Many years ago when my kids were small I bought a Lady Bug Village. It was an adorable little duplex made of wood with handy little indoor Elfa* shelving units designed for the special Lady Bugs in your life. They could burrow in for the winter, and frolic in the nice weather.
The Lady Bug Village came complete with a bag of “Lady Bug Lunch,” and a bottle of a pheromone-based solution called “Eau de Lady Bug.” There must be Manly Bugs in the Lady Bug world, and the pheromones in the spray must encourage mating. The only thing missing from that set-up was a Barry White CD.
I nailed the box to the fence in the backyard, added a scoop of food, shpritzed a few drops of “Eau de Lady Bug” around, and waited for my guests to arrive.
Weeks went by and the village remained uninhabited. “Maybe they’d like something besides Lady Bug Lunch,” I thought to myself as I added a few raisins and apple slices to entice them.
Eventually, the rotting fruit combined with the Lady Bug Lunch and spray attracted bees, natty little flies, and mosquitoes, but no Lady Bugs. Every day that flew by without a Lady Bug caused me to develop a severe case of Jewish Mother Syndrome, a thought process that’s not good for anyone, and apparently doesn’t work on Lady Bugs.
“Why won’t they visit me?” I sat in the dark in a rocking chair, barely moving from my little spot where I had an unobstructed view of the Lady Bug Abode through the window. “That’s gratitude for you,” I thought to myself. “I go and get them the very best box and the most expensive food and pheromone spray, and this is how they repay me? They don’t call, they don’t write. Not even a flyby.”
After weeks of waiting for Lady Bugs to find the villa, to no avilla, I went back to the hardware store to see if I could spend even more money to try to lure those ungrateful little shits. I spotted nothing until my eyes landed on bags of real live Lady Bugs.
Buying Lady Bugs, instead of being able to attract them naturally, felt a little bit like cheating. But, I built it, so they had to come, even if I had to buy them.
When we got home, I sprinkled Lady Bug Lunch, and sprayed Eau de Lady Bug in their little cottage, and on nearby shrubs and bushes. The moment had finally arrived! My hands were shaking as I untied the burlap bag and sprinkled my new little friends in and around their new home.
We were going to be so happy together. I felt like borrowing all of Veronica’s stuffed animals and setting up a little table and chairs so we could celebrate their arrival with a proper Lady Bug Tea Party.
But, I didn’t. Not because I suddenly became in touch with reality, but because I figured the poor little things were all tuckered out from their long day and needed a night to settle in and get comfortable.
I sat quietly on a patio chair and watched them meander around their new ‘hood for about an hour. The kids would be home from school soon, and I needed to start cooking dinner.
I bade the Ladies a fond goodnight, promising I’d come out to see them in the morning. There’s a slight chance I told them if they needed anything during the night that I was just inside the bigger house next door, and if they could figure out how to knock or ring the doorbell, I’d come running.
After the kids left for school in the morning, I ran outside in my jammies and slippers to the Lady Bug Manse, bringing their Lunch and sex spray with me, in case they were running low.
“I bet you’re all hiding inside snug as a bug in a rug,” I said, because none of them was on the bushes or shrubs. I peeked inside, ever so quietly so as not to disturb their slumber.
Not one lousy Lady or Manly bug was home. I figured they waited until dark, ate, drank, had an orgy, and took off. How could they do such a thing after I made such a nice home for them? Why? And they didn’t even leave a note?
I hoped they’d come back in the spring, but they didn’t. Ever. Eventually I ripped that old, rotted, piece of wooden crap off the fence and threw it out along with their expensive, stupid food, and sex spray.
All I can say is those Lady Bugs didn’t know how good they had it. They probably got eaten by other bugs, or even birds. I would have never let that happen to them, those invertebrate ingrates.
A few springs later I went back to the hardware store, but this time I brought home a hammock. I balance my computer and Phoebe on it with me while I “work.” I also bought a birdfeeder. Birds don’t turn on you and they always eat, which every Jewish mother loves to see.
*The Container Store has yet to return my repeated calls to validate this statement.
This is an edited version of an article I wrote that was published in skirt! Magazine (in print and online) in May, 2000.