I made a cake for DH's birthday last week and it was a success. I also encountered -- in my bathroom -- one of the not-so-wonderful local species: a palmetto bug. As to whether or not the outcome of that meeting would be defined as a success, I believe it probably would depend upon your viewpoint. Suffice to say, the bug probably would not agree with defining as a success.
If you've never been to the Gulf Coast, you probably have no idea of what I'm talking about. A palmetto bug is like a roach. a GINORMOUS roach. These puppies are about two inches long and they are nasty. They normally live outside, and they don't seem to be attracted to the kitchen like a cockroach would; they go for the closet, or the bathroom, or the bedroom. Oh, and they can fly. There are all kinds of stories about them flying around and tangling in long hair. Yikes!
I still shudder when I think about the first time I encountered the horrid little beasties. I was about 10 years old and spending the summer with my grandparents in Florida. I stuck my foot into my tennis shoe and felt something odd in there. I pulled my foot out and shook the shoe and not one, but two palmetto bugs fell out of it! Naturally, I screamed the house down and my grandmother came and killed them, but to this day, I never put on a shoe without shaking it first.
I had almost gotten over my palmetto bug trauma by the time we first moved to Houston 12 years ago. However, we had only been living there for a few weeks when I heard a sound that I originally thought was a mouse in the closet. DH and I had just gone to bed and I kept hearing rustle, rustle rustle. He refused to do anything about it, but I couldn't sleep, so I got up and turned on the light in the hall, thinking that if it was a mouse, then the light would at least drive it to another room.
The rustling didn't stop when I turned on the light, which seemed kind of strange. That's a pretty bold mouse, I thought, and I went to look in the closet. It wasn't a mouse; it was a palmetto bug. But it was easily as big as a mouse! Naturally, I screamed the house down -- and nearly caused DH to have a heart attack since I was only standing about 3 feet away. He tried to kill it and missed and it scuttled behind some shoes, so he told me to go back to bed and he turned off the light. I could hear it in there going rustle, rustle, rustle. The dog could hear it too, so he started barking. Thank heavens for Alexander the pekingese because it was his barking that bugged DH enough to finally get up and get rid of the palmetto bug (Yes; I know I should have done it, but I'm terrified of the stupid things).
Fast forward 12 years. I was putting something in DH's closet and Pippin the pekingese started barking hysterically. (Apparently pekingeses don't like palmetto bugs either) I turned around to find Pippin and Tabitha (my kitty) facing off with a huge palmetto bug. I stood there for a moment, hoping Kitty would do something to it, like whack it with a paw or something, but she was totally useless.
Well, damn, I thought. My pets aren't going to do anything, so I'm going to have to kill it. Then, I looked around the room for something I could use to do it with. I was in the bathroom, which I had just cleaned, so there wasn't anything lying around that I could hit it with, and it was between me and the door. Of course, I was barefooted, so I couldn't just step on it. I had a reassuring thought: What if it starts flying around? Yikes!
Then I saw the bottle of Windex that I'd used to clean the mirrors. I could hit it with that, but it would be disgusting. But I wondered, what would happen if I sprayed it with Windex?
I will not go any further except to say that while Windex is probably not a good alternative to an exterminator, it was sufficient for the task. I suspect, however, that the man who cleans our pool thinks I am a bit odd. I did not know he was out there until after I had got rid of the bug, but I am fairly certain that he heard me yelling, "Hah! Take that, you frikking b#####d!" because when I saw him (the pool man), he asked if everything was quite all right. I gave him what I hoped was my best Mona Lisa smile, but I think he is still wondering.