Teenagers and travel and moths (oh my)

By Mir
June 14, 2013

There was a time in my life—a long time, actually—when I thought I would have a houseful of children. Then I realized I was neither independently wealthy nor particularly patient, so I figured 3 or 4 kids would be plenty. And then, y’know, life happened, and I ended up with two kids and the realization that I am perfectly content with the size of my family. (Well, okay, some days I’m perfectly content and some days I am willing to sell the children for puppies or parts or even just to make the noise stop.)

So this is to say that I have no regrets about the state of my life or the size of my family. On the other hand, I packed up Chickadee and we flew out here to Kira‘s house, and I am positively marinating in pack-o-teens and lots of kill-me-dead-with-the-adorableness of watching said teens cater to Sophia (who is FOUR and a BIG GIRL), and there is a not tiny part of me which thinks that having an entire houseful of rowdy children would be really, really awesome.

Kira and I have been friends for coming up on a decade, now, and this is the first time our children have met, which is just weird because my kids know Kira and Kira’s kids know me. (I’m bummed that Monkey isn’t here, but he is still off being manly with Otto.) I think it took about half a day for Kira’s boys and Chickie to fall into an easy pattern of competing to see who could be the most obnoxious to each other (it turns out that my 15-year-old and Kira’s nearly-15-year-old may actually be sharing a brain, which is both frightening and FANTASTIC), and suddenly I can picture what life would be like if we formed a commune. It would be loud, mind you, but very entertaining.

Plus, you know that getting to spend all of this time with one of my dearest friends while our children swirl around us having deep intellectual discussions (things like “I’m going to throw this bacon at you” or “something is really wrong with your hair, you know?”) is such a treat, I can’t even express how happy it makes me. We are forever trying to figure out how we can work out a commune, but there’s this whole complication of her family wanting to stay here in Colorado and my family wanting to stay here in Georgia and also our husbands thinking we’re insane. So.

Yesterday was Raphael’s 12th birthday, so we got to participate in a full day of revelry that ended with a late-night baseball game wherein we alternated between watching Sophia trot around and place Chickie’s fedora on various people and wondering aloud if the umpire needed glasses. (Hey, it was Raphi’s birthday and their team got a lot of questionable calls. I’m just saying.) Today so far we have managed to eke out an entire morning of entertainment in watching the children torment each other while eating breakfast. It’s kind of magical.

So the only drawbacks I can really see here are that 1) part of Colorado is on fire, so the air smells rather… crispy… and 2) there are a lot of moths here.

Oh, I know, it seems silly that I would be bothered by moths when I recently allowed my insane child to keep a cockroach in a cup for a day, and honestly, when Kira first warned me that it was “miller moth season” here, I thought her warning was rather silly. Because MOTHS. Who cares? Moths are harmless and aren’t, y’know, roaches. Sure, we came into the house, and there were a few moths flitting around, but Kira has CHICKENS and apparently chickens think moths are uber-tasty. So someone will catch a rogue moth in the house and run outside to feed it to the chickens, which is delightful in a creepy sort of way. That is not the part that’s terrifying, though. The terrifying thing happened last night.

We were done with the baseball game and had returned to Kira’s van, triumphant. We had survived the game! The wind had been blowing about 40 miles an hour for the whole thing, and it was late, and it had been a very full day, and we were ready to go home and sleeeeeeeeep. Kira and Chickie got Sophia’s carseat straps buckled, then they both got into their seats, and Kira turned the key to start the van. As the engine roared to life, air streamed through the circulation vents, and a SWARM OF MOTHS rose up from where the windshield meets the dashboard.

Because I am a grown-up and good in a crisis, the moths rose up and I SCREAMED. Yes. Then I tried to open my window to shoo the moths out, but because I am unfamiliar with Kira’s van and also because I was freaking out, I simply locked the doors, instead. (Smart!) This was the beginning of a full two minutes of all of us laughing and screaming and trying to deal with Mothageddon so that we could actually start driving and get home. Because WHERE DID THEY COME FROM?? And why were they dive-bombing us? AND MAKE IT STOP. The only person unperturbed by this festival of furry wings was Sophia, possibly because she was busy using Chickie’s iPod to play a game.

Maybe you had to be there, but it was… well, probably not my finest moment. But funny.

I have no idea what we’re going to do today, but I’ve decided that if we’re going anywhere, I’m bringing a vacuum cleaner with us in the van. Just in case. Although my daughter and Kira’s daughter both just had some Nutella toast together here in the kitchen, and I think it’s likely we may be spending the rest of the day scraping Nutella off of Sophia.

In summary: Greatest. Trip. Ever.


  1. Heather

    Heh – glad you’re enjoying yourself and having some great “girl” time with Kira.

  2. Korinthia

    That all sounds amazing. Even the moths.

  3. mar

    Hey, it’s cicada season in the northeast – talk about your prehistoric bugs! We were out in NY State over the weekend, driving through the country, and the din was so loud that we had to yell at each in the car!

  4. Megan

    Ooooh. The mothageddon. Yah, the last year I lived in the SW it was Year Of The Moths and it was hideous. Because you KNOW it’s just moths and they’re harmless and fluttery and sort of really the same as butterflies only without the bling… but when there are THOUSANDS of them? And they creep into all the cracks around the doors and things? And when you open the door and there is suddenly a fluttery cloud of living things and they’re are obviously trying to EAT YOUR BRAINS??

    Just saying I think you acted with enormous dignity, restraint and intelligence.

  5. Jim

    Don’t even think about them flying into your open mouth while you sleep.

  6. not supergirl

    There is a special joy in seeing your kids enjoy a dear friend’s kids, isn’t there? I experienced it on Saturday when my sister’s best friend visited for a game night in honor of my sister’s birthday. It was such a joy to see the kids all playing games together. Dixit and Settlers of Catan were the big hits. :)

    I’m so glad you’re having that sweet experience, too.

  7. RuthWells

    Sounds like heaven. So glad you’re having such a wonderful time!

  8. Karen.

    Moths. Not my favorite thing. They poop red, and that is bad for things like wallpaper and curtains. And also, don’t take the vacuum. Dead moth ooze is impossible to get out of all the working parts, and the dead moth stench a couple days later? Yeah, just don’t take the vacuum. Suspend a bright light over a pan of soapy water and they’ll dive to their drowning deaths (although not sure how this would work inside a van ….). Also, flyswatter moth badminton is vast fun.

  9. js

    As soon as I saw that pic, I thought, “It’s Sophia!” in a totally, non-creepy way because I LOVE Kira’s blog, too, and am sometimes jealous of her 87 children ;-) Princess Sophia has one of the cutest food-smeared faces ever! Girl power! Now I have baby fever…

  10. Laura

    Ha ha ha… Oh the miller moths!! When my dad lived in Colorado and I’d go to visit him as a teen, I started calling them the killer moths. When one got into my bedroom one evening I let him keep it and I elected to sleep on the couch in the living room. I hate those things!! Still do, over 20 years later. *snicker* Sounds like a great vacation, aside from the moths. :-)

  11. Kana

    The nice/tough thing about huge family groups is that doing even one thing – ANYthing – usually becomes a huge event, and just getting all those people and their belongings to and from one place to another can make basic outings like going to a park into a whole-day activity. So much more difficult, so much more fun…and either way, it keeps you busy! Glad you get to play at Commune with your buddy and her family.

    Also, my mother and I once were held helplessly at bay under a blanket, screaming and giggling, by a single lightning bug. So it happens. And makes for a much better shared memory than as an actual live experience. The worst part is over – now all that’s left is a humorous story! :)

  12. Jeanie

    Give me a spider. Give me a snake. But don’t you dare give me a moth. They freak me out like you wouldn’t believe. I think it’s because they seem to have no steering mechanism and fly unpredictably. One time one flew in my hair and got stuck near my scalp. I could feel it moving, trying to free itself, but I couldn’t get it out for the life of me. I had to go in the shower and run water on my head and wash it (my head, not the moth). I wasn’t looking, but I assume the thing came out in bits and pieces. Ugh!

  13. Dezi

    In Arizona I’ve not EVER seen a mothageddon, but each year some bug seems to be uber prevalent. Our first year there was swarms of fire bugs, the next was the tarantulas, (which was actually way cool), then toads numbering so many that cars were squishing them every few feet, and of course the cicadas. Horned toads only once, and not seen them in 15 years, I love Az, and I’m not being sarcastic. I take all these over moths any day!!! I just wish we had lightning bugs too. Sigh, can’t have them all.

  14. Aimee

    Well, if it’s any consolation at all I probably would have shrieked and hollered and maybe broken the door trying to get out. So there’s that.

  15. Kirsten

    OMG Moths…. when we lived in Kansas, even though I KNEW they were harmless, they freaked the living hell out of me. And it was even worse that my cat LOVED to hunt them, and would do this hideous cackling meow/bleat that let me know one was in the house… it was so. much. fun. to wake up to that sound…..

  16. Anna

    HA! When I saw the title, I thought- OH, TOTALLY- the miller moths. But, wait! Mir’s in Georgia. I had already forgotten you mentioned you were headed here. So here you are, and moths are everywhere!

    And sorry about the smoke.

  17. Heather

    Oh, yes, the millers are plentiful this year in Colorado. We have many a story regarding them over the course of our 16 years on Colorado’s Front Range…my favorite perhaps was when my husband and I were newly wed and had a horrific smell of burning in our apartment, the source of which we searched high and low for well over an hour, and then we saw the steam coming off of our halogen torch lamp. Roasted moths apparently have a quite pungent smell :<

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