Phobic Minds Do NOT Want to Know!

How many types of bugs live in your house right this minute? More than you might think! Science weighs in. (Washington Post, January 19, 2016)


Skimming the morning headlines, this one about bugs catches my eye. I don’t want to know the answer. I am bug phobic and the idea of crawling into the attic or under the house to inspect for insects is my worst nightmare.

After living in pest-free homes for 10 years and feeling safe and smug in my new, second floor apartment, I was horrified the other morning to see my cats chasing a roach across the living room carpet. Not the biggest I’ve ever seen, but not the smallest either. I jumped up, almost spilling my coffee, and tried to trap it under a bowl. It eluded me and ran under a big copper pot I used for firewood near the fireplace.

I considered running right out and buying spray, but decided to bide my time. At least, so far anyway, it had not run under my bed. I kept my eyes open the rest of the day, annoyed that my sense of calm had been disturbed.

Surely such a well-maintained building would not have roaches, like many of my older beach apartments. Memories of putting away my husband’s shirts and encountering a HUGE roach waving at me from a hanger. Of waking up in the middle of the night to cat commotion – and a GIGANTIC roach climbing the wall. In that case, I chased the creature down with adrenaline, emptying a whole can of bug spray until it limped under my wicker shelf unit. There it remained since I was too afraid to move the shelf and check. Years later when I moved my son found its desiccated body.

In that apartment I also used to get flying beetles during the summer, at least one a day. They were clunky, bonked themselves into the window and were easy to trap under bowls. Sometimes I was brave enough to slip a piece of cardboard underneath and run outside. My neighbors must have wondered what I was doing, flinging bowls into the air. Other times I lacked courage and the bowl – or bowls – would sit there a long time. One day my mother-in-law came over. “What are all these bowls?” she asked. “There’s a bug under each one,” I told her. She loved to tell that story on me.

Another time my mother was visiting and in flew a beetle. She calmly walked over to the window, curled her hand around the buzzing bug, and carried it out the front door. Clearly I did not inherit my bug phobia from her!

But back to the current invader. The next morning, there it was on the kitchen floor, my cats hovering, nose to nose. Again, it was faster than my bowl and ran under the refrigerator. I scurried straight to the drugstore and the pest control section, armed with memories and internet research. The “bait station” will poison a roach but not before it returns to the nest and poisons the rest.It's war The idea of a “nest” nearby, say inside a bedroom wall, next to my sleeping head, sends me totally to freaks-ville! And if I only kill one roach, what if others come looking on a search and rescue mission, the big guns, the big kahunas? The ones like they have in Texas that FLY or in Madagascar that hiss?

I carefully placed the bait stations under the frig, copper pot, bookshelf, kitchen and bathroom sinks. I talked to the manager of the building. We’ve never had roaches, she assured me. We spray outside regularly. Maybe it came in with something, like paper bags from the grocery store.

Yes, I have been bringing in plants from the nursery, pots from the garage, and more paper bags than usual from the nearby Trader Joe’s. Keep me posted, she said.

After several days, no reappearance. Knowing it may be a free rider, a hitchhiker, rather than a permanent resident has reassured me somewhat. But I will NOT read the article about the latest scientific study on how many other bugs are lurking around. I honestly don’t want to know if it’s more than I think. I don’t want to think about it at all.Ughy buggy


TGIM … Welcome Back Monday

Is it possible to feel totally whacked out and yet calm and clear at the same time? Bumbling but happy? That is how I felt today. A sense of profound gratitude for all I have. For feeling I am in the right place for me and all is well.

But, as I read on a friend’s Facebook posting, the week between Christmas and New Year’s is the week when you don’t know what day it is. Are you at work, between families, at the airport, staring at boxes in the garage, lounging in your flannel pajamas, flip-flopping around the corner, flipping through a book, wanting to get out for a hike or sleep all day? Finishing up the holiday cookies or grinding away with the NutriBullet? Should you be serious or silly?

Think about the year ahead or lurk in the shadows?Cat Shadow

I stopped in at Trader Joe’s for a few items, thinking it would be quiet. Wrong! Everyone from five miles around plus straggling visitors was there. Toddlers and grandpas. Mothers and young guys.

No one was moving fast. Like we were all in a trance. We were bumping into each other, but none seemed impatient or upset. One young woman was reading off the ingredients to the “green juice” to her husband. Another was letting her kids run around wild and for some odd reason it seemed okay. Others were filling their carts, piling high, overflowing. Preparing for the week ahead, for returning to normal life. Let it be Monday.

I asked one of the clerks where the aspirin was. Oh we don’t carry stuff like that, she said. Another clerk overheard and pointed to the booze. There’s all the pain reliever you need, he joked, in his Hawaiian shirt. I laughed, didn’t feel the need to tell him I hadn’t had a drink in 26 years. I appreciated the humor.

From there, I go to Armstrong Nursery. Study the trellises, not knowing exactly what I need.

Back at home, I measure the balcony wall for a trellis and unpack the morning glory seeds. I print out the tasks I plan to accomplish in the coming days when normal life starts tomorrow.

My cat comes out of the shadow, walks across my keyboard and settles into my lap, her head in the crook of my arm.