Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring Has Sprung, But So Have The Bugs. Bleh...

Well, spring is definitely here and the weather is much better than it was a few weeks ago. It’s not always as sunny as I would like, and certainly hasn’t been as warm as I’d hoped, but at least it’s better than it was in December and January. The indoor pests and insects, on the other hand, seem pleased as punch that winter is officially over, sunlit-days or not. They have begun to emerge from their winter quarters; I have been finding a few of them around my home in the past two weeks, some making bold appearances, others trying to sneak by quietly, hoping I won’t notice them. And praying that the cats don’t.

And it’s not only pests that are emerging from hibernation, so is my (ridiculous) phobic reaction to them. I think I’ve mentioned a few times before that I get (irrationally) queasy around bugs? Teeny tiny little creatures that have absolutely no physical advantage over me. A little ridiculous, no? Okay, I’m not really afraid of them. At least not in the great outdoors. When I work in the garden, I’m not intimidated by them at all. This irrational anxiety surfaces only when I find them in the house. Must be some kind of weird psychology involved here.

Anyhow, here’s a bug story...

A few years ago, my daughter found a spider in her room, one of the only little critters – along with lady bugs and butterflies and even bees – that I’m not afraid of (and usually go out of my way to set free). I like spiders. Yes, folks, I really do. I think of them as allies because they exterminate other bugs that I can’t stand. Plus, the spiders living up here in the north aren’t very intimidating; they’re much too small for that. But my daughter is horrified of them, so when she spotted one on a wall in her room, she came looking for me, dragged me back to her room, pointed to it and exclaimed “A spider!”

I shrugged, “So what?”

“Kill it!” She said.

I answered “No way. I can’t reach it, anyway; it’s too close to the ceiling”

But that didn’t wash. She said “If you climb on my bed, you’ll be able to get it” And she was right, but I really didn’t want to do it. This went back and forth for awhile – her insisting I kill the spider, me finally admitting I was too queasy to reach up there with a Kleenex and squish it. So we came to a compromise. I sprayed the spider with Windex, which caused it to fall to the ground where my daughter was waiting to finish it off. End of spider. Poor thing died because of my cowardice. And brutality. This caused me guilt. Over a bug. How sad is that?

About a half hour later, as I was typing on my computer, I noticed something ‘that wasn’t there before’ on the leaf of a plant that used to sit next to my desk. It definitely looked like a moth - or some such bug - but I preferred to be in denial. It’s just part of the plant I told myself – even though it moved a little, this thing. I tried to ignore it but who was I kidding? It really was a bug, one that I did not like. At first I was frozen by foolish fear till I began to envision this thing giving birth to a gazillion other little gruesome things that would end up all over the house. And this creepy thought helped me deal with my irrational fear, because although I many not be intimidated by spiders, moths freak me out a little the way they flutter around your face, out of your face, in your face, out of your face. It’s a little unnerving.

As a result, I was forced to act – foolish fear or not. (Incidentally, had we let the spider live it would have eventually hunted down this thing and I wouldn’t have been in this predicament. Just thought I’d mention that). Anyway, finally getting up the nerve, I equipped my cowardly city hand with four, yes four, Kleenex tissues that I folded over twice (a lot of protective padding for my fingers is imperative) and exterminated the thing by wrapping it up in the gazillion layers of Kleenex and then racing to the bathroom (like my life depended on it) to flush the whole bug-filled package down the toilet. I felt (momentarily) sympathetic but didn’t have any guilt like I did with the spider.

So spring is indeed here with all its ‘things’ that go bump (or hop, fly, crawl, slither, buzz) in the night’ – and in the day. And I’m reminded once more that I may be called upon many times over the next few months to deal with things that will (attempt to) assault my houseplants and invade my home. My cats are wonderful exterminators, but since they spend most of the day sleeping, they’re not always as effective as I’d like, which leaves me to get the job done. Memo to self: stock up on Kleenex...

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