Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Close Encounters of the Creepy Kind

Everyone please welcome special guest blogger Rachel Bayles, who sent me this delightfully creepy e-mail:

This morning my just-turned-2-year-old approached me and in his baby language informed me that he had seen something “cary” (scary). He led me by the finger back to his room and pointed at a few toy cars on the floor. I didn’t see much that was scary about the cars, but somehow through his gesturing and limited vocabulary, I presumed he had seen a little bug of some sort.
“Was it a scary bug?” “Bug,” he stared repeating, putting a scooped hand along the ground like Audrey sometimes did with the ants she would find and decide to keep as pets. Well, it must have been an ant or a spider, and I returned to my work, lamenting the beginning of warmer weather and the threat of ants finding the 20-pound bag of sugar I have kept open in the pantry all winter.

Later this morning, I was standing at the doorway of the boy’s room casually chatting with my husband as he played with the boys when I felt something tickle its way across my foot. I looked down to see a very hairy insect slithering (thankfully) away from me. Big strong daddy jumped into action and told me to get the vacuum. While we disputed about the finality or lack thereof of sending the creature on a terrifying 3-foot journey down a hose into the suction chamber of the Hoover, the little beast crawled under t
he kid’s dresser, laughing glibly as it went. While my husband put on a pair of shoes and began pulling out drawers, I decided I wanted to know with what we were dealing.

I was pretty sure it was a centipede of some sort, and a quick google image search revealed that my hunch was correct. This is the beastie we were dealing with:

The common house centipede. I found that disturbing on three levels, all spelled out in the name. (The scientific website I visited to read more about it even scientifically confirmed the things were disturbing with these words: “They are highly predaceous arthropods, nocturnal in activity and disturbing when found indoors”). First and foremost, the word “common.” “Oh, yeah, those guys,” I can hear my seasoned neighbor say, “They’re all over the place. Welcome to New Jersey.” “House” obviously worries me because it indicates this little guy lives by “Mi casa, su casa.” And lastly is the very fact that this guy is a centipede, which as I recall from my science classes years ago likes to take a nip at people now and then. Thankfully this particular species is not very toxic, but he does have a “painful bite.” I’m glad he wasn’t on any rampage when he decided to traffic the territory of my foot.

After tearing the dresser apart and searching the length of the wall behind piles of stuffed animals and toy bins, we were about to give up when we spotted him again. Dallyn had pulled back the toy bin one more time and was trying to show me a little hole in the wall where the thing might have crawled out, when it came casually pit-pattering back into view. Maybe he was trying to make a last mad dash for that hole. We gave him the boot (literally) and were safe once again.

Welcome to New Jersey.


Frozen Cacti said...

The picture of that lovely creature isn't showing up for some reason. However, from the description it sounds just like the funky lookin' bug I see every once and a while in our basement. Hopefully it is ONLY in our basement and not two flights up! Maybe it's an East Coast thing?

Rebecca J. Carlson said...

Sorry! From my point of view, the image copied and pasted along with the rest of the e-mail. I've fixed it now, I think.

Frozen Cacti said...

Yep. That's it. Every once and a while it sticks it's scary self out there for me to see.

Rebecca J. Carlson said...

Russel says they're beneficial because they eat unwanted pests.

Zaboo said...

I used to get these visitors in Iowa and absolutely hated them. I couldn't see them on the carpet until I'd sat on them or something. *shudder*