Saturday, August 3, 2013


I love having houseguests. If you ever come to visit me, I will do my best to make you feel welcome, loved, and extremely well-fed.  I will get you exquisitely drunk, talk your ear off, make you guffaw, and provide you with cold bottled water and aspirin the next day. (If you’re an early riser, however, you’re on your own.)

I do all of this because I love having you here.  Unless you’re this guy.

Disclaimer: I am not the FREAK that lovingly took this photo. I have good sense, you guys.

Last fall we ordered a cord of wood (or whatever, I don’t know how one measures wood unless it’s with a ruler), and upon delivery it was unceremoniously dumped on the flat part of our property here at 7000 feet in the Colorado foothills. The Boy enjoyed all of the opportunities this presented for utilizing Cindy to haul small amounts of this wood up to the house and stack it on our front porch throughout the winter. Each time it needed to be replenished, he’d just fire Cindy up and do some hauling. Everyone wins.

In June we were having a group of friends over for dinner and I decided that the woodpile that remained down on the flat part (that is just what I call it, excuse my lack of imagination here but my brain is awfully preoccupied dreaming up scenarios where I can eat whatever I want and somehow be thin), well it just looked messy and I asked him, giggling, to make one final large firewood haul up the Driveway of Doom and onto our front porch. Getting to discuss wood and the woodpile makes me giggle. What can I say? I’m a teenaged boy.

He complied, which is one of the reasons I like him.

As soon as the wood was all neatly stacked on the front porch, our dogs went nuts. Well, Jax in particular, which I’m sure you find shocking cuz that is one chill dog. The other two were mildly interested.  But for WEEKS Jax pawed at that damn woodpile, tried to crawl under the deck directly beneath it, and was otherwise a giant pain in the keister each time we opened the front door.

We thought it odd, thought maybe chipmunks had been crawling all over it down on the grassy flat part, and just told ourselves that Jax would eventually get over his complete and total fascination with the wood pile (unlike his mama). Little did we know that my precious and gifted child was trying to warn us.

Good dog, Jax.

Because a few nights later, The Boy was out front with the dogs in the dark and he hollered “Hey honey, come look at this bug!” (This is where you ask yourself: Does he know her at all?) But he sounded so excited that I thought it must be some fabulously beautiful and heretofore unknown nocturnal unicorn butterfly, so I dutifully scooted outside to be amazed and enchanted.

The Boy was squatting over a large, brown, VW-sized cockroach-looking thing and to my horror, he reached down to stroke its back, making the monstrous thing HISS.

HISS. I cannot emphasize this enough, hence the underlined bold italics. If there were a giant, blinking neon arrow I could point at the word hiss, I assure you I would do so.

I ran screaming into the house, utterly distraught that someway, somehow, a Houston cockroach had made it across the span of 1200 miles and six years to find and terrorize me. I had the heebie-jeebies like a BOSS. The Boy did his best to try to convince me that it was just some sort of beetle he’d never seen before and not a cockroach at all.

But STILL. That motherfucker HISSED. And I blame that fucking woodpile. I decidedly side with Jax on this one.

A few nights later we were out front after dark and I saw something the size of a pterodactyl flying towards our porch light and realized it was that crapulently monstrous beetle. I once again ran screaming into the house, trying to think of bunny rabbits and teddy bears, trying to calm myself down with the rational thoughts of “it’s too cold for too long in Colorado for cockroaches to take hold” and “it’s too dry here for them.” And trying not to notice that because we don’t have A/C, the only thing keeping this prehistoric predator out of my house were some flimsy window screens.  I briefly considered the relative benefits of just turning this place into a sweat lodge. I mean, I’ve heard it’s a transcendental experience and you know how much I enjoy sweating! I settled for turning off all of the lights and hiding in the dark instead.

The next night, the dogs were out on the deck after dark and Gus scratched to come in. As I walked towards the sliding glass door, I noticed him looking down with what could only be horror and backing away from the door…but I didn’t realize until the DAMN THING WAS ALMOST IN THE HOUSE that it was that beetle again, doing its dead-level best to gain entry to my cockroach-free sanctuary. Seriously, my 85-pound DOG was afraid of this thing.

Again, cue screaming.

The Boy came running, thinking that a cougar or axe-murderer must be forcing his way into the house and was somewhat irritated and a little bemused that I was about to defib over this damn beetle. And believe me, by this time, I had decided that there was only ONE beetle and this was simply my third encounter with it. 

I began to think of him as a loner, as Maverick. Sans wingman. Somehow this made him less terrifying.

There was much discussion over how I literally laughed in the face of a bear that we encountered while hiking last year (well, I laughed at his rapidly retreating and adorably jiggling buttocks as he ran off) but I was reduced to literal terrified tears over a 3-inch beetle. This makes total sense to me, but The Boy says it’s “irrational.” To me, irrational is stroking a gigantic hissing cockroach-looking beetle. But vive la difference, mes amis.

And so here I am, trapped inside my house each night, with the overwhelmingly creepy sensation that Maverick is crawling on me. I seriously just now whipped off my shirt and bra and threw them in the washer because I was pretty certain Mav had somehow found his way INSIDE of my shirt. (Plus I just got a new washer and it's KICK ASS.) Now I think Mav might be in my hair where those giant hairy legs of his will get insanely stuck and I’ll claw at my head like that guy in that scene from “Poltergeist” who ripped his own face off.

Turns out Maverick is a wood-boring beetle. And I live in the woods, in a house made of wood, with a wooden deck, a wooden floor, and a plethora of wooden furniture. For the first time since moving to Colorado, I am praying for snow. Because seriously, I have always preferred The Ice Man to Maverick.

And I've decidedly lost that lovin' feeling.

1 comment:

  1. I absolutley love and identify with this story. I must admit that every time you use the word cockroach(eek...I just typed it)my stomach feels all churny and nauseaous. I know you have a strong will and you face life's scary parts head-on often. I also know there is something so creepily just ass-ugly about some sort of black/brown flying and hissing insect that all courage and valor become a distant memory. Fuck that wood! (giggle...giggle)
    Today, I washed a cockroach. Me and my dog are at my sister's house dogsitting and I went to use the fancy washer located in the garage. As I look in to add my clothes first (no detergent or machine start yet as this is a fancy machine), I see Maverick's doppleganger IN the machine!!!. I scream and run as this is historically my reaction with any cockroach. After some time, I decide I really needed to wash. So, I went to the washer, made sure the thing was still there, closed the door, and pressed start. I decided I wanted the fucker to die a horrible drowning death that only a Whirlpool can provide. Yes, I ran an empty load through the washer and I wasted all that water. But, that fucker had to die! Of course, I screamed when I had to remove the dead and soaked
    creature from the machine. But, mission accomplished.