Tuesday, January 22, 2013

La Cucaracha

It almost made me leave the state. The Realtor narrated the features of the house, opening closet doors for me. “WHAT is that?” I interrupted, pointing at the gigantic dead insect lying on the floor inside. She peeked at it, “A cricket.”  Look, I’ve seen crickets before, that sucker could wear baby shoes. They say everything is bigger in Texas. It sounded good when applied to sky, glasses of iced-tea, and closet space. Not so much in the exoskeleton-wearing world of insects.

Eventually I got used to the ginormous crickets, they’re almost seasonal, and they go towards the light. So they’re predictable, but if you leave the porch light on and open your front door at the wrong time, the body mass of crickets in the entryway may outweigh yours. I did scream a lot the first year I lived there. And the ants made me cry, they wanted to eat my children and like most extra-legged fauna on the planet, I’m allergic to them. Still it was the cockroaches that made me the fearless insect-raising, spider-bashing shieldmaiden that I am today.

“What’s that sound?” I asked Hubby, waking him because obviously he couldn’t hear it while asleep. “Nuffin” came the standard middle-of-the-night reply. “Listen!” I demanded, trying to place the strange ‘scrit-scrit’ echoing down the hall. It sounded vaguely familiar. Braving night investigation, I made my way down the hall to the bathroom. It’s the tub drain, the sound it makes when it’s opening and closing. Flick on the light and a three inch cockroach shoves the drain lid OPEN and scuttles into the tub. My screams woke Dear Hubby all the way up. Stress test.

“I think there’s a baby bird in the kitchen,” I said, hugging Dear Hubby hello. “Something’s been flying around in there.”  It lands on my hand, which is – unfortunately for him – wrapped around his neck, because it isn’t a bird. The cockroaches have evolved, they have wings now. I bolt taking hubby’s head with me for a moment. Then race to the sink to contemplate amputation of my hand, but settle on washing it, scrubbing frantically, and crying. All this sunshine, all these bugs - who needs this cuh-rap?  Hubby recovers from the partial be-heading and goes ninja all over fly-boy. Life is good again. Texas iced-teas have real slices of lemon and free refills and Hubby has my back.

Until the night I’m changing a diaper on my sweet little baby and a squadron infiltrates. One lands on the baby. Oh no you didn’t. I flick it off with a container of wipees and juice it against the wall with said container. Bring. It. On.

Then I’m at a gift shop picking out birthday cards. There’s a basket of colorful rubbery insects on the counter, butterflies and grasshoppers, and one of the rubbery bugs looks exactly like La Cucaracha. Exactly, I can barely stand to pick it up. I poke at it with the card just to be sure he isn't faking me out. Not real. It is awesome. I tuck it in the birthday card when I send it. The recipient regales me with tales of La Cucaracha’s exploits. Tossed on the carpet when company comes, a friend actually grabs a tissue and politely picks it up and puts it in the trash. Recipient puts it in the shower with her hubby. Yes, these are the kinds of friends I have. I love them. Except when they stick it in the shower when I visit. Why is that part never as funny?  Know what I mean?  Ever live someplace where the size of the bugs is dinner party conversation?  Have a good creepy crawly story to share?

Photo Credit:  Stephanie Karfelt
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