When I was a little girl, I would spend a good part of my summer day killing flies. They liked the side of the house where the sun would beat down and I'd go out with the flyswatter and kill them. 48, 49, 50............
I'd run in the house and give Mom the casualty count and she'd say, "Good for you. Now get back out there and don't stop until you've killed them all." Looking back, I think she might have been trying to get rid of me.
I'd run back outside and there would be more flies on the sunny side of the house and I'd swat and count for hours. Apparently, I lacked friends.
Even as a kid I hated those things and since getting married The Big Daddy has given me a detailed scientific account of what flies do after they've sat on a poo-poo platter. It's disturbing.
That early experience of killing flies was a precursor to what our first home was like after we said, "I do." We lived in the basement apartment of a complex that catered to students. You could say that it lacked charm but it was cheap and I got used to looking out the window and seeing dirt.
It wasn't long into the honeymoon period that I found out we weren't alone. We had The Cucaraches and they were everywhere. Like my fly-killing days, I'd go on the hunt for them with a can of Raid and spray them to kingdom come or with a swatter and beat them to a smeary mess. Before long, I'd see another one and jump to action with my killing tools.
They never stopped coming in and Mark said he could smell the Raid in the parking lot when he got out of the car.
I would rather lay all night in bed awake than have to go into the bathroom and turn the light on and see those disgusting things scurrying everywhere. We ended up having to put baggies over our toothbrushes because they'd sit on the top of the brush and eat the dried toothpaste.
I was teetering on a nervous breakdown. Eyes darting looking for signs of movement, cans of Raid in every room, calls to the landlord constantly. If this was the married life I wanted out.
The Big Daddy told me to calm my frantic ass down and put down the damn can of Raid. Hell, he said, everything we eat around here is starting to taste like Raid.
Mom, who'd only heard of roaches but had never actually seen one, said he needed to get me out of there - that was no place to live.
We were only months into a year long lease when one night I was awakened by something. I flung my arm over and that something landed in the chest hairs of The Big Daddy and he jumped out of bed, jumped up and down and started screaming.
"I CAN'T TAKE THIS ANYMORE. I CAN'T TAKE THESE SON-OF-A BITCHES ONE MORE DAY. I. CANNOT. TAKE. THIS!!!!! THIS IS BULLSHIT!
He stripped all the sheets and blankets off the bed and was beating them up and down on the floor over and over, and if there was still a roach amongst the percale it was going for a ride.
He went on like that for awhile before he calmed down and we put the sheets back on the bed. All that screaming must have worn him out and he was soon sound asleep. Those summer days of swatting flies had prepared me for that moment and I stared at the walls and counted the roaches..............seven, eight, nine.............until the sun came up.
Within the month we'd sublet the apartment to two unsuspecting students, left all the cans of Raid under the sink and lived happily ever after.