Friday, March 29, 2013

Did I Ever Tell You About Cockroach Fight Club?

1.      The First Rule of Cockroach Fight Club is—You don’t talk about Cockroach Fight Club You get the wicked jeebies talking about Cockroach Fight Club
2.      The Second Rule of Cockroach Fight Club is—You never leave Cockroach Fight Club with all of your limbs.
If you have all your limbs, you have to fight.

How much have I complained about our first apartment on the island?  That’s a rhetorical question.  The answer is always not enough.  Aside from the mosquito massacre (1,000 dead mosquitoes in 19 weeks) and the tick-infested, matted dogs owned by a landlord who told me my bout of illness (complete with roaming hives and fistfuls of prescriptions) was a figment of my imagination, we had bug issues.  Ants are annoying, especially barely visible sugar ants that can find a molecule of oatmeal on a countertop and will withstand persistent bleaching.  Millipedes are crunchy underfoot and a pain to clean up.  But cockroaches?  No amount of the most heinous obscenities you have ever heard can possible match my loathing of these shiny garbage-munching ^$#&*^@*&!  Probably the biggest influence in my abhorrence is the implication of filth that goes hand-in-hand with cockroaches.  Having never lived in an environment where cockroaches would be prevalent, I assumed cockroaches are only a nuisance for those people who practice subpar cleaning techniques.  As I have been known to kick people out of my house for leaving crumbs on the counter (that’s a hyperbole, but you get the point), I had a hard time not taking the bugs’ presence as an insult to my cleanliness.
            One of the strangest aspects of their visits was the legs we’d find every morning underneath our wooden knife block.  Peculiar, right?  Once I’d gotten over my complete horror at the daily cleanup of bug crumbs, I began wondering what on Earth was happening in my kitchen while I slept.  Ivan and I came to the conclusion that the cockroaches had organized a Cockroach Fight Club and were holding meetings under the knife block.  For as much as I detest the revolting soft-bellied beetles, I was actually pretty entertained at the thought of them gathering for the spectacle of their own brothers dismembering each other.  I even mentally added cartoon cheering every time a limb was snapped in half or gnawed away at the joint.
            I never used the knives from the block because… gross!  But I didn’t throw the block away because I liked to think they were killing each other under there.  And maybe every time a cockroach croaked, a little insectile chant flooded the countertops: “his name was Cockroach Paulson… his name was Cockroach Paulson… his name was Cockroach Paulson…”

            It’s been almost a year since we moved out of that apartment and only now do I finally feel distant enough from the trauma of Cockroach Fight Club to actually talk about it.  What’s my point in this story?  That place sucked!  Excuse the lack of eloquent prose, but there is no dodging the truth there.  Being on campus has been such a pleasant change.  For instance: we have had a big fat zero cockroaches in our apartment.  None.  And none cockroaches makes for a less traumatized Allison.  We’ve had no millipedes and the few ants we’ve seen were nowhere near our food!  Mosquitoes are a thing of the past and no tool of a landlord in sight!  Last week, we were notified that we were successful in next term’s housing lottery.  That means we will spend our last term on campus, entirely cockroach-free!  No more Cockroach Fight Club or forgotten limbs!
            Speaking of cockroaches, we celebrated our friend’s thirtieth birthday last week with a surprise lunch party.  In between her lectures and labs, Melanie was caught off guard by a group of her friends with pizza and favors in a decorated pavilion on campus.  The theme of the short celebration was “dirty thirty” and a couple of Melanie’s friends went above and beyond with the preparations.  They’d whipped up a batch of delicious cupcakes, each featuring a chunk of Godiva chocolate on top (the intentions were for the chocolate to resemble mud, though I thought they made pretty good turds), except one cupcake.  Melanie’s extra special cupcake was extra “dirty” with a monstrous cockroach baked right into it.  You know that feeling you get when you see something ridiculously disgusting, like your shoulders squeeze in and your chest sort of collapses?  Yeah, that about sums it up.

Looking casual while we wait to surprise the birthday girl
Discovering the buggy cupcake
            The dirtiness didn’t stop there, though.  Melanie’s birthday present was faithful to the party’s theme.  The girls told Melanie to close her eyes (which she actually did!) and smell the gift bag.  “Ooh!  It smells good!” she said.  Then, keeping her eyes closed, Melanie was told to reach in and collect her present.  So she reached in.  And yanked her hand back out, yelling, “Ew!  What is it?!”  Hair.  Real hair.  Her friends had been collecting their own hair to bundle up and tuck away for Melanie’s “dirty thirty.”
The pizza was delicious and completely devoid of cockroaches or hair and we had a great, albeit brief, time.  I think Ivan and I were still laughing as we headed back home.  Gag gifts are just the best.  They are lighthearted and invoke laughter.  There’s no pressure to respond a certain way since laughter is an appropriate response and, generally, the automatic response.  Can you go wrong with a gag gift?  Well, I suppose you could go too far.

            Sandblast, the midterm “social” (read: five hours of heavy drinking) for SGU students, took place last Saturday.  Once again, we opted not to go.  I think we’ll go for a couple hours next term since it will be our last term on the island, but I don’t think we missed anything of particular interest.  Instead, that evening, we went to a barbecue at our friends’ house.  While we were waiting on the bus at school to head over to the barbecue, another bus full of students pulled up behind us.  It was immediately apparent that all the students were coming from Sandblast (which had just come to an end an hour earlier).  As soon as the bus stopped, the driver jumped out and stormed away.  The other front seat, next to the driver, was filled with an unconscious student wearing swimming trunks and vomit.  The half-opened window next to him was also splattered with barf.  And there we were, just about to leave, dishes and desserts to share sitting on our laps, ready for a nice evening with friends.  I don’t think we missed out on much at Sandblast.

            On Sunday, a small group of people joined together at Magazine Beach to pay tribute to a smiley Chihuahua named Nyla who passed away a short time ago after being intentionally poisoned (you can read the full story from her loving owner, Cayley, HERE).  Nick and Cayley provided memorial lanterns for everyone to release at sunset.  On each lantern, we wrote our own words, remembering Nyla and others we had lost (or, in some instances, names of those lost by others).
            When the sun went down, we were enveloped in the most brilliant and overwhelmingly picturesque sky I’ve ever seen in Grenada.  The world became a striking contrast of reds and purples, and as the sun sank lower, the colors just deepened and cast their reach further, so the clouds were on fire and the water was a vibrant sea of orange and rich black currents.  The lanterns were lit and, despite the shifting wind, lifted, one by one against the black silhouetted trees and darkening sky.  They rose overhead, teetering in the breeze, and strayed over the sea before disappearing poetically into the horizon.  (All of the pictures are HERE.)

Elly, Nyla's sister

            Next week marks the start of Ivan’s first set of midterms for term four.  His second set will be in May and in June, he will have his finals.
            We haven’t had the chance to go on many hashes because fourth term has been as arduous as everyone warned.  Saturdays are coveted as ideal study days and Ivan can sacrifice very little of his time doing anything else.  Luckily, our early mornings have still been devoted to time spent together exercising.  We’re lengthening our running distance, with the intention of completing a half-marathon back home this summer.  I have been having a hard time, though, since I’m running in $40 sneakers.  Maybe a frugal decision, buying those shoes, but not a practical one.  Ouch!
            I’ve been very busy myself with the usual: knitting, painting, photography, writing.  I’ve been on a real reading kick lately.  I finished March’s book club book, Things Fall Apart by the recently deceased Chinua Achebe, in the last four days of February and I just finished April’s book club book, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, so I’d better get on finding another book.
My second scarf with pom-poms!
My third knitting project: hobo gloves!

Ivan said they look like a boxer's hand wraps.
During a photo session, I saw these remains. I am very far away from home...

At the same photo session, I got this sunset at the tidal pools!

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