Sweat, Tears and a Bottle of Non-Streaking Glass Cleaner

Hey, friends! All these hours I’ve spent sitting working at the dorm offer ample opportunities to write scintillating narratives of my life for you. So I’m back with the most frightening account yet. Put on your seat belt, and, if you want to make it through, put down that bowl of cereal you’re eating. Trust me.

Now, before I go baring my soul to you in what is actually quite an embarrassing confessional of what I’m not capable of, I have to sort of tell you all the things I can do. You know, so I don’t lose any self-esteem points. For example, when Janie finds mold (it happens), she can start to shriek and I will clean it. I will also harbor a 4.7-second-long grudge at the roommate who forgot her strawberries in the fridge.

If you, right this moment (or in seven minutes after you finish reading this post), were stricken with Stomach Issues, I would, without a doubt, be able to hold your hair. Promise.

I can change a dirty diaper like it’s my job. I blame this joker.

Macy, the next time he rolls his eyes at you, picture him this way. It works, I swear.

Moreover, I can ride roller coasters. I can dodge stomach viruses (seriously, I have the immune system of Bubble Boy inside his bubble.) I can give blood, and scrub God-only-knows-what-this-was and wipe snot from tiny humans’ faces. I can.

What I cannot do is kill cockroaches. And I guess that’s why this story is about to take a (melo)dramatic turn.

It began the other night when Gracie was still in Tuscaloosa. I had my toothbrush in hand, with all intentions of brushing my teeth and going to bed within the next three minutes. Until I glanced down. And I’m sure you didn’t see this coming, but there was a bug. And he was running across my bathroom floor. So I did the most appropriate thing: I began to scream like I was in the movie Scream. (For the record, I have a history with bugs like this one, and Gracie knew from the pitch of my screams what had happened, so she didn’t even come check on me in case I had found a 200-pound murderer instead of a cockroach.) Then I ran out into the living room and confirmed her suspicions, throwing several “I can’t do it”s in with the story. She had no pity on account of her own bug-filled past and my refusal to aid her (I can’t do it.)

So I decided to go back in. I donned my rainboots, lest the creature get up the nerve to attempt to touch any part of me, grabbed the Windex to weaken my opponent and headed back into the ring. Except I froze: I got a foot from the doorway and I stared into the bathroom for a good four minutes, trying to convince myself that this was just a bug. I can clean toilets without blinking an eye! But it wasn’t happening. I could not make myself go in there. And when he ran out from under the rug, I thought for sure I was going to lose it— it being my dinner— and so I left the scene and took refuge in the living room. I may or may not have cried. Gracie may or may not have giggled. I really did try to go back in, but I couldn’t figure out if it was worse to have a bug or a pile of vomit, so I jetted in, grabbed my necessities and went to Janie’s room to spend the night. I hear rumors that Gracie tried to find the bug after she heard my screaming from cockroach-infested nightmares, but no dice. Still, that’s why I’m friends with her.

Gracie went home and I spent hours praying that the bug went back to wherever he came from so neither of us would have to die. But if that had happened, I probably wouldn’t be writing a blog post about it, would I? I wouldn’t because a blog post that ends here would be a tad more embarrassment than I’m willing to dole out on myself in one fell swoop.

Yes, I saw that bug again. And as I stared at him, I reminded myself that I was a good 234 times bigger than he was. The fact of the matter was that I would win the fight. So I jumped in my rain boots, grabbed the Windex and took a deep breath. I threw a bottle of hairspray to wound him, sprayed half a bottle of Windex to weaken him, and then I did it. I squashed him. I nearly lost my nighttime snack, too. But I did it. And then I picked him up in half of a roll of paper towels and apologized that it had to be this way. He should have stayed where he came from, you know. I felt prouder of myself than I had in a long time.

Seriously. And I thought all was well, and it was. Until last night. Yes, I bet you guessed this, too: There was another one. In my bathroom. I went back and forth between believing that I actually dreamed the part where I killed it, that he had come back from squashed-bug land or that there was, in fact, a second cockroach. This time, though, I was ready. My rain boots were waiting, the Windex had never even been put away and I was already saying my good-byes. And I did it again, this time without the panic attack, though the experience did, ahem, squash my appetite for a post-run snack, which was something I’d been looking forward to.

I have to say that these grown-up moments have taught me a lot of things: What I’m capable of, for one thing. That I can do all things through Christ, for another. And finally, when life hands you bugs, you must have your rain boots waiting.

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