Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Creepy Crawlies Are After Me

So, long time no blog... but I had a realization that I figured was blog-worthy.

Tuesday morning as I was eating breakfast, I saw movement in the kitchen out of the corner of my eye. I turned to see a lighting-fast-crawling-freak-of-nature-thing scooting across my kitchen floor and onto the carpet. By the time I got up to grab a trapping method (benefit of having husband around - I do the trapping, then call him in for the kill), the thing had disappeared. I searched all over the place for the thing but never found it.  Unfortunately, I ended up having to leave for work knowing I had a huge creepy-crawly pet somewhere in my home.  Makes me shudder just thinking about it - I promise you the thing was at least 2 inches long.

When I got home that day, I started straightening up a few things.  Low and behold, this thing came crawling directly across my path in the hallway (must not be very smart, if you ask me).  I hurried to the kitchen to get my trusty plastic cup that has been my go-to trap for monsters on the carpet.  Thankfully, he didn't scoot as fast as that morning for some reason, so I was able to catch him up under the cup.  The plan from there is typically to let the cup sit there till J gets home, who then gets the honor of doing the bug duty. With tiny creatures, he usually just grabs a paper towel or tissue and does the deed.  But with big monsters, a lot of times he'll do the slide-cardboard-under-the-cup deal and take the thing back outside somewhere.  That ended up being his method of choice yesterday as well when I showed him the waiting cup.

Now, you're probably thinking I've got some sort of bug phobia.  And I'd probably agree with you.  I don't know at what point that changed, but years ago I used to have no fear when it came to squashing things that were unwelcome in my home.  Now I can't even squish one - I almost get sick if I do and hear the noises of bug death.  BLEGH... gives me the goosebumps.  Maybe the change came when I was off at college by myself and was BOMBARDED by bugs.  I swear to you, my apartment senior year was a direct line to some sort of colony.  Literally for a few months, my bathroom and kitchen always surprised me with a bug of many different varieties... on the ceiling above my head while I'm at the sink, on the wall while I'm in the shower, shooting across the floor at me.  I ended up with bug traps up under my bathroom cabinet, spraying poison all over the place, and I even had to set off those stupid bug bombs (which ended up setting of the smoke alarms, which I had to leave on because you can't go back in for hours with the exploding bombs... I just couldn't win).  And even after all that, I still had bug issues.  The apartment office was no help either.  So I checked everything - every last corner in the house for holes and cracks, places in the doors and windows where they might squeeze through...  My last resort was to duct-tape up the overflow hole in my bathroom sink, and for some strange reason, my bug issues were mostly resolved after that.  Go figure.  So unless they finally ate the poison from the traps and carried it back to their immense colony somewhere, they were entering through my sink??

Fast forward to now, in my current apartment, and I still have bug issues.  It's actually a townhome, so I'm on the ground and have a door directly leading to a sidewalk surrounded by landscaped areas with mulch and bushes - perfect hiding ground for the crawlies that want to sneak in my front door and windows.  And I promise you that multiple times a week I'm calling J into the room I'm in to kill a bug that I see.  The typical breed is spiders - a lot of them fairly small, but we've had some monster spiders that require me running and getting out the cup trap.  We also get the little rolly pollies in the back room, which obviously are coming in via the stupid sliding doors, but I don't mind them so much.  But I just can't imagine where these monster things come from.

I started to think about it a while back, and I wondered how many cracks and holes are probably in this place in areas that I can't check - back behind/in kitchen cabinets, behind the frig, behind the washer and dryer... I mean it's not like they swoop in the front door unseen for the 2 seconds that we have it open every day.  Yet I constantly find them trying to make a run for it across my living room floor, across my kitchen, down my walls, and even defying gravity and scaling my ceiling.  The worst was when I had a spider DROP DOWN onto me from the ceiling like a ninja, web and all, while I'm sitting peacefully on my couch watching TV.  Talk about a freak-out moment - who the heck could be prepared for that??  Then of course the couch is dark and patterned, and the spider elusively got away and wasn't found that night.  GAH.

Earlier in the spring, I began to do some investigating in our kitchen.  Ever since I've lived here, the corner cabinet in the kitchen has had some black and white spots on the floor under it.  I'd clean it, and a few weeks later, the spots are back.  After checking it out, I realized that the cabinets had an open area up under the front that creates a perfect haven for these creatures.  I'd swear to J that something is living up under there and leaving its nasty deposits on our floor for us.  And with every kitchen spider I killed, I figured I might have finally gotten the culprit.  But no, the spots kept reappearing.  So finally one day, I got out the most trusted common tool in the world - duct tape.  And I taped up the underside of the front of the cabinet - completely sealed it.  No more spots in the corner... but they began appearing under other parts of the cabinet.  So one day, it occurred to me to use a mirror instead of craning my head upside down against the kitchen floor.  I examined the entire length of the cabinets... and in one right in the middle lived one of the creepiest spiders I've ever seen.  And right beside it... an egg sack.  So we'd finally found the culprit, but getting rid of it was another thing - apparently everything with more than 4 legs that barges into our house has lightning-fast speed capabilities.  But J got it... and I took a picture.  I haven't yet done the research to identify what it was, but it sure was ugly.  And after going back and looking at these pictures again, I don't think I'm going to do the research.  This particular spider memory will just fade into oblivion... because rest assured, all of the cabinets in my kitchen and 2 bathrooms now have completely duct-tape-sealed areas up under the front.

"Hey guys... mind if I shack up under your cabinets and excrete on your kitchen floor? No? Ok then, see ya around the house..."

(yes it's in an old snack bag from my lunchbox - I wasn't about to examine this thing up close without some sort of physical barrier giving me superiority...)

J pokes fun sometimes and says I have bug radar, but it's probably true.  I think growing up my mom was always spotting bugs and just things in general that were out of place on the floor, walls, etc., and that very well may be where I inherited the radar from.  It's not like I'm constantly on the lookout specifically for bugs, but I do have an eye for detail.  I can't help it if I'm looking around while making dinner and I see an odd black spot on the floor or wall - wouldn't that ring a bell for you that all is not right in the home, that something is there that shouldn't be?  Well, I think so... so I check it out.  And 98% of the time I've just spotted a bug.  The other 2% is random stray dryer lint in the hallway, a string from somebody's pants or socks, or outside paraphernalia such as leaves or mulch.

You know, I think I have more than bug radar.  I think it's a bug homing beacon or something that I have no control over.  Because how many bugs has J spotted since we've met?  Um, I can't even remember any.  I'm always the one stumbling upon them at home, or having them drop on me on the couch or in the car (yes, in the car too... yet another freak-out moment).  Then yesterday, when J took this massive creepy crawly thing with a hundred legs outside and THREW it into the parking lot, the thing continually seemed to turn around and start crawling back towards our place.  No matter what J did with sticks or shoes to shoo it the other way (conveniently into the path of cars through the lot), the thing would eventually turn back around, like it had a signal set on our place.  Needless to say, I came back inside before the inevitable happened.  When J came back in, I was informed that he didn't get bug guts on his new tennis shoes, but I didn't need to worry about this particular crawly coming back in here anymore.

So fast forward to yesterday morning.  I come downstairs to get my bags together, and head to the shoe rack that sits at the base of the stairs.  I grab my shoes, sit on the 2nd stair to put them on, and what do I see out of the corner of my eye?  No joke, another of these creepy crawlies like the previous day shoots away from the stairway into the living room.  There's no telling how close I came to this thing actually touching me at the stairs and creating a major freak-out moment again.  But thankfully, I was able to book it with one sock on, grab a cup, and trap the sucker in front of the door.  No clue why, but my curiosity got the best of me and I raised the cup for a hot second to get a better look at the type of thing that's apparently trying to torment me.  I should have known better from the lightning-fast one the day before, but it shot out from under the cup.  I tried trapping it again, and in doing so laid the cup down halfway across the monster, hearing a nasty buggy-cracking noise, I get the shudders and gag, and thankfully trap the thing again in its entirety.  With all of this happening before 7am, I can assure you that I was ready and willing to get out of the house of creepy crawlies.  I think J ended up taking this out outside again but not even giving it the benefit of the doubt as he did yesterday, since he was headed to work too and had on the infamous steel toe boots.  Ick.  I informed him that he was not to walk around the house in those boots now.

I was also reminded that this same type of creature (although dead) had surprised me last Monday morning at home from inside my LUNCH BOX.  Although there was no food in it, I guess he was curious, and ended up meeting his fate at some point over the weekend at the bottom of my plastic water cup (which was directly put in the dishwasher after discovery).  So, in an effort to become more familiar with these unwelcome guests, I've done a little research of my own.  The immediate words that come to mind are centipedes and millipedes.  These crawlies are definitely somehow related, and I think I've found the one that's been trying to drive me crazy these past few days.  I was so grossed out that I wasn't even about to take a picture of it myself at home.  And I can't even stand to look at the photo on this internet article, so it's definitely not earning a photo spot on my blog.  But you can see it here - it may not be the exact thing, but it's close enough.  Talk about gross...

Anyway, the plan this weekend is to do another round of the bugspray around the doors and windows (even though we did it about a month ago and it's supposed to last 12 months).  And I know you could be wondering about the cleanliness of my home, but I promise you I keep this place straight and clean.  So I just don't understand the torment.  But I will deal, as I always have, and rise above.  Yes, I will rise above the bugs.

...but I still wish they could be like these bugs instead... at least they'd be nice and talk to me.

Heck, maybe they are, and I just have the evil ones invading my home...

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