24 April 2013


Is there a country that has no bugs? If so, I would like to request to live there. It seems that no matter where in the world I live, everywhere is infested with bugs and I am not OK with that.

I was fine leaving the cockroaches of Singapore (though I only saw two while there…I think) to come to America and live my life in suburbia. Thanks to my aunt, Paul and I have the ability to rent a family home while we enjoy our time with family.

The place is quaint, which, in realtor terms, means really tiny, but it’s cute and I like it. And, it’s the house where my grandmother grew up. The oldest of nine children, my grandmother recalls the boys sleeping in one room and the girls sleeping in what is now the living room, leaving one bathroom (obviously put in later), the kitchen and a dining room that has recently been converted into a bedroom.

The back bedroom is now my aunt’s art studio and is secluded like another wing. There is a super creepy basement that has cobwebs all over the rafters and a secret room where the family bootleggers kept their still until the feds arrested my great-grandfather during prohibition. There’s a great story that ends with him staying in jail because his wife did not have her name on the bank account so she couldn’t bail him out right away. Good times.

The house has been rented in recent years and my aunt pops in and out but, for the most part, there hasn’t been a good, steady tenant in years. This is how the bugs came in. They just decided that if no one else would make this place a home, they would certainly fill it with all of their bugginess.

Then I moved in.

The bugs creeped me out. I hate bugs. I hate bugs of any kind. If I go outside and a caterpillar ends up on me, I freak out like a tarantula is attacking me. If a butterfly lands on me, I shoo it away and might gasp. I. Hate. Bugs.

The first bugs I saw were the typical large spiders with webs in the corners of the ceiling. I left them alone until they came down to my level and then they died.

Then I saw the stink bugs. Stupid stink bugs. They hitched a ride from Asia and overpopulated the Midwest. I hate them.

The stink bugs, according to some, should not be killed because they will supposedly stink up your house. Forget the fact that bugs totally creep me out for a second. Why on earth would I want to go anywhere near a live bug and carry it outside where it can continue living and procreating when I could kill it and just kill it? Wikipedia told me that the bugs smell like cilantro, so I didn’t think the smell would be that awful. I don’t really like the taste of cilantro but I guess the smell is O.K. So I killed them. I didn’t smell anything.

Not only did I find sting bugs but I found exoskeletons of stink bugs or dead stink bugs or something that looked like a dead stink bug. Don’t try to educate me or correct me here if you actually know a thing or two about stink bugs – just go with it.

After a few days, I had had enough. It was either me or the bugs. So I called an exterminator and made an appointment. He came last Thursday.

“Here’s the deal,” I said before he even stepped a foot into my door. “If you find anything bad, don’t tell me. Just fix it. I don’t want to know if you find something. If you have a report, you can give it to me in an envelope and I can pass it along to my aunt who owns the house, but don’t tell me.”

He laughed, agreed and then went to work on the house’s inside while his partner worked on the outside. I told him about the neighborhood stink bug infestations and suggested he take a look in the attic, which I had just learned about the day before when my fabulous uncle came over to do some handy work. I’m pretty sure the exterminator found something in the attic. He had only been up there a minute at most before he came down and advised that he had something that would better protect the area upstairs and then he left to get the stronger stuff.

As he was working, he explained in friendly terms what he was doing. He advised me that the chemicals he was spraying around the baseboards would not only kill the bugs but it would draw them out of their homes, so I may see them crawling around for three days or so.

I’m not joking when I say I immediately packed a bag and sent the following message to Paul’s mom:

“Good news! I’m coming to stay with you. The bug man told me the spray will lure bugs out of their home and into mine for the next few days so I'm OUT!”

She laughed and let me stay with her through the weekend. I was a little nervous to return to the house Sunday afternoon but I was surprised to not see dead bugs all around. The place looked normal and it was normal until about half an hour ago.

I thought I might actually be bug free and then I found a non-friend. It was my own fault, really. I started doing laundry this morning and left one delicate load until the evening. I considered washing the final load so I placed the items in the washing machine and then I talked myself out of it. Since I had washed three loads just prior, I decided to leave open the lid on the top-load washer so that the dry clothes would not get disgusting before I actually washed them. Don’t mess with my logic.

I thought about closing the lid but I was confident that all the bugs were gone and I did not have anything to worry about so I left it open. This evening I returned and decided to go ahead and do that load. I don’t remember why, but I reached into the washer and immediately pulled back at a sudden sharp yet at the same time soft feeling and the sight of a pretty sizable white spider content in the web that he or she had spun all around the top of the machine.

My bold, brave, adrenaline-rushing self walked into the kitchen, grabbed two heavy-duty paper towels and attacked the spider and the web that had formed over my delicate items. I could not be sure that I got the spider but I figure the thing would have drowned if I had somehow missed it so I should be good.

This house has turned me into a person who swears I see a bug no matter where I am – my house, someone else’s house…I see a smudge and I swear it is a bug. Freaks me out every time. 

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