What I’m doing when I should be working

“False Chinch” better known as GET OUTTA MY FREAKING HOUSE, image courtesy of Colorado State University Extension

So, it’s a hundred and freakin’ who knows how many degrees outside, and inside we’re starting to make each other crazy. I think part of the problem is my kids only unplug from the matrix long enough to make demands, eat all our food, or yell at each other. The other part of the problem is bugs.

Little, smelly, flying bugs infested my house last weekend and whether they hatched in here or they’re crawling in some minuscule hole somewhere to evade the heat, I don’t know, but I think they’re going to cost me my sanity.

We live in a part of the world where we’re lucky enough to not have to live with things like roaches or even fleas. We could be in Africa or somewhere known for spiders as big as dinner plates, which would kind of suck, since I would probably never be able to get Mike to kill a dinner plate-sized spider the next time I found one in the shower. Since one of the foundations upon which our marriage rests is Mike’s willingness to kill spiders for me on demand, I have to wonder how many marriages are on the rocks in Africa because of nasty things like spiders big enough to be antagonists in a Stephen King story.

I know, I digress, and I also know spiders aren’t insects, so don’t start freaking out on me if you happen to be an arachnophile – a word which is not recognized by my spell check, because it probably doesn’t exist. It would be ridiculous to have a word for someone who has any kind of affection for furry, eight-legged terrors of the night.

Since Biblical times, insect infestations have functioned as dire warnings from God. Much later, black clouds of locusts devastated the landscape in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s prairie and then came back to add to the miseries of the Great Depression, neither one of which may have been a warning from God, but both of which make me wonder why anyone would want to live in places that are intermittently plagued by random swarms of locusts interspersed with tornados and dust storms. Then, consider the hoard of black flies in the Amitivylle Horror that were supposed to be harbingers of an evil paranormal presence. I mean, they attacked a Catholic priest; you don’t get any more harbinger-y than that.

Our little guests may be harbingers, or they may be the result of some apple core someone shoved under the couch. Finding out is something that I spent a good portion of my weekend doing, to no avail. When I first noticed the creepy crawlies, I thoroughly vacuumed under the furniture and in all the cracks and corners. Then I lifted up the couch cushions, scooped out all the stray garbage and Nerf bullets and spare change, cursed my slobby kids, and vacuumed some more. Then I took out all the screens in the windows and vacuumed, moved all the furniture and vacuumed, collected more garbage and stray Nerf bullets, cursed some more, and sat down to order more vacuum bags online, trying not to twitch like a meth addict needing a fix.

Colin noticed the noxious creatures were coming in from one of the heat registers, which gave me the bright idea to cover the thing up with a scrap of paper and some packing tape. Surely the bugs wouldn’t be smart enough to move a whole four feet to the West to find the next open heat register.

At least, not until later that evening.

It was about 10 pm when Mike and I were watching a movie, trying to ignore the fact that we were still sweating in our air conditioned living room, when I lifted my glass and found two of the sons-of-something-unholy swimming in my beer. Mike said something hilarious about them not drinking much while I tried not to retch because I just noticed that they smelled vaguely of rotten coconut.

excerpt from "A Poet in the Room," 9/12/2008
excerpt from “A Poet in the Room,” 9/12/2008

When it comes to any kind of home or yard invasion, I like to think of myself as a proponent of the live and let live approach. Rather than go on a killing spree, I try to the source of the problem and take care of that. When I found pantry moths, I cleaned the jeebuz out of the kitchen, threw away any unsealed crackers, cereal, flour or nuts, and I kept at it until the wispy things slowly thinned out and disappeared. We had a gross infestation of earwigs more than a decade ago, and since they liked to snuggle up with anything moist, I had a complete summer free of damp towels on the bathroom floor or dirty gym socks that heretofore could never seem to make it to the hamper.

But I wasn’t going to try to hold onto my peacenik attitude this time, not when the freaking things were in my BEER. THIS kind of behavior WOULD NOT STAND.

Which is the story behind why I didn’t get any work done for a couple of days last week, and how, after consulting with my neighborhood nursery I realized this was less of a plague upon my house, than one on the entire neighborhood. It’s also how I went from viewing the whole bug issue from the lens of the first precept of Buddhism to becoming Betty-Better-Living-Through-Chemicals, or maybe even Honey Bunny from the opening scene of Pulp Fiction (which you are going to have to Google if you don’t know since this is a family blog), with my spray bottle of deltamethrin and my growing graveyard of Nysius raphanus corpses.

Seriously. Don’t mess with my beer.

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