spiders and snakes and such

I can tolerate spiders, barely. I cannot tolerate cockroaches. We lived in Florida, unwillingly on my part, for 6 and a half years. We bought a small house on a bay where manatee lolled about in our front, (or was it?,) back yard. I announced that if I had to live in Florida, I wanted a swimming pool. Our small house had a pool guarded by herons if we were just watching from the deck. They went elsewhere when we went swimming. They appeared very quickly when our neighbor started to fish.
We also had cockroaches. Something wiggled in the kitchen drawers when we opened them. They scurried away and were hard to see, but they were there. My husband told me the spiders would eat the roaches. I was never sure of that. They were awfully big spiders. I prefer little ones.
We stored lots of food in the refrigerator. That started when I opened up the flour canister one day and the flour moved. So sugar, flour, cereal all went in the fridge.
We hired a bug man. He arrived every other month regularly and sprayed around the house. It did cut down on the bugs. Once he was late in coming and I called to tell him there were bugs around the house. “Oh”, says he, “We train them to come out on time.” I think I believed him..
Once, when my husband was out of town, something crept out of the ceiling. As I watched, more things began creeping out. I went into the bed room and shut the door and hoped they would go away. They didn’t. They swarmed and then died leaving little bodies all over the living room the next morning. Why do these things always happen when he is out of town? We called our bug man and he did a major spray in the crawl spaced under the roof. They were carpenter ants. I have added them to my list of things I can’t tolerate.
I didn’t see snakes crawling around. I recall one time, a simple garter snake appearing at  the Cape and a friend of my mothers went into a panic and grabbed her baby up and went inside. At the school where I taught in Florida, we had a visiting snake man ( a  herpetologist ?) come for a program. As the kids entered the room, they all sat on the floor in front of the snake man and his snakes. The teachers, however, cowered at the back of the room. The snake man had four kindergartners held up a giant snake. I think the teachers seriously considered leaving the room. I am not sure who thought up the program, but it certainly was a favorite amongst the kids, not the teachers.

I bring up spiders because I have a new quilt to give to my daughter’s pre school kids. Eric Carle, who writes such wonderful books, has designed fabric for quilters. I have made  a Brown Bear quilt, and the Hungry Caterpillar, and now have just finished The Very Busy Spider. I know the kids will hear the story and act out the plot and cuddle up in the quilts to hear more stories about spiders, or bugs, or snakes or butterflies.
I will be on the alert at home for spiders and hope they are the useful kind. No cockroaches in the northwest, thank goodness.

(slice of life entry, read more at Two Writing Teacher’s Link)

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