When I was a kid, the Welcome Wagon used to show up every time we moved. The Welcome Wagon Lady wore nylons. Carried an actual basket. Brought store-bought cookies and, I think, coupons. My mom hated this chick.
There are worse welcoming committees in military life, Ma. One of our favorite bloggers posted this week about insect shock experienced when moving down south. The south isn’t the only military location to feature the kind of welcoming committee no one wants. Here is our current list of welcoming committees we never want to see. Did we get all of yours?
(Please note: no insects were harmed nor photographed during the creation of this blogpost. Before and after, well, yes. During, no.)
1.Bathroom full of spiders. In her new house in North Carolina, Allie note a tiny spider in her bathroom.
I am not freaked by spiders normally, and this one was very tiny. But then I start to look. In the shower there are about twenty spiders forming a web. The shelf above the toilet had about ten more. All the corners of the ceilings were in various stages of web production. Mind you my husband was showering in said bathroom less than two hours ago! I think he would have mentioned this.
2. Mold. In Lincoln military housing in Norfolk, widespread mold problems were detected this year. Some residents had spongy walls and collapsed ceilings. Dozens of families were moved into hotels. On their Facebook page, residents post pictures of mold in sinks, on walls, in air ducts. Gotta love all the pix of ”furry” grass. Apparently the only thing worse than mold in the house is the excruciating wait for test results and remediation.
3.Roosters. Chickens in a neighborhood are awesome. Consult your next Williams Sonoma catalogue for their coolio green chicken coop on wheels! Roosters—especially roosters who cannot tell time—will make you insane.
3. Fleas. One of our bloggers (who prefers to remain nameless) moved into her fabulous new house to discover a flea infestation of bibilical proportions. Suggestions that an environmentally sound solutions of vinegar and water should be employed was received in dead silence.
4. Palmetto bugs. Read: two inch long brown crunchy roaches equipped with long feelers that they wave at you. Usually at 11 p.m. They are so big you know you have them by the deposits they leave behind that make you think you have mice. Nice.
5. Mice. In San Diego, our brand new development was perched at the foot of Black Mountain upon which was formerly a host of field mice. The mice didn’t move out so much as move over. It is a brave woman who catches a mouse then knows what to do with it.
6. Snakes. Allie took a picture of her little snake in North Carolina. My girlfriend paid the painters next door to hack down the rattlesnake in her San Diego backyard this week. My husband greeted the black snake under our Louisiana porch with a hoe like the dad in Sounder. I love a man who can dispatch a snake.
7. Feral cats. One Marine spouse told me that she had just moved into a neighborhood of feral cats who lived in the sewers. This would not have been a big deal. Except that they used the neighborhood sandbox for their own nefarious purposes. Which the kids decided to collect one day.
8.Coyotes. We once lived in a neighborhood that backed up to a canyon. Late at night the coyotes would troll the street for household pets like Chamillionaire singing “Riding Dirty.”
9.Neighborhood headcase. My father once told me to beware the first person who approaches you at a new location. They are probably the nutjob no one wants to know. Yet…I am usually the first person to approach newcomers, Dad. So what is that saying about me?
10.Silence. While I really never want to be greeted by a snake, mouse or roach in my new house, the thing that drives me craziest is the silence that occurs only in that moment when the new neighborhood is checking you out, deciding whether you look like someone they want to know. So please come over! I’ll feed you cookies and listen rapt to every word you say about the neighborhood welcoming committee.