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Hello, My Name is Kristen, and I Have a Moth Problem.

Yes, it's true. I've been hiding it for weeks, but now I must come clean. Literally. COME CLEAN.

About a month ago, John and I started noticing the occasional tiny moth flapping around our pantry doors. We didn't really think much about it - for several reasons, including:

1.) We have two pre-schoolers, a teenager, and a 70-pound dog living with us, so there are plenty of bugs, dust bunnies, dead leaves, mud clumps, and other foreign objects (dead and alive) that would usually be found outside - or at least wouldn't be welcome in a remotely clean house. The only ones I notice anymore are the ones that John and I have an ongoing argument about - I say they're roaches, he swears they're not, but has no clue what they actually might be (and I think the only reason I notice them is because every time I see them is another opportunity for me to try to prove my completely unimportant - and, admittedly wrong - point about them being roaches).

2.) Anytime we're getting into the pantry, there is usually a small child latched onto one of our legs, starving, begging for food - a mere crumb will do, sir - so most of our attention is completely focused on ENDING THE NOISE by shoving the first cracker we can find into the opening from which all the noise is emanating. A teeny little moth goes almost completely unnoticed.

3.) Between the stress of teenage depression, four-year-old non-stop intensity manifested in food neurosis, two-year-old tantrums, John's harried photography schedule, and my own dissatisfaction with a "career path" leading nowhere, not to mention the never-ending demands of owning a house (the ridiculous list of what we've had to do to the house in the past 12 months alone will be left for another day, but suffice it to say.....now the heater is broken!) we choose to be in denial over a little moth here or there, rather than add that straw to the camel's back.

Stupid camel's back. I think mine is defective.

Over the weekend John had an out-of-town wedding, so I had more "quiet" time in the house with the kids. Yeah, quiet. Quiet like a train wreck. Anyway, during an attempt to get lunch ready for the kids, I noticed that the moths were getting out of control, flying all around the pantry doors, and I decided to come out of denial and investigate the dark, unknown depths of our apparently filthy food storage area. I poked around and pulled a few things out, but everything looked fine, so I shrugged my shoulders and went back to my happy denial place.

The next morning I decided to be a festive, fall-loving, domestic mom and make some pumpkin bread for my kids. I opened the spice cabinet and practically fell over from the force of the DISGUST I felt when about 12 moths flew out at me. GROSS! The moths are in there??!! The spice cabinet is like the nether regions of our house - I have no idea what's up there because I NEVER BAKE. I tried with all my might to push my brain back into happy denial land, and started getting everything out for the pumpkin bread, but alas - the flour was no good, the sugar was no good - GREAT. Now I actually have to address this moth situation. NO! NO! Pumpkin bread! FOCUS ON THE PUMPKIN BREAD. There is a simple answer - just go to the store and get more flour and sugar. Oh yeah, I could do that. I closed the spice cabinet and went to the store for the ingredients and we had our festive pumpkin bread that very afternoon. That evening, just to be safe, I cleaned out the entire pantry. Notice I said "pantry", not spice cabinet, because you see, I was still in my happy denial place.

It was not until today that I was yanked out of that place and into the disgusting reality of my moth-infested spice cabinet. It had become ridiculously difficult to pretend there were no moths - every few steps I'd notice one fly past. Hannah was pointing them out constantly, too - talking nonstop about the one subject I didn't want her to be open about. A few had even made their way upstairs. I couldn't figure out where they could possibly be coming from in the spice cabinet, which is one reason I'd stayed in denial for so long, so I decided to take everything out like I had done with the pantry. I immediately found the source of the moths (an old bag of pecans stuffed behind bottles of soy sauce and olive oil), and then thought, "who can I blame for this? and how can I get John to clean this up?" But, after my long battle with this shameful problem, I knew the best therapy was to face it directly. I cleaned everything off the shelf except for the bag of pecans (it was so disgusting it didn't even look like pecans - I just assumed it had once been pecans because of the label on the bag), and then proceeded to stand there and have a staredown with it. Bryce was on the floor below my chair, hopping around wanting a brownie for dessert. "I can't get it right now, Bryce, I'm afraid to touch this bag of pecans." "Why, mom? Just pick it up!" I tried to verbalize what could possibly be scaring me about the bag. It was completely illogical, and even if it were logical, would it have been that scary to have several moths fly at me when I picked up the bag? What a wuss!

In a very anti-climactic end to my moth condition, I used two plastic grocery sacks (a double layer of ultra-protective cheap plastic) to cover my hands as I prepared to pick up the pecan bag, and as the horror movie soundtrack roared to a crescendo, I slowly reached my hand into the cabinet, steadying myself on the counter top, telling Bryce to stand back ("save yourself! don't worry about me!") and then, and then, AND THEN.....

No moths flew out. There was a horrific amount of moth dust under and around the pecan bag, but no actual moths. I cleaned out the entire cabinet, had John and Hannah sign affidavits swearing they would never again place an open bag of nuts into the dark nether regions of the kitchen, re-organized my now sparse spice collection, and released my soul's burden of carrying around this shame for so long.

A clean spice cabinet, a moth-free house. Ah, redemption!