV, mom and I saw a woman named Delight Roach. She was on Sally Jesse Rafael.

  4. MG on April 30, 2008 at 12:34 PM

    ugh. double and triple ugh.

    my friend colleen has some condition with her extremities and they are always cold. it’s a real thing.

    also, ugh. (about the cockroaches..)
    welcome to the south. in Alaska there is nary an insect. HOWEVER, I think it’s snowing outside – and rain and mid-40s are projected for the next 10 days. maybe it’s worth the trade off?

    PS I can’t stand the thought of crunching a disgusting roach. some major-spray-pesticide is my top suggestion.

  5. Sarah on April 30, 2008 at 2:04 PM

    annie…i’m glad to know there is someone else is experiencing similarly uncomfortable conditions as i am about to…and that if you can kill that HAB, so can i…i hope :)

  6. Case and Los on April 30, 2008 at 6:44 PM

    Ha ha ha, my flip flops don’t have shells either. Well if it makes you feel any better-
    1) I was staying at the HILTON and had TWO cockroaches in my ROOM! Disgusting. And they didn’t even comp the room, dangit.
    2) Humidity is fabulous for hair with wave/curl, as long as your hair is layered, which yours is.
    3) They do have synthetic down, you know:)
    4) How much was your Chi? I’m thinking of getting one…

  7. Sarah Kate on April 30, 2008 at 7:26 PM

    When I was growing up in Mississippi we had cockroaches (the 1 inch long kind) living under the dishwasher. At night, if you walked into the kitchen and turned on the light you would see them all scatter.
    I will note, the prescence of cockroaches is not necessarily a symptom of a dirty house. It often comes with living in the south. Welcome to Nashville.

  8. Tim and Krysten on May 1, 2008 at 6:08 AM

    OMIGOSH Annie, I can soooooo empathize with the cockroaches. Except that rather than moving 2,500 miles across the country to see my first cockroach, I moved 7,377.4 across the world. And the whole struggling with temperature thing? I agree that 50 degrees fahrenheit is uncomfortable at times, but have you ever experienced walking into the brick wall of 50 degrees celcius? So booya, I have more street cred than you! Not to disqualify your feelings….

  9. Annie Parsons on May 1, 2008 at 7:53 AM

    Krysten, I’m pretty sure that your experience disqualifies my feelings. I’m a big baby.

  10. Andrea on May 1, 2008 at 8:52 AM

    I’m sort of scared that I might be allergic to my down comforter now.


  11. Sarah on May 1, 2008 at 8:34 PM

    Southern summers aren’t that bad…

    COCKROACHES on the other hand… if I never see another cockroach, it will be too soon. Have you tried going for a walk at night, yet – they are EVERYWHERE. Maybe more so in the summer. Also, I think the REALLY BIG ones fly. Unless those were locusts bombarding me in Alabama. Either way, big bugs=ew.

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