Monday, March 13, 2006

Lightning Bugs and Mice

Unlike most women and not a few men, I am not afraid of spiders and mice. Maybe it's because, as a single parent, I couldn't yell for anyone to come get the spider that was in the bathtub, I had to do it myself. So I made peace with bugs and those cute widdle field micey wicey.

Usually when a spider is spotted in the bathtub, it can't negotiate the slippery sides and turning on the water will just wash it away. But that seems unnecessarily cruel to me, so I learned to take a long piece of teepee and let the little arachnid climb on for a free ride out the back door.

I open the window for flies, too. And there was a huge thing with a million long, segmented legs and furry antennae that I called the Stud.  If he was out and about, I just said Howdy Do and walked in the other direction.

When the cats were around, they constantly brought me field mice through the cat window. They would come in, making a distinctive sound I began to recognize as "Yo, I caught dinner." To their credit, the mouse was already dead and they would just eat it all up, so there was never anything for me to clean.

Well, except that one time when one of them got a baby rabbit. And left one foot. Yuck.

Another time one of the cats brought in a live creature and dropped it on my chest. While I was sleeping. Not being dead and not wanting to stick around,  it scurried down the length of my abdomen, exiting on the right leg express in a final attempt to run for safety. My reaction? Oh, great, a live mouse. Now I have to get up and save it. I didn't even flinch. I just knew I had to find it or it would be cat food. 

The poor thing managed to find refuge on a bookshelf, but when I reached out to get the terrified animal, it defied all laws of gravityand leaped over my shoulder, landed on my back and ran down my leg again. Somehow I managed to catch it and put it outside in a bag with some paper so it could have a hiding place and catch its breath after its near death experience.

Despite my courage around mice and bugs, I realized last night that there is something that really does scare me.  Lightning. It began years ago when I was a softball pitcher standing on the mound.  Ominous clouds would be forming and lightning would start.  Looking around I realized I was the tallest person on the field, we were using aluminum bats, and our caps had a metal button on top.  I used to call the game before the umpire had a chance and race for my car.

Now that my playing days are over, lightning still comes calling. For some reason I seem to live in a lightning flight path.  I can't tell you the number of times the transformer at the back of my yard has been hit. Along with the tree that hangs over my driveway. You know it's close when you hear it crack at the same time the thunder hits. The noise shakes the house.  

It's only about five feet from my back door to my car door, but I've had more than one of those pre-lightning buzzes with the car door open as I was lifting up my foot to get in.  It feels like a little shock from a wall plug. But I know I better move fast or they'll be serving marmalade with my toast.

Last night when I got home I was too chicken to get out of the car.  I like to think of it as being respectful of Mother Nature, that bi-yotch. The lightning was flashing all around and I saw a really bright cloud to ground bolt in the reflection of one of the bedroom windows. The eye of the storm was getting closer. Luckily I had a full tank of gas so I could keep warm, my cell phone had its charger, and I had just bought a bag of FOOD.  So I listened to the radio drank some Snapple and waited for the electrical assault to move on. About forty five minutes later I was able to make a break for cover.

That five foot dash was hell.


mosie1944 said...

Lightning bothers me too.  Although I'm not afraid of mice and spiders, I'm not as kind as you are.  I kill them when I get the chance.

ksquester said...

Seems like you need to find that "lucky" rabbits foot when the lightening surrounds you.  Anne

gailmb said...

I'm not afraid of spiders and mice either, but I think a mouse in my bed would have ME defying gravity!
Thunderstorms send me cowering to the basement! A pissed off Mother Nature has to be taken seriously.....

sunnyside46 said...

we all have our fears...I don't like rodents although  i have become attached to our class guinea pig

swibirun said...

You are too funny, Mrs. L.  I can picture the mouse's great escape.

Lightning scares the bejeezus outta me too.  in 1993, I was on a 100 mile bike ride and had a severe thunderstorm catch me and the guy I was riding with, in the middle of nowhere.  Deserted country road....lightning crashing nearby every few seconds.  Options?  Keeping riding on our nice alumimum bikes or seek refuge under.....what a tree?  It was some of the longest 45 minutes I've ever had.


bgilmore725 said...

You are a fellow critter lover! Me too. I try to get them out of my house without killing them, but those millipede.... well, I get them out any way I can. Too many legs, plus some of htem could sting. My dog brought me a squirrel once, and laid it on my pillow on my bed. I found it as I was putting folded laundry away... a little gray fluffy thing on my pillow. I reached for it, thought it was a grey cloth and just as I got close enough to really see it clearly, there it was. Dead and curled up as though it were asleep. still warm. My little dog had left me a gift. How sweet. I said thank you, then buried it out in the yard. Then I washed the bed linens! Love your journal. Bea

jevanslink said...

It was a house centipede which is considered a beneficial bug because it eats other bugs.  I looked it up when I saw it and was happy to discover that it meant me no harm.  Live and let live.  They usually only grow to about an inch and a half.  But the stud was three inches.  Mrs. L

bosoxblue6993w said...

actually ... the car is the safest place to be in a lightning storm

jevanslink said...

Not with the door open and your foot on the ground.  Or in a convertible.  Or riding on the roof.  

dpoem said...

I've got an orb-weaver spider I affectionately named Rex living in my Jeep.  He's pretty cool, and you should see the circus-style stunts he pulls when I have the top down and he's got a web on the roll cage (big-time adrenaline junkie).  I'll have to take some pictures of his handy interior web-spinning and tell you about him someday.  


southernmush said...

Hello......I am new to your journal so I wanted to pop in and say hello...........This is a wonderful entry and I enjoyed reading it. You have a wonderful sense of humor and your writing is wonderful.........I'm glad I came by.......Take care.

mombzbe said...

I am alone, always, when critters strike.  My husband is usually at work while I"m going to battle with a rolled up newspaper and a heavy shoe.  I can't live and let live, not with my curious group of critters roaming the house.

So I am the slayer of bugs, and all the kids call me when they see one.  You should see the dent in the wall of my garage, where Sammy the Scorpion got smashed, August, 2004.  

Lightning, huh?  Don't feel bad, Mrs L.  We're all afraid of SOMETHING.  :)