The Ant Bully

Yeah, I know. It’s been a while. Three months to be exact (YIKES). I never expected that to happen, but it has been a weird few months in both a good and a bad way. The good is that unlike last year, socializing has become a thing again, which has been great. But it has left me wanting for more, and my patience, which has always been a strong point, is wearing thin.

Unexpectedly, my life has become quite mundane, other than the socializing part. These last few months have evolved around work, the house, medical shit, and a death in the family whose aftermath has yet to play out and will in all likelihood leave long lasting scars and animosity.

The ironic thing is that even though this year has been night and day compared to last summer, it has been harder to navigate. Perhaps it is because the circus (That was a slip because I meant to write virus) is still with us. There are actually several cases in our town, which I had not heard of in a long time, and even though Connecticut is one of the healthiest states as far as vaccinations and the virus is concerned, the rates are at their highest levels in a long time. I am sick and tired of the fact this country can’t get its shit together and agree on an approach that rids us of this scourge. What’s worse is that I don’t see it changing any time soon, given the selfishness of our population and the politicization of the issue. It’s depressing to think how much longer we will sink into this morass, and I am not looking forward to what the winter has in store.

The primary casualty of these eighteen months has been motivation. I expected novel number two to be mostly done by now, but I haven’t sat in front of the keyboard to type one word of it in months. Everytime I have had an idea for a post, it disappeared like fart in the wind when it came time to actually write about it.

I’ve had three weeks off this summer with not much to show for it, other than some stuff around the house. All you need to know about how mundane life has become is one obsession that I have become consumed with. It has galvanized my focus and, at times, turned me into a raving lunatic, unleashing murderous thoughts of violence, creulty and extermination.

What has created this toxic brew? Ants!

We’ve had ants before, but they were manageble. Most of the time, they were outside and you could see the swarms. But when they strayed into the house, a dose of boric acid and sugar around the perimiter of the foundation would do the trick.

We moved into this house in October 2019 and last year had occasional ants in the kitchen. But they were managable. I don’t know what happened this year though. We have gotten a ton of rain this summer (wish my west coast friends could have had half of what we had) so maybe this is flushing them out. Traps aren’t working one bit.

Instead of seeing one or two stray ants occasionally trek across the light maple floors, you see one or two at different parts of the house at different times of the day. Every single day! If you drop a crumb or something sweet or oily on the floor, they swarm in bunches. These are the little bastards too (thankfully), so when you see a dark cluster surrounding something on the floor you know there are a lot of them. It got so bad that when we woke up yesterday, they were actually crawling up the cabinets into the pantry, up the cabinets where some of the dishes are and the door where the kitchen garbage is. They were invading on multiple fronts and it felt like we were under seige! A dark, malevolent spirit consumed me, and I wanted to inflict hellfire and eternal suffering on these unwelcome intruders.

Instead of fireboming the place, cooler heads prevailed, which meant a thorough inspection and cleaning of the panty to see what was luring them, which is exactly what I want to be doing before breakfast. It turned out that a box of Cheeze-Its was the culprit, as I discovered two ants crawling up the side of the box and decided to explore what was inside. How they got in the box and the closed bag inside it is beyond me, but there were at least a couple of dozen in there and it pissed me off for the rest of the entire day and night. Needless to say, that box of crackers was tossed.

And we just aren’t finding them in the kitchen, although that is where the bulk of them hide. They are in the bathroom, the hallways and bedrooms. It is as if they have found the mother lode somewhere and keep sending out the soldier ants to forage.

It isn’t as if we’ve done nothing to remedy this, but nothing has worked. We have deployed traps in and out of the house, sprayed where we believe the bulk of them are with everything but boric acid (which has become hard to find for some reason) on more than one occasion, but the problem has been getting worse.

I have truly come to hate, and I mean REALLY hate, these little motherfuckers and wish I could somehow nuke them all into oblivion. Admittedly, this is a control issue more than anything else. Things are bad enough dealing with the pandemic and its fallout, and it feels like we have no ability to control or influence our external environment. It is too much to ask to feel safe, unviolated and in control of the environment at home? While I would not categorize this as an infestation, it is certainly a problem that seems to be getting worse instead of better.

I have become a neat freak, which is definitely not me. Everytime the I see something fall on the floor, it has to be vacummed or mopped. Everytime something is prepared on the counter, the counter needs to be wiped down. Dishes immediately into the dishwasher, not the sink. I am consumed with finding an answer because this can not stand!

Maybe this is the kick in the ass I need. It certainly has my undivided attention and has gotten me to post something for the first time in a long time. I know the winter will bring a period of solace, but we need to somehow find and kill the nest otherwise next year will become another year of discontent, and something more toxic will have to be employed.

Then maybe the peace and tranquility that has been so elusive for so long will being to settle in. In the meantine, I will have to be satisfied with finding them on the floor, pinching them onto my index finger, and slowly crush/pulverize them between the index finger and thumb. Hopefully their screams reach their colony and they learn not to fuck with me anymore.

A guy can dream, can’t he?

The Three Magic Words

Happy

“I love you,” are not the three words men most yearn to hear. This may have been the case early in our courtship when we were drunk with love and romance, and the mere mention of these words would make our hearts flutter and groins stir. No, as the relationship matures and the question of love is no longer debatable, those three words are supplanted by a new trio. These words always turn our heads away from the television, the I-Pad, or otherwise remove our focus from whatever world we currently inhabit.

These words have the same effect as a cold shower, but in a positive, refreshing way. Instead of pretending to pay attention but only hearing wah wah, wah wah wah when our wives or girlfriends are talking, and our attention is divided between whatever it is they are saying and the sports page, we snap out of our stupor in a nanosecond and focus like a laser beam on the conversation we were mostly ignoring. What are these magic words? You….are….right!

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not minimizing the significance of “I love you.” I never want the day to end without saying those words to K or Shodan. Even though we sometimes say them with the same gusto as “honey I’m taking out the trash,” they are nonetheless meaningful, and shame on the poor fool that takes them for granted.

But to hear, “you are right”… is almost orgasmic because it’s so rare. Not winning the Powerball rare, but more akin to witnessing the perfect sunset, observing an underground lake, or discovering crop circles, where an intrinsic feeling of wonderment and awe overwhelms the senses. It puts a spring in our step, gives us reason to have faith, and otherwise makes us feel that perhaps we not as obtuse are we are led to believe.

Most women I know would derisively scoff at this premise, flatly stating that the reason we don’t hear this very often is not because they are loathe to admitting this. No, the reason we don’t hear these words very often is simply because we are right about as often as you’ll see polka-dots on a zebra.

I don’t remember that last time I had to choose between being right and being happy, primarily because I don’t keep score. If I’m rational, I will choose happiness, be satisfied in knowing that I’m right, and not belabor the point. I’d much rather concede the issue and keep the peace because I know that if I let my stubbornness get the best of me, and it’s usually over really stupid inconsequential shit, I may win the battle but lose the war. You see, the thrill of victory is fleeting and once the narcotic wears off, the hangover sets in. I’ll realize I’m deep in the doghouse, and for what?

K will still think I’m not only wrong, but an insensitive flaming asshole to boot, and is now doubly pissed that I disputed her omnipotence. I’ll cower like a scolded pup, wonder how the hell I did this to myself (again), apologize after an appropriate cooling off period, and swear upon everything I hold sacred that I won’t put myself in that position again.

Later on when the dust has settled and I’m alone I’ll replay the events, be my own judge and jury and render an unbiased verdict on the matter. More than half of the time I’ll concede I was wrong, but the ratio is a lot closer to 50% than 0%.

In the end it doesn’t matter, and all I can do is wait for the next time those three magic words are offered without prompting or hesitation, and bathe in the warm glow of redemption.