Saturday, February 4, 2012

Scorpion Saga I - Intruder Alert..

Along with last weeks rain, came an unwelcome little fellow, who very nearly breached the cabin entrance. I'm proud to say that my hawk eyes were the first to hone in on the sneaky little cretin. He was tucked into the corner of the metal strip that runs the length of the doorway.

At first I thought he must be dead - a skeletal remnant from last years attackers - but we'd been in and out of this door all winter long, with baby crawling across the threshold. There's no way that miniature looking crawfish  would have gotten past our little happy snacker. We were already outside, the kids and I, all barefoot, on the Deck - so we'd either auspiciously stepped over him, or he'd been waiting on the sidelines for such a fortuitous moment as the door opening, and he'd made a dash for it once the coast was clear.

Thankfully, my husband made it home from work just in time to do the honours. He crunched the little monster underfoot without any qualms. And for the first time I didn't feel a bit bad for the poor little blighter. After-all, it was probably a family member, or at least a buddy of his that got me good at the end of last fall. The hubbie likes to refer to the scorpion incident as 'The time Mom popped her scorpion cherry''.

It was very late on in the year, and we'd not seen hide nor hair of the stinging beasts in weeks - I think there had been only one or two sightings in the house all year- so the last thing I was expecting was to share my bed with one. There were already four of us in the bed after all,  not really enough room for another bedfellow - especially such a hostile one.

In any case, I look back on the evening as a very fortuitous one, and a very lucky escape for my (just turned) 2 year old. I'd left him alone (or so I thought) on our bed to fall asleep. The lights were out and I could hear the machine gunfire recordings from his new Captain America toy. He didn't manage to fall asleep straight away, and so he called for me to come. I did of course, and we snuggled for a while. I think I had just about fallen asleep. I must have rolled onto my back and suddenly I felt an intense burning sensation jolt the right side of my back.

My first thought was 'SPIDER!' Surely only a Black Widow bite could hurt so bad... With my back on fire, I rolled protectively over my kid and scooped him up in my arms. I jumped to a stance holding toddler aloft and yelled for my husband to come. He was already at the door, pumped and ready to defend his family, after hearing my initial scream of pain.

I pointed to where the attack had taken place, and my would be hero blindly grabbed at the top cushion, crying out in pain as the stinging predator struck a second time, nailing my husband. The cushion went flying out of his hand, but no sign of the assailant. Our eyes scanned the area, desperate to seek the little terror that was wreaking so much havoc. Then Daddy spotted him, an adult scorpion lurking close to the side of the box springs, and pounded him without hesitation into the carpet.

I heaved such a huge sigh of relief. Grateful that the monster had been found and exterminated, even gladder that it wasn't some deadly spider that had pumped it's venom into both parents, but most of all, ever so grateful that it had been Momma who had rolled on top of the little beast and not one of my babies. In spite of the angry stinging sensation that remained in my back until the following day, I bore my pain with pride. I'd been wondering what it would feel like, and now I knew - definitely nastier than a bee sting - not as bad as an actual burn. Still, very much an evil to be avoided at all cost, if at all possible.        

So my ensuing bravery every evening following the scorpion incident was a big shocker to this bug phobic Momma. Without hesitation I was able to plunge my hand down between the mattresses, sweeping aggressively along the gap. The aim being to rouse out any unwelcome bedfellow that may cause harm to either of my babies. Thankfully I never stumbled across a scorpion this way. And then it became too cold to keep on worrying about them.

That deceased cretin that successfully nailed both Daddy and Mummy was probably the last awake scorpion of the year. By the time the scorpion incident occurred the alien type creatures were starting to get big and sluggish and ready to go into hibernation (according to my hubbie) - so you can imagine my surprise to already come up against an opportunistic intruder in January. I'd dropped my guard. I was no longer thrusting my hand into the unknown - Indiana Jones style. Neither was I banging out our shoes like I'd been taught to do when I first arrived here.

I'd thought  - much like bears in Alaska - that hibernation lasted until springtime. But then again, at a stretch, I could probably wear my bikini here in January, and acquire a comparable tan to what's achievable in Yorkshire in August. Scorpions apparently wake up again when it gets warmer (my husband informs me), and the fortuitous rain we received last week would have flushed them out of their hiding spots encouraging them to seek the warmth of our cabin - the rain suddenly no longer seems quite so fortuitous.   

After being here for just over 3 and a half years, one scorpion sting is a pretty good track record. I can count the number of sightings we've had inside our home on my fingers and toes -  that's a few more intruders than I'm comfortable with. Luckily Daddy is usually on hand with a pair or scissors or roll of duct tape ready to assassinate the little punks.

Dealing with scorpions is just one of those small drawbacks that go hand in hand with a glorious country life in Texas.

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