Unwanted Guest | Do Try This at Home: Unwanted Guest

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Unwanted Guest

When I feel like being flippant about divorce, I like to say, “Being divorced isn’t actually any lonelier than being married, and it’s a lot less laundry.” It’s actually less lonely, but inconvenient in certain respects, such as when I suddenly realize I’m the one who has to deal with unwelcome guests.

Living in an apartment affords many luxuries, not the least of which was finding out that I didn’t even have to mop up my own kitchen when it flooded. They brought in this machine in at six in the morning and sucked all the water up for me, which was a lucky thing considering it was at that moment that I noticed I don’t actually own any scummy towels.

But while they will spray as often as one can stand to have one’s apartment covered in chemicals, they don’t actually offer a bug removal service. It took me a mere four days to dispose of our latest houseguest, a giant tree roach. These days I can actually walk past a giant tree roach in the parking lot without even taking a detour. Lucky for me, because they kind of come with the giant tree territory in the older parts of Houston.

Those guys are definitely tenacious. I think the turf war over the bathtub could have lasted well over four days if I hadn’t made the effort to be brave. At least I didn't run out to beg a security guard to dispose of the big guy for me. Yes, I've looked down the crater of an erupting volcano and asked a security guard to come save me from a bug.

I don’t recommend this method, ‘cause it’s way too cruel to the roach, but here’s how we got rid of our pal:

Day 1:

Jared comes running in to tell me that a roach has staked out his or her territory in the bathtub. I lollygag into his bathroom, figuring he’s panicked over nothing, not really having heard any of his specifics. I gasp at the size of the intruder. Panic for a few seconds. Try to remember that giant roaches are merely disgusting and not life threatening.

Yell to one of the kids to go get our cat, Sugar. Put Sugar into the bathtub & blow on the roach to get it moving around. Cheer Sugar on as he gains interest and paws at the poor creature. Plead with him to at least maim the dreaded thing if not swallow it whole. Groan as Sugar loses interest and exits the bathroom.

Spend another moment panicking as it looks like our new friend has bought himself a map and is looking for the first exit out of the bathtub. Wash him a little further into the tub with a cup of water while blowing on him.

Ask one of the kids to make sure he doesn’t escape while I go get a heavy clear glass pencil holder. Capture him or her under the glass. Ask one of the kids to get something heavy. Lay the two pound weight Jared brings me on top of the glass.

Day 2:

Check on our buddy. Decide he must have escaped. No, says Cassie, he’s on the side of the pencil holder. Decide since he’s had no air or food, he’s probably dead. See his antennae wiggle. Gasp and tell kids to take another bath in my tub.

Day 3:

Know he must be dead, but give him another day for good measure.

Day 4:

Certain he’s dead, remove weight, turn pencil holder over and tap it against toilet seat. Look into the pencil holder in surprise as he refuses to fall into the toilet. Notice the antennae waggle just enough to cause Cassie and me another gasp of horror. Panic for a moment.

Tell myself that if he were capable he would have escaped the cup already. Tell myself I can take my time, but then rush to fill the glass of water and flush all contents at lightening speed. Breathe a sigh of relief and wonder if I should ask the maintenance people to exterminate or if this takeover of our bathroom was a solo effort.

Back when I was married, a giant roach decided our garage looked like a great hang out spot. My ex-husband was trying to dispose of it when he accidentally let it into the house. You know those old pictures of women standing on a table while a rodent circles menacingly? You know how outdated those pictures seem?

The moment the roach ran into the house, Cassie, then maybe eight years old, hopped up on the coffee table exactly like one of those old fashioned pictures. And one thought and one thought only raced through my mind, (although to my credit I didn’t act on it): “What a GREAT IDEA!” Maybe those old pictures aren’t so outdated after all.


Janet said...

Yikes! I'd be right there with you! I, too, have trapped numerous creepy crawlies (mainly spiders) under glass jars while I figure out what to do with them. I'm even too much of a wimp to flush them ("They might be somebody's mother!") so I usually just take them outside. I'm sure they turn around and come right back in. I'm probably just trapping the same spider over and over. :-)

Bonita Rose said...

ewwwww that roach sounds just plain grossssss! ick.. I hate bugs.

Curly Glamour Girlie said...

Blech! Luckily we don't get too many huge bugs here in the north, but every so often one makes an appearance.

I was once playing in a production of West Side Story in an un-airconditioned theatre. Hence the windows were open. While playing something quiet and mood-setting I noticed my leg was itchy, so I went to scratch it. Something crunched under my hand and a half squished large cicada fell out!

I always flush bugs if I can. That way they at least have something of a fighting chance if they can swim!

kinchina said...

I hate bugs! I have tried to be a good example for my kids and be brave about it. I don't think it worked, my 16 yo daughter screams when spiders are in the house and tries to get our cat to catch them. Yours sounds about as helpful as ours. He just flicks his tail and walks away.

Noelia said...

I hope for you that this was a solo effort and an isolated case of the giant roach that took over your bathroom. Aren't you grateful you have 2 bathrooms? LOL
I would've called DH at work to kill that thing! Just thinking about it gives me chills, I hate all bugs!

Aparna said...

OMG!! I hate roaches! the flying ones send me into hysterics!

Debbi said...

since I only have one shower I would have to go to a friends house. OR call my best friends DH to come save me. I hate bugs. My best friend and I often joke that we share a DH. People look at us weird. But what else is a single mom to do?

uncle_bernie said...

In New Orleans I became intimately acquainted with what the city's tourist commission decided to give the distinguished "nom de plume" of "Palmetto Bug" to assuage the tourists into believing yet another fantasy during their soiree through the city that care forgot but huge disgusting bugs remembered. They're not roaches, just something the size of a bic lighter that looks and acts just like a roach. Isn't it all better now? They say after the nuclear holocaust all will be left are roaches and Keith Richards...that is until the roaches eat poor Keith and put his head on a pike...

Nancywithajones said...

tell her to move over id have been up there with her. DONT YOU KNOW a roach can live like a week without a head so IT will probably live forever in that cup.. would have done the same thing though.

Melissa said...

ahhhh..I hate bugs!..especially big ones like that. those darn things can live for so long!

Helena said...

LOL! Great story. (What, no pictures?)

Cloves said...

One more think to be thankful for about where we live. No bugs bigger than an eraser.

Irisi said...

ACK I have a great fear of roaches! Most other bugs (assuming they are not in my bed..) I can stand, but the mere idea of roaches sends me into a state of panic!

My kitties are very helpful with bugs. One of my screens sometimes tilts out a little and lets all these big nasties in.. I never see them alive, but I do find them dead on the floor with some regularity.

The weirdest bug I've found in my house was a grain worm. It was across the house from my kitchen, and after thoroughly investigating the contents of my pantry, I found nothing was infested, as is usually the case with grain worms. To this day, I wonder where it came from. Not that much, though...


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