I have a history with creatures that flutter, scamper and crawl. Coming across them while outside can often be fascinating and amazing. Did I say, outside? Okay, so that’s where I believe they belong - outside. That’s their home. But, inside - it’s all about me and I can get pretty territorial.
Maybe my strong feelings come from horror movie images of creepy crawlies dropping into my open mouth at night. Did you know that it is estimated that the average person unknowingly swallows a pound of insects every year? Somebody stop me.
Or my feelings may come from memories of my hair being adopted as a refuge or sharing my dinner with uninvited guests. Let me share a few of my well grounded dislikes over the years. Ready?
When I was a little girl we were enjoying a visit to Trafalgar Square in London. All was wonderful until a pigeon decided my head looked like a nice cushy landing spot to settle upon. Of course, I freaked which just made matters worse. My parents were likely stifling laughter as I ran around screaming like a banshee trying to get him out of my hair.
Oh, and I have been a “target” for many a bird over the years. I can count a handful of times when I’ve been blessed from overhead by my winged friends. Nothing is more peaceful than enjoying the rhythmic waves of the ocean, the bright sunshine on your face, and that sudden warm sensation on the back of your hand. It’s true. Seagull’s poop is warm! They like me, seagull’s. Once while visiting Sea World in San Diego, luckily I turned my head in the nick of time to barely miss a present delivered to my face. Instead, it was received on my jacket in a sprawling fashion. See, they love me, them seagulls.
Birds are cool. But, a bird in a house is unsettling. Think, THE BIRDS. Okay, so it was only one bird loose in the house, but it was still creepy. All that flapping and flying around my head was too much. Take COVER! And, is Michael Bay really going to remake that movie?
Moving on from our flying friends and to the scampering ones.
As a single mom you have to be brave, mostly out of necessity. Books before bed were a long standing routine with my kids. One night during a reading of probably either Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (by Judith Viorst) or Are You My Mother? (by P.D. Eastman), a scuttle caught my eye. I realized it was a mouse! A mouse in my house! Not wanting to create a panic in my son (who was only two), I pretended like I didn’t see that furry rodent running along the baseboard in his bedroom. Ugh!
True, this may have been payback from a pet mouse I had as a kid. Honestly, I had tried my best to provide a warm and cozy living environment for my furry friend and stuffed his small cage with burrowing material. Unfortunately, too much of a good thing doesn’t always have a positive result. All right, I admit my guilt, but I swear it was involuntary manslaughter. He suffocated and it was my fault. Now, he had returned to haunt me while reading my son Green Eggs and Ham (by Dr. Seuss).
And, finally on to the crawlers.
No matter how hard I tried not to, alas my skittishness for creepy crawlies passed on to my sons. Especially my eldest. One night he and I discovered a large cicada had wandered into the house. We cowered together, hands interlocked (did I mention he was in high school?). We each hoped the other would be a grownup and take charge. When no one came to our rescue, we put our heads together and devised our strategy because you can’t just leave the critters wandering aimlessly around the house.
We deduced that the little guy had come inside because of our glaring lights. But, we had a plan to free him. Open the arcadia door wide, turn the porch light on, and turn all the lights in the house off. Perfect because he would fly back outside—to HIS home. Onward.
We opened the door. The porch light was lit. Then in one fail swoop of simultaneous precision, we flipped off all the lights inside the house and quickly moved away from the open door. But, we missed one. And, of course it was the brightest - a halogen. In a split second, that bug flew right onto the hot lamp and met his death with a loud sizzle. We just stood there for a second unsure what had happened. We were horrified. Then just grateful the crisis was over and slammed the door shut so no others could enter and face the same fate.
When in college, I existed on green peas (straight from the can) and baked potatoes with stewed tomatoes smothered on top. And, a few other things. One of my favorites was boxed parmesan noodles. One night, I fixed some of those delicious treats (they have so many pretty colors in the ingredients like Yellow 5, Yellow 6 Lake, and my favorite Yellow 6).
Anyway, I finished my first over sized serving, then half way through my second helping, I realized there appeared to be quite a few extra specs of parmesan cheese in that particular box. Lucky me. No wait, they were weevils. Once I looked closer, I saw dozens, not mentioning the ones I had just consumed. But, of course, the mama weevil just did her natural thing by laying her eggs in my box.
Perhaps if I saw these bugs coming, it wouldn’t be so bad. But, they always seem to reveal themselves at the most inopportune moments. No matter how much we spray down here in Texas, we can’t seem to keep those spiders, mayflies, beetles and lord knows what else outside. Oh wait, there is one more.
When packing for a recent trip, I pulled some old napkins out of a backpack pocket. And BINGO, I got nabbed by a scorpion. Scared the pants off me! After I picked them back up, I completely freaked out. Even worse than the bird in my hair. After several choice words (which don’t typically escape my lips) and practically squeezing the end of my right index finger off, I tried to reach Rick at work. He was busy (imagine that) so I left a breathless panicked voice mail for him that I got “bit” by a scorpion and didn’t know what to do! He’s sympathetically has re-played me that message a few times.
I lived in Phoenix for 30 years and never got stung. I just didn’t know what to expect. It hurt like crazy and I shook like a leaf in a wind storm. Since the poor little dude was still sitting there ON MY BED probably as freaked out as me, I mustered up enough guts to grab him in the napkins and bolt for the toilet where he promptly went down with three flushes and some fresh “liquid” over the top to be sure he was gone. Then, I did what a rational person would do and went to the internet. I discovered that unless I was allergic to the sting, I would survive. It did say that I should remain calm so the poison didn’t spread as quickly. Too late for that!
However, after all these memorable occurrences, I am here to tell you of my fresh approach. I’m going to reassure myself that these are all God’s creatures and nature has a purpose for each of them (although, I’m not sure about cockroaches).
I’m going to change my attitude. Embrace them. Invite them in from time to time. I’m NOT going to go into a panic attack when I see a brown recluse on my kitchen counter nor emerge from my office every two minutes for six hours obsessively watching to see if he’s moved. And, I’m going to be welcoming and have a warm heart towards the oversized black beetles that suddenly emerge from my pile of white laundry.
I will tell myself that I love all things that flutter. All things that scamper. All things that crawl - INSIDE my house.
This attitude adjustment worked well with my repulsion then love of most Sushi, so I have high hopes.
It will be all smiles and laughter the next time I see something making its way along the wall, popping out of a drawer, or waiting for me in the bathtub. I CAN love them.
Do you think my new strategy will work?
Just a side note - no blog next week. We are taking a really cool vacation and I can’t wait to write about it and share some pictures once we are back. Hopefully, I won’t encounter any unexpected creepy friends that decide to hitch a ride in my luggage! If so, it’s all love and kisses from me!
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