04 June 2014

a penny for your...

With a trash bag in tow, I open my door to a pitter-patter upon the rooftop and the front porch. 

Crunch... crunch.... crunch.... I pad along the walkway to the garbage cans on the side of the house. Teeny tiny black pebbles litter the front drive and a beard of furry creatures line the edge of the garbage can... and the side of house... and the walkway... and the guesthouse... and the gate... and the grass... and the ground. 

I feel a gag reflex come on strong, then quicken my step. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch... 

Pitter-patter, pitter-patter go the tiny pebbles as they fall from the sky to the rooftop, then roll down to the porch. More furry beards. More little pebbles. They are everywhere and all around. They are on the bench and on my car. They line the shoes beneath the bench. They are INSIDE the shoes beneath the bench. SICK. I think I might puke. 

My arm hairs stand on end, and I taste bile. Crunch, crunch, crunch... I hopscotch back to the house, tumble inside and clutch my hands to my chest in the refuge of indoors. I'm safe, but I feel dread over the prospect of having to face it all again in order to get the kids out the door and off to school. 

The leaves on the alders outside my window have already fallen -- but not because of autumn. Instead, they have have fallen to wrath of the fuzzy little critters who are wreaking havoc upon Whidbey Island and the state of Washington: the bloody Western Tent Caterpillars. 

I know what you might be thinking --- they're caterpillars, Abi. 

Yes, but you have no idea. THEY. ARE. DIS. GUSTING. These are no ordinary, hungry little caterpillars. And those little black pebbles are not your ordinary little pebbles. They are poop. CATERPILLAR POOP. And it's everywhere. They are everywhere. And when I say everywhere, I really do mean everywhere.

Case in point: Inspired by friends and exasperated by our predicament, I stooped to a new low this morning. I agreed to pay blood money to my children for their help in dealing with (drowning) our Springtime visitors -- a penny per caterpillar.

I know what you might be thinking --That's highway robbery, right? Child labor and animal rights, right? I'm a cheapskate and a contract-killer, and my children are suckers, right? Au contraire!!

In the fifteen minutes between handshakes and our departure for school this morning, my kids made $3.00. THREE DOLLARS. For those of you running the numbers at home, they picked up 300 caterpillars in fifteen minutes. FIFTEEN MINUTES!!

I realize there are far better and far worse things happening in the world than my little caterpillar problem. And I could be writing about any one of these things. But instead, I've chosen caterpillars. Yeah. 

Perhaps there is a lesson here. Caterpillars become beautiful butterflies, right? But no, not these ones. These ones will soon become moths (so I've got that to look forward to). Hmmm. Or... isn't this a mark of the end times? Caterpillars and their poop raining down from the sky? Or... was that frogs? Wait, I think that was a movie. Hmmm. I don't know. Perhaps not. 

All I know is that I have a bucket of three hundred caterpillars soaking on my front porch. Spring is in the air, summer's on its heels, and I'm too grossed out to go outside. HA! 

The kids will be home in three hours. And I can't wait, because I'm putting them back to work. I just need to get to my car first. 

1 comment:

Abi said...

The final count after less than two cumulative hours of kiddo clean up was 3500 caterpillars. This is not a typo, and I still have caterpillars.