Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Cockroaches in the Kitchen

I arrived at the office this morning, and no sooner had I said my good mornings when someone barrelled down the aisle with the news, "There are cockroaches in the kitchen!"

Now our office has had our share of critters and varmints including mice, ants, and even a baby mole...but I had not encountered the dreaded cockroach before.

And apparently, they were not discovered in the dark recesses of a cabinet under the sink either, but rather openly skittering across the counters and even on top of the coffee machine.

{pause for me to shiver uncontrollably at the disgusting horror of these bugs}

As I spent most of the day nervously twitching my feet, brushing at imaginary tickles on my arms, and frequently brushing my hair, I recalled my first run-in with the cockroach.

Hubby had taken an apartment in an historic district of Rochester NY - East Avenue, a few blocks away from several landmarks such as the George Eastman House and the Asbury Methodist Church. The building, we were told, used to house railroad workers and had been a boarding room house. At some point in its history someone had taken the initiative to reconfigure all the single rooms into various apartments - some odder in shape than others - and turn it into a rental apartment building.

Hubby, being a poor 21 year old, had taken a "studio" that included a main living space, a tiny galley kitchen, an antique bathroom, an odd little closet next to the bathroom that was completely filled by the ancient fridge, and another un-named room (I think it was supposed to be like a changing area?) that was the pathway into another closet. The "changing room" actually fit a double mattress from wall to wall and therefore become the "sleeping closet" so that the living area didn't have to include a mattress.

Hubby used much of my hand-me-down furniture from college as I had graduated and moved back in with the folks. So he had the typical odd assortment of milk crates, half-broken chairs, platform with a mattress topper and bolster pillows that passed for a couch, and cheap and stained area rugs. The apartment used to get so hot in the summer that Hubby would walk a block down to the grocery store and just wander the frozen food aisle trying to cool down. The kitchen was so tiny that if you stood in the wrong way and opened the oven you could burn your ass on the radiator behind you. But it was his first place and we loved it.

One weekend, we had a friend in town with her boyfriend and we all stayed at the apartment. Since most of us were still living with our parents, it was a real treat to have a place of our own to feel like we were (almost) grown-up. While Hubby and I (then engaged) took our spot in the sleeping closet, our friends took a spare mattress in the living room.

We were awakened in the night by a primal scream from my friend who found cockroaches crawling through her beautiful blonde hair. Of course, we were mortified and had never seen a cockroach in the apartment prior to that day. We found out later that the neighbor was renovating her kitchen and in tearing out all the cabinetry and plumbing had dislodged a colony who scattered to the four corners of the building seeking asylum.

Since that time I've come across them in the south (although they quaintly refer to these large cousins of the cockroach as water bugs) and had to do my share of screaming and then squashing the critters. But I've never gotten over my horror.

I find it vastly ironic that should the worst nuclear disaster occur, they may be the only survivors on the planet. But, I guess as long as I don't have to live here with large, unexterminatable, mutant, radioactive cockroaches, I'm o.k. with that.


AmyBow said...

How psyched am I that I got my caffeine at Dunkin Donuts this morning? And I didn't go near the kitchen - without even knowing this lovely story. Now I know for tomorrow...and I only have to make it two more days in the office...whew!

KiKi said...

Totally creeped out. Thanks for giving me the heebie jeebies.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

My. Worst. Entomological. Nightmare!

Mister-M said...

I don't much mind bugs... am a huge spider fan... but the hair on my neck stood up when I read the story about them "crawling through her blond hair."

Then, it reminded me of the day I was chopping a dead limb out of a tree in the yard and disturbed a nest of carpenter ants.

I was swinging the chainsaw overhead and, as the limb broke free, I stepped kinda outta the way and thought it was saw dust brushing over my face and neck.

It wasn't. It was hundreds of carpenter ants spilling out of the hole in the limb-stump down ALL OVER MY HEAD AND SHOULDERS AND AAACK!!!

Well, I dropped the chainsaw right then and there and started flailing them wildly from my person while my two young children stood laughing some distance away on the patio.

They would tell me later that I "looked like you were struck by lightning." Then, I had to laugh... because I could absolutely see myself flinging in all sorts of different directions screaming like a child to get the ants off of me.


Minnesota Matron said...

Oh My God. Cockroaches in hair. Methinks that would send the Matron over the edge! Sharp prose. . .