Saturday, January 22, 2011

Unexpected dinner guest

I found a bug in my kitchen tonight.

It must have been in the spinach, because I noticed it on the leaves after I had submerged the bunch into a sink of cold water. I never understood why they say to do that with your leafy greens, but now I know: it's to make the bugs float to the top. My first thought was to squish him but he is pretty big so I knew that would involve a mess and crunchy bug sounds. I debated whether I should let the cat have at him, but decided that that was too cruel. And who knows what kind of bug he is? What if he made the cat sick in some terrible act of vengeance. Anyway, I didn't want to hurt him. It's not his fault he got caught up in my spinach while he was probably minding his own buggy business.

Aside: Buy local. That way if you find a bug in your produce, you can pitch it out your back door without worrying that you are introducing a feral species into your friendly neighbourhood habitat.

Finally, he was kind of cute. Not scary or hairy or anything like that. Green. And green bugs are always nice. Right?

Plus . . . he had clearly been living in our fridge for at least two days (impressive) then survived the plunge into the icy depths of my sink. Seriously, he persevered! I couldn't kill him now.

So I quarantined him.

I put him in a disposable plastic container with a bit of water in the bottom (for him to drink) and a few leaves of spinach (because he obviously likes them) and set him on the counter while I finished making dinner and considered what to do with him. Yes I did. Did someone need to know about this? Should I call the grocery store? The government? I started with the husband - who was out with Sam. He reassured me that I could figure this one out on my own.

When David got home, I showed him my makeshift bug terrarium, but forgot to warn him that the lid was not secure. A moment later, water, spinach and bug were scattered on the kitchen floor. David mocked me for trying to collect the bug without touching him.

D: Just pick him up with your fingers.

J: No! He might bite.

D: Yeah, 'cause you found him in spinach. He's probably a meat-eater.

With mocking complete, he googled to find out if this little guy was indigenous (likely not since the spinach came from Mexico) or perhaps dangerous. He seemed to be neither. So we let him hang out while we had dinner.

Unbeknownst to David, I was growing attached to this little bug and had started building a vision of our future together as a family. I'd buy a proper house for him and research what kinds of other greens he might like. We'd find him a buddy to hang out with in there and Sam would name them. Sadly, as his vocabulary is still quite limited, their names would be Hot and More. When they finally passed away of natural causes, we'd have a tiny bug funeral. It would be touching.

So you can imagine my horror when David came from the kitchen later in the evening and said:

I threw your bug over the balcony.

me: What?!?

Heartless Husband: Yeah . . .

me: I didn't get to say goodbye!!

HH: What?

me: I can't believe you did that!

HH: Are you serious?

me: YES!! . . . Did you throw his spinach over with him?

HH: . . . no.

me: (Aghast)

H: . . .

me: What's he going to eat?!?

HH: Are you serious?!?

I get up and walk away . . . pause while HH processes the crazy that has taken over his wife . . .

Mocking Husband: I'll go look for him.

me: Don't be stupid. (It's 10 pm and dark out. And he landed in our grass. And he's GREEN!)

MH: I'll do it. I'll go right now.

me: No!

Slightly Caring or Perhaps Just Remorseful Husband gets up: I'll go look for him.

me: You'll never find him.

SCPJRH ignores me and goes out into the dark backyard with a flashlight.

. . . less than 5 minutes pass . . .

SCPJRH comes up to me with his hand closed around something.

me: No!?!

SCPJRH opens hand revealing small, terrified-but-happy-to-see-me Mexican Spinach Bug (see how I am anthropomorphising him?)

me: You found him!!!

Redeemed Husband: looking proud

me: How did you find him?!?

RH: I calculated the trajectory of my throw off the balcony and just looked in that area.

me: Shut up.

Once Mexican Spinach Bug was safely back in his lettuce-water-Glad terrarium David apologized for his gross underestimation of my emotional connection to our green house guest. I forgave him and announced that the bug must be named. I also wondered aloud where would be the most comfortable place in the kitchen for him to sleep. David gave me a hug and said he loved me in the way that he does when I am being so silly and adorable that he can't help but think of how sad and boring life would be without me.

And that folks, is why we've been together for 14 years.


We are accepting suggestions for our Mexican Spinach Bug's name. What do you think???


  1. Given that he's green, I'd want to call him Kermit. But that hardly seems like an acceptable name for a Mexican spinach bug.

  2. Espinacas or verde? Too obvious? Or something a little more interesting, my favorite Mexican nickname from my days in south Texas, Chewy.

  3. I hate bugs and you still sucked me in. Adorable.

  4. Way to use "anthropomorphising" in a sentence.
    Very impressive.