Bugging me

Megan's scorpion, heroically nabbed by Preston.My parents transplanted our family of nine from Minnesota to Colorado nearly 40 years ago. Three talking points I recall of their spiel trying to sell my siblings and me on the move were 1) "The people are so nice, even strangers on the street say 'hello';" 2) "Out west, everyone wears blue jeans;" and 3) "There are no bugs."

Nos. 1 and 2 registered slightly above a "meh" with me. No. 3 had my attention. As a child who was traumatized by had memorable run-ins with leeches, walking sticks, and woodticks that turned white and grew to the size of marbles when not removed from dogs or the hairline of a little girl who thought she might be feeling a tumor growing on the back of her scalp and was too scared to seal her fate by telling Mom about it, the idea of no bugs sounded pretty darn good. More than just good, in fact, it sounded worth the move. I was sold.

I've lived in Colorado the biggest chunk of my life now and I'm still sold. I'm sold on Colorado for myriad reasons, but after Megan's revelations the past week about the critters in her part of the world, I admit minimal bugs are still one of the greatest appeals. I've actually said such a thing to Jim in the past week, and he agreed. Yes, we'll stay put in Colorado. Likely 'til Kingdom comes.

The revelations from Megan that heebie-jeebied me so involved scorpions. Just days after their visit to fairly bug-free Colorado was over and she headed back with Bubby to their desert home, Megan spotted a scorpion in the corner of her living room ceiling. A vaulted living room ceiling that she couldn't reach on her own, not even with the tube of the vacuum cleaner stretched to the max to suck up the critter. In her third trimester of pregnancy, climbing a ladder to reach the scorpion wasn't an option. Especially because it might skitter away causing Megan to fall from the ladder in fright, threatening the well-being of not only herself, but her unborn Birdy and the surely freaked-out Bubby below. So she and Bubby kept tabs on its location until Preston could leave work early to get home and save his loved ones from the ceiling-bound scorpion.

Disaster averted, thanks to Preston, a vacuum tube, and duct tape. Except that they spotted another scorpion in the same room upon their return from a weekend trip to Sea World. The scorpion professionals were to be scheduled to rid their home of the critters. For this month, anyway. Apparently such pest control is ongoing, a monthly service required of residents of the desert. At least those who don't want their babies stung by the little cussers.

When I shared Megan's scorpion story with one of the tutors I oversee for the literacy center, a woman who has lived in various spots around the country in the past 50 years or so, she shrugged off the tale. She'd gotten used to such things while living in desert climes, she said. You shake out your shoes before putting them on, you shake out your clothes before dressing, you shake out your bed covers before jumping under them. She'd lived with worse, she said, including rattlesnakes coiled up in bushes she'd started to trim ... then slowly had to back away from to keep from being bit. Now that was scary, she said. But the fear of the rattlesnakes was balanced out by the harmless geckos that climbed the walls, she added. The little critters that were oh-so cute ... except when you forgot to shake out the toaster before pushing down the handle on your breakfast bread. Toasting up a crumb-savoring gecko is not a good way to start your day, she stressed.

Shaking toasters, shoes, and bushes or sucking up scorpions with the vacuum don't sound like good ways to spend any portion of a day, if you ask me. I honestly don't understand how folks live in such places.

I especially don't understand why Megan hires scorpion zappers to make floors and cribs and ceilings safe for my grandbabies instead of packing up the brood and heading to the hills. Specifically, heading to the hills of Colorado ... where she was raised ... and where she knows there are no bugs to threaten the lives of her — and my — loved ones.

Disclaimer: Yes, I know there are brown recluse spiders and spotted ticks and rattlesnakes and more in Colorado. But they're up in the high country for the most part, not in residential areas where we have to fear for our lives and the lives of our babies on a daily basis.

Today's question:

What memorable run-ins have you had with creepy-crawlies of any sort?