Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bugging Out

Spring is such a wonderful time of year.  The birds have returned and greet each morning with their lovely songs.  The tree branches are covered with green buds ready to burst into life.  The grass has shed it's yellow/brown pallor in favor of a lovely emerald.  The air is warm and breezy.  It's all so lovely except for one thing.  The bugs.
Because of our nearly uninhabitable climate during the winter months, we don't see many bugs from late October through early April.  I almost forget how much I hate them until they come back.  And they know I hate them so they taunt me.  Ever since the thermometer hit the 60 degree mark, we've had flies congregating around the back porch.  I can't sit out there and enjoy my morning coffee without having them buzz past me.

Now, flies I hate, but spiders I absolutely loathe.  Friday morning I walked into the bathroom to dry my hair and spotted what I thought was a bumble bee on the wall.  Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a huge, black spider.  I looked for a picture of one online and found that it's a Daring Jumping Spider.  I've seen them outdoors before, but this was the first time I've ever seen one in the house.  I managed to suck him up with the hose of the vacuum cleaner before he could get away.

Daring Jumping Spider
photo courtesy of Google Images

Today, I was sitting at the bar on the back porch, enjoying the beautiful weather and working on a word puzzle when a spider dropped down from the ceiling.  I thought it was a fly and batted it away, but it was attached to a long piece of web, so it bungeed right back in front of my face.  Several minutes of slapstick style jumping, swatting and yelling ensued (me, not the spider) before I lost sight of it.  I've been imagining that it's crawling on me ever since.

When we were renovating our house, we had the whole place gutted right down to the studs, and while I don't remember seeing all that many, I'm sure we disturbed more than a few spider webs.  Those walls had been closed up for more than 140 years, after all.  One day I was working on staining a door which I had  set up on sawhorses in, what is now, our home office.  I was brushing the stain on the door when I felt something like a hot needle being poked in the base of my left thumb.  I had semi transparent gloves on, but they were covered with mahogany stain, so I couldn't see anything through them.  I pulled them off and found a small black thing (stinger? fang?) sticking out of my skin.  I yanked it out and tossed it aside.  Without thinking about it, I pitched the gloves, too, so I don't have a clue what sort of creature might have been inside them.  I just assumed it was some kind of spider.

My dad and my husband were ready to break for lunch so I went outside and sat at the table on the back porch.  When I showed the spot on my thumb to them, I was surprised to see that it had turned bright red and had a drop of blood oozing out of it.  By the time my husband came back with lunch, about 20 minutes later, the area had gone from red to blue.  When lunch was finished, it had become blistered and purple.  We were all a little concerned about it, but I didn't want to stop working to sit in an emergency room for the rest of the day, so I put on a fresh pair of gloves and went back to staining the door. 

That night the bite area started to look pretty scary.  It was beginning to swell so badly that I could barely flex my thumb, and the blister and surrounding skin were now black and shiny.  My husband tried to convince me to lance it, but it was so tender I wouldn't even consider it.  I wanted to get some sleep and see if it looked better in the morning.

When I first woke up on Sunday morning, I didn't notice any pain, so I thought maybe it have gotten better, but when I looked at it, it scared me.  The wound was much bigger than it had been the night before and a lot more of my skin was turning black.  What really concerned me, though, was that I had dark streaks running up my arm.  There was no more putting it off, I had to get medical attention.

The doctor looked at my thumb and then poked and prodded it for a while.  I asked her if she had any idea what could have bitten me and she said she wasn't sure.  What she did know for sure was that I had an aggressive case of cellulitis (bacterial skin infection).  She told me it was a good thing I hadn't waited any longer to get treated because the streaks on my arm were caused by the rapid spreading of the infection.  I could have ended up with septicemia (life threatening blood poisoning).  She prescribed strong antibiotics and told me to soak my hand in hot, soapy water twice a day until it cleared up.  Luckily, the treatment worked quickly.  It healed without leaving so much as a scar. 

That was nearly 10 years ago, but I still feel like I've got a score to settle with the insect community.  The butterflies, moths and bumble bees get a free pass, but everything else is fair game.  I used to think lady bugs were okay, but then I found out about the imposters that only look like lady bugs.  They aren't the cute little helpers that they appear to be.  Not only are they destructive to garden plants, they bite.  Since I can't tell the difference between the real lady bugs and the clever look-alikes, I don't want any of them around.  Don't even get me started on mosquitos...or wasps....or June Bugs.....

New Look

I'm sure you've noticed that my blog renovations are complete (I'm trying desperately to catch up on all of your blogs I missed while I was renovating).  What do you think of the new look?  Is it "springy" enough for you?  I had one problem I was not able to overcome.  I cannot change the font on the titles of my posts to a "designer font".  Well, actually, I can do it, but if you don't have the same font downloaded into your font files, you'll never see it.  There is a tutorial on how to do it here, but it hasn't worked for me.  If you know of an easier way or have any suggestions on why these instructions didn't work, please let me know.


Tattoos and Teething Rings said...

I like the new look, it is fresh and very "you."

That bite incident sounds terrifying! I would definitely be squishing every little bug or spider that crossed my path after that.

I just have one {teeny} request for you- can you link up your email so that I can respond to your wonderful comments? You can use a free email account just for blogging (that's what I do); it makes responding to comments 100 times easier. Just a thought :)

Tracie said...

Your blog looks fabulous!!! You did such a great job!

I can't stand bugs. They lurve me. Apparantly, I'm very tasty or something. (Probably from all the sugar I eat.)

Joanna Jenkins said...

What a fabulous makeover! Your new layout is stunning Willoughby. Great job.

As for the bug bite- OMG! That is so scary. Glad it all worked out okay.


John said...

Good makeover. As for the spider bite and cellulitis all this is unfortunately the truth. Try to steer clear of them and let them stay away from you. Today you have almost all of cellulitis on the web, if someone is need of advice can go to:
all about cellulitis infection

Betty Manousos:cutand-dry.blogspot.com said...

What a lovely template!!!And the header is unique! I have not seen anything like that before!
So glad you came back:).That bug is just horrible.
Betty xx

5thsister said...

You are funny! I can just see you playing with the spider like a tether ball...swat, swing back, swat, swing back, all the while jumping and screaming.

Good thing you finally went for treatment. People die from sepsis. Scary stuff.

Finally, I like your remodel. Very comfy, cozy and lovely too!

Heidi said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the new look! My blog is in desperate need of a new look (while staying vintage), but I'm not good enough to come up with one!

I love spring, but I hate the bugs too! My husband cleaned out the fence row this weekend and had to go to the dr yesterday because we don't know if he got bit, poison something or what. The dr didn't know, but put him on steriods and gave him a shot.

Heidi said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the new look! My blog is in desperate need of a new look (while staying vintage), but I'm not good enough to come up with one!

I love spring, but I hate the bugs too! My husband cleaned out the fence row this weekend and had to go to the dr yesterday because we don't know if he got bit, poison something or what. The dr didn't know, but put him on steriods and gave him a shot.

angeltastic said...

I'm the same way. Love the warm weather, hate the bugs! Their buzzing is like nails on a chalk board. Spiders...eeewwwww!!
By the way...LOVE the new look!

Raoulysgirl said...

I love the makeover! It's beautiful! I wish I were so creative!!!

I hate bugs, too. Like you, they seem to be drawn to me. When I was pregnant with Tacha, a spider bit me on the face while I was sleeping. I had to go to the hospital because my OB was afraid it was a brown recluse. It wasn't (thank goodness!) but it did hurt like crazy and I had to take antibiotics (which I hate doing even when not pregnant).

Mosquitos are the bane of my existence. I will try anything to keep the little buggers (pun intended) away...but nothing ever works.

ChristineM said...

Love the new look!

That bite incident sounded scary - especially the "unknown" of not knowing exactly what bit you! That would have freaked me out!

On my list of bugs I hate: TICKS! MOSQUITOES! I mean, really, what purpose do they serve other than to bite and spread disease??? At least spiders eat other bugs!

Holly said...

I {heart} the new look!Perfect - you did that yourself...amazing!

I am not a fan of bugs at all...so feel free to settle the score and then come visit here...at least the one bug that seems to be so prevalent here doesn't hurt...rolly-polley bugs!


Kimberly said...

Love the new look! It is welcoming!

Spiders...eek! My son made me carry them outside, and I have to save bees. I am not a fan of insects, and spiders are just scary. If my son wasn't around the spiders would have probably earned their wings,(meeting St. Peter) but I had to save them for the kids. (This is California)

Matty said...

That sounded nasty. I could tell as I read the article that the bite was going to have a bad result. I was bitten by a spider on the neck. It hurt like all heck, and swelled up a bit, but there were no long term effects. I have noticed too with the warmer weather that the bees and bugs are back. ACK>

Cameron said...

first, the blog looks fab
second, that spider is damn scary looking and
third, the bite you had with the dark streaks OMG OMG, THAT IS TERRIFYING!!!!! it could have been a brown recluse? one bit my friend in the ass once and he did lance it, and basically the infection ate through all sorts of tissue and took a huge chunk out of his ass, I'm not kidding.

have missed you!!!!

Kerrie T. said...

First of all, I really hope that spider was not as big as it looks in that picture.

Second, now I will never get over the fear that there might be something waiting to attack me inside my gardening gloves. This is why I throw them on the ground and stomp on them till I think any creature inside the fingertips could no longer be living. (Glad you were okay, by the way.)

Third, AHA! I knew there were ladybugs that bite! My husband thinks I am making this up. I am bookmarking this post and showing it to him.

Fourth, so glad I found your blog through Muddy Runner.

Fifth, you pondered in the comments on his playlist swap whether or not I had a hard time with his playlist. Here's the link to my reactions: http://momvsmarathon.blogspot.com/2010/04/running-in-someone-elses-shoes.html

Sixth, I can't stop itching now.

Seventh, I just noticed that the commenter before me did the same thing -- first, second, third -- and I thought I was being original. Hrmph.

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

your new look is wonderful...i love it...very springy...just lovely

that's funny that you are talking BUGS..just last night we had a friend here saying how he used to live in texas...in a huge beautiful home...but the mosquitos just about did them in..so they moved..to california...he said...my living conditions are a big scale back..but at least there are no mosquitos.....

Pearl said...

Like the new look -- very spring-time fresh!


p.s. Got my tote bag the other day and the little glass stones! Very cool. The bag will see the inside of the bus to work Monday!

Kathy said...

I love your new look! I hate snakes much worse than bugs.

We have an award for you!

Kathleen said...

Great new look! Bugs totally freak me out!!!

Karena said...

Quite a story, OMG, I love your style, beautiful blog!

I have up a fascinating interview with artist Robert Anders...come follow.


Art by Karena

Christine Forest, M.D. said...

The new look of your blog is beautiful. It's fresh and crisp and clean, just like a sunny spring morning after the rain. Great job!

Sorry for the spider scare. I hope you will overcome this fear some day, so you can enjoy more your porch, without being in too much fear that one of THEM may get you, again.

Thank you for stopping by my blog and thank you for your nice comment.
Have a wonderful, sunny and spider freee spring!

Jenny said...

I don't know what the old look was because I'm new here, but this look is great!

Jumping spider? Ummm.... no.

Spider bites? I got a bad one once on my face.

All I can say is, you poor thing.

Liz in Virginia said...

1. L-o-o-v-e the new look of your blog! It's just fancy enough, without being too frou-frou! Gorgeous!

2. Thanks for the link to the blog friend who recommends local honey. This is the third time I have encountered this recommendation; one of the advocates was the tall boy's cardiologist! I think this is the season that we will try it out!

3. It's great to reconnect; thanks for sticking by my blog!

Purple Flowers said...

Yes, I have missed you and your funny stories. However, go to the Doc. for black streaks up the arm is NOT funny. I also hate spiders, and bugs in general.

Love your new banner. It greets the reader w/warmth and light-heartedness. Just the way I surmise you are! :)

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

sometimes i think the only way we CAN carry on is knowing that we will see them again...in heaven.

have a wonderful weekend, my friend