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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  1. You go great cockroach hunter! In some places they hunt elephants. Down here in South Texas we hunt cockroaches. We need bigger guns than elephant hunters!

  2. Well, I have lived in Florida where the spiders are the size of possums and when you step on them a gazillion tiny spiders scatter. I've lived in Louisiana where the mosquitoes have landing gear and snakes and alligators swim past your window when it floods (which is weekly). I've lived in Texas and have met your buddy the jolly green giant of roaches. But... the best all time creepy crawly story can still make me giggle 37 years later.

    My uncle Wallace was visiting us in Florida. My family is from NC. He'd never been to Florida before. On the morning of day two his frantic screams came from the sun porch. I was three, and I didn't understand all the "sentence enhancers" he was using, but I did understand, "Grab your shot gun it's the biggest *blankity-blankin'spider I ever saw!"

    It was a sand crab. *Giggle*

  3. Did ya shoot it DMK? Hope not. Thems good eatin'
    jk :)
    Ohmygosh, I've met LA skeeters and it weren't pretty. You made me shudder with the spider story. I have a similar snake story. YES, baby snakes, YES it still makes me scream.
    The best thing about being female (there are so many) is that you never lose the ability to scream like a four year old girl. At least I think it rocks, Dear Hubby, not so much.

  4. dailyenduringtruth - Did you see I left you a notice about Epic Slinky Dogs? Private message me at theglitterglobe@gmail.com?

  5. DMK was that a coconut crab? i just read about them and saw a pic..i seriously thought it was the biggest freakin spider EVER.

    Stephanie - I had a spider war once. I used to live in an old farm house in rural Kansas.For some reason we had been there for 5 years before the spiders started appearing. Not your normal spiders..brown recluse.I would start down the hall and one would be on the wall. Not cool,man. Not cool. So,I started a war. I bombed,I filled cracks and crevices,found every single corner cobweb with the vacuum (yeah,i know recluse dont build webs,but this was war,damnit,lol). For a while,all was well...until the day I went to the toilet (am I the only woman who pees in the dark? just askin.) and saw a VERY dark shadow in the corner behind the toilet.Turn on lights. SCREAM! oh yeah..big.black.the size of your palm when u stretch yer fingers out. Enter reinforcements in the shape of my friend who was visiting.she,armed with the broom and I,armed with the flyswatter attempt to get it out from behind the toilet.)because of course,i still have to pee!) and.it.ran.straight.at me.I couldnt tell you what kind of spider it was...the flyswatter destroyed anything that might have been recognizable or identifiable. RIP hairy dude.

  6. Must ask Carolyn a very personal question. Do you still go in the dark? After that? You could have been kidnapped. Because due to thousand legger season and living deep in the woods of Spooky Hill, and an ugly spider allergy (which came on years after being bit by a brown recluse) I take a flashlight with me.
    Am going off to google coconut crabs now.

  7. Nope, just your run of the mill sand crab. *giggle*

  8. The women in my family have a vendetta against spiders. I'm pretty sure it goes back many generations when a spider carried off one of our own - now we want vengeance.

    One of my mom's favorite spider stories is when my sister (4 yrs old) SHRIEKED from her upstairs bedroom. My parents both went running in to find her pointing at a spider the size of a rubik's cube hanging in the window.
    My mom pulled my sister back and my dad went to the rescue.
    He got a rolled up paper (or maybe my sister's teddy bear) and knocked that thing backwards out the window.
    They heard it hit the ground two stories below.

    As for me. I was good at killing spiders (we have a ritual "spider killing" dance that involves a lot of yelping and shuddering while we dance around the soon to be wounded offender).
    I was capable...until a spider reared up at me, two legs in the air like a bucking horse, two legs curled into its side, and the other four on the ground.
    I swear it hissed.

    I haven't successfully killed a spider since. It's been months. I have yet to come across one alone, but I know spring is coming.
    I know I'll have to face my fear.

  9. As a native Texan, I have so many bug stories, you wouldn't believe them all. Including the grand daddy long legs invasion at summer camp one year. Woke with granddaddy straddling my face! GAH!

    In college, I approached a black wall on one of the dorms to realize it wasn't actually black. It was covered in crickets. Had to walk through a cricket lake in a skirt. Not FUN! They jump, you know. EEK!

    Enormous roaches crawled out from under a rent house in our sleep one night. The landlord had sprayed under the house and they all crawled inside and died on our carpet. We woke the next morning to a floor covered in 2-3 inch long dead roaches. Screaming ensued.

    My favorite story was in Tennessee, though. We had just moved into a new home in the country from a ghetto neighborhood in the center of the city with gang violence and crime sprees. I was happy to be out of that environment and raise my kids on the three acres of beautiful country Tennessee mountains. When we moved in there were a lot of Granddaddy long legs, I don't think the prior inhabitants ever sprayed. My son, 9 years old, told me one night after an encounter with a granddaddy, "Mom, I just don't feel safe here." I grinned real big and then pulled out the bug spray.

  10. My story is from some time ago when I was in the tropical location of North Queensland Australia.
    We went to a park some 45 minutes north of Townsville that was popular with tourist. While we were eating lunch I looked up the top of two trees and strung between them was a web and a very large spider in the middle. What made it rather scary was the web was about thirty feet high and about twenty feet across and you could see the spider quite clearly. It was a bird eating spider.
    http://www.cairns.com.au/article/2008/10/23/11601_local-news.html dont look at the article if your easily scared.


  11. Anonymous! I dreamed about that spider, why oh why did I look? Gah!