Friday, May 7, 2010


Any guesses why for a while instead of looking like this:
our living room looked like this?
And our kitchen table looked like this?
And our kitchen looked like this?
Well, we aren't moving. The cause of the chaos wasn't just some regular spring cleaning, either. Let me explain. This story has its roots back when we first moved here. When my family lived in Katy, Texas, when I was 5-8 years old, our house had MAJOR issues with cockroaches. My parents were renting the house, and apparently the owners had replaced the roof some time prior to when we got there, but the pieces of the old roof were just left in the attic. When we arrived, my brother was helping clean the kitchen and pulled a Mason quart jar out of a cupboard. It had been left in the back of the cupboard, laying on its side, and when he pulled it out, there was a cockroach in it that had crawled in and died. Its feet were on the bottom of the jar, and its antannae were sticking out the top of the jar! It was that big! The exterminator would come once each month and spray the baseboards. The cockroaches would come out at night, get poisoned, and die...halfway. Each morning there were several giant cockroaches belly up, kicking their legs furiously, awaiting their fate of the vacuum cleaner. I won't even get into the time I laid on one and reached back to see what was poking me, or the time I stepped on one with bare feet and its sticky legs clung to my foot as I frantically tried to shake it off. Oh, the stories my family has about the cockroaches.

As you can imagine, I was a little bit trepidatious about dealing with cockroaches when Sam and I moved to Houston. I was very relieved when, on our second day in our apartment, I saw a cockroach and it was only about 3/4 of an inch long. I quickly yelled for Sam and he smashed it without further incident. The cockroaches remained a very minor problem. Occasionally one would be seen in the kitchen, Sam would smash it, and all was well.

Here we are two days before Talmage was born, just enjoying our Friday night together.

Sam was warming up some leftovers to eat, and we were about to go out on a date.

Suddenly I spotted a cockroach crawling up the wall. Sam quickly jumped on the counter, paper towel in hand, ready to get it.
When it ran down behind the microwave, Sam grabbed the microwave (which was still warming up the leftover casserole), found the cockroach,
and smashed it. Gross.
Later that night when we got home, we noticed the gecko that had been living under our stove was on our bedroom wall. Sam pushed it out the window with a broom.
Anyway, our critter woes went away for the most part throughout the winter, and I rarely ever saw a cockroach. But come spring...the trouble cropped up BIG time. We started seeing them more frequently at night, then sometimes during the day, then regularly during the day. One morning I was cleaning and knocked over the box that provides us with the Internet. I jumped back as 5 or 6 cockroaches that had been in a nest together between the box and the wall scattered. I then stared in horror at the sight that lay before me.
Covering our countertop, the internet box, and the wall were an estimated 1,000 COCKROACH EGGS! I was horrified, to say the least. I sat on the couch for a while trying to calm down and figure out what to do. I called Sam and left him a message full of distraught jibberish (when he listened to it, he thought something had happened to Talmage because I was so upset!). Then I got out the Raid and sprayed all over the eggs. I was disgusted as poison mixed with eggs dripped down the side of the wall and I had to wipe it up. I called the office to tell them I needed the exterminator to come spray, and they told me he would be here the following day.
I was on edge as I made dinner that night. I was on the verge of going crazy, yet the missionaries were coming over for dinner, so I had to forge ahead and make dinner, smashing cockroaches as I went. By the time Sam got home I was completely unreasonable. But the next afternoon there was a knock at the door, and the exterminator stood there, poison in hand.
"What's the trouble? Cockroaches?" I hurriedly showed him the eggs. "I think these are eggs..." I started. He declared, "Oh! Yeah...actually feces. Same idea, though. Wow...that's a lot." Relief and disgust simultaneously washed over me. At least I wasn't going to have a thousand baby cockroaches spreading themselves around the kitchen. The exterminator began opening cupboards and examining the problem. After opening a few, he informed me that we had a pretty big problem, and that although he would spray at that time, we really needed to empty out our cupboards and he would come back the following week to spray inside them.
Which explains the pictures.
Which also explains the hours I spent re-organizing the cupboards and washing the dishes.
I just couldn't bring myself to empty the cupboards alone, because I knew I would see things I did not want to see. So late one night Sam and I started working on the task together. The cockroaches we came across were numerous...mostly dead, with a few live ones out. But the worst part came when he moved our crockpot. Underneath it were somewhere around 20 dead cockroaches! I nearly lost it right there, but somehow managed to pull myself together and continue moving things into the living room as Sam pulled them out of the cupboards. I never knew I was such a wimp. But cockroaches bring out my worst side...
The exterminator came the next day and sprayed again. He informed me that we would continue to see small cockroaches for the next couple of weeks because when a cockroach dies it aborts its egg sac, the babies are still born, and they eat the mother to survive. What?! My disgust only increased. Just like it did when I found out cockroaches can survive 3 months without food, a month without water, and can live on such scarce commodities as the glue on the back of a postage stamp. They can live for up to 30 minutes under water. Truly despicable creatures.
Anyway, I asked Mr. Exterminator if there was anything I could do to prevent them from coming back. "Well, it's definitely not a cleanliness issue with you guys," he started. Phew! It had better not be, considering the amount of time I spend cleaning! "But maybe one of your neighbors...they live in the walls, so they go from apartment to apartment...yeah, I definitely don't know how you guys got them. But this will stop the problem for now, and then we can go from there." mean we can't control whether or not they come back? It's pretty much inevitable? Well, in that case I'll keep the poison coming. Good thing it is like paint, so once it dries it doesn't rub off on our dishes and such. Maybe we should get ourselves a few more geckos to plant in our kitchen. They can keep living under our stove and eat all the bugs before they get a chance to contaminate our dishes.
But hey, nasty bugs always make for a good story, huh? Now that I have wasted a few minutes of your time with my lengthy venting session, you can go on your way and chuckle to yourself about how silly I am. And wimpy.


  1. You definitely are not wimpy at all! I would have done the exact same thing. I hate cockroaches SO much! They are nasty. I'm sorry you have to deal with them, no fun at all. :(

  2. Uh, gross! I never heard that it was actually feces - SICK! Just don't let Talmage play with them, okay. Get him some people friends, seriously. ;)

  3. Also, I love that you chronicled the whole smashing of the cockroach incident with step-by-step pictures.

    And thanks for posting this - it totally made my day. Maybe my week.

  4. Ummm...Kaitlyn, you are a brave, brave woman. Cockroaches are so disgusting. I've actually never lived in a place that got them, so I don't know how to relate at all. Montana was relatively bug-free. I just fear the day we move to a place that has gross bugs.

  5. Ah ha ha ha! I laughed out loud when I read this. And then everyone in the library turned and shushed me.

    At least cockroaches didn't drop from the ceiling onto you as you were using the toilet.

    I got desensitized to cockroaches when at one of the church buildings in Taiwan the cockroaches would play in the oven...even when it was on...

    Never could get used to the one in my kitchen sink, though, that I killed every night but came back every day (in the exact same spot!). Does reincarnation apply to cockroaches? Maybe only in Asia.

  6. Ewwwww. No lie, I sat here convulsing while reading that, just thinking about those creatures... Then I saw a string on my shirt and I swear it moved and I had a spaz attack because I might have kind of sort of thought it was a cockroach on my belly. Blehhh... Definitely don't envy you right now.

  7. Yeah, cockroaches are terrible. When we lived in Dallas they were a problem. When I was in the apartment business in Texas, including Houston, I concluded that the exterminators can't really eliminate them.

    We'll have to ask around and Google to see if there is a solution that doesn't involve harsh chemicals.

    Here's one link that had some popular ideas:

    I found it helpful to pull out the refrigerator, oven, dishwasher - anything that can be removed without a huge hassle - and clean it out.

    Guys, I'm really sorry about this cockroach problem. It is sooooo unnerving and gross!

    -Grandpa Brady-

  8. EW! I totally know what you mean about how cockroaches bring out the worst in you. When my family lived in Panama we had huge cockroaches everywhere. Now I cringe at the thought of them. I'm glad you at least have a nice and helpful exterminator!

  9. Breanne-

    I thought about the bathroom story as I wrote makes me laugh so much, just thinking about it!


    You guys lived in Panama?? What for? I'm pretty sure your cockroaches would have been WAY worse than ours.

  10. How gross! I could never live in Texas!!!


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