If I ever disappear, question the bugs

I love how you all enjoy my discussion of all the wonderful new wildlife here in the south. And by “enjoy” I mean “squeal like little girls.” I feel you, I do. I don’t like it either. And yesterday as I was reading the comments about our velvet ant sighting, I said to myself, “Self, that is surely the strangest bug you are going to see here in Georgia.”

Ha!

Well, pride goeth before a fall. And denial goeth before more weird bugs. Shortly thereafter, I had the dubious pleasure of sighting something actually much weirder (and LARGER), though it was thankfully in someone else’s house, so I plan to believe no such creature could ever come in here. (Also, it’s a basement-dweller and we have no basement! Ergo, I’m in the clear! Lalalalalala… what? I can’t hear you!)

So yesterday, I was sitting in a (finished) basement, and one of these (again, people, do not click through if you are squeamish, please) started coming towards me AND MY CHILD and in the interest of not having to explain to my ex that our baby’s brains were sucked out by a giant cricket, I tried to drop a cup over the top of this thing before it got to us.

I approached with the cup, and it didn’t move. I prepared the drop the cup, and this thing jumped three feet into the air and I shrieked like the awesome guest that I am. And then my friend the camel cricket (thusly named because “Freaky Armadillo-Like Giganto Crawfish-Looking Cricket Mutant” was deemed a bit too wordy) went and hid under a couch.

Then I remembered that I had left the iron on. And the water running. And something on the stove. And that I needed to go bleach my entire body. So we went home.

So I think it’s safe to say that the bugs, they are getting on my nerves a bit. All that snow and ice back up north tends to keep these sorts of things from developing, as it’s hard to breed Big Ugly Bugs in sub-zero temperatures.

Other things that are annoying me of late, in no particular order but offered forthwith because as long as we’re talking about bugs why not continue on to all of the things irritating me because I am nothing if not ready to jump on the bandwagon of grumpy:

1) My Kroger has stopped carrying organic 1% milk. They carry organic whole, skim, and 2% milk. If you want 1% you are just out of luck, buddy. Oh, sure… I bought matching half-gallons of 2% and skim and mixed them, at first, but LIFE IS SHORT. I am now buying skim milk for the children and worrying that they will become even skinnier than they already are, but I know from experience that if I allow them 2% the scrawny one (not naming any names, but he may be nearing 8 years old and still wearing size 5 Slim shorts, while in colder weather I will simply have to duct tape his size 7s around him to keep them up) will declare he is too full to eat food. So. Damn you, Kroger—I’m already spending about SEVEN DOLLARS A GALLON on this stuff because I am a sucker and I prefer not to stuff my children full of hormones and antibiotics. Is it too much to ask at that price point that I get to have the fat content I want? Is it??

2) As a corollary to #1 up there: The new Publix has been under construction FOR-FREAKING-EVER. Are they building it one brick at a time? Hand-carried to the job site from out of state? I don’t understand. (And I am not exaggerating. When we came down in FEBRUARY to look at houses, they were already building it. Er, pretending to build it.) I pinky swear I will shop there if they ever finish building it, so HURRY UP.

3) I am getting a cold. BAH. I have no time to be sick. None. Plus the children aren’t even sick, so what is up with this? I haven’t licked any public guardrails in a really long time. Very confusing.

4) My daughter came home with MUD all smeared down the back of her shirt yesterday, and insisted that it was from a boy SPITTING on her. Attempts to explain the physics of the relative size of a child’s cheek capacity vs. the enormous stain on her shirt were unsuccessful. Upon contacting the teacher I found out that my charming child had gotten into trouble yesterday for some minor misbehavior, which may explain the reason she was reluctant to tell the teacher about the shirt incident. The actual event remains something of a mystery, and the shirt is on its second washing but I fear it is ruined. I fear MORE that there is more to this story than she is telling and neither the teacher nor I are sure what that might be.

5) On the heels of the shirt drama we were PULLING INTO THE SCHOOL this morning when Chickadee realized she’d forgotten her folder. I was barely into my “Too bad, so sad, you need to be more responsible” routine when she started to cry, saying that failure to bring it back would lose her another recess and give her a mark on her record. We don’t live all that far from school, but a decision had to be made quickly. I dropped Monkey off and agreed to run Chickadee home to fetch the folder. (“Oh, you can drop her and then bring her folder in and drop it off for her,” offered the nice drop-off monitor. “Um, no,” I told her, “if I have to run home for HER stuff, she is coming with me.”) I don’t know if I made the right decision. Part of me thinks I should’ve let her suffer the consequences. (I was ready to let her suffer the consequence of a tardy, but the traffic gods were kind and we made it back in time.) I settled for “This is the ONE AND ONLY TIME we will do this. Next time you’re out of luck.”

Actually, next time I think I will feed her to a camel cricket.

70 Responses to “If I ever disappear, question the bugs”

  1. 1
    Burgh Baby's Mom September 11, 2007 at 9:33 am #

    I just used your plethora of bug photos as an excuse for why we can’t go visit my in-laws in the South (dude, there are these things and those things and hell no I am not intentionally putting myself near them, thank you very much). Wish me luck.

    Also–”lose another” recess?” Why, oh why, is Miss Chickadee losing multiple recesses? Has she been spitting mud puddles at the other kids?

  2. 2
    Leandra September 11, 2007 at 9:34 am #

    I know I’m going to be the only one to say this, but I love camel crickets. I love crickets in general. I totally need to take you to my mom’s house and let you see the gi-normous red and black grasshoppers that populate her yard.

    I’me peeved at Wal-Mart because they are no longer carrying the regular White Cloud diapers — only the SUPER White Cloud diapers, of which you get 1/3 fewer for the same price!!

  3. 3
    Aubri September 11, 2007 at 9:37 am #

    That awful camel cricket just scared the snot out of me. I am so glad we don’t have those up here… Although, I am eternally jealous of your pool and casino… and the general warmth that you get to enjoy. Idaho is too cold for life in general, though we do have a ton of weird beetle-type things.

  4. 4
    Jenn September 11, 2007 at 9:40 am #

    Holy crap, the bugs down there look nasty enough that if you try to squish them, they will squish you back.

  5. 5
    janie September 11, 2007 at 9:40 am #

    We have those nasty crickets here in Southern Maryland. They like to eat holes in your clothes. So, um, make sure you fold your laundry and put it away and don’t leave it on the floor of your laundry room where they can eat through your clothes like they are an all you can eat buffet. Not that I’ve had any experience with that.

    I think I’m going to go fold my laundry now.

  6. 6
    All Adither September 11, 2007 at 9:44 am #

    For the shirt: try soaking it in Oxyclean. You might have to let it sit there for five months, but that should do the trick.

    As far as consequences: soooooo hard! I’m confounded as to when to let them suffer and when to cut them slack. ergh.

  7. 7
    Missy September 11, 2007 at 9:46 am #

    A few things:
    The bugs? Welcome to the South. I live down here in Florida, where we have toe-biters (no lie, they look like mutant roaches with little sucker/needle things on their heads, and they literally suck blood. Look them up!). Have you run across mole crickets yet? That was my first thought when I began reading your post this morning, that you’d been indoctrinated into the world of mole crickets.
    How about Palmetto bugs? And just so you know, when (and I say when because this is inevitable) you finally meet a palmetto bug, be aware that they can fly!! It’s sitting there, all still and bug-like, on the back of the bathroom door, and you’re reaching for the mop to smack it with (hey, it was handy), when suddenly it launches itself off the door and straight toward you face OMFG. Good luck with those.

    Also, on the Publix thing? Best store on earth. I shopped at Kroger when I lived in SC, and it can’t compare in any respect to Publix. You will love it. Pinky swear! :)

  8. 8
    Jessica September 11, 2007 at 9:46 am #

    THAT THING is what is currently living in my basement!!! In Virginia, so they come further North too. And since I am more scared of crickets than I am of ANYTHING ON THE ENTIRE FACE OF THE EARTH ( I don’t know why, don’t ask), and since my husband can’t catch the thing to kill it (because it really does jump like 3 feet at a time), I cannot go in my basement. Although this has its perks, as that means I cannot do laundry or clean the cat box, husband has to do it until he can kill the F’er. This also means though, that somehow husband’s clothes all got washed this weekend, and I am out of clean underwear. Strange how that happened. I am so glad I know what this creature of Satan is now…thank you Mir. Now if only we could figure out a way to kill it.

  9. 9
    msb September 11, 2007 at 9:59 am #

    I have an 8TH GRADER who, in two weeks of school up here north of you (we start after Labor Day), so technically, after 5 days of school – had me running TWICE to the office after he got there (he called from said office) to bring him things he forgot. He is on the 3 strikes your out rule so only one more time and he is on his own. This rule actually works. You’d be amazed at what they remember after losing priveleges at school for something they forgot – — tears, yes, but hey – you only have to go through the tears a couple times before they start to GET IT.

    But grade school – I figure you are still teaching them responsibility – I always brought them their stuff in grade school – but then again, we live RIGHT NEXT DOOR – I could throw a stone at it… so it was no big deal then.

  10. 10
    Sheila September 11, 2007 at 10:11 am #

    Quoting the Clemson Entomology web site:

    “These brownish, humpbacked crickets are found in dark, moist basements. The antennae of this wingless cricket are extremely long. People are frequently frightened by the unusual appearance of the camel cricket, but it is harmless.”

    Harmless? If one of those things jumped toward my face I’d probably go into cardiac arrest, so no… NOT HARMLESS.

  11. 11
    Not The Mama September 11, 2007 at 10:11 am #

    Oh my god — that cricket is the exact cricket I blogged about today! I didn’t know it was a special kind of cricket, I just thought it was particularly ugly. We live in a basement apartment (for ten more days!) so it’s not surprising that we have them, I guess. I’ve seen three of them in the last week. The most recent one was INSIDE a shirt. Not my shirt, thank god.

  12. 12
    kaleigh September 11, 2007 at 10:12 am #

    I know those crickets. We called them Cricket Spiders in my old house (that’s what the bug man called them, anyway). A basic bug bomb will eliminate them for a few months. We bombed the basement about twice a year and only saw bunches of the crickets when it was time to bomb. (Our basement was unfinished and had an open crawlspace, so we had plenty of neat wildlife down there…did I mention that my new house is on a slab and we never see such interesting creatures anymore?) But, at any rate, camel crickets don’t bite or do anything, but they sure can hop! (And they never attempted to leave the basement, either…they must like the warm, moist environment….)

    I would’ve picked up the folder, too, with the same caveat. You made the right decision.

  13. 13
    Lulu September 11, 2007 at 10:18 am #

    I loathe the camel cricket. And I disagree with the “they are harmless” statement on that Web site. When the “Freaky Armadillo-Like Giganto Crawfish-Looking Cricket Mutant(s)” cause you to flail around like a startled ape, trip over a chair, and bruise knees and elbows, and almost chip a tooth, they are not considered “harmless.” I’m just sayin…

  14. 14
    SusieJ September 11, 2007 at 10:26 am #

    Oh man. I hate bugs. I swear by boric acid.

  15. 15
    janet September 11, 2007 at 10:26 am #

    Maybe the bed snake will eat the bugs? We can hope…

  16. 16
    Pam September 11, 2007 at 10:28 am #

    Sweet Fancy Moses, the bugs are creepy down here. We had a camel cricket get caught in a mutant super-strong spider web and hang from the garage door and swing at us like a menacing pinata once, and I nearly lost it.

    My 3-year old boy, so clearly a boy’s boy, is scared of butterflies. Not quite so manly, that.

  17. 17
    Anne Glamore September 11, 2007 at 10:28 am #

    Oh MY DEAR LORD we are bereft of icky camel crickets at the moment but dealing with the “suffer the consequences,” not to mention the pre-acne (YES- such a condition DOES exist!) and the smelly feet ( I have cleats soaking in Kitty litter!!) is killing me.
    Why did I think this would be easier once school started?

  18. 18
    Ani September 11, 2007 at 10:30 am #

    Ah so now I know what that evil-looking thing that lives near my desk in the basement is called. Luckily, our friendly neighborhood BugGuy sprays and they all go away. Well, they stay in the basement, but have the decency to die. And still manage to look at me mockingly.

    You may try asking the manager at the Kroger to carry the 1%, if they have every other kind of organic milk, they can probably accommodate. At least, our local (ha…15 miles away) Publix will do special requests like that.

    What IS it with all the darn folders in elementary school now? Sheesh, I feel like the rainforests cry every day to see how much paper is photocopied/passed out in my son’s 2nd grade class. I’m with Kaleigh, you did the right thing by picking up and warning about the next time. Sometimes, we all need a little slack.

    Oh, and red southern mud? NEVER comes out. That shirt is history. Too much iron in the dirt around here.

    Feel better soon

  19. 19
    Aimee September 11, 2007 at 10:39 am #

    GAH! Ew, ew, ew, ew, ew, ew, ew.

    The thing I haven’t recovered from (and never will) out here in So. Cal. is the SIZE of the SPIDERS. Dear god, but they are ENORMOUS.

  20. 20
    Heidi September 11, 2007 at 11:08 am #

    Crickets scare you? Ha! You should have seen the mountain lion that tried to make an appetizer out of my cat the other day. No joke.

  21. 21
    ZooMom September 11, 2007 at 11:26 am #

    Have you tried hydrogen peroxide for the shirt? If too much iron is the problem peroxide will remove it: it takes out blood stains… Just be careful because it can also bleach the shirt if left in too long.

  22. 22
    daisy September 11, 2007 at 11:30 am #

    Perhaps you are suffering from new allergies and not a cold? My poor daughter has terrible allergies and everytime we go out of state she suffers anew from something she hadn’t come into contact before.

  23. 23
    BOSSY September 11, 2007 at 11:33 am #

    Is anyone else really itchy?

  24. 24
    becky September 11, 2007 at 11:39 am #

    i will not click the links.
    i will not click the links.
    i will not click the links.

  25. 25
    Amy-Go September 11, 2007 at 12:02 pm #

    I was going to say for the love of God stop going to Kroger when you live in the land of Publix but then you explained. But a brand-new Publix? Total shivers of jealousy here in Kansas!
    ORKIN. Is your best friend in Georgia. And ask him to bring his pal Terminix to your next party. Just sayin’.

  26. 26
    Julie September 11, 2007 at 12:18 pm #

    Earthfare for the milk. But it will make it hard to ever go back to Kroger again!

  27. 27
    Jan September 11, 2007 at 12:19 pm #

    Do you not have Costco where you live? At Costco the only kind of organic milk they have is 1% — three half-gallons for $7.50. Or Trader Joe’s? Such a sad world when there’s no Trader Joe’s …

  28. 28
    The Other Leanne September 11, 2007 at 12:23 pm #

    1. Zout. It won the Slate Magazine (www.slate.com) stain-remover challenge. I tried it and it really is better.
    2. I’m a-scared to click those links.
    3. The guy on the plane told me he wasn’t contagious while he coughed all over everything. Now I have a cold. Or tuberculosis.
    4. Does it seem that grocery stores now offer only what they want you to buy? that the selection is becoming increasingly limited? Suddenly after 5 years, my Albertson’s is no longer carrying Wolfgang Puck soups. No room for the soup, but plenty of room for TVs and patio furniture.

  29. 29
    Colleen September 11, 2007 at 1:36 pm #

    Hey! I just found one of those in my dishwasher yesterday and I don’t have a basement and I only live about a half hour down 316 from you. You must know that you are never safe here. Never. It’s almost time for the ladybug invasion, although they weren’t as bad last year as the year before, and they’re ladybugs which are only slightly more threatening than roly poly bugs so they’re okay.

  30. 30
    Not The Mama September 11, 2007 at 1:47 pm #

    oh ew on the ladybug invasion. They are so cute and harmless when spotted one at a time. But when they cover your screens and invade your home, it looks like something out of a B-list horror movie.

  31. 31
    saucygrrl September 11, 2007 at 1:59 pm #

    See… this is the very reason I talk myself out of ever visiting the south. “Ooo… wouldn’t it be nice to go somewhere new, somewhere that I haven’t been before? Oh, right, they have mutant bugs… um, nevermind…”

  32. 32
    pam September 11, 2007 at 2:03 pm #

    Bugs – Ewww. But I live in Florida so the cricket spider isn’t too scary.
    But I’ve got to tell you Publix will be worth the wait. Sooooo much better than Kroger. Pinky swear…

  33. 33
    Jessica September 11, 2007 at 2:12 pm #

    I can’t even comment on the bug without getting the heeby jeebies, but the stain I can help you with!

    Get some OxyClean (I use the baby stuff, but I’m sure the regular stuff works well too), wet the stain, and rub some of the power on it. If you add some water to the powder you get a sort of paste. Rub it in to the stain and let it sit for a loooonnng while. (I aim for over night, but then forget about whatever it is I’m de-staining.)
    I’ve gotten red wine out of white couch cushions and marinara out of my husband’s tan shorts. Works a treat!

  34. 34
    Stew September 11, 2007 at 2:42 pm #

    Well, on the one hand, Camel crickets are pretty harmless, as far as I know.

    But more than anything, I’m sorry the bugs are squicking you out so much. It must just compound the transition stress, you know?

  35. 35
    Suzie September 11, 2007 at 2:53 pm #

    And what’s WORSE about the crickets is that they hang out on the CEILINGS of garages here in VA. EEEEWWWWWW! They don’t fall on your head or anything, but you have to be extra careful not to scare them – who knows where they’d go if you did!

  36. 36
    Lisa September 11, 2007 at 3:08 pm #

    My thought when reading about the ants was “there are more bugs in Georgia, the fuzzy ant is just the beginning.” And then you posted the cricket story. I had a scorpion in my upstairs bathroom while living in GA. The cricket is “harmless”, the scorpion, not so harmless. And I’m sure you know that all of the ants there are bad bad bad.

  37. 37
    ScottsdaleGirl September 11, 2007 at 3:10 pm #

    *shivers*

    My mom would have made me miss recess.

  38. 38
    Sophie September 11, 2007 at 3:56 pm #

    Camel crickets! OK, I’m with ya now. I really do live in Georgia. When I lived in Decatur, my house there had lots of camel crickets. We called them “hoppy crickets” because we are that kind of people. My cat at the time liked to … don’t read if squeamish… play with them and then gnaw off just one leg. So, it became known as the House of the Handicapped Hoppy Crickets. Chicken-me could rarely find the nerve to put them out of their misery.

    Just wanted you to know that things could be worse.

  39. 39
    carmen September 11, 2007 at 4:15 pm #

    If the shirt is white or light colored, try using some Cascade. It gets out tons of stains. Or a paste of Biz – the powder stuff, not the liquid – and let it sit for a day or three. It
    does come out, it just takes for freakin’ ever.

    I feel your pain on the skinny kids – my ten year old is still able to wear size 5/6 slim shorts. Duct tape, indeed.

  40. 40
    Allanna September 11, 2007 at 4:42 pm #

    I can second The Other Leanne’s vote for Zout.
    I love that stuff. I finally got one of my friends to come over and put some on a spot that she had tried everything else on … it worked.

    Then again, one of my best friends wasn’t so impressed.
    (That’s when I pull out my secret weapon … Zout+OxyClean+Color-safe bleach.) *nods*

  41. 41
    Niki September 11, 2007 at 4:47 pm #

    Oh, the joys of the camel cricket. We’re in NC, where we have alternate years of swarms and trickles of them. And no, they don’t only live in basements, though they do like ours. They also like our crawl space, and LURVE our garage, where we often spot gigantic ones perching on the wall (mostly at night – we don’t go out there at night if we can help it). But beware – in drought times (make that most of the time), they will come inside, searching for water. You’ll take a shower, and they will leap up at you (and they can jump as high as my head). You’ll pull a dirty dish out of the sink, and bounce! Right up at you. Oh – and you can’t drown them. The only good thing I can say about them is that they don’t chirp. Hubby and kids are terrified of them – I’m the designated cricket-killer in our house. I recommend a broom or a well-thrown shoe. But beware – they make a big squishy mess, and cleaning up little hairy legs is not a good time. Also – if you have a crawl space, and don’t have animals, put a bowl or pan of antifreeze down there – they love it, and you won’t see them for a good long time.

    As for Chickie leaving her folder at home, we started this with mine very young: “You get ONE time per year when Mom will go home (or back to school) to get a forgotten item. You’d better decide if this is the most important one, as it will be the last time this year.” It has made them think about it a little harder, and makes me feel a little less bad when I tell them “no, you’ve used your trip.” Also, we are huge proponents of getting ready the night before – lunches made, clothes laid out, and everything in the backpack (preferably the minute homework is done). That includes me! This lessens the chances of us forgetting something in the mad rush that is morning.

  42. 42
    She-Ra September 11, 2007 at 4:48 pm #

    Ah yes… the spider crickets. We have them but didn’t really know what they were so we call them spider crickets. They jump like crazy. If you don’t get them on the first wack you’re in for quite a chase. I had one jump on my bare foot one day. I swear I could feel each one of his feet on my foot. You shoulda seen me jump and scream for that one. I had killed one the day before and figured the room was safe until out of nowhere… tiny little feet stepping on me. Ewwww…

  43. 43
    Kristen September 11, 2007 at 5:42 pm #

    yeah. So now you are starting to tell yourself, “self, soon it will be winter and then the bugs will be gone.”

    Not so much. I feel your pain, sista.

  44. 44
    jennielynn September 11, 2007 at 7:15 pm #

    Oh my stars, I am glad to have my internet back. I missed you so much. Especially the bugs.

  45. 45
    Jenifer September 11, 2007 at 7:15 pm #

    OK the ant with the pretty red fur was not so bad…… this camel cricket thing!! OMG get the hell out of there while you can! I would be having nightmares! Forget freakin snakes one of THOSE THINGS might get in your bed!!! Holy freaking hell!

  46. 46
    Lisa September 11, 2007 at 8:23 pm #

    OK, OK, OK…I am a camel cricket EXPERT!! I have found that the very, very best way to kill a camel cricket (and yes, I do mean KILL. As in dead. As in, no, I’m not going to capture it and release it into the backyard where it will undoubtedly tell all it’s friends that our house is the “safe house”. Sorry, buddy, wrong place, wrong time! You come in here, you get smooshed!)

    Anyway, back to topic…the best way to kill a camel cricket is to spray it down with whatever cleaner is appropriate – meaning, if it’s on carpet, soak it with carpet foam; if it’s in the bathroom, spray it down with Scrubbin’ Bubbles – and then smack it with a big shoe. Once it’s sprayed down, it can’t hop 3 feet directly into your face. And it’s amazing how they ALWAYS jump directly into your face! It’s funny, actually, to see a cricket-shaped foam blob trying to hop!

    Yeah, camel crickets are ooky!

  47. 47
    Pree September 11, 2007 at 8:40 pm #

    I dont know if you have ever shopped at a Publix, but seriously it is worth the wait. Even if they took 2 years to build it would be worth it. I just moved north from the south and I miss Publix so dearly… shopping is no longer a pleasure.

  48. 48
    meghann September 11, 2007 at 9:05 pm #

    So, do you think my husband would be willing to move to Georgia without me after being deployed for 15 months? He can take the 4 kids, they LIKE bugs!

  49. 49
    Judy. September 11, 2007 at 9:29 pm #

    We used to have camel crickets all over our front steps…. hundreds of them it seemed. Try getting into the house with THEM hopping all around.

    And.. I don’t know if they make it to Atlanta or not.. but heads-up… I saw the first pair of lovebugs today……so be scared. Be very scared.

  50. 50
    dcfullest September 11, 2007 at 9:44 pm #

    I have never in my entire life seen a camel cricket.

    HOWEVER, tonight as I am checking my email I look over and see one on couch next to me.

    Somehow this is your fault :)

  51. 51
    Peg September 11, 2007 at 10:39 pm #

    We had these in our basement in New Jersey! I wrote about them too, and I still have nightmares. Uuuuuhhhhhh. Shudder.

    You can read it if you want:
    http://freerangefamily.blogspot.com/2005/08/uninvited-guests.html

  52. 52
    Susan September 11, 2007 at 11:23 pm #

    We’ve been finding scorpions in the house, but they’re all dead. So my bugs are deadly, but yours are alive.

    I don’t know who wins, really. I think we should both go to Chris’ house for a week or so.

  53. 53
    mama speak September 11, 2007 at 11:29 pm #

    Give it a name and it’s a pet. I’m just saying…

    Mir,
    I’m thinking you may need to become a cat person. The only good carmel cricket is a dead carmel cricket! But hey, that’s just me.

  54. 54
    writtenwyrdd September 12, 2007 at 12:35 am #

    When I was in Army basic training in Georgia, there were the beetles– two or three inches long! I remember coming across rhinocerous beetles, among others, and they CREAKED when they walked! I freaked out.

  55. 55
    Andrea September 12, 2007 at 1:07 am #

    Those are NOT cute bugs. Those are monsters.

  56. 56
    LuAnn September 12, 2007 at 1:17 am #

    I will quote my 4 year old daughter on the creepy crawlies issue:

    BUCKING FUGS!

  57. 57
    Kaybeejaenq September 12, 2007 at 1:20 am #

    hehehe, it looks like a giant cave weta, I have those hanging out under the girls playhouse but don’t tell them! I don’t envy you the ants or the snakes though, the only poisonous thing in New Zealand is a tiny little spider called a Katapo, very hard to find. fuzzy ant was cute until I read that it stings

  58. 58
    ri September 12, 2007 at 3:34 am #

    eww that one was nasty – worse then the velvet ant. I think Im glad I live in a second floor flat..

  59. 59
    tori September 12, 2007 at 8:06 am #

    Well, I was feeling a little jealous of your pool, but I think you have cured me of that feeling with the bugs. Thanks. Your such a good friend like that.

  60. 60
    StephLove September 12, 2007 at 8:12 am #

    We have economy-sized crickets in our back yard (regular black ones, but HUGE). They congregate under the moon bounce (yeah, we have a moon bounce, long story) and when I move it to get it out of the rain or mow the grass, armies of these crickets all jump at least three feet up into the air. Freaked me out the first time; now I just expect it.

    I am pretty good about bugs, all except roaches. I am nearly phobic about them. It comes from living in a filthy, roach-infested group house for three months when I was in my mid-twenties. They were everywhere, even in the stove, even in the FREEZER. One ran over me in bed one night. I have never been the same since.

  61. 61
    Jenni September 12, 2007 at 8:16 am #

    I remember Kroger’s from my ONE sememster at Texas A&M. I am so glad we don’t have them here in Austin. Unless you are looking for a really great deal on multiple 12 packs of off brand soda or a keg, they really weren’t very good. We also don’t have camel crickets or velvet ants. If you want tarantulas and scorpions, though….

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    cce September 12, 2007 at 8:21 am #

    Saw that someone mentioned Palmetto bugs in a previous comment and just want to say that “Palmetto Bug” is just a euphemism for a f-ing huge roach, one that flies and stinks and is particular to dark places, like beneath the sink and in the bottom of unfinished Coke cans.
    One thing I love about the deep South (South Florida I mean) is they don’t dicker around with band-aid treatments for infestation. You can actually have a company come and drop a huge tent over your house and pump it full of some incredibly lethal agent. After the smoke-out everything is dead, so dead. There is no insect life for months to follow. It is clearly the way you should deal with the camel crickets if sighted in your own home. Napalm them!

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    Brigitte September 12, 2007 at 8:30 am #

    Gee, there were crickets that looked just like that, except paler, infesting the musty, ancient school in our town . . in CONNECTICUT.

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    Jenny September 12, 2007 at 8:37 am #

    Oooohhh… I was wondering if you’d see those. We always thought they were called “cave crickets” but we called them “Meaty Things” — as in, “AAAIIIIEEEE GIANT MEATY THING IN THE BATHROOM SAVE YOURSELF WHERE IS IT WHERE IS IT????” Because seriously, I think you could fry up the drumsticks on those suckers. YUCK. And they’re not just basement dwellers — as someone else pointed out, they seem to seek out water and so somehow they get inside through the vents or drains or something. Freaky, high-jumping, disappearing bastards.

    Here’s another potential remedy for the red mud — Ivory Soap. (It’s 99/100% pure, you know.) One summer day when I was little, I went out riding my bike, wearing white shorts, and I got into some red mud somewhere, like you do. Irrationally worried about the parental response to my having ruined a good pair of shorts, I managed to sneak back in the house without Mom seeing me — I soaked ‘em a bit and scrubbed at them with the bar of Ivory on the bathroom counter and it worked like a charm. Ever since then it’s my devious go-to remedy for red mud.

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    Summer September 12, 2007 at 10:22 am #

    I knew it! When you said “much weirder (and LARGER)” I KNEW you were talking about one of those freaky crickets. I was under the impression that the real name for them was cave crickets, or at least that’s what we’ve been calling them, but it’s the same thing. Big, jumpy, freaky, horrible harmless things.

    I live in DC, my husband and I both grew up here, and we both swear that these things did not exist (in this area, at least) when we were kids. We first started seeing them perhaps 10 years ago, and we thought that they were some sort of mutant bastard offspring of a spider and a cricket. For the longest time, we called them “jumping spiders” which sounds much, much scarier than either “cave cricket” or “camel cricket.”

    Just be prepared, sweetie… these things come up out of the drains. I’ve found them in my kitchen sink and bathtub plenty of times. And I always, always freak n’ squeak when I see them. They’re just so… jumpy!

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    Jodi September 12, 2007 at 11:03 am #

    Have you stepped on a fire ant hill yet? Or a nest of ground wasps?

    I also live in a “red dirt zone.” The other baseball moms say that soaking items in water with Cascade works well. (white baseball pants + 8yo boy + red dirt = NASTY)

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    Belinda September 12, 2007 at 8:39 pm #

    When the wonderful doctor I used to see before the first endo surgery talked to me about getting off of dairy, I immediately pleaded, “But I only buy ORGANIC milk…” He cut me off with, “What you’re drinking is a concentrated growth-hormone formula designed to rapidly increase the size of baby cows. There is no such thing as hormone-free milk.” *SIIIIGH.*

    But cheese, it’s so good. Curses.

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    julie September 12, 2007 at 10:53 pm #

    Keep the Banana Spiders around to eat all the other bugs. They are big, yellow, scary-looking and have webs of steel, but they eat LOTS of other bugs. They are also fascinating to watch. Five-inch mom eats the three-inch dad after the teeny-tiny babies are born. And they also eat wasps, palmetto bugs and other scary critters (but not children).
    And keep some Benadryl around for fire ant bites.

    Welcome home, hun;)

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    skob September 13, 2007 at 2:30 am #

    When my children were in school I had a “I’ll rescue you once a month rule.”- No hassle from me and a quick “Thanks Mom.” It worked very well. They knew I would only do one rescue,like bring in a forgot book or paper, so that made them more responsible for themselves, and they rarely needed to take advantage of it. Have a great day;Skob

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  1. 10 days and counting « Not The Mama - September 11, 2007

    [...] UPDATE: The lovely and talented Mir had a close encounter with the same mutant cricket! Check out this post for her story and a link to a photo of the mutant cricket, which is apparently called a “camel cricket”. Ew. [...]

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