Things have been pretty dramatic here in Carefree. I’ve “affectionately” called it “mamma drama trauma” or MDT for those who prefer acronyms. Loads of MDT spewing like hot lava from a volcano around here yesterday as sis, bro-in-law and I scrambled to help mom with a host of things that had already gone south, again, just a month since my departure from the desert of Carefree. Even though sis knew my blow-by-blow daily accounts of life with our mamma during my three month stay I kept repeating: “Yep, this is what I dealt with nearly every day. MDT….and it’s no doubt why I felt I had PTSD (no need to explain that acronym!) by the time I boarded the plane to fly back to home sweet home.” Point in fact….It took sis only five days to turn into a raging purple minion-on-steroids at one point yesterday. She later apologized profusely. “No need to apologize sis,” I empathsized. “Our mamma would make Mother Theresa and The Buddha combined slap themselves silly in frustration. So….NO APOLOGIZING!”

Fortunately this segment will be mercifully short. I fly home in a couple of days. We’ve gotten some things taken care of and while there is still much to accomplish, we remain hopeful that our work is moving things forward and not backward! Sis and company will drive back cross country, via a different route, continuing their summer adventure before Alexandre-the-Greatest returns to school . In the meantime, rest assured folks that it isn’t all MDT here. We’ve had some pretty exciting days so far. Just two days ago bro-in-law was spending time in mom’s yard, clearing out broken pots, raking up debris and such. Sis was working too. I had just come back from my power walk and was trying to get into the act as well. I told bro-in-law that I had tried to remove some of the old pots with dead plants in it but they were either too heavy for me or there were too many bugs.

“Bugs?” he asked.

Yep. I’d moved one pot just over a month ago only to be greeted by hundreds of (OK…maybe just a couple of dozen…but still…..) cockroaches skittering out from under it. Naturally, I ran like a frightened ninny and that was the end of that.

“Bro-in-law….could YOU please get all of these old planter pots out of here,” I asked.

“Sure thing….no problem,” he replies as he sets to the task. Just moments later we hear him say in a measured voice, “Alexandre….ALEXANDRE…come here and see this.”

Bro-in-law had lifted a very large planter located hear the fountain and in so doing disturbed the dwelling of one very large inhabitant. A tarantula. A gargantuan, extremely hairy tarantula. I was incredulous. I’d never seen a spider that big!

Alexandre-the-greatest started screaming like a girl, his eyes as big as dinner plates in surprise. I started screaming like…well….a girl…..yelling and dancing my “i hate insects” jig. That nanosecond dance got me a good extra 100 steps on my Garmin Vivofit activity tracker.

“Oh my God…OH MY GOD, that’s huge,” I yell jumping up and down. I also yell to my sis to get her camera, which she does in two seconds flat, and then we are all singing “Oh my God” in unison.

I’m ashamed to say my first thought was that the can of Raid in the garage wouldn’t be nearly enough to handle this ugly beast. Sis was ever so calm (incredulous to me) saying things like “How beautiful!” …and….adding factoids like “tarantula’s can live 30 years or more…. and… they really are gentle creatures.” She even gave the gargantuan a name. Polly.

“Okey, Dokey,” I say.

In an attempt to evict Polly from her home (satisfying all of our pleas to GET IT OUT OF THERE), bro-in-law found a rake to gently scoop up Polly and deposit her outside of the stucco wall that encloses the back yard. Under the scorching heat of the late morning sun, she moseyed away, much too slowly for my comfort.

We’ve also had an encounter with a snake who decided to hang out by the pool for the better part of the afternoon. Not only did “Slinky” remain poolside–forcing a certain someone to stay IN the pool until she shriveled into a raisin–but Slinky decided –much to our surprise and grudging gratefulness–to lunch on a packrat in the process. We had a devil of a time getting Slinky to move out from her comfy dinner table under the platform of the pool umbrella. She was much more interested in other things…specifically, digesting her meal! Once out, Bro-in-law eventually was able to catch Slinky using the handles of two rakes and fling her over the yard wall–once again placating two very emotional females–lamenting all the while that he was evicting the best rodent control operator on the property. Later, before the Sonoran sun tickled the mountain tops on its descent down, bro-in-law soothed our frayed nerves with glasses of refreshing gin and tonics.

It was THE perfect end to one very trying day.

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