March 19, 2012

Texas Wildlife

Have you heard that saying "Everything's bigger in Texas"? Well, it's absolutely true. Hair is bigger, trucks are bigger, guns are bigger. Everything here is Texas size from the thunderstorms to the makeup to the sporting events. I think the term "super size" might have originated here and it covers everything--even bugs.

The weather is getting warmer and it's bringing in hordes of crane flies (those I can handle) as well as heralding the return of the cockroach (which makes me want to vomit). I'm not kidding. When I lived in WA, I worked at a food bank downtown one time and I can remember there being cockroaches and I was so disgusted at the sight of those creatures. Those were nothing compared to the ones here. That's like comparing a salamander and a boa constrictor--there's no comparison. If you've never lived here, you might think I'm exaggerating, and usually that would be true. But not this time.

Let me tell you something about the TX cockroach. They are nasty creatures that I secretly believe have escaped from the bowels of Hell. Their bodies are 1 1/2 to 2 inches in length with their antennae being even longer (see photographic evidence--I actually took that photo). They like to show up wherever they please with no regard to the cleanliness of your house or your socioeconomic state. In fact, I think they secretly lie in wait, forelegs rubbing together in glee, for just that precise moment when you are trapped on the toilet or reaching for something in your closet to come out and surprise you. They are devilish little things that move at the speed of light. Oh, and the icing? They can fly. Yeah, I found that one out the hard way.

Before I explain that one, I feel I should tell you of a bargain MC and struck when we were first married. I've always had an irrationally strong fear of spiders. You might even say it borders on arachnophobia territory. It didn't help that my sisters, like lions pouncing on an injured gazelle, would seize upon this weakness and use it to torment me, but I digress. Let's just say that my fear is so strong that one day I almost got in a car accident when a baby spider dropped down from the roof of my car and onto my lap...while I was turning left at an intersection...and had 3 other people in the car. They had to force me to keep driving, otherwise I would have just stopped right there and abandoned the vehicle until that critter was found.

My husband isn't necessarily fond of bugs either, although his problem mainly comes from the fact that he hates the "crunch" sound they make when you squish them. Better squished than procreating, I say. So we made a deal. If he would kill all the spiders, I would kill all the rest of the bugs. I sooo got suckered on that one. See, I was still new to TX and had no idea about the pony size cockroaches that were just waiting and plotting.

More proof that I am not exaggerating? I was in my laundry room one day when I heard this weird noise. Thinking it might be a mouse (which is waaay better than a spider), I stop and listen, trying to pinpoint where it's coming from. I discover it's coming from our bin of dog biscuits. I was hearing the "crunch, crunch, crunch" NOT of a mouse, but of a cockroach eating the dog treats! It sends shivers down my spine just remembering it.

Cockroaches are especially hearty critters, too. I think it's true about them being able to survive a nuclear holocaust. They are like miniature tanks that can flatten themselves down to the size of a piece of paper. You can't really use a fly swatter on them--they'll just turn it around on you. But I have discovered a secret weapon. Wasp spray. That's right, a few drops of that chemical cocktail and they fry from the inside out. The only problem is, you have to get close enough to drip it on them. Trust me, you do not want to be spraying that stuff all over the house. And that's how I discovered they could fly. I spotted one on our entertainment center one night so I grabbed my spray and stealthily moved in. I was slowly approaching...almost there...can in hand, reaching out...when that nasty thing took flight! Cue frantic hand flapping, banshee-like screaming and manic running in circles and consider that lesson learned.

If there is a plus side to all this it would be this: Those spiders? They don't bother me so much anymore. In fact, my kids have seen me take care of them many times and they have no clue that I use to hyperventilate when I saw a picture of one in my Biology book. People freak out over bugs in WA and I laugh. You call that a bug? HA! You don't know what a bug is! My attitude at this point is if the bug is smaller than my thumb, I don't even flinch.

Well, most of the time.

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