The Cockroach of Doom

I’ve lived on the Big Island for almost six months now; on Saturday night I had my worst cockroach experience to date. (If you want some more information on the common cockroach found in Hawaii, see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_cockroach). I’ve become accustomed to discovering them around my home occasionally, and keep a can of Raid handy since I cannot stomach the idea of smashing them with a slipper. I may need to reconsider that stance as a result of this experience.

I was laying on my stomach on the couch, reading a book, when I heard that very distinctive “whirring” sound that indicates a cockroach flying around my space. I peered towards the area where I thought I heard it, then grabbed my glasses so I could actually see what was in front of me. Sure enough, across the room on a white picture frame was my nemesis. I very slowly eased myself up, grabbed my crutch and retrieved the can of Raid from where it currently lives on my nightstand (last used a week ago when I sprayed a roach that then flew down to my PILLOW! This was foreshadowing for my next adventure.). As I eased back into the living area, I saw it fly from the frame to approximately the area of the ceiling fan. At this point, I couldn’t do anything else, so I returned to the couch and my book.

A short time later, I heard the whirring again, and a “clink” as the bug encountered the small hanging capiz shell lamp that hangs over the shelf of the breakfast bar. By the way, this was just to the side above my head. I bolted up in time to see it work its way down the hanging electrical cord and reach the cross-bar shelf, and move out of my line of sight. Okay, I’m going to kill this thing now because they just creep me out. I think it’s mostly the antennae, which seem to double the whole length of the body.

After moving into the galley kitchen, I used my crutch to ease aside my iPod stereo on the kitchen counter to see if the buggah was hiding there. Nope. Searched around the cross-bar and didn’t see it. I have a model Miata MX-5 with the top down sitting on that cross-bar, and I had a momentary flash of a scene from the end of “Team America” when the cockroach scuttles into a small spaceship and escapes that way. I was prepared to giggle hysterically if I located the roach inside the cockpit of the car. Eventually, I moved to the right side of the car, which was shadowed and could vaguely make out the shape of the cockroach skulking next to the driver door like a car thief. With Raid in my left hand and a crutch under my right arm, I aimed the can and sprayed it, and then tracked the frantic insect’s flight path with the Raid.

Except it veered towards me. And it got under my long wrap. I spun in circles, trying to make sure it had not landed on me, frantically stripping off my wrap and dropping my crutch. Then I felt it: it got under the drape of my top and in my arching and flailing about, it slid down past the waist of my yoga pants and was in my pants. OMG! I yanked my pants and underwear down right there in front of the screen door, damn near shrieking the whole time. It fell onto the floor on its back and lay there twitching. I quickly pulled my pants back up, swept the buggah into a covered dustpan, and retreated to a chair across the room to recover, shaking and sweating. I can occasionally hear it flutter now and I am staying far from it. I need to shower. Aloha Hawaii! Ugh.

Photo credit: “American-cockroach” by Gary Alpert – http://www.uos.harvard.edu/ehs/pes_american_cockroach.shtml. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:American-cockroach.jpg#/media/File:American-cockroach.jpg

My nemesis
My nemesis

Illustrating my new life

When I visited in mid-August 2014, the plan was to start setting up my new life and see what I would need to bring/buy in October. One of my specific goals was to buy a piece of art that would anchor me to the island. I discovered the shop “Second Hand” up in Kealakekua, and found a painting off the three “Hawaiian Graces” (Pele and two of her sisters) hidden on a far wall in the back room. It immediately spoke to me and drew me in. It set the tone for what will eventually become my art wall, and I’ve been looking for images related to it since then. The theme I’m trying to establish is centered around Pele and her influence.

To that end, tomorrow I will pick up an image a girlfriend painted for me that I had framed. It is a faceless Pele rising from a volcano, and will hang mauka (upslope) on the wall, so it closer to the center of the island. The Graces will be in the center. Another picture was already here, and I’m moving it from my bedroom to the art wall; it is a small, dark-haired girl crouched among tidal pools, and it will hang makai (downslope) on the ocean side of the wall. Scattered around and among these pictures will be: a lava landscape aluminum print by local artist Tom Kualii, another aluminum print of my Tutu and me poolside circa 1976-ish at her home in Kailua on O’ahu, a print of “Tiki vs Godzilla” by local artist Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker (from the cover of the book “Atomic Dreams at the Red Tiki Lounge”, which features Pele as a main character), a giclee print from local artist Jodi Fuchs of color blocks with images of enlightenment and spiritual connection, and a print that I am “fostering” from local artist Wayne Levin, of a woman on a surfboard under the waves (the crashing waves overhead look like clouds in the sky). I imagine I’ll add to these, such as the Steve Hanks poster of the back of a young woman standing amidst the rocks at the edge of the shore. All of these images have something about them that suggest Pele and/or Hawaii. There will be differently sized pictures, in assorted frames and mediums, that I hope to use to tell a story and express my affinity for Pele and this island, her home.

Pele and her sisters
Pele and her sisters

Small town life

Living in the Kona area is definitely living in a small town. For one thing, the square formed by Henry, Ali’i Drive, Makala and Quen Kaahumanu Hwy is commonly referred to as “town” or “downtown”. It’s not a very big square, either. On Ali’i, you essentially enter town once you get to the Royal Kona Resort, and you leave once you get to the King Kamehameha Hotel (aka Courtyard Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel). There’s a bit that jogs out from there along Kuakini Highway, down to Old A’s Rec Area at Makala. Among the people I’ve spoken with, the area outside of this is not considered in “town”, although Kailua Kona itself stretches up and down the coast and inland.

Recently, I experienced two upsides to living a small-town life here. I drove down to Captain Cook to pick up a silent auction item that I won from SKEA a couple of weeks ago, and pulled in at the Spirit gas station to get gas and meet the woman who would give me the item. To my surprise, an employee was there at the pumps providing the gas. When I commented on the full-service provided, he said it’s a requirement in two states, but they like to provide the extra service to their customers. Pretty great that I didn’t have to get out and maneuver around with the crutch!

The other experience was when my mailman, George, came up to my lanai and told me that I had put insufficient postage on an envelope I dropped at the mailbox up at the shopping center. I happened to have my wallet with stamps in it on me, and he told me how many additional stamps I needed and said he would take care of it getting mailed since the existing stamps were already cancelled. That’s personal service that is very appreciated, and something I’d never experience in my condo complex in the Bay.

I also see this small-town experience in how people will refer you to their friends and family. For example, the office manager at my PT office is married to a mechanic at a local shop that has experience in Toyotas, so she suggested I go there with my RAV4. I have a relationship with her, so I trust that he will take care of me.

Personal service like this is something that I look forward to getting used to!