I have a love, hate relationship with fall.
I love the cooler weather, soup for dinner to warm my bones, and ripe apples falling from the trees.
I love making pumpkin everything.
I even put a blob of pumpkin puree in our homemade mac and cheese.
I use white cheddar so it gave it a nice comforting orange hue, but it was not enough to get the distinct pumpkin flavor.
I love the fall colors and the pumpkin patches.
I love the feel of change in the air and pulling out the warm sweaters and flannel sheets.
I love watching my children make huge leaf piles, perfect for jumping in.
The one thing I hate, hate, hate about this time of year is all the tiny home invaders who are pushed inside looking for a warm retreat.
And by home invaders I mean spiders, I shudder at the very word.
If you've ever read anything on my blog, you know the extreme arachnophobia from which I suffer.
It's not rational, but how many phobias are?
But this time I feel like my fear is valid.
This time, it's not just any ordinary, harmless arachnid running across the floor.
This time it's black widows!
IN THE HOUSE!
We have had 2 of them in the last week and a half, both in the same vicinity.
I'm pretty sure there are more of them, just waiting for the right moment to emerge.
I literally have not slept the last 3 nights.
They are both funny stories of screaming and dancing on our toes, but the second one, which was exterminated late yesterday afternoon, was a particularly funny and embarrassing story.
And since I love you all so much and have sorely neglected you all, I'll share my humiliating story.
For some reason black widows are the creepiest of the creepy little buggers I have ever come face to face with.
OK, they are tied with the tarantula, but only because of the sheer size of the later.
So it's almost 3:30 and Mr Bird would be home any minute from picking the kids up from school.
I was trying to hurry and finish putting away a load of laundry so it would be out of the way for our nice evening at home.
I had just picked up a bath towel to fold when the door bell rang.
Our small town is in the throws of a mayoral election.
It was one of the candidates, a well know, respected man in the community.
He was going to homes talking to voters and sharing his views and I admit I had some questions I wanted to ask him.
As he and I stood in the doorway taking, Little Man and M&M were playing near our feet, trying to get a look at who was at the door.
Not even a minute into our conversation, Little Man screeches at the top of his lungs, "BLACK WIDOW!!!"
He instantly darted into the living room screaming with M&M in hysterics at his heals (yup, I'm raising a bunch of little arachnophobes. Actually, he kills my spiders most of the time, but he's a smart kid and is afraid of the poisonous ones).
Now just imagine what my reaction was to his words.
I knew we had just had one a few days before in this very corner of the house, so I knew this was no bluff.
I hollered and danced on my toes and ran into the house, leaving the poor mayoral candidate standing in the doorway watching this crazy lady acting like the house was on fire.
I'm sure he had not understood what Little Man had said and had no idea of the emergency.
After a few seconds I collected myself and realized this kind man was still standing there looking totally baffled, where were my manners?
I tried to be calm and walked ever so carefully back to the door to explain to this poor man that my son had seen a black widow and that we had actually had another in the house and that we were indeed wooses.
Seeing my panic, he did what any knight in shining armor would do.
He hunted down the beast (it was a big, fat one, bigger than the first), detaching it from the door jam with his foot, then squished it dead.
Crisis over, mayoral candidate on my doorstep not knowing what to do next.
He quickly and awkwardly excused himself and left.
I was so flustered and embarrassed that I couldn't think about our conversation and I have no recollection as to what I may or may not have said to him as he was leaving.
I hope I thanked him, but I can't be sure.
It wasn't until a good 5 minutes later that I realized I had not asked him any of my questions, and just how awkward he looked when he left.
Every time I think about our exchange, I put my face in my hands and shake my head.
He must have thought me insane.
But the worst part?
We have a huge sign in support of his opponent spiked into the front lawn.
I am really tempted to change my vote.
And douse the entire house in RAID!