The Night the Cockroach Came

I had another post that I intended to publish today, but after an extremely distressing evening/morning I had to change my plans.  Last night I encountered a cockroach in my kitchen.   Before you read any further, please be advised that this post contains some language unsuitable for children.  I rarely curse but when a situation truly demands an outburst of negative emotion, as last night/this morning did, and it wouldn’t be true to my story to omit the foul language.  I apologize if this offends you, but you’ve been warned.

Now my mom thinks I’m a wuss when it comes to bugs.  But hey, I used to walk through San Francisco’s Tenderloin district every day to get to work – so no one can accuse me of being a wimp. I’m just a little squeamish around bugs.  Since moving to Japan I’ve dealt with jumping spiders, poisonous centipedes, yucky mushy winged things that suction themselves to my cabinet… to name a few.  Cockroaches are on a whole other level.

Here’s how it went down: I was getting ready to go bed and remembered I hadn’t taken my vitamin for the day.  So I casually walked into my kitchen, unsuspecting of anything amiss, reached for the vitamin bottle and BAM out skittered the most vile, the most disgusting creature on the face of the planet:  The dreaded cockroach.  I screamed and half-jumped, half-stumbled away from the counter.  Shitshitshit!  What do I do!?!?

The answer to that question is to go get your husband to kill it.  But in case your husband is absent – as mine is – the answer is stare dumbly at the cockroach for several minutes, then immediately go to Facebook to appeal to your friends and neighbors to come kill it for you.  Shockingly, no one obliged.   Several people did offer helpful hints to dealing with the wretched bug, though, like hairspray.  But if you’ve seen me recently, you won’t be surprised to learn that I don’t even own hairspray.

I returned to the kitchen and hysterically searched under the kitchen sink for something – anything! – to spray the roach with.  Nothing but Clorox wipes.  I ran to the laundry room and tore apart my cabinets but was dismayed to find only Mrs. Meyers All Natural cleaning supplies.  ARGH!  I curse the day I decided to go green!  Eco-friendly products are USELESS in the battle against bugs!  I had two options left: Pledge and Oven Cleaner.  Oven cleaner actually being too toxic to liberally spray around my kitchen, I grabbed the Pledge and stepped back into my kitchen.

And it was gone.

My heart stopped.  There is a cockroach lurking somewhere unseen in my kitchen. This is very, very bad.  I peered around my counter.  No obvious sign of the cockroach.  I gingerly approached the counter and peeked behind the toaster oven.  Still no cockroach.  I moved toward the coffee maker and WHOOSH – it darted out toward the sink.  I, of course, screamed and retreated.  Then I realized Pledge wasn’t going to do anything to kill the indestructible little bastard and came up with another plan.  Perhaps I can trap it under a pot, slide a lid on and dispose of it outside without having to touch it. No luck.  The cockroach was now residing on my wall, not a good position for pot-trapping.  I would have to bludgeon it.  But with what?

A shoe was out of the question.  I just hate the idea of bug guts smeared all over shoes I wear every day.  So I put on an oven mitt (because don’t you know oven mitts are the best protection against cockroaches?) and grabbed a saucepan.  There I was in my J. Crew tiered ruffled dress, wielding a saucepan in one hand, oven mitt on the other, swaying back and forth in the middle of the kitchen, preparing to strike.  I am so not cut out for this. 

And then – suddenly – it leapt off the counter toward me!  I screamed, threw the saucepan at it (and missed, duh) and started hopping around my floor like my feet were on fire to avoid any contact with the skittering little monster.  And then it disappeared.

(And this is where the swearing comes in.)

F@!% f@!% f@!% f@!% f@!%!   Where the hell did it go?  I couldn’t find it anywhere.  It was almost 11PM.  I had to go to bed – as much as I didn’t want to leave the cockroach situation unresolved, as much as I knew my sleep would be ruined with cockroach infested dreams.  And dream about cockroaches, I did.  I dreamt that not one but two cockroaches invaded my home and though I wildly attacked them with my saucepan, banging it on the floor over and over, they escaped.  And my All Clad split in two.

When morning came I knew I had to go back to my kitchen and face the beast.  That Mother-F%#!@$ is going down!  I told myself in a Samuel L. Jackson voice.  Though having Samuel L. Jackson in my head momentarily boosted my confidence, I still approached my kitchen with trepidation.  Don’t show fear.  If you show fear, the cockroach wins.    A quick survey of the kitchen showed no evidence of the cockroach, so I went about my day.  And just as life was feeling normal again, I opened the back door to get my stroller and out scurried that damn roach.  Once again, I shrieked.  This time I wasn’t wasting time.  I grabbed my shoe and whacked at it but it was too fast for me.  It turned the corner and was gone.  I swear it teleported out of my kitchen.  There is no other explanation.

F@!%  f@!% f@!% (This time I only cursed in my head because I had a friend’s child in the next room.)  Desperate, I grabbed the Pledge and started spraying in the direction it had gone.  I knew it was futile, but I had to try something.  Anything.  I was running late taking my friend’s child to her school bus, so I had to let it go.  But this wasn’t over.  As soon as Elisabeth woke up from her morning nap, I went and bought the largest can of Raid I could find along with roach traps, which I immediately set out once we got home.  Though some may think eight roach traps in my small kitchen is a wee bit excessive, I wasn’t taking any chances.

With the traps set, I felt a tad more at ease.  Perhaps the roach would take the bait and go die on its own somewhere far away from me, as the box said would happen.  It was a false sense of security; I let my guard down too soon.  As I was opening up the dishwasher out the little bastard sprang.  From my dishwasher!  IS NOTHING SACRED!? 

I had had enough.  This was ending – right then and there.  I grabbed the newly purchased can of Raid and sprayed.  The roach frantically tried to escape.  Oh Hell no!  It was not getting away from me again.  I repositioned my aim and let out a relentless spray of Raid until the last little arm or antennae or whatever roaches have stopped moving.  It was finally over.  The son of a bitch was dead.  Sure, half my kitchen was covered in Raid, but what a small price to pay.  I had won.

But my reality has shifted a bit.  Will I ever walk freely among my kitchen again?  Will I ever feel comfortable stepping outside my back door?  Will I ever open the dishwasher without peering inside to make sure there are no loathsome insects hiding inside?  I think not, my friends.  I think not.


  1. Hilarious! You are seriously my favorite blogger EVER! I get so excited when I see a new post from you because I know I literally gonna laugh out loud! That fairly popular shoe blogger’s got nothing on you 😉

  2. I know the feeling! Oh, I know the feeling. God, cockroaches. Can’t handle them. Well done on being brave and killing it, I don’t know if I could!

  3. welcome to my world! i moved into a bug infested little house here in North Carolina…and i’m terrified of roaches. even worse than tiny roaches though are those giant water bugs…UGH! i literally was crying on the phone for 30 minutes one night when there was one in my bedroom. until i got the courage to raid the heck outta it and vacuum it up. those nasties can fly you know!!!

    • The vacuum! Why didn’t I think of that!? Then at least you don’t have to touch it…

  4. I like the Tenderloin. You know the Pledge probably would have given her a lemony scent and an extra-sheen on her exoskeleton. BTW, you call that swearing? Please.

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