Fear and Loathing of the Caterpillar

As promised, the highlight and lowlight of my weekend.

I spent most of the weekend combing though the second-pass galleys of my book. BH spent the weekend moving millions of tons of tools and wood in the garage. He worked so hard his hands swelled (changing weather contributed, too), and he asked me to wear his wedding ring. (I love it when he does that.)

A surprise visit detoured our plans slightly. My nephew Ryan, home on leave from Iraq, had driven up from Georgia with his wife, Winter, and kids Caitlin and Damien. They arrived Sunday for lunch.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic The galleys could wait.

We hung out and chit-chatted and I took the kids out back so they could run around, and I could see if there was any lettuce we could pick for lunch. The kids were talking a million miles an hour and I was loving it and then I saw IT. A dreaded tent caterpillar. While explaining to the kids why I did not want this particular caterpillar chomping through my garden, I picked it up and flung it past the stone fence and into the tall grass of meadow behind the garden.

As the caterpillar was leaving my hand, he turned and cursed me, using the foulest of language. His curse caused my husband’s wedding ring to fly off my hand, over the stone fence and into the tall grass of the meadow beyond it.

It was very quiet for a moment. I reached for the shovel, prepared to dig a deep pit, fill it with tears, and drown myself in it. But I had two sweet little kids watching me.

I put on the happy-Aunt-Laurie face and told them we had an adventure! Find Uncle Scot’s ring. We set out the area to search, then crouched in the grass and turned over every leaf. Damien went inside to get the rest of the family and soon everyone was looking. When I wasn’t fighting waves of hysteria, I tried to convince myself this was a good thing, because we were sure to find it, and we were reclaiming a piece of meadow that I could turn into a new garden bed.

Really. It was all going to work out. And if it didn’t, well it wouldn’t take long to dig that pit and drown myself in it.

BH suggested we should feed our guests lunch. I reached for the shovel and started digging. He gently removed it from my hands.

We ate (yes, using our garden lettuce on our sandwiches) and they had to hit the road. BH drove to a buddy’s house and came back with a metal detector. I was certain that he would find every scrap of farm metal that had been buried out back fifty years earlier. I knew the ring had been spirited away to a nest by a squadron of tent caterpillars and they were using it in their gruesome breeding rituals and we would wake up in the morning to find the entire house encased in a tent caterpillar nest, and they would turn carnivorous and eat our brains while we slept. They would Borg us and we would develop wiggly bodies with lots of little legs and we would spend eternity trying to assimilate the good people of Mexico, NY into our evil caterpillar ways. I was convinced –

BH found the ring in thirty seconds with the metal detector, completely undamaged by flight or worm vandalism.
Ryan and family left for Georgia. (He goes back to Iraq tomorrow.) BH shoved his ring on his own finger. I went back to the galley. All ended well.

There are two morals to the story:
1. With the right tool, you can do anything.
2. Don’t piss off caterpillars. They only look harmless.

15 Replies to “Fear and Loathing of the Caterpillar”

  1. Could you please send BH to my house? I lost my wedding ring a month ago and still can’t find it. I’m heartbroken. It is a good chance that the little one I tend to picked it up off the computer desk and dropped it in the bin. =(

    At least it wasn’t a demonic caterpillar!

  2. Oof. This happened to friends of ours from Germany — in the snow in Michigan. Metal detectors will save your tushie! (Plus, the smooching that occurs when you finally recover the ring is super-cute.)

  3. TadMack says: 🙂

    Oh, I was ready to cry with you. SO GLAD this has a happy ending. I believe you about the caterpillars. They seriously are some kind of kingpins of the soft bug world. Yikes.

  4. Coming soon to a theatre near you: CURSE OF THE CATERPILLARS.

    Cue trailer:

    Girl in field: What’s that crunching sound?
    Mama: Probably just Clem comin’ up the gravel path.
    Girl, looking toward horizon: I don’t see him.
    *points toward horizon; camera shows a rapidly approaching ginormous caterpillar tent*
    Mama: AAAAAAAAH! Tent caterpillars! Run for it, Lucille!

    Voiceover: You can run, you can hide, but you cannot escape THE CURSE OF THE CATERPILLARS!

  5. This is one of those things that is quite hilarious, but only b/c it had a happy ending. I am so glad you found it and that you were not assimilated by tent worms. (That’s what we call our versions down here. They are cute and fuzzy though, and so appear deceptively less evil.)

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