Challenge: Megan vs. Cockroaches

When I was 23 and had just moved out to the Washington, D.C.-area, I was working part-time as an English teacher and loving it, but I had to find a super cheap place to rent because I was making approximately $4 a month.

My new apartment was a very large three-bedroom, two full-bath apartment for less than $1,000 including utilities, and my share of the rent was $325.

Now, obviously I was not as sophisticated then as I am now (pipe down out there, hecklers!), so I didn’t see any red flags because the apartment was so cheap. I was basically fresh off the boat from Missouri and just needed a place to live. My two roommates were about my age and at about the same level of education and background, so it seemed like it was going to be okay.

If this were a horror movie, right now there would be ominous music playing in the background to foreshadow something terrible happening to the young, beautiful,* naive heroine.

*I said you need to PIPE DOWN, hecklers!

The first few months were okay. We saw a cockroach or two, but it was a really big building, so it was to be expected. I was kind of grossed out, but it wasn’t too bad yet, and I figured it was just part of living in the big city–except I was actually living in a really cute suburb.

Then the real invasion started.

Eventually, there was absolutely nothing we could do about the roaches in the kitchen. They were everywhere. They were in the dishwasher, in the drawers, in the cabinets, all over the floor, and somehow even in the freezer. We would turn on the kitchen light and they wouldn’t even scatter. They would just sit there and kind of go, “Oh, heeeeeey! Wanna join the par-taaay? Have some roach poison! It doesn’t kill you—it just makes you hiiiiiiigh.”

Cockroaches are kind of d-bags, in case you didn’t know.

I lived there for almost a year and we finally moved out when a roach crawled out from under the couch onto my ankle. I have lived happily cockroach-free since then, about 8 years.

Until now.

Damn you, tropics, and your alluring landscapes and general awesomeness!

One day mid-September I was cleaning my shower (yes, I was cleaning, Mom) and I saw some movement in the drain, which is pretty large. I actually thought, Is that a crab? Why is there a mini crab in my drain? That’s weird! What am I going to do with that? Silly tropics!

Cue horror-movie music.

The thing started to come out of the drain, and I began to suspect it was not a mini crab.

Oh.

No.

NO!*

*DRAWN TO SCALE!

It was the BIGGEST COCKROACH I HAVE EVER SEEN. I am talking megamutantgigantor roach. This roach had clearly been mainlining steroids in an effort to get on a professional sports league in the U.S. and/or become the newest cast member of The Jersey Shore. I ran around the shower for a second, panicked, then ran out of the shower, squealing like a baby and flapping my arms like I was a lame bird getting ready for take off.

I willed my panicked brain to think of some logical solution to this problem. Calling the army in didn’t seem entirely practical and I didn’t have any bug-killing spray, but I finally remembered the spray bleach I had for cleaning.

I ran back into the shower, armed with bleach, and sprayed the hell out of that cockroach, all the while emitting high-pitched noises that I’m too old to even hear. So the roach was dead, but then I had a new problem: how to dispose of the corpse.

I usually don’t mind living alone, but this was one of those times when I actually wanted a guy around. I’m just going to go ahead and hand in my feminism card–nobody needs to come take it from me. Feminism fail! I could have also used my best buddy, Kristin, who, to her dismay, is known for being able to pick up gross bugs and stuff. Where were you in my time of need, Kristin? Just because I chose to move all the way across the world doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be there for me when I need you to pick up dead bugs.

Kristin and I heart each other.

I finally just manned up, grabbed about 35 paper towels, and picked up the damned thing from the shower floor, gagging the whole time.

Since then, every time I’ve been in the bathroom has been stressful. First, I have to turn on the light and very slowly peek my head around the corner to be sure there’s nothing crawling around in there (that’s totally true). Then, every time I’m in the shower, I spend the entire time going, Oh my god, what was that on my ankle? Oh, it was water. Showershowershower Oh my god, what was that on my ankle? Oh, it was water. It’s kind of exhausting and I feel like my shower has betrayed me.

I thought—fine, I prayed with all of my heart—that I was never going to see one of those monstrosities again. For a while, my prayers came true. I even got kind of lax with the peeking-my-head-around-the-corner deal, which is of course when disaster (YES, DISASTER) struck. I boldly walked into my bathroom the other day without taking any precautions and there was another megamutantgigantor roach getting some exercise on my shower floor.

Seriously, that's what they do. I told you they were d-bags.

If you want to know what happened next, read what I just wrote about Cockroach Numero 1. I’m not very original, what can I say?

Final Score

Cockroaches: 1,999,000,888,777   Megan: 1,000

Unfortunately, there’s only one of me, but there are about 12 kabillion cockroaches in the world. And I know, I know, I have to deal with them as part of living in the tropics. I get it!

But you know what?

Cockroaches in my apartment: 0   Bottle of spray bleach: 2

HA!

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39 Comments

Filed under Daily Challenge, Living Abroad, Thailand

39 responses to “Challenge: Megan vs. Cockroaches

  1. Dear Megan,

    Spray bleach is only a temporary solution. And 35 paper towels? We’re very disappointed in you, and your footprint.

    My cousin Stan was, actually, working towards his goal of becoming a cast member on Jersey Shore and we hope Stan’s wife will be the very last incident.

    And Megan, don’t forget to look under your bed tonight.

    Cheers!

  2. carrie

    OMG, I totally have the creepy crawlies. You are a hero amongst women – nay, HUMANS – for not FLEEING IMMEDIATELY!

  3. Kristin

    I will be there next time to de-cockroach your place. Or you could try a life-size version of me and use the paper me to kill the little suckers. or duck-tape all of your vents. I like the life-size version of me better.

    ps- This story made me laugh wholeheartedly and I really do heart you.

  4. michelle

    Umm…were they as big as the ones at school? I heard shreeking in the hallway this morning, and the kids were kicking the thing down to my room. I got my best “you better not be bringing that thing to my room!” mom voice on. They were of course. You and I are soul sisters when it comes to bug my friend! Have the stink bugs found you yet there? I will send you some!

    • Dude. Bigger than the ones at school. Plus, at school I always had the kids kill them while I was out in the hall yelling and being a very responsible teacher. NO stink bugs!! Good lord!

  5. Jess

    If only pink nipple cream could kill cockroaches…

  6. rikker

    I know exactly how you feel. I loathe roaches. Fortunately, the house I now live in has a clause in the lease that says my landlord will pay to have the house fumigated every 3 months, which is great. But I wasn’t always so lucky.

    I used to dread the rainy season, when the first thing I had to do upon coming home at night was kill anywhere from 1 to 10 cockroaches that had migrated from the bathroom drain to various spots around the room. Or clear out the remains of those that had traversed across one of the poison barriers I sprayed liberally around the room (some brands of roach spray remain potent for weeks, others wear off seemingly overnight).

    But I found that simply covering the drain when I wasn’t using it helped cut down on the number of roaches who made it into the room. I used these glass coasters with a high lip, which when turned upside down covered my drain perfectly. The glass was good because I could see if there were roaches inside the coaster before removing it to take a shower. If any had, I’d turn the water heater on the hottest setting and use the shower head to boil them on the spot. At least that way I had to deal with mostly dead roaches.

    Did I mention I hate roaches? Ugh.

  7. WHHHOOOHAAAAAA!!!! This was way too f-ing funny (and I needed a good laugh this afternoon, so thanks!). We lived in a little apartment in Jomtien (near Pattaya) for a month, and it was completely infested with ginormous mutant cockroaches (and I’m from Texas, where ‘everything is bigger’, and I was still freaked out). They would come out as soon as it was dark, and would actually run across my feet when I got up for my noctural pee session! When we were getting ready to move out, I discovered that they had colonised two of our suitcases, and had ran around in my box of special imported feminine products! UGGG!!! Needless to say, I sadly disposed of said box and all of its wonderful, IMPORTED, precious contents…

  8. Cindy

    Megan (sweet sweet godchild of mine….)
    You are absolutely hilarious! And your fear of cockroaches reminds me of your mom’s fear of spiders.

  9. EEEEEEEWWWWWWWWW!!! One of the reasons I live in northern climates is because the horrifyingly cold winters result in smaller bugs. Really, it’s the main reason. Also, poisonous creatures also seem to die off when exposed to extreme, sap in trees exploding cold temperatures. (tarantulas, cobras, dart frogs… not here! hurray!). Kudos to your climate choice bravery, and your epic cockroach killing skills!

  10. Grant

    I loved this story and almost cried out laughing. Natasha read it and cried in horror. She kept making a pained face like her dog had just been hit by a car, and she repeatedly asked me: “Is it true? Is it true? (please tell me this is not true)” She also said that if she ever saw a big cockroach somewhere, she would move out that same hour.

  11. I like that your cockroaches have 15 legs each. A new species has been discovered – would you be honored or disgusted if they named it Megleggius Cockroachius?

    First time I saw a cockroach I had been here only a few weeks, and one landed on my neck. I didn’t even know they could fly!

    • I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, there would be billions of things that were named after me, which is pretty cool. On the other hand, it’s a pretty gross thing and everybody would actually be yelling, “Oh god, it’s the Megleggius! RUN!” That’s not generally the kind of reception I like to have when people hear my name.

      If a cockroach landed on my neck, somebody would be figuring out how to ship my body back to the States because I would pretty much have a heart attack and immediately die.

  12. Jules

    bugs bugs bugs! Funny story.

  13. Steph

    Ok this brings back horrifying memories for me. Your scale drawing is shocking–did that thing have wings? Something that worked really well for me while living in Senegal was to use this roach kill powder (sorry, environment). The roaches would go to my porch area to die, and the ant army that had a path along the wall of my porch would transport the dead roaches outside to their leader. I did not have to physically touch any insects. Of course, with the size of your shower roach friends, you may need to teach the ants how to open and close doors.

    • Wow, that’s very efficient, Steph! The ants in my place are teensy, so I don’t know how well that would work, but it’s something to think about…

  14. Diana

    Megan hahahaha you’re awesome!!! my friend’s dad and myself laughed so hard reading your post!. I just commented on Jodi’s facebook that seriously these roaches are prehistorical… ahem prehisterical even. You totally made me laugh! – this blog totally deserves to be bookmarked!! kudos from BKK

  15. omg, the cockroach drawings are hilarious. too freaked out for real pics, eh? one morning, a good 1-incher was crawling on nok’s blouse while she was doing her make-up. when she swatted at it, it just crawled up her neck and onto her face. talk about freak out! we managed to capture it alive and flush it…sprayed bug killer all over the apartment and the building sprays once a month but they never really disappear completely…

  16. This is very funny stuff, great work. It reminds me of the first week after I moved here, too:

    I was just about to leave for work, so I grabbed my fedora that was hanging from a kitchen cabinet handle (You can see where this is going.) Just before putting it on my head, something lands on me from the hat! For the sake of my masculinity I won’t tell you exactly how I reacted, but after buying a large can of aerosol DEATH, I sprayed down my entire place to a level of bio-hazard on par with Chernobyl. For months afterward I religiously stored all of my silverware and dishes in Ziploc bags.

  17. Pingback: Dani and Megan vs. The Worst Pickpocket in the World | Bangkok Reality Smackdown

  18. yeah cockroaches creep me out. they’re abundant in florida (a tropical-ish place) and we used to live in this place i called the roach motel. they were so bold or whatever that they’d crawl on me at night as i slept. i once grabbed one after having been awoke by it crawling on my leg and threw it across the room in the dark, and heard it hit a wall and fall. they’re gross and i hate them.

  19. That’s the one thing I miss about Maine – I don’t remember ever seeing one. =/ haha.

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