For the uneducated, palmetto bugs are ginormous cockroaches prevalent in the south. Although they can't hurt a person - as in bite or sting - they are hideously ugly. They are the size of bald eagles (only a slight exaggeration.) They make clicking and hissing noises. They fly. They are the stuff of nightmares. MY nightmares.
I know the only way to get over fear is to confront it, but I can't bring myself to (wo)man up. On the contrary, fear of confrontation with one of those creepy critters holds me hostage in my bed at night when G is sleeping. I won't get up go to the bathroom, no matter how badly I may need to. If I can't sleep, I'm sure every sound I hear as I toss and turn is evidence of the enemy just lurking around waiting for an opportune moment to make my heart stop beating. Before entering a dark room, I snap on a light, pause, and scan walls, ceilings, and baseboards looking for any hint of movement. And if I see one? Well, in a pitch that can wake our deaf neighbors, I scream, "G--------!!!"
Of course, G isn't always immediately available to deal with my irrational hysteria. On one occasion I spotted one of the monsters in the ceiling housing of our kitchen's florescent lights minutes after he'd left for work. I turned on the light (hoping to fry it) and positioned myself where I could keep an eye on it for most of the day. I called G to explain why the light would still be on when he got home in the wee hours of the morning. At some point during the night I awoke to noises coming from the kitchen, and knew G was removing the corpse. The next morning he shared the skin-crawling news it was still alive when he removed the housing panel, and it fell on him. I had to take a shower.
My most infamous p-bug face-off was The Battle of the Cockroach. G was gone, it was evening, and I was sitting at the kitchen counter finishing dinner. My sixth sense prickled before I actually spotted it moving along the baseboard. I sprang off the bar stool and grabbed a can of Raid while the dogs beat feet for safety. I sprayed sprayed sprayed as it moved first one way and then the next. Suddenly my feet lost traction on the bug spray-coated floor and I slammed down on my chin, but all I could think of is I am eye-level to a cockroach! I pulled myself up, ran for the broom, and came back swinging violently as it tried to escape into the next room. When the battle was over, I eyed the corpse, the slick floor, and the broom with its now-dented metal handle and all its plastic parts broken off. Then I walked several houses up the street to where my nearly 80-year-old parents were watching TV on their porch. Through the screen door I announced, "You need to come over for a drink." My father cleaned up the carnage, while I washed the kitchen floor.
Once, after my mom had come over to remove an offender from my shower, it occurred to me that when I am 60, calling my 90-year-old mother to come kill a bug for me would be beyond ludicrous. And G can't stand guard over me every minute. The disgusting creatures come with the perks of living in a semi-tropical paradise. I am seriously looking for that retirement home...in Maine.