Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Creepie crawlies

A friend asked why we haven’t posted anything about the creepie crawlies lately and wondered if they’ve disappeared, or we’ve just become so used to them that they’re mundane and not worth mentioning. The answer is option B. I didn’t think it would happen, but we’ve reached the point that when we see a scorpion, whoever spots it just keeps an eye on it and shouts “Machete!” and the other knows to come running with a machete so the scorpion can be dispatched. We’d been very worried about what would happen to the dogs if they got too close, but after Nock’s encounter, we know that while a sting (probably minor, but still a sting) might lead to a couple of days of discomfort, it’s not serious. We still carry flashlights and/or wear slippers if we get up to use the bathroom at night because we don’t want to step on one, and we shake our towels and don’t stick our hands in dark places, but we’ve learned that the scorpions are generally slow moving and not at all aggressive, so we just don’t worry too much about them. Also, Petranela told us that this is “scorpion season” and that we’re likely to see more now than at any other time of the year, so if this is as bad as it gets, it’s not too bad.

News flash from Tom – Tom just got nipped in the thumb by a scorpion in a basket that he was looking through when it was dark and he got stung. It just felt like a pinch and that was all. No swelling, no pain, nothing else to report (except the odd twitch in his neck that pitches his head 90 degrees to the left every 12 seconds – only kidding). The little rascal – the scorpion that is – was quickly dispatched after locking the dogs in the other room. Marge grabbed a machete, while Tom stood watch over the basket for signs of an escape attempt by Sir Scorpion.

Another creepie crawlie encounter that I debated not posting was my meeting with a snake in my kitchen. I was making granola in the kitchen in the mid morning, and suddenly both Jacks were at attention looking into the space between the corner counter and the sink. I glanced down, just in time to see a tail disappearing in my appliances as the snake headed towards the stove. All I knew from this first glance was that it was a dark-colored snake, so I grabbed the dogs and threw them out of the kitchen, quickly following them and slamming the door. I yelled for Tom, calmly, I thought, and said I needed him NOW. He came running, I told him what was going on, and we went back in the kitchen each armed with a machete to see what we were up against. We quickly determined that it was just a rat snake, nothing dangerous or poisonous, but I also quickly determined that I didn’t want to share my kitchen with him. We moved all the pots and pans and Tom stayed inside with a machete to try to steer him out through a crack in the floor, and I went under the house to watch and make sure he made his exit. He ended up under the stove where Tom couldn’t reach him but I could see him through a crack, so we finally made him move by spraying him with bug spray. It may have been a mistake since the rat Nock has been hunting was back within a couple of days after an absence of a few weeks, but still, I don’t want to start on the slippery slope of sharing my kitchen with the jungle critters. And, I decided that I might as well post this since we also had snakes occasionally in both of our New York houses, so this isn’t something that happens only in the jungle.

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