Bugs Stink. Yeah, Yeah.

I had quite a scare the other day.

I was driving home when my hand began to itch. I glanced down, and saw a very large and quite hideous looking insect crawling on it. Naturally, I did what any mature adult male would do in this situation.

I screamed like a little girl.

And then I shook my hand not only to dislodge the monster bug, but ended up flinging it across the car, as far away from me as was physically possible. Luckily, nobody was in the passenger seat. And I’m fortunate I didn’t end up in a wreck.

Insects don’t generally bother me unless they’re ants. If they’re ants, they bother me big time. If I see an ant crawling across the floor, I freak out. If I see a trail of ants, I’m ready to either call an exterminator or pack up my shit and move. Honestly, packing up my shit and moving seems the less intrusive solution, because bug bombs are a pain in the ass, and who’s to say the ants won’t just come back a week later? I’d rather have a fresh start in an ant-free elsewhere. There’s a scientific term for a fear of ants: myrmecophobia. It’s a real thing, yo, and generally results from a traumatic episode. Yeah, I had a few of those growing up in Hawaii. You see them crawling all over your 3 year old brother, thinking he’s being devoured alive, and you too would be scarred for life!

However, the buck pretty much stops with ants. Spiders aren’t the cuddliest of critters either, and roaches are dirty and disgusting, but neither really bothers me too much. Wasps and hornets are scary when they’re dive-bombing you, and mosquitoes are annoying, but again, I can live with them. The only reason I screamed, in this case, was because I was startled to see a strange looking bug on me.

I have since learned that these are brown marmorated stink bugs (a/k/a Asian stink bugs), a non-native species that immigrated to Oregon and Washington two years ago. And suddenly, they are everywhere! I’ve seen them at home, at work, in the parking lot of the grocery store, even at the coast when we were camping last weekend. They don’t bite or sting or cause any harm to people (other than scaring the bejesus out of them when they’re driving), but are harmful to crops. On the east coast they devastated 40% of the peach crop one recent year. No bueno!  So, I’d just as soon never see another one again. By the way, if you step on one of these guys, they supposedly smell like cilantro. I haven’t tried that yet, so I couldn’t tell you one way or another whether that’s the case. (I did, however, recently make a killer guacamole using cilantro. But that’s neither here nor there).

Tell me YOU wouldn’t scream if you glanced down and saw one of these guys crawling on your hand!

But enough about insects.

Those of you reading Tara’s blog or following along on Facebook have heard the good news: she got a job! And there’s a great story to go along with that involving Buffalo Wild Wings, which is now our lucky restaurant. Twice now we’ve eaten there following interviews, and both times have been offered jobs afterwards. Hey, I’m just thankful we didn’t stop at Dave’s House of Cauliflower after. I’d hate to think of that as my good-luck dining-out option!

She’s going to be a loan processor (coincidentally enough, for the same bank that gave me my very first mortgage loan years and years ago). Remember how I said that fourteen is our lucky number?  There are 14 letters in the name of her employer, so the trend continues. Anyway, she starts a week from today, and is very excited. The money is good – better than she was earning before – and there is virtually no travel. Plus, she’ll be working 15 minutes from home and will have a simple cross-town commute. Best of all, it’s a field she is very interested in pursuing, so the long-term career potential is fantastic. Hell, she’s doing way better than I am, but I told her I have no qualms having a “sugar mama” so we’re square there.

I am, of course, happy for her – and proud of her, too. All along we’ve been repeating that mantra, “everything happens for a reason,” and though it was touch-and-go for a while there…she had nearly depleted her savings and was feeling a tremendous amount of stress these past couple of months…in the end, it has all worked out beautifully. Quitting her job and moving out here was a huge gamble, but it all worked out in the end. Now, I feel like we can start moving forward, toward a real future that we have talked about and which will, finally, start to become a reality.

It’s all good, stink bugs and all!

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23 replies

  1. “I screamed like a little girl.”

    Mark, that’s exactly what I would have done, trust me! You should see how I act when I water bug gets into my apartment. NOT a pretty sight am I.

    I’ve seen these bugs before, but didn’t know what they were called or that they would stink if you stepped on one.

    ““everything happens for a reason,”

    Good for you and Tara for repeating that mantra because I believe in it.

    And see! It’s true….everything worked out accordingly, and for the highest good!

    A BIG congrats to you BOTH!

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  2. Woohoo congrats to Tara. I’m so thrilled for you both. It’s tremendous that she’s found something she’s excited about career wise. Kudos!

    As for the stink bug…Oh my God! Disgusting! I would have caused an accident. I’m a total wimp when it comes to bugs and one that size one my HAND would have freaked me the F out!!! I’m arachnophobic so I totally get it. Ugh!

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    • Thank you, Jess! She’s pretty excited. And I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one who might have potentially caused a five-car pileup on Interstate 84. Misery – or in this case, phobias – love company!

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  3. Fantastic news!! You two give me hope :)

    I can’t believe you haven’t already gone looking for one of those bugs to find out if it really smells like cilantro.

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  4. Mark
    Congratulations to you and Tara for all your recent success. Hopefully, one day you East Coast family will get to spend some time catching up with you and the rest of your family. By the way, those stink bugs are a pain. We’ve been dealing with them for a few years now in Jersey and PA. You think wasps and hornets dive bomb wait until one of these stink bugs invades your house while your eating dinner and flies around the table and crashes into the ceiling light. A word of advice, don’t squash them. They really do stink. Also, they say it isn’t a good idea to vacuum them up either. It is best to catch ‘em and flush ‘em.

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    • John – thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. It’s great to see you here! Give my East Coast family my best, please. And yes, I read online that these stink bugs have been menacing the New Jersey area for years. Since you’re probably an expert on them at this point, I’ll heed your advice and follow a new mantra: flush, don’t crush!

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  5. I’ve been wondering what those bugs were! I see them all the time now!

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  6. Congrats to Tara on getting a job! I hope she really likes it!
    I would be screaming too if a bug like that landed on me too!

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  7. Florida is synonymous with bugs. The only thing we have more of in Miami is foreigners.

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  8. It’s an interesting bug to look at, but I don’t think I’d want it crawling on me. Remember, even if it smells like cilantro, don’t put it in the guacamole.

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  9. I had one of those ugly suckers land in my car a few weeks ago! Scared the crap out of me. I was waiting in line to get gas at Costco and it seemed to just fall from the sky into my open car window. I squished him and dont remember smelling anything though. Yuck!! I hate bugs…and spiders…any any other creepy crawly thing!

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  10. Congrats to Tara! I saw the good news on FB.

    However, I saw one of those bugs in my bathroom the other day, so they have come further east than Portland. I know, as I took a photo–had never seen one like it before. You don’t think we brought it back from Asia, do you? Surely it would have shown itself before now.

    Hugs,
    Kathy

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    • Hey! Wait a sec…you ARE an international traveler, Kathy. Maybe the stink bug infestation is all your fault!!!

      That’s okay, keep making awesome art and we’ll forgive you for importing a few wayward insects into the country. ;)

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  11. Bugs stink…yeah, yeah…bugs stink! No anchovies please!! Bwahahaha

    I’ve seen those bugs before…I don’t like bugs….any kind…okay…maybe ladybugs are okay…but that’s where I draw the line…oh wait…praying mantis’ are pretty cool to look at…but that’s it…oh wait…a katydid is pretty cool too…Now I am really done….

    Are butterflies bugs? If so, then I like them too.

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    • I figured if anybody would get the J. Geils Band connection it would be you, Tracy! Kudos and good job. Ladybugs are awesome. So are butterflies. I don’t know what Katy did, but whatever she did, I hope she did it well.

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