R3sid3nc3 W!th ACK L@dy

There was a bug in the bedroom.

I don’t mean a mosquito, or a pesky fly. I mean there was a huge, black, antenna’d, angrily protesting bug in my room whose sole purpose was to terrify me. If I were to make an educated guess, I’d estimate he was about 16 feet long.

I first saw him last week, when I entered the room to put clothes away. I keep the door shut to my bedroom, because Steely Dan eats clothes,

fuk yew

and there’s a giant walk-in closet in my bedroom, a walk-in closet the beige-loving person who owned this house before me added. Despite the 10 years it’s taken to eradicate the brass-n-beige extravaganza in which she left this house, I could kiss her flush on the mouth for that yeah-you’re-charming-with-your-1950s-touches-but-fuck-this-postage-stamp expansion of the closet.

Anyway, to me it’s a convenient walk-in closet. To Steely Dan it’s a smorgasbord. So, door shut. At all times.

The normal cats used to love to go in there and sleep under the clothes, on top of the suitcases, so they were completely hidden. There’re also shelves of linens, perfect for curling into a furry circle and purring. And it’s the warmest room in the house, as she added a heat vent, the Beige-Lover did, for that small-ish space.

But all that’s done now. Because at first I’d see SD in there and think, How cute. He loves the closet too. And then every item I pulled from there was Flashdance.

So the room was dark when I opened the door a few days ago to put clothes away, a day that was as tragic as the clothes-putting-away scene in La Bamba.

As I made my way to the closet, I thought I saw some…scurrying.

“ACK!” I screeched, and looked nervously but didn’t find anything. I hung the clothes in the closet, one eye cocked to the side, like a flounder. Looking out the side of my head for whatever scurried. Had it just been one of my many hallucinations? I certainly hoped so.

As I made my way to leave the bedroom, there he was. On the wall. It was like someone had mounted a black horned boat to my wall–you couldn’t miss him.

“ACK!” I screeched, and when giant bugs report back in their Giant Bug Newsletter, they must describe my house as R3sid3nc3 W!th ACK L@dy.

Bug talk.

I started at it, horrified, my hand to my throat as if any second it could leap over at me with its bug shiv.

It waggled one antenna at me teasingly.

“ACK!” I screeched as I shut the door.

Look. I’ve lived alone now, excluding my year abroad, for five years. I’ve learned how to take off doorknobs and put new ones back on. I’ve learned minor dishwasher repair. I can snake a drain and pay all my bills. But I cannot deal with bugs. I cannot. If they’re on the floor, I am happy to drop a dictionary on them and then pounce on said dictionary several times and leave the book there for, oh, nine days.

I literally make the bugs eat my words.

But if it’s on a wall, no.


You can’t make me.

So, I did what any adult would do; I shut the door to the bedroom and slept sheetless, in the guest bed with Edsel. For four days. (Because the sheets are in the closet. Of the bug room.)

O happee day.

I also threw Iris in there, in the hopes she’d just murder it. It was my version of free extermination.

I had clean clothes in my dryer, so I lived off those for several days. Hey, who needs that bedroom, really?

The other night, I flicked on the bathroom light, and?


GODDAMMIT HE ESCAPED. HE ESCAAAAAAAPED. And I only have the one bathroom.

Could I move into the Y temporarily? Could I get a gun? I thought of Scarlett O’Hara. She did murder. She must have been almost as scared of that Yankee as I was that bug. Couldn’t I get myself together? Vomit a radish and gather up my strength?

Finally, it dawned on me. I could buy bug spray! It wouldn’t be pretty, but at least I could kill it from a distance, as Bette Midler would say.

As I was on my way to get bug spray later that afternoon, I saw it. Dead. In the living room. He’d given up the tentacled ghost on his own, and all I had to do was wait him out. I got up my nerve and the vacuum, and swept him up, ACK!-ing the entire time.

I’m back in my room now.

I can’t wait till winter gets here.

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At one point, I was sort of hot, in a "she's 27 and probably a 7" kind of a way. Now I'm old and have to develop a charming personality. Guess how that's going.

87 thoughts on “R3sid3nc3 W!th ACK L@dy”

  1. I have been chased from my home by bees, scorpions, and roaches. I refuse to smash bugs. The pop is enough to gag me. Worse, I’ve stepped on bugs that crawl into the tread of my shoes then on my foot. I will spray bugs with carefully placed spray, or in a pinch, suffocate them with lotion. Today, my second graders had to save me from a roach. I’m so glad to hear you survived your creepy invader!


  2. No way I could sleep with that bug on the loose. Thank God you found it dead.

    Late one night I was letting our dogs back inside and a huge bug came in with them. It ran behind a big cabinet in our dining area. I tried to get down on the floor to reach under there and kill it, but I was pregnant and my belly was so big that I couldn’t do it. My husband was asleep and had to be up at 5 a.m., so I hated to wake him. I knew I couldn’t sleep with that bug in the house though, so I started crying. I woke him up and told him I needed his help killing a bug. Bless that man because he got up, killed the bug, and went back to bed. He never complained or mentioned it afterward.


  3. I do not like the bugs. I made my husband vow–like a wedding vow–to kill the centipedes. This applies to ALL TIMES, even when I am not present. He also sometimes misses and they they are so quick that they get away entirely. That is when I move out. Ew-ew-ew-ew….

    I am so impressed with your strength. Bravo.

    And Edsel, oh, my goodness. That picture is simply adorable!

    Lovely post, lovely June!


  4. This post reminds me…just be grateful that you live here and not in Texas. Back there we had these GIANT bugs that were horrifying. Not only where they horrifying the could FLY! And they were everywhere – no house was safe. I can’t tell you how many times I was ready to just burn the house down and walk away.


  5. Scared you sheetless = comment of the week.

    Also, I had a witty and enjoyable comment to post, but it lost all of its oomph while I was battling WordPress.


  6. I’m glad I have a bug-killing cat machine. Just call out, “Finley, bug!” and he comes running for a bug snack every single time. However, he will not eat a spider, so I just spray those, or smash them with the fly swatter. While repeating over and over, “Ew, ew, ew, ew, ew, ew!” Too bad I live in Florida in the woods. Where every single kind of spider that ever existed lives.

    One night, my husband called me over to the window where he was shining his headlamp out on the grass – and HUNDREDS of glowing little eyes were shining back – spider eyes. I don’t go out of the house at night.


  7. Oooh, I love love love this post, probably because it is ME. I do the dictionary thing too, and leave it on the THING for days and days (to be sure) and also scream and leave my house for sometimes a day or two. Or move into the other room. Spiders I can handle but the big palmetto bugs (giant cockroaches) we have here in FL, can FLY. So if you think you are safe………..you are NOT because they will FLY right at you. With a shiv.


  8. Your beautiful picture of you and Edsel made my day, June. Now back to bugs: We used to have a little vaccum cleaner (is that old? Like saying “tunafish sandwich”?) with a special function especially useful in the years when wasps were trying to build a city in one of our walls. We used the hose attachment to suck them up, then plugged the attachment into a hole in the back of the machine. The hot air circulated until it got to a certain temperature and then shut itself off, cooking the wasps (Baked Bees) so we didn’t have to spray noxious chemicals into the bag. I loved it. Now if there’s only one at a time, I can kill a wasp with a fly swatter, and a shudder. What I can’t deal with are mice.


  9. Now that I’m off the floor, I wonder if hair spray is effective with ants. I’m not afraid of bugs, I just don’t want them in my house. Right now we are fighting to keep those stink bugs out of the house. As soon as you open the door they are right there trying to fly inside. Then when they get inside you can’t find them, only smell them! We had a big writing spider just outside our back door and we left him there for days. When I changed out my flowers I had to move him and he has never returned. I was a bit disappointed. Now, snakes are another story.

    I didn’t realize you bought your house from Paula.


  10. Love how you dealt with it all by yourself , without calling a certain someone to come kill it. Kudos.


  11. Nope to bugs, spiders, etc. Just nope.

    I was doing some heavy-duty yard work on Sunday clearing out a bed of Pachysandra and raked up a snake. I threw that rake down and ran back inside the house where I spent the rest of the day. Ok, I did come back out to take a picture to send to my husband because I TOLD him that Pachysandra was snake-y.

    Lovely post, June.


  12. I’ve become almost ruthless in dealing with bugs and spiders in the house. I came close to a heart attack when a giant and I mean GIANT spider found its way inside the house. Thankfully, it was on the floor when I pounded it flat, shuddering the entire time. Me, not the spider.


  13. My youngest is so afraid of spiders that she freaks out at even the word. So they have been renamed ‘pencils’ in our house. So now I get “Mom, would you please come in her and kill this pencil?” I agree about it being much easier to squash them on the floor than on the wall. The worst for me is when they are climbing down their thread in the middle of the room, because I can’t actually squash them, I have to catch them up in tissue and run to the toilet to drown them.
    I’m proud of you for putting on your Helen Reddy pants.
    Lovely post, June.


      1. My daughter is terrified of spiders, too. I blame my mother. She loves the word “arachnophobia.”


  14. If I agree to kill all of the bugs, may I build a fort in your closet and hang out there for a few days? You said it’s warm and there are soft things to sleep on, which is perfect for a fort. I’ll bring my own books and snacks. I’m pretty quiet, so you won’t really notice I’m there.


  15. Oh. Em. Gee. I can’t handle big bugs and the cats would rather watch them like it’s the finest kind t.v. Luckily, I have large feet and flip flops at the ready. I’ve also been known to take out pinky mice who made the mistake of being bornded in the wrong garage. A new game — Whack a Pinky. They don’t scurry very fast, though. Hilarious post and great pictures. And no, I don’t need to see the bug. It’s much bigger in my mind.


  16. I’m so sorry that bug scared you sheetless, June. We are being bombarded by those frickin fruit gnats. I find myself slapping my own brains out while trying to eat my morning banana. I watched the clip of La Bamba and I snort-laughed when she threw that sheet. (I loved that movie and I probably cried the first time I watched that scene decades ago) June: turning our tears to snorts since 2000.


  17. Bugs are the worst. My old cat Stanley who looks very much like Ned Kitty does these days, use to be in charge of dispatching bugs, but he passed that job off to our younger and feistier Maizie. Thank God for the cats.


  18. My son and family live in a condo in a pseudo (concrete) warehouse. The littles get all excited and worried on the rare occasion when an insect comes visiting. They act like a bug is a sign of the coming apocalypse. Kids, it is a fly! I grew up on a farm. Insects in the house were frequently, almost hourly or minutely, swatted. However, I don’t think I could handle those huuuuge cockroaches some of you have! (((shudder)))


  19. I woke up with a scorpion in bed with me once. I didn’t sleep for 2 weeks. Also, in Texas we have the giant tree roaches. I hate those things. I can’t squash them because they’re so big it’s like killing an animal. But I’m terrified.


    1. Scorpions are why I can’t ever live in the southwest. They scare the crap out of me. I can handle pretty much anything else, but scorpions are creepy!


  20. Add me to the vacuum method of dealing with bugs. I add a step if the bug is alive, though. I sprinkle some Sevin dust on the floor and vacuum it up so it can finish off the bug. Living alone is a pain when it comes to dealing with unsavory critters.


  21. I have used the hose on the vacuum to suck up bugs. Then I put the vacuum outside and hope the bug dies of suffocation or heartache. You’re so brave, June!


  22. You typed in “bug speak.”

    That may be the best thing I’ve seen in forever. I have no idea why that makes me so happy but it was a riot!

    Also, the nine days of dictionary killed me. If I kill a bug I worry his friends will come looking for him and want to avenge his death. That’s why when I buy bug spray I figure SCREW THE OZONE I’M USING THE WHOLE CAN. Maybe it will still linger when his cousins get there to avenge him.

    Way to be independent, June! Lovely post!


  23. Over the weekend we saw a cockroach that was so big we could have thrown a saddle on it. Local friends said it could have been some other kind of bug that lives here. I forget the name but I’d never heard of it. Anyway, this bug looked exactly like a cockroach and was easily 4-5 inches long. My husband tried his best to kill it but it got away. Hoping one of our 4 cats killed it.


    The comments look different today. Did you do something?

    You are full of random knowledge, like the fact that flounders can look sideways with one eye.


      1. A show I used to watch (Pretty Little Liars. No, I’m not ashamed) would refer to what was supposed to be Facebook as “Website Page.” As in, “Did you check out his website page?” “Oh my God, Becky, did you see what she posted on her website page?”

        My point is, that’s how I refer to this here Not Blog. June’s Website Page.


  24. There was a time when I was so afraid of bugs I would vacuum them with a long handled stick. Then I realized it was probably still alive in my vacuum cleaner so I would put the vacuum outside. Now that i have lived alone so long I can tackle most bugs and even come to like some of them. Hey I am lonely. Anyway, the only thing that gives me the willies are cockroaches and I have not seen one for decades. I scoop up mice the cats have killed and flush them with aplomb.


  25. I, too, love the picture of you and Edsel. That dog loves you so much!

    Here’s my bug story. I went out to my car one day to leave to go shopping. I noticed what I thought was a beautiful green leaf on my hood. Upon closer examination I determined that it was some kind of bug (a katydid, my daughter later determined). I left it alone, thinking it would fly off as I got going in the car. That bug hung on the hood for about eight miles, most of which was on the freeway. When I got to my destination, I noticed quite a few birds flying about. The katydid finally flew off towards some bushes in the parking lot, and those damn birds flew over and ate him! Bastards!! I was just sick, after all that bug went through to get where we were.


    1. Speaking of bug eating stories, I went to Bolivia on a missions trip some years ago. A very large, very beautiful moth/butterfly (bigger than a man’s hand) was hanging on the stucco wall just minding its own business. A college aged boy on the trip was determined to move that beauty and kept poking at it with a stick until it angrily left in a huff and flew off into the distance only to be eaten in mid air by a parakeet! I felt so sad for the moth. But I guess, birds’ gotta eat too. Le sigh.


  26. I once had a black crunchy bug crawl across my foot in a parking lot and I had an honest-to-gawd hissy fit right there. Crying and squealing in tones that only dogs can hear. That was 25 years ago and I still remember it VIVIDLY.

    This post made me laugh until I cried. Thanks for getting my ab workout out of the way for the day (like I was ever going to do an ab workout – ha!)


  27. Bug talk! They must use those giant antennae to send signals to other bugs.
    I don’t own any hairspray, but have become quite adept at hitting six and eight legged critters with rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle. (It’s probably best to avoid smoking while doing this.)
    Sweet picture of you and Edsel.


  28. So funny! I am tryng to do yard work and am freaked out by all the fall spiders out there. I don’t kill them because I know they are good. And this time of year they are all spinning webs for you to run into. Yesterday just sitting in my bathroom there was a giant spider. I got a shoe and smacked him and there was no scurrying, thank God. One time a camel spider came all the way from the basement to find me. This was in my mother’s house, not mine. I would have to move.


  29. Love the picture of you and Eds. He clearly loves his mom and feels safe and secure with you. Such a sweet picture. Really.


      1. Whenever I see “Sigh” I remember how whenever Peppy LePew was chasing the pretty French cat, she would say “Le Sigh.” Because. French.

        So throw a hand on your brow and “Le sigh.”


      1. Yes, strong and independent. You are doing well. All the fixing and painting and door knob changing. It all counts in the independence department. Did you know Lowe’s and such have an independence department? Young June.


  30. I don’t know how many bugs I acked at and my husband came to my rescue , only to miss the fucking bug. I stopped acking now and take care of it my self. Now if I every see a mouse in my house, I’m out. I may return after picture of it dead and a formal letter from an exterminator saying its clear. I’m not sure that I will return, I may move and leave everything behind.


    1. Why do they miss??!! My husband will get a paper towel and try to smash the bug with it. He’s missed many times and then we have to search for the bug because I will NOT rest until it is dead. I hate killing them because I’m afraid I will miss ans the bug will get on me, but I’m much more accurate with the nearest shoe than his paper towel method.


  31. If I’m with my BFF Jim (aged 4), I am fearless Monk, brave Monk, wasp swatter Monk! No creature scares me! I go out on my own & I am made of eek if anything crawly or bitey that doesn’t have a carapace comes near me. Selectively brave….


  32. Bug talk!

    Does your vacuum come with extra hose attachments? You can attach as many as possible and then suck it up from a distance. Then leave the vacuum for several days before emptying it.


    1. This is what I do! Bugs that crawl on the floor get stomped on. Bugs on the wall or bugs that fly get hairsprayed and then vacuumed up. Moths that are too fast to hairspray usually get their air patterns disturbed by my frantic waving of the fly swatter until they get low enough to the ground that my lab gets them and they die by her pawing at them. * shudder * Bugs are so gross.


  33. I love this story. I can’t believe you had to sleep in another bedroom for 4 nights! I live in the country, and I don’t love the bugs, but I usually deal with them fairly well. A few days ago, a huge green flying grasshopper-type-on-steroids bug was just sitting on my porch. It seemed to be in its last stages of dying, so I left it alone, thinking a bird would come and have a feast on it soon. I went out to sweep the porch last night, and that bug was still there. I swept it off the porch, and it made a bug-growling sort of noise as it skittered off toward the west, and I said, “Oh, shut up. You’re dying, and I’ve given you plenty of opportunity to haul your ass off the porch already.”


  34. I sense from your header that you would like people to post more comments. I don’t just want to write “Lovely post June”, so how about if I iadd my favorite line from each post?

    “I literally make the bugs eat my words.”

    “fuk yew” was a close second though. SD makes me spit out my coffee sometimes.


  35. Well now I feel bad for NEVER commenting… AND I’ve been reading forever. Truth is I’m hilarious in person but not so much on paper/not-blog comment section.

    Here’s my bug story: my daughter always puts bowls over cockroaches in her apartment then when she has guests she asks them to dispose of the cockroaches for her. She sometimes runs out of bowls (it’s the south, y’all).

    I’m not sure why cockroaches freak her out so much – literally any other creature she’s ok with. Even spiders. She once put a snake in my car to “be funny”. Which makes me think I should get some fake cockroaches for her apartment… Amazon? Anyone have a link?


  36. I prefer to have the Man of the House ™ kill the scary bugs, but once we had a kid, I had to pretend to be braver than her. I am pretty deadly with an old magazine. The theory is that I don’t want to make whatever it is mad and *not* kill it the first time, so I whack so hard it’s surprising I haven’t knocked a wall over yet.


  37. The picture of you and Edsel is the sweetest picture ever taken. That is a boy in total love with his Mama. Lovely post, June.


  38. I had a similar bug years ago when I lived alone. It appeared in the bathroom, and I was afraid that if I left, it would run somewhere and hide, only to pop out at me days later. Or breed. Or whatever. So I couldn’t go get bug spray from the kitchen, which left only one solution: Hair spray. I spraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayed that bug until it was shellacked onto the linoleum floor, then called maintenance and had the nice older gentleman come scrape it up.

    A friend in Atlanta, where the giant roaches live, had a toilet scrubbing brush that was dedicated specifically to smacking and impaling bugs, which she would then flush down the toilet. (shiver) Give me a mouse or snake any day.


    1. I also hair spray bugs. But any household cleaner works too. Bleach, toxic chemicals, whatever. As long as it sprays, and I don’t have to get too close to the bug, it is bug spray!


    2. Yep, that’s my go to. Cheap hairspray. I get wasps in the fall, like now, and they hang in the windows, in slow motion, but they still scare me. Zap them with hairspray.


  39. If you don’t kill it right away you can’t be sure it is the only one! Smash and flush is the motto at our house.


  40. Also, too maybe Iris did kill it, and left it there for you to see for yourself. Kind of the cat version of “bring me his head on a silver platter”.

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