Saturday, September 5, 2015

And now I'm probably scarred for life...

I feel I must begin today's narrative with a Disclaimer, in the interest of fairness...and full disclosure... and all that official blah blah blah you sometimes encounter on warning labels and such. So here goes: if you choose to continue, you will have the opportunity to laugh at me, for sure. But you may also shiver...or slam the browser closed (or, you know "click it shut with authority"...loses a bit of the impact, though, doesn't it?)...or even run squealing from the room. It's up to you. Go forth at your own risk.

Okay, let's move on, shall we? I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess that I'm FAR from alone in my aversion to all things creepy-crawly. Me and bugs, we don't get along--I don't even like to get close enough to kill them, once they get past a certain size (that would specifically be "tiny and non-threatening"....after which they firmly fall into the broad category of "Husband's Problem"). However, when we moved to North Carolina, we ran into a whole new kind of nightmare that we'd never experienced in our previous home, and they look like this:

Right? SUPER INCREDIBLY ICKY just about covers it. Because we live in a very wooded neighborhood, and our own house is surrounded by trees, one of the first things we did was to hire a Pest Company to fortify the defenses, as it were (or, um...spray around the perimeter every few months and keep those horror movie creatures the heck OUT of the...castle). We asked about these, and were told they're just cockroaches, drawn to damp the clay soil in the Carolinas, and the humid environment. Oh...awesome. So, when they mistakenly wander inside (I guess their Insect GPS leads them astray on occasion...) they try to seek out water, which is why you'll most often find them in the bathroom or kitchen.

This was certainly valuable information, for which we were grateful...but let me tell you the real kicker: those suckers can get freakin' H-U-G-E. We're talking 1-2 inches long...and they scurry across a floor faster than you can grab something sufficiently big and weighty to squash them. Furthermore, if all that weren't bad enough, the final insult is that of course you only see them at night. (And speaking of that, why is everything so much more terrifying after the sun goes down? It's not like the stupid things gain extra-special...buggy the dark. But my personal critter-fighting courage most definitely drains away without the presence of gamma rays....or some such nonsense...)

Anyway, luckily we generally only have to deal with a couple of the misplaced explorers each month--which I ascertain based on the fact that I'll be somewhere in the house and hear a roof-shaking crash, followed by an absence of screaming, so I know no one's hurt themselves. This indicates that Husband has bravely dispatched an intruder, typically using the largest nearby book he can get his hands on, since we don't keep shoes in our sleeping quarters. recent evening, around 11 o'clock...I entered my bedroom...switched on the overhead light...and came face (SHUDDER)....with an enormous specimen...ON....MY...BED. Oh, you have GOT to be &%$#@ KIDDING me!

I was utterly frozen, locked in place in the doorway with my mouth hanging he wiggled his disgusting antennae brazenly at me, and bolted for cover under the bed frame. Remember that all the footwear is in a closet downstairs, so I cast about for a weapon. Well...first I yelped...when this brought no knight in shining armor charging to my rescue, I knew I would be forced to fend for myself. (Husband was working just yards away in his office on the first level....yet somehow managed to remain oblivious to my plight...hmmm....) Not wishing to sacrifice my own reading material (Hey, I paid for those hardcovers!) I grabbed something borrowed from the library. (This is exactly why they have those protective plastic covers on them, am I right?) When the ferocious beast--moronically--ventured out into the open again a moment later, I slammed the novel down on it triumphantly. However, there's carpet on the floor, so I figured it might not be for good measure, I decided to (gingerly) STAND on the book as well.

Feeling shaky but relieved that the whole incident was over, I went off to watch TV for a while. (Okay, okay--I was avoiding picking up the...remains...which is my second least favorite part of slaying dragons...I mean "insects"...) When I came back, I took a deep, steadying breath....leaned back away, as far as possible...reached out with one toe...and kicked the book. And then gave an embarrassingly shrill, girly shriek as the prehistoric monster took off again, seemingly unimpaired in the least little bit from his interlude of...literary imprisonment.

Well...DANG IT! Now, besides still suffering from a major case of the heebie jeebies, I was also royally pissed. So I stomped down to the shoe repository, selected what I deemed to be a probable...deliverer of cockroach deathblow...and returned to the scene of the siege. The enemy had this time retreated behind the dresser...but once again it reappeared after a short hightail it into the bathroom. HA! Nowhere to run now, oh most idiotic of bugs--you've put yourself into a one-exit situation, with an unforgivingly hard tile floor on which to meet your demise. My victory is all-but-assured! kept going, to the back wall...where it sought refuge behind the only possible hiding place available: the toilet brush in the corner. Thus ensued a real, live, Mexican Standoff...with one of us too microscopic-brained, and the other too back down. I gathered myself for the final campaign...then reached out with the sneaker...and rattled the container that was harboring our fugitive. It came plowing....right toward me, naturally, as I've already mentioned there was nowhere else to go. Somehow I pulled off the feat of leaping into the air, quaking from head to toe, and letting out one more distressed squawk...before decisively hauling off and beating the everloving CRUD out of Senor Cucaracha, once and for all.

Breathing heavily, sweating freely, I nevertheless savored my sweet, satisfying success. That is, right up until the moment (a few short seconds later, to be exact) that I realized I still had to dispose of the carcass. And trust me when I tell you that these things are so...large and crunchy...that, even using a whole wad of tissue...touching them in any manner makes me squeamish. So I took the lily-livered way out: one full sheet of paper towel tossed over the deceased....then the whole package grasped with long-handled barbecue tongs...and held at arm's length from my body as I delicately escorted it to the trash can.

Then, spent-yet-wired from the adrenaline-fueled battle, I lay awake for hours, tossing and turning and unable to calm down enough to drop off to sleep. Sigh. The next day, besides calling in our Anti-Pest Guy for a reinforcing treatment, I also made a trip to Lowe's for some extra protection. What I ended up purchasing were those little boxes they cutely call "roach motels", to place inconspicuously in the bathrooms. But I found myself wondering, as I read the package description, "What entices the bugs to go into this particular establishment? Did they get a good deal on Expedia? Were they promised a free continental breakfast with their stay? 'Cuz boy, are they gonna be disappointed!" Whew...clearly the lack of rest was catching up to me at this point. I tell you what--the next uninvited visitor...I'm just yelling one time...for Husband to come take care of it!

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