1. There are spiders in the Outer Banks. HUGE spiders that Larissa and Bryan called garden spiders. Like that makes it better that something as big as my palm is hanging out by the pool. I mean, part of me was grateful that it stayed in its web in the same spot for days, because I could keep an eye on it. But part of me was thinking, maybe it’s the distraction spider…meant to lull me into a false sense of security while all the other spiders stalked me.

2. I was stalked by both a cricket and a grasshopper. I told them both that if they stayed away, they would survive. But the cricket was somewhere inside the house IN my bedroom and would intermittently make its cricket noises. I know it touched me when I was sleeping.

3. Gus doesn’t like the water. Nevermind that he fell into the water because he’s clumsy. When he surfaced, we discovered that he could indeed swim – he swam for his life to the steps, looking like a large brown horse with a crazy, they’re laughing and don’t seem to care that I might die, look in his eyes.

4. Gus is a very helpful co-pilot for Zoo. On the trip, he managed to shift gears several times, turn on traction control, move the pedals and, for a while, he heated his seat. We were wondering why he slept so much on part of the ride. Now we know – he was cooking himself.

5. Oh, and there was a PRAYING MANTIS near me at the pool as well. I didn’t shoo it away because this was before we knew Hanna’s path and I kept thinking, if I don’t kill it, we’ll have good luck. And yet, we did have to leave the OB for a couple of days anyway, so if I see it again, it’s going down. Freaking stick with legs.

6. And the butterflies! Larissa can attest to the one that kept dive bombing us – it was the size of a bat. And then there were others too. Worms with wings, people.

7. Larissa discovered that the house we stayed in had wind chimes all over it. And you all know I hate wind chimes. She thought it was funny to make them make noise and thank god she was on her way home when she saw them or else she would’ve tortured me the entire time.

Steph T.