A Dire Wolf moved in…

Image by Veirgacht

On a typical hot, steamy night in our swamp, I woke up to find that Teddy had transmogrified into Shrek, snoring as only an ogre can.  My industrial strength ear plugs had fallen out so I sleepily tread the well-worn path to the front bedroom at the other side of our hovel.  I fell asleep almost immediately only to wake in the wee hours needing to use the bathroom.  The toilet tissue was running low so I blithely reached into the cabinet under the sink to get a new roll.  Then I saw her, screamed and gently shut the door.  She looked at me with the same horror.  Yes, her eyes were that big.  It was my first tree roach of the season.  Let’s call her Teresita.

For those of you who don’t live in the south of Texas, we have something much scarier than our alligators, water moccasins and recluse spiders.  My fear was such that it may as well have been a Dire Wolf, most recently of Game of Thrones, but actually an extinct giant wolf.  Tree roaches are really large roaches that FLY!  If you do a Google search for Tree Roaches Texas you will find endless hilarious stories of newcomers who firstly can’t believe the size of the critters (mine was about 2 inches long) and then their horror when the beast flew towards them.  Their true name is the American Cockroach and they are not quite as filthy as German Cockroaches, the regular smaller ones that you see up north. Ours wear MAGA hats. In Florida they call tree roaches Palmetto bugs as a way to fancy them up.

I went back to bed with trepidation because the last time I found a tree roach it was under my pillow (shudder) in that front bedroom.  The wisest action was not to look and I fell into a troubled sleep.  The next morning, I started removing everything from the bathroom cabinet.  There was mouse sized Tree Roach poop everywhere!  Just as I removed the 12th toilet roll (it is hurricane season and we are fully stocked), the monster jumped out at me.  I screamed again but was mad as hell that it had pooped all over everything so I attempted to crush her.  She scuttled back into a hole behind the cabinet or should I say Cockroach Condo.  Dang it!

Related image

This is not my hand!

Eventually I emptied everything and washed the plastic bottles in bleach, the rest went in the trash.  The inside of the cabinet was cleaned with neat bleach and then I found the deadly bug killer to spray in the hole.  Usually I use a completely ineffective ‘green’ bug spray that a Tree Roach would use for salad dressing.  I like to live in harmony with all God’s creatures but the roaches have to stay outside.  Then I called the bug man – who is afraid of Tree Roaches.  Now that’s exposure therapy.  His favorite Macho tale is when he first encountered Tree Roaches on a military base.  He was in a storage shed and he saw three Tree Roaches blocking the doorway.  ‘No problem’, he thought, ‘I can just stomp on them’.  Not if they fly in your face – then you run out screaming like a girl.

I considered calling the bug man earlier when we had a millipede invasion all over the larger Houston area.  Every day I rescued or swept up dozens of millipedes.  They are harmless and don’t scare me so I just ignored them.  Maybe all the rainy weather has created a glut of them.  When they die, they curl up in a little ball and it looked like a fossil extinction zone in every corner of the house.  The spiders tried their best to help me out and every web was filled with millipedes.  When you live in Texas you need to love your spiders because they catch the other stuff!  The Dire Wolf under the sink provoked a spring cleaning like none other.  Then I discovered another dead tree roach in a kitchen cabinet so all the pots had to be washed.

Working my way around the kitchen cabinets, I finally found sugar ants had got into the sugar.  Really??  Don’t you think I had been through enough?  My O.C.D. was boiling into a crazy ferment.  Sugar ants are harmless too but it was three species too many.  The hovel house is now very, very clean and there are no bugs.  It was a rather expensive visit from the Dire Wolf (and friends) by the time I paid the bug man and restocked the toilet rolls, tissue, cotton wool and sugar.  One of my neighbors had a blue tongued Skink living in her garage – they look like truncated snakes with very wide bodies.  She was horrified that its poop had cockroach carapaces in it.  Please come and live with me, blue tongued Skink – free food and friendly humans.

Image result for free image blue tongued skink

Blue Tongued Skink

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Feliz Navidad!

lighting of the tree

We were lucky enough to be in San Jose del Cabo for their annual lighting of the tree in the main plaza outside the Mission. It was a local event, not aimed at tourists, and we felt humbled to share their tradition. The main theme this year was disability and there was a tear jerking rendition of songs by deaf children in sign language. We were watching the proud parents and noticed that they did jazz hands instead of clapping. There were children with various conditions including cerebral palsy.

sign language

After the main event everyone squeezed into the little mission church, with some standing outside, for a short service with hymns echoing across the plaza on this beautiful starlit evening. It was not a rich town but clearly closely bonded. What a lovely experience for us to have the privilege of sharing with a warm, friendly community.

Below is a photo of the nativity scene that brought back some lovely memories of my childhood at our local Catholic Church. My only comment, and it is not meant to be blasphemous, but do you think the donkey was used previously in a Shrek production? 🙂

nativity scene

Happy Anniversary and sorry for being a flaky menopausal crazy lady…

My beloved on a bridge in Nacogdoches

My beloved on a bridge in Nacogdoches

That title probably says it all but I suppose you would like an explanation. I just posted my latest travelogue from Nacogdoches which was truly a beautiful little city but we were staying a Hampton Inn on the main interstate just a mile or so from the center. We were there to celebrate our 33rd wedding anniversary. I would guess that many of their guests are just travelling along that route or are visiting the local university. The hotel was lovely despite its location and they put us in a nice quiet room at the back of the hotel. The first night was great and then I noticed a sign that said, ‘Welcome to student orientation’. There were plenty of out of state car plates including New York and I wondered if parents were bringing freshman college kids to visit the university. We had a lovely evening out and, as many Texans do, were in bed watching TV at about 9.30 pm. Then we heard shouting and eventually realized that it was coming from the car park despite the double glazed windows that prevented any noise from the busy road.

I opened the curtains to see a group of young men playing with a soft ball in the car park. They noticed me banging on the window and I signaled for them to go around the back to play where there were no rooms. There were no obscene signs but they had no intention of moving. We phoned reception who said they would sort it out. After ten minutes the top of my head blew off, I stripped off my nightdress and put on my shorts and t-shirt. My husband said that it would be better if he went down but I thought that might turn into an aggressive situation. I flew out of the side door and starting telling them that they had to stop playing ball in the car park, they were disturbing the guests many of whom had young children and they might damage the cars. I suggested that they play around the back which backed onto some forested ground. One was belligerent (was he from New York?) and that incensed me. How dare he answer back to a lady in her 50s who was telling him that they were disturbing the guests? You are in Texas now, honey! My voice raised and I said that they either move off or I would phone the police. In truth, the police couldn’t do much unless there was criminal damage but I thought a sharp talk from a Texas Sheriff might sort them out. Half of them started to move towards the back of the hotel, with the belligerent youth facing me off.

I turned around and stomped towards reception and met a man who I saw moving his brand new car to the other side of the hotel while I was remonstrating with the boys. I said, “Did you move your car because of those boys?” To be fair my tone was angry especially since he said nothing to the boys. His response was that they weren’t doing any harm; leave them alone, mutter, mutter and more muttering. I thought that the top of my head had blown off before but now it exploded. I was so angry that he had obviously moved his car to prevent it getting damaged (or the alarm being set off) and worse that he had not defended me that I shouted very loudly, “F*** Off!” I don’t know who was more surprised him or I. I rarely lose my temper or use cuss words in anger but it was worth it to see the look on his horrible face. He started telling me what he thought of me but I had stormed off to reception. The poor girl, who looked like a student, couldn’t deal with all the complaints from the guests but she should have dealt with the situation immediately. I said that if she didn’t move the boys on, I would call the police.

Then I went back up to our room – great anniversary mood, eh? My husband told me that they had briefly gone around the back, were presumably scared by the forest and raccoons (now I am just being bitchy) and came back. After 10 minutes they were still shouting in the car park and my husband put on his best scary Scottish accent (think Shrek in a bad mood), called reception and very firmly said that she either she call the police or he would. Magically, it worked and the hotel returned to blissful silence. The mood had gone, however, and nothing could restore it. We drove home the next day, stopping at one of our favorite places for lunch in Lufkin. Suddenly blackened catfish restored my usual sunny temperament and the weekend was saved. Sunday was our actual anniversary and we had a cozy romantic meal at our local restaurant after we returned home. All was rosy between Bunny and Teddy until Teddy uploaded Windows 10 onto Bunny’s computer and killed it. It took five hours of ‘conversation’ with Microsoft to restore it and Bunny is still not happy. It is going to be a thrill road through my menopause – Bunny alternates between loving spouse, sex mad cougar and crazy lady.