Saturday, August 28, 2010

Bee Season

RIP My Showering Buddy
I am pretty sure my mom's favorite phone conversations with me are the ones where I am outside with Maddie and I am telling her not to be afraid of bugs.

See, because I have a long history of being terrified of bugs of all kinds.  When I was a kid, I was a freak about bugs.  I would call my mom screaming if there was a bug in my room.  We went to a family reunion once during the summer of the cicadas at a forest preserve on the South Side. As we pulled into the forest preserve, you could hear the crazy bugs and their lyrical opera.  We had all the windows rolled up, but somehow one got in our car anyway.  When we got out of the car, they started dive-bombing us.  I happened to be carrying two lawn chairs and started screaming, flailing and throwing lawn chairs at them.  I spent the next 5 hours under the shelter and only came out for the water balloon toss.  My brothers teased me and told me that they would crawl into my french braid and lay eggs that would hatch in 7years.

Another fun bug memory was when I lived in the city in an old studio apartment.  I was on the phone with a friend when I noticed an ant on my windowsill where my alarm clock was.  Then I saw another and when I lifted my alarm clock to check the source I found a colony of carpenter ants.  I hung up the phone and ran to the store for every ant killer known to man.  When I got back I sprayed them and more poured out of my windowsill.  It was like the frickin' apocalypse.  Then I saw a huge one in my box fan.  I swear it was the Queen and when I sprayed her, she got up on her hind legs and screamed at me like some sort of creature out of a Japanese monster movie.
I slept on the couch for a week after that.

Now I am adult and a parent and of all the things my daughter could inherit from me, she got my unreasonable anxiety about bugs.  So now I have calmly explain to her that the bugs won't hurt her, she is bigger than them, to ignore them and they will go away and all the other lies my mom told me. 
I also have to put aside my own fears that still exist and sit there calmly and pretend not to be bothered by the creatures.  Still, I have fled the tower on the swing set because of a bee stalking us.  I have a hard time killing scary bugs because my biggest fear is that they will dodge the paper towel and land on my head or get pissed and come and attack me.

Twice this week I had two of the worst bee run-ins of my life where I had to be the "adult" and had to keep my cool under pressure. The other day I jumped in the shower while Colin took his morning nap and Maddie watched a show in my bed. When I reached up for my shampoo, there it was…a giant bee.  My heart started racing, I started to sweat (even though I was in the shower) and I almost screamed at the top of my lungs and went running out of the shower, down the stairs and in a closet.  I knew I NEEDED to take this shower for the sake of everyone I encountered throughout the day. So, instead I took a deep breath and with one eye on the bee I washed my hair.  Rinsed.  Conditioned my hair and rinsed most of it out before I jumped out of the shower, threw a towel around me and ran out of the bathroom and shut the door.  Luckily our master bathroom is set up where our shower and toilet are in one room separated by a door and our vanity is outside of it. I stood there dripping wet and Maddie looked at me like I was crazy and asked why I was done so fast.  I started to rinse the rest of the conditioner out in the sink, but realized that I could just go in our other shower to finish, duh!  I had to use baby body wash, but at least I was now acceptable to be around others.

I returned to my bathroom door and put several towels at the bottom of the door in case the bee decided to stage a prison break and sneak out under the crack.  I knew my best bet was to wait until Tom got home so he could take care of the situation.  When I talked to him later that day I told him about my frightening experience and his response was "Why didn't you just kill it?"  Who was this man?  After all the years he has known me did he really think I was capable of battling a giant bee in an enclosed space?  Was he nuts?  We mutually decided the conversation was over and went about our day.

I, however, kept thinking about that damn bee.  The movie "Candyman" kept popping into my head.  Clearly I've never seen this movie since all I needed to see was a preview and know that there was a terrifying scene that involved bees to keep me from catching that flick.  All day I kept hearing the Candyman's deep voice in my head and had a hard time looking directly in the mirror.

Lucky for me when Tom got home he went upstairs to assess the situation and the bee had died.  I am sure the fact that I sealed off any source of oxygen to the small bathroom did the trick.
Then today while we were running she started screaming because she said there was a bug on the stroller.  I didn't see anything, but she insisted on sitting forward the whole time, clutching the cup holder in front of her. When I went to take her out of the stroller at then end of the run, I saw a big bee crawl out from under the canopy.  I froze.  I felt horrible that was what she was so stressed out about.  I would have been too. But I had another issue.  I had still had to get Colin out of the stroller and the bee was still there.  Apparently having a bright yellow stroller tends to attract the bees.  Again, I had to suck it up and somehow get Colin out of the stroller without either of us getting stung.  Leaving him in the stroller on the driveway while Maddie ran inside wasn't an option. Imagine me trying to explain that one to DCFS!  I very gingerly removed him.  He just kept smiling at me because he was clueless that his life was in danger (overdramatized for effect).

We survived so you won't hear any reports on the evening news about a Lake In The Hills woman arrested for leaving her son in a stroller unattended while she and her daughter hid from a bee in a coat closet.   To my knowledge the bee flew out of the stroller after I hit it a few times.  But I can't be sure, which stresses me out.  I will have to do a thorough investigation when I pull it out later...or better yet, maybe Tom can do that for me when he gets home from work.  As for the shower, I still have to make sure I don't have any company every time I go in there.

So, the lesson of the week is 1) I still hate bees. 2) Both bees AND kids smell fear, so suck it up and do what you have to do and 3) above all else, never let them see you sweat.


  1. Awesome- we get wasps here and I get a panic attack and it takes forever for me to kill them- a vacuum with a really really long hose works but I am sweating and shreiking and well you know.

  2. yeah, now that I think about it, i can't generally distinguish the difference between a bee and a wasp, but it doesn't matter, i hate them both.

  3. So last week after a 20 mile bike, I streched, and went for a run. After a few seconds I felt this sharp pain on the front of my right ankle. Then after a few more steps, it felt like high voltage spiking! Ouch! I stopped to figure out my dilemma. After I pulled back the tongue of my shoe, a bee flew out. Hot damn! I had to do my run, so I ramped it up, and completed my work out. For 3 days, my ankle itched like crazy and swelled a bit. It even got numb. It was probably my 5th bite of my life, and the worst! Michelle, your caution IS warranted.