I must say that if I had a blackbird for every large cockroach I’ve seen since moving to Mexas I would be able to sing a song of sixpence at this point.
What I mean is, I’ve seen a lot.
(Gross picture after the jump. Hi Mom!)
When I saw my first huge creepy disgusting terrible cockroach (affectionately called a “palmetto bug” by wizened veterans; more on that some other day) I thought I would never recover from the shock. I had the heebie jeebies for days. Sometimes I woke up in the middle of the night with cold sweats, feverishly sweeping my hands over every spare inch of bed-cover.
In short, I was paranoid. And with good reason. And forever.
Or so I thought.
It turns out it wasn’t really the roaches so much as what they represented. In the great NE, if you see a roach, unimaginable filth and nast await you just behind a closed door or a temporary wall. At a young age, I learned to associate roaches with all that is physically vile and abhorrent on this earth.
It’s interesting that I feel this way about roaches, but I don’t really have a serious problem with mice. I think it comes from living in a series of older houses in the northeast; mice are inevitable. You must deal with them. If you ignore them they will never, ever leave you. The thing is that us Yanks don’t see roaches the same way. Roaches can be avoided by being clean and/or surviving the winter. Because sometimes not even roaches can survive our winters.
Then I moved to southwest Texas.
Unfortunately for roach public relations, the first (and only, until now) place we moved into was not ideal. We had no significantly better options, so we stayed put. But we suffered in a multitude of ways. Mostly with the roaches.
And I assumed that the appearance of roaches was caused by what roach-appearances are always caused by in New Jersey: incredibly low standards by irresponsible home management.
It turns out, however, that while that may have been the case in our Mexas apartment it doesn’t mean we escaped the bugs when we moved to this luscious house.(Complete with real washer and dryer!)
Because ginormous cockroaches are to Mexas what field mice are to New Jersey. You see, an American Cockroach (Google it, they’re amazing) is the length of a small mouse. And I didn’t realize it, but it’s actually possible to begin to view XLroaches with the same benign “general pest” mode that I have (until now) reserved for small mice. Mice are, and have always been, a dirty nuisance but as long as they leave me alone I just set my traps and go on my merry way.
Recently, I began to think back on my time with las cucarachas. The only time I ever see the hulking beasties is when it gets “cold,” or when Mexas Monsoon Madness descends for a week in the spring and fall. I hear the tales of my friends, from all caminars of vida Mexas, similarly beset with some of these fastest running insects (no lie, they can reach 205mph). I had to ask myself: was ONLY the feckless duo-of-managemental-failure-personified at our old digs to blame? Or could my reoccurring run-ins with roaches also have something to do with the general flora/fauna circle of life here in South Texas?
You know what is kind of cool about all this, because it means something happened that I never thought possible? I’ve assimilated into cockroach-culture. So has the cat. She sleeps all day (no lie, the entire day)…
And then stays awake all night chasing cockroaches. Sometimes we wake up and kill them quickly; sometimes we let her have her fun.
We’ve also become old had at how to effectively manage a can of Raid when affronted by an insect the size of a small mammal, which can climb walls. Don’t be fooled, faces full ‘o Raid are no fun, but difficult to avoid. Especially when you’re hyperventilating.
Last but not least, I’ve learned the fine art of “the shoe chuck.” It’s not a throw or a toss. It’s a determined, purposeful hurl across a room. And it generally results in an amazing explosion of legs and guts.
Finally, I’m a deft applicator of Ortho Home Defense (it works). Indoors, outdoors, utility rooms, all will bow before me.
I have to stop. I’m grossing myself out.
Believe me, it’s not so bad in real life. That’s the weird part. Once these things were the bane of my existence. Now, I just turn the TV up louder, cover myself in a cloud of boric acid, and sleep peacefully as the giant bugs frolic about me. Little do those critters know that their demise is close at hand.
I’ve come a long way, baby.