It’s Fall, Y’all!

Fall is here and with the change of season, for our family, comes football. My husband has umpired high school and college level games for years and loves it. With our move to the city with no yard for the dogs, it has become necessary to walk them more frequently and that job falls to me in the evenings when he is at a game. (See what I did there?!)

The change of season not only brings football, but the change in temperatures (from 85 all the way down to 79!), the little bit of crispness at dusk and dawn, pumpkin spice all the things, school in session, and of course Halloween on the horizon. The last dog walk of the evening is my favorite. There are very few people out, it’s quiet and calm and it gives us a chance to relax and settle in for the night. All the townhouses in our community have automated porch lights so it’s actually bright enough to see festive decorations trimming doorways along our route. Fall is here.

As I matched Hippo’s pace on our evening jaunt, my eyes scanned the sidewalks for possible hazards – the dog will eat all kinds of gross findings. I took a deep breath and as I rounded the corner under the large maple trees that line the walk, I saw something that looked out of place. It was a leaf, but oddly suspended mid-air. I stopped suddenly and Hippo looked up at me expectantly. I followed the line up from the leaf, and at eye level, about 5 inches from my face, is a spider the size of a quarter nestled in his ginormous web. (For the record, I’ve NEVER seen a web this huge before in real life. At least 6 feet high). His fat juicy body was the size of the coin, and his legs spread out from there, daring me to come just a little bit closer. I swallowed the bile threatening to exit and I abruptly stumbled back and turned the other way. Hippo glanced at me again, convinced I’m nuts because, let’s face it – I am certifiable when it comes to bugs. Scorpions, roaches and rattlesnakes were 3 things I was very happy to say “adios!” to as we drove out of south Texas. Spiders have never been my favorite, and after our stint in Hawaii and coming face to face with a cane spider, my hatred has far from waned.

When I say “stumbled back and turned the other way”, what that really means is this: you know when someone startles you and you freak out? Like when your kid stands at the top of the stairs, just out of sight waiting to nail you? You get to the stairs, they yell, “BOO!” or “Gotchya!” and you react by jumping straight up, hair standing out on end, and yell something super intelligible like, “HAWOGHGHHGHHHHH!” while your heart races and you marvel at the fact that you just almost died and why would your dear, sweet offspring want to give you a heart attack like that?! No?! Just me? I digress… But that’s basically how I reacted to a spider 5 inches from my nose. In the dark. In the fall. When it’s almost Halloween.

I consider myself a rational person. Intellectually, I comprehend the fact that arachnids have their place in the food chain and if we didn’t have them, other insects would flourish blah, blah, blah. I love trees. I don’t love that they are spider houses. If you are a spider, and I see you – I will murder you or hire someone to murder you. If you have more than 4 legs, I want no part of you. Do not come to my house. I don’t need roommates and I do not want to be your friend.

Picking up dog poo and taking deep breaths to calm down (not necessarily in that order), I collected myself and vowed to never ever under any circumstances ever go on that side of the road again. I also vowed that now my husband shall be the chief evening dog walker. I brought Hippo in and grabbed a drink of water to calm down. After leashing up the other two, we head back into battle. It’s the littles and me against all the creepy crawlies. I’ve just about talked myself back to a normal functioning adult when what do I see? A RED ROACH SCURRYING PAST MY FEET. I should mention that my feet are exposed – bare and in flip flops adding to the heebee-jeebee creepy feeling. As if that wasn’t enough, the universe decided that I must be tested further when it’s mate joined him from one patch of grass, across the sidewalk and under a bush, followed by what appeared to be a baby. Awe! How sweet. Mr. and Mrs. Roach and family crossed the sidewalk right in front of me. And on the same night that I almost died from a a spider on my face!

Just give me the dang straight jacket now. If it comes with a padded room, great. As long as the door seals tight and no bugs get in, I think I’ll be good. Happy Fall!

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Ready

To say I hate bugs would be an understatement. I’ve dealt with cane spiders (the size of my hand!), centipedes, and B52 bomber cockroaches in Hawaii, large and small spiders that crawl up the bath drain in Washington, water moccasins and fire ants in Florida and of course the beloved scorpions, mutant mosquitoes, crickets, wolf spiders and of course roaches here in Texas. Bugs are a part of life. And big ones are a part of life the closer to the equator we live.

I had bailed on our bike ride, not going near as far as we usually go, basically going as fast as I dared pushed them on their poor little legs. I sat in the tub as the tears came down my cheeks after having stripped off my workout clothes is a frenzied panic while the dogs watched, curious at my odd behavior. I looked down at my skin now covered in bites that were quickly becoming large welts as I frantically scraped my nails across my skin. Mosquitoes had swarmed me. Even in the breeze the insects clung to my skin, undeterred in their bloody mission. I really hate bugs. Like I probably have a phobia or something. I let the tears fall as I realized I was just mostly pissed off. Sometimes emotions just come up like that.

86 mosquito welts bring up the fact that I’m irritated.

I’m not in the place I want to be.

But here I am. I will continue to be here for a while longer, then I will leave, grateful for the light at the end of…

the school year

Corpus

humidity

Texas

deployment

the south

all the bugs

…the tunnel.

Welcome to My Nightmare

I took the minions to the base pool yesterday. It was sunny and wonderful and hot! The pool felt amazing!

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This kiddie pool was HUGE! The kids loved it!

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They even have a little tube slide that shoots them into the big pool. (You’ll forgive the lack of pictures as I was playing “catcher’ when they came flying down!) We swam the length of the pool, went down the slide, and floated, played motor boat, blew bubbles, and all the water fun we could come up with. Then they suggested “Humpty Dumpty”.  This is where they sit on the side of the pool and we sing, “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great faaaaaaal!” and you pop the minion from the side and splash them down into the water. Okay. So off to the side I go, while they swim to the stairs leading out of the pool to sit on the side. I went to reach up to Hannah and I am nose to nose with a cockroach in the pool gutter.

I, of course, let out some kind of freakish terror-filled guttural moan followed by a scream to which the lifeguard looked at me questioningly. While running backward (read: stumbling and trying not to drown) in the water, I pointed and mouthed the word ‘cockroach’ as I pointed to the side of the pool where it walked along the edge, completely unfazed by my horror and outright panic.

The lady lifeguard took matters into her own hands. Well, she called someone over to take matters into someone’s hands. This big lifeguard dude came over, snapping on a surgical latex glove. He laid on the concrete, draped his burley arm over the side and karate-chopped the vermin. He then deftly scooped up the carcass, and carried it to it’s final resting place. While overwhelmed with gratitude, I may have clapped. I’m sure he thought I was a lunatic. My relief outweighed any sense of cool I had left.

I realize we live in Texas. I realize that bugs, like cockroaches, thrive in warmer climates. I also know that “everything is bigger in Texas”. The bugs are no exception.  I was stumbling in the dark to make some coffee this morning, I flipped on the microwave light to see a roach scurry across the kitchenette stove top. Again with the shudder, the moans, the general freakout as I hopped barefoot back on to the bed and scrambled to my phone to type a hasty text to Eric who had already left this morning: IMG_6892

I went to the front desk. As she said she would let housekeeping know, I think she was trying not to laugh at me.  I don’t care. You think I’m a pansy, a wimp, whatever who can’t deal with bugs? Okay. Yup. That’s me. Sue me. Just come kill my bugs first.

As I type this, I am cowering and trembling with dread sitting on the bed with the kiddos waiting for housekeeping to arrive. It’s been about an hour. I refuse to go back into the kitchen. I think I’ll be throwing on a ball cap and taking the kids OUT for breakfast. And perhaps lunch. This must be what it felt like for ocean swimmers after seeing Jaws.

I think I’m gonna need more than a bigger boat.