October in the South. Aaaaah relief. The temperature has dropped and if one happens to wander outside one no longer has the feeling that one is being sun-fried by a large unseen malevolent being with a magnifying glass. The weather is more conducive to living than usual. For me, the days are reminiscent of home.
Pennsylvania. Land of sun, changing leaves and snow. Where 90+ temperatures don’t happen often and if they do they don’t last long. The grass is green and soft and cool like a carpet of nature beneath bare feet. The sky is usually gray (I’ll give you that) but when the sun is out all the greenery is lush and the colorful flowers just dance.
Down here the skies are blue and it hurts to look at them because the sun is RIGHTTHERE burning your corneas. The grass is either brown, crunchy and too pokey to walk on or not really grass but some kind of thorny thing that grows in the sand obviously planted here at random intervals by Mother Nature during “THAT week” of her month.
The ground, unlike home, is not dirt. It is red clay that looks like rusty dirt in the sun and orange glop in the rain. Sand is also here. Not at the beach like at home or along coastlines where you’d expect to see it…just…on the ground. Wherever. Hence the patches of thorny deviltry. Surprise! No walking barefoot in the South.
Also different in the South is the plant life and the entomological specimens. The bugs. I’ve seen bugs before. The difference is that in the North they’re not generally dangerous or threatening. We have “big” black ants that sometimes come inside. We have house centipedes occasionally. We have mosquitos and every now and again you hear about a brown recluse spider. Once we had carpenter ants in the house and we had to call the bug man. Pests are usually ants and spiders (all small, just annoying). Oh, and house flies.
We have tiny brown ants. All over. Literally. You can’t walk anywhere without seeing a column of them off to somewhere. There are four in the front yard alone, and two on the front of the house. They’re all over. In the sand you can see insect holes which I thought were ant hills. Turns out (I think) they’re some kind of wood louse. Just living in the sand. They make funnels in the sand with holes to their homes at the bottom. Remember that scene from Star Wars when they’re in the desert and they’re going to throw Luke Skywalker to that big bug thing in the hole in the sand? That’s kind of the same thing.
[Conversation with SO before leaving me alone for the day:]
Don’t dig in the dirt because the spiders live in the ground and if you happen to disturb their home they will pop out of the dirt and attack you.
They’re about the size of a grown man’s fist. And hairy. If you put one (chase it down, avoid being bitten and capture it) in a Mason jar its body covers the whole bottom of it and you can see all of its eyes like little buttons staring at you.
Excuse me….OH MY GOD‼‼
Yeah, sometimes they get in the house and you have to kill them when you see them otherwise they’ll set up home in the walls and you don’t want that to happen.
MMM…and if it happens to be a female you definitely have to kill it because they carry their babies on their backs and if you throw something at it to kill it and miss the babies all run off to save themselves too.
[That’s what I need. Not just a large hairy attacking spider running through my house, but a ton of smaller hairy babies crawling around, getting into holes and making more babies in my walls…crawling on me at night, blowing on me when the air conditioner kicks on.]
Oh and hey…if you’re outside watch out for snakes.
We have some poisonous ones and they live in the grass.
Of course they do.
There was a rattler up the street once by the side of the road hissing and attacking passing cars.
For God’s sake….
Um…and you’ve seen the roaches.
Ah…the roaches. I haven’t seen roaches like these outside of the zoo. Madagascar hissing cockroaches. These aren’t from Madagascar and they don’t hiss…but they’re the same freaking size. About three inches long, an inch wide..and just randomly roaming through your house. Or across your front porch. *shudder* Did I mention I don’t like bugs??
There is also a smaller version about an inch long, a quarter of an inch wide that we have up north….only in squalid homes. Here? Roaches don’t care what shape your house is in or how much money you have. They’re just all over like the ants. Fact of life. The fact is…life down here sucks, dude. OH. MY. GOD.
Here, look what I found (holding out a Tupperware container. Inside is a large two inch long red ant with black stripes. Bright red. Very pretty.). These are called “Walking Wasps”…sometimes they’re called “cow ants” because stepping on one will bring down a cow because they sting so bad.
And we’re not even at the zoo. [These things just walk around outside on their own, free. I was sitting on the back stoop with the baby waiting for the dog to do her thing and one of the red ants just walked right across our back yard. No hurry. Doing its thing. Right there where, if Abby had been playing she could have stepped on it and been stung. Say it with me – OH. MY. GOD.]
Poisionous ants, attacking spiders, random snakes, cockroaches the size of mice..anything else I need to know?
I think that’s about it.
But I actually meant to talk about Libby the Wonderdog. She is the baby of the family (youngest) and is best buddies with Abigail, who, in human years, is a year older. In the morning when Abby wakes up Libby is right at her side wagging her tail and licking her hand telling her good morning. They sit together at times during the day, Abby will read to Libby and sometimes she’ll stop playing or watching a dvd and go find Libby and lie down with her. Abby’s new thing is she’ll put a blanket over her head when she’s sitting on the floor and say, “Libby! Abby all gone!”
I’ll help by saying “Libby…where did Abby go? Abby! Aaaaabby!” Abby will giggle and pop out of the blanket with a “Peekaboo!” or “Here I am!” Sometimes Abby will get involved in whatever she’s doing and Libby will wander to her room (the laundry room) and lie down on her bed. Abby will notice at some point that Libby is missing and will come out of her room calling “Leeeebeee” until she finds her. She’ll pet Libby and lie down beside her.
They’re pretty close. When they play Libby is actually careful about Abby. She doesn’t knock her down or put her mouth on her or anything. There have been times when Libby has been sound asleep and Abby will run up to her and sit on her or poke her and Libby, not knowing what’s going on and being scared will growl or bark, but will see it’s Abby and not bite. Sometimes Libby will then walk to me as if to say “Mom, she’s picking on me again.”
Matt had both girls outside. Libby was on her leash and Abby was walking. They were just walking around in the yard to get Libby used to the leash. Matt said Libby stayed right beside Abby the whole time they were outside.
So, the stroller incident came as no surprise.
Libby has apparently never seen a stroller before. We haven’t used our stroller in a while because I stopped going outside (ya think?) and there isn’t really anywhere to walk. (No sidewalks down here. In town either. None. Weird.)
They’re building houses in a new development a block over. We can hear the saws, hammering and heavy machinery from our house. From inside our house.
Anyway, Abby heard some noise and asked what it was. I told her they’re building a house and took her to the window to see what we could see from here. It was a nice day so I told her that after lunch we could take a walk and see what they’re doing.
In the laundry room I opened the stroller and buckled Abby into it. Libby was asleep in the living room. I rolled Abby out and parked her in the living room where my shoes and jacket were waiting.
Libby didn’t see a baby in a stroller being pushed by her mommy. Libby saw a big hulking thing had swallowed her baby and Mommy was chasing it. Libby freaked out. She jumped to all fours, crouched down, growled, bared her teeth, barked. No way was a stroller taking her baby away!
Abby looked at her like “What’s wrong with you?”
I told Abby Libby’s never seen a stroller. Then I walked around the stroller to talk to Libby. Poor doggie. She sniffed the stroller and then was more upset that she wasn’t going to go on the walk too.
We went to look at the construction site. Which..god. Okay, the houses they’re building are on the street. (As opposed to in a development or back from the road.) So…they’re building like right there. The site isn’t fenced off so no one gets hurt and accessible to construction crews only. The men building the house were all Mexican and non English speaking. No one was wearing a hard hat. One guy (I’m assuming he was a foreman or something) was wearing a shiny silver crown. I’m not kidding. CROWN. So we rolled over…and they actually put in a sidewalk in front of the new houses so we parked on the sidewalk and watched the men working for a minute.
Then I was just creeped out and we left. I didn’t even take pictures. Where I come from there are laws and safety regulations. But this explains the houses down here I guess. The new ones look nice from the outside and the little bit I saw inside through an open front door…but I’m wondering with the slipshod construction crew just what kind of shape they’re actually in and if they’re built well in addition to looking nice. For $120k+ I want my house to be built correctly…
and probably not by a guy in a crown.