This is such a nice town. Everyone is so friendly and welcoming.
Everywhere we turn, there is someone new that stops by wanting to say hi and welcome to the neighborhood.
It started with the birds. Singing and chirping to us as we unpacked boxes. Then the racoon colony in the back 40 wilderness came - mom and three or four racoonlets. And without even asking if they could, they cut through our yard, through to the front where they then cut over to buddy's house, climbed up his steep, front cement steps and then squeezed into a hole the size of a peanut to God knows where. Rumor has it they love his koi pond and have been known to steal a fish or two dozen a time or two.
And then there were the lovely beagles behind us, of course. They were pretty yappy for the longest time, but ever since a certain anonymous noise complaint showed up in their owner's mailbox, I've noticed they don't swap recipes and come to sniff the fence and shoot the schmidt as much anymore. Funny that, eh?
And so then it was Mr. Mole, who has been digging holes in the backyard like he's found an express route to China. Holy Son was bored the other day so I told him to go get a shovel and play whack a mole. Way cheaper than the arcade version and slightly more interactive. We have yet to do anything about this sly slippery worm eater, but suffice to say, his days are numbered.
And then if that wasn't enough of a welcoming committee, we were then treated to the daily rounds of giant house spiders. I finally broke down and after seeing one right above my head in the basement around midnight last weekend, decided to google it. Here's a tip: don't google "giant house spiders Seattle" if you are the least bit arachnophobic and prone to midnight heebies. Because what will tend to happen is you will discover that the spider(s) you have found in your home look suspiciously identical to hobo, brown recluse and other nasty, man-eating arachnids. I'm just saying, is all.
These things are massive and gross and they go like snot when you're trying to crush them. I still have the leg remnants of one gynormous spider stuck in the popcorn ceiling of my office when I bonked it with a large wrapping paper roll, which happened to be the closest weapon I had on hand. And so now when I use the downstairs computer, I have this shoulder tic action going on now. Every three seconds I tilt my head to the left, eyeball the ceiling to the southwest, on the very real chance that same crippled spider has come back to life and is now coming to suck my blood.
Yesterday morning I almost stepped on one just outside my bedroom door. He got it with the main bath toilet brush. I flushed him down the toilet, crumpled but still very much alive. He's coming to get me too - I just know it. I'll have to pee in some kind of Nadia Comaneci straddle position now. Or perhaps assume a grand plié just above that particular potty now. I'm not sure why it is we (I) imagine that spiders swim upstream through sewer water and then up into our (my) lovely porcelain bathroom bowls, but we (I) do. There are far easier ways to get into the house. And clearly these spiders have found some. I know they're just being friendly and all, but like, hello, goodbye, already. See ya, wouldn't wanna be ya.
Supposedly 'tis the season for these creepy crawlies. And 'tis the locale. Seattle is apparently one of the spider capitals of the world. On my top five list of things I miss about Canada must go "lack of creepy crawlies." Lord tundering dying Jesus, I miss them thar northern tundra where the sun shines aplenty but the bugs don't dare live.
The fruit flies have also moved in and seem to prefer to camp out in our kitchen near and dear to the bananas. I need to get on the bowl of vinegar thing toota sweeta.
But it gets better. Yesterday, not long after the spider flushing incident, I heard a loud jackhammering on my roof. (Pronounced rooooo-ff not rough).
I went out to the patio to look and there's Woody, out there pecking his way through the cedar shakes sheer clear to my kitchen. There's a spot on the side of our garage out front that has been pecked down to nothing. They also like to peck the metal chimney tops around here - it's apparently a mating call. Lovely. So I said hi back to randy Woody and went about my day.
But two minutes later, that day changed somewhat with the arrival of some keener welcoming committee types.
My daughter has been complaining of an itchy scalp. Uh huh. You're catching on. Too bad we didn't. We were thinking: (a) dry skin - perhaps the humidity levels in the house are low (like that's even possible in Seattle); or (b) she's developed an allergy to Spudnik, our new guinea pig, who's beginning to shed; or (c) maybe she's allergic to her shampoo or the laundry soap (pillowcase) is too abrasive; or d) perhaps Spud has passed on some kind of disease or such to her, like ringworm. We never considered (e) none of the above.
So I googled ringworm. Google totally has my searches on their radar, I'm sure, because my searches are wild and wacky. And so I thought, OK, I better check her scalp for a round, red circle. And so I begin my primate picking and all of a sudden, I saw two dark bugs crawling through her hair near the top of her head. Talk about things that make you go ewww-hh. Suffice to say, we were no longer heading out the door to school at that moment because joy of all joys, the Schmidt haus had just become the louse house.
OK, OK! I shouted. Lay off the welcome mat and wagon already. We're feeling the love. Now can we not just make like bears for awhile and hibernate by ourselves?
To be honest, I feel as though I've now come of age in parenting. We've had to endure a couple of trials and tribs over the years ~ my son nearly drowning in the kiddy pool at the American Club in Islamabad as an infant has become perma-etched on my maternal psyche; same son showing off his scarlet fever groin-area scabs on the kindergarten school bus remains a defining character moment in his life; and my daughter having to endure regular enemas during her anal retentive potty training years is still a vivid picture in mein cortex (she would scream on command whenever we so much as whispered enema) ~ but knock on any remaining wood Woody hasn't gotten his beak tip on, we've been pretty, darn tooting lucky, medically speaking.
Last year, in the months preceding our carpenter ant infestation at the rental house, I had done a bit of googling on it. On account of me being a weird googler and my hair being covered with white flakes - which later turned out to be my el cheapo hairspray.
And I remember praying, please, please, please, please, don't let us have a lice problem in this house. I'll do anything you say.
But our time has come. She had a good number of lice - both big and small - marching around her scalp yesterday. So we got the shampoo, Holy Hub scrubbed her scalp with it, and then I began the tedious task of combing out the nits, strand by strand, while he set about washing sheets, clothes, etc. on the triple boil setting of the washer.
If there is any blessing in this most primordial of gorilla behaviors, nitpicking ~ it is that I got to brush, blow dry and comb my daughter's hair for hours last night. Normally I'm not even permitted to touch her hair anymore, except to put it up in a ponytail for dance or soccer.
So if one is able to find a gift amongst the lice/louse, this was it. And the fact that very little had been unpacked in her bedroom yet, so we didn't have to deal with quarantining too many beloved stuffies.
This morning, I sent her off to school again, lice and nit free. I advised the school yesterday because it's pretty obvious that whoever she got it from did not publicly disclose the same. We are hopeful but not entirely confident that we have seen the last of the lousy, little bastards.
And of course, now that I have my head back, I have an itchy scalp to boot. I've been scratching my head at two minute intervals these past 24 hours. I bet you'll find yourself doing the same today. I fairly defy you not to. The brain works in mysterious ways.
So those are the creature features of the week. I feel like I've been going off the rails of a crazy train bound for Destination: Infestation, and it somehow got stuck at Zoo Station.
Oh well, there are worse places, I suppose.