I have two kids, and four pets, three of which are ambulatory and one that swims. With all these beings roaming my house, Ive gotten used to someone or something suddenly leaping out at me from behind a wall, door, or sofa. What I am not used to, is when something leaps out at me that is not any of them.
Recently on my way down to the basement with a big basket of laundry, something jumped out from under the stairs that was definitely a member of the insect family and therefore not one of our pets or my children.
Being a calm, suburban mom who can take most things in stride, I naturally shrieked, stumbled, and hurled the basket of laundry down the stairs.
Aaaahhhh! I yelled from behind the heap o laundry that separated me from the monster insect thing.
My son came running down the stairs.
What is it?
Hunnuh, hunnuh, I blabbered, pointing at the monster bug.
He looked at where I was pointing, grinned, and scooped it up. Then he held it up for me to see. Its just a cave cricket, he said, thrusting it into my face.
I shrank away from it. What do you mean its a cave cricket? I shouted. This is a basement, not a cave. It doesnt belong here. That thing is lost. Give it a map and send it on its way.
Cave crickets like basements, too he explained to his mother, the cricket dummy.
Then they should be called basement crickets so I could be on the lookout for them, I responded indignantly.
Regardless of what my son said, I wasnt buying it. So, after he removed the bug from the premises and I cleaned up the laundry explosion, I went on the Internet and googled cave cricket.
Lo and behold, there was my bug; just as big and freaky as the one in my basement. In the margin, it said, As the name implies, cave crickets are commonly found in caves.
Thats good, I said to my laptop.
Occasionally, however, they prove to be a nuisance in the basements of homes in suburban areas.
Thats not good, I said to my laptop.
While I reread the caption, I realized something about it bothered me. It wasnt the fact that cave crickets sometimes end up in basements. Clearly that was a given. It was that word nuisance. Nuisance implied a bigger problem then one cave cricket. Nuisance, I assumed, meant multiple crickets. A whole clan of cave crickets. Cave cricket barbeques. Cave cricket family reunions. Thousands of cave crickets in my basement, lying in wait to leap at me.
Definitely not good.
I cautiously went down to the basement to change loads and scan the area for other members of the clan. Peering under suitcases, rolls of paper towel, and into other cricket-concealing crevices, my heart racing each time I would whisk away suspected cricket camouflage, I finally determined that the cave cricket we found had indeed wandered away from his cave and there were no other insectile inhabitants of my basement.
Satisfied that we were done with the cave cricket infestation, I took a deep breath and carried the laundry basket upstairs. As I walked to my sons room with his clothes, another cave cricket suddenly leaped out at me from behind the bedroom door.
Aaaahhhh, I shrieked, hurling the basket across the bedroom floor.
My son came running. What now?
Its another cave cricket, I cried. I thought they only lived in caves and basements!
They do, he smirked. Except when I bring the basement cave cricket up to my bedroom.
Note: Tracys book, Rebel without a Minivan, is available on-line at www.rebelwithoutaminivan.com and Amazon!