Hospitality and scorpion juice

June 18, 2008 | 48 comments

Lately I’ve been inspired by the idea of Christian hospitality. In the past few months I’ve been making some baby steps towards playing hostess more regularly, not only inviting friends to my home more often but doing little extras to treat them as honored guests. As difficult as it is for a disorganized introvert like me, I’ve learned to delight in going the extra mile by tidying up the house or even by having a cold pitcher of frugal fruit tea ready upon my friends’ arrival.

When fellow blogger and good friend Mrs. Darwin showed up at my door this morning, it was a moment of realizing how far I’ve come in this area. The breakfast dishes had been cleared and put away, the table was ready for lunch, there was an array of toys on the porch for the children to play with, and I’d even thought to stock up on cheese pizza to have a kid-friendly lunch handy.

As the children dashed outside, I invited Mrs. Darwin to make herself comfortable in the living room. I offered her a tall glass of water with a splash of lemonade and lots of ice — the perfect refreshment for a summer’s day! In what was my crowning achievement in this new endeavor of honoring my guests through casual yet elegant entertaining, I’d whipped up a pan of Kalyn’s scrumptious mushroom feta breakfast casserole. I thought it might be nice for my friend and I to dine on more sophisticated fare than the children’s cheese pizza, and couldn’t wait to surprise her with this Martha Stewart-esque twist for our little playdate. I had to admit, I was quickly becoming an old pro at this whole gracious hospitality thing.

After popping the casserole in the toaster oven for reheating, I set a timer and turned to tell Mrs. Darwin about our lunch menu.

Unfortunately, I saw something on my kitchen floor as I walked over to her, and the sentence came out as: “Could I offer you some [expletive] SCORPION? WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO THERE IS A [expletive] SCORPION ON THE KITCHEN FLOOR!”

It was at that moment that I realized: when I instituted my “no scorpion handling” policy this time last year, boldly vowing that I would never attempt to kill a scorpion again, there was one little detail I’d glossed over: WHAT, THEN, WILL I DO THE NEXT TIME I SEE ONE IF I’M NOT GOING TO KILL IT? The only other time I’d seen a scorpion in the house since then was when my mother-in-law was here, and she put it down the disposal. I found myself deeply wishing that I had pondered the question a bit more before, oh, finding one sitting right in front of me on my kitchen floor with six children under age seven in my house.

Noticing that I was backed against a wall, spending most of my mental energy trying not to spew profanity, Mrs. Darwin got up and suggested that we get rid of it. After listening to me hysterically list counter-arguments along the lines of “THESE THINGS DON’T DIE!” and “NO SERIOUSLY I AM NOT KIDDING YOU WE’LL JUST MAKE IT MAD!!!”, she pointed out that, short of packing all the kids up and leaving the house, we didn’t have a choice.

While I was contemplating the logistics of abandoning the house and putting it up for sale as is, Mrs. Darwin interrupted my thoughts to ask me to get her a big book. She was going to take control of the situation. She would kill the scorpion.

After grabbing the heaviest textbook from our bookshelf and tossing it in her general direction, I resumed cowering in the corner.

“IT’S NOT GOING TO DIE!” I predicted ominously while jumping onto a chair to protect myself from danger. “What if it stings you? What if it starts running right when you let go of the book? What if you miss? OH IT’S SO TERRIBLE I CAN’T LOOK!!”

After becoming increasingly frightened herself due to my naysaying and general hysteria, Mrs. Darwin finally dropped the book.

I immediately told her of the limited success this book-dropping technique had the last time I tried it, and asked if she wouldn’t mind jumping on it a bit. After my guest was done jumping on the book to make sure the poisonous arachnid was properly smashed, I asked from the safe confines of my kitchen chair if she wouldn’t mind moving it back and forth a bit for good measure.

We couldn’t leave the book there all day since it was right in the path of the children’s play area (THOUGH BELIEVE ME I THOUGHT ABOUT IT), so it was time for the moment of truth: we had to move the book. We had to see if it was still alive.

Mrs. Darwin hesitantly approached the book. “IT’S GOING TO MOVE!” I screeched as I jumped down from my chair and ran into the hall. She took a broom and pushed the book a bit. Nothing. She pushed it a bit more to lift it slightly, and we saw:

Mashed scorpion.

Hindsight being 20/20, I recalled that that time that I’d seen a scorpion survive a book dropping was when it was on the carpet. Ah, yes. As she now pushed the book away to reveal a pulverized, mangled, surprisingly liquidy scorpion carcass, I realized that perhaps dropping books on scorpions on hard linoleum works just fine. Perhaps it was not in fact necessary to have my guest jump on it and smear it back and forth. Lesson learned.

Mrs. Darwin then offered to deal with the mushy remains for me. In the spirit of Christian hospitality, I felt that it was the right thing to do to offer to get the dustpan for her rather than make her fetch it herself.

“It’s gone, ” she announced as I heard the toiled flush from our guest bathroom.

Just then, the timer beeped. The casserole was ready. After I finished wiping what could only be described as scorpion juice off of my kitchen floor, I rinsed off my hands and resumed my sentence from a few moments before: “Could I offer you some mushroom feta casserole?”

And that’s how we do hospitality at my house.


  1. Sta

    Hilarious. I am the same way with ANY bug. I can’t imagine something as seriously scary as a scorpion.

  2. mrsdarwin

    Y’all, Jen forgot to add that I screamed like a little girl when the book went thump, and that I nudged the mushed scorpion onto the dustpan with the broom as I stood way back behind the baby gate, and that I shrieked again while dumping the obviously dead scorpion down the toilet.

    Oh, and we screamed at the sight of mashed scorpion too.

  3. JoAnn

    I don’t think I could laugh harder than I did reading your story. Oh, my! It reminds me of the time I accidently grabbed a mouse from out of a gingerbread house kit…and screamed…and jumped on the couch, still screaming, while my daughter jumped on the other couch wondering why I was screaming. Only your story is better because you had a guest to witness it. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Jeana

    Oh my word, I can’t stop laughing! I think it was exceedingly hospitable for you to allow her to look all strong and courageous like that. Pfft!

    I had to kill a snake once, and I totally did it like a girl.

  5. Kate

    Oh, I really hope Mrs. D blogs this too….too funny for words!

  6. SuburbanCorrespondent

    This was so great. Thanks for not raising the hospitality bar too much!

    Once, I trapped a deadly-looking spider under a coffee can and then piled many textbooks on top of the can (so it couldn’t knock over the can and escape) and left it there in the middle of the living room for my roommate to take care later.

  7. Lynne

    Get an exorcism…

  8. Jordana

    Hilarious! You are better about implementing Meredith’s teachings than I am. When she herself comes over to my house, she usually sees lots of messes, nothing prepared in advance and my children bickering with hers. Fortunately, no scorpions yet though. It’s a good thing though to have a forgiving friend.

  9. Marian

    THAT is hilarious!

    Martha Stewart would have made a lovely centerpiece or garnish out of him. Or something.

  10. Kerry

    Oh, my! I especially loved Mrs. Darwin’s follow-up comments about screaming like girls. I’m so tickeld I’ll be chuckling about that for days. πŸ™‚

    Thanks, I really needed a bit of levity after an especially trying afternoon of bickering – or rather brawling brothers.

  11. Rob


    Oh, thank you . . . for the best laugh I’ve had all week!

  12. Melanie B

    Jen, This post should have a warning at the top. Here I am trying to nurse my baby to sleep for the night. The poor thing jumped when I let out the first guffaw when you offered Mrs D expletive scorpion. I was able to stifle most of the subsequent laughs, though had I not been holding the baby I fear I might have been rolling on the floor.

    The picture of you on your chair and the pregnant Mrs. D. jumping on the book and both of you shrieking like girls over the dead body is truly priceless.

  13. Louise

    You are an incredibly talented storyteller…this was hilarious! I’ve never seen a scorpion (thank God) but I am deathly afraid of all insects and arachnids, so I identify 100%.

  14. Christine the Soccer Mom

    Oh, Jen, please forgive me for saying this, but I’m almost glad the scorpions have made an appearance again.


    I hope they don’t stay though. This story could last me all summer long. πŸ™‚

    Hey, Mrs. D., any time you and Jen want to come and battle my wildlife in Virginia, let me know. πŸ™‚

  15. April

    This is one of the funniest things ever. I love your blog — read every post via google and never get over here to give you accolades. This made me laugh out loud. Hope you had a lovely casserole after all.

  16. The (Almost) Amazing Mammarino

    Oh my goodness, Jennifer, you are just HYSTERICAL!!! Oh, I mean, “FUNNY hysterical”, not “freaked out hysterical”. (Although I’m sure you were probably the latter this morning!) Seriously, I nearly wet my pants laughing. “Scorpion juice!” – Bwahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!

    Do your kids like temporary tattoos? Hope not. When I was 4 I put a whole bunch of them up and down my arms. It was quite attractive. If mom had only let me shave my head and wear a nose ring it would have completed the look. Anyway, I woke up the next morning with a live scorpion on my arm! Maybe one of my tattoos looked like a poster from PlayScorpion or something. Or possibly the centerfold for the swimsuit issue of Stings Illustrated.

  17. eally

    Oh my goodness. I am literally rolling on the floor cracking up laughing!!! Thank you for this hysterically funny story!

    I am sorry you had to deal with a scorpion (of all things!) but my oh my this is hilarious!

    What a true friend you have to have come to your rescue like that! LOL

  18. Nicole Amsler

    We have so much in common. I too have a severe fear of scorpions because our home in Atlanta had mutant scorpions that climbed into our light fixtures to die (or drop on my head!)

    My son takes great joy in showing me the stuffed Beanie Baby scorpion everytime we see it. I always scream!

    As for hospitality, if you have not already read it, I highly suggest Lauren Winner’s Mudhouse Sabbath which has an excellent chapter on hospitality and the Jewish tradition.

    Thanks for a fun post.

  19. Kelly @ Love Well

    I doubt Martha would have handled it any better.

    (And between you and me, I’d pay money to see what she would do.)

    Hilarious story, Jen. You have a wonderful gift.

  20. Barb

    I laughed hysterically and read this out loud to my husband (we know the Darwins in real life too).
    The picture was even better in my mind knowing that Mrs. Darwin is 6 months pregnant…hehe..
    I, too, would have been tempted to leave the book on the floor. I’ve actually done things like that before. One time I was reaching into a bag of grapes to get some out to wash them and there was a huge spider inside. Not knowing what to do, I panicked and threw the whole bag in the freezer. I figured it would kill the spider and my husband could deal with it when he came home.
    I must admit I don’t envy you the scorpions at all…

  21. kimberly


    One day God and I are going to discuss the necessity of making arachnids THAT BIG.

    I love this story because I can totally see myself in it, expletives in front of the children and all. πŸ™‚

  22. Anonymous

    I have to agree with christine the soccer mom- I’ve secretly been hoping for the scorpions to make another (non-injurious) appearance or two. Oh- or the millipedes, I could take another millipede story while you’re at it. And of course, I wouldn’t say no to some new critter.

    And I’d forgotten Mrs. Darwin is pregnant. What an image.

    Thanks so much for your blog, Jen. All of it!


  23. noe

    I never laugh out loud when I read, but this post was a major exception. Too funny! And congrats on the hostess part also.

  24. The Koala Bear Writer

    That’s so funny.

    The worst I’ve had to live with was big cochroaches in Australia. They squish easily. And they don’t bite. Scorpions would freak me out totally.

  25. razzler

    This is so hilarious, I’m laughing so hard!

  26. Ouiz

    That is really, really funny!

    Of course, if it had been *me*, and it had been a huge ROACH in the middle of the floor, I wouldn’t find it so funny! *grin* Especially if that nasty creature flew at my face (as they have in the past… shudder)

    Thank God I’ve never had an encounter with a scorpion.

    I absolutely love the way you tell stories!

  27. Anonymous

    That was a pretty funny story. Where on earth do you live?? I’ve never seen a live scorpion on my life (I’m in the NorthEast)
    Do they sell sprays that kill on contact, or are they not fast enough (like with cockroaches – those things scuttle before the spray can kill ’em…)
    What about large swaths of tape? Sticking them first so they can’t get away, then you can kill decisively…
    I hate creepy crawlies so much… you are brave!

  28. Anonymous

    That is seriously too funny for words. I’m laughing so hard I can’t type any more.

    Lisa P

  29. Jenny

    Hospitality that moves beyond perfect presentation and actually allows some else to live life with you is a beautiful (and, in this case, hilarious) thing.

    Thanks for reminding me that hospitality happens best in the midst of the chaos of real life.

  30. Erin

    I’m sorry, I know that must have been a traumitizing event, but I couldn’t help but laugh! I’m the same way with teeny little non-poisonous spiders, so I really can’t imagine what I’d do if I saw a scorpion. Probably faint. And so I laugh as the only thing I can do to combat that awful spine-creeping feeling I get thinking about bugs. Blech! I’m glad you’re all okay.

  31. Multiple Mom T

    Oh My Goodness! I am SO GLAD I live on the EASTERN part of the US. We don’t HAVE scorpians over here! Good heavens!!!!!!!!!

  32. Anonymous

    Too funny. Really. Scorpions are the devil.

    I’m making this anonymous, so I can confess that last year, I accidently squished a little gecko in the between the door jamb and the door to the patio.
    Its tiny mummified remains are still there, because I just couldn’t deal.
    I’m a terrible person.
    You and Mrs. D. are very brave.

  33. Kevin


    I was wondering if you could remember my grandmother in your prayers. The other day she was diagnosed with stomach cancer, and this afternoon they’re doing some biopsies.

    Thanks, and best wishes,

  34. Chantal

    LOL good job Mrs Darwin. And good job you!

  35. Wade's World

    I have tears running down my face from laughing at this. Priceless…just pricesless πŸ™‚

  36. Carrien

    You are hilarious. Especially the image of you cowering on a chair whimpering.

  37. Llama Momma

    Oh my word, I needed that laugh!!

  38. Llama Momma

    I just linked to this post from my blog…it’s so hilarious!!

  39. Karen E.

    Love this post! So sorry about the scorpion, but happy about my entertainment. πŸ™‚ You ladies are my heroes.

  40. Runningamuck

    Oh my goodness. I totally laughed out loud while reading this story! Sooo funny. I think it was so funny because I would have reacted exactly like you did and so could picture it vividly.

    Thanks for the laugh and the reminder on the importance of hospitality. =0)

  41. Keri Wyatt Kent

    great story. This hospitality thing is easier here in the Midwest where we do not have scorpions!!

  42. Sarah Reinhard

    Glad I don’t live close enough to pop on over for dinner. (Not that you’d invite me…but still.)

    Because, really, I’d have to say…


    Love you and all that. But the SCORPIONS!

  43. asplendidtime

    I am laughing so hard, I cried and then I had to stop reading the comments, as I couldn’t stop laughing and was starting to feel nauseous.

    Oh my, need to get dh to read this! LOL

    Be blessed,
    Rebecca ~Mom to 8 under 10

  44. Joy of Frugal Living

    SO FUNNY! The thing that gets me is centipedes. I cannot imagine what I would do if faced with a scorpion.

    I always feel bad when the profanity flies in the face of bad bugs. I’m glad I’m not the only one. πŸ™‚


  45. Kay

    I’m new to your blog and I usually lurk a while before posting, but I just couldn’t resist saying how much I enjoyed this post. I read it out loud to my husband and I had to stop a few times to allow our laughter to die down before I could continue.

  46. Elizabeth

    Oh my gosh, I am laughing so hard. And lifting my feet off the floor and into a position of safety from lurking creatures even as I type.

    And I live in Wisconsin. πŸ˜‰

  47. Sibyl

    Sorry – I didn't mean to be so abrupt with my comment about scropions. I had them in several of my homes in South Georgia. They were my most dreaded pestilence. One even bit one family member on the toe. Now that I've moved to Florida an hour away, NO SCORPIONS.

    I have used diatomaceous earth for slugs and snails because it does not harm pests or children. It is just a sharp kind of soil (and exceedingly beautiful if you look at it under a microscope)

    They recommend you put it in the attic…I guess you would sprinkle it or use a hand-held fertilizer spreader with a hand crank(like a whirly bird spreader) to spread it evenly. If you have pink roll insulation, you might lift it up and sprinkle a bit underneath. If you have the blown in cellulose insulation, rake it back a bit and put some of the diatomaceous earth under it.

    I have put it around the perimeter of my home to keep scorpions from coming in. Scorpions live in the bark of pine trees and in and under the pine straw and other mulch.

  48. Tamara @ Living Palm

    Oh, good gracious. We just moved from NY to Austin two weeks ago and have had a few scorpion sightings. I am so nervous about them, it’s ridiculous. I keep telling myself it’s just like having bumble bees and hornets back home, but doesn’t seem to help. Also, the day we moved in our new neighbor regaled us of rattlesnake tales. We declined to look in her garbage can for the one she’d just killed in her GARAGE the day before. I don’t know if I can handle Texas. [gulp]


  1. 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 94) | Conversion Diary - [...] part because I developed this superstitious worry that they attracted scorpions. (Remember that day I made my pregnant friend…
  2. The end of an era | Conversion Diary - [...] Hospitality and scorpion juice [...]
  3. 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 139) : Conversion Diary - [...] the whole thing was brought to an abrupt halt when she unearthed a scorpion and almost got stung. The…
  4. Repayment for a friend | Conversion Diary - […] In which I have my guest kill a scorpion while I cower in the corner […]
  5. Only trouble is, gee whiz | swivels - […] that I had a verrrrrry large scorpion as a housepet.Β  I’m going to blame the species on Jennifer even…

Connect With Me On Social Media or Explore My Site



The "THIS IS JEN" podcast is on Facebook & all podcast apps


- SubscribeΒ on iTunes or Google Play (audio)

- Get weekly bonus episodes on Patreon

- Sign up for my email list to be the first
to know about new tour dates