I opened the bottom - right hand - cupboard door to look for the colander because those olives weren’t going to rinse themselves.
A hand mixer, several plastic bowls, an electric can opener and a package of millet (hastily placed after our arrival the night before) greeted my eyes with nary a colander in sight. I crouched down to get a closer look and as I peered into the darkness, something caught my attention. It was dark, it was brown and it was alive.
At least, it used to be.
My mom and I laid it on the stove top to get a closer look.
This is Richard, the palmetto bug. Richard
It wasn’t the first time we’d encountered palmetto bugs while on vacation in the southern US and by the way Floridians, you can call them what you want but a cockroach is still cockroach.
When I snapped a photo, I neglected to place an object next to Richard for scale. Had I been thinking clearly instead of breathlessly chanting, “ohmygodohmygodohmygod”, I would have grabbed a quarter, a coconut or a small pony as comparison. Instead, I later manipulated a photo to demonstrate just how enormous he was.
That was yesterday.
This morning I woke up early, made myself a coffee, selected a mug from the cupboard, grabbed the coffee pot and saw this as I passed my hand over the sink.
I'll give you a closer look.
There. That's better.
Smaller than Dead Richard - but very much alive - this bug wins the kitchen.
Now, those who know me know how much I hate bugs. I cannot illustrate enough the magnitude of my fear. While taking this picture, I jumped wildly around the kitchen, while making "naaaahhhhhhhhhh" noises and shuddering uncontrollably. And in case you are wondering, there are three reasons why I dislike cockroaches almost as much as I loathe chickens. I can't believe I even need to explain this.
1) They can live a week without their heads.
2) They eat hair.
3) See number 1.
Still, I decided that in order to continue enjoying warmth and sunshine, I would have to learn to coexist with these creepy little bastards. So this afternoon, I channeled my inner Marie Kondo and came up with my own life changing magic. I hope it helps you too.
How to Live with Cockroaches (When You Have No Other Choice)1) Pick up everything you own. Hold it all for a moment and throw out whatever doesn't give you joy. Now. You don't need cockroaches crawling in your socks, happy as they may or may not be.
2) When putting away clothing, place all items in zip close baggies. Folding is optional because you are in survival mode. Store your wardrobe in the freezer.
3) Stick all your food in the fridge. Also, gather up all cups, bowls, plates, forks, knives and spoons and shove them in there too. Eat all meals while sitting in a garbage bag.
4) Buy a bigger fridge.
5) Carefully wrap shoes, boots and slippers in plastic cling wrap. Better yet, just have your feet surgically removed.
6) Attach a vacuum cleaner to your 7-year-old. Alternatively, feed your child in the bathtub with the shower running. But dry the tub immediately after because cockroaches like damp places.
7) Since bugs prefer darkness, be sure to leave the lights on at all times. Invest in several giant construction lamps. Place around house accordingly.
8) Divorce your husband if he continues to bring “snack plates” to bed. Crackers in the sheets lead to antennae in the crotch and I'm sure we can all agree that nobody needs that.
9) Wear earplugs. You will need them especially at night while waiting for the sleep that will never come (because there are bugs in the house dammit). They will come in handy when you want to avoid hearing anything that might mimic the sound of six legged beasts scurrying across the floor after falling out of the vents.
10) Remove all fruit-scented hair products from the bathroom. In fact, shave your head instead.
11) Stop eating fruit. Or any food for that matter. NO FOOD in the house unless you follow rule number 3.
12) Purchase spray paint in bulk. Hit everything that moves with squirts of bright, bold colours. Turn vacation rental into modern art exhibit. Sell tickets to cover the damage deposit.
13) Fashion tiny leashes out of your own hair and give your child the joy of pet ownership. Encourage her and her pets to go for walks outside.
14) Caulk all windows and doors shut. Place copious amounts of duct tape over every open vent. Die in your own filth, thus giving the cockroaches an adequate supply of food. Because, nature is beautiful.
15) If all else fails, call in reinforcements.
Yeah. Like that.
All images are my own unless otherwise noted.