Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Defending Hearth and Home

JP is out of town at his home office working 16 hour days and missing us like crazy, but lest you feel bad for him as I almost did this evening when his exhausted voice cracked over the phone line as he said I love you before falling asleep while still on the phone with me (and during a riveting story I was telling), you should know that I just defended my home and family against the BIGGEST roach that has ever existed.  I can say this with some authority.  There's a horrifying giant roach exhibit at the Fort Worth zoo and we were just there this weekend and this roach was BIGGER.  Bigger and ON MY BATHROOM WALL.

There I was, about to brush my teeth and go to bed early in preparation for morning #3 of solo parenting and a big meeting that I need to get to work early to prepare for.  Then I saw it.  A many-inch spiny leggy possibly winged brown COCKROACH at eye level on the wall behind me.

I screamed.  Then I was covered in goose bumps.  Then it moved.  It moved behind my beautiful steel blue towels that hang on my pretty towel rack that I picked out so lovingly a few short months ago and now must burn because ROOOOOOACH.  Roach behind and in between and touching my towels.  Once I regained the powers of speech and movement, I did what any mature, strong, independent woman would do.

I called my husband 170 miles away and demanded that he fix the situation.  I woke him up, which I'm sure he did not appreciate, but he tried to walk me through the fine art of throwing a shoe at a roach.  But no, I said, I can't throw a shoe at it.  For one, which shoe?  I have none I wish to sacrifice and yours are big and heavy and might hurt my wall. Also, this thing might be some sort of roach mammal hybrid that is going to be squishy and I don't want to stain my walls.  Also ALSO, there's no way in fucking hell I'm getting within arm's reach of that thing.  I wouldn't even pass by it on the other side of the bathroom, choosing instead to run back behind the bathroom through our closet any time I wanted to switch my angle of approach.

Fine, JP finally said, just leave it there and go to sleep.

What?! No, no no NO, the roach might leave the towels and decide to come snuggle with me and ohmygod my goose bumps are worse and I think I might throw up.  Also, I'm crying now.  WHY ARE YOU NOT HERE?!

I went digging around under our sink looking for toxic chemicals I could spray at it from a distance.  Lurking in the back I found an old can of raid, possibly left here by the previous owners (hmmm).  I approached the towels and laid down the trigger finger.  The roach fell to the ground.  I screamed, ran away, and then cautiously walked back.  I sprayed again.  And again.  And again.  Until the roach was covered in white poisonous foam.

Then it moved.

I screamed, loudly, nearly lost my balance, ran into Tex, which made me scream again (ZOMG 90lb FURRY ROACH!), and evacuated to the family room.

JP, who was still on the phone, decided I had the situation well in hand and bid me good night.  His parting words, "just smash it with a shoe, scoop it up, and throw it out.  Love you."

I sprayed the roach again and waited.  All its little limbs kept moving and it looked like it was trying to flip over and I realized I had to do it.  I had to smash.  I prepared carefully, gathering several plastic trash can liners, a running shoe (JP's, of course, I wanted him to be part of the experience), an old cloth diaper,  paper towels, Clorox spray, and the can of raid.  I encased the shoe in one plastic bag, laid a big paper towel over the still moving roach, closed my eyes, stretched out my arm (also encased in a plastic bag) as far as possible and smacked.  I barely restrained the urge to throw-up and then I used the cloth diaper to pick up the remains without ever touching, seeing, or feeling anything, and wrapped up all of that in another plastic trash bag and sealed it (I was not putting it past this roach to reanimate later).  Then I disinfected the area with Chlorox, carefully removed my plastic bag gloves, and added all that to yet another trash bag and then took it all outside to the big trash bin that will be picked up tomorrow morning.

On the way down our front walk, trash bags in hand, I suddenly became irrationally afraid of the cricket sounds that I swear were doubling in volume with every step I took.  I ended up running the rest of the way down the walk, throwing the bags in the bin, and racing back into the house and slamming the door.  Tex was right there, ready to guard my back as I entered, but, not understanding the threat of the giant roach or the noisy crickets, he looked genuinely confused at what he was guarding me from.

And now, I'm in bed, covers up to my chin, lights on because I'm afraid to turn them off, running on adrenaline and thinking I need a shot or three of tequila to calm down, but afraid to leave the bed because I'm now 1000% certain that every microscopic imaginary twinge I feel on my skin is a giant reanimated cockroach.  I keep shuddering and I'm concerned I'm having some sort of nervous breakdown.  The biggest roach in Fort Worth history was on my bathroom wall and I took it down.  If I wasn't covered in goose bumps and having a psychotic event over the whole thing, I might be proud of my ability to defend my home.

Instead, I'm thinking of moving.


  1. Wrong that I'm a little amused? Sorry you just tell it so well. You are a strong woman. He won't hurt you. It'll be ok.

  2. And now I will never get to sleep and it is all your fault!

  3. the horror! chemical weaponry was a solid choice.

  4. From a distance that was just a little bit HILARIOUS!

    I have no fear of any kind of bug, but if you'd mentioned a mouse.... well my skin would be crawling good and proper, so you have my sympathy.

    When I had a mouse run across the floor of my flat in London, I rang my Dad in New Zealand and spent half an hour on the phone to his secretary. After the mouse was dead, there weren't others, so all ended well!

  5. I think this was freaking hilarious and pretty much do the same thing. One attacked yesterday, I screamed so loud that our nanny came back in the house from her room on her lunch break to find me on the counter. It was seriously bad, so I understand!

  6. So, I have read along for years and have always admired been somewhat jealous of your ability to handle anything that life throws out you with such grace. Moving with a sick husband and toddler? No problem. Long hours at work, pregnant, preschooler and husband still in school? Eh. I have marveled at your ability to just not get your feathers ruffled (as I am someone who is high anxiety and gets my feathers ruffled quite easily).

    But this? Is awesome. You're human! Yay! Finally, your kryptonite exposed. If that sounds snarky, it is not at all meant to. It's just that I have you elevated to near God-like status in my mind as the model of how to deal with difficult situations. And to see that even you have the occasional irrational reaction comforts me.

    You need some hefty exterminators to come in and go to town...

  7. Your story and this meme were lined up right next to each other in my google reader. Perf.

    1. I feel compelled to follow up and tell you that this links you to a gif of a giraffe and a peacock. No actual bugs displayed, so it's safe for viewing!

  8. This is totally something I would do. My husband, our three little boys and our dog moved to a new to us house three years ago. It wasn't until we had closed on the property and started cleaning it in preparation for moving in that we discovered some evidence of past mouse presence (a package of traps under the sink in the kitchen and other evidence). We didn't see anything fresh and went on our merry way. A few months later, I was in the basement playroom with my kids and went to pour something down the work sink inour storage room. That was where I saw what I thought was a dead mouse in the drain of the sink. I screamed, which caused my sons to come running to see what had freaked me out. I like, told them I thought I saw a spider, and grabbed the phone to call my husband to make him deal with the situation. My kids still remember the "spider" that made mommy scream. Yuck.

  9. A very similar thing happened to me yesterday! My husband was working late and I was getting ready for bed when in the hallway was a giant roach. I grabbed a huge basket full of dirty clothes and put it on top of the roach and then called my husband and told him that there would be a roach waiting for him under the basket. Only when he got home it wasn't there anymore!! Now it is probably wondering around my house....I also got a lecture on smashing bugs because apparently they can sneak out from giant baskets.

  10. Dude. I own tarantulas and cockroaches creep ME out. Ugh.

  11. This is horrifying. You are a brave lady.

  12. Gah! I would definitely move! That house seems like nothing but trouble! (Or maybe it's just that I'm just as afraid of huge scary bugs too!)

  13. To the extent it makes you feel better: I found a huge, disguisting cockroach in my house and my husband and best friend assured me that often, very large cockroaches are actually transient, and a single one does not (without more) indicate that there are more of them in your house. Take comfort?

  14. WHOA. You just popped up as a recommended contact on LinkedIn because we're 3 connections away from each other. Wasn't expecting that when I scrolled through a bunch of people I know! I was starting to get concerned that LinkedIn was tracking my browser history....

  15. Have you thought of getting a bug vacuum (I would google around, sometimes they're called "bug sticks")? I've never owned one and am not sure how well they work, but at least that would help you catch them and maintain some distance! I considered buying one when my law school apartment had wolf spiders (shudder)...

  16. Yuck! But oddly proud of you. I understand your terror, and would have reacted the same. In fact, I once got chased around the room by a giant spider in Africa. It took a lot of spray to kill that sucker! *shudder*

  17. I feel you on this one. I have a roach phobia OMG! Just thinking about those flying roaches which are in abundance outside where I live makes me sweat...which is why I live in a beautiful condo on the 30th floor...those bastards can't get in way up here...lol...where we used to live they'd come in from outside and my husband would go to work early in the morning leaving a 9month pregnant woman lumbering after this roach swinging a fly swatter and screaming at the same time like a crazy woman...believe me I sympathize with you...Good luck ;)

  18. Wendy I agree!

  19. I'm speechless.
    And that's no easy feat, so kudos to you.
    I've noticed this fear & loathing of all things bug/insect/spider/creepy and/or crawly before in your posts. And it makes me wonder. You have spent more time in this state than I have ..... did your dad do all of the icky-creature-killing in the family? If so, he must've spared you the sight of these things you call cock roaches and we called (back in Oklahoma) mice. Because yes, they are indeed that big sometimes.
    I may be a tad bit biased .... having been forced into single mom/person status over 4 years ago, thus having to kill all things icky in and around my home. But I can dig back far enough into my memory to have compassion for your weenie-ness.
    I remember one evening, Jim walking through the back door while I stood on a chair inside of our pantry, having purchased as much Rubbermaid as was allowed in our community, and after having poured almost every single box of food in said Rubbermaid containers (we had only lived here a few months), I was Cloroxing all of the shelves in that pantry because of some insect-from-hell called the "sugar ant", or Pharaoh ant. Those suckers kept invading every cardboard food container, our counters, our window sills, etc. Nothing, and no one, could be left on a counter overnight or it would be covered by ants in the morning.
    Jim walked in to find me in the pantry, tears streaming down my face, as I turned to him without even saying, "Hi Dear .... and how was your day?" and screamed accusingly, "What kind of hell hole have you dragged me AND our four small children to??!!!"
    I don't recall his answer.
    In retrospect, knowing the wise man that he was (mostly), he probably just shrugged, said nothing and left the room as quickly as possible, in order to secure his survival for the evening.
    It took a full year, but I finally learned that I would be ok here in this God-forsaken state .... and that the bugs would not beat me down. Me, nor any of my kin-folk.
    And here I am ..... 21 years later .... and I swear this is true .... fighting off some kind of mutant moth/mosquito as I wrote that comment. I finally killed it, and then cleaned up the blood.
    Ah, Texas ..... love it or leave it.
    Or just give in.
    P.S. This may not be politically correct .... but my advice? Keep a good supply of those poisonous chemicals that kill all things bug related. To hell with anything "natural" when it comes to killing bugs. Pull out the big guns. You can apologize to your great grandchildren later.

  20. Seriously - get some vinegar. I used 2 cans of Raid in the kitchen. Then I called THREE different pest control companies who came and sprayed inside and outside my house while telling me, "You're from SC, you should be used to this. They just don't go away." THEN - my husband sprayed our house with pesticides so strong you have to have a special license to buy them (thanks to my father-in-law the mega-farmer). A month later, I saw one run out of my silverware drawer... My silverware drawer!!!!! I was simultaneously dry heaving, jumping around, screaming, and running for the door.

    I called my Granny who lives in an area even more prone to bugs than where I live and she told me about the vinegar. Buy gallons and gallons of it. Pour it down every sink, tub, shower, and toilet. Then put bowls full of it in your dishwasher and let it run. Run a cycle of your washing machine with old towels and a gallon of vinegar. Then, buy one of those spray thingies that you usually use for weed killer, fill it full of vinegar and walk around your house spraying the baseboards.

    It's been 2 years since I started doing that (twice a year) and I've only seen one roach and it was in the garage.

    Just for good measure, mix borax with water to make a paste and rub it into your baseboards.

  21. And that's why I won't move west or further south. I would've stroked out. Pants spider was bad enough yesterday, but I can't handle all that.

  22. You told this so well that I was as amused as I was horrified.

    When Hubby was in Iraq, I had a similar situation with a "I have no freaking idea to this day what the hell that bug was" bug. Huge, man. Huge. In the end, I put a large clear plastic cup over it, weighed down with a dictionary and left it there to die and disposed of it similarly.