While preparing for Hurricane Jeanne, I was bringing some chairs into the house. As I set one of them down inside, this…this…THING came leaping out after me. This big, hairy creature from the netherworld the size of a Winnebago was ticked at his home being moved and was taking his revenge on me.

I exaggerate, of course, but only slightly (it was only about the size of a VW). In this case, it was a spider. I’ve since learned from several sources that it was a ground spider (“Was it hairy, the size of a dinner plate, resembling a tarantula? You got yourself a ground spider”). And it is one of several species of animal and/or insect that preys on Canadians that are easily freaked out by creepy crawlies.

Others in the list: cockroaches, centipedes, lizards, snakes, and frogs. The lizards and snakes, I can deal with. Lizards are small and kind of cute. They startle me when, say, I open the garage door and one comes shooting out but for the most part, I tolerate them. Ditto for snakes mostly because I’ve seen my share of garter snakes (I did grow up close to Narcisse, after all). I can hear the frogs but I haven’t seen too many, despite my neighbour’s insistence that you will never truly feel like a Bahamian until you’ve stepped on a frog while wandering through your house barefoot in the dark. A couple of times, I’ve found hundreds of tadpoles in the dogs’ pool, but they don’t last too long (mostly because I drain the pool after I find them; take THAT, PETA!).

But it seems I’ve inherited a gene from my mother that seriously creeps me out with bugs (yes, I’m including spiders big enough to carry your children away). Cockroaches are disgusting just to look at, doubly so when they’re actually moving.  We have traps laid out throughout the house so we occasionally find one (or in the case of last weekend, two) curled up somewhere on the floor. But once in a while, there will be a live one, usually in a bathroom, just sitting there with his little feelers twitching back and forth, as if saying, “Do your worst. I can survive a nuclear blast.” About a month ago, Syd was brushing her teeth in her room acting all proud to be doing it by herself when she let out a blood-curdling scream. A cockroach had crossed her path as she left the bathroom. She hasn’t brushed her teeth alone since.

I have yet to see a live centipede, but judging from the dead ones, it’s not an activity I’m actively seeking out. I’ve heard conflicting reports that they may or may not be poisonous but that’s beside the point. The simple fact that they exist is bad enough. Ants are also a personal pet peeve of mine but they are more a nuisance than anything. It just…ummm…bugs me that every kitchen in the Bahamas is full of them.

Somehow, mosquitos and prairie dogs don’t seem so bad anymore…