Posted by: Marie | January 5, 2010

(219) One-legged crickets

Post #219
[Private journal entry written on Tuesday, August 25, 2009]

A while back, I introduced to you my friend Alice, Jr. – she is the toad that was living in my bathroom window well (my suite of rooms are in the basement). Well, just to keep you updated, we moved her out twice and both times she promptly moved back into the window well.

So . . . we have decided that she is not accidentally falling into the window well, we now believe she is jumping in there on purpose because it is her home of choice. We are honoring her choice and have left her alone. I have finally gotten used to the sudden, fervent digging in the dried leaves just above my head that often starts up when I’m sitting on the “john”. It doesn’t startle me as much as it used to, LOL.

Photo by Martin Chen

Now, this week, I discovered a second toad in the window above my bed. I went outside, climbed into the window well and pulled him out. He never returned. I guess his home of choice is elsewhere – someplace with a loftier view, LOL.

Anyway . . . I have had my bedrooms and home offices in basements most of my life. So, I’m quite used to being around critters that favor that damp environments. This includes large, black crickets.

A few weeks ago, I heard a cricket chirping his moonlight sonata as I was falling asleep. I really like the sound of crickets.

I knew he was in my room, but he was behind a bookcase so his chirping was just loud enough to be relaxing without being obnoxious. I was pleased when he serenaded me for a couple of nights.

Then, one morning, I saw him marching across my carpet. He only had one hind leg – alas, that’s why he was not hopping.

I was afraid I was going to step on him, so I moved him to the utility closet that is attached to my suite of room. The next night, I heard him chirping his heart out behind my bookcase again – I guess his desire to sleep in his own dark corner was strong enough to lead him back to that corner.

Sadly, the next morning, I found his squished one-legged body in the middle of my room – he and I had crossed paths in the middle of the night, in the dark.

This week, I was pleased to hear another cricket joyfully chirping in my bedroom. I turned out the light and settled back into my pillows. A few minutes later, I noticed that the chirping had gotten louder – very much louder – so much so that it was interfering with my ability to relax.

I turned on my bedside lamp. There, on my nightstand, leaning against the face of my digital alarm clock – two feet (60 cm) from where my head had just been – was a huge cricket. No wonder his chirping was so loud!

He was missing one leg and half of one antenna. (I wonder . . . maybe the crickets are tangling with the cats upstairs before finding refuge in my room . . . ??)

I got out of bed, carried him to the utility closet, shut the closet door and returned to bed.

The next night . . . he came back . . . singing very loudly . . . I again found him sitting on my nightstand, leaning against the alarm clock. (Now, if he only has one leg, how in the heck is he getting on top of my nightstand?)

I carried him back to the utility closet . . .

The next morning (after I had already gotten out of bed), I found him in my bed, perched smack dab in the middle of my pillow.

I carried him back to the utility closet . . .

A couple hours later, I found him trying to climb up the side of my mattress.

I carried him back to the utility closet . . .

A couple of hours after that, I found him in my bed again, wandering around on top of the covers. Man, this cricket was persistent!! And, I imagine he was getting pissed with me – it seems we were having a turf war.

I’m really fine with cohabitating with wild critters as long as they honor a few reasonable boundaries – like, they have to mute their performances just a bit during sleeping hours, and they have to stay out of my bed – and my shoes. And, they can’t bite or sting me. I pay the rent, so I get to set the rules.

Obviously, taking him to the utility closet was not working – he had figured out the direct route from there to my nightstand and bed.

So . . I took him into the bathroom. There is this one cabinet at the head-end of the bathtub/shower – inside the cabinet, the wall adjacent to the bathtub was left open to provide access to the plumbing. I was sure the cricket would so enjoy crawling around in the space under the bathtub that he would never want to return to my sleeping area. Putting him inside that cabinet was surely a win-win solution!!!

Guess what!?!?!? I haven’t seen hide nor hair of him since. I guess I was right! LOL


Responses

  1. Oh, you are much kinder than I would have been! Growing up in the country, I learned to value what few pieces of nice clothing I was given, so when cricket came to bed down, he was squished. Better him than letting him eat my Sunday dresses!

    • I know, Ivory . . . I’m a softy!! LOL

      – Marie

  2. Must be that time of year. I’m suddenly discovering critters moving into my home, too. My dog chases some of them but others she just watches go by……

    • Hey, April_optimist –

      I’m glad we can be so entertained by such simple pleasures . . . LOL

      – Marie

  3. Several years ago I “allowed” a couple of crickets to reside in our basement. One day I realized my youngest daughter had stopped playing in the basement. Her older sister told me that she was afraid of the crickets. I was surprised because this child was a lover of critters. Later that night (my husband worked nights and I was home w/the kids) I decided to check on my little friends to see why my brave daughter was suddenly afraid. I went down in the basement (an area I evidently hadn’t visited lately) and completely freaked. The crickets had been fruitful and multiplied…and multiplied…and mulitplied, or else they’d hung a sign somewhere inviting every buddy in the state of Ohio to come on over. It was like something out of a horror movie. Crickets on the walls, the ceiling, piled several deep on the carpeting. I ran for the bug spray. I will never forget the creepiness of the intruders flying all over the room, bouncing off of me, landing in my hair. I was dressed in a floor length sexy red negligee. I couldn’t walk because of the massive pile ups on the floor, so I reached in the basement storage room and grabbed a pair of my husband’s work boots, which were several sizes too big for me. As I clomped around there was no place I could put my foot down without hearing the loud crunching from the thick traffic jam that covered the entire floor. By this time I was crying like crazy. Where was my husband when I needed him? I sprayed like crazy and they started dropping like flies (no pun intended). I had to tuck my beautiful nightgown into the tops of the boots. I caught a glimpse of myself in the full length mirror we have in the basement and realized how ridiculous I looked. The simplest way I could figure to gather up the dead ones was to use a broom and dustpan, which I quickly grabbed out of the storage room. I couldn’t use the broom because only the top layer of crickets were dead, and some of them were only temporarily unconscious. I tried scooping up the dead with the dust pan, but I’d end up picking up live ones that would dive or do canon balls out of the pan splashing into their kinfolk on the floor. I realized the spray was working like a Star Trek stun gun. None of these guys were actually dying. I threw down the broom and dust pan, kicked over the trash can I was trying to shovel the dearly departed into and clomped over to the stairs. Boy, did my husband get earful when he got home the next morning!! We had the house exterminatedd, but that only seemed to stir the pot. Then the crickets were in the toaster, in the bag of potatoes, perched on the clothes in the closets, singing from the stove, napping on the beds, climbing up the drapes ~ everywhere we looked, walked, sat, or scratched there were sure to be a dozen or so. It took a whole lot of money and several exterminations before we were cricket-free. My advice: make sure your friend doesn’t get himself a girlfriend or decide to throw himself a party!

    • Wow, Mary — that is an absolutely horrifying story! I, for sure, will keep a lid on things!

      I wonder . . . do they make birth control for insects?

      – Marie


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