I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly

I know an old lady who swallowed a fly
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly
Perhaps she’ll die

I know an old lady who swallowed a spider
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly
But I don’t know why she swallowed the fly
Perhaps she’ll die

Well, you know the rest. If you don’t, I’ve added a video of Judy Collins singing this on Sesame Street.

I’m feeling a lot like the old lady in the song. I’ve never swallowed a fly, as far as I know,  just a few moths and at least a half of a spider, but I am combating entomophobia with a touch of DOP.

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I don’t know what these are but we’ve had thousands of them!

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Two different conditions are recognized that relate to an inordinate fear of arthropods like insects and spiders. Entomophobia (“entomo” = insect + “phobia” = fear) refers to an unreasonable fear of real arthropods. The key here, as with other phobias, is that the fear involves a real stimulus, in this case an insect or spider, encountered in everyday activities. For example, a spider found inside the home might trigger this intense fear reaction.

A condition called delusions of parasitosis (DOP), or delusional parasitosis, on the other hand, is a severe, debilitating reaction to an imagined infestation. Delusions are a mistaken belief and in this case the person believes, wrongly, that they are infested with an insect or mite, or that they are being repeatedly bitten.

~ Jack DeAngelis, PhD, OSU Entomologist

My latest troubles began with the bee-like thing with pincers that nested in my hair while I was logging in a truck and burrowed into my head. The harder I pulled at him, the deeper he went. I had a sore head for days. He’s looking a little worse for wear in this photo. I took a picture in case I broke out in hives or went into anaphylactic shock (which was more likely to happen from eating the crawfish, but still…). That way if  Heidi found me passed out on the floor, she would know what bit/stung/pinched me.

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Of course, there was that cricket the size of a Dorito thumping the mouse trap.

The last few nights have heightened my entomophobia. There was the furry spider on the door, the creepy spider with white spots that lives on the night lights and the red spider that spins in the wheel well at night.

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Then, night before last, it was the giant winged thing that came in stealth-fully (again, probably in my hair). I’m beginning to redefine hair-net as: my hair that nets every winged creature! He came in quietly. I didn’t notice. Hours later, he dropped down on my head from somewhere while I was reading. I can’t tell you how much I hate arthropods dropping on my head.

You can’t really get a true idea of this from the picture but he/she was about the size of a monarch butterfly when it spread it’s wings… and u g l y!

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He fell on my head. I jumped out of the chair. Henry flew out of his bed. The giant flying thing went all kamikaze on us – bouncing off the walls and ceiling and even under the table.

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Henry isn’t much of a mouser but he does go after bugs, but this one was too much for him. He couldn’t get to it. I was disappointed to wake up and have Heidi say the winged creature disappeared shortly after she got up. He resurfaced just  few hours ago. I was a little more prepared tonight. I knocked him out with one of Heidi’s Crocs before he could get fully airborne.

I carried him outside.

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We’re pulling out of the hole right now which mean there were non-stop cement trucks and tankers. By the time I’d logged everyone and returned inside and sat down to read again, my DOP kicked in big time.

Although I knew it wasn’t possible, I felt the giant winged thing crawling down my back.

It wasn’t possible. It wasn’t that giant winged thing. It was a this giant winged thing.

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I’d rather have DOP, but I don’t think I do. So far, everything I’d hoped I was just imagining was crawling on my skin, was real and worse than I’d imagined.

I may have entomophobia but there’s something about being phobic that implies it’s a little irrational and I don’t think that’s that case either.

I think I just have boundary issues.

And, all things considered, I think they’re pretty reasonable. I’m saving the snakes and frogs for another day. I actually love the frogs but I wish they’d eat the giant winged things.

It’s supposed to be in the 90’s this week. Still, a hoodie is starting hold a certain appeal!

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Holy Flapping Fangs, Batman!

I have arachnophobia. Henry has bovinaphobia. Heidi’s pretty much just afraid of  TV shows with serial killers. We spent the last 3 years on the ‘Wild Oregon Coast’ where the most dangerous thing I ever encountered was a sneaker wave. I’ve been in Texas for a little over 3 months. I think I’m adjusting pretty well. I work the  night shift as a gate guard for an oil rig. I live in a 32′ RV in an environment where what doesn’t want to shoot me, wants to eat me, or at least take a sample.

I’ve accepted the fact that I’m surrounded by wild boars and feral pigs; rattlesnakes and copperheads; tarantulas and black widows; scorpions and free ranging mad bulls. Tonight I’m adding bats and rats; and horned (lizard) frogs and alligators (one of the roughnecks just told me we have alligators both our ditches and displayed on fence posts).

NewsWatch 12 reported unusually high bat activity in the area. There are always a good number of bats in Texas, but it appears they’re on the upswing. Oklahoma and Texas are the only 2 states in the nation that have an Official State Flying Mammal. Both claim an out-of-stater: the Mexican free-tailed bat. Holy Flapping Fangs, Batman! Really? An Official State Flying Mammal?

In Austin you can go on Capital Cruises’ internationally famous bat watching excursions. You board the boat at dusk and take a ride under the Congress Avenue Bridge to see, as you might expect, bats. Actually, you’ll see the largest urban bat colony in the United States. A ticket for this exciting event is only $10 unless you want to customize your excursion with dinner and cocktails.

It’s hard to image a more enchanting evening than floating gently down the river, eating ‘Pan Roasted “Broken Arrow” Axis Deer – served with forest mushrooms and organic wheat berry and roasted corn pilaf’ and a nice glass of Chardonnay, while gazing at the enormous flock of bats alternately flapping and hanging overhead.

Friday, I folded a spider in my underwear at the Laundromat. In spite of my neurotic fear of spiders, I shook it out and gave it a stomp. It wasn’t a tarantula or I would likely have just left the Laundromat, donating all our clothes to the next patron.

This might be a good time for a disclaimer. If that statement offended you because you think spiders are people, too, you probably ought to quit reading this blog. While I will concede that all of God’s creatures have a purpose, they have no business in my underwear and I wasn’t willing to chance that something that fast with 8 legs might take a quick spin around the post and scurry back in the pile as soon as my back was turned.

Holy Ram Invasions, Batman! Before starting this job, about all I knew about Texas was that it’s BIG. I didn’t know that every creepy Reptile, Amphibian and Mammal living in North America would be snacking in my neighborhood! I was reminded to today to check the wiring in the RV and the Jeep since we have a significant rat population. There are even Rat Rescue Groups, yes, really, and the Rat Association of Texas welcomes all rat enthusiasts.

After the late night news, I read a bit about the horned frog (technically they’re lizards, but frog worked better for TCU). 26 states have official state reptiles. I have no idea why. In Texas it’s the  horned(lizard) frog. Texas Christian University has chosen the Horned Frog as it’s mascot. Initially I thought that was a little wimpy (not as wimpy as the Upper Iowa Peacocks, but still…) until I began to read about horned frogs.

F-R-O-G-S F-I-G-H-T
Purple, White, Horned Frogs Fight
Victory, Victory, Right, Right, Right

OK…

Although they aren’t poisonous, the horned lizard frogs have earned their bad guy reputation by being exceptionally aggressive, as in attacking animals many times their size. And yes, I’m told they do live on this ranch. Horned frogs have extremely wide mouths and steel-trap jaws. In the Midwest, the greatest danger I ever faced from a frog was a wet hand and mythological warts (although I think the warts are more toad-ish).  A frog with steel-trap jaws, seriously?

I’ve read that they lie in wait, springing out and fearlessly chomping down on their chosen prey, or any unsuspecting trespasser that happens to spook them.

There’s a simple lesson here: try never to startle a horned frog.

To top it off, they also bellow like bovines.

Poor Henry.

Looks like I’m going to have to start carrying him on his walks.

When I moved to Texas, it was the heat I thought might kill me.

Now I’m pretty sure it’s the neighbors.