Friday, August 8, 2014

For the Birds

{Previously published on my old blog from August 2013}

When we first moved here, and particularly into this house, I was so excited about the indoor-outdoor lifestyle that Hawaii offers.  We half-live in the pool or at the beach, and spend most of many days in our swimsuits.  We eat outside every night.  It's great.

But lately, I've been feeling a little more... exclusive.  Like, "Indoors stays indoors," and "Outdoors stays outdoors."  And here's why.

A couple weeks ago, we were walking to our car after church when all of a sudden, Lilly gasped and said to Matt, "Daddy, you've got a cockroach on you!  It's on your back!!!"  Matt summarily did a very entertaining jig and song that I believe was called, "Get It Off Me!  Get It Off Me!" But I examined his back and found nothing.  Besides, cockroaches usually come out in the evenings or early mornings, and this was lunchtime.  Not really "cockroach time."

So we went to get lunch at a Panda Express in a nearby mall, and because of a parking error, had to walk through most of the mall to get to it.  A good thirty or forty minutes later, we got back to the car.  I was in the driver's seat as Matt climbed in, when (and this all happened very fast, faster than I can convey in writing) he said, "Oh my gosh!  There is a cockroach!" and flicked it off his back onto the floor at my feet!!  (THANKS A LOT, HONEY!!!)  Well, fortunately, I have a Ph. D. in cockroach extermination and I reflexively stomped that sucker so that it was well and truly dead in a fraction of a second.

But Matt was having a bit of an internal crisis, wondering why a cockroach would want to hitch a ride on him in the middle of the day, and we all felt a little traumatized.

Then, a couple days later, Lilly went out onto our carport to play Barbies.  Now, I realize that sentence probably doesn't make much sense because I haven't yet shown you pictures of our house, and I do promise to very soon.  But basically, we have this Barbie mansion or something that the girls got for a song at a garage sale, plus a couple shelves they converted into doll houses -- and we have nowhere to put them inside.  So Matt, super genius that he is, made a little U-shaped Barbie city on the the carport, and she takes her Barbies (and all those millions of shoes, clothes, and accessories) out there and plays for hours.

So that morning, she was out on the carport, and I was inside getting Wyatt dressed when I heard her screaming.  It was the kind of scream that you would make if your arm was stuck in a bear trap.  My blood ran cold, and I ran outside, leaving Wyatt with a t-shirt halfway over his head.  There I found my daughter on the inside of the U, healthy and whole and not bear-trapped exactly.  Except that at the opening to the U, there was a very healthy and whole lizard staring her down.  I think he may have wanted to play Barbies, but I'm not sure.  I kind of laughed at this point, and tapped the lizard's tail with my toe and it went running off.

"Silly Lilly," I said, "you don't need to be scared of a little lizard."

Friends.  Let me share a word of good, sound, free advice.  Never laugh at your child's terror of a lizard unless you are totally cool with them strolling into your house with their little U-haul packed, planning to stay awhile.  Because that is precisely what happened not even two hours later.

The door between our family room and lanai was open.  I had been telling the kids they needed to keep the door closed because I didn't want any more myna birds coming in and having diarrhea all over the floor.  So I was half-stomping over to the door to close it when I saw it.  A lizard staring me down.  A huge lizard, that is.  How big, you ask?  Well, just slightly smaller than this.
Source: Comicvine

I am not cool about lizards being in the house.  I am trying to be comfortable with geckos, but these are big ol' ugly chameleons.  I have no appreciation for their sharing my home at all.

So what followed was about 20 minutes of screaming (the kids some, me a lot).  Because these things jump, you guys.  They jump and run and jump again.  And it is just terrifying.  I finally managed to trap her under a big plastic salad bowl.  This was my first error.  I should have gone for a smaller bowl.  Because then I had to find a really big thing to slide under, and all I could find was this laminated book Skyler had made in third grade.  By this time we were almost as far as we could have been from the door, and as I was carrying out my bowl-book contraption out, I noticed there was a gap.  A gap plenty big enough for a lizard to crawl through.  Again, I can't write to convey how fast all this happened, so let's put it into slow motion.

Me -- noticing gap between book and bowl: "Oooohhhhh nooooooooo!!!" (starts running for the door)
Lizard -- also noticing gap between book and bowl: "Oooooooohhhhh yyyyyeeeeessssss!!!!!!"  (also starts running -- for the gap.)
Lizard -- free of bowl, leaps onto ME!!!!!!
Me -- "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!" (best approximation of scream of terror)  (scarred for life) 
Lizard -- leaps onto floor
Me -- races to open other door, stomps floor, encouraging lizard to leave.  
Lizard -- finally, at long last, after blood, sweat and screams, decides to leave.

So yes, I was mentally scarred.  And then God decided that wasn't enough yet.  

Because Sunday I was sitting at the desk composing an e-mail to my dad (who is overseas right now so only e-mail communication), when the biggest pigeon ever suddenly appears right beside me.  I started to hyperventilate as I went through my myna bird PTSD yet again.  I yelled, "MATT!!!!  HELP ME!!!!!  THERE'S A GIANT PIGEON IN THE HOUSE!!!!!!" and as I said this, the wretched creature, I'm not even kidding, flew right for my head!!!!!  

I covered my head and screamed, "HEEEEELLLLLLP  MEEEEEEEE!!!!!!"  You guys.  It was SO scary.  Just almost like this scene from The Birds.
Photo: mptvimages
 I finally managed to get to the other room while Matt (who was out in the pool) (and probably the one who had left the lanai door open) took the screens off the windows.  I wielded a broom ninja-style and chased the pigeon to one of the windows before it could rip my eyeballs out with its fearsome talons.

But anyway, all this to say, forget the indoor-outdoor lifestyle.  Give me a totally bug-lizard-bird-free home.  A fortress of peace and security.  

And also, thank God there are no snakes in Hawaii.


  1. When I was a kid and saw a snake, my mom would say, "Oh, he's more afraid of you than you are of him." No Mom, trust me. I'm more afraid of him. Yeah, all those wild creatures are to stay outside!

    1. YES!! Just the other day, a gecko charged at me. My kids are my traumatized witnesses.


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