what lies beneath.

I have hesitated to tell this story, for several reasons.

1. You’ve already heard me talk about roosters, rats and raccoons. What more can you take? I mean, really. I don’t know if I want to start setting a precedent here.

2. It was one of the most traumatizing experiences of my life.

3. It really scared the crap out of me.

But, hey. Aside from #1 above, aren’t #2 and #3 the makings of just about the perfect story to tell the world? I‘ve already told you I peed my pants, so let’s do this thing:

Last November, I planned a family trip to Hawaii. It was my mom’s 60th birthday and she had just finished breast cancer treatment so we were all in the mood to celebrate.

It was a large group: my mom, brother, his wife, their two children, John and I and Olivia. We wanted to stay together and naturally, we needed a pool.

I love pretending like I know what I’m doing, so I offered to coordinate the details.

Not gonna lie: it’s kinda high-pressure to plan something like this for a large group, especially for a stress-job like me. There’s really no way around feeling personally responsible for everyone’s satisfaction, even if some things might be out of your control.

So anyway, we get there and the place was good enough. Nothing to write home about, but it was large, there was a fridge for the wine I mean snacks, and it had a pool.

So far, so good.

Fast forward to the first night. The kids are all tucked away in bed and the adults are sitting around the kitchen enjoying a celebratory cocktail. Laughing, and laughing, oh the good times.

Pretty soon, we start to peel off, one by one, headed for bed. The last four standing were my mom, my husband and myself.

And the 4th person standing?

Well, it wasn’t really a person so much as a big, huge, black cockroach in the middle of the kitchen floor. Except he wasn’t standing so much as darting mockingly across the room like a demented version of the Gingerbread Man. I for sure heard him shout, “Hee hee, you can’t catch me!” as he scurried under the table.

Well, we DID catch him, with a Solo cup and my screams, and kicked his little crunchy butt to the curb, aka the toilet.

Oh, was I shaking. A) I had never seen a cockroach in real life. We live in the Pacific Northwest, people. We have slugs. B) Fear and panic that I had just checked us all into the Roach Motel and we were only on NIGHT ONE rushed through me.

This was going to be a long night.

In the next scene, we find ourselves in bed. I am just dozing off when I feel something tickling my hair. Surely I am dreaming but I’d better do a cursory sweep of my head just in case AND WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT??? I SWEAR I JUST FELT SOMETHING CRAWLING IN MY HAIR!!!!

No, no, love calm down. Says John. Go back to bed.

I frantically rush around, looking for the light switch, and when I finally find it the glaring spotlight is cast onto ………………… THIS: 

Right about now I am picturing all of you saying, “Yeah right, Melisa. Good one. You are just joking. Ha ha.”

Oh, what I wouldn’t pay for this to be a joke. The only discrepancy between the photo above and the actual nightmarish scene was I think the real cockroach was bigger.


Ready for what happened next? As soon as the light came on, he darted back down behind the bed. And then, guess what? Oh, that playful little trickster! He darted BACK UP onto the bed! And not just the bed, but MY PILLOW! Oh, for the laughs.

I’m pretty sure this is what he said to me:

Come back tomorrow for the exciting conclusion! You know you want to…

On tonight’s to-do list? A scalding hot shower to try and wash this memory off.

What do you have planned this weekend? I’d love to hear from you!

14 thoughts on “what lies beneath.

  1. Oh, I hate cockroaches. I live on the southeast coast and those giant “Palmetto bugs” are everywhere! This winter was very warm and they’re practically taking over the place. I’ve had one crawl on me in bed, too. It’s a traumatic experience.

  2. Sister, I feel for you – have a similar Maui condo story involving geckos! From then on … Only certain resorts with 3rd story floors or higher, no problems since. 🙂

    • You know what is even worse? When the roach gets into your suitcase and you bring the little bundle of joy home with you. Yep. It has happened (a South Pacific little bugger, no less). Think of the total anxiety that comes with that: did he have friends? did he move in? maybe he was a she and had babies? This is my nightmare – and now part of my OCD behavior. All suitcases are zipped, anything that can become a shipping container gets closed and all clothes, etc are off the floor. I would be fun to travel with, huh?

      • Ha ha – of course you would! Sounds like we have a lot in common when it comes to traveling. 🙂 Was it ALIVE when it came out of your suitcase??? Inquiring minds.

      • I’m not sure where in the PNW you live, but I live in Vancouver, Canada and we have had cockroaches in our apartment building. Always fun turning lights on in the kitchen to see how many I could stomp on, hit or otherwise smash before they disappeared!

        Don’t ever want to see another one again!

      • Ugh!!!! I think that cockroaches, head lice and bed bugs are going to be the Last Critters Standing when the world ends. We live on Bainbridge Island but we went to WWU in B’ham for college and loved spending time in Van!

  3. OMG Melisa! I have been to Maui more times than I can count (it was so easy from CA, I miss it now!) and that has NEVER happened to me. BUT, I do feel your pain. When I was a grad student in Baltimore that happened to me on more than one occasion (stupid student housing!). It’s a hot night, no AC, the skin is tingling, you think it’s a bug, but then try to convince yourself it’s your sweat evaporating, turn on the light–ROACH. It still creeps me out! We have some big scary bugs here in NJ but so far I have not seen a roach.

    • Ugh!! Why did I have to re-open this memory in my mind?? 🙂 Now I can’t stop thinking about it!! Sorry it’s happened to you, too. I better go write part 2 so I can put this back into the vault. 🙂

  4. When I was in Texas I had an ant crawl in my ear while I was sleeping in bed. It woke me up of course–all that wiggling it did in there. My husband thought I was crazy. I ended up drowning it but couldn’t get it out which made me think I was crazy for imagining it all. Well, two weeks later what comes out of my ear on a q-tip? An ant. I had a dead ant in my ear for two weeks! I felt a mix of horror and relief–horror because I had a dead ant in ear for to weeks and relief because I wasn’t crazy and didn’t imagine all that wiggling (although maybe imagining it would have been better?). I slept with cotton in my ears for the rest of the time we lived in Texas.

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