Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Adventures in Pest Control

Or rather, "Lack of Pest Control." Because it's the cockroaches' apartment. I'm just living in it. Yes, my apartment is ridiculously infested with cockroaches. While I admit that I should have contacted my landlady sooner than five weeks ago, the problem is so much worse than I thought. I'm not a squeamish woman. I don't freak out at the sight of bugs, spiders, or even snakes really. (Rats freak me the hell out, but if you like rats then there's something wrong with you.) But I just about jumped out of my skin when I started pulling out the stack of plastic bags that inevitably builds up when you've lived any place for any amount of time and are terrible about keeping up your New Years' Resolution to use re-usable shopping bags.

Yeah yeah yeah, I know.
There's an island of plastic the size of Texas in the middle of the ocean.

Speaking of re-usable shopping bags, since I was neglecting to use mine, they just sat on top of my refrigerator. Not collecting dust, mind you, but becoming a happy home for cockroaches of all stages and walks of their creepy, crawly lives. I pulled one such bag down and an entire community of cockroaches, big and small scurried out like Godzilla was attacking their green, recycled city! (Now I'm having fun picturing myself all green and scaly tromping around as anthropomorphized bugs scream and shout things in badly dubbed English). I guess that's what I get for failing to do my part to save the planet.

Picture my face on Godzilla's body.
I'm too lazy to photoshop it.

But this saga actually begins quite a while ago, when I first started noticing small creatures the size of ants just strolling around my apartment. I didn't know what they were, but I assumed that they were harmless since I didn't have any bites or develop any mysterious diseases. I killed them when I could, but didn't go out of my way if it was inconvenient (i.e. I was too sleepy). Then I observed that they were growing stronger, larger too. Like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, only with more legs and less of a command of early 90s Valley surfer slang. While I am super on top of things at work out of necessity, I tend to let certain tasks in my own life go unattended for far too long. (For example, it just took me a week and a half to finally go to the doctor for an issue that was by no means life-threatening but probably should have been addressed much much sooner.)

I would have preferred an infestation of mutant turtles.
They would at least make themselves useful and fight crime.

This is why I only just texted my landlady roughly five weeks ago to call pest control. Because it was an absolutely insane month at work, involving working several six-day weeks (during which each of those days felt like a whole week itself), I basically forgot about my unwanted house guests. At least, until I would walk in the door dead on my feet, too late to do anything about it. And in that time, I never got a call, text, or e-mail to set up an official time. And their numbers just kept on growing.

And I shall name him, "Dirty Uncle Sal."

Finally, my Gentleman Caller put his foot down and demanded that I purchase bug bombs and try to fumigate the place. He offered to help, but being an independent and self-sufficient woman of the world, I decided I was going to do this on my own. But then I walked around Target for an hour only to ask for help finding the damn bombs. Which they didn't have. So I went to Ralph's, got the bombs, and got ready to set them off. Only, you have to turn off your pilot lights and disconnect your smoke detectors to do so. Sadly, my independent worldliness only goes so far. I got frustrated when the smoke detector kept beeping at me (because I hadn't eaten yet and only got five hours of sleep so I was uber-cranky). I also was so afraid of blowing up the whole damn building that eventually I gave up and fell asleep in my chair like a giant baby. When I woke up, hours later, I sheepishly called for reinforcements.

Luckily my GC is very handy with such things and was able to come and rescue the pathetic damsel in distress. He even went a step further with this chivalry and volunteered to set off the bombs while I waited outside. Then we went and played golf. Because that's what one does when one fumigates for cockroaches. Not just mini-golf, but the real kind with the funny pants and many different clubs. It turns out, I'm not too shabby and actually genuinely enjoy golf. So the day wasn't so bad after all. Especially since we got frozen yogurt afterwards and there is nothing bad about frozen yogurt. When we came back and started airing out the apartment, we didn't see a plethora of dead bugs everywhere as expected. The problem was definitely better, but I was still outnumbered exactly one zillion to one.

This is totally what I look like when I golf.

I followed up with my landlady once more and scheduled the appointment for yesterday. The pest guy comes for two minutes and says in a highly irritated voice: "You didn't move anything." ...I didn't know I was supposed to. "Did you also know you were supposed to leave for four hours afterwards?" ...No. I schedule pest control all the time at my job. We have Terminix come out twice a week like clockwork. (Not that we really have bug problems, but with over 800 apartments, it's bound to happen eventually. Which is why I am on top of these things. At work, anyway.) Anyway, we never tell our residents they have to move everything out of their cupboards and drawers and be out of the apartment for four hours. But then the guy started debating the merits of spray vs. the gel that Terminix uses and I lost the battle.

Mean pest control guy. I guess if you kill
things for a living, you probably aren't the most jovial sumbitch.

So now on my day off, I'm completely moving all dishes, food, and other random items from my kitchen and bathroom into my living room and bedroom. My apartment is very small and cannot accommodate four rooms worth of crap into two. At this point it would just be easier to move. But it's cathartic in a way. Call it Spring Cleaning. Especially now that I've lived here exactly one year and it was probably time to go through all this stuff.

I should just move at this point.

We will see tomorrow morning between 8am and 10am if I moved everything to the pest control guy's satisfaction. I didn't care for his condescension nor his snark, but I just have to play along until I get the chemicals I need to finally slay these mutant nuclear bomb-resistant cockroaches once and for all. Then maybe I won't be afraid that one is going to crawl up my nose while I sleep. AAAAAAHHHHH!!

(On an unrelated note, I finally broke down and bought a brand new fancy schmancy iMac to replace my sad, slow, overfull, and no longer able to multi-task Powerbook G4, which I purchased in 2005 as a high school graduation present to myself. The laptop wouldn't even let me long into Blogger anymore, though that doesn't entirely make up for my absence. But I've been dealing with massive amounts of cockroaches, so I think I get a pass.)


  1. YAY! KILL THEM ALL! I had a kind of bug problem in the last apartment I lived in. It was scary. They weren't bed bugs. They weren't cockroaches. They didn't bite. But they crawled everywhere... We moved! Happy times! :D

  2. I love the Knocked Up poster. :)

    Cockroaches are horrible. So difficult to get rid of, and they get into everything! Good luck. Can't wait to see you next week...just not at your apartment, ok? ;)

  3. Haha, yes Seth Rogen is my ideal man, it's true! I don't even want to stay in my apartment right now. It's full of crap and dead bugs. Though better dead bugs than live ones...