True Confessions of a roach hater


Yes, I admit it.  At no time in my life, now or ever, would I consider becoming an entomologist.

Yes, I’ve had spiders crawl over my hand to get across the counter.  It feels weird but, hey…they’re not roaches.

Yes, I once had a swarm of ants crawling over my face as a child and slept through it (as told to me by my parents).  Why the ants decided it might be nice to party inside our house is still a mystery.

Living with a South Florida family that didn’t have $1000 a year to spend on roach removal or prevention, this is what happens:

  • First, you find the cheapest roach spray on the market and think it means something to the roaches to spray every corner and hole you can find.
  • Then, you avoid going into the kitchen at night.   I did that once, when I was about 10.  The full moonlight filtered through our kitchen window and down on the counter.  I thought my mom had painted it brown until the “paint” started scurrying.  

My mom seemed to have the same viewpoint about roaches as she did about sex:  If you don’t say anything, the kids won’t know it ‘s there. Roaches leave little specks of ground pepper sized poop I hadn’t seen during the day, but the scurrying roaches didn’t bother to clean up after themselves.

The evidence of their existence was summarily wiped away by the time I awoke in the morning.  Yes, I told my mother about it.   No, she didn’t believe me.  She said, “There couldn’t be that many roaches.”

Don’t believe the stories about filth attracting roaches.  Truth is, you might want to cover your books in plastic.

Roaches eat book bindings, paper, wallpaper paste, human hair, skin flakes, and don’t ask what they eat when they’re in the sewers.  If food is scarce they’ll eat their own young, and they can live up to a month without food.

I lived in Wisconsin for a few years, married to a man originating from Brooklyn.  He had a deep voice and a great way of summing up the obvious.  I’d arrived home one day in the late 1980’s with a bag of potatoes and watched a roach scurry out of it.  A mere 3 months later, the kitchen was infested.  

“I’d better go to the store and get bug spray,” I told my husband.

Without missing a heartbeat he said, “Yeah…that worked so well for your parents.”

I sighed and said, “I’ll call the exterminator.”

Good choice.  He was thorough and came on time every month for prevention, and the roaches were gone in a year.  

Why, you might wonder, am I telling you this?  

I was up at 4 this morning, started to pick up a dish towel I’d left on the counter last night, and 3 baby roaches tried to scurry away.

Almost any babies are cute, including skunk babies, but I dare you to show me a picture of a cute baby roach that will make me go, “awwww” instead of “Yetch!”  Not even a tiara and a pink tutu can make THAT look cute!

You get the picture.  

Now, I’m not lightning fast…usually.  But today, that dish towel was rolled up and thrown into the soapy wash water so quickly that the little life-sucking vermin will never eat another dish towel again!

Were that the end of this grizzly story, I’d be happy. But, no!  There’s more. 



This particular rendition of a Coon Cat is 20 pounds and almost 3 feet long from nose to tip of tail:

cat meteor

It was standing in front of the food bowl (the boys insist it has to be on the kitchen counter next to the sink).  The eyes stared at me, then at the food bowl as if to say, “What the hell am I supposed to do with this thing?”

I spotted the antenna first, and then…oh…God…a…a mutant giant ROACH half the width of his food bowl!!!!

What is a roach hater in the mist of a panic attack to do?  Grab the sprayer hose!!!  The brazen bug busy trying to swim out of the bowl, I grabbed a 2-gallon zip-lock bag and tossed my cats tainted breakfast into it, bowl and all.  Then I sprayed the inside of the bag with that high price stuff in a can that’s supposed to kill any creepy crawly.  

Now I had another dilemma.  If hubby came downstairs and saw this bizarre battle, I wouldn’t hear the end of it.  

“Waste of expensive cat food…blah, blah,blah…you’re not thinking…blah, blah.blah.”

Best to hide the evidence.

I opened the bag, started to take the cat food bowl out, and…and…OMG!  The D@*#&d thing had to be 3 inches long!  

Panic attack strategy number 2:  Throw the entire thing, plastic bag and all, into the bucket of wash water.  

I knew that roaches could swim, even in soap.  What was I thinking?

Don’t answer that.

I grabbed a twist-top storage container from the drain board and scooped up the offending creature. I guarantee that lid is so tight a weight lifter won’t be able to open it.

I was contemplating throwing a perfectly good storage container away, along with the roach and wash water when a memory so vile it defies logic hit me:

Mom used to tell us about the time she saved up her food ration cards to buy a steak for a picnic with my dad when she was dating him (WWII, 1943).  It accidentally dropped onto the ground.  She washed it off and cooked it, but he refused to eat it.  

If there was a hair in the food — even his hair — he wouldn’t touch it. Then there was the day that my father saw a roach crawl across the counter at the pizza place where the best pizza’s on the entire planet were made.  He refused to ever buy a pizza from them again.

I now understand why my mother was in such denial, and why she made certain the evidence was cleaned up before anyone awoke in the morning.

When it comes to roaches, men can be SO irrational.

© Joelle LeGendre 2016