Sunday, July 12, 2009

"Come Home Now, Dad..."

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the vast majority of women – married or single – HATE bugs.

Some women marry for no other reason than to have a man around to kill them! I am not quite in this category but I do rely SOLELY and EXCLUSIVELY on Mr. Baker for the destruction and disposal of all insects.

But this week - this week during which Hessel has been working literally around the clock - I have encountered a vast and seemingly limitless array of creeping and crawling things. I believe this is due in part to the monsoons. After a hard rain the road is filled with small green lizards doing what look like push-ups under a cloudy sky. While driving to the grocery store on Monday I saw a gigantic black snake slithering across the road. I seriously considered pulling the car over just so that I could scream hysterically for an undisclosed period of time.

For the next three days, every time I climbed into my car, I had to resist succumbing to the irrational fear that there was something curled up under my seat, waiting to sink its teeth into my heel.

On Friday a friend dropped something off in my garage and then knocked on my door to inform me that she had seen a gigantic black spider – the circle she formed with her hands was roughly the size of my face – lingering in the corner near my front tire. I’m not gonna lie: terror struck my heart. It diminished slightly – but only slightly – when her husband kindly informed me he had “shooed” it away into the darkness. Somehow the idea of a future surprise encounter with the creature was almost as unsettling as an anticipated one.

Ironically, the very next night, while Audrey and I were outside in our pajamas watering the bougainvilleas, I happened to notice, out of the corner of my eye, the silhouette of a giant black something, roughly the size of my face, stealing its way up the side of the house. Its failure to make any kind of staccato movement – like most lizards or geckos – led me to conclude that it was our dear friend Mr. Spider. Panic once again descended upon me and, clutching Audrey by the arm, I pulled her inside for a flashlight so we could unequivocally “identify the buggie.” But by the time we returned Spidey was long gone and no amount of spraying the hose or flashing the flashlight into the bushes could lure him from his lair.

Apart from my decision never to exit my house again without shoes – ever – nothing much changed. Life went on as usual…until tonight when, as I was about to enter the shower, I noticed a cockroach the size of my daughter’s fist waving its antennae at me from above the showerhead.

I screamed and ran – literally, ran – to call Hessel.

After breathlessly informing him of our ‘emergency’ he said, “Go get the bug zapper.” (A friend recommended this tennis racquet-shaped device to me and it is the best I’ve found to kill bugs and can be purchased here).

'The bug zapper! The bug zapper!,' I thought. 'Thank God for the bug zapper.' However my elation quickly turned to trepidation as I considered two distinct possibilities: 1) having already turned on the water I could cause the zapper to short out by touching it to a wet insect; and 2) the sheer size of the roach might be no match for my machine.

Both suspicions proved correct.

I shocked it three times but still its little antennae waved. I zapped it again and this time the device short-circuited. I was out of power.

I looked down at Audrey and took a breath. “Okay, mom? You okay?” she asked. She was so adorable in her little pink jammies with her blankies wrapped around her neck I couldn’t bear to disappoint or upset her so I rallied. “I’m okay, Audrey. I’m okay. I just have to kill this buggie.”

"Kill it, Mommy, kill it," she said, cheering me on.

Meanwhile, Hessel, still functioning as my 911 emergency dispatcher, urged me to knock the bug down onto the floor of the shower and then, as though it were nothing – a mere trifle! – simply smash it with my shoe. But I wasn’t wearing shoes, I told him, and I didn’t want to leave the scene of the crime!

Suddenly the bug made a move in my direction. I screamed, hit the shower head with the zapper, and braced myself as the bug tumbled to the floor. More screams followed as I struggled to pin the bug beneath the zapper. For the most part I succeeded however the bug was still very much alive and wriggling.

“Oooooh,” Audrey moaned and for a moment I thought she might begin to cry.

“Get a shoe,” Hessel repeated. “Tell her to go get one of your shoes.”

“It’s going to be alright, Audrey,” I said, “I just need you to go into the living room and get one of Mommy’s shoes.”

She tromped off down the hall and came back a few seconds later. “I can’t find one, Mommy, I can’t.”

“Go look by the door next to Evangeline’s carseat,” I told her.

To my delight (amazement would be too strong a word but she is only 2 years and 4 months old after all) she said okay and disappeared again.

A pair of my tennis shoes lay right inside the door and I told myself, or rather Hessel told me, that all I had to do was lift up the zapper and use one to smash the bug before it could get away. Sounds easy, but have you ever seen a cockroach scuttle? Them suckers move fast! (My preferred method would have been to squash the bug while it was still under the zapper which, Hessel also pointed out, would likely have completely broken the blasted thing – a price I would have gladly paid if it meant certain death for the insect.)

When Audrey returned she was carrying - not tennis shoes, but my pointed-toe three-inch stilettos which also happened to be sitting by the door. What can I say, the girl’s got taste!

It was a miracle which can only be attributed to God’s grace (for me and Hessel), given the tiny triangular-shaped size of my shoe, that I managed to hit my target. The bug was dead. Victory at last!

Hessel sighed heavily.

“I don’t think you understand,” I told him. “We are a housefull of girls over here. Like a ship without a rudder... a horse without a rider... a coffee cup without its little spoon... We need you.”

Or as Audrey put it: "Come home now, Dad. Please come home."


Lindsay said...

OH MY GOSH!! I am laughing so hard it hurts!! This is EXACTLY what goes on in our house...I HATE roaches!! Someday I should tell you the story of our flea infestation the night before I was supposed to leave to meet Scott in San Fran! :)

Stephanie said...

You have a wonderful way of telling a story. I read every word and was laughing all the way, especially because I *relate* so much. Bugs give me the heebie-jeebies...and we've had a lot of them around these parts lately.

My 2-year-old is actually completely fearless when it comes to bugs. In fact, she's a little too fearless. She will often go right over and pick a bug up! She certainly doesn't get that from her mama! ;)

Great post!