Friday, October 9, 2009

How Do You Encourage Unwelcome House Guests to Say Goodbye?

As I was making my coffee the other morning, I noticed that I had company.

At first glance, I thought it was a huge daddy longlegs, which brought back a rush of fond childhood memories. On closer inspection, I realized it was not.

It had long legs alright, but it also had pronounced yellow and black stripes on its body just above the legs and it was in the middle of a construction project. Were I to allow it to continue its task, my kitchen would soon become a mere element of the spider's grand design. I had to act quickly.

I grabbed a nearby freezer bag, enticed the creature into it, and escorted it outside. It took a bit of bag-shaking to encourage the spider to leave—it had continued its web construction inside the bag. But I succeeded.

This confusion of habitat happens with every change of seasons. And I prefer to gently remind the confused that their habitat is outside mine.

But I have to confess that the heebie-jeebies some critters give me make me murderous. Clothes moths, for instance. See an infestation of those in a favorite cashmere sweater and you'd know what I mean. I can't kill those guys fast enough. I'm itching right now just
writing about them. The other icky things that I'm not nice to are silverfish and those million-leg bugs.

I'm sorry, truly sorry that I don't have it in me to be kind to all the world's creatures. But these three freak me out (which is why they don't get accompanying photos in this article). Last night, out of the corner of my naked (sans glasses) eye, I noticed what I thought was a mouse in the bathroom. I thought it odd that it was in the tub, so I moved in for a closer look.


It was one of the million-leg critters! I ran to the kitchen, picked up a tea kettle of water, and drove him toward the drain in a torrent. Every little leg curled up and I considered the mission accomplished.

Fast-forward to this morning: same bathroom, same flash out of the corner of my eye.


The mouse-sized bug had recovered. I ran from the bathroom because the tea kettle was whistling. And because I didn't know what Plan B would be.

Still don't.

I'd read once that the larger those bugs are, the older they are. This guy must have a few thousand years on him. How can I wipe out all that history? (Ha! I'm trying to imagine something good about the bug and in my mind's eye suddenly saw it posing for a women's footwear ad, each little leg snugly fitting into a different couture shoe.)

I'll let you know if I figure it out.

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