My hero (?)

Longtime readers know that I’m not squeamish about much, but the bugs down here in the south—unfettered by a nice long winter freeze like the bugs where I grew up—do not screw around. They are free to grow to insane sizes and spend the entire calendar year plotting to suck out your brains through your ear. Or possibly your nose. I don’t know. I try not to think about it.

If you’re a newish reader, and stories about bugs aren’t going to make you scream (don’t worry, I scream enough for both of us!), you can review a few of my various delightful insect encounters in the archives. Why, there was the giant spider, meeting my first camel cricket, my battle with the garden slugs, the tomato horn worms, and—not to be overlooked—just one of many palmetto bug encounters.

The common thread in all of these stories is that I go from being a semi-capable adult human to gibbering squicked-out ball of fear and loathing in approximately .2 seconds. It’s a talent, really.

Last night was a delightful evening here at Casa Mir. The girlchild was out at a sleepover, so we had a wild party here with our boychild. By this I of course mean that we 1) ate ice cream, 2) while watching Chopped (“Please open your baskets! Your appetizer must contain: Duck lips, fiddleheads, fermented goat anus, and cough syrup. Go!”), and then 3) played Qwirkle. We are CRAYZEE!

After Monkey went to bed, Otto and I sat and listened to music and talked for a while, and then—fairly early—decided to turn in.

I went and took a shower and brushed my teeth and Otto was still kind of wandering around when I went to go get into bed. The pillowcases currently on our pillows have some frou-frou cutout bits (think kind of like a large eyelet pattern) that naturally look darker than the solid white fabric itself, which is why I had nearly gotten into bed before realizing that THAT’S NOT A HOLE IN THE FABRIC, THAT’S A BIG BUG.

Naturally, I recoiled. And possibly screamed.

Otto was ready to come to my rescue, of course, as I babbled that there was a GIANT EARWIG on my pillowcase, KILL IT KILL IT CHANGE THE SHEETS MAKE IT STOP. As Otto approached it with a manly wad of toilet paper to squish it, though, I stopped him.

“WAIT!” I squeaked. “I think… I don’t think that’s an earwig. I think it’s a SCORPION. WHAT THE HELL? WE HAVE SCORPIONS??? Please be careful.” Otto is both careful and exceedingly manly, so as he assured me that he’d be fine, he grabbed up the bug and went and flushed it.

Crisis averted, Otto asked if we should change the sheets now. I suggested we just set fire to the bed and move, instead. Because he is MEAN he refused to get on board with my excellent plan.

Once everything had calmed down (I made Otto check every corner of the room for more critters), my darling husband then tried to convince me that it hadn’t really been a scorpion. “It was too dark, plus it was smaller than any scorpion I’ve ever seen.”

Because I just LOVE extended conversation about things that scare the crap out of me, I argued. Vociferously. It most certainly WAS a scorpion, what with its horrible little pincer claws and stingy pointy tail-thing lying in wait to PENETRATE MY EARDRUM had I not seen it before lying down. Also it might have FRIENDS who would be BACK to seek REVENGE.

“If you see another one, you just let me know,” the love of my life reassured me. “I’ll take care of it for you.”

“Thank you,” I said, somewhat mollified.

“I may scream like a little girl,” he continued, “but I’ll take care of it. If I can catch it before it runs away.”

He’s a real comfort, my guy.


  1. Stimey

    You have my most sincere condolences concerning your narrow escape. I would have been horrified. I strongly feel that your only option at this point is to move.

    I ran into a giant spider IN MY HOUSE two days ago, which was terrifying—both for me and my friend, whom I was on the phone with at the time and who lost an eardrum to my scream. Unfortunately, she was of little help to me after offering the advice “kill it” in response to my panicked “What do I doooooooo?”

  2. Brigid

    Yeah, we’ve been battling Brown Recluse spiders at out house. I’m pretty sure they crawl all over us when we are asleep.

  3. MomCat

    The bugs in my house always wait for my hubby to be out of town on an extended trip before crawling out to terrorize me. They know. How do they know?

  4. Mocha

    I feel a special kinship with you but The Cuban is no Otto. “Kill the damn thing yourself, Kelly.”

    It’s amazing I stay with that damn man.

  5. Linda

    Moving to Africa (aka “Land of the Big Bug”) made me, too, appreciate a good hard freeze. It also make me realize that I never want to live in the South, either, since whenever I complain about a critter on the blog my reader in the deep South comments that they’ve got those down there, too.

    Being single and living alone, I have a jumbo-sized can of local bug spray by the name of “Doom”. It’s probably giving me cancer, but it kills wolf spiders the size of my hand. Heck, I’ve dropped cockroaches with the stuff. I also sleep under a mosquito net, which I like to pretend is a force field which keeps all creepy crawlies away while I sleep, and no one can tell me otherwise LALALALALA.

  6. amy

    My hubby will scream like a little girl if he has to encounter an earwig. Other than that, the bug-killing is up to me. He’ll take a look and tell me to go ahead and kill it. Thanks hon.

  7. Damsel

    I’m with Linda, except we’ve just moved north of Africa on the island of Sicily. Still, I’m absolutely positive that half of the unfamiliar bugs I’ve encountered could easily have SWAM (SWUM? caps loose their effect when I can’t decide on a conjugation…) from Africa. *squick*

  8. Samantha

    My husband abandoned me last night to deal with a bug THE SIZE OF MY PALM because he didn’t have on pants and it was next to a window. I accept that it is my job to deal with spiders and snakes, but this bug jumped. I don’t do jumping.

  9. Mom2Trplts

    Just to let you know, I am never having a sleepover at your house.

  10. Jessica

    What is it with guys killing bugs with toilet paper or facial tissue? I only use a shoe or something hard, as I do NOT want to feel the squishy or crunchy bug bits when I kill them. I’d never met anyone who didn’t use an implement of some kind until I moved in with my husband. He tries to throw them in the trash, and I remind him that he must flush the creature, so it won’t jump out to eat off my hand when I’m throwing something out.

    My big things here are centipedes and spiders. Ick. Almost everything else I can handle myself.

  11. Diane

    Eh, I live alone and squish all manner of bugs myself, generally with tp or paper towel (something hard has the potential to scatter guts all over, and there is only me to clean it).

    Never, ever do I flush them until they are definitely, finally, securely, absolutely DEAD.

    I don’t want them crawling back out of the toilet to bite me in the ass.

  12. meghann

    You’re so cute that you called that spider “giant”. Have you not had any banana spiders at your place yet?

    My latest bug encounter was a red velvet ant in the yard. I was more fascinated than afraid, though, because they look so. . . unreal. Then I googled and freaked out later when i saw the size of their stinger on youtube.

    Freakiest bug was a herculean beetle when we were in the Smokies. I was in the hot tub and it was on the ground next to my shoes. I think I tried to convince my husband that I could just sleep in the hot tub instead of getting out and walking by the bug.

  13. Leandra

    We have been overrun with scorpions lately. At first they didn’t freak me out that much. My husband on the other hand is the one screaming like a little girl. But now, we’ve had so many that even I am starting to freak out just a bit.

  14. addy

    Me no likey bugs – icky!

  15. Karate Mom

    I love Chopped! However, I’m fairly certain that the ingredients you mentioned would be in the DESSERT basket.
    (I really did see one where there were honey-lemon cough drops in the basket!!)
    Also…bugs. Ew. Squick.

  16. Daisy

    Burn the bed and move away – you don’t believe in letting anything to chance!

  17. Trish

    I’m with Diane…they only go in the toilet if I know they’re really, truly, most sincerely dead. I pee in the dark at night. And I don’t need something jumping out at me or my ass. Talk about screaming like a little girl! If I wake the baby, my wife would make me sleep outside!

  18. Another Dawn

    a) “it was smaller than any scorpion I’ve ever seen” implies that THERE HAVE BEEN OTHERS.

    b) I object to fiddleheads being grouped with “Duck lips, fermented goat anus, and cough syrup” as object of disgust. Fiddleheads are DIVINE!

    Yeah, we eat seaweed and periwinkles (sea snails) where I come from, too. So what do I know.

  19. mamaspeak

    Don’t you have neighbor who feed feral cats? WTH, are those cats doing?? Also, I would burn the bed and move as well. I’ll stay in Nor Cal w/are tiny spiders and banana slugs; which don’t do anything, but look really gross.

  20. Heather

    Yeeeah tonight I found a mouse…that I’m pretty sure had already gone through my cat’s digestive system.

  21. Amanda

    That is why I will not move south of MD. I could maybe be talked into VA. The bugs are on steroids in the South. I don’t mind northern bugs so much. Furry is what gets me. I do not do furry at all. Getting ready for the hurricane, I cleaned out our shed to make room for more stuff off the patio, and all the while something was chirping at me. I’m still hoping it was just one of the big crickets I’ve seen this summer.

  22. Alison

    hahahahahaha about Chopped! We watch it too and I’m afraid they will steal your ingredients for an upcoming episode. :)

  23. Zilla

    We love Chopped, too. And, also hate bugs anywhere in my house.

  24. Tracy B

    I scream in fear myself. And if there was a bug on my pillow, I would sleep in the bathtub. I can’t stand any bug that jumps or flies. I can’t stand it. The one bug I am most fearful of….crickets! I will do more than scream like a girl. With the drought, we have crickets coming out of the ceiling tiles at work. So, you can imagine how much “work” I get done while watching the ceiling. Good luck! I’m with you on burning the bed….

  25. kapgaf

    Only the occasional earwig here but the spiders can get pretty big. Both my husband and my daughter scream like girls so I have to deal with all bugs : downturned glass, piece of paper and out of the house they go because I hate killing things as a general priniciple but also I would rather run the risk of return than kill anything that might squish, crunch or, worst of all, squelch and not all be contained in the tp or paper towel! Hat off to Otto for the slow release humour.

  26. elz

    I am a total girl about tiny creepy crawlers, flutterers, or scamperers. Our friend’s ranch property was home to a multitude of scorpions. We used to go on a scorpion hunt when we arrived so that we’d kill them before we went to bed-thankfully they started exterminating. I was relieved we didn’t have any scorpions in our ranch cabin until I discovered a mouse! EEEK! Not cool. I didn’t sleep at all that night.

  27. Aimee

    Oh, I definitely vote for “burn the bed and move” option. Scorpion on the pillow is a DEAL BREAKER. Gah!

    We are dealing with these weird red spiders that are fairly MEATY and keep popping up near our drains. One was in the shower with me two weeks ago and I shrieked and hollered until my husband came and killed it for me. I haven’t been able to find out what they are and I’m not really sure I want to know. They are EVIL.

  28. liz

    I hate hate hate hate earwigs. Worse than cockroaches.

  29. Anna Marie

    Mir, just so ya know – my parents live on Lake Hartwell in Anderson, SC, and they…definitely have scorpions. Little things – smaller than some of the palmetto bugs we have on the coast in NC, but still. Scorpions. Nasty, nasty critters.

  30. Katie in MA

    Any man who can bring the mockitude is perfect for me. I mean YOU! Perfect for YOU!


  31. Nicole

    I once turned a scorpion into a little smudge on the carpet with a HAMMER because no one was available to take care of it for me and I wasn’t taking any chances. Those earwigs will pinch the crap out of you with their tails too, and they’re armored so they’re almost impossible to squish. I cut those suckers in half and flush them.

    We found a black widow on our patio this week too, but at least it was outside. Gotta love those Southern bugs.

  32. Beth R

    @Amanda – you DO realize that MD has palmetto bugs, right? Not my favorite thing to discover last summer!

  33. Andrea

    No palmeto bugs (for that reason and that reason alone, I could never live in the south) or scorpions in MA but spiders that can run an Olympics paced 30 yard dash. I guess I should be grateful.

  34. s

    ok, what the heck in the world possessed me to actually click on your spider pictures? I am never going to sleep tonight and tomorrow morning I am taking a stick to all the zillions of spider webs around my house. holy batman. thanks, thanks a bunch!

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