We were having a perfectly lovely morning at home,

Kids on the Porch

doing the usual routine of “I wanna go outside!”, “I wanna go inside!”, “I wanna go outside!”, “I wanna go inside!” (my kids haven’t internalized the oppressive heat and humidity of an Alabama August and are always so surprised when confronted by it), when, upon one of our trips inside, a very unwanted guest joined us.

A cockroach.

My mortal enemy.

My nemesis.

My one true phobia.

The only thing that can make me scream like I’m being chopped to bits by an Axe Murderer.

(In fact, my husband knows exactly what that scream means. So if I ever am being chopped to bits by an Axe Murderer, he’ll assume it’s a cockroach and come running with a shoe.)

My enemy was clearly dying (he had that drunk stupor about him), but that didn’t stop me from making both of my children jump with my impressive lung capacity.

He stumbled out from under one of the kid’s toys and headed toward MY blanket. The very blanket that I curl up on the couch with every single night as a reward for living another day (and getting the kids in bed.)


I jerked my blanket up off the floor (where certainly one of my children had carelessly left it after using it for a cape hideout or some other such nonsense) and screamed at him to run the other direction.

So he hobbled off (he might have only had three legs) toward the kid’s train table.

I yelled at Ali. “GET A CUP! GO GET A CUP!!”

“Um, why?”


She ran off and came back with a very small bowl. Which meant that my target practice was going to have to be grossly more intimate than that with which I was comfortable.

Somehow all of that passed while he was still on the way across the living room – this roach was clearly a maimed creature. He was crossing under the threshold of the train table when Ali delivered the bowl. I held my breath, furrowed my brow, and slammed the bowl down on top of the Mostly Dead infidel.

And held my breath as I watched to make sure that he was, indeed, enclosed.

I saw his creepy legs and antennas as he explored his new home.

I shuddered.

Ali found that this was a good enough time to question my tactics.

“Why were you screaming about him being on your blanket? I mean, what would he have done to it?”

“Nothing, honey. That’s not the point. You’ll understand one day when your fears fully develop.”

But then I remembered something terrible: I couldn’t just leave him there until Chris got home. Chris’ Mom was coming to keep my kids while I went to the doctor. And a Roach-In-A-Cup is not mentioned in Emily Post’s chapter on The Proper Way To Greet Your Mother-In-Law.

But also, my shame went deeper than that. Chris checked in on me while I was pondering my options, and I shared my true feelings with him.


It’s true. She has more Roach-Killing Skills than any other southern woman, and well over half the southern men I’ve known as well. Heck – Chris won’t even squash one with a paper towel!

I sat on the couch and stared at my prisoner as he climbed the walls, showing me his evil underbelly.

I contemplated sliding poison-laced paper under the edge.

(But I didn’t have any on hand.)

Or throwing him and his container outside as quickly as possible.

(But I don’t want to support the propagation of his species.)

Ali wanted to know what was wrong with me. I explained my dilemma.

She offered to help. “Oh. Well, here’s a baseball bat – it kills things real good.”

I looked at her and her foam bat.

I looked at the intruder.

Finally, I obeyed my husband. I found a manila folder (I needed severe sturdiness at a time like this), gingerly slipped it under the bowl while I hyperventilatingly visualized him escaping and crawling up my arm, then ran to the laundry room, heart beating wildly at the thought of carrying something so intrinsically nasty.

Then I texted Chris back.


But death row didn’t treat him kindly. As I am writing this Saturday afternoon, the prisoner is still in our laundry room, but upside-down-dead in his cell.


I still dare not touch him – it could be an escape ploy.

But the important thing is, my Ninja-In-Law doesn’t know what a complete coward I am. Until she reads this post.

38 thoughts on “Mortal Kombat, Mommy-Style.

  1. No worries hon! I still scream like a baby when I see one and I was born in FL where the Palmetto bugs can get as big as a VW bug!!!

  2. Oh how I feel your pain! They are some of the nastiest creatures and they are fast little buggers! Being from Michigan, I have never witnessed a Palmetto bug. Don’t they fly, too? Eww. Good luck to your husband as he attempts to incinerate that evil insect!

    1. Cockroaches and Palmetto Bugs are the same thing, as far as I can tell. And both *can* fly – if they’re possessed with enough Satan.

      (Or get into growth hormones. Or something.)

  3. This literally made my skin crawl…..I’ve scared Anderson as well when I yelped one day when one crawled out from UNDER THE TOASTER!!!!! I trapped it under there until Hubby could get home to do the killing….*SHUDDER*

  4. I completely understand!! I do not do anything with roaches. I won’t even pick up a dead roach. I have chills just thinking about it!!

    Also, I have some sort of supersonic radar when it comes to cockroaches. Once, at work, I heard a fluttery sound in the corner, near my desk. I immediately jumped up, and called my boss. He asked where I saw it. When I replied with “I didn’t. I heard him!” He looked at me like I had three heads. He humored me by looking in the corner of my desk, and sure enough, a huge, live, disgusting cockroach was waiting on him.

    Another not so funny story – my five year old has this same fear. If he even hears me say “cockroach,” he yells “WHERE?” and runs near me (I’m assuming because he knows I will not be anywhere near it!). This weekend, there was a cockroach on our ceiling. I yelled for help. My mom sprayed the roach with some roach killer stuff, expecting him to fall from the ceiling so she could kill it. She sprayed, the roach kind of fluttered one of his wings (chills again!), and stayed on the ceiling. I yelled, “He’s a flyer!” and she sprayed again. He flew down, and headed straight for my son. He screamed, I screamed, and my mom had to run to the rescue to kill him since he was low. He was some kind of talented. My sister said I should have kept him and entered him in a talented pet contest. “Your dog can do _____? Well, my roach can fly across the room after being sprayed with poison twice!” Haha

  5. First, I had to stop reading this half way through because I was eating my breakfast. So I came back to finish after I was sure my food had settled. Then I steeled myself to finish reading your harrowing tale. I didn’t want to read more, but I figured I owed it to you since you were facing your worst nightmare!
    But there is hope for you in the future! I have the same problem with roaches and an equal or worse problem with spiders (they literally give me nightmares!). I have asked God many times, “Why did you make such horrible things?!?” While God didn’t answer my question, he did provide relief to my fear by providing me with 3 able-bodied bug-killing sons. So train Noah up right, and soon you will have your own live-in roach ninja!
    Death to roaches and spiders everywhere!!

    1. Ali had a fantastic theory about your question not long ago. I was bemoaning roaches to her and asked “Why do you think God created bugs?”
      She immediately answered, “Oh, they weren’t a part of His creation. They were a consequence of sin.”
      This seems completely logical to me. And Eve gets blamed for another one.

  6. Forewarning, this story is traumatizing.

    I had just laid Quinn down to sleep (she was only about four months old and rarely slept in her bassinet, but that’s a different story) when I saw a spider. The body was about the size of a quarter and I freaked out. I HATE spiders, but grew up killing them because my mom has a legit phobia of them. I grabbed some Tupperware that Jarrod had left on the floor and a magazine and did what you did with the cockroach and tossed it in the toilet. Then a million babies floated off it’s back. I quietly flipped my lid and felt so grossed out. I’m SO glad I didn’t squish it. I’m getting itchy and squicky again just typing it.

    So, I understand the cockroach thing.

  7. I live in Canada, and at least in my part of it, it’s too cold for roaches! I guess that’s one benefit to winters that are routinely -20 degrees celsius or colder!

  8. Oh, I SO feel your pain. I am terrified of ALL bugs, and have done that panicked I-must-get-rid-of-this-thing-before-it-kills-me routine more times than I care to remember. Watching one of those little scenes, my husband asked me what I was actually afraid of; did I think the spider was going to suddenly grow to giant size and murder me? Yes, dear. That is *exactly* what I am afraid of. And all of those legs.

  9. *shudders*
    Ugh, I hate roaches. For the most part, any bug that is in the house, I will get my dog to go after. She will usually flip it around in her mouth until it’s dead.
    Freaks me out.

  10. One of the benefits in living in a cold climate! I am not afraid of them at all, but I’ve never killed one either…I can just imagine the amount of crunch that produces! One year there was a grasshopper invasion of some sort in TX and I mean these guys were huge. Grasshoppers 4-6 inches long. I’ve never seen anything like it. My (boy) cousins took GREAT delight in jumping on them and shooting “juice” out from under the sides of their shoes while us girls yelled/squealed our displeasure. SO gross.

  11. EwEwEw. I’m so like you. I can’t stand them.

    That night when I asked you where the hairspray was located is because I couldn’t kill it with a shoe or paper towel. Or any bugs for that matter. :p

  12. I’m that way about spiders. As for smashing cockroaches…a landlord told me once that they carry eggs in their body so if you smash them with the bottom of your shoe you are then depositing eggs everywhere you walk after that. He didn’t tell me because I had done so, but because my neighbor just had…with her bare foot!

      1. Ok…this I dint know..
        I am the Ninja-cockrach-squasher kind of person.. They creep me out but I really realllllly really hate when they touch anything that belongs to me… so when I am done screaming and running away from them.. I suddenly turn towards them with a shoe.
        I think i need to be nicer to them now and just catch and flush them off,.. its worse to have one cockrach alive .. i am definately not letting any cochroach babies get on my shoes.. Eww, Super big eww.. (off to disinfect my shoes now.. )

  13. Ohhh no! My husband catches them with paper towels too! I hate it, I always yell at him (usually from across the room, where I am perched on the arm of the couch) because in my opinion the only way to ensure death is to hear the crunchy-pop noise they make. gahhhh I can’t even think about them now I’m paranoid that one is watching me and plotting to fly into my hair or something :(

    1. I don’t want to hear the crunch, and I also want to believe they’re dead even if they escaped my husband. The rule is: LIE TO ME. Tell me he’s dead.
      But then I usually ask, “are you lying to me or is he REALLY dead?” And he offers to show me the carcass, knowing that I’ll decline. It’s a good system we’ve got going.

  14. It seems as if we cockroachaphobes are in good company!
    My first solo experience with a cockroach happened more than thirty years ago, but it is as clear and shudder-inducing as if it were yesterday.
    I had recently moved into an ancient house fashioned into five apartments. I know YOU can imagine my horror when one day upon returning from work I found a horrible, crawly, monster creature (hereafter referred to as: the awful thing) in my bathtub. I truly was frozen with terror. When I finally could breathe, I closed the drain and filled the tub with scalding water. The awful thing swam happily in his hot tub as I proceeded to hyperventilate. I had heard that awful things could survive nuclear explosions, so what could do? What did I have that was going to be more powerful than that?!
    I ran to the kitchen and found an old sherbert container with a tight fitting lid and a pair of oven mitts.. I scooped up the awful thing, mid-backstroke, and popped the lid on in the fastest move I have ever accomplished–except for that time I fell off the curb at Barnes and Noble. . . The awful thing waved his thanks at my thoughtfulness for his new sauna. I kept on the sopping oven mitts so as to keep as much space between the awful thing and my flesh., and contemplated my next move.
    Then in a flash of brilliance I knew: The FREEZER! I tossed the sauna into the freezer and kept the whole thing there for the next five days until garbage day finally arrived. Anyone can go five days without opening a freezer, no problem, but I did eye it suspiciously every time I passed the kitchen., Eventually, Thursday arrived and, wearing my now dry oven mitts, I tossed him into the garbage bag (he wasn’t moving, but he might have just been napping), along with any food the contaminated container might have touched. I don’t know if he died, but if not, I am sure he had a long happy life in the far away land of landfill.
    I was very proud of my handling the whole situation in such an independent adult fashion.

  15. I have used the trapping method quiet a few times. The most recent time, my boyfriend was in from out of town and sleeps on the couch in mine and my roommate’s house! I woke up and was getting ready for work in the bathroom when I saw something big and black fall past my head in the mirror. I froze because I knew exactly what it was. I leaped over it and out the door and ran to the kitchen. I grabbed this yellow cup off the counter and went back to the bathroom to trap it. After he was in the yellow cone of shame, I proceeded to get ready. I kept a close eye on him though. When I looked back and the cup was gone, I almost had a heart attack. The thing had MOVED THE CUP!!! I placed the shampoo bottle on top of the cup and weighed it down after that. When I started to leave for work, I walked to the living room, gave my sweet boy a kiss, and instructed him to kill AND flush the demonic creature when he got up! The scariest part about the trapping method is when you go back with your dad for him to kill AND flush the one in your room… And it’s Gone!!!! Doom Doom Doom!! I still don’t use the yellow cup, even if it’s the only clean one in the cabinet!!

  16. I was trying to figure out where in Canada has no roaches (here in Ottawa Ontario we have temperatures ranging from +35C to -35C and we definitely have roaches; thankfully never in my house!)

    Anyway I learned three new facts:
    1) Some roaches feed on living human eyelashes, especially children
    2) Crew on some freighters wear gloves to bed to prevent roaches from eating the skin under their fingernails
    3) Australians keep giant ones as PETS

    You are welcome :)

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