Does That Bug You?

I need to tell you a long but worthwhile (I promise) story about how Dubia roaches escape their confines, and if you are squeamish, this tale may displease you. I am going to warn you right before the part that might make you want to smack me and in order to be polite and not run you off. You can choose to read the creepy part or not!

But we need to talk about bugs. Specifically, bugs that bearded dragons like to eat.

a perky bearded dragon who likes it if dubia roaches escape
Did someone say BUGS??? Also, guess what? I’m a spokesdragon.

Exotic Pets

Becoming ‘exotic pet’ owners has been quite the experience. We’ve only ever had cats and once a betta fish. Growing up, we rehabbed a few chipmunks and squirrels but never a pet that would fall under the ‘exotic’ category. So caring for our bearded dragon, Kevin, has included some hurdles.

The first hurdle was overcoming our squicky feelings about bugs. When Kevin was young, we learned to feed him crickets. Young beardies need a LOT of protein and crickets are the cheapest. We would order 500+ through the mail in a BOX and then empty them into a 20 gallon tub with a screen lid to hop around and smell like the devil until it was time to go see the big dragon in the sky. Crickets smell AWFUL after a few days, even when you keep their habitat as clean as possible, and we all hated them.

But we did get used to them, and grabbing a stupid cricket became an everyday, flinch-free occurrence. Kevin would eat 25-30 crickets at a go, at least once a day. We even researched how to breed crickets because ordering those boxes is fraught with peril for various reasons, like mail delays, cold weather, hot weather, and escapee situations. I will be linking to another person’s cricket situation at the end of the email, but for now I want you to stick with me :).

Crickets Are Terrible

However, beardies get better nutrition from other bugs, such as Dubia roaches, black soldier fly larvae, and certain types of worms (mealworms, superworms, not earthworms). Beardies are also supposed to grow up and become 70% vegetarian, too, so the amount of bugs they eat eventually slacks off. And the other bugs? They don’t smell like crickets of death. OMG that smell. In the winter we had to move the cricket farm inside, in the basement utility closet under the stairs, so anytime you were going up and down the stairs, you would be huffing cricket dooky smell whether you wanted to or not. I started taking those stairs REALLY fast, and I’m too old to be running up and down some stairs that often.

Thus we redirected our interest, and Kevin’s, toward Dubia roaches. These tropical critters don’t smell bad like crickets and don’t hop and aren’t great at climbing and aren’t particularly fast. While they do need to be kept warm, you can just stick them in a tub with some egg crate material for them to hide in and feed them fruit or veggies every day. A lot of people would have trouble deciding what was worse — crickets or roaches, but these are, well, they grow up to be sizeable. They remind me of pill bugs (roly polies, doodle bugs), except bigger. They don’t really remind me of the roaches I’m used to seeing, which are gross. They’re pretty delicate, and Kevin is a huge fan. We get ours here.

But it isn’t as if the roaches NEVER manage to get free. And did I mention we have cats? Probably not — in this essay — but we have cats. The cats are hugely fond of escaped bugs and sometimes the bugs escape. Including the 2 inch long yes 2 inch long Dubia roaches.

This is a baby Dubia roach and sometimes dubia roaches escape
This is a baby Dubia roach because our Dubia roaches got super friendly and, well, you know. Adult Dubia roaches are…bigger.

The First Incident…and Stop Reading Here If You’re Squeamish!

The first Dubia incident was me on the couch in the basement (like Clue, except I’m clueless). The cats had been scrabbling at the back of the couch all day. I ignored them, because the cats in question are 2 young dudes who scrabble at everything all the time. But then, a while later, in the cool silence of my basement, I hear the noise. Scrittle, scrittle, tick tick tick.

I glance to my left and there, sprinting along the back of the couch headed straight for my face, is a GIANT ROACH! COMING RIGHT AT ME! OMG Dubia roaches escape!

Luckily I recognized this roach as one of our friendly neighborhood Dubia roaches and only kind of flung my laptop into the floor as I bolted off the couch, hollered, and then accidentally flipped the roach into the garbage can before I could trap it in my empty coffee cup. I did apprehend the escapee in a timely fashion and take it back to its Rubbermaid home which is 2 rooms away from where I work.

The Second Incident

The second Dubia incident was less invasive. One of the cats was just going to TOWN on a cardboard box of DVDs. Closer inspection of said box revealed, you guessed it, a roach in the box. How did the roach meander across 2 room and hide in that box? Nobody knows. This roach was also rescued and sent back to her home.

The Third Incident

The third Dubia incident takes a little more telling. We have two old lady cats and two young man cats. The young men were rescued from a feral colony when they were kittens together and about 6 months ago, at age 18 months or so, both started playing fetch. Out of nowhere. I had never known a cat to play fetch and it was a delight!

But one day Magnus, the flame point Siamese looking idiot, came running to my husband and me when we were cuddled happily on the same couch watching TV with our teenage daughter, who owns the bearded dragon. Magnus leapt into our lap — how sweet! — but then he presented us with his prize because he wanted to play fetch.

I am not a dummy!

It was a living 2 inch long Dubia roach. The hubs, NOT being as accustomed to the bugs as me and the teenager, flinched himself off the couch, but I calmly picked up the roach, looked him in the eye, and said, “How did you get out?” The roach would not tell me, so I put him back and discussed with the teen that maybe, just maybe, we might want to think about a more secure top for the roach tub than an upside down oversized lid that she wasn’t bothering to fasten because it was, as mentioned, oversized.

Fourth and Final…I Hope

And the fourth Dubia incident, well, you need to be sitting down for this. Peeking at what I’m about to tell you between your fingers. And every word I’m about to say is true.

I was asleep. This blessed state is sometimes interrupted by harrowing cat vs toes battles or the hurk hurk hurk of the 4 am hairball. But this night the blessed state was interrupted by the feel of a cat’s moist nose on my cheek and something…biggish…crawling….ON MY FACE.

“Magnus!” I yelled, batting at the assumed culprit and fumbling for the bedside lamp. I also vaulted mostly out of bed since that one time I found a bug in bed, it was a brown recluse, but that’s another story for another time.

The light went on. Magnus was on the floor, staring at me with very dilated pupils and a whippy tail. I turned, slowly, to inspect my pillow.

Yep.

Magnus had carefully placed a huge Dubia roach ON MY FACE in the middle of the night, and the roach was now nestled into my pillow and ready for a nice nap.

The husband did roll over to get further away from the roach as I protested the situation at the top of my lungs. Then I picked up the roach (they really aren’t very fast…they’re like the turtles of the roach world) and escorted him back to his roach tub with prejudice.

This is a not quite adult Dubia roach, a sexy lady. They get a little big bigger than this.

Now that you’ve read about my roaches, here’s another buggy tale:

Man’s mail order crickets escape — SFW!

Also if you want to know more about the roaches, email me and I’ll send you more pics and tell you alllllllllllllllll about them! It’s been…interesting.


Jody Wallace’s 30+ titles in sf/f and contemporary romance feature diverse protagonists, action, adventure, and plenty of cats. Visit her at www.jodywallace.com and the cats at www.meankitty.com

Did That Truly Happen?

Recently one of the ‘change of life’ experiences I’ve had is that my brother and sister and I reached a point where we needed to sell my mother’s house and property after she passed away. Though we had all grown up there — it was purchased in 1971 and we never moved as a family — the property was too far away from us, too difficult and expensive to maintain, and too depressingly much of a burden.

So this might sound like a sad story, but the part I’m going to talk about today isn’t that sad. It’s just strange.

an old milk parlor turned into a house where i grew up
This was the milk parlor, where the cows came in to be milked and then existed through what is now the so-called ‘master bedroom’ hahaha.

Old dreams…or were they?

As we rehashed our dreams or memories and prepped the place for the new buyer, we realized pretty quickly this wasn’t going to be an ordinary sale because it wasn’t an ordinary property. It was a converted dairy farm built in the 40s and 50s with only two owners in its lifespan. It was in a rural area with some decent acreage and a lot of peculiarities that went beyond simple family history.

Such as, in the woods around the property were located many trails. Not just animal trails but former wagon and logging trails that were distinct. One of those trails emerged right in our front yard. Now, while we as a family enjoyed using those trails to walk to friends’ houses and just wander in the woods, the trails were also travelable by vehicle. Car, even.

A view of a rolling field and trees that inhabits the authors dreams or memories
This is actually not where the trails were. This is our back field that our neighbors mowed several times a year in order to get hay for their working farm. Not like we needed it! We did have horses and a burro for a long time, but they didn’t eat everything.

As my sister and I were discussing what stories to relay to the new owner one night, I told her that some of my most vivid dreams of the property, dreams I’ve been having as long as I can remember, was of cars just rolling up into our yard out of the woods. Sightseers, randos in trucks, you name it.

My sister practically screamed because it turned out SHE HAD THOSE DREAMS TOO! And you know what? I’m five years older than her and what I know is…they were not dreams.

They were memories.

People used to just drive through our yard sometimes because they wanted to see where that road went. Well, the answer is, our yard, and get out of it.

I have solved a mystery that has haunted my sister all her life. Did that really happen? Yes, yes it did. I doubt the dreams OR memories are going away anytime soon, though.

(((Note: I do not think that our shared dreams brought these incidents to LIFE, though, like the premise of my Dreamwalkers book! LOL)))

Jody W & Meankitty

The cover for blue guard by jody wallace on a fancy blended blue background

Jody Wallace’s 30+ titles in sf/f and contemporary romance feature diverse protagonists, action, adventure, and plenty of cats. Visit her at www.jodywallace.com and the cats at www.meankitty.com

Booger Green

Heyyyyyyy, friends, I tweaked my website some and have a new and interesting color scheme! Do you think it’s kind of a cross between army green and booger green? Because I do. But at the same time, nobody else is using this color, I bet, so I stand out. At least I’m not using this “Booger Green” — right? But the names of all the greens on the righthand side of that page are a hoot.

Granted, if you are cruising my site on your phone, you probably aren’t seeing the gorgeous color I picked for my new background to match the cool header. How does the site look on your phone? My phone is so old that it’s grown wrinkles. I can’t gauge by that, though I click incessantly between “desktop” and “mobile” when I’m previewing a page prior to posting. (Say that five times fast.)

A picture of a grey tabby smelling the head of author jody wallace and thinking it smells like an interesting color scheme if that scheme is loser

But mostly this post is about getting back into the habit of blogging. I don’t always have something of great significance to say, but I always want to chat! What kinds of things are your favorite blog topics–that I might be capable of satisfying, that is. Doesn’t necessarily have to be writing related. I am a multitude. I also like yarn and cats and coffee.

Drop me a hello in the comments to encourage me to rev the blogging motors…about something besides my dubiously interesting color scheme.

Jody W & Meankitty

Also check this out, I learned how to do a “reusable block” —


Jody Wallace’s 30+ titles in sf/f and contemporary romance feature diverse protagonists, action, adventure, and plenty of cats. Visit her at www.jodywallace.com and the cats at www.meankitty.com

Dragons of Tarakona Get a SpokesLizard

The cover for blue guard by jody wallace on a fancy blended blue background
A brown bearded dragon on a pink blanket and a yellow quilt is the mascot for dragons of tarakona novels
Kevin would like a roach as a reward for being the dragons of Tarakona romance mascot, please.

Kevin is a bearded dragon who is now the dragons of Tarakona romance novel spokeslizard. He came to live at our house a year and a half ago after the Husband took The Second Child to an exotic animal show. The appearance of a large lizard in a Tupperware box was both unexpected and fraught with peril, as bearded dragons and other exotic pets are not cats. They have nitpicky needs, like cages and heat lamps and BUGS that they need to survive. The result was a mad scramble to learn about bearded dragons and the eventual inclusion of Kevin into our family’s hearts.

I love Kevin. We all do. He is very dumb. He likes to go without eating for just long enough to freak everyone out and sometimes hurl himself across his cage and hurt his leg. One time Kid1 left his cage open and we found him clinging to the curtains in the office next to the front door, just hanging out. The cats are curious about him and we have had to make numerous modifications to his cage in order to ensure his safety–and theirs.

Anyway, exotic pets are a lot of work, but rewarding! I have released a Very Special Newsletter with a story about Kevin and his Very Special Roaches, and if you email me I will send you an exclusive copy!


Jody Wallace’s 30+ titles in sf/f and contemporary romance feature diverse protagonists, action, adventure, and plenty of cats. Visit her at www.jodywallace.com and the cats at www.meankitty.com

Crooked Shit

I mean this literally, not that I’m getting hired to work in 2018’s administration at the White House

Clearly in my “inappropriate” category over at Etsy, I’ve added a poopy little offering to my side hustle!

Poop. And not just any poop but some real crooked shit.

Sometimes the poop is even dubious of just how crooked it is — or maybe it’s dubious about you?

Who wants a straight face, anyway?

Anyway. I use my time wisely.

Jody W. & Meankitty