I make a lot of jokes on Facebook about spiders and fire, but the truth is, I’ve been in charge of getting rid of all creepy things in my living environment for over half my life, and I’m kind of proud of my rep as Terminator of All Yucky Pests. Oh, there’s a bug/spider/creepy thing bothering you? Squish. You are welcome – anything else you need taken care of, while I’m here?
My sister couldn’t tolerate the centipedes that occasionally ran across the floor in our house (always late at night and just out of the corner of your eye as you foraged in the kitchen for snacks), so I became the default centipede-smasher for her. Ditto any bugs or spiders in the shower. In college, my roommate was of the sort to wake me up to kill a spider the size of a pencil eraser. Anything larger and she would vacate the room while I dealt with the situation. Then other friends started asking me to kill stuff for them, too. They still do – on a camping trip with some of my best girlfriends last summer, I spent each evening defending my more-squeamish sisters from bugs and crawlies of every stripe and size with an electrified bug swatter. You get blasé about it after enough hits, cocky even – there’s a satisfaction to confronting something while others shriek and scatter, even on such a small scale.
How I feel when I defend my loved ones from shit with too many damn legs.
So it wasn’t overly perturbing to me when I discovered the now-DH could not in any way handle pests of the domestic variety. The first time there was a mouse in the basement of our old house, he went upstairs and wouldn’t come back down until I had ‘trapped’ it and taken it out to the woods (there wasn’t really much trapping involved, as it was only just this side of alive when I found it). He won’t empty mousetraps, either – apparently dead mice are just as scary as live ones (personally, I find the traps scarier than the mice – the covered ones are a lot more expensive, but at least there’s no chance I’ll lose fingers setting them). I have watched him jump up on furniture at the sight of a mouse, while I curse, fetch my garden gloves, and rally the cats to help me catch the damn thing. It’s hilarious and adorable and never fails to remind me of The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannogin in The Holy Grail. And it’s the ultimate fodder for teasing and making fun of him, forever.
Like when we returned home from Disney World a few weeks ago to find a dead mouse under the Ping-Pong table. One of us quickly grabbed a baggie, retrieved it, and pondered the cause of death while attempting to show it to the other (‘Natural causes, or did the cats scare it to death? I’m betting the latter – doesn’t its fur look kind of chewed-on here?’). The other ran. Guess who was who? Ah, good times.
Or the time there was a snake in the basement. It was just a little snake, but obviously it couldn’t hang out down there and get bigger, so I tried to catch it. And tried. And tried. And then got really pissed at the futility of chasing something three times as fast and a fraction of my size in a basement filled with junk, and “caught” it with a garden hoe instead. At that point, the only thing to do was to put it in a shoebox and present it to the DH when he got home from work (hey, I was PROUD, ok? I worked hard on that! I totally understood the thing with cats, mice, and doorsteps in that moment).
Are you kidding me? I slaved over this all morning, for YOU!! And that’s the thanks I get?
Y’all, white men CAN jump. I’ve seen it. Apparently dead snakes are really scary, too.
My advanced training in Annihilating All That Slither, Skitter, or Creep also comes in very handy when quick action is truly needed. Like the time I spotted a black widow spider on the bathroom wall opposite from where I sat doing my business, in a house filled with young children. I took that sucker out without even getting up (that’s exactly how Sarah Connor would roll, btw). Or the time my crawling daughter took off after a spider bigger than her fist while mama was halfway across the room folding laundry. That baby was off the floor and the mutant vanquished with my shoe before rational thought entered into it; it was pure instinct in the face of danger. Sarah would have been proud.
But even I tap out when the level of disgusting reaches a certain threshold. The ants here have always been pretty persistent and difficult to eradicate, despite my repeated and ruthless declarations of war, and every year it seemed to get a little worse. Until the lovely spring day last year when we came downstairs to find an army of thousands of the little bastards crawling through my purse to get at the cat food bowl. That was the day I flew my own White Flag of Feck This and called a service to come eradicate them, and the 26 other covered pests on their list. I mean, hey, while they’re here, right?
Everyone has their limits. My purse is mine. It was my favorite, too. WAS. *Shudders*
How do you deal with household pests? Are you a squasher, a runner, or a free-to-be-you-and-me coexister?
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