Tag Archives: cockroaches

I Done Been Bugged: A New Era

We like to think We Get It.
We’re all big-hearted people that grasp other people’s adversities — yada, yada, yada.
The trouble is, a lot of us don’t talk about our adversities, so how could you possibly grasp what you’re not even aware of?
I’ve been really bitchy for a while now, and it’s only in the last couple weeks that some of that has begun to evaporate. The trouble has been a few things, and I’ve sort of been sitting on it more than talking about it, because sometimes talking about it just doesn’t fucking help.
In fact, when it comes to cockroaches, talking about it makes it worse.
I’ve never understood pest problems, or why people lived in shitty buildings, or how you could sit idly by while your situation worsened and worsened.
But then it happened to me.
About five weeks before I blew my back out, in September ’08, I saw my first cockroach. I cleaned everywhere, but they kept appearing here and there as a result of a garbage-collecting Dumpster-diver on the first floor (fucker). Then I blew my back out and had to live on the floor for about six weeks as they escalated in numbers.
The last 22 months were an endless battle.
Honestly, I’m not sure I would have moved had I had the money. After all, once you get a cockroach infestation, I mean, geez — have eggs, will travel. You’re best to stay put once you get people working on the problem.
Right around then was when my bathtub faucet started to malfunction too. Naturally, having a hot bath’s a bit of a necessity when you have a back problem brought on by fucked-up overtense muscles.
For the last year, I’ve been running a bath by using the shower.
Then there’s the decaying kitchen floor.
It’s been a really fucking long two years — just on the “around home” front.
See, I don’t write about money and shit very often. It’s not really your business how I live. But here’s the thing: I’m pretty smart about how to live The Appears-Good Life on a budget. I buy cheap wine that isn’t lighter fluid, I know how to make little pieces of meat go far in tasty brilliance, and I buy a few “quality” ingredients to give me the impression I’m living it up.
But what I’m really doing is living very cheaply in an expensive city. I don’t buy clothes, go to fancy salons, or any of that jazz. Life hasn’t made income very disposable for me. When I eat out, it’s usually because others are treating me or because I’ve budgetted two weeks ahead to afford that dinner-and-a-beer.
And that’s the way it goes. It’ll continue that way now that I’ll be returning to school to learn basic business accounting and other self-employment skills for the next year, too, while I journey down the Working-for-Me future.
So when it  comes to “home life”, it’s really important that I like where I live — because I’m financially, & writing-hobby-wise, required to stick around a lot.
This spring, the cockroaches reached the worst point ever.
They began escalating in February.
By the end of May, I’d now had a couple cockroaches in my bed (clutched one under my pillow one night), had them crawl on food, and other horrifying things — all for someone who’s had a lifelong terror of bugs.
Despite 18+ months of persistent problems, I’d never had them outside of the kitchen or in any kind of numbers like they’d now become — and they had full reign of my home, invading every corner in a matter of weeks.
I couldn’t invite people over for shame I’d have a roach run up the wall in front of them.
In my part of the world, cockroaches are NOT common, and there’s a stigma attached to having them. And the fucking people who say, “Why don’t you move?” ARGH!
Like it’s that easy when you don’t like what you’re dealt. Just pick up and go? Not everyone’s reality allows these things, and a little more empathy and less judgey “Well, gee, that seems easy to solve” sanctimony would go a long, long ways.
You want to bankroll what life requires on my behalf? No? Then don’t fucking ask why I didn’t move. Because: Money.
Well, I finally learned the laws and realized I had a very, very easy time to file an official complaint about the state of living. At the end of May, I called City and reported my building, then I called my landlord and informed him that, NOW, I wasn’t working, and NOW I had the time to make his life a living hell if he didn’t stop making mine one, now that he had 6 months to get started on it. I said I had a very, very strong desire to fulfill that threat, and a REAL GOOD way with words when it came to writing letters to politicians and shit.
Unbeknownst to me, because of the cockroaches, an inspection happened immediately (without notifying me of entry, thanks!).
Two days after, pest control was begun throughout the entire building for the first time!
Three weeks later, I saw my last roach. It’s been nearly 2 months after pest control and the last week or two has finally seen me begin to fall asleep without the last thought before I shut my eyes being of all the cockroaches I’ve seen, or of grabbing one as I flopped over and stuck my arm under my pillow in bed.
Yesterday and today, my landlord has begun to repair my complicated bathtub problem.
Next month I get a new kitchen floor.
I wish I’d gone to the city sooner. Thank you, City of Vancouver.
We think the government doesn’t give a shit, or that the system will never help us, but all we’re doing is just removing a possible solution from an otherwise grim outlook where we need ALL possibilities to be explored.
This morning, I was telling a friend about how much life in The Time of the Cockroaches sucked, and I got all emotional and began tearing up and gasping.
I hadn’t realized what a burden it’d been and how cynical it made me of life and people while I fought and fought for resolution to my problems — but I fought in the wrong direction and went to the wrong people.
Fighting the fight isn’t good enough.
Fighting the fight requires it being the right kind of fighting, and against the right opponent. It means knowing where to turn and what you need.
But, mostly, it requires you believing you’re in the right to pursue that goal.
I became outraged at the end of April, flew into a rage on the phone, but with the most calculated and well-thought series of viable threats I’ve ever strung together.
And now I await my landlord’s return with the Final Parts so that I may once again bathe with pleasure. And without hot water dripping from a shower.


We do things wrong.
And things go south.
And, if we’re lucky, we learn a lot about ourselves in the process, making a difficult experience not have been in vain.
I’m lucky. I’ve learned a lot. I know what to worry about in life now, I know when life kinda sucks for realz. I also know I’ve only scratched the surface of what others endure. Yeah. I’ve learned a lot.
Don’t think you know what people are living with. You often haven’t got a fucking clue. Lord knows most of my friends didn’t.

There Can Be Only One: Steff Versus the Roach

If I ever needed me a man-slave, tonight’s the night. He could do me a little cleanin’.
My ever-so-brilliant landlords are this major conglomerate from back east. “Back east” is what we disenfranchised forgotten West Coast Canadians call Ontario, which is sort of east but hardly East, since a couple thousand kilometres of country flank it… on the east. We also call it “The Centre of the Universe” in a sardonic kind of way.
A little Canadiana for you. You’ll take it and you’ll like it.
These stupid conglomerate asswipes hired this dumb-ass bimbo to be the property manager. I’ve made it my mission to kind of get her fired, but they just never bothered. Until she illegally broke into a neighbour’s place to look for his drug stash to implicate him. (An accountant. A neurotically perfect accountant who’s as quiet and respectful as they come. Who smokes pot. And drops ecstasy to get freaky with his girlfriend. Yay, freaky! Otherwise… he’s an accountant. With a treadmill. Ooh, lock him up! Beast!)
My complaints about the millions of shortcomings didn’t go far. Neighbour’s complaint packed a little oomph. But the final straw, it would seem, came when they had to evict this strange, strange old stanky man she had rented to, despite the fact that he wore horrible old clothes, had one of those wispy “you should shave that thing” beards that never has enough hair to qualify as a “beard”, who smelled like trash… because he LITERALLY was a dumpster-diving guy who carted everything home with him and had an apartment literally full of garbage within the month.
He was evicted within six months. And a monster 15-yard disposal bin was needed to cart away the shit he left behind.
I’m three-and-a-half floors up and behind him. The bugs have reached my place just a few weeks after his eviction. Nine years I’ve been here, and the first time in my life I saw a cockroach was last night. On my kitchen counter.
I may be a dirty girl, but I’m not that dirty.
I’ve cancelled my plans. It’s quality time now for my friend, Lysol, and I. We’re tearing apart my kitchen, washing every single dish (but not with the Lysol! and I have an eight-piece setting because I could once afford to throw dinner parties, sigh) and cleaning the cupboards, and huffing chemicals…
Because I LIKE LIVING ALONE, MOTHERFUCKER. I WILL pay this price. You are univited, Mr. Roach!
Back off. You encroachin’ dis girl’s space. Yo ass is mine!
Meanwhile, since I’m quite the nervous nelly around bugs (but once I go Clint, man, there’s no turning back) I’m fuelling my death-search and sterilization quest with rye and coke.
In the meantime, I just want to say:
I guess there’s about eight or ten people who normally comment on this blog, and then no one else ever. I like comments. More importantly, I like to hear from readers that there’s a point to all these unpaid hours I spend blogging for the fuck of it, so when I had a new reader write me to say they heard of me in this posting tonight, and I read it, it made my roach-searching heart go pitter-patter and feel all warm and fuzzy. And I don’t think it’s the chemicals.
So, if you like my writing — or any blogger’s writing — you really should say so sometimes. Writing sometimes is like oral sex. Sure, it’s usually appreciated, but it can be awfully dark and lonely work, so a little encouragement goes a long, long ways.
Now. I have a little going-Clint to do here.
So you gotta ask yourself one question: “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, roach?