We had a little roach crisis at our house tonight. I heard my son mutter, “Holy crap! Holy crap!” when he exited the upstairs bathroom after his shower. Since “crap” is on my children’s banned word list, I quickly reprimanded him from downstairs. “Sorry! But there’s a huge roach on the wall up here!”
You may not know this about me, but I hate roaches. In fact, I am quite afraid of them. Dress them up with a name like “Palmetto Bug” and they’re still the same nasty bugs that rustle when they walk and refuse to die. There are only four things that I hate about living in Charleston: being so far away from my family and the farm, the traffic, the unbearable month of August, and the prevalence of roaches (or “Palmetto bugs,” to speak proper Charlestonian English).
My little man hates bugs, too, but he’s been stepping up lately as the spider crusher so I thought he might be up to the task. “Take care of it!” I called. Because I knew he could. And because I needed to keep the new giant puppy away so he wouldn’t eat the roach when it hit the floor – because he really does eat everything. The last time he ate a bug, he spent the next 30 minutes throwing up. Yeah, those are the reasons I wanted my son to kill the roach. Not to mention that I was scared to do it myself.
I heard some shuffling and such. “Did you get it?” His reply was the last thing I wanted to hear. “No. I lost it.”
Dang. I forgot to remind him of the cardinal rule of roach killing: never take your eyes off of it – ever!
Did I mention that the roach was spotted in the hallway right between the three bedrooms? I shuddered to think that it might be hiding out in one of our rooms. Mia insisted that her brother search her room, which he did. He found nothing. With my luck, I figured it ended up in my room.
It was a school night and now it was their bedtime. I tucked them in, trying to assure them the roach is probably more scared of them than they are of it (Yeah, right!) and that they could go on to sleep with no worries. I was pretty sure I would be awake enough all night for the three of us, but I didn’t tell them that.
About 30 minutes later as I was finishing up a phone call with my mom, my son came flying down the stairs. “I hear something in my room!” Now I know I said something earlier about how roaches can rustle when they walk, but really I was exaggerating. Mostly. I figured the fear of the roach had taken up residence in his mind, as scary thoughts sometimes do at night.
“Go turn on your light and see if you see anything. I’ll be up in a minute.”
By this time, he was close to tears, but he went back up. About two minutes later he returned, truly frantic. “It’s in my book bag! I know it is!”
I somehow doubted that the roach had crawled into his book bag, but he was getting closer and closer to hysteria. “Take your book bag to the garage. I’ll check it there.”
“But I’m scared!”
I excused myself from my phone call and marched myself right upstairs and picked up his book bag. I started back down the steps and told him to go on back to bed. He was still too scared. We had a brief exchange on the staircase while I held the suspect bag. “It’s in here, remember? You are fine now.” I didn’t really believe it was in the bag. Apparently neither did he, and there was no convincing him.
I gave up and headed on out to the garage. Once there, I turned the bag upside down and gave it a shake. Out dropped the granddaddy of all roaches. I heard it hit the ground with a thud and then I heard it rustle as it made a hasty retreat. I was barefoot, so there was no stepping on it. Not that I could have stepped on it anyway. I cannot bring myself to do it. First, you have to get too close in order to step on it. Second, I cannot stomach the crunching sound. I’ve learned that drowning a roach with Windex kills it faster than even roach spray will, but I didn’t have any Windex on hand. Or any roach spray. So somewhere in my garage, a granddaddy roach is plotting his return. He lives for another day. Who am I kidding? He’ll probably live the rest of the century!
The house is now quiet. The kiddos are asleep, probably with visions of rustling roaches dancing in their heads. I’m ready for bed now myself. I must get ready for tomorrow’s two morning battles: will I be able to get Gus to use his book bag ever again, and are any of us brave enough to dash through the garage to get to the car, knowing that granddaddy roach is somewhere out there? Stay tuned…