I Let A Spider Live…

IT’S FINALLY HERE! SPRING!  One day there are flurries…you know…little white snowflakes falling leisurely from the sky and the next day…BAM!  Flowers are starting to peek out from under the earth.  The warm weather has teased them out of their winter reverie. It has even coaxed us regular human beings out of our winter cocoons (parkas).  Our pale, white skins craving the warmth and UV rays of the sun.  Ah….spring.  The beginning of a new season!  The rebirth of the world! Oh joy!  Oh bliss!  AHHHHHH!  SPIDER!!!!

I don’t know why, but every year I seem to be unsuspectingly shocked when I see the First Spider of Spring.  Yes, I have given it a special, almost regal, title.  There is a plethora of bugs in our world from ants to millipedes to centipedes to mosquitos and earwigs.  Soooooo many icky bugs and so much accompanying scream-time when I see them.  What is it about teeny tiny insects that makes me go to pieces?

I am sure there are many of you who believe I am just being childish or perhaps even overdramatic about my bug phobia.  Well, it’s actually not a phobia.  I don’t fear them.  Let’s just say that I view them in a very unique sort of way.

I have a very vivid and overactive imagination.  I’ve had it since I was knee-high to a grasshopper.  (Note:  that was something else I was terrified of…grasshoppers).  Being an avid reader, I used to read stories about bugs that transformed into ginormous monsters and wreaked havoc throughout the world.  Make believe though it was, those beetle-bugs ended up in my nightmares.

Being a smarty-pants, I also craved to learn new things.  This led to my folly of reading about insects and their livelihoods.  Especially memorable was a children’s magazine where the centrefold was an earwig.  Not a cartoon picture, but a large colour portrait of its grotesque face and it’s hairy tentacles.  *spine-chilling-body-shake*  It’s still there now…burned into my memory bank forever.  I read about how earwigs would crawl into your ear; hence their name.  Greeeeeeat children’s magazine.  Learned soooooo much about how NOT to sleep at night thinking about how an earwig was going to invade my brain space.  UGH!!!!  Why wasn’t there a warning label on that article!  Forsooth, the hazards of being a studious (nerdy) child.  The more I learned about insects, the more I feared them.  The older I got, the louder my screams became.  Cause and effect right?

In order to overcome my fear I learned the importance of shoe-to-bug combat.  We women have these wonderful high-heeled shoes which triangle-tip toes (also known as Cockroach Killers).  These are FANTASTIC at getting Corner Bugs.  What is a Corner Bug?  This is any type of creepy-crawly that attempts to hide in clear view believing that staying in a tight corner will dissuade us from trying to slay them.  They are sly, smart little buggers.  They are also dead buggers once I get my handy-dandy whack-a-bug shoe out.  WHAM!  Deceased bug.

Oh sure, I sound brave, but when it comes to Crunchy Bugs, I cringe.  What is a Crunchy Bug?  No, you don’t eat them.  Well, maybe in some countries you do, but in North America you kill them.  Crunchy Bugs are insects that have a shell to protect their soft little underbodies.  Beetles are a good example of this.  Earwigs (shake uncontrollably with fear) are the BEST example.  (I still shiver thinking about the Earwig Invasion of 2003.)  The first time I saw an earwig it was lazily moving around my window sill.  I grabbed my handy Corner Bug killer weapon and struck mightily at the intruder.  C-R-U-N-C-H!  What the hell was that sound?!   It sounded like I broke someone’s back!  Worse still…it kept moving!!!  What kind of alien insect was this?  As my attempt at insecticide was an utter failure I moved on to plan B.   AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!  The loud, girly Damsel in Distress Scream!  That did the trick!  No, the high pitched shriek didn’t do it.  The blood curdling holler got my brother upstairs tout-suite and he whacked it out of existence.  R.I.P.

What happened during The Earwig invasion of 2003?  During spring cleaning I had accidentally loosened the baseboard in my kitchen with my vacuum cleaner and an army of earwigs spilled into my kitchen.  My first reaction was the tried and true Damsel in Distress screaming.  This was accompanied  by the high-cardio left/right leg interval jumping up and down move.  With no one else at home to assist me, it was time for me to come up with plan C to thwart the oncoming assault.  The thought of striking the earwigs and hearing that awful C-R-U-N-C-H left me immobile with fear.  I stood there watching as the parade continued and my honey-coloured tile floor became streaked with little chains of marching black bug bodies.  Serendipitously, I looked at my vacuum cleaner handle and resolutely turned the hose on those pesky varmints.   One by one the imposing mob was sucked up into oblivion!  Well, not oblivion.  It was more like transported to another worldly location…namely my vacuum canister that was in the garage.  I had a Central Vac system.  Oh blessed, happy day!  I just hoped they wouldn’t crawl back out.  I remedied THAT by ensuring Wiseguy emptied the canister.  Good plan Earwig Eraser!  (Oh yeah…superhero name for me that day!)

Years have gone by and I have reprogrammed my fear factor regarding bugs.  It started when I had to be braver than the children.  Oh yeah…when a seven year old screams about bugs Super Mom jumps in to save the day (and hyperventilates behind closed doors afterward).  I learned to C-R-U-N-C-H bugs and like it!  I have annihilated ants.  I have squished and squashed millipedes.  I have smushed spiders.  I have also learned to have some compassion and let fate or luck have a go.  Negotiation.  It’s my newest policy.

Take for example, my AAAAAAAAHHHHHH SPIDER! meeting.  I walked into the bathroom and noticed the brand new icky, beige coloured spider on my wall.  AAAAAHHHHH! reaction first.  Then my pondering on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  It’s spring!  The rebirth of the world and all that jazz!  Shouldn’t the spider get to enjoy this new life?  I debated the amount of time it would take for me to get a weapon to slay this squatter.  Then my imaginative mind went to Charlotte’s Web and friendly spiders, and beautiful webs.  With happy spring thoughts in my head, I looked at said pale spider (obviously lacking sunlight this winter as we all had) and stated, “I am going to leave this room right now, but if I come back and you’re still here I’ll end you.”  Upon my return, it was gone.  I somehow felt pleased.  I also heard voices in my head saying, “ARE YOU NUTS!”  C’est la vie.

Life is like that.  Sometimes you have to break with the norm and do what feels right.  Feeling happy about spring and new life I couldn’t take a life.  Sure, it’s a bug’s life, but some days, when life feels overwhelming I feel like a small bug in a big world.  Maybe one day that same chance at life will be given to me and I’ll be relieved and glad that I had let a spider live.

 

 

 

Oh Joy! Oh Bliss?

Spring is finally here!  How do I know?  Besides the fact that it is April, the last snowfall occurred last week.  NO MORE SHOVELING SNOW!  Also, my doorbell has been ringing consistently, signalling visitations from lawn care services.  Uh huh!  And yes…I did hear a few lawn mowers powered up today!  Spring is finally here!  Hurrah!  Joy!  Bliss!  Bzzzzzzzz.  What?  Bzzzzzz!  My yearly dreaded visitors have arrived as well.  Oh joy…oh bliss?

Our beautiful, first warm day was 24 degrees celsius (or a balmy 75F).  The air was warm, the sun was shining, the grass was green, and the birds were singing.  Tulips and daffodils are popping up around the neighbourhood.

IMG_2838Hazzah!  We can open our windows again!  I decided that it was time for me to meander around my backyard and enjoy breathing in non-frigid air.  Spring!  A time of renewal and rebirth.  Spring is also the time that I steel myself to become a Warrior Princess!

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No swords, but many a facial tissue, reliable flat shoe, or any other item that might slay my evil spring foe…the beige house spider.

Ewwww, ewwwww, ewwwwwww!  I’ll be honest, sometimes I will negotiate with the spider, “I will leave this room and come back in ten minutes.  If you are still here, then your life is over.  Your call!”  Crazy?  Maybe, but they really are good at eating little flies (which I also deplore) so it’s more like a negotiation for cohabitation.  Bugs are a fact of life, but the bane of my existence is the diminutive, annoying, buzzing, carnivore…the mosquito!

I consider myself a happy…super happy…ok, Pollyanna-happy type person.  I have consciously decided to find the good in everything; the silver lining, so to speak.  Yet, after that wonderfully, warm, spring day, I discovered something new upon my person that thwarted my normal “happy-go-lucky” days.  Bites!!!  Awful, itchy, little red welts around my ankles.  Yes, both ankles.  I showed Wiseguy my ‘skeeter’ (a.k.a. mosquito) bites and he said, “There are no mosquitos out yet.”  An easy claim for someone who NEVER, EVER, EVER, gets bit by mosquitos!  I am not only his wife, but his mosquito repellent.

My father once told me:  “Once you have been bitten by mosquitos 50 times they will stop biting you because you have so much venom in your body that your blood isn’t appealing anymore.”  Well guess what dad?  I tested that theory one year.  I had 63 bites.  You know what else?  They were still biting me!

I truly believe that I have some super sweet, absolutely amazing blood that attracts these buzzing little vixens to me.  Vixens?  Yes, only female mosquitos bite and suck blood.  You can read all about it, but I’ll summarize it for you:

  1. Females are the vampires
  2. Males prefer fruit juices
  3. Females also go for fruit juice; the blood is to feed eggs – 200 eggs!!!!!  Guess whose kids love me too?
  4. Eggs are jacuzzi-ed; drain every water puddle around you to avoid mosquitos!

Back to my original itchy horror.  Wiseguy said I didn’t get bit by mosquitos.  I have an ankle (oops…two ankles) with lumpy bite marks.  My pups don’t have ticks or fleas.  I have seen flea bites and what I have are not flea bites.  I know what a ‘squito bite looks like and feels like.  Again, I am their main blood donor.  I should just get a t-shirt that says:  Mosquito – Blood donor clinic open.  Yes, I am feeding the mosquito population; not by choice, but by popular demand.

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Did I ever mention that I had this wonderful disease called “West Nile Virus“?  Oh yes, my popular buzzing friends decided that I needed to take some time off work.  So, I received a wonderful bite from my local mosquito friend and it felt different from my usual experiences.  True enough, a couple of days later I started getting a rash.  It spread from my legs to my neck within two days.  I went to one hospital and said, “I think I have West Nile virus.”  I was told (after three hours and no tests) that I probably had a reaction to a strawberry I had devoured.  Note:  I have no food allergies.  They sent me home.

The itchy red splotches did not go away.  After a week, I found that I suddenly could not walk straight.  I was leaning left.  Emergency unit again, but a different hospital.  “You have vertigo,” said the nice doctor.  “I think I have West Nile virus,” I declared when she asked about the rash.  “Probably pesticides on strawberries or blueberries,” she proclaimed.  Hmmmm….why would no one believe me?

So, after two weeks of being off work, I needed a note from my family doctor which would state I was able to return to work.  She looked at all the new notes in my file, “Wow,” she laughed, “you’ve been busy.”  “I think I had West Nile virus,” I declared.  “Did you get tested?” she inquired.  I relayed my requests to be tested and lack of action and so SHE made sure I got tested.  Guess what?  Booyah!!!!  West Nile virus!  I did have it! Okay, it wasn’t good that I had it, but I was so thankful that:

  1. Someone believed me
  2. Someone tested me
  3. I WAS RIGHT!!!  (yes, many exclamation points, but so important after nobody believed me and I had physical proof!)

Moral of the story:  Skeeters, ‘squitos…they are VAMPIRES!

Pollyanna version:

  1.  I did need a break from work – rashes / vertigo are a solution
  2. I have the bestest, sweetest blood around!  Why wouldn’t those blood suckers seek me out.  Oh joy!  Oh bliss?