Thursday, August 28, 2008

It Came From the Laundry Room

Piper and I were doing laundry after Ryan went to bed. I was sitting on the floor of the laundry room with a pile of dirty clothes, handing things to Piper so she could put them in the washer.* I grabbed a piece of clothing and something long, slithery, and many-legged tumbled off it. I jumped up, shrieking, and the Thing slithered back into the laundry pile.

My shriek freaked out Piper, who echoed my "EEEEEEEEEE!!!!" noises while looking very concerned and then started to cry. I picked her up and called "I need some help in here!" across the house. Ryan hadn't gone to bed that long ago; I figured he was still awake. "I NEED SOME HELP IN HERE!" I yelled. No response.

So I charged across the living room, put down the wiggling baby, and together we threw open the master-bedroom door. "I need some HELP IN HERE!" I yelled.

Ryan's head emerged from the covers. "Whaa? Haa? Mmrefah?"

"Iwasgettinglaundryfromthepile and athingfelloutitwashuge OH MY GOD itwasbigitwasoneofthosethings oh my God, the thingswithallthelegs, ohGodoh- a millipede, that's the thing with all the legs, right? Centipede? WELL THERE'S ONE IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM AND IT'S HUGE! Killitkillitpleasecomekillit!"

He sighed. "You want me to come kill it?"

"YespleasebecauseitwasHUGE ohGod HUGE HUGE!"

"Can't you just...oh, never mind," he said irritably as he got up.

I went with him to the laundry room still jabbering about the SIZE of the THING and made him go through the laundry in the basket, piece by piece. He did, grudgingly, the whole time giving me a lecture on how I shouldn't get so "worked up" about the bugs around here, because giant bugs are just a fact of life in this part of the country, and getting upset and freaking out isn't helping anything. He was referring to the fact that the first time a giant flying cockroach palmetto bug got into the house I was screeching and running around like my hair was on fire for half an hour and spent the rest of the evening nervously jumping onto the furniture any time I saw a shadow move.

Personally, I think I have been pretty understanding about the bugs. I spend a lot of time cleaning, scrubbing, re-washing, and sterilizing things to combat the ants (swarms of which have lately been found in such locales as the linen closet and under the computer desk); I didn't have a nervous breakdown when I woke up with a tick on my eyelid and I didn't even scream the time I found an earwig in our bed. In fact, I didn't even wake him up that time, I just killed it myself.

But here he was, giving me a lecture on how I need to "just deal with it" when I find a bug. He went through everything in the basket. I hovered anxiously the whole time, emitting random freak-out noises, which Piper mimicked with astonishing accuracy. When no Creature of Doom appeared, I made him go through it again, which he did, although by now he wasn’t even pretending not to be annoyed at me. The whole time he lectured me in a patronizing tone about how I was going to have to learn to accept the bugs, and why did I have to make such a big deal, it’s not helping anything, blah blah blah. Then he said that since obviously there was nothing here now, he was done.

"You're not-not going back to BED are you? WE HAVE TO FIND IT!"

He looked at me, that patronizing, patient look you give small children, pets, and mental patients. "Well, Steph, I've been through everything in the basket and it's not here. I don't know what you want me to do. It's gone."

"What the fuck is the point of being married if I don't even have a husband who will kill bugs for me?!" I yelled. "I made you chocolate-bourbon-pecan pie from scratch, and you can't even kill a gargantuan prehstoric-size millipede for me? It was HUGE! You don't understand! It was on my UNDERWEAR!"

"Well, I looked through all of the laundry twice. It's not here. Where could it possibly go?"

"Move the basket. Maybe it went out one of the holes in the side of the basket."

He started to deliver more of his "My wife is being a hysterical sissy and should not be afraid of bugs and especially should not wake me up to kill them for her" speech, then stopped mid-sentence. His eyes got really big,and he backed up. "I need a shoe," he said in a flat voice.

I gave him a grungy flip-flop from the pile by the back door. He moved the laundry basket, then brought the shoe down like a hammer. He stood up and looked at me.

"I, uh, see how that could be alarming," he said. "I totally apologize, because you are totally correct, that was HUGE. I saw it, it was like this big-" he held up his hand and pointed to indicate the millipede's length. "Oh my God, that's like four inches. Maybe even six. So, um, yeah. I'm sorry. I could definitely see how that would be disconcerting. It's dead and I don't even want to touch it. I am very sorry I doubted you. It was, in fact, HUGE."

"I know!" I said. "And it almost fell on my LEG!" I shuddered. "And...thanks. For killing it. And for acknowledging that my reaction was in proportion to the size of the bug."

"Well, I expect to be faithfully represented on your blog," he said. "Both as a killer of large insects and as an apologetic husband."

I hope I have done him justice here.

*She likes to help, and even though it makes everything take two or three times as long, I really don't mind. Her little face totally lights up when I say "thank you very much!" as she hands me some laundry or clean dishes or puts something away for me.

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