We interrupt this program…

When we bought this house, the previous owners submitted a disclosure through their realtor which assured the buyer, among other things, that the house was not subject to insect infestation. I am unsure what definition of “insect” the previous owners had in mind. We have enjoyed the Parade of Ants Festival every spring in our kitchen. We have battled gnats and houseflies, wasps and moths, crickets and cockroaches. In addition to insects, we have also hosted spiders—including a tarantula in the garage and a black widow by the water heater—and scorpions—four individual visits within a dry twelve-month period. This time of year especially the insects creep in from outdoors to avoid the falling temperatures.

We resist as well as we can. We try to keep the house clean, not leaving dirty dishes in the sink, not allowing too much dust to accumulate in the corners and under furniture. For cockroaches, we purchase those lovely poison bait boxes. They crawl into the boxes, eat the poison, then leave again to die some time later in some dark and distant corner.

Unfortunately, this year my Mr. Coffee machine has become the corner where poisoned cockroaches go to die.

Today was not the first time I found a dead cockroach in the coffeemaker. This time it was right at the top, clearly visible when I took out the basket to make coffee. I unplugged the coffeemaker and shook the dead insect into the garbage; then I inspected the inside more carefully and saw a second dead cockroach wedged into the drain. It required the tip of the breadknife to dislodge that roach. Then I rinsed the coffeemaker thoroughly, three times, successfully removing a third dead insect with the first rinsing. All that time I am coughing and gagging. I have a strong gag reflex, one that is closely linked to my imagination, so I cannot deal with dead insects near my food supply without making a lot of disgusting noises.

[Cultural reference #1: while cleaning out the coffeemaker this morning, I continually made the kind of noises Malcolm McDowell made while portraying Alex in A Clockwork Orange. For those of you who have not seen this movie, this mention is not a recommendation! But those who have seen the movie will understand when I say that, for me, the most revolting scene in the movie is when the parole officer drinks from the glass containing Mum’s teeth. Even typing a description of that scene, I cannot stop my stomach from churning.]

[Cultural reference #2: when dealing with dead cockroaches, my family and I tend to make jokes about Gregor, the main character in Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. I do recommend that book to anyone who has not read it. However, this morning, alone in the kitchen, I made no Gregor jokes.]

 I respect insects and their place in the environment. Unfortunately, the place of cockroaches is not in Mr. Coffee. Mr. Coffee does his job just fine without the help of insects. If I want to add protein to my diet, a slice of bacon will do just as well. I now return you to your regularly-scheduled programming, already in progress. J.

15 thoughts on “We interrupt this program…

  1. Grew up mostly on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Cockroaches are just everywhere at night. When I was a chemistry student and wanted to see what cynanid poisoning looked like, I just went outside and got a cockroach.

    I have little doubt that unless God intervenes cockroaches will be here long after man has destroyed himself, but on a day to day basis I worried more about fire ants and snakes. Whereas cockroaches run away fire ants and water moccasins will fight you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I met my first fire ants on a golf course. I hit my ball into the rough and it landed under a small tree. When I approached the ball, it was covered with fire ants, determined to drive away the intruder. J.


      • @salvageable

        Golfing in the South can be dangerous. The alligators are real.

        Definitely don’t want to accidently step onto a fire ant hill, and some of those hills are huge. The ants can just boil out and start climbing your leg, and they don’t bite, they “sting”.

        From their the tip of their abdomen fire ants spray a toxic mixture of formic acid and enzymes onto your skin. Get enough of those ants on you an you are in serious trouble. One of my brothers got into a nest of them when he was working in our garden. I doubt if he has forgotten.

        Farmers in the South have problems with fire ants. For example, if a feeding cow (Calves don’t know better.) accidentally sticks its nose into a fire ant hill, the ants can blind it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. LOL! That was delightful and hilarious, Salvageable. I am sorry for your woes. If any bugs tried tampering with my coffee pot we would have words, too!

    I’m really blessed, there aren’t many roaches here, because it’s just too cold. Roaches are somewhat sensible, they like to be warm, so they hang out in the cities and in the tropics. We have an exterminator friend who likes to quip, just turn the heat off and stop providing them food and shelter! The only bugs home inspectors are really concerned about are the kind that eat wood, termites, carpenter ants, things like that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • We have mandatory termite inspections. So far the only live termites I’ve seen on our property were breeding in the wood chips the previous owners used as mulch, and we got rid of them as quickly as we could. We try to coexist with the rest, but there are limits to our patience. J.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. now I’m paranoid about making my coffee—-
    The house we lived in before this one—a house my husband had built during his single life…was situated deep in the woods and because of that…scorpions were frequent intruders.
    I always fretted getting up in the dark lest I step on one—and it was just by God’s grace that I didn’t.
    Now, after reading this post and thinking back on my own “intruders”, I don’t know how well I’ll sleep as I’m reading this before I ready myself for bed…

    Liked by 1 person

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