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Oh, and Watch Out for the Bogeyman Who Lives in Our Shed

“XYZ Pest Control.  How may I direct your call?”

“Direct me to the person who just made me leave work and haul a$$ over to my house for no good reason.”

“Sure.  Just one moment.”

5 seconds later.

“XYZ Pest Control.  I’m the person who just made you leave work and haul a$$ over to  your house for no good reason.”

“You said my dog was running around the backyard chasing you.”

“Yes, that’s what I said.”

“I am standing in my house right now.  With my dog.  In the kitchen.  He has a dog door that leads to a pen that is surrounded by chicken wire.  The chicken wire is 4 feet tall.  Are you saying that my 70 pound bulldog leapt over the chicken wire, chased you around the yard, then leapt back over the chicken wire, and raced back into the kitchen just in time for me to arrive home?”

“That seems unlikely.”

“You’re darn right that’s unlikely.  Unless you were carrying around a shoulder of beef.  Were you carrying around a shoulder of beef?”

“No, ma’am.”

“Because that would be stupid, you know.  Since your job is to get rid of pests, not attract them.”

“Yes, that would be stupid, ma’am.”

“Okay.  Now that we agree that you’re not stupid, the only logical conclusion is that you made this story up just so you wouldn’t have to spray our backyard.  And you are going to come back here, do your job, and not charge us anything at all, right?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Good.  Oh, and by the way, watch out for the snake back there.”

End conversation.

That’s exactly how this whole thing went down.

Except for the part after “How may I direct your call?”

Our vicious guard dog - Wonderbutt

Our vicious guard dog – Wonderbutt




I Know this Pegs Me as a Pessimist, but I Can’t Think of One Situation Where More Cockroaches Might Actually Enhance My Life

Yesterday I realized that dead cockroaches in the house are the perfect metaphor for my life and got to experience my heart leaping as it always does when I discover a perfect metaphor while it simultaneously plummeted in disgust – a not uncommon reaction when contemplating dead cockroaches in the house.

This emotional paradox was precipitated by my encounter with a dead cockroach in the living room yesterday.  Actually, it was not completely dead, just nearly dead (a stage of expiration which I find highly amusing in The Princess Bride and Spamalot, but is much less laughable when I’ve grabbed an entire roll of paper towels to pick up a cockroach and he vehemently begins to protest from his prone position with legs waving violently in the air and somehow manages to wedge himself into the perfect position in our plumbing to clog up the toilet which I used to dispose of him – although I might grudgingly admit that the roll of paper towels that encased him might have contributed to that situation.)

Anyway, this reminded me of what the pest control dude told me a few weeks ago when I called him to take care of this exact problem – the regular sighting of upended arthropods within our abode.

“I’m going to put out some poison around the perimeter of the house. In the next couple of weeks, you’ll probably find some more dead cockroaches in here,” he informed me.

“So, let me get this straight. I called you because I keep finding dead cockroaches, and you are telling me that your solution is to give me more dead cockroaches?”

“But they’re dead. Dead is good.”

“No, dead outside is good. Dead inside is a problem. And dead insect corpses littering my floor and crunching every time I walk is a bigger problem that will result in me relocating to the mental hospital – and probably canceling your contract.”

Of course I didn’t say the last part.  That’s whatimeant2say.  But I knew the results of prolonging the conversation…

“You’re lucky you have dead cockroaches.  Some people live in huts with live ones crawling all over the place, spreading disease and laying eggs in their ears.”

To which I would reply, “Some people go their whole lives without seeing a cockroach.  Some people have other people who work for them and never try to persuade them that more cockroach cadavers is actually an improvement to their living conditions.”

Why can’t I be those “some people” just once?  Why do I always have to be the in-between “some people” who don’t have it great, but could have it a whole lot worse?

Just once, I would like someone to say, “Everyone has it worse than you.  There is no better-than-this.”  Just once I would like to be the happy cockroach, racing freely through an open field without a care in the world, instead of the somewhat dead cockroach counting his blessings that he hasn’t been flattened by a shoe – his last comforting thought as he is flushed down the toilet.

I forgot to take a picture of the cockroach, so I decided to give you a picture of Wonderbutt sniffing my husband's prize Amaryllis instead.  You're welcome.

I forgot to take a picture of the cockroach, so I decided to give you a picture of Wonderbutt sniffing (or getting ready to eat – depending on your perspective) my husband’s prize Amaryllis instead. You’re welcome.

Who is the Saint of Pest Control?

“What is this a picture of?” you may ask.


“A rat,” I say.

“But there’s no rat.  I see an orange and a black thing.”

“Yes, you are right. That’s an orange, and the black thing is a sticky rat trap.  And the rat you don’t see is a very lucky rodent.”

You may have read the Incident Report, in which I mentioned that our oven mitts had been mysteriously defiled, and that my dear husband, Cap’n Firepants, seemed to think a rodent was responsible for their disembowelment.

He was even more certain when he walked into the kitchen one morning and found a half-eaten banana.  On our counter.  He and Dimples don’t eat bananas except under extreme duress.  I love them, and would never just eat half.  Mrs. P.I.B. has never once counter-surfed in all her 10 years.  So, unless Wonderbutt was able to launch himself to the center of the counter, then suddenly lost his appetite in the middle of eating the piece of fruit AND placed his half-eaten treasure back up on the counter, the evidence overwhelmingly pointed to a home invader.  Since the invader did not choose to take Wonderbutt when he left, the only conclusion left to us was that we definitely had a Pest That Must Be Dealt With Swiftly.

So the Cap’n went out and bought him some traps (now can I call him Captain Von Trapp?), while I looked at Wonderbutt and Mrs. P.I.B. accusingly for allowing such a vile trespasser into our abode without so much as a bark.

Sticky traps set around an enticing bowl of oranges, we went to bed, confident that there were two possible outcomes – neither of which, quite frankly, I wanted to be the first to witness in the morning.

Around three in the morning, Wonderbutt sounded the alarm.  He was out in his pen, barking his head off.  For some reason, this is where he goes when he feels he needs to alert us of something – not to the baby gate that separates the bedrooms in the Forbidden Section from the Neutral Zone where he and Mrs. P.I.B. (and the rat, apparently) roam free.

Cap’n Firepants leapt up (after some hesitation – did he think I was going to confront the intruder?), and ran to the kitchen, certain his trapping had worked.  I pulled the covers over my head, quite content to let him be the hero this time.  After all, I did take care of a live snake that had the misfortune of meandering into our house a few months ago.

I heard the garage door open and close, then again, then again.  Back and forth.  How many friggin’ rats did that man catch?

Finally, he came back to the bedroom, washed his hands, and climbed back into bed.

“Got it?” I said, relieved.



“You’re not going to believe this.  The trap got its tail.  When I got out there, it had already gone back down its hole, all but it’s tail.  The trap and the tail were sticking out of the hole, and it was trying like crazy to pull through.  I didn’t know how to grab it, so I went into the garage to find some way to pull it out.”

This is what he decided on.

Ouch! I'm not sure even a rat deserves this...


“By the time I got back, it had gotten its tail free and all that was left was the trap and the orange.”

The “hole” by the way, is so ridiculously small that you wouldn’t believe a spider could get through it, much less a –

well, no need to go into de “tails.”

I see I have to take matters into my own hands.

There’s a house for sale a few blocks away.  Do you think that’s far enough to move?  I will just bury St. Anthony St. Joseph in the front yard, and we should be able to leave this whole nasty business behind us in a week or two.

Too bad rats are nocturnal. Wonderbutt is quite alert during the day.

After 10 P.M., his shift is over. (Loyal Readers, this may be the closest you ever get to seeing my face.)


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