Friday, March 16, 2012

Maybe It's My Perfume

I could start this post off by apologizing for falling off the grid. Or, I could excuse myself by telling you how incredibly busy I've been over the past few weeks. Or, I could give you yet another recap post of how I traveled from Kazembe to Lusaka to London to Houston--all in the space of a week--and how exhausted I am now. Or, I could just jump back in with the adventures that I've promised you right in the title of this here blog:
Since Timmy was going to be leaving Zambia to head off to college, we decided to take one last trip to Lusaka as a family and while there we visited a small game park (animals, not rides) attached to a lodge outside of Lusaka. We wanted Timmy to get some good pictures for his African bragging rights. 
After a lovely breakfast we piled into the open-air Land Cruiser to go hunt down some animals. Unfortunately the grass was so long that we couldn't see much at all. We did get to have some encounters with giraffes and if I ever get a copy of the video of Timmy running with the giraffes I'll post it for your viewing pleasure.

However, this story is not about Timmy or giraffes.

Out of all the animals we saw--the giraffes, a few antelopes, and some pretty birds, the thing that got my family most excited was a millepede. I'm posting a picture below so if you are squeamish you might want to close your eyes.

Our oldest son has a zoology professor who loves to check out exotic insects from around the world. Tom wanted to show him a millepede. I have to say I was way less than thrilled about this.

Our guide parked the Cruiser and everyone but me piled out to examine up close and personal this invertebrate or arthropod. When they decided to take it home, the driver helpfully provided a piece of newspaper to wrap it in.

When we got back to the lodge we placed the newspaper-wrapped millepede into a small cardboard box and gave it to Troy to hold in the back seat of the car we had rented for the day.

We then drove back into Lusaka and after a drive-through lunch at KFC (yes, in Zambia!), we headed to the mall so we could watch a movie. After parking in the upper level of the parking lots, I gathered my purse and sweater and got out of the front seat of the car. What I saw as I turned around to close my door caused me to scream, shout, and nearly pass out as I slammed my door shut.
Timmy was standing next to me and couldn't figure out what had happened. I couldn't speak at all except to gasp, "open the door!". When he did, he saw what had caused me to completely freak out. 
There on the side of the car seat where I had been sitting, was the millepede. How it had managed to crawl out of the newspaper, and the box and make its way up to MY seat, we'll never know.

As I dissolved into tears sitting on the curb of the parking lot--my entomophobia (fear of arthropods) temporarily overriding my acrophobia (fear of heights)--my family was recapturing the millepede and laughing about how this stuff always seems to happen to me.

The (in)famous story is from when Tom and I were newlyweds and working at a mission in Mexico. Tom found a really interesting (in his opinion) fuzzy caterpillar. It had lightning marks on it which nature put there to say: All rational creatures beware! Of course my wonderful husband has never exhibited rational behavior when it comes to animals, snakes and insects. Long-time readers are familiar with this, of course.

So, Tom found this exciting caterpillar and decided to keep it in a little terrarium on the shelf above our desk. I begged him not to keep it there--insisting it wasn't safe. Tom assured me that the lid was on tight and I had nothing to worry about. 

You know where this story is going, right?

Not many days had passed before we got up one morning and found an empty terrarium. No caterpillar in sight.

I panicked! Tom searched. I searched. It was nowhere to be found. 

For the next couple days I was on edge--fully (and irrationally) expecting that caterpillar to jump out of the shadows to attack me. Then, one day I sat down on our old-fashioned little chair at the desk. It had a little skirt around it. Just as I took a seat, fire shot through my leg. I screamed. Tom came running. And there on the skirt of the chair, having just left hundreds of little hairs in my leg, was Tom's 'pet'. Tom scooped it back into his terrarium fussing over how scared he must be.
My leg meanwhile hurt for months.

I'm not sure what I'm doing to attract these creepie-crawly creatures to me. Any ideas on how to make it stop??

Exactly One Year Ago: March Madness



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