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If It's Not One It's Twelve, or a Million

I will let you know up front that this post may be revolting.  It might make you want to hurl.  If you don't think you can handle the grossness, then please head on over to a nice blog like I Heart Faces, or Miz Booshay (she sometimes writes for PW's photo blog and has a fantastic, sweet blog of her own) where you can find happy smiling faces and lovely words of encouragement. 

This is your last chance...

Okay, tough guys.  You're in for it. 

I have twirled this post around in my head all day.  There are so many angles I could take.  I think I'll just start at the beginning.  Actually, the beginning I already went through...the roach in our bathroom.  And you know what?  Just since I'm being honest here, that wasn't even really the beginning.  The very beginning of this particular portion of my tale was a couple of days before that, when Christian came upon a roach in our kitchen; it was on its back, dying.  Not fast enough, let me tell you.  After that incident I called the company that we have come treat our home for these horrible pests (oh, that is not a strong enough word, but I'll leave it be) and we set up a time for the guy to come back and retreat.  I mean, re-treat.  We didn't want him to leave, no sir, we wanted him to stay!  And take care of these ------- for us so that there could be peaceful sleeping once again.

Here is a little backstory.  We live in Dallas.  We happen to live in a very nice part of Dallas, too...I'm kind of embarrassed to say that there are homes in our neighborhood (most of them, in fact) that are worth $1,000,000 or more.  We could never afford to buy here...we are just blessed to live in a house that the church owns.  We benefit from living so close to work (and every other thing that we do except go to the store.  And get gas, I guess.) and they benefit from having a pastor live in the house.  Otherwise they rent it out for the value that the area dictates.  So...fancy neighborhood...but the thing is, the roaches don't care.  They don't care if you have a million dollars or not.  They don't care if you are a good housekeeper or not.  They don't care if your yard is landscaped by professionals or not.  They just want to party in your house like it's 1999.  And that is why we have a roach problem. 

I can't believe I'm telling you this.  IT.  IS.  SO.  DISGUSTING.  Please don't think we are very dirty.  In fact, I heard once that roaches are the cleanest animals on the planet, and that they constantly groom themselves.

That was a bit overboard, wasn't it?  I really did hear that, but you probably didn't want to hear that.  Sorry.  Now you're sucked in, though, right?

So.  This morning I was going to take care of a few things before the guy came to check out what the problem could be.  It had been a (wonderfully) long time since we had seen any roach activity, and so for two to show up like that (and they were big...not babies) meant trouble.  I was standing in the schoolroom and Eliana just happened to be right next to me; for those of you who love all the little details, I was getting ready to put on a new pair of pants and as I looked down to put one foot in the leg I saw a dark spot right at Eliana's toes.  My eyes focused on that spot and I'll be a bootlegger if that spot wasn't a roach creeping right up onto her foot.

I cannot tell you.

I screamed and picked her up quickly, making the roach jump and turn the other way.  It ran over to the wall and hid there.  It had better, because it knew what was coming.  Oh, yes, I sprayed that nasty thing just like I did the other one. 

But it wouldn't die!  It kept moving!  Up the wall, over to the corner, up the little chair that I had folded up near the wall.  I may or may not have called it a bad name under my breath. 

It finally felt the effects of my attack, and flipped over; this was the sure sign of impending death.  Hallelujah! 

But boy, did the house smell like bleach!  I know.  It's terrible.  I am a bad person for polluting the air, and who knows what else, with the toxic chemical...but as soon as you figure out how to rid the world of this particular evil, then I will put my bleach bottle away and not touch it again.

Until someone pukes...then I'm getting back out.

There was nothing for me to do but get the kids out of the house.  I called Mike at work and told him the predicament:  the toxic fumes, the dead roach, the guy coming.  He told me to leave (I think he felt really bad for me that I actually witnessed a roach CRAWLING ON MY BABY'S FOOT) and he would take care of it.

And so I headed out and went to two of my favorite places in the world...


Yes, I was just there...but I've said it before and I'll say it again.  Desperate times call for desperate measures. 

Everyone was fairly happy to get food and have lunch, but when I pulled into the Target parking lot, Christian's enthusiasm waned.  So much so that he told me he hated shopping!  Can you believe it?  But not Michaela...she loves to go to Target. 

That girl is as happy as a clam.  A glam clam in front of the cam with that necklace on she's such a ham.

I'm silly, so I had my camera with me.  It had the telephoto lens on it from our bird-watching, but I was smart enough to bring the bag with my other lens and big fatty flash, so I switched the lens out and took a couple more pictures.  When I put the regular lens on, Eliana said,"It's the little one?  Is it mine?  Can I have it?"

Goof.  She even held out her arms so that I could give her my camera.  I guess if it's little it belongs to her.  She is two, after all.  I don't know how I keep forgetting that everything belongs to her.

Now.  Christian loves having his picture taken almost as much as he loves to go to Target, so...I present to you "Fruit Face"...

We finished up lunch and went inside; there was much fun to be had...

I got some things for myself.  A lot of my tops don't fit anymore; it seemed to be a combination of shrinkage plus the old style which made for shirts that were too short.  I also am never able to find a nice top to wear to church.  Not that fitting in is that important when you go to church, but I do want to wear something nicer than my cotton t-shirts.  The ladies here tend to dress...well, pretty nicely.  Boutiquey.  Nordstromy. 

(I have to try things on, but I am looking forward to dressing up again.  I think it will be fun.  I also got a pair of Chucks.  Not high-tops, but brown low-tops.  I am excited about those too.  Aren't you glad to know that?)

(Chucks always make me think of my college roommate.  Hi, roomie!)

We headed back home once I was finished torturing Christian perusing many of the fine products that Target displays for eager shoppers like myself.  We got to the house just as the bug guy arrived.  We had just enough time to grab Michaela's piano books, run her up to the church (all one block!) and then scoot back home; I circled one more block because there was a detour to get to the back of our house where I park.  Once I got inside I found Mike and then asked him if the dude was still around. 

Mike said he was already gone.  I was like,"What?!  That was so fast!  What did he do?"  Mike said,"Well, I guess I'll have to tell you."

That sounded like nothing but good news was coming my way, don't you think?

Since this is getting a wee bit long (like eight paragraphs ago...are you even still reading this ridiculous story?) I am going to talk fast, so listen up...

Basically, in the time while I was gone, three more roaches showed up in our bathroom-he killed them all.  The bug guy showed up and figured out where they were coming from, went down in our cellar (yuck, yuck, yuck-not the laughing kind of yucks there, folks) and sprayed a NEST he found and I think he sprayed down there in general, too.  And then he left.  All in the time it took for me to run Michaela up one block to the church and circle back home!  But he took care of the problem, at least for now.

Of course, when you spray roaches, they COME OUT TO DIE.  Why?  Why can't they just curl up and take their final breaths in the privacy of their own stupid nests down in the bowels of my house?  Oh, I know!  It's so that I have a final story to include in this blog post.

Michaela suddenly began yelling,"Mommy!  Come quick!"  I, being the highly intelligent woman that I am, deduced very easily what her yelling was all about (just based on the rest of the day, you know).  When I got to her in the hallway, Eliana was with her and Michaela told me that Eliana had said,"Look, there's another one!"  This time it was kind of a small one, the baby looking for all the grown-ups that had met their maker already.  We all watched it move slowly, it was feeling the effects of the poison; it headed toward our stairs.  I felt frozen.  I wanted Mike to come and work his magic once more.  I really don't like killing them.  It actually had enough strength to head up one step.  As it neared the top of the stair Eliana said,"It's going upstairs!"  It didn't have a chance to get very far, though, because I summoned my hero, Mike, and he came to my aid with his handy-dandy roach annihilator (his shoe...have you seen his shoe?  It's a pretty serious weapon.) and...

the roach was toast. 

But not the kind you eat.  This is what the girls thought of the idea of eating the roach...

Yeah.  We're one in a million, folks, one in a million. 

One family in the middle of a million roaches, apparently.  But we'll take care of them, even if it's one at a time. 


It's About Maggots; You've Been Warned

We made it out to the playground today...I ran into a friend while picking Christian up from school, and she and her family were going to play for a bit outside, to "run off the wiggles."  I told her I would meet her over there shortly, went home for Eliana's shoes (I was carrying her-it's faster sometimes), and soon headed back out to the park that is on the other side of our church. 

It was a balmy day; it felt tropical here.  We all thought that any minute the skies would open up and the rains would come, but they never did.  But it wasn't so hot that we didn't want to be outside, so they got to run around with some friends and burn off some energy. 

This park lies next to a creek (it's a bit bigger than a creek but it isn't a river, you know?) and the kids love to go down there and feed the ducks, or just get dangerously close to the edge where the grassy bank goes down to a cliff-like dropoff which, of course, goes down to the (really nasty) water.  There are a couple of ledges also built in to the ground, almost like steps made out of dirt and stone which run all the way down the length of the creek until the small dam just before the road.  I'm sure none of this is easily pictured.  At any rate, the kids discovered some dead, maggot-filled fish rotting on the lowest of these ledges. 

Lovely, no?  I'm sure that's what you were NOT expecting me to write. 

They thought it was so fascinating to see them; maybe not to smell them, but they would not stop looking.  I could not stomach such a thing.  I can hardly stand to look at the meat from the grocery store that I am about to prepare when I make dinner.

Christian was running around with another little boy playing some game and had not been informed about these fish.  I had Eliana on the swings and slides and other areas of the playground, far away from stinky, rotting animals. 

Suddenly, there was Christian over near the ledge, without his shoe on, and one of the other kids was running around yelling to all the moms,"Christian stepped in the maggots!" over and over.  Christian stepped in the maggots?!  How on earth did Christian manage to step in the maggots?  Which means he stepped in dead fish.  Oh, how did he do that?!  I grabbed Eliana up onto my hip and headed over to where they all were, excitement and disgust all over the place.  Another mom had Christian's shoe in her hand, very gingerly holding it by a little tag on the tongue.  She handed it to me carefully, sympathetically, and after confirming that I had nothing to put it in, she went to grab a plastic bag she had on hand.  Generally, when I walk the block to the park, I don't take extra plastic bags in which to put dead-rotting-fish-maggot-shoes in.  I'll have to make a list and be sure to put that at the top.

I was going to toss the shoes, because right now I don't have hot water hooked up to my washing machine (leaky connection), and it was just too overwhelming to think of how I would handle such grossness.  In my kitchen sink?!  Yes, just before I get the pork ready for dinner!

My friend told me that I should not throw the shoes away, but that she would wash them in very hot water at her house and get them back to me.  Is that sweet or what?  My friends here know about my crazy germaphobia, and are supportive and (more than) kind.  At any rate, I gathered my kids together and told them we were headed home for showers...I felt all creepy-crawly, whether or not in reality there was a single thing on me other than all the regular billions of bacteria that hang out on my skin all the time.

I must say that poor Christian was a bit traumatized by the whole thing.  First, he was down on the ledge that is right next to the water.  This is a no-no.  In his six-year-old excitement over the dead fish he went down there with a couple of other boys to have a look.  I will never get this, but...that is what they do, isn't it?  Even the girls wanted to see it!  Blech.

Second, and more sadly, he was worried about the maggots.  I missed what happened right after he stepped in or on whatever he did.  I don't know what other kids said, for example.  However, as I stood there holding his shoe far away in front of me, tears sprung up into his eyes and he said,"What if they eat your brain?!  What if they eat my brain?!"  I blinked and my eyes got very big and I thought to myself,"What did those crazy boys say to him after he did this?"  Who knows.  It might be his own mind that came up with that one.  I looked at him and tried very calmly and with great sensitivity to tell him that that wouldn't happen because I'm not dead and he's not dead.  Maggots only eat dead things.  This conversation went on for quite a while...but I had pretty much expounded on all I knew about maggots already (they eat dead things); there are a lot of things I don't know about maggots.  I'm afraid it was very unsatisfactory for him in the end and left him with the proverbial more-questions-than-answers.

I got some laundry started right away and we all got cleaned up, which I think made everyone feel better.  I called Mike to give him a heads up on how upset Christian was about the maggots, and how worried he was.  He told me he was planning on coming home soon.

He came in shortly after that and handed me a pile of papers and said,"Read this."  I looked at the first page and saw a picture of a bunch of maggots and thought to myself,"Seriously?  Gross."  I started reading though.  It was an article from a couple of years ago on the medical value of maggots.

I KNOW!  You can't believe it.  Or maybe you already knew this.  It's weird, but apparently true.  I'm also reading that it's going on over in never know what those nutty Britons are going to do next.  But they didn't come up with this maggot therapy.  It's actually centuries old.

Now, they don't just use any old maggots; they breed and sterilise them.  They are used to get rid of dead tissue in/on/around wounds and they leave healing skin behind, and alone!  Amazing little creatures, aren't they?  It seems to be more cost-effective as well as more successful than conventional antibiotics. 

I think this is God's way of helping me take one more little step.  One minute I think my head might explode because my son has stepped on a dead fish full of maggots.  The next minute I find that maggots are not only not going to hurt him (or me!) but are actually used in hospitals in some places. 

So be it, but I'm not so sure that I could undergo this particular kind of about the skin crawls.



I wasn't sure whether to put this in the quote section or with the regular posts.  I guess I decided in with the regular posts, eh? Michaela called out to me yesterday that Eliana was poopy, so I picked her up and started carrying her into my room to change her diaper.  She held out her hand and said,"Eee-you."  I heard,"Ewww."  As in, yuck.  I looked at her hand and saw this... I quickly put her down and tried to discern what this brown blob was in her hand and if she had managed to pull it out of her own diaper.  Much to my relief, I discovered that it was just play-doh.  Hello!  She had told me that..."Ee-you."  Of course.

If It's Not Cheese, It's Poop

Okay, okay, I know that isn't true or else this would be one weird world, but it seems like this kind of thing is a recurring theme, no? 

If I were to lean over, is this what's on my head?

At this point you may be wondering what I'm talking about.  Or you may know exactly what I'm talking about.  It is this...yet again, I have been pooped upon.  I know!  Can you even believe it?  This time it was a bird.  On my shoulder, and in my hair.  Yuck.  My stomach turns just thinking about it. 

Some of you may be thinking,"How can that gross her out so much?  Didn't she just put a picture of her daughter's poopie on this website?"  Yes, I did.  But it's so, so, so different!  I am not related to the bird, the bird did not grow in my womb for nine months, I did not deliver that bird into this world and nurture it for over a year.  And the bird, obviously, has no regard for me. 

I'm trying to figure out what lesson I'm supposed to be learning.  Humility?  A love for all creatures regardless of their actions?  A little perspective adjustment?  I'm sure all of those things are true.  Am I thinking about it too much?  Probably. 

I think in heaven there will be no cockroaches and other animals will know how to use a toilet. 

Won't that be wonderful?


WARNING: Read at Your Own Risk-May Contain Offensive Material

I could tell Eliana had to poop.  The stop-in-her-tracks, the face, the squat.  I looked at her, like I most always do, and said,"Poo poo?"  She looked right back, stood up straight, and ran (she just started this little running thing) through the house to our bathroom.  She had a long dress on (from church), so I was trying to unbutton the back of it to get it off for her and she stopped and let me do that.  Then she marched on over to the toilet and pulled at her diaper, looking up at me like,"Now what?"  I got her diaper off and set her up on the seat and plop went a little poo.  She looked at me with a funny little smile. 

I have to be honest, once I got her on the toilet I could tell she had already pushed the poop out, but it did fall into the potty.  And I thought it was pretty cool that she knew exactly what I meant when I said,"Poo poo," and that she trotted right on to the bathroom.  I'm not looking to potty train her next week or anything (I like potty-training about as much as I like feeding my little ones solid food until they're, like, 3).  It's funny, though.