Jul 18, 2011

The Reason For My Insanity (During the Summer, at Least)

by Kristin Baker Przybyla

Well, Bonnie Harris beat me to it with her lovely post bidding farewell to the magical era of Harry Potter. I couldn't have said it better. Ms. Rowling has been such an inspiration to us authors, and not just those of young adult fantasy, and what a wonderful, emotional sendoff the last movie was!

That said, I was going to write about characterization, and suddenly a different bit of inspiration crawled across my monitor. I'll save the other topic for next time. Just as my fingers hovered over the keyboard, a little six-legged speck raced up my laptop, and I felt my blood boil. I mean, I don't even let my kids touch my laptop, so what gives these stupid creatures the idea that they're allowed to glom their disgusting feet all over my just-polished monitor, and scurry for cover in the electronics when they sense the crushing finger of death coming for them?

I'm talking about the bane of my existence from April to October of every year: ants. Tiny black sugar ants, to be exact. They've taken over my house. You can't leave a crumb of food out on the counter overnight or they'll be swarming the kitchen by morning. They get into the cat food, and constantly scout out my pantry. They leave a strong, nauseating smell of rotting oranges when you squish them. One of the kids spilled a few drops of pink lemonade on the floor that my oldest had just mopped, and I walked in a few minutes ago to see a trail of hundreds of them, leading from a miniscule crack in the tile to the sticky spot on the floor. When I'm finished with this post, I'm going into the kitchen to spray the lemonade spot with cleaner, then track down the ant line and attack it with Raid, laughing maniacally the whole time.

I've tried every home remedy suggested to me, from instant grits to cayenne pepper to vinegar. I've bleached their little pheromone lines. My ants are either too good or too smart for the little ant domes which are filled with poison-laced food that they're supposed to take home to their queen. Those come highly suggested by my friends, yet my ants refuse to touch them. Last year my husband bought some professional-grade outdoor poison suggested by his karate sensei, who's also an exterminator, and he sprayed all around our home's foundations and in trouble spots, like his sensei suggested. Did it make a difference? Oh yes. There was a noticeable drop in the ant population getting inside my house, from about 5 million to 3 million. For a week. Forget cockroaches surviving the apocalypse. My ants could kick the roaches' butts.

Yep, the only thing that really seems to work against them, albeit temporarily, is a trusty can of Raid and a good pair of eyes to track down where the line of invaders originates. Clean up whatever is attracting them, spray it with bleach or vinegar to obliterate their pheromone tracks, then sit on the couch cradling the Raid, nervously giggling and jumping at every movement. It's smart to stay at least ten feet away from me during this season, if you don't want to get sprayed.

Last week my husband did some research to see if you could give animals a blessing, after our little black kitty Yoda hurt his leg. He told me that not only can you bless a hurt or sick animal, but he read that you are supposed to treat all animals with respect and kindness, including insects. Well, we already knew that, but then he suggested that instead of cruelly poisoning our ant invaders, I should gently shoo them out of the house. I grabbed the can of Raid and chased him down the hall. Seriously, I'm not exaggerating here. I really did.

What is the point of my rambling blog post today? I really don't know. A peek into a tiny slice of my everyday life, I guess. Well, now I'm going to go attack that patch of lemonade on the floor. If you hear primal screaming coming from my house, don't be alarmed. This is therapeutic.


  1. Oh dear! I will not complain about our ants any longer. Spraying the entry points seems to be pretty effective here. I get them more in the winter when it's too cold outside for them. weird. Someone told me to put cream of wheat down for them to take to the queen. I don't know. that sounds like I would be inviting them to come in! Good luck! hugs~

  2. Kristin - Too funny, as usual! And honey, I'm not laughing at you; I'm laughing with you. I can so relate.

    My ant problem hasn't been as bad as yours. The recently renewed contract with the pest control company has taken care of our problem. But those little creatures drive this normally calm, sane person right to the very edge of insanity VERY quickly.

    My heart goes out to you.


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