A blog may be the best thing that ever happened to my husband. He is so very tired of my endless rants, mumbling, pet peeves, etc. I can now inflict them on the unsuspecting world. Why do I hate mornings so very much? I feel so savage in the morning that I could literally EAT people. In a couple hours, I’m OK. By then, the damage has been inflicted. I have so many pet peeves, I could not number them. If I had that many pets, I would be a cat lady. At work, we have discussed gettting a valium salt lick. Do these actually exist? I’m sure that somewhere on EBay, there is one. They sell everything on EBay, even live wolf spiders. I know this because our hous is infested with brown recluse spiders. Apparently wolf spiders are one of their few natural predators. I actuallly considered releasing a cadre of wolf spiders into my house to kill the recluses. That is desperation. I discovered what these spiders were while I was pregnant. Despite my intrinsically cynical nature, I tend to be kind to living things and don’t have the heart to squish them. For a year or so, I saw what I described to my husband as Giant Spiders which appeared in fairly large numbers in the bathtubs. I thought it was funny. I didn’t sqush them. I figured, hell, they’d eat bugs. One day, our housekeeper casually remarked, "You know, those spiders in the tub are brown recluses." No they’re not, I thought. I was WAY too clever to not recognize a brown recluse. After all, their danger lay in the fact that they stayed unseen because they were so very TINY. Surely they could not be the enormous leggy things in my tub, which were all too visible. I contemplated this for a day or two. Then I decided, hell, I’d never actually seen one, so I typed Brown Recluse into Google Images, and sonofabitch, pictures of my giant tub spiders popped up all over the damn screen. I began to hyperventilate. Here I was, pregnant with our first child, and our house was infested with poisonous man-eating spiders. I had horrific images of my new baby with huge ulcerated rotting skin lesions where the spiders had bitten. I had, as they say in the southern vernacular, a good old-fashioned come-apart. I marched into my husband’s office and demanded that they be exterminated. Immediately. "It’s nine o’clock at night," my husband said. I did not care. In my progesterone fueled frenzy, I was quite certain that somewhere, there was an exterminator for hire who could be brought in, at any price, at any hour. I am normally a rational person, but let me tell you, with lots of experience, that pregnancy renders otherwise perfectly logical women insane. It seems that these little bastards are almost impossible to get rid of. They can go an entire year without food or water, and the females, once fertilized, can carry fertilized eggs for years without laying them. How in the hell do you get rid of something like that? Clearly, they are horrible aliens from outer space. Now, I smush them. Cheerfully. The exterminator comes once a month and my husband jerks all the furniture away from the wall for him & doesn’t put it back. We have our daughter (now 4, and blessedly unscarred by wiley spider attacks) trained to stay a mile away from those things. I discovered sometime after moving here that this town’s secret shame is a citywide infestation with these wretched things. I have never lived anywhere where recluses were everywhere. I have learned from a friend, whose husband works for a pest control company in town, that numerous local businesses are also infested. Having a Bridezilla bitten by a spider in a visible place whilst trying on wedding gowns could probably have a negative effect on one’s business. We don’t see them much now except when they come out in summer time. Most are dead. I guess the best thing I can say about the cursed things is that we have never had cockroaches in our house. Never. For a house in the deep south that contains a 4 year old, that is a hell of a statement. And lordy, I do hate a cockroach.
In fact, on the subject of cockroaches… don’t you hate the ones that fly out at you when you open the kitchen cabinets? When we lived in New Orleans, my roommate and I were pursued through the house relentlessly by a roach we THOUGHT we had smushed – it flew and staggered after us through 3 or 4 rooms. It was horrifying. Those things get as large a shrews or small mice down there anyway. And don’t be fooled by people who call them Palmetto bugs. They’re COCKROACHES, plain and simple. You can put icing on a pile of poop, but it’s still a pile of poop. On the subject of vermin in New Orleans, one of our favorite sports was to sit on the porch swing at night with a six-pack of beer and watch the rats run from house to house on the telephone and power lines. We were easily amused. Those powerlines are a virtual rat highway. We had them living in our attic there. When they stomped around, they sounded like people. And there were a lot of crunching noises. You couldn’t leave anything on the kitchen counters – we had to put the flour and sugar in the fridge. Those buggers could even break into cannisters. I did get my revenge once. I have spent a good bit of my life on the Atkins (or other) diet, and at that time kept sugar free candy on the counter. I didn’t think it would interest the rats. It remained untouched for several weeks until some brave (stupid) rat decided to sample it. He pigged out on sugar free chocolate. As we may recall, overconsumption of sugar alcohols causes a major gas/laxative effect. Even better, rats have no way of expelling gas, which is why you should not feed your pet rat soda. The laxative effect kicked in before the rat even got away from the counter. There began a trail of pellets, which turned into splats, which turned into this long streaky trail of muddy poop. I can only imagine how crappy (pun intended) that rat felt. Ha ha! I did feel a bit menaced by the rats after my last roommate moved out – living alone in New Orleans is a bit creepy anyway, and the aggressive stomping in the ceilings was a little unnerving. One night I got brave and pounded on the wall to shut them up. To my horror, I heard the footsteps descend from the ceiling down the wall, where they stopped right at the head of my bed. That was the last time I bothered the rats. I had the uneasy feeling that they had formed some kind of junta and were planning a guerilla attack and coup if I got out of line. I suppose the good thing about the spiders is, at least they aren’t social animals and are unlikely to march upon us in formation any time soon.