August 3, 2017

The Great Roach Infestation

I hate that I even have to document this era of our lives, but it was kind of a big deal and hopefully something we can look back on during a crappy time and think...things could definitely be worse, I guess. Thankfully, we can laugh about the last few months because it was so ridiculously obnoxious and because if you don't laugh, you cry.
So being a neat freak, these roaches were personally insulting, but I know it was totally out of my control and had nothing to do with how spotlessly clean I keep my house. Here goes...
Months ago we started seeing more and more roaches each day. They were always dead or stuck on their back, but the frequency of their presence grew. Also, above the kitchen sink I noticed dead limbs, antennae, and wings would land on some pictures I have hung on the wall there. {If that grosses you out, quit reading now. More graphic details ahead...} More and more bits kept dropping from there and my mom finally took pity on me and caulked that gap closed. The next day through a very small little space in the caulk (see picture below) I was welcomed by two little antennas that were poking through the caulk and would, on occasion, twitch. Ewww. I sent the following two pictures to Jordan...

Jordan got home from work and used a toothpick to shove those nasty antennas back into the hole while I caulked them in. So gross. Soon after this incident, I had Lucy and Jane over to spend the night and while cleaning up dinner I found a roach in my Ziploc baggies that I kept in a drawer next to the sink. I screamed bloody murder, and Jordan was outside. By the time I got him, the roach was gone. He thought I was crazy and seeing things. An hour and a half later I went to get a larger Ziploc (I had thrown the entire box of the sandwich bags away) and there was a roach in that box. Once again, Jordan was outside. When he got there, it was gone. He really thought I was losing my mind until I found another one in the brand new box of sandwich size bags soon after that. I promptly cleaned out that drawer and the entire cabinet underneath it because we realized roaches could crawl from behind the cabinet into that space. {So much $$$ thrown away in Ziploc bags alone.} I finally told Jordan we needed an exterminator to come. Our wonderful neighbors mentioned that his brother is an exterminator and we called him. He came out and sprayed that area. The minute he pulled away from the house, I watched a roach FLY across my home, pissed as ever to have been poisoned. I screamed and cried as I had to corner it and smash it. After that, we decided it was time to address whatever the heck was going on behind that wall. I left for the afternoon and when we came home, there were dead roaches everywhere. The hall bathroom on the other side of that wall was a problem. It still had that tin shower and we knew water had leaked in there when the previous owners lived here because that was where the guy showered with the bath faucet wide open and not sealed off in any way. It had a phantom smell that came and went too. We never used the shower, Ollie took occasional baths, but even that stopped because there were always dead roaches we would find in the bathtub. So without money, but knowing it was the source of multiple problems we decided the tin needed to come down and we needed to fix whatever was going on in that wall. Also, our shower handle was breaking once again - after paying hundreds of dollars to have it turn out not to have been fixed like we thought and the only access was ripping out our shower or this hall shower - all of this sealed the hall showers fate of opening the wall of terror with so many problems and just as many questions as to what the heck was going on there. Jordan came home from work on a Friday night and started to remove the dozens of bolts holding the tin on there. 
I stood there nervous as ever of seeing a colony of roaches that was hopefully all dead because of the poison. It took a lot to get the tin down and once he got one piece off we saw one roach. He swatted it into the tub and continued working. Our neighbors had come over to offer moral support and we were crammed in that little hot bathroom chatting and watching Jordan work. All of a sudden Jordan says, "Where did that roach go?!" We all look around frantic and I see it on Jordan's butt. Josh {the neighbor} and I ran down the hallway laughing and left Jordan there to deal with it. Soon after that, Jordan was poking around behind that wall - which consisted of the tin with plywood behind that. When we bought the house we asked what they used behind the tin and were told it was green-board - waterproof - what is supposed to be used behind shower walls. There was no green-board. Plywood. Roach heaven. Water. Glue. Wood. Rot. Nightmare. Anyway, Jordan poked around and then screamed because dozens of roaches were flooding out of there. Our neighbor had borrowed a backpack of poison from his brother in case something like this happened and he was ready to kill whatever came out of there. By the time Jordan got all the tin and plywood off there were about a hundred dead roaches in the bottom of the bathtub, a couple empty bottles of Raid, and Jordan was pretty sure he had brain damage from the Raid.

We sprayed it really well with bug spray, closed the door, packed some bags and headed to Beth's to spend a few nights while things got better under control at our house. Beth was in the middle of a total kitchen remodel and after that weekend we moved back in to my parents.
Our handy guy, Delbert, came over and evaluated and gave advice. He thought we could get away with killing the roaches and then just seal up the wall after fixing some of the plumbing, because everything looked pretty dry. It was hard to see because the tub was still there and in the way. Our neighbor recommended our other neighbor, a plumber, come and give his professional opinion. Boy am I glad he did. So Brent came over and did a smoke test to see if there were any leaks while that wall was open. Smoke billowed out from under that tub so we knew there was a much larger problem. He lifted the tub out of there and found a slurry of issues. 

The drain coming from the kitchen sink was totally sheered apart 
and anything that went down the kitchen sink went straight into a huge hole in the foundation under the tub and fed dirty, nasty sink water into the dirt under our house. Thus, supplying a colony of cockroaches with a healthy and thriving habitat. They had to dig under the slab and redo all of the plumbing in the house. 
By the time all of this was finished {over a month before we moved back in} thousands of cockroaches were killed and cleaned-up. 
 {The mass grave of cockroaches under the new concrete floor that was eventually poured.}
Everyday, Jordan came over to the house, morning and night to sweep up the bodies and evaluate if the number of them was diminishing yet. Most of the time, he would sweep up 20, but once or twice it was more like 50 dead roaches scattered across the house. It took a month to not see them lying dead everywhere! Finally, there were no more, or very very few very small ones that didn't at all feel like a big deal anymore. 
I was 9 months pregnant at this point and so Jordan set to the task of bleaching and sanitizing walls, cabinets, floors, and cleaning piles of laundry. We moved back in about a week (maybe it was only a couple days - I seriously can't remember which)  before I had Edison. There was still a giant hole in our bathroom. We just keep the door closed and work on fixing it when we can. Our bishop called the Friday after I had Edison. He happens to be the brother of our plumber, Brent and told Jordan he had cleared up his schedule on Saturday and would be over to help install the brand new bathtub. Seriously, our neighbors have taken care of us and helped us beyond anything we could ever have expected. He spent a total of two Saturdays teaching Jordan what to do and serving our little family by helping us put our home back together again. I can't even think about it too much or I start crying at how generous people have been. It still has a long way to go, but the roach infestation has been solved and just in the nick of time so we can enjoy our new babe.
This is what the bathroom looks like today.
While it might not look like much, it has really come along way from the cockroach pit of horror it was a few weeks ago. Now it needs new green-board, to re-lay the laminate floor, tile & grout, and install the shower fixtures. Then a really, REALLY deep clean. It's going to take a lot to erase the images I've seen come from this bathroom and I will probably never be able to walk in there without searching and scanning for moving vermin. 
The next post will be filled with pictures of a cute baby so we can move forward from this particular nightmare. Hopefully, Ollie will never have need to endlessly sing "La Cucaracha" ever again.

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