The Junk Stalker and I have hit the streets with an eye for freebies. Not all that's free is free in every sense of the word though. There are the freebies that are time intensive to fix up and those that will put their hands in your wallet to get them in shape. Then there are those that are not free of pests.
Now, I completely freak out when it comes to roaches, real roaches known as Palmetto Bugs - they are the big suckers that could wrestle you to the ground and win. They are truly the stuff nightmares are made of.
This is a pretty picture of my Frangi Pani in bloom, because who wants to open a post and see a roach staring them in the face?
Maybe you've heard it said that if you see one German roach, there are like, oh, I don't know, hundreds of others you don't see. (Of course, I think they say that about all bugs.) I never truly believed there were that many. I mean we don't have the German roaches. South Florida is known more in my mind for big brown Palmetto bugs, and I concentrate all my loathing there. It's a defense mechanism I keep on high alert at all times (right along with a can of RAID), and there's only so much of that energy to go around. I've never been able to spare even a smidgen of energy for German roach anxiety. Even though my mom always spoke of them with a shudder, I've always shrugged my shoulders at their potential for torment.
Palmetto bugs, on the other hand, can drag you out in your sleep and no one would ever know what became of you. I've had many a near coronary over them since childhood. German roaches always seemed so benign because they don't go into a crazed flight pattern just as you douse them with bug spray like real roaches do. However, I have stopped in today to say...
...I humbly apologize.
I am so sorry.
I was wrong.
German roaches are an abomination, and even though they are unable to intimidate with their looks and their random kamikaze flights, they definitely hold the power of persistence, the ability to reproduce and they also possess mad stealth skills. I have never given full fear and proper trembling to the German roach, never learned to work up an adequate stomach turning or panic attack for this disgusting, sneaky little varmint. Until Thursday morning. I managed to live for 5 decades in blissful ignorance of German roaches, but my days of carefree existence apart from that fear are over. I will never be the same.
German roaches, I now understand from recent practical knowledge, are as much a roach horror story as Palmetto bugs, and I could write a creepy movie plot based on my experiences early Thursday morning, long before the work hour began, when I made a hasty run to a trash pile I had seen the night before. That was shortly after I had already scored this:
I had already snagged the pedestal table as darkness was falling, and since I was not in the mood for a good mugging, I set my mind to getting back to the nightstand the next morning before the sun was fully up and while potential attackers were hopefully still slumbering and not out stalking the streets for unwary junkers. I like to be prepared and keep my guard up. Unfortunately, I tend to sometimes forget about the trouble lurking right there within potential roadside finds. After my experience with THIS, you'd think I'd remember.
My first hint should have been the German roach I saw in a drawer that I pulled out of a big dresser in the same pile that morning. While I didn't want the dresser or it's contents, I did want to salvage a few pulls to add to my ever-growing pull collection. These were unique, and even though they were obviously cheap, they would make a great accent to something someday, especially with a little chalk paint to spruce them up. I don't like to stand at a trash pile and undo handles if I can take the drawers with me. That way I minimize potential gawking from passers-by.
So, I blithely banged the contents of the four big drawers out (with only a slight nagging bug concern) so that the little bug and any companions therein would fall out. Then, in a rush I tossed the drawers into the car on top of and around the nightstand. The Junk Stalker (my car) sped us home so there would be little time for anything to escape into the car. As soon as we pulled into the driveway, I threw everything out into the yard to make quick work of salvaging the handles and cleaning the nightstand. The handles were off in a jiffy and the drawers were at the curb awaiting the trash truck lickity split. Then the truck rolled up and whisked them away. Whew!
However, that "quick work" I intended to make of my finds is now five days in. Thursday morning was just the beginning.
WARNING: Bug picture ahead!
It turned out to my surprise that there were Others all very carefully hiding in the little nightstand too. It appeared they were concentrated behind two little slats of wood that held up the cute slide out thingamajig that gave this piece some added character. I saw a couple little buggers run out, and my heart did a giant plunge. I ran for the Raid and took to overspraying, which is the default response due to years of self-defense in regard to any bug sightings. If a little bug spray is good, a lot is better. If they are immune to poison, maybe I can drown them.
Suddenly The Others began running out screaming "RAID!!" just like in the old commercials from when I was a kid. Then they started dropping like flies. Plip, plop, plunk. 15 in quick succession. I couldn't believe they were all behind that little bit of wood in that tight crack. Long story short, this continued on for awhile with the occasional escapee. Me spraying - them trying to escape - me dousing any who tried to make a run for it.
I sprayed, they dropped.
When I had witnessed the slaughter of as many as I could possibly comprehend could fit behind those two slats and felt well-assured that all were accounted for, I vacuumed up the dead and moved the nightstand to the back yard just to be safe. I had a new appreciation for the old adages about German roaches and bugs in general. As I stated before, I am nothing if not freaked out about roaches. I may not have been raised with a healthy traumatization in respect to German Roaches, but after all, they do have the word "roaches" in their name. That's enough to keep me on edge, and an infestation is a nightmare.
Meanwhile, I had some sort of unprecedented faith and carried on with genuine optimism for my free find's potential. I didn't want to let it go. So I patched the corners and some edges of the top of the nightstand that were a trifle worn. This little thing was looking good and I began considering color possibilities.
That evening I went out to open the drawers and check for dead critters, assuming naively that any remaining holdouts would have slowly ingested the poison and would have keeled over by now, but a few more scurried out with full vigor. What!? I grabbed the raid, aimed for the kill shot and attacked again; they started dropping like crazy while others and even more teeny tiny babies scurried for freedom. They were coming out, off and on, from all sides and every nook and cranny where there could not possibly still be room for anything to squeeze in.
So I sprayed every crack I could see from every angle inside and out and upside down and waited. This meant war. I was not going to be beaten. I wanted my free curbside find. It was too cute and free and in otherwise good shape to leave behind enemy lines, but what a nuisance.
Unfortunately for me, I'm stubborn. So the battle goes on.
All this to say I have done this every day since Thursday. What else could I do? The trash truck came before I could ditch it and it won't be coming back til Thursday again. I was going to give up the first day, but I didn't want that thing anywhere near my house without killing as many as possible. Besides there does have to be an end to them eventually. After all, it's a little bedside table, how many more can there be in there? (Don't answer that!) After all, there's only so many cracks. This is a side table, not infinity. Maybe I still just don't have a complete grasp on the German roach capabilities, but I do know there is only so much crack space in that tiny piece of furniture, and there's the better part of a can of spray (and my life) invested in this "free" furniture. I truly thought I could beat them, after all, what the heck are they living off of in there that they find so satisfying and nourishing? Don't answer that either!...I've already read all about them at Planetcockroach.com. Yes, I really did. I don't recommend it for bedtime reading.
If all else fails and I end up unable to confirm that I've completely debugged the nightstand, it will become an outdoor planter along the lines of this Little Rascal,:I have to report that my Little Rascal went to his grave recently. His previous hard life (and my carelessness in leaving him out in harsh weather for a time) finally took their toll.
So I'll just make the new little liar of a nightstand into another version of the Little Rascal. I call the bug infested nightstand a liar because, well, look at it.
Who'd have guessed the evil lurking within by looking at its well-composed exterior? That's just like a liar, all good looking, smooth talking and full of promises, but harboring secret sins and pestilence.
I will never trust another nightstand as long as I live.
On a happy note, the pedestal table I found prior to the nightstand has had its foibles corrected using wood glue, a zillion clamps and some potted plants for weight to hold the glued spots down when I ran out of clamps.
This simple homebody asked for a yellow and white scheme, what can I say?
We are now in negotiations over the possibility of a graphic on top as well.
I mean, why do things the quick and easy way if I can complicate matters and make myself crazy deciding on and painting designs?
So I have taken the painstaking steps of trying to find the center of the top (and don't tell me how simple it is! You don't know me and measurements.) and concocting a makeshift circle-drawing implement using a compass, pencil and twine.
It was not a rousing success, nor was it a complete failure. Thankfully I was able to partially erase some errant markings. Unfortunately while attempting to begin painting, my jittery trigger finger (over-exerted from four days spraying Raid) went wobbly and I'm not sure I'll be successful trying to adjust the line free form. I should have left the top plain. If I mess it up, I'll have to paint over it again! Bah!
After that, I am not sure what I'm putting within the circle. Can you say Milk and Cream Co.? Well, that graphic is still as cute as ever. I put the Milk and Cream Co. lazy Susan in the middle to give myself an idea of how cute it would be on there if it was enlarged. Of course I like it. Angie at Knick of Time has the cutest graphics. I'm not entirely decided yet, so if you know of a great round black and white and design let me know!
So that's this week's tale, so far. One of them anyway. There are more tales to tell. I'm close to being over the whole German roach thing and I'm wishing now I had caught a lizard or two and locked them in the nightstand for a day -
- like this one on the lookout for food from its perch at the foot of the lovesick frog.
I have a feeling that if the lizards got in there they would have come out so full they wouldn't need to eat for a week!
More to come as I get the table top graphic painted, use up the rest of the Raid and find the time to post my other recent finds.
Stop over and visit these parties this week: