(An excerpt from my new book, When Far Away Is Home,
due to be released this coming week.)
Over the past months, I’ve been writing a new book that chronicles our family’s experiences in Honduras, The Cayman Islands, and Costa Rica. It starts when Brenda and I were first married, moves through our children’s growing up years, and continues in the present day as our life is still an overseas adventure.
Here is one of my favorite excerpts from that book.
One Very Determined Cockroach
When we moved from Cayman to Costa Rica in 1992, our home was a rented house in western San Jose. The school had made the housing arrangements for us. It was in this charming, Spanish-style house that we had our first experiences living in Costa Rica.
One clear memory was a battle with a cockroach that was hanging out in one of our bathrooms. Now this cockroach was no ordinary roach. He was about four inches long with large wings. Brenda made it very clear through a loud voice and heightened emotions that she expected me to get rid of this roach quickly and permanently.
I was able to catch the guy with a wad of toilet paper (“tp” has so many helpful uses). Since I was already in the bathroom, I decided to just flush him down the toilet. That seemed like a logical and reasonable idea. That way I wouldn’t be killing one of God’s creatures outright. He might have a chance of survival, and we would be rid of his presence. A possible win-win.
So, I dropped the roach wrapped in toilet paper into the toilet and quickly flushed. I was smiling with pride as he swirled in the water and disappeared below the toilet bowl. I was reveling in my great manly accomplishment when I saw first some antennae, and then some legs emerge from the toilet drain. My cockroach friend had survived, and he was crawling back into the toilet bowl!
I couldn’t believe it. I grabbed some more toilet paper and waited for the toilet tank to fill again, keeping the roach from climbing out of the bowl by brushing him down back into the water with the toilet paper.
Once the tank was filled, I flushed him down again. I stood there and watched for a minute or so, and he didn’t appear. So, I moved on to another part of the house.
As is often the case, all that flushing and the sound of water brought on the urge to use the facilities, so I ambled back into the bathroom. And, YES, there the roach was again, backstroking and enjoying himself in the bowl.
They always say the third time is a charm. So, I gathered the biggest blob of toilet paper I thought the pipes could handle, and I piled it on top of the critter. I flushed and watched. And watched. And watched.
No roach. I believe this time he graduated to the great toilet bowl in the sky.
That may be the end of the story.
But then again, it may not be.
Several years later, we bought a house in the same neighborhood as the one where the roach met his final demise. In our new kitchen hallway, there was a loose tile with a handle – obviously, it was a place to access plumbing since everything was under the cement and tile floor. One day I got curious about it and lifted the tile, and to my surprise, hundreds of baby cockroaches poured out of the hole. I mean HUNDREDS. It took us quite a while to corral and get rid of them.
I have often wondered if that first cockroach somehow kept track of us and got his revenge.
What I learned:
Perhaps the third time really is a charm.
Cockroaches are to be admired for their persistence, but little else.
Oh, yes, and their swimming ability when under life and death situations.
Baby cockroaches are fast.
“If at first you don’t succeed . . . try, try again.”
Watch for When Far Away Is Home this week, exclusively on Amazon. It will be available in kindle and printed versions.
Until next time,
This is Paul, a Part-Time Expat turned Full-Time
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