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‘Tis the Season to celebrate Summer
(and all the icky things that come with it!)


Things That Bug Me About Summer
By Lynda Schab

In my neck of the woods, spring is bouncing into summer. Warmer temperatures, longer days, lush, green trees, picnics, hot dogs on the grill, camping, beach sand in places we won't mention.

Don't get me wrong; these are all great reasons to love summer. But there is one inevitable thing about summer that wipes out the above list. This one thing is the reason I might consider moving to Alaska. And the reason I would never move to Florida, Nevada, or anywhere there is year-round summer. And why I would never, ever apply for Survivor. My husband and I shell out over three hundred dollars per year to eliminate this problem from our home. Yes, you guessed it.

Bugs.

Icky, creepy, crawly bugs with hairy bodies and dozens of legs. The one created group I don't understand God's purpose for. I am convinced bugs are here to scare me into seriously considering voluntarily placing myself in a plastic bubble. Don't think I'm kidding! Bugs creep me out to the point of tears! Studies show that every square mile of air contains 25,000 insects. I am convinced all 25,000 are living at my house.

I know for a fact that bugs seek me out and attempt to frighten me to death. Every home we've lived in has had a bug problem. Before we began having our home treated four times a year, centipedes miraculously appeared on our living room carpet. Wasps squeezed their way into cracks through out fireplace (the first time I ever got stung was in my own home! Bee and Wasp spray is now my best friend!). Spiders of gigantic proportion made themselves at home in my daughter's bedroom. Colonies of ants marched their way two by two into our kitchen. Earwigs wiggled their way into the laundry hamper and hung out under the sink. Eeew!

OK, I'll admit my hate-affair with foreign species isn't limited to insects alone. The last house we owned was a love nest for mice. At night, we could hear them running along the insides of the walls and in the basement ceiling. I had nightmares about mice with hardhats building cities within our walls. I avoided the basement like the plague but even though my son might rejoice at the prospect of not having to change his underwear, the laundry had to be done. And the laundry room was in the basement.

On one particular day, I was loading clothes into the washing machine and I heard a scratching sound on the inside of a plastic bag hanging from a hook in the laundry room. My theory was that a mouse had been running along the shelf just above it and had fallen into the bag and couldn't get out.

In typical Lynda fashion, I panicked! First, I called my husband at work pleading with him to come home and take care of this problem. He gently informed me that he couldn't just leave in the middle of the day just because there was a mouse in his house.

This brought me to tears. What was I going to do?

I then called my best friend, whose husband used to be one of those animal control people who took care of wild birds, snakes, and raccoons that weaseled their way onto people’s property. Perfect! Unfortunately, he was out of town that day.

More tears. More panic. The mouse just had to die or I was convinced I would.

I tried my youngest brother, who lived nearby. As luck would have it, he was at work. Rats! (No pun intended)

Finally, I got hold of my other brother and his girlfriend who said they could be there within an hour. I waited, broom in hand, keeping a close eye on the plastic bag in case the mouse suddenly decided to go psychotic and whip itself, bag and all, onto the floor. It felt like hours before they finally arrived. I was relieved when they confirmed the fact that I was not going insane – my brother and his girlfriend heard the scratching sound too.

My courageous brother plucked the bag off the hook and carefully carried it outside onto the driveway, where he dropped it to the ground. Poking at the bag with the broom, we held our breath as we readied ourselves for the mouse to come barging out. My heart was thumping loudly against my chest as I waited, broom in the over-the-head position, ready to pounce on the unsuspecting critter.

Nothing.

My brother's girlfriend picked the bag up with a broom handle and the culprit fell out onto the ground with a slight plunk. I squinted, moving closer for a better look.

The mouse was no mouse at all. The mysterious scratching object was nothing more than a cricket.

My brother and his girlfriend never let me live that one down. We still replay the cricket incident and laugh as we imagine what the neighbors must have thought about three, broom-holding adults towering over something as harmless as a cricket. But in my defense, I have to say I have never seen such a fierce looking cricket.

How many times have I made a big deal out of something small? How often have I talked myself into believing a problem was larger than it actually was? How many times have I let fear consume me to the point of tears? And how many times have I made a fool out of myself because of that fear? Just ask my neighbors.

So I've come to the conclusion that I'll have to deal with the bugs that come along with summer. I may never understand God's purpose for insects but I must remember that God created man to "rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." (Gen. 1:26b NIV) Even yucky creatures with three dozen legs, beady little eyes and wings that make music.

I'm now in the process of psyching myself up for summer. Alaska may seem appealing at times but I hear in some spots they have darkness throughout much of the day and everyone knows bugs thrive in the dark. Maybe this year I'll even be brave enough to trade my can of wasp spray for suntan lotion and my broom for a beach chair. I've scratched the idea of a plastic bubble, since living in one would make it difficult to enjoy the beach, although I wouldn't end up with sand in unmentionable places. Like bugs, sand has a tendency to seep through every little crack…
Lynda Schab is a freelance writer who lives in Michigan with her husband and two summer-loving kids. She is quick to say the three hundred dollars she pays for pest control is the best money she's ever spent. Lynda welcomes comments from other bug-phobics. You can contact her via the Letters page of this magazine.
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