A story that brings out the warm fuzzies in my hubby.
Did it move just now? The fake ladybug in my office window behind the plastic film? The thing is right in line with my view of the winter snow garden. Really bugging me.
One of those fake ladybugs. An imported Asian lady beetle, orange-red with nineteen black dots on its back. They pinch hard. Pee in your mouth vile liquorish poison that makes you wail and spit for ten minutes.
How do they get in your mouth? They drink from water glasses. Crawl into salads, mixing with tomatoes quite nicely.
My office has wonderful walls of windows, so we purchased an EdenPure Heater, just to keep me warm. Now our pets sleep in baskets by me where I spin them like rotisserie chickens.
Ask the ladybugs, real and fake. Winters are rough in the Great Lakes region. So hubby applied lovely plastic film to the windows to give them one more layer of insulation.
The problem with this bug-thing staring in at me is that hubby is very protective of the plastic film. The technique is in the airlock. He spends the winter accusing me of pushing stacks of books, the lamp shade, and my purse into the film. These do leave dents. I cannot deny evidence.
One must understand the dynamics of our relationship, him bringing sustenance while I create my prose in the frozen office. Autumn onward, I would don gloves, many sweaters then coats and boots, fingers typing numbly.
Stubborn me with my walls of vintage windows on my vintage office-porch I would not change for the world, freezing to death. Like the bug.
What a lovely winter garden though. Birds, wildlife, a tiny lacy cedar tree tipped in ice beads dancing beneath the grey skeleton of the high bush cranberry. I love my trees. My blue wind chimes.
And Hubby loves me. He proves this in the way he contours the film, trims the edges and shrinks it with the hair dryer so I never know it is there.
Who would mess with the airlock? I’m not touching it. No, not me.
But the poor fake ladybug got caught between the windows and the plastic film.
Day before yesterday, the bug was lively. Being the coldest day of the year, I felt sorry for it, doubting its survival for mere hours. Fake Ladybug was behind the plastic, mulling how to escape her winter wonderland aquarium. Then she disappeared for several hours. Before I turned off the lights, I actually checked for Fakie.
Fakie? Yes, Fakie. Just as Gracie is a cutesy name for Grace. Fakie. Using ‘ladybug’ in her name is too good for her.
Today I come in here with essays exploding in my mind. There is Fakie, still as a nailhead on the white windowsill, staring at me through the plastic film. Eh.
I’m trying to work. And she is either dead or dying.
Why I do not approve of fake ladybugs
To my defense, these fake ladybugs can live through the winter. They hide in our insulated homes between the drywall and outside wall, then come out in droves in the spring. I think they breed in there.
Summers they spend in alfalfa fields. When that is harvested, they fly into communities to pinch your children, stick in your fresh deck stain, pee on your windows, then crawl into your house to stink and hibernate. That is , those not rolled into hay bales and fed to unsuspecting cows. Uck.
To my defense, some environmentalist from some agricultural improvement agency decided the United States farmers would be better off with these cold-weather-resistant Asian lady beetles instead of old tried-and-true, gentle North American ladybugs who die off in the winter, it seems, and were a bit more sluggish in cold summers ( huh? ) when they were supposed to be eating aphids, I guess. And they say our native ladybugs were not as aggressive on the aphids.
Please. Have you ever seen the close-up images of what North American ladybugs do to a smorgasbord of aphids?
To my defense, once upon a time I scooped them up to make a nice plot of leaves and stones for them to live under far from the house, just like I do for the mice.
To my defense, I used to take my hanging lamps apart to get the fake ladybugs out before they fried their little feet on the bulbs. And when they fry they stink too.
Then one day, hubby got out the shop vac. Who would win? Me, the defender, or him, the warrior?
But too many times the nasty creatures got in my salad.
Once my pet skunk tried to eat one and vomited around the house, me following with paper towels and the vinegar spray bottle while he squeaked and spit and gagged all over the hardwood floors. You laugh, but it could well be your dogs and cats eating them.
Now I am staring at Gracie…. I mean Fakie. And I think she was in a different position a few minutes ago. She could still be alive in there.
- But where would I keep her? What could I possibly do with her? A pet? Humor me. Fake ladybugs are not pet material.
Reminds me of when my daughter kept a slew of horned tomato worms from my garden for pets. But that is another story.
So how do I explain the hole in the precious, perfect plastic film to hubby?
I can’t stand it. I can tape the hole with clear duct tape. He will never know.
Fakie is so still.
I took out the tiny knife I use for graphics. Sliced a tiny opening. Put the other end of the knife through the narrow hole to pull Fakie out.
She took off, running.
I sliced the hole larger to stop her, but she had quite a bit of life left even if she gave up flying.
I wanted to slice the entire bottom edge of the film along the sill to stop her. I wanted to. But that would be a lot of explaining to do.
I know you wanted me to save her. But get a grip. This is not Tinkerbell. We’re talking Gracie, I mean Fakie, the fake Asian lady beetle that pees in your mouth when you try to eat her, pinches you when you mow the lawn, stinks up the insulation between your walls. Has no natural predators in North America. Apparently not even the freezing winters of the Great Lakes.
So just get a grip.
There she is. Hiding around the corner of the window, a little alcove only Gracie can fit into. I feel bad now. At least before I bothered her, Fakie was sunning herself on the windowsill. Now she is plastered to a piece of metal in the shade.
Okay, I need advice here. What would you do? And don’t tell me to spray bug poison through the hole to put her out of her misery. Really, what would you do? No, really.
Hours later… Gracie is on the move…. waddles past the slice in the film to the other side of my window. I try to pull the plastic loose on the other side of the window but Hubby has it down to a science, no place for leverage without cutting in.
Wait, Gracie comes back by the hole. Thinking fast, I stick the curved end of my bifocals through and scoop her out the hole. She falls on her back on my open journal. Did I mention they spray that noxious poison too and stink up your stuff and hands and when you are trying to get them out of your hair, they spray so you need to shampoo three times? I forgot they do this. My journal, windowsill and bifocals now need washed.
Gracie is playing dead. I forgot they do this too. With no natural predators, one would think that they would not need to play dead here in North America. Do you suppose it will take a few more generations, or could they be thousands of years here before they lose the natural instinct to play dead? I do know they will become even more cold resistant. Good to know for managing winter happy aphids in the winter garden here in the Great Lakes region.
What to do with her? I never did decide. No, I’m not keeping her in a jar until Spring. Get a grip.
I let her fall onto a soft tissue, then tuck her into an old envelope from my office trash basket, fold the envelope securely so she will not get out. Put her into the trash right on top so I can think about what to do with her. Don’t worry, I won’t leave her there. She wanted to hibernate in peace and warmth anyway. While I think where she will hibernate, I will write my next essay.
Obnoxious little fake ladybug.
Essa Adams is the author of a spiritual fiction romance novel. A Breath Floats By: An Illusion for the Soul. “What would you do if you realized you married your best friend’s soulmate?” Yes, attitude and all, she is a writer of spirituality, really. Begn reading novel online at ESSA Books.
Essa also writes essays on her pet skunks and other fur children, both in blogs and her book, Skunk Medicine: There’s A Skunk In the House! and Other Tail-raising Stories. Pet skunks and Newfoundland dog excerpts are at ESSA Books.
This blog is entitled ” Women’s Fiction ” because it is about life as a woman. ‘Write what you know.’ ‘Make sure you have suffered enough first.’ Myths, dense observations and the lies we have been told.
© Copyright December 2008.
Contact author for details on permission to reprint.