So the inmates are running the asylum

Summer vacation, man. Things are crazy already, and it’s only the second day.

I think tomorrow I’ll be able to direct you to a post about my summer philosophy (spoiler: Now with fewer Give A Craps!), but for today all I can tell you is that we ate all the strawberries we picked last week and we had to go pick some more. Also there are more teenagers lurking around here than I remember giving birth to, but I am a little afraid to do a headcount. Everyone seems happy, so it’s okay. Also we have a lot of strawberries.

ALSO my darling daughter has completely lost her mind discovered her nurturing side. You see, yesterday the Bug Guy came to spray, and while he was out spraying on the deck, a GIANT cockroach palmetto bug ran in through the deck door, and Chickadee decided to rescue it. AS YOU KNOW, I was already planning to burn the house down, but the new resident is making that decision even easier.

“He has EPILEPSY!” she declared. It seems he may have gotten sprayed on the way in. It scrambled his brains just a little. [WARNING: Pic after the jump.]

Meet Phil:

“HIS NAME IS PHIL AND HE HAS EPILEPSY AND I LOVE HIM,” Chickie declared, warning all of us not to touch the glass under which he is currently residing. I am beginning to think that maybe SHE got sprayed while the Bug Guy was here, too.

“You cannot keep a cockroach,” I said.

“I AM DOING SCIENCE!” she answered, happy as a clam, tapping on the glass and probably making Phil completely, traumatically deaf. “PLUS I LOVE HIM.”

Oooooooookay. So, uh, Phil is on our dining room table. (Don’t worry, we eat at the kitchen table.) (Oh, who am I kidding? It’s summer, we eat on the couch or over the sink.) I figured I would let her keep him there for the day.

This morning Monkey peered into the glass. “He pooped,” he observed, ever the master of the obvious.

“IT’S OKAY, HE IS MY PET AND I LOVE HIM AND I WILL TAKE CARE OF HIM!” my daughter said, somehow unable to speak in anything other than all-caps now that she is fueled by COCKROACH LOVE. She gently scooted the soiled index card out from under the glass while sliding a fresh, new one under in its place. Then she got on Facebook and asked her friends if anyone knew what cockroaches eat. My answer of YOUR FACE was apparently not what she was hoping to hear.

So, uh, I hear that Phil might need to enter the Witness Protection Program. Like, he may just pack his tiny little cockroach suitcases and flee in the night. It could happen. I’m just sayin’. Because he’s kind of skeeving me out. Or at least my daughter waxing rhapsodic about how “HE IS SO CUTE AND HE IS MISSING A LEG AND HE USED TO BE EPILEPTIC BUT HE IS OKAY NOW, YES, OKAY, GOOD. HI, PHIL!” is starting to concern me just a little.

I thought I could distract her from Phil for a while this morning by offering her some fruit (this was before the replenishment of the strawberries…), so I left her alone with a small watermelon. Which was obviously a mistake.

Apparently this is (was) Napoleon:

(I think he said something nasty about Phil….)

After Napoleon was dispatched, Licorice said he was DELICIOUS.

So, you know, everything is just kind of… going. The pool’s still leaking. But GET THIS—the guy came to look at it and asked me if I had a hand mirror he could use. I’m assuming he was needing it to look for leaks, not to fix his hair, so I stole Chickie’s hand mirror from her bathroom and gave it to him, and then later we left to pick strawberries, and when we came home it turned out that he broke her mirror but went and bought a replacement and left it here for us.

A broken mirror? Seven years of bad luck, right? Thanks for the replacement mirror and not fixing the leak, I think it’s working already! (Hey, Mr. Pool Guy, can I interest you in a new pet…?)


  1. Angela S

    Ok no. No. NO! Pet roaches? Seriously? I’m puking in my mouth right now. Your daughter has lost her ever loving mind, bless her heart! This is beyond silly teenagers. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night. (shiver….)

  2. Chickadee

    Phil is a Smoky Brown Cockroach and he is super fabulous. He is my best friend because he is a super good listener. He is also really handsome. I MEAN LOOK, HE’S SUPER SHINY. I will love him forever, and he is moving to my room tonight so that he does not have to enter the WPP.

    • deva

      Consider this comment liked.

    • Alison C


    • Kelly

      He’s shiny Mir, SHINY! Maybe coat him in glitter and pretend he isn’t a cockroach?

      • Chickadee


    • Becky

      WALL-E and Hal would approve of this glorious friendship.

  3. deva

    My sister, lo, many years ago (hi sis if you are reading!) adopted a cicada. While we were visiting family in TENNESSEE. We lived in Ohio. The cicada made the trip home with us and lived in a jar for about a week. I think.

    So SCIENCE. It was actually pretty cool.

  4. Little Bird

    They make little boxes specifically for those (strange) folks that want to keep bugs as pets. And cockroaches will eat pretty much anything. But I will warn you that they HAVE been known to bite people.

  5. Katie in MA

    And Chickie is going to transcribe Phil’s guest post tomorrow, yes?

  6. Brenda

    Blech. I can’t even…ugh. I am so squicked out. Because I had a problem with tiny roaches in my last apartment, and I slept with the lights on for 2 months in the hopes that they wouldn’t crawl on my in my sleep. Sorry Phil, but you need to be aware that you would not find sanctuary in my place.

    • Chickadee


  7. Flea

    Pet roaches are known for escaping in the middle of the night. Really. They’re famous for it. Better they escape into the wilds than fly into your face when you’re making a midnight bathroom run.

  8. Tracy B

    Can he breathe under that glass? I don’t know why I’m even asking that…..I have had a lot of pets in my life like turtles, birds, squirrels, lizards but a cockroach would NEVER even come to mind. To each their own, I guess, since Chickie lives with you and not me. :)

  9. Jen S.

    AHHHHHH!!! You must give warnings before you post pictures of palmetto bugs. I am terrified of the things. I have goose bumps just thinking about them. Phil might need to suddenly disappear if you know what I mean.

    • Mir

      I did give a warning before the picture…? But yes, like I said, I think maybe Phil is moving out. If you love something, SET IT FREE. (If it comes back, burn the house down.)

      • Rachel

        Just FYI, when I look at this on my iPhone it says picture after the Jump, but there not a Jump… Just a creepy pic of Phil right there. BAM!! So maybe Jen S had the same issue…

        • Holly

          I’m looking at this on my comp and there was NO jump!! Thankfully pictures of cockroaches don’t skeeve me out…real live cockroaches? That’s another story.

      • Nance

        When I first moved to Texas I burned out the motor of my vacuum cleaner sucking up a palmetto bug with the wand attachment. Why did I burn out the motor? Because the first time I sucked that thing up and turned off the vacuum, it crawled back out. Never one to make the same mistake twice, I ran that vacuum until the motor died and I was sure the damn bug was dead.

  10. Kim

    Right. Because has science determined if Phil is actually Phil? Perhaps he is a Phoebe, harboring lots of now genetically mutated baby Phils. Just sayin’.

  11. Navhelowife

    Ah, well, could be worse. Could be TWO palmetto bugs. Or a mosquito.
    See, if you call them palmetto bugs they aren’t nearly as creepy. I keep telling myself that anyway.
    Apparently we are now in full fledged summer (humidity is rampant here in Greenville) so all the creepy crawlies will be coming out. Fun!

  12. Kira

    Remember when we were talking about your visit? And I said you should bring Licorice? Yeah, well, that offer stands. Phil, on the other hand…
    Chickie, you know I adore you, but your love for Phil is the forbidden kind that must stay in Georgia. Sorry.

    • Chickadee


  13. Zuska

    Mir, do you remember several years ago my darling husband (who is lucky I didn’t divorce him over this) brought home a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach after someone did a science unit on this bug (and they were apparently going to kill them). I DIED ON THE SPOT BUT THEY REVIVED ME.

    Of course, Curly Girl loved him just as much as Chickie now loves Phil. Our Madagascar Hisser was named Andre (after Andre the Giant, maybe, I refused to pay ANY ATTENTION AT ALL). And we knew he was male (Isabella confirmed this, science nerd that she was even way back then), and we also knew there would NOT be any babies.

    Mr. Husband swore Andre would only live about 6 months, and he was in a VERY SECURE plastic cage in Curly Girl’s room. HE LIVED 2 YEARS. And we fed him specially purchased cockroach food pellets (not Raid, no). What are you feeding Phil?

    • Mir


      • Rachel

        Lol! Thanks for the laughs today. :)

        • Brigid

          Not only are you not feeding him, I bet his air is getting a bit thin…

          • Djurdjica

            Uh oh.

            You should hear about the time my father decided that I shouldn’t be so twitchy about huge cicadas.

            He caught two for me, put them in a jar. It actually worked, I was kind of excited about my new pets.

            The next morning, I immediately went to check up on them. Ahhh. The brown one ATE half of the green one.

            After my screaming, dad didn’t try that again!

            Clearly you need to put another cockroach in there. Thunderdome!

  14. Jean

    Ok, I just cannot….no. My husband knows the rule, if a spider or bug enters the home it dies. I am completely fine with bugs OUTSIDE where God put them and they belong but not in my home. The only exception to killing is a ladybut or stink bug, because they are carefully removed and out OUTSIDE the house.

    Omg, i am getting the willies….

  15. Lucinda

    I love that your daughter is now commenting on your blog. Her comments might become as popular as your dad’s. And cockroach? Let’s just say I’m really glad I live in Oregon.

    • CuriousCat

      Wait. Are you saying there are NO cockroaches in Oregon? Because I WILL consider moving there, if that is the case.

      • Karen.

        I live in Nebraska, and previously lived in New Mexico and Kansas, and I had to go to South America to see my first cockroach. So you have options!

      • Lindsey

        There are cockroaches in Oregon, but they’re smaller (like 1/2 an inch-ish) and not nearly as pervasive. I had them in my apartment in college, but got rid of them pretty quickly w/ roach traps and by keeping all food completely out of reach. I’ve lived here most of my life (37 yrs) and that was the only time I ever had roaches.

        Also: my most recent ex’s name is Phil, and now I shall forever think of Chickee’s palmetto bug whenever I think of him. So fitting, and I cannot stop laughing. :)

  16. Crystal Herself

    I am laughing so hard right now. I can’t say anything about the cockroach because I once allowed my daughter to have a real live Madagascar hissing cockroach as a pet for a couple of years! His name was Spike and I was the coolest mom to all her friends, especially the boys. And by the way, he will probably eat fruit, so no wonder Chickadee loves him.

  17. Zuska

    YOU ARE VERY SMART! (there IS something about cockroaches that makes ALLCAPS a necessity)

  18. Zuska

    Would it help if I mentioned that the contained Andre lived in was very secure, because IT WAS THE KIND OF CONTAINER PEOPLE USE TO KEEP PET TARANTULAS IN???? Yeah…

  19. Mandy

    Let’s start an adoption fund for a REAL pet. Who’s in?

    (((shuddering in Indiana)))

    • Mel B

      If we are starting a fund it either needs to be a fill in the pool fund or a help Mir stay sane fund from the annoying pool issues. haha :)

    • Tyra

      I wonder how Licorice feels about this new interloper. I wonder if black fluffy dogs eat palmetto bugs.

      • Cathy

        As a lifelong Floridian and dog owner, I can confirm that yes — black fluffy dogs definitely eat Palmetto bugs!

  20. Angela

    AAAHHHH! Cockroaches make me scream like a little B every time I see one! And I’ve lived in Houston, the cockroach capital of America, my whole life. *SHIVER*. You can’t starve it though, don’t worry. My boss told me that back in the 80s when he was working on vacuum chamber operations to test spacesuits, they put a roach in a vacuum chamber, depressurized it to zero air pressure and the roach flipped over and died. Then, they repressurized the chamber back to sea level and THE ROACH CAME BACK TO LIFE.

    • Sheila

      Oh my ever-living GOD.

    • Ali

      Why would you ever tell the world that? I will never sleep again!

    • CuriousCat

      Nightmare. Or, as Chickie would say, NIGHTMARE!!

    • Chickadee

      I need one of those.

  21. bryan

    Roaches eat paper, so having an index card as part of the containment set up might not work. They can also flatten their bodies and fit any place you can slide a dollar bill. My grandmother told me that.

    • Ali

      STOPPPPPP, you’re traumatizing me!

  22. Amy-Go

    Here’s an all-caps thought for you…ICK. Even here in the House O’ Testosterone, we do not keep roaches as pets…shudder…Mir, I am just a short drive away and I have a guest room. And wine.

  23. elz

    DUDE. NO. Pet bugs. NOT OK. Hear that? Not OK. Blech. {Shudder}

  24. Mary K. in Rockport

    Maybe the seven years thing will work backwards for you and bring seven years of GOOD luck, since your life is sort of through the looking glass already.

  25. Nance

    We have a lot of pets. Lots of them. I do, however, draw the line at keeping bugs as pets. Now granted, we have meal worms in the fridge, and crickets and superworms in my son’s room, but THEY ARE NOT PETS. They are food. For the lizard, not my son (I hope, I’m afraid to inquire too closely). Perhaps Chickie would be happy with someone a little less – gross – than a cockroach. A tarantula maybe? They’re at least furry and kind of cute in a really creepy way.

  26. Jennifer

    I wish I could post a picture in your comments. Of my 4-yr-old daughter holding up two horribly large cicadas. The 17-yr cicadas are out here in northern Virginia, and she is obsessed. OBSESSSED, I tell you. She catches them and plays with them for HOURS. They crawl up her arms and she GIGGLES. “It’s so CUTE!” And then she cries when I make her go inside without her pets. “But the cicada LIKES me. He’ll MISS me!” I can’t even…yeah. I feel your buggy pain. Also the irresistible impulse to use all caps.

    • Chickadee

      I need to meet this child. I think that we would be very good friends.

  27. mamalang

    And we have found the point that the similarities in our daughters stop. My daughter literally had to go to therapy to deal with her fear of bugs, it was so unhealthy, so a pet cockroach would never happen. (Phew…lol)

  28. js

    When we were little, my sister wanted a dog so bad (My Mom was allergic, so that wasn’t happening…) that she kept a fly as a pet out of desperation. She made him a little fly circus, complete with solo cup ferris wheel. I still remember she named him Bob. It was the saddest thing ever. Well, almost :-)

  29. Pamela

    I had a job as a lab assistant once that required me to be able to reach into a cage and pick up large cockroaches. I had to practice for 3 days before I could do it in front of students – there was no way I was going to shriek or barf in front of them.

  30. Little Bird

    If I remember this correctly, a cockroach can live for up to nine days AFTER BEING DECAPITATED. Plus they can live for a week on a drop of regular soda (not diet).

  31. Heather


    That is all.

  32. Cathy

    Just because this is a funny yet disgusting cockroach-related story…

    My parents were coming home from celebrating their first-year anniversary when their car broke down. They got out and started walking towards a pay phone, and my mom kept hearing a “crunch… crunch… crunch” noise as she walked.

    As she came under a street light, she saw that she was walking through a SEA of palmetto bugs — she said you couldn’t see the pavement because of the writhing masses of them. The crunching was her walking on them. She panicked and froze — Dad had to pick her up and carry her out of there because she was literally incapable of moving.

    To this day, 35+ years later, Mom shudders every time she thinks about it. Dad, predictably, laughs just as hard as he did that day!

  33. Jenne

    How about if I just send you M for the summer? She and Monkey will be lost in a Pokemon/Minecraft fog until Independence Day at least. As long as you have white rice, beef jerky and popcorn, you won’t hear a peep from her. Just throw in the pool once a week and she’ll be fine ;)

  34. Nancy R

    I may not recover from “Thunderdome!” Ha!

  35. Brigitte

    I think Chickie’s subconcious is having her do this as a twisted way of expressing her deep, true love for you. For who best to – literally – bug the ever-lovin’ crap out of, than those you love?

  36. Kathie M

    Ummm…probably not what you want to hear, but cockroaches love banana baby food.

    My husband is a bug guy…and he runs a bug zoo for his company for the local children’s museums. And the bugs when they’re not at the children’s museums live in my basement. And over the five years (!!) that he’s been doing this, I no longer do laundry because of the bugs in the basement (score!), but I have acquired an unnatural wealth of knowledge in all things hissing cockroach, preying mantis, asian horned beetles and abnormally large grasshoppers.

    • Cathy

      You must really be in love!

  37. Chris

    This brightened an otherwise dreary day. My no pet rule definitely extends to cockroaches but I loved the stories and Chickie’s responses

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