Tuesday, December 07, 2004


Here in the South, in Texas and Houston in particular, cockroaches are a common household pest. We get these massive flying tree roaches that are the goddamn scariest thing you've ever had come flying at you. [aside: Unless you're unfortunate enough to have been attacked by ninjas. Also scary.] I don't know if they're really good at aiming for and getting tangled in your hair, or if they just close some of their eyes and get lucky. The tree roaches wait until you get out of your car, then they come at you while you're fumbling with your keys at the door. Think Cujo. At least once a week you can hear a neighbor screaming and the familiar *slap, slap, slap* as they beat themselves about the head and neck trying to kill the beast attacking from the shadows.

But I don't have a roach problem, knock on wood. Sugar ants are a common pest here as well. They don't do any harm, they just march across the countertop in their straight lines. But I don't have an ant problem either, knock again. I have millipedes. I don't know what they're looking for or whether or not they've found it, but a couple of times a week I find a curled-up, dead millipede on the floor. They're tiny little things, so I'm not too grossed out. If they were uncoiled, they'd be less than an inch (2.5 cm), but I never see them uncoiled. They're always dead and dessicated. I imagine they find their way through some little crack, but the friendly spiders pounce on 'em and drain 'em like wax-candy straws.

I don't usually see the spiders, and it's just as well because I hate spiders. In the twelfth grade, I dated a girl who got bit by a Brown Recluse (aside: google it yourself) and it put her on crutches for several months and made a HUGE disgusting welt on her leg. Not only that, it delayed my having sex for the third time by at least six weeks, so suffice it to say, I hate spiders. But since I haven't put down any sort of poison to kill the millipedes, I assume there's a couple of friendly spiders that find the milipedes first and suck the life out of them. I guess it's part of nature's contract that I have to clean up after them.

But this week I found not one, but two live millipedes in the house. They were plump little buggers, so I almost didn't know what they were. I shot the first one with Raid and, no shit, it stood up on end and looked directly at me. Had I been closer than 15' (5m) I might have heard its last words. Screw that. The next day I saw a spider, and not a tiny one. I figure I took away two of his meals, so he was forced to venture out during the day to forage. Screw that too. Millipede-killer or not I hate spiders, so out came the Raid again. And here's the best part of my pathetic life: When the can of Raid comes out, I get to pretend I'm an evil Bond villain. I love to say, with a breathy laugh and slight British accent, "No Mister Spider, ha ha ha...I expect you to die! Ha ha ha!" Remember, it's a breathy laugh, not a sinister laugh.

Well, it works better if you've seen some old James Bond movies.


At 1:26 AM, Blogger Heather said...

As revolting as your accounts of vermin battling were, I'm gonna have to do the usual and draw attention to myself by completely ignoring what you wrote and commenting about something totally irrelevant. Is that cool with everyone? Maybe someday I'll grow out of this egocentric phase...And then again, maybe not.

ANYWAY, did you get my last comment? Can I have my nickname back now?

At 1:29 AM, Blogger tinyhands said...

Bonnie Heather- What, like I was going to say you're heinous? Let's work on that ego though, and you're going to HAVE to play my games/quizes...I've got one lined up for tomorrow night.

At 1:51 AM, Blogger Heather said...

So are you going to hold up your proposed but not promised end of the bargain?

At 4:37 AM, Blogger Badaunt said...

You do not talk like that to the spiders we get here. We get these little hopping ones, which are cute and harmless, and we say to those, "Good little spider, get out of my WAY, dammit. I don't want to squash you." (Because they eat mosquitoes, and we like spiders that eat mosquitoes.) Then we get these, which also eat mosquitoes, but that stops being relevant when you see one suddenly (and it's always sudden):


When you see one of those, you tend to say something like,

"AAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRGH!" and then you have to be peeled off the ceiling. They move very, very fast - or not at all, which can be deceptive. You think they're dead, so you approach them saying, "Holy shit, look at the SIZE of that thing! Where's the camera?" and then it's suddenly not there, and you're up on the ceiling staring around wildly and it's over *there*, and you're trying to put your stomach back where it belongs.

A friend here tells me she walked into the web of one of those monsters once, and I don't want to think about it. (She told us the people who she met as she was running out of the forest thought she was having a demented fit, flailing around and slapping at herself. She'd got the idea that she was covered with baby spiders.)

We have at least one in our house. The last time I saw it, it was shooting up the wall beside my desk. I was typing, and the shock made me askoteihnsghieoa'seot[0sdd98u and stop breathing for while. A breathy laugh was out of the question.

And I LIKE spiders.

I am very happy to say that we haven't had any millipedes in the house. Or centipedes, which are common here (and sting painfully), although we have had 'hairy caterpillars' in the garden, which also sting. But we do get the flying cockroaches in the house. My impression is that they fly very, very badly, and are not actually aiming for you. (This is, of course, not helpful information when you have one attached to the back of your neck with sticky little legs.) Also, by the way, the best weapon I've found against cockroaches so far is kitchen detergent.

Do you get leeches coming up the shower room plughole, too? Sounds like you're in a similarly bug-friendly climate. Or have I just given you something to look forward to? (Insert evil, breathy laugh.)

At 7:04 AM, Blogger Zelda said...

When my dad came back from scouting houses for us in Texas, he told us tales of roaches the size of puppies. We thought he was kidding.

The first time we saw a tree roach, my mom and my six (at the time) younger sisters all jumped onto the kitchen table at the same time. I would have jumped too, but it broke just as I started gunning for it. Being the only uninjured party, I was required to kill it. It took about 3 hours to die.

At 9:01 AM, Blogger Allie#3ga said...

the only thing less fun than the regular spotting of the occasional spider is when my dog finds then before i do, tries to eat them - then hacks them up later.

it's delightful.

and ladybugs. they're not cute or charming. they hang around forever and they smell.

ick kack.

At 10:26 AM, Blogger Siôn said...

Doesn't it worry you that the evil Bond villain always crokes it at the end of the film? Look forward to a spider/millipede coalition with their own Raid coming to get you some day. Posshibly shporting a Shcotish acshent.

At 10:37 AM, Blogger tinyhands said...

Theic- No leeches but you actually see those spiders? Well, I've just decided not to live in Japan. Thanks!

Z- Ha! I can just imagine everyone jumping up on the table and having it collapse under them. The only thing better would be if the roach then attacked the dogpile.

Allie- Are you high? There's nothing wrong with ladybugs.

Siôn- Still, the villains have all the fun. Excellent pronunciation guide by the way! "Sho, you figured I was jusht a shtupid shpider, eh?" Hehe.

At 11:26 AM, Blogger amy said...

My first actual apartment as an adult at the ripe age of 22 was in Bryan, Texas in the ghetto. Cuz it was also the cheapest my then-Aggie boyfriend and I could afford. A nice $195/mo. My first night there with the lights off I was introduced to the four inch cockroach under my covers with me. And no, it wasn't my boyfriend. He was at work. I was soooo grossed out. But I stupidly stayed in your beloved state for an additional three years.....no point to this really other than I have seen, touched, lived, survived them Texas critters. Carry on wayward son.

At 3:14 PM, Blogger Allie#3ga said...

teeny tiny, the ladybugs are good and cute in theory - but when they get in your house - you know they're cute - so you feel guilty wanting to smash them - then they make too much noise to kill ... so you just watch your dog follow them along - lick them - spit them back out - follow along - lick - spit.

shut up.

At 7:53 PM, Blogger April said...

bugs don't normally bother me, except for silverfish and earwigs. eww, i get the chills just thinking about them. when i was little we had a wooden shed and when we opened the doors, the earwigs would fall out of the space around the doors right onto your head. i never spoke to them in a funny accent though, just got the hell outta there!

At 9:25 PM, Blogger se7en said...

I once got caught in a swarm of huge, black, low flying Louisiana cockroaches while I was on a payphone. I noticed the bandana's, brass knuckles and tattoo's and knew there was going to be trouble but just as I reached for my gun a cop pulled up in a cruiser and they all scurried away, whew that was a close one.

Funny post that, Mr. Hands

At 12:36 AM, Blogger Heather said...

Haha, I just read your "fight" with Leanna. Don't mind her. She's young and beautiful as well, so she understands my position, and she just wants to protect me.

Although, you do remind me (in more ways than one) of a certain manager of mine...The SHM, I call him. You can figure out what that stands for on your own. Except he's quite a bit younger, and he has a girlfriend. Which actually makes his behavior worse...Strangely enough, it was always a good day when the SHM worked. I ain't gonna lie; I miss him some days.

And six inch spiders? "Lady, that's the grossest thing I've ever heard in my life...Let's go!"

At 12:56 AM, Blogger tinyhands said...

Inky- Bryan/CS is a hole, glad you made it out and lived to tell.

Allie- So the problem is with the dog, not the ladybugs. No need to thank me ma'am, solvin' problems ma job.

7- Anyone who can shoot a cockroach with a handgun is OK in my book. You're good people.

Bonnie Heather- "young and beautiful as well"?? Aren't we supposed to be working on that ego? SHM='Sexy Handsome Man' right?


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