Rodents and insects are a homeowner or apartment renter’s curse. In Brooklyn, it’s hard to find an honest exterminator who will get rid of the mouse problem; usually they just spray some poison to keep you happy, charge you $400 dollars and know you will be forced to call them back in six weeks or so.
When I finally moved to a six floor apartment in a relatively clean Brooklyn building, I was confident that my mouse battles had become a thing of the past. That is, until a little dark mouse startled me in the bathroom at 3 o’clock in the morning. I wasn’t wearing my glasses, but that quivering, darting thing definitely was a small slimy wild mouse.
Some steel wool in strategic spots helped stem the problem, at least I think it did. The occasional centipede could be found on our ceilings and that was nothing we couldn’t deal with.
But with the advent of fall, we were faced with a new problem: roach attack!
It seems like small creatures are impossible to get away from, in city or suburb or anywhere else one could live. In Israel we had small scorpions, in camp huge spiders, in Brooklyn mice and now the roaches. I’m thankful I’ve never seen a rat in a house, they’re common enough in subway stations and sometimes on the street, dead or alive.
So there we were with the roaches, smaller than I initially feared, but aggressively breeding and invading my cupboards. Dishes had to be washed out before use, food packages sealed tightly, roach spray purchased and used frequently. I couldn’t spray inside the cabinets, but any little crawler that ventured out would get a nice dose of the spray. Unfortunately. The product didn’t seem to be strong enough and they kept coming back. I thought roaches were attracted to humidity, so I checked for leaks and dried the sink area. I clean the kitchen after dinner, yet they still see something in that ridiculously small kitchen of mine.
And so it came to pass that on a fine Christmas morning, which to me was just a fine day off, yours truly opened to cabinet to put away some dry dishes, and came face to face with a meeting of the roaches. Angry at my meddling in their affairs, the roaches tried to scatter, but thankfully remained in the cupboard. I quickly got on a kitchen stool and emptied the cabinet, shelf by shelf, placing dishes and containers on every surface in the kitchen. I then grabbed the spray and pressed down, more in glee or disgust I do not know. Ten, fifteen, maybe twenty adult roaches lost their life on this fateful morning, after having dared to invade enemy territory day after day, night after night.
I was not left with a cabinet full of dead roaches and spray fumes, and a kitchen covered in plates, mugs and Tupperware. But I had won the battle.
Who am I kidding? I know it’s time for a new can of raid, and those roaches don’t even know what’s coming.