Picking up where we left off

By Mir
April 14, 2008

Otto had a “work thing” this weekend, and by that I mean that I said goodbye to him on Thursday morning and other than the occasional in-the-wee-hours mumble of “what time is it? did you just get home?” we didn’t see each other again until last night.

Well, that’s not quite accurate—he called late yesterday morning to say he needed to bring some folks over for a late lunch, and could I get to the store? The kids and I ran over to Publix for cold cuts and supplies to make banana pudding; the former so that we could all have sandwiches, and the latter because when it comes to embracing Southern hospitality, my children are ALL ABOUT pudding and Nilla Wafers. Then I got to have lunch with the group before Otto left to take everyone back to the airport. So there was some meaningful conversation inserted in there, sweet nothings like “Hello, I remember you! I think!” and “Dude, why did you take out the ketchup? Do you think people want ketchup sandwiches??” to round out the day.

[Please note: Monkey found the ketchup thing SO HILARIOUS that he has been asking for a ketchup sandwich ever since. Apparently being easily amused is genetic.]

Last night I sat everyone down to handle some scheduling issues, once Otto had returned; everything that I would’ve normally addressed throughout the week needed to be gone through one item at a time. Would this work for Chickadee’s birthday? Could he take Monkey to a make-up soccer game while I took Chickie to the doctor? Etc. The kids watched us work out logistics with something akin to fascination. Truthfully I think they’re still a little surprised every time they get to watch us negotiate responsibilities without rancor.

Once the kids were in bed we puttered about until I insisted Otto go to sleep; he looked so tired it was all I could do not to pat him on the head and tell him I’d be there in a second to tuck him in with his favorite stuffed animal. (He was rather pitiful, is my point.) He finally stumbled off and when I came to bed ten minutes later, he was already snoring.

When the alarm went off this morning, it was clear that he was still exhausted, so I offered to take the kids to school (usually he does it on his way in to work) so that he could sleep a little longer. He thanked me and rolled over and was snoring again in under a minute.

I stumbled out to the kitchen, turned on the light, and opened the cabinet to pull out cups for the kids.

And a palmetto bug scuttled down the cabinet and dropped to the floor.

My distaste for palmetto bugs is well documented by now. But I guess maybe their season (ewwwww… they have a season??) is starting up again, because this was the first one I’d seen in a VERY long time. Coincidentally, we’re just about due for a pest treatment.

ANYWAY. I sprang into action—I ran for the 409 and sprayed that sucker until he was drunk and wandering in slow little circles, and then I slapped a cup down over him. I then used the puddle of 409 to wipe up the floor a bit (just like mopping, but lazier!), and left the cup there and went about making breakfast and packing lunches.

“Why is there a cup here with a bug in it?” asked Monkey, when he came into the kitchen.

“Just leave it alone, please,” I said. “I had to trap that bug because he tried to eat my face.”


“No. Eat your breakfast.”

He sat down. “After breakfast, can we take him outside?” he asked, hopefully.

“We’ll see. EAT.”

Chickadee had a rough morning and it wasn’t until just before we left that she said, “Why is there a cup here with a big bug in it?”


I dropped them at school and came back home. Otto was getting up, and I sat down at my desk to work. I heard Otto walk into the kitchen and stop.

“Why is there a bug inside this cup?”

“I HAD TO DO IT. HE WAS TRYING TO EAT MY FACE. I stunned him with 409 and trapped him and… ummm… now he’s in that cup.” I flashed what I hoped was a winning smile.

“So now I suppose it’s my job to take care of disposal?” His tone implied that perhaps I could’ve handled it, or let Monkey do it, but was nonetheless remarkably patient for someone who is dangerously sleep-deprived and awakens to Roach Patrol.

“Yes, that would be lovely,” I replied. He may have grunted. “DUDE, it’s in your contract,” I added.

“I have GOT to learn to read the fine print,” he grumbled, sliding a magazine underneath the cup and taking it outside.

It sure is nice to have him home again.


  1. Caution

    Isn’t getting back in the routine beautiful?

  2. tori

    I need to have a better contract because somehow I got stuck getting rid of the mice in our house instead of my husband.

    He did take a spider outside for me the other day, but when I automaticall assumed it was his job because he is a man, he said “I’ll do it, but for the record I don’t like bugs either”.

  3. hokgardner

    You’re more humane than I am. I squash the bugs and leave them covered with a paper towel for my husband to scoop up and dispose of.

  4. Melisa

    We had a cricket problem last summer, and the dustbuster became my BFF: just suck up the little offender and dispose of it as you see fit. Of course palmettos may require a full-sized vacuum.

  5. Heather

    HA!!!! During the day – my 7 year old is the resident bug getter outer – and he LOVES his job!

  6. prophet

    oh yeah. . . . I remember once calling my then-boyfriend’s office and insisting he come home to remove an ENORMOUS bug that was stalking me.

    In the end, I had to resort to the technique you just described. Stun and incarcerate, pending disposal by “the man”.

    [see Contract, paragraph 12, section c, subsection ii.]

  7. All Adither

    I like to gently shoo the bugs outside, hand them a little baggie of cookies for the road and, while waving my hankie, call, “Don’t come back now, ya hear?”

  8. Joshilyn


    If you let them OUTSIDE, they make GENEICALLY MUTATED 409 RESISTANT OFFSPRING. They must be mashed into paste, and then the paste burned, and then 1/3 of the paste ashes should released into he wind, while another 1/3 is buried deep in the earth and the last 1/3rd is submerged in running water while you say a Hail Mary.

    In fact, the BEST solution for a palmetto bug is to leave the planet and nuke the house from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

  9. Lindsay

    ewwwwww. I just googled palmetto bug and you mean to say it is a COCKROACH? I think i would have to buy a bubble and live/work/sleep/parent from inside it… or do what joshilyn is proposing. Your cup thing IS too kind.

  10. Melissa

    Yes, what is the deal with the “palmetto bug” moniker? My sister lives in Florida and she keeps trying to pass them off that way. They are COCKROACHES, don’t tell ME, and they want to GET ME.

  11. Em

    I assume if this had happened on Thursday that bug would still have been there Monday morning? I feel this is a safe assumption because that is the onlt sane thing to do, in my opinion.

  12. Aimee

    Um, Mir? Listen to Joshilyn. I’m not even FROM the South, and I know that while most bugs are okay to put outside, not so much with the freaking roaches.

    And Tori? You need to renegotiate his contract. There’s no way that MOUSE removal should be your responsbility. No way, no how.

  13. Cheryl

    Ewwwww. We used to live in Texas and I HATED roaches/water bugs/palmetto bugs. I don’t care what you call them – the bottom line is that they are nasty.

  14. donna

    Eeeeew, I’ve got the shivers.
    We get a field mouse or two nearly every year and yep, that’s in my husband’s contract. (I love that, and plan to use it!)

  15. Sue

    I’m with Melissa. I love how FLYING COCKROACHES are so delicately called Palmetto bugs in the South. They sound so exotic and tropical. The first one I ever saw was in bed with me!

    My better half STINKS at killing bugs – he moves in, weaves and bobs a bit and then gives them plenty of time to get away. So I have to kill them. (I use cleaning products for the initial shock and awe too.)

  16. jennielynn

    I am officially squicked out for the rest of the day.

  17. Tammy

    Hey, where can I get a copy of that contract? My husband refuses to believe anything he doesn’t see in print…

  18. Niki

    Unfortunately the bugs are in my contract. Heavy lifting is in his.

  19. Sheila

    I’m looking at your Google Ads today:
    -Bed Bugs
    -Bed Bugs
    -More Bugs

    and then:

    -School Lunches


  20. Beth

    We’ve actually talked about “THE RULES” and the fact that there are “HIS” and “HERS”. Unfortunately, my husband thinks that if it’s not on “HIS” list, then it doesn’t matter if it’s on mine. Such things as vacuuming are apparently on mine because he can’t even find the thing most of the time. Luckily, mouse patrol is on his…vermin removal should be on every guys’ list…not the woman’s. :)

  21. Shalet

    The eleven-year-old is the bug trapper in our house. Love it!

  22. lizneust

    I am impressed. If it had been me, the screaming that ensued would have roused the whole neighborhood and the police would have needed to be called. Otto should count himself lucky is all.

  23. shannon in oregon

    at least the bug waited until he got home…

  24. Heather

    Haha definitely gotta read the fine print. Funny guy.

  25. Flea

    You’ve got yourself a good man, Charlie Brown.

    What’s this about ketchup sandwiches? As a kid I ate toasted wheat bread sandwiches with ketchup and dill pickle slices. Ketchup sandwiches are GOOD. Monkey might like them.

  26. April

    LOL – I’d find something heavy, smash the sh** out of it, and then flush it down the toilet to ensure its demise.

  27. SoMo

    Maybe, you shouldn’t smear your face with sweetness and they bug won’t eat your face. :)

    And it is in EVERY man’s contract to kill the bugs, why else do we keep them around. Well…there is one more thing, but the bug killing is somewhere at the top of the list.

  28. The Other Leanne

    April is right–the only sure disposal is into the plumbing.
    “Buh-BYE!!! Enjoy your swim!”
    It works for almost everything: moths, slugs, spiders.
    The rat foot, however, I had to put in the garbage. Dang cats.

  29. andi

    I’m with Joshilyn on this one!!

  30. Lindy

    Must be a day for it. This morning I caught a chipmunk in our living room. With a cup. Of course my other half just stood their and laughed at me while I had to dispose of it.

    And as far as roachbugs here in Athens go… they must be smashed into a pulp. Having a manly man stomp on them until you think it is dead isn’t enough. They aren’t really dead, just sleeping. There must be guts. I’d say then put the carcass out for all it’s roach friends to see as a warning, but that would probably just attract ants.

  31. Ani

    Roaches don’t bug me (too much). A nice stomp and they are gone.

    But SCORPIONS?!?! That are not far away in the hot dry desert? WTF?? Who sent scorpions to SC???

  32. Jennifer Morgan

    I had a grad school roommate who employed to cup-bug treatment until whatever boyfriend she had at the time came to visit. In fact, she was quite proud of the fact that she and her college roommates had once called campus security at Hofstra to get a bee out of their room. Can we say Long Island princess?

  33. Vane

    Ewwww … I hate roaches!

  34. elizabeth

    Joshylin is a very wise woman, listen to her.

    today is the day indeed, mine was a mouse. husband wasn’t thrilled when I told him that was his realm. he does well with bugs (along the same lines as Joshylin’s thinking except not the burning and spreading of ashes so much) but his lack of enthusiasm about the mouse makes me think I need to step up for this one.

  35. The Other Other Dawn

    What’s a husband?

    I don’t mind the eensy-weensy bugs we get here in the frozen north much. But ever since the day I decided to clean out the microwave after I’d nuked my coffee and what I thought was a crumb under the edge of the tray turned out to be an earwig THAT WAS STILL ALIVE I usually give them a “burial at sea” just to be on the safe side.

  36. Kate

    haha palmeto bugs are about 10Xs the size of your average ‘roach’ and they fly and bump into you *ick*

    my hubby used to be annoyed with bug duty and was all about ‘equality’ until i explained it is the modern way of rescuing me from danger! he is my knight in shinning armor when he performs bug removal! this went over even better than i thought and now i can even wake him up for bug duty and i just tell him he is my hero and he smiles all proud and goes back to sleep. lol!

  37. Valerie

    Once again, thanks for the reminder that it’s not so bad living in northwest Ohio!

  38. Diana

    I am so glad to know I am not the only one who puts bugs under glass until someone else can deal with it. Ick!

  39. Megan

    Joshilyn left out the obligatory “SQUICK!” dance with sacred recitation of the cat yack noise. It helps purge the evil, evil bug spirits and if performed correctly it takes you out of immediate face-eating range and also (accidentally!) awakens spouse/significant-other/non-bug-bothered-offspring who will then have to deal with the problem immediately.

  40. crazyjane

    OK, yeah, the bugs are gross, but i have an 8yr old who actually does eat ketchup sandwiches. i have also seen him take 2 frozen waffles, toast them up, put ketchup in the middle and eat a waffle/ketchup sandwich.

  41. Shalee

    Whatever you do, keep that contract under lock and key, out of his sight. You can get a lot of things done by him if he never reads the fine print…

  42. Jenny

    I just did the dance and made the noise just thinking about the return of those godforsaken creatures. I’m with Lindy — there must be guts. Although that makes me have to cat-yack again and then I have to burn down the house because palmetto bug guts = WE WILL NEVER BE CLEAN AGAIN. Wow, I can’t wait until it’s warm enough for the rest of the bugs. I’ve almost gotten used to walking through the yard without walking into a GIANT SPIDER.

  43. Mandee

    Another in Joshilyn’s camp! Although I’ve always heard that they would survive a nuclear holocaust, so I think we can skip the nuking the house part. It’s futile.

    We once had a very large specimen try to sneak in front of the big screen TV on which our very special rush video was playing. While the rushees were sitting in their pretty dresses ON THE FLOOR. Our beautiful, calm, cool president just pointed her toe and crunched it, slid it back towards her so no one would see, and never broke her smile.

  44. eiela

    I just had a mental picture of what the sorority rush would’ve looked like had a screamer spotted the bug before your president did. Pretty dresses flying everywhere. he, he, he.

  45. Mama Bear

    I love the “it’s in your contract” line. We use that here at our house all the time! Well, actually Hubby uses it. I just tell him I never signed anything when we got married. So when he says that “it’s in your contract” I don’t have to listen. But naturally he has to listen, and I distinctly remember bug disposer being in his contract.

  46. mama speak

    Ummm, I’ll take my smallish CA bugs thankyouverymuch. Ick. I have cats for when DaddySpeak isn’t around, if we have a bug I don’t want to deal with, I just go find a cat (usually sleeping) and place said kitty in front of bug. Cat’s entertained, bug is dead. Cool.

    My Grandpa (who ate ketchup on literally everything) used to make wonderbread and ketchup sandwhiches. So gross.
    My brother grew up in on yellow mustard and american cheese on wonderbread.
    Surprisingly neither of them have ever lived in a double-wide.
    No, you can’t make this shite up.

  47. Mama Bear

    and Lindy a chipmnunk in your living room? How in the world?

  48. Sara

    Makes me think of an episode of “Designing Women”(Yes, I remember it even though I swear I was only a fetus) where Delta Burke’s character is on a rant and says something akin to “I don’t care. I say that the man should have to kill the bugs!!” I agree.
    Except my husband is an anachraphobe.

  49. Lisa- Domestic Accident

    Lindy- we had a chipmunk in our basement last year. I called my beloved and told him I didn’t care what he had going on at work that day, he had better get home and take care of it. He did : )

    I’m totally green. Until there are things in my house which shouldn’t be. Then I really don’t care what methods are employed. Just get it out of my house.

  50. Deva

    1: When my father was a child, he took ketchup sandwiches to school in his lunch.

    2: My mom woke up one morning before I had school and came in and woke me up. She was going to lift, and apparently a mouse had fallen asleep under her weight bench. It slept through us putting a cup over it and running it to a field. Where it sprang off. Of course, this was all done while I was in a nightshirt and shoes. Oy. Half naked trips down the street in the neighborhood. Every 17 year old’s dream.

  51. Headless Mom

    I’m totally using “DUDE. It’s in your contract,” the next time I call for Headless Dad for bug patrol.

  52. kathy

    Here in the tropics (Caribbean) we are VERY familiar with those giant flying monsters. Your friend is Diatomaceous Earth. Really! I had them CRAWLING on me at night (I KNOW!!!!!) and after DE, I have seen two VERY dead ones and that is all. This, from a high of killing eight one night. The season here is All Year Long, so I’m really confident it is the DE. You can also get boric acid. The DE is non-toxic and won’t kill you, but gets ants and those awful, horrid flying monsters and, well, it is just amazing! And since you live in the US, you can get it without involving a stranger bringing it through customs for you!

  53. Brigitte

    I think I’ve read that ketchup sandwiches were very popular during The Great Depression.

    Besides Joshilyn’s and Megan’s advice, I’d also be compulsively running my hands through my hair and over my clothes for the rest of the day, and accidentally letting out little shrieks whenever I see something small and dark, such as a balled-up sock.

  54. Brigitte

    And maybe sleeping with a pillowcase over my head.

  55. MomCat

    Super 77 Spray adhesive works *really* well. It’s stun and incarcerate, all in one can.

  56. Flea

    Of course I ate ketchup sandwiches when my dad lost his business and we couldn’t afford peanut butter.

    I know it’s not your thing, but with this one I couldn’t resist. There’s something for you on today’s post.

  57. lindasands

    Honey- you in GEORGIA.. ain’t no Palmetto bug… that’s a COCKROACH and well deserving of a boot heel death. By the way, I hear if you spray, you attract them first and kill them second.

    Good luck with that.

  58. sumo

    My dad used to live in Key West and I remember freaking out at the huge cockroach. He told me that it was just a palmetto bug and was harmless. I asked him what the difference was and he confessed that palmetto bugs are a species of cockroach. I think when you live down there it is a coping mechanism to convince yourself that those are just harmless palmetto bugs, not disgusting cockroaches.

    On the plus side, they don’t bite (unlike some other roaches). My dad told me about a large german cockroach that climbed up his leg while he was sleeping and bit his… well, this is a family blog so I guess I shouldn’t go into that.

  59. Cassie

    I hate those nasty bugs SO MUCH. We had them in TX too, and they were the bane of my existence. I will admit, that once I got my cats, I only saw 1 or 2 of them over the course of a year. And both times, my cats happily hunted them til they were dead. Perhaps a cat is in your future?

  60. Pave.Gurl

    looked so tired it was all I could do not to pat him on the head and tell him I’d be there in a second to tuck him in with his favorite stuffed animal.

    … is this not normal? ‘Cos my honey does this routinely for me, complete with teddy bear ‘n all. After he tucks me in, he snuggles me for a bit, and then turns off the light as he kisses me on my forehead.

    Suddenly, I feel very strange about my life.

  61. Angela

    Wow holy moly Joshilyn, I love your comment. And Mir I have to agree with Mellisa wondering what the heck is the deal with not calling these bugs by their names: ROACHES! Seriously, you make them sound not as horrible as they really are. Ewwww.

  62. crazyjane

    we don’t get them palmetto bugs here in MA, but i’ve seen some big spiders. i do the cup thing, too but then i grab the dictionary and put it on top. because you never can tell what kind of super-bug strength they could have.

  63. carson

    In my extended family, which for the most part lives in Jax, FL, we have the Roach Scream. Whenever someone sees the roach, they emit the roach scream. The roach scream is not learned but a secondary reflex to spying one of those things. Ugh.

    Down the disposal with it running. And hope they aren’t named Kafka.

  64. Shannon

    I will save spiders and gently deposit them outside because, okay, they EAT bugs.

    But roaches/palmetto bugs? Those suckers get squashed and flushed.

  65. Shari

    I am laughing so hard there are tears streaming down my cheeks. You all are adorable. Cups over bugs, dictionaries on top, stun AND incarcerate in one can, and the smiling president with an eviscerated roach under her foot. Men may be the ones who are SUPPOSED to do the bug removal, but women do it funnier. And better, it sounds like. I like Joshilyn’s method… very Ezekiel-like. ;-)

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