The Bathroom Spider

In the corner of my bathroom, a  tiny silent sentry guards the electric sideboard heater. It is my bathroom spider. I haven’t named him or her, I imagine she has her own name, after all she has a lot of thinking time to name herself. She could have 365 names, one for each day. Each new day she might wake up and say, “ Today, today my name is Ursula. And the next day I will call myself Penelope.”

I figure she is not really bothering anyone so why not let her be.  I don’t know the lifespan of a spider. I thought it would be much shorter. I am surprised that she is still alive after almost a year. I decide to google facts about spiders and I learn that they must drink water to survive. This made we wonder, does she walk over to the tub, dip in her slender toe and take a sip?

 

One time I vacuumed the floor aggressively, not caring if she lived or died. I am a Gemini after all, one day a lover of spiders  and the next day a lover of clean web free bathrooms. The next morning I was relieved from my perch on the toilet to see she was still alive, she survived my moment of careless vigor.

 

And who says you need television for amusement? Once I saw another spider encroaching upon my bathroom spider’s web. I could sense some spider angst occurring -there can’t be enough good eatin’ for two in our cramped bathroom. I am unclear how they worked it out, although I suspect one may have eaten the other. I wonder, have I type cast my spider as an evil cannibal? Perhaps they were just relatives saying hello, the other spider visiting to tell tales of his web in the kitchen skylight, the one I can’t reach, even with my long telescopic tool with a fuzzy bit on the end. Her relative may have been saying how the food is plentiful in the skylight. He might tell her how he can see the stars at night. He could be persuading his friend, sister, cousin? to move out of the slums of the bathroom. But alas, my spider remains.

I really hope she did not eat her relative.

I like to believe the best in people and apparently in spiders too. I believe that my bathroom spider is good and kind, and writes poetry in her tiny head. She appreciates my fancy toenail polish with sparkles on the big toe. I think she is grateful that I haven’t sucked her up in my Filter Queen. That is why I let her co-exist with my family.

She writes poetry in her tiny head

Plus of course – she expertly catches and eats bugs.

 

I’m Gonna Fix that Rat in Mi Kitchen

 

Some days ya gotta just go with it. If your island is overrun with rats you have to just put on vintage ( how could that be? does that mean I’m vintage?) UB40 and rock out while your husband feeds the rat your blue cheese that was to be for your Caesar salad.  He is really a clever one. Basically, we are feeding him—numerous times a day. Each time he sneaks up steals the cheese and we reset it again. Luckily he doesn’t seem interested in our cucumbers. Phew! Although, yesterday we did catch his less clever brother Al.

Here is some UB40 to help all you farmers out there struggling with naughty vermin… and not the nice vermin like Bernard the mouse from the Rescuers who help small children either- but the kind with beady eyes and fluffy fur and a huge appetite.

This great song that should be listened to on those nights when it’s too hot to sleep and you just want to sit on your deck in your undies…after watching a fun game of baseball when the sun was so strong all you could see was a cloud of dust as they ran the bases. But the beer was cold and the hot dogs were great.

Click on the link below for this great song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLoXFmJBvlk

Easter Weekend

Every time Easter weekend rolls around my husband and I can’t help but get sentimental about our first fight. It was Easter weekend and we were visiting Antigua, Guatemala. The streets were teeming with people ready to watch the parade of the Passion of Christ. Men dressed up with white head coverings to look like the Romans caring crosses for the very busy and exciting Semana Santa or holy week festivities. There were flower vendors everywhere selling fragrant bouquets to tourists and locals.  I recall my Spanish was quite rudimentary, so when I bought a bouquet of flowers the woman selling the flowers said something that seemed to be commending me for being a good  Catholic girl. I was confused about why she seemed so happy to sell me the flowers. I soon learned that I wasn’t to keep them for myself! I think I was to follow the procession and lay them down on a cross- out of respect. I still feel ashamed to this day! AH, youth.

I will never forget how the narrow roads of Antigua had decorations of vibrant fresh flowers in complex designs along the cobblestone streets.

As backpackers in the early nineties, we had to rely on cashing traveler’s cheques to live. We didn’t have credit cards in those days, no cell phones either- imagine! To survive from day to day we needed to find banks to cash our cheques and live on real money. I recall sending my beloved on the errand to go to the bank. It was the Thursday before Easter weekend. I was busy packing up the hotel room that cost us a mere dollar a night. The room was very rudimentary- no windows in our room, just a cut out window-shaped hole to let air in during the day. At night we just battened down the hatches like we were living in a stable, bare-bones living for sure, but it was very economical for us young travelers. We were trying to travel for three months on our meager savings, with hopefully a bit more to tide us over when we returned to Canada.

My beloved came back shortly afterward and I said surprised, why are you back so soon? He replied I didn’t’ want to wait because the line up was so long.  I  worriedly said that’s because the banks won’t be open for another four days and we are out of money! We then hustled back to the bank but by then it was too late. Everything was shut down for the upcoming holiday.  He then persuaded me to go to an expensive hotel for an all you can eat buffet, the only kind of place that would cash our traveler’s cheques. The cost of the meal was more than ten days of our normal traveling would cost. ( I really can’t recall the amount but I am trying to make a dramatic point) I was so upset that I remember we walked on different sides of the street from each other, not talking, as we walked home. What bothered me the most was that I was worried that I had fallen in love with a fool.

The funny thing about this story is that not a whole lot has changed. We have this same fight but in different ways. We still argue about wasting money. I am generally more careful about our finances.  When the family is voting on what restaurant to choose, his vote is always for an all you can eat buffet. I have trouble with overeating, so these places are not conducive to trying to eat less!

We can now joke about that weekend over twenty-five years ago… when two people had to learn to live together. A very hard lesson for couples. But I guess it worked out in the end.

How many people are lucky enough to have Easter Weekend as the anniversary of their first fight?

Of Mice and Women

Living in the country is not all freshly picked roses and sipping lemonade on ivy-covered porches. It can be chopping kindling every morning and battling the deer and raccoons for your freshly grown fruit and vegetables all summer. It involves battling the wrath of storms,  with trees falling all over your hydro lines and enduring long power outages. But the biggest battle I have ever had was with—

mice.

I have lived in many different properties on a small gulf island, and some houses have been better than others when it comes to keeping out rodents. But lets’ face it. Wherever there are humans, with warmth and food scraps there will be mice.

I remember fondly a place that we lived up on five acres. It was a cute little log cabin surrounded by ferns, apple, cherry and plum trees, and a big huge network of mice families. In fact, sometimes I felt that I was living in their house and not the other way round. I tried all of the traditional ways to get rid of mice. We had a cat. I went round and stuffed all the holes with steel wool. I tried to leave the doors closed at all times and had a cover on my compost bin. I eventually set traps for them and even this did not keep them from coming. I remember one day I had bought a flat of peaches because they were in season. I set the cardboard box out in the middle of the kitchen table and in the morning, each peach had one tiny bite out of it.

I thought I could outsmart them. When I made bread I thought, well, I’ll just leave this nice loaf in the oven and in the morning I’m sure it will be safe for our breakfast. Well, the next morning, I opened the door and there, sitting on the top of my fresh baked bread was a little mouse having his own breakfast. He looked up mid-munch and I’m sure he waved at me and said,” Hey! This batch turned out great! Thanks.”

At night I could hear little mice fights- there were so many of them. I had had enough. I went to the local hardware store and said, give me poison and lots of it. I set it out under the sink and was shocked when it was empty within the hour. I set out more. Empty again. This happened too many times.

I couldn’t believe how much poison they ate. Now here is the horror story part of this tale. It was summertime. A few days later, I noticed flies coming out from behind the stove. My poor husband was asked to investigate. We pulled the stove out and he pried open the wall. There was a whole panel of the wall filled up with dead mice! It was the stuff that Amityville horror movies were based on, but worse.

This seemed to keep them at bay for awhile.  But soon the next generation of mice descended upon the cabin with a new vengeance. They were mad about the murder of their cousins and grandmothers and grandfathers I suppose, in the great rat poison extermination of 2003.

One day I opened up the compost bin and sitting at the bottom of it was a tiny cold and shivering mouse. He looked up at me with his sad little eyes, and I couldn’t take it. I carried that bucket as far away as I could manage and let him loose in the forest, even though I knew he would be back, scratching in the walls, or chewing on my earplugs under my bed. Ah well. Times are tough for all of us. That was his lucky day. But tomorrow may not bode so well for him if I don’t feel infused with the milk of human kindness.