Monday, August 28, 2006

How Not To Awaken the Bug Phobic

Thank you for all the well wishes. I'm mucusy but getting better.

So, shall we step into the way-back machine? Don't bring a lunch. It's just a little trip, say back to the Friday before last.

Ah. Friday. How I love you. I don't work Fridays and the house is usually somewhat clean. Plus, the real weekend stretches out like a dream.

Or a nightmare.

Our scene: The Master bedroom, 5:07 am. Charles, all rumply, plops down on his 1/2 of the bed, waking our heroine, who is quite rumply and rather bleary, as well. Yes, people often say we look alike. I'm guessing this is why.

Charles: "I have to share what happened last night!"

Me: "Mmmmm. Yeah. I'm awake. Mmmmmm. I'm listening."

Charles: "Molly got me up at 2 am to go to the bathroom. So, I let her out and just as she was coming back in..... This THING flew in the house!"

dramatic pause...

Me: "Mmmmm. What sort of thing?"

Charles: "This huge flying bug! About THIS big!!!" And he demonstrates with his hands, measuring the air between them by about 8".

Me: (completely awake) "What? What sort of bug?" (Grabbing for my glasses, the better to see the approaching demon.)

Charles: "I think it was a moth. It was all hairy. And huge. Really huge."

Me: "You're shitting me. Moths aren't 8" big. I was asleep, you poop."

Charles: "Well, this one is."

Me: "IS??"

Charles: "Well, yes. It flew up into the loft. Molly and I feared for our lives. We didn't go up. Kitty did, though. She raced up after it. I stayed on the couch and Molly leaped on top of me."

Me: "And it's now......?"

Charles: "Um. Still up there, I think. Although maybe Kitty ate it. She's unusually spunky this morning."

Mad-Kitty now leaps on the bed, and is, indeed quite spunky. Horrifyingly spunky.

Me: "Ew. What's worse? Mothra loose or Mothra recently chomped with much relish by my cat?" To Mad-Kitty: "I'm not kissing you, today."

20 minutes later, Charles is out of the house and I am alone with either a possible mutant moth or a horrifying cat. Yup, just me and the kids and the wussy dog. He has also informed me that the THING is mottled gray, which would blend perfectly with the carpet.

I throw on my long, heavy robe, thinking the terry cloth might provide some protection, should the creature still be up there. Gingerly, I creep up the stairs to the small loft above the living room, MY room, the loft where the house plants and my most favorite books live and the kitty lurks and terrorizes the plants, because the dog is never allowed up and the kids are only allowed up with permission.

I creep all about and find nothing. No large mutant winged bug and no large mutant bits of wings, legs or feelers.

I descend and shower, resolving to think for the best, that the beast is in the belly of the cat. Or, better yet, a waking dream, spawned by having to get up at 2 am to let the damn dog out.

We go about our day without further incident.

Later that evening, as I curl up with Charles in the Big Chair, he informs me that he's done his manly duty and dispatched The Bug. Just a few minutes ago, while I was putting Sara to bed.

Oh dear. And where was it? Oh, yeah. Up in the loft. And how did he, erm, slay it?

"You don't want to know."

"Yes, I do. I've had a beer. I'm now brave. Tell me. With a rolled up magazine?"

"Um. No. He would have laughed at the rolled up magazine as a weapon, taken it from my hands and beaten me about the head with it. No. You know that glass vase? Yeah. I don't think it left too big a mark on the wall."

"Are you sure it's dead?"

"Would you like me to re-create the sound it made?"

I passed on that.

A bit later, Charles headed off to bed. And I? Well, I may be bug phobic, but I am a blogger, and that glass of beer was still warm in my veins. I grabbed my camera and headed back up the stairs. And snapped a picture:

Pictures for you

You'll notice that I even included my thumb in the shot for scale. You'll also notice that, while it's a goodly size, it's not quite 8". Maybe 3":

Pictures for you

And now, you'll notice that it's looking a bit worse for the wear? And is now on the floor?

Pictures for you

Seems Mad-Kitty thought, if she couldn't be a lion, being a vulture was almost as good. The kids noticed a commotion going on in the loft the next morning and I ran up, thinking she was attacking a plant. Nope. She'd managed to first, sniff out the moth, then extract it from the back of the bookcase, then start to munch on it.

I shooed her away, went to get a stiff piece of something to put under it (And my camera, of course. If I'm disposing of the carcass, I'm getting credit, dammit.) and shooed her away, again, scooted it onto the stiff paper, shot pictures, tried (and mostly failed) to scoop up the now-present bits of wings, legs and feelers that were strewn about the carpet, and gingerly carried it to the trash.

I think it is a sphinx moth of some sort, which are really very cool. They can hover like humming birds. I once saw a large flock of them around my butterfly bushes when we were living in Illinois. They even make a humming sound when they hover.

Kitty, however, was disgruntled.

Pictures for you

Which is nothing new. You can't see the bits of moth all over her face. Lucky you.



Anonymous Kate W. said...

Bravo for Charles! Last night MY oh so brave and sturdy Husband called ME into the living room to kill a grasshopper. No, I am not kidding-he hates bugs and I think he just didn't want to move from his chair and baseball game. Man, those grasshoppers are vicious!

11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

man, was that a big bug.

glad your kitty is of the bug-sniffing species. mine goes after gnats, flies, mosquitos, spiders, etc. she is fearless on the prowl.

hope you get to feeling better!!

12:02 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...


I'm glad to hear you are on the mend!

12:15 PM  
Anonymous Leigh-Ann said...

I'd agree it was a sphinx moth -- we get those here, and I think they're so amazing. They really do look like hummingbirds! I have a photo of one in my hand:

3:30 PM  
Blogger Lisa P said...

I can hardly wait to get home and view the pics... Ewwwwyuck!

3:43 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Yikes! That's really big and quite UGH! Almost as scary as a bat and I get more than my share of those from my attic. My cats usually get them for me!
I love your sleek black cat! Bet he thought he was quite the hunter and was waiting to be congratulated for his "Catch of the Day"!

5:22 PM  
Blogger listmaker said...

Oh, how I miss having a cat to defend me from bugs! Good kitty.

6:20 PM  
Blogger Rozanne said...

Well, thank god, that the Nature Conservancy ranks it as "demonstrably secure globally" and that you don't have to live with the guilt that your husband offed an endangered species and your kitty then mutilated it.

I'm fairly un-bugphobic as long as the bugs are small (i.e., less than an inch), but big bugs? SCREEEEEEEEEEEEECH!!!!

6:57 PM  
Blogger moegirl said...

That's a big bug! Our kittycito is also a bug hunter, and regularly eats bugs. Sadly, he recently ate a really beautiful butterfly that came into our place.

Hope you are well on the mend!

7:05 PM  
Blogger Christie said...

Wow, that is one heck of an "evil eye" Mad-kitty is giving you...the nerve of disposing of her toy! So glad you have a large studly man to do the murdering for you, even if he didn't do the carcass removal. The wee-beasties at my place have a thing going with the moles right now, I keep finding dead bodies in the most unwanted locations. Damn cats and their gifts of love....

Glad you're feeling better. This means you'll be healthy all winter now right? You got it all out of your system?

10:07 PM  
Anonymous Colleen said...

I am impressed that a self-proclaimed bug-o-phobe like yourself set aside your fears and saw the opportunity here for the great photo and story/blog. Beer really can make you brave then, huh? I love how Charles wanted to re-create the sound it made! Thanks for the story and welcome back from the land of mucous!

p.s. Did you read my poem about Lauren and the toad? I thought of you and your haikus when I was composing it.

10:54 PM  
Blogger Babs said...

Ewwwwwww!! I can *sort of* handle moths. *Sort of* meaning if they are hovering near the front door and closer to the further away porch light rather than the one directly next to the entryway. By the spider web. There's actually one in my room at this very mo (moth, not spider, nor its web) but its very teeny-tiny and I am pretending it is NOT on my ceiling. Ahem. I've tried tricking it by turning off ALL my lights in here and turning on the living room light. It refuses to do a Carol-Ann for me, though. The fucker. If it doesn't step into the light soon I shall wake up Trash and let his 6'2 ass climb a chair and annihilate the bastard.

You will note that I was kind and didn't mention the damned cicadas. Especially the one who took up camp on my windowscreen, and, though on the OUTSIDE of said screen, caused me to scream bloody murder.

Would you believe it took three flicks worthy of Andre the Giant to get it to fly away??


3:52 AM  
Blogger Lauren said...


I am so happy that didn't make it's way into my house. I can't stand bugs of any sort. Especially large ones. My hubby's idea of killing a bug is spraying it to death with bugspray. Then leaving it. I then gross out that I may step on it and have to get it anyway. I may as well have just gotten it myself and flushed it. You see if you flush them down the toilet they can't fly or crawl out of the garbage.

8:48 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Kate- Thank goodness for Marvelous Charles, indeed. Before him, I had to pay my sister, G, to suck them up with a vacuum cleaner. Grasshoppers are vicious! Those big old eyes and those jaws. Ick.

Amy- Mad is the self-proclaimed hunter of the bugs. We don't bother with toys (plus, Molly would just eat them, anyway), she gets plenty of entertainment chasing house flies and such. Good kitty.

Jamie- Hey, now. You're in Georgia. They have monster bugs, don't they? I figured you were used to such.

Leigh-Ann- Very cool post and pictures! (But then you always do.) Mine had no bright colors.

Lise- Hi Honey! I hope they don't disappoint.

Ruth- I keep waiting for our first bat encounter. One of our nurses had one last night. (I'm actually rather fascinated with bats. I like mammals.) In the town I work in, apparently you call Batman and he comes and rids you of the intruding bat. Live and learn.

Listie- Isn't she just a wonderful kitty? I am terribly fond of her.

Rozanne- Thank god, indeed. Otherwise I'd have not been able to post this in fear of being hauled away to face, hm, actually, with this administration, probably no one. Well, at least my conscious is not suffering on that count.

Stace- I still remember my childhood cat crunching her way through this dragonfly that was as big as my hand, wings and 1/2 the body hanging out of her mouth. Revolting.

Christie- She was PISSED! The way she kept trying to get to it, you'd think it were made of catnip or chicken or what ever makes cats crazy. Moles would be disturbing. Especially dead and in unexpected places.

I wish. Just the first of the season, as you well know. The first year working this clinic, I was sick 14 separate times from Oct-June. Last year it was only 5 cruds. And yes, of course I get my flu shot. I'd get 2 or 3 if I could.

Colleen- Of course I read your poor smooshed toad poem. Didn't I comment? I meant to. Bad blog friend! Sadly, I seem to have been made ambassador from the Land of Mucus. Pass the tissues.

Babs- For some reason, the fact that moths are all hairy makes them skeevy. Of course, fur is something that I find endearing in nice mammals. I'm not known for my logic. Have you tried turning off all the lights except for the staticy TV in the living room? Maybe if you hunkered down behind the screen and called to it? I've never seen a cicada and don't want to. They have glowing red eyes, don't they? That's just wrong.

9:06 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Lauren- I throw 10 fits about bug spray and the neurotoxins. That leaves Charles to smoosh them. Most of our walls have at least one place where bits of bug guts and a leg or so are stuck to it. A couple of times a year I go around and clean the gore off the walls. I'm not known for my housekeeping.

9:10 AM  
Blogger Jamie said...

Our bugs are big, but apparently so are yours. ;-)

I'll tell you what's been scaring the crap out of me lately. This year, for the first time, every so often we'll see what looks like an ant. But these so-called "ants" are about six times too big, and they are bright-red and velvety-textured. They just lumber through the yard. They worry me.

"What do you think they do?" I asked the s.o.

"Freak you out," he responded.

7:22 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

Oh, great. Look at question two. I was right. They freak me out.

7:26 PM  
Blogger brooksba said...

Bugs freak me out. But for some reason, moths do not. When I was hanging out at the pool hall (in a previous life), we were outside and saw a moth hovering around the lights and then it fell to the ground. And while I have no pictures of it, I can honestly say that its wingspan was a good 6-8 inches. My friend kept referring to it as a piper cub.

You didn't let Mad-Kitty eat away? Protein! (I think I just channeled my dad in that statement. I really ought to go to bed now.)

3:35 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Jamie- Aaaaaaah! Sounds horrifying. Now, just to cement things, because the vivid descriptions of the velvet ants (cow killers is such a good nickname) are great, but what sears an image in my brain is, well, an image, I will now hunt to find a picture of this horror. What is wrong with me?

Beth- You also sound like MY dad. You'll note that she chose the wings, rather than the body, as her first bites. What are wings rich in? Scales?

9:17 AM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

I actually like moths. From a distance. Flitting around the ground acting like butterflies. I do not like them flying in my house and attempting to attack me. Yikes.

Eddy is fascinated with bugs, fortunately the only ones he finds are small and he will usually eat them if he gets the chance. I am okay with this. I would rather not deal with them. I don't know what he would do if he came across a moth like that!

4:50 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

When we get a bat inside, my husband and cats have been known to work as a team! My husband swats them down with a tennis racquet, and the cat jumps up to grab it! They've got it down to a science...and his tennis game has improved too!

11:00 PM  
Blogger karmic_jay said...

Glad you are feeling better. I thought it was going to be a bat.
At the apt complex we lived in while in CT, was quite old and some apartments would have bats sneak in.
That was not fun. A friend had a cat and the cat would ofcourse hunt the bat in the apt. She found one after kitty had caught it and managed to chomp it's head off, leaving the body for said friend to find.
Enjoy your long weekend.

1:20 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

If Mad-kitty keeps eating moths, maybe you can save on the kitty-food costs!

9:24 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Dana- Poor Eddy, deprived of his hunting experience by living above the clouds on the 24th floor.

Ruth- ...So, what do they do after they've caught it? 'Cat disposal'?

Jay- I think a decapitated bat beats a munched moth any day of the week. Ew.

Teri- See? There's a plus side to everything.

1:51 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home