One of the major trepidations I had about moving to the Caribbean was BUGS, and having now lived here for 8 months I can say it was definitely a legitimate concern. Granted, we don’t have it as bad as some, but we’ve had our share of spiders (various sizes) and cockroaches (always HUGE) in the house.
Enter Bop. It’s a pesticide manufactured in the Caribbean that’s FOR SURE banned in the US. It probably should be banned from earth, actually. But it works, so we use it. This stuff is ridiculous – you spray a line of it around your house and anything that walks across it (including small children, probably) dies immediately. Roaches included. AND that’s not all. It will keep killing for OVER A MONTH. A roach walks across your Bop line six weeks after you’ve sprayed and it’s dead. And it doesn’t just kill them clean…no. They die a nasty Bop-induced death complete with seizing, writhing, diarrhea, and vomiting. And you thought there was nothing grosser than a huge dead roach. Just imagine THAT mess around it. Now go take four showers.
Spiders seem to be less affected by Bop than roaches, though a direct spray will strike one down. We see more live spiders in our house than roaches. Most are little spindly legged guys that stay in their webs and mind their own business. We murder them with slightly less malice than the other kinds – the big ugly fast ones that live forever in my nightmares. Jon does his best to keep me from having to mentally deal with those. One day when we were sitting in front of the TV, Jon suddenly stood up, grabbed my hand, and hauled me into the bedroom (this story is not as sexy as that sentence implies). He told me that it was urgent I stay right there until he called me out, then left and shut the door. Fifteen seconds later I hear him Bopping something in the living room. It’s a very distinct sound – sort of like a blowtorch, or a fire extinguisher. Anyway, apparently a good-sized spider had been hanging out in the curtains, right in front of us IN PLAIN VIEW, for who knows how long. He never did tell me how big it was – each time I asked he just shuddered. I guess I don’t really want to know anyway.
But the worst spider event happened in our first month here. Oh gosh, here come the heebie jeebies. So Jon’s in class, and I’m five minutes away from leaving to meet him for lunch. I’d just packed up the laptop and was starting to collect my things – chapstick, keys, etc – when I glanced up at the living room ceiling. Interjection: We’ve got these ridiculously high, beamed ceilings that have always crept me out. I’ve known since day 1 that if there was ever going to be anything truly frightening in our home, that’s where it would be. It quickly became habit to glance up each time I enter a room.
AND THERE IT WAS.
A huge, dark, hairy spider. Literally as big as my hand. And I have really long fingers. I allow myself to panic a few moments, then suppress the dry heaves while coming up with a plan. The ceiling is too high to just blowtorch him with Bop – not like I’d attempt that anyway. And Jon was expecting me at noon… what if I left to go get him and when he got home IT WAS GONE??? But really, I had no choice. I booked it to the school, photographic evidence in hand so Jon would understand the gravity of the situation, OH - and the thing’s EYES ARE GLOWING in the picture. Portals straight into hell. I’m not posting the photo because it’s THAT awful and no one will ever want to visit me here (not like anyone was actually planning on it when they said 'OMG I'M COMING TO VISIT YOU', and you know who you are, because it was all of you). So anyway, when I get to the school I pull up the picture, Jon’s eyeballs pop out of his head, and he sprints away.
The rest of this story is all second-hand, because I stayed at the school while he dealt with the beast. But this is what happened. Mercifully, it hadn’t moved an inch. Jon dragged over a chair which gave him the extra height required for proper Bopping. As soon as the spray hit, the spider began to slowly drop. He had to lean away from it as it went past his face. Finally it landed on Jon’s bike pedal (yes there’s a bike in our front room) THEN THE PEDAL TURNED OVER. As in, the weight of the spider caused the pedal to turn, and it got dumped onto the floor. Up until this point, Jon thought it was dead, because it hadn’t moved or anything. But the moment it hit the floor, it took off running, FAST. Jon’s going after it with the broom, swatting, and it jumps on and starts running up the handle towards him. So he has to drop it. This went on two more times before he finally got it outside and managed to crush the life out of it. OR SO HE THOUGHT. Because it’s lying there on its back in classic dead spider position, hooked legs and everything. Then, when he reached out his foot to probe it – OH YES HE DID – it suddenly flipped over on top of his shoe, clinging on for dear life. Of COURSE it did…was there any other possible outcome?? That’s why you don’t ever touch anything you think is dead. EVER. But he did, and it leapt on him, so there he is hopping and kicking and yelping, on the porch, in full view of the road. He’s aware of at least one car full of people driving slowly by, staring at him.
He finally managed to rid himself of it and kill it for reals, but the WORST part of the story came when we sat down to brainstorm HOW the thing got into our house in the first place. It came down to this. I’d brought in a load of laundry off the line about an hour before I saw it up there on the ceiling. It was the only explanation. I CARRIED IT IN. IT WAS IN MY ARMS. Maybe it rode around the house on my shoulder for a while before making a break for the ceiling. IT'S A POSSIBILITY.
So basically, I've been cringing ever since. Carefully poking my head into a room and surveying every corner before entering. Flipping out and swatting wildly if I feel so much as a hair tickling the back of my arm. You would, too.