Zoo Station

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 pliƩ 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.


Natalie said...

Hahahahaha! Oh... Oh... I laughed and I cried at this one! You poor thing. And damn you for making my already creeped out head... itch and twitch.

Our boys need haircuts so bad... if they got lice, we'd never know it. Their hair is thick and curly and dark and, well, matted 'cause they never pick it out properly. God forbid they should have critters! They do roll around on the carpet and it's weird how much carpet fuzz gets entwined in their hair. Our carpets are "beige" (ew!), btw, and beige definitely shows on black.

I'm with you on the spider deal. Most of ours seem to roost in the boy's bathroom. All the better to scare the wit out of them while they shower. D-Man has a particularly girlie, high-pitched scream that means only one thing: "SPIDER!"

Eh. It's so moist where you live that I'm sure you have more bugs than you can shake a stick (or roll of wrapping paper) at so count your blessings for continued ignorant bliss.

Otherwise, good luck with yer nit-wits.
And I hope you get rid of your bugs, too!

Jorge said...

I admit it -I suffer with more than a mild degree of arachnophobia. However, it has been a while since I hurt my side from laughing so hard. I'm glad you have your wonderful sense of humor to sustain you through these tribulations. Thank you for your reference to the book on happiness. I'll have to look that one up.
Be well,

ventl8r said...

One of the advantages of living where it snows...bugs die. The nice temperate climate of the Pac NW is ideal for hangers-on.

Whack-a-mole....still a periennial favorite! Never loses its humour!

-s said...

LOL @ Beagles.
I don't even want to go there...

Sounds like you guys are having so much fun. I'm almost envious. Almost. But not quite.

Egads @ The infestation. Been there, done that, and it's hideous. Everyone gets it at least once in their life, but you gotta admit it makes ya feel so dirty doesn't it?

c said...

Sounds like you guys are getting settled in and acquainted with your neighbors. Also sounds like the perfect place for your kids to play and grow up. Some of my best memories of childhood our the hours and days my sister, brother and I spent exploring the area around our house and befriending the many animals around. Playing with gardner snakes and frogs, catching glimpses of black bears and coyotes and freaking out my mom by running bare foot through the yard that so often rendered rattle snakes.

I have to also comment that I was bit by a brown recluse when I was 12 or so. Definitely a good scare for the parents, but turned out alright luckily enough.

Jungle Mama said...

It really does sound like a zoo. I can totally relate to the Seatle Spiders. My cousins called them wolf spiders and I have never seen another one to compare, even these nasty big ones in the Netherlands. Really, I think I had nightmares about those wolf spiders for years and now they've gone down in the family stories under the "Scary Stories" heading.

Good to hear you're settling in, even if you do have issues with the yappy dog neighbor. Hope those issues iron themselves out over the years ;)

KC said...

I see a creepy crawly... I scream bloody murder... the cats come running to inspect what freaked me out but rarely do anything to protect me from said - blood sucking monsters.

Mind you... spiders aren't necessarily in abundance... they are HUGE, hairy with what looks like 15 eyes... making me fearful of the dark. And then add the centipedes longer than most small garden snakes ... those suckers are hard to catch and wack with whatever object is closest to me. And I hear - they bite!!!

Chandler (my cat) loves the action though. The new house has brought him a whole new set of 'toys that move on their own'... and often times he comes begging me to give him some when he is bored. Sorry hon - I have nothing to do with that and if I had my way... he'd never ever have such 'naturally moving toys.' I'll take a mouse/mice anytime... but a creepy crawly.. ewwwhhh...!!! Can I crawl out of my skin any faster???

Funny thing is as soon as you mentioned lice/louse... instinctually I scratched my head. And then some more. And with the fans at work blowing like a small hurricane is going on in the office... with each hair movement... I now have a bad case of lice. With naturally curly hair - that ain't funny!!! Not one bit!

Settling into the new home has been equally eventful for this SW Ontarion. I have a beautiful male Cardinal that has decided to take up residence in my front maple tree... right by my bedroom window... and he hasn't been too quiet about it. His usual song has turned into a squawk that less pleasant than finger nails on a chaulk board. GRRR... the squirls have decided that my steps is as best place as any to bring their stash of walnuts from the neighbourhood walnut tree ... and eat. Talk about take-out... and the mess!! Oye! But... I still love it. It's nature hon... at its best!!!

But now that I am officially creepy crawly creeped out... I will say... see ya later... I've got to go buy a can of raid.

Ciao bella,

Jorge said...

We're having some much needed rain down here, and I'm enjoying sitting by the window, looking at my world getting a wonderful renewal, grateful to be here, and to have people like you in the world. Be well,

Hollie said...

First I had to laugh at all your visitors welcoming you to the hood...then my lice control mommy came to play...want to know a way for them never to return...tea tree oil, buy a bottle then put 3 drops in every bottle of shamppo in house they will not come back...been using it for years and lots of my daughters schoolmates have had them this year and yet Roo is visitor free!

Jorge said...

I'm working again this weekend, but taking a break to visit with friends, seeing what's new in their lives. Hope all is well with you and yours.

KC said...

Fall is officially here... looking forward to some of your wonderful writings on this season!!

Ciao bella,

Hope you are well...