Friday, July 17, 2009


Yesterday I went to get my hair cut. I love getting my hair cut. Erin has turned into a friend and I really enjoy going to visit with her as much as I enjoy having her play with my hair for 45 minutes. She was the one I trusted to chop it all off after only one previous appointment with her - which was a total matter of fate (I called the salon and said I need an appointment TODAY, they put me with Erin sight unseen and 2 years later, she's still cutting my hair). I like her so much that if I ever leave Nashville, I will be tempted to drive back up here every 6-8 weeks just to have her cut my hair. I can even overlook the fact that she's from Michigan and tease her about becoming more of a southerner every time I see her.

This time, I had her try a slight little angle on my bob and I LURVE it. Not love, LURVE.

But all of this is very irrelevant to my story.

So yesterday, after she's washed my hair and is starting to snip, another stylist, a client who is waiting for her color to process, Erin and I start chatting. The other client mentions something about Erin living in Bellevue and I think to myself, "that's weird - she just signed a lease in Sylvan Heights."

When that conversation ends, I ask her what happened to the house in Sylvan Heights and she - almost nonchalantly - replies, "Oh, I had a brown recluse spider infestation."

I'm sorry, what?

A Brown. Recluse. Spider. INFESTATION.

And I thought my bug problems were bad. Insert shudder here.

Nutshell: one night she found a brown recluse spider (let's call them "gummi bears"... sounds less scary) in her bed. One led to two, which was enough to make her call a friend who happened to also be an exterminator. Not just any exterminator, someone she trusts. So that friend came over and said yes, those are in fact "gummi bears" and you need to stay somewhere else tonight. They set a sticky trap out and planned to come back in two days to see "just how bad the situation was" and take it from there.

The thing about "gummi bears" is that they hunt/eat other bugs, dead "gummi bears" included. So one dead "gummi bear" on a sticky trap = lots of other "gummi bears" also dead on the sticky trap. She said there were so many "gummi bears" they could hardly see the white sticky pad inside the trap. To prove her point, she went to her purse, pulled out a ziploc bag which held a sticky trap COVERED in dead "gummi bears." Y'all, I almost threw up.

But she totes this ziploc bag around to show people she's not crazy as well as to educate them on what a "gummi bear" looks like. She made sure I could recognize the black violin on its back after mentioning that it's estimated that there's at least one "gummi bear" in every home in the state of Tennessee.

So her friend basically told her she needed to find a new place to live. They set out more sticky traps, just to make sure this wasn't a one off thing, and she said each trap was progressively worse than the other. Another thing about "gummi bears" is that they don't have a web, like your average spiders. Rather, they lay their eggs in soft spots, like oh I don't know, a sofa, a mattress, an area rug, your clothes, your shoes. Which is also where they may live, along with under stuff, behind stuff, in your closet, etc. - hence, the "recluse" part. So my friend, poor Erin, is losing all of this and more. The house is being razed. As in, torn down. It's that bad. They are bulldozing the property and half of her stuff is being burned or demolished. As she put it to me, she is basically starting from scratch. And in case you are thinking what I'm thinking, no she can't sue her landlord because you can't spray or treat a "gummi bear" infestation. And for whatever reason, her renter's insurance won't cover it (side note: Sam, if something like this ever happens to me and your good hands don't have my back, you are dead to me, if not worse).

At this point, cue the other stylist to roll up her sleeve and show me what's left of a "gummi bear" bite she suffered a while back. Basically, these things don't kill you (only in rare instances). Instead, they leave a bite that you can't even feel, and then the venom starts killing the flesh around the bite, turning it black. Doctors basically skin graft the spot as many times as they have to, until all the flesh-eating poison is gone and you can go on about your life looking like someone took a bite out of you. This particular bite was on the underside of her arm, because there was a spider in her sweater. IN HER SWEATER!

Short of disease or death, how much worse can one's luck get to have a freaking "gummi bear" invasion? I feel so bad for Erin. Do you? Did you make it through this post without twitching? At the end of the story yesterday, I realized my feet were now indian-style in the chair. Subconsciously I had removed them from the floor. And I've done the same thing while typing this.

So I have taken it upon myself to put a DONATE button to the right of this post. It will barely make a difference in what she's going through but I'm going to get Erin a gift card somewhere so she can get some new furniture or clothes or something. She has such a good attitude about it, or at least she pretends to. This all went down right after my last haircut so she's had a while to deal with it and make her peace about it, and she kept saying "I'll be okay, it's just stuff." That may be true, but it's still not fair that it's her stuff that has to get destroyed. She said she's just thankful she didn't get bitten. So am I.

So, if you feel compelled/grossed out/sorry/disgusted/thankful YOU didn't get bitten, please give a little bit to help me help Erin. I think the more you hate spiders, the more you should give. But even if all you have is a dollar to spare, I (and she) will be just as grateful. I know we're not curing cancer here but a friend in need is still a friend in need. If everyone that reads this gave a dollar, she could buy two new couches. My donate button takes credit/debit cards, so don't be shy! Update: we've already got $75 $100!


  1. This is the most terrible thing I have ever read. I will now no longer be able to put my clothes on like a regular person...I'll have to check for spiders first. AGH!

  2. OH.MY.GOSH. I'm itching all over right now. Poor girl! When I was in high school a spider bit me on my FACE and I still have a scar. I HATE spiders!

  3. SICKO! I am so creeped out right now. Poor Erin.

    I understand the whole getting-attached-to-a-stylist thing. James in Auburn was the bomb and I STILL miss him!

  4. One dollar per reader will buy TWO couches? I'm impressed - either with your number of readers or your thriftiness in buying couches - congrats, I think! :)

  5. Ha Kate. Somewhere in between the two, I guess. Two used couches, maybe.

  6. AHH! I hate spiders. I am so freaked out. Ew.

  7. OH. My goodness. That makes my stomach turn! That is so crazy that you can't spray for those things!

    Wes and I made some table-things to cover the map-things at Vulcan Park for Allison's wedding. Tell Erin that if she needs a buffet-thing for her dining room I'm her girl. I'll put them on the blog soon.

  8. I wouldn't ever want to go to sleep again.

  9. WOW... WOW... thats all I can say.

  10. So, does anyone not remember that I got bitten by one of those at Camp Mac-pledge retreat freshmen year? I still have a scar and had to take medicine for it. Lindsey- Laurie Ann thought I had an ingrown hair at first...please tell me you remember the huge ugly thing on my leg.

  11. AAAAAAAAAHHHHH not only did I not make it through without twitching I am STILL twitching and probably will all day, ewwww. Unbelievable. POOR Erin, I feel so bad for her!!


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