Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Coffee and Spiders, Anyone?


Once again, I was recently trying to enjoy my morning coffee, when something caught my eye under one of the used side tables I acquired when we moved here. At first glance I must admit, it looked like, well, poo.

And, usually, I am not completely coherent until after 3pm, so I bent down and picked it up, bare handed. What is this? I thought to myself; is it a toy? Part of the table? Wha-oh…no…

I turned it over, and all I saw were,

Legs,

Legs,

LEGS!!!

By this time, I was having a freak-out moment, because I had already brought it to my nose to SMELL it BEFORE I had even turned it over! Afraid I was about to drop it and have whatever was inside bust out all over on my living room floor, I ran as fast as I could to the kitchen and threw it in a zip lock baggie for safer inspection. In the brick-layered structure, I could see definite insect structures. Carefully, I broke off a piece…

Out came…

SPIDERS!

TONS OF SPIDERS! OK, so they were dead, but still. SPIDERS!

My first thought was, great! I infected myself with some alien/spider virus or its air-born eggs by poking it and then sticking it in my face to smell it! My second thought was, well, DEAD spiders are better than LIVE spiders overtaking my apartment or my nostrils while I sleep! Third thought was, I gotta look this up on The Internet!

But before that I just HAD to show my husband, who had just woken up and at first thought I was bringing him a sample of one of the kid’s poo to check out (that is not too far outside of probability). He was neither impressed nor gravely concerned.

So, I googled “spiders mud nest” because that is basically what I saw, and immediately found the answer.

A Mud Dauber Wasp nest! Of course! What the?? Yeah, NEVER heard of this before! But, read for yourself, and squeal at the pic.



My kids KNEW something was going on, and after being sure that the nest was in no way viable, I used it for a fascinating home school science day. They even completed cute little reports on this thing.

I am trying very hard to make sure my kids do not inherit the “scream-at-the-top-of-your-lungs while frantically running in circles, flapping your arms” response to bugs, such as I have had for years. Moving to a warm environment and being “eye to antennae” with many creepy crawlers has helped a lot. For example:



This is the Cave Cricket, or Spider Cricket, and it is such a staple around our house that I am thinking of roasting a bunch and covering them with sugar and chocolate sprinkles...but, these next bugs are TRULY good eats.



Here is the 17-year cicada (for which you can find several recipes for on the net) we got to see and hear MILLIONS of them last year. Look how calmly Audrey holds them. They were her “pets”. Mommy would not touch them, and could barely snap a picture of them without running away.



Here is a lovely worm. Kids are, intrigued? I promise the worm is NOT getting ready to enter her nose, as the picture may suggest...



Here is one of the many huntsman spiders we often have racing across our living room floor, or walls, or shoes, or bed pillows! At first we killed them, but now we are great at “catch and release”. During our “freak out and kill everything” phase, Audrey ended this one’s life by...purposefully sitting on it.



The first time I saw a house centipede I nearly took flight. We later felt bad for killing the first one we saw, with glass cleaner, after learning it is quite beneficial.



This common stag beetle took a trip on one of us, and ended up in our living room, becoming a great pet until Jacob accidentally squashed it with the tiny pumpkin we had decorated his “home” with. Jacob cried.



After much research and help from locals, we discovered this was (our friend squashed the tar out of it) a Bee-Mimicking Robber Fly. I am not really for killing anything, but I have to admit I like this one dead more than flying around…



The flea I found on Audrey is actually still smashed under the microscope tab. I am not letting it go, lest it regains animation and finds its way back to its vampire life-style, and back onto my leg…



Of course I have tons of pictures of beautiful butterflies, moths, ladybugs, and praying mantis, (such as this example of a baby we found while on a picnic) but, these critters don’t keep me up at night, scared stiff that they are going to be crawling all over me, or my family, eating/spawning/growing, during the dark, silent moments of the night…

I realized that the wasp nest fell off the bottom of the table because my daughter had been playing on the table a lot, and all the vibrations dislodged it. I can't bring myself to throw it away though; it is just too cool.

I have decided with all these experiences, the kids are destined to become Entomologists. I just want to enjoy a cup of coffee...

PS for a few more squeamish posts, check out Sounds Like Tomatoes and Cassoulet Cafe, about Black Widows and cockroaches, respectively...

22 comments:

w said...

legs legs legs! apparently, your hubby is not a leg man as he was not impressed.

um. and about the flea. let.it.go. re-animation is highly unlikely. i think. but. if it was pregnant at the time of microscope slide preservation, then the babies are cryogeneticized (yes, i made up that word) and could come out very much alive. and mad.






what a cute post! ahhaahahahahahaah! my EX made me AX this comment.

Insanity Kim said...

Ohhhh don't AX the comment! It doesn't BUG me one bit!

Oh no...it's spilling out into our daily lives...

WE must rUN for our LIVEs!

grace said...

oh dear, i can't stand spiders. i never knew there was something like a mud nest. i must watch out for that. i swear, my fear of spiders will one day be the death of me

Insanity Kim said...

Actually, Grace, this nest is made by a "friend", a wasp! She makes these pods and inserts spiders she paralyzed. She then lays an egg that will hatch, and consume the very alive yet frozen spider. The larva will grow and emerge as a grand wasp that will continue the onslaught on spiders. I am thinking of adorning my house with these, like stucco...

Sarah said...

So my question to you, Kim, is - where are you shopping for furniture?? It's pretty amazing to read of all your insect-related escapades, considering how much of a FREAK you used to be about creepy-crawlies!! It's a good thing you have photos for proof, otherwise I might not believe all of your stories! This one's really fascinating though, especially if you take a minute to read the website about the wasps. Nicely done!

Sarah said...

So my question to you, Kim, is - where are you shopping for furniture?? It's pretty amazing to read of all your insect-related escapades, considering how much of a FREAK you used to be about creepy-crawlies!! It's a good thing you have photos for proof, otherwise I might not believe all of your stories! This one's really fascinating though, especially if you take a minute to read the website about the wasps. Nicely done!

Insanity Kim said...

Apparently I am shopping in the wrong places, Sarah! I didn't even mention the millions of alien spider pods I found under the couch I purchased off of craigslist! I went for "coolness" with a 180 year old couch and got "creepiness" instead. I vacuumed like a madwoman with the longest attachment I could find, and was literally shaking with fear! Sigh...from now on cool antique furniture = alien spider pods. This isn't even really a couch. I don't even like sitting on it. Anyway...

Kearsie said...

Our motto in our house "KILL KILL KILL!" I even do Carol Burnett's voice in Annie as an extra motivator.

Bugs are icky. They can be beneficial outside.

Cassoulet Cafe said...

Can you hear me screaming???? I hate bees and wasps ALMOST as much as I hate roaches. And Kim, YOU PICKED IT UP WHEN YOU THOUGHT IT WAS POO? Put your hands on your head, missy!!! (lol)

(Thank you for linking to me, and I've got some more bug stories to tell :) )

Insanity Kim said...

I know CC, I know...

That is what happens before I have my coffee in the morning, I pick up "poo" with my bare hands. It is so weird how I do these things, when I consider myself a sheepish germaphobe...it's as if I like to torture myself or something!

And you're welcome! :) Can't wait to read more!

This Crazy Thing Called Motherhood said...

Oh my god, I cam over here for a laugh and now I seriously feel like I have bugs crawling all over me....

Must. Go. Take. Shower.

Must. Make. Bugs. Go. Away.....

even if they are just in my head...

Insanity Kim said...

But did you laugh??? Did ya???

Kellie said...

OH my goodness I think I squeeed out loud at the screen (but not the excited squee but more like a girly scream sort of thing).

I surely would have done the whole running around the house, flapping my arms thing. I am so afraid of spiders. Soooooo afraid.

While spiders freak me out, your blog on the other hand is entertaining. I do believe I will add you to my sidebar! Great blog! :o)

Nicole said...

Kim, oh my oh my. I'm with you on the need to investigate, then freak out when I figure out what it is, then turn around and show my kids how cool it is. How funny is that? Love your blog!

Insanity Kim said...

Yes Nicole, it is nearly a miracle that I can now do a 180 from hyperventilating to awe in mere seconds. That is the power of The Internet I think...

Thanks for stopping by!

I want cheesy turkey tater tots...

lili said...

Love the cute critters. An amusing post. Have a nice day.

Insanity Kim said...

Thank you Lili and Kelli for stopping by!

Kelli, I am just itching to know what a squee sounds like. What a great word! I must hear it, or have it likened to something. I want to squee at something soon...not a bug tho, I am SO done with that right now!!

TheresaJ said...

What a fun post! Enjoyed the read.

modern mom said...

i'd freak out too if it happened to me, i hate creepy crawlers, especially roaches. but you made it sound very interesting and i enjoyed reading.

thanks for adding my button here, i'm also grabbing yours. hope your enjoying the weekend. :D

Erin O. said...

This reminded me of when my 14 year old was little, he made the mistake of bringing catepillars in the house via stuffed in his pockets. When I asked him what was in there, he proceeded to yank them out. Not very pleasant for the catepillars. Then he put them in the doorstep thinking they would crawl to safety in the minute it took before the door closed...we said a catepillar prayer before the funeral a.k.a. Mom clean up. Kids and insects are always interesting!

Cheeky Greek said...

Ok, many people know what an aracnephobe (did I spell that right?) I am. My skin is crawling after looking at the spider picture. I'll have to post my traumatic spider stories soon. Thanks for linking to me! You are hilarious!

Insanity Kim said...

Well Cheeky, I just spell my fear of spiders as AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

Most people understand what I am trying to say...

Looking forward to swapping hilarity!!

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