Published in the Long Island Advance
May 8, 2008
From the corner of my eye I saw it slowly lumber across my living room floor as if it owned the place. Rolling gait, antenna sniffing the air, it was a 350 million year old dinosaur living in my apartment, and it completely unnerved me!
When thinking about moving to an urban area it was not crime, or my initial inability to use public transportation and not get lost that made me just a little fearful, it was bugs. I hate bugs, even the ones that are supposed to be good for the environment. Tolerating them is about the best I can do and looking for a means to get rid of them, like my shoe, is usually my first response.
In the years I spent driving all over Long Island as a service coordinator I‘ve been in many homes, some in better condition than others. On one particular home visit I sat perched on the edge of a chair watching the roaches walk down the walls and scurry across the floor toward me. I was completely horrified by what appeared to be an army of them, all heading in my direction. Wanting to appear unafraid I calmly stood up, figuring my ability to see them and step on them would be increased if I had a better vantage point. In hindsight “the army” was maybe ten, but let’s face it, if you’re seeing ten roaches in one place; chances are there are a whole bunch more hiding in places you can’t see. Often times for me what I can see in my imagination, is far worse than what the reality is. In the case of roaches though, I’m sure my imagination was underestimating.
Knowing that roaches are common in New York City and have not only survived, but thrived since the age of the dinosaurs, I decided to just not think about them unless I had to. Not thinking about them lasted about three days, then for weeks I obsessively did nothing but think about them, talk about them, wish my cat would hunt them, and look for shoes to kill them with.
I spent weeks researching remedies to solve my bug problem. Having the exterminator come was out of the question because of the cat. Svetlana, one of my coworkers, suggested egg yolks, mixed with Boric Acid and some water, then formed into little balls and strategically deposited throughout the apartment. I boiled the eggs and bought the Boric Acid, then hemmed and hawed about it. How big should the balls of egg yolk be exactly? How much Boric Acid was enough, or too much? Would my apartment smell like hard boiled eggs, and most importantly, would my cat Bandit think that perhaps I had left little Deviled Egg appetizers spread about her new home as a treat? Little by little while mulling all these questions, I peeled and ate the hard boiled eggs.
The solution to my dilemma was not an hors d’oeuvre, strategically placed about my apartment. It was as simple as going to the grocery store to buy those little roach motels. It’s been three months since I’ve seen a roach and for a little while, I was breathing easier.
My latest bug scare goes by the name of “bed bugs,” an even creepier menace. It is not comforting to know that they’ve been around probably as long as roaches. I have spent a ridiculous amount of money on products to stave them off after having heard from one of my neighbors that “they” might be in the building. I will now discretely apply dust in the form of diatomaceous earth to the crevasse and corners of my apartment, as well as some sort of environmentally friendly spray I bought. I’ll wrestle my mattress and my futon cushion into protective covers, and hope for the best.
Who would have thought years ago when I was adding diatomaceous earth to our pool filter, or making Deviled Eggs, that one day I would be considering using these very same ingredients to exterminate real, or imagined dinosaurs from my home? Not me.