When we left Brooklyn, we say goodbye to a numerous array of unwanted critters that regularly blighted my landscape. Water bugs (aka giant cockroaches), discovered on an innocent trip down to the basement, multiplying like rabbits in a hole in the wall. Centipedes that used to appear, as if by magic, on the side of our bedroom wall, scurrying away from the yelps of our discovery and subsequent attempts to squash them with whatever instruments of death we could instantly grab – a magazine, a stray clog.

Arriving in Brookline last August, I thought we were rid of creepy crawlies. And so far we have been. Bar one centipede that crawled out of a piece of furniture when we moved in – a stowaway who is probably washing dishes somewhere to feed his family back in the big city.

But last week, everything changed. For our Brookline home, to my horror, has turned out to be a moth haven, a veritable scene from Silence of the Lambs, calling for expert, FBI intervention.


You see, I left the bedroom window open the other day, to let some fresh air in to our apparently stinky room, that hubby told me smelled like a dead animal. This was right after I’d been ailing in bed all day with a cold. I tried to pass off his olfactory commentary on my herbal tea — as in, “Oh, that’s probably the smell of my Echinacea Yogi Tea”  — as opposed to the whiff of  dire breath wheezing from the edges of my crusty lips.

I’d left the window open for only a few hours before hubby went in to the bedroom, and quickly came out to inform me that there were NINE – NINE I tell you – moths on our bedroom wall.

Exhibit A

Sweet things, actually, moths. Fluttery and lacey-winged almost-butterfly thingies. I like to think I’m modeling non-violence to my children, and moths don’t really do much harm except CHEW HOLES THROUGH ALL MY CASHMERE SWEATERS.

Evil, evil creatures

I momentarily contemplated non-action, but then ran into the bedroom to get a look. I gasped in horror at what I saw.  Lots of little grey flat insects taunting me, lying perfectly still on the bedroom wall. I grabbed my trusty copy of the New Yorker from the pile on my bedstand that I rarely read anymore — except as a sleep aid right before bed — and killed them all. Terribly un-Buddhist of me, but when it comes to cashmere, I have to draw the line.

Clarice Starling would expect nothing less.

The next evening, FIVE MORE magically appeared. Our bedroom windows had been closed all day.

Where are they hiding out, Clarice, eh? Mating in my sock drawer? Laying down for a nosh and a nap among the soft bounty of my winter scarves?

Help me, Clarice. Clarice? I know you’re there.

Clarice, flashing her credentials

Even though you’re only about 12 years old, which I didn’t realize at the time, I know you can help me, Clarice.

Wait. There’s another one! And another!! Uuuurrrrgh…..Let go of my cashmere socks! Claaariiiiiiicccccce!…..