Friday, May 17, 2013

Some Springtime Uninvited Company

Every third weekend or so, sooner if we feel ambitious, we'll try to clean the basement. A finished basement proves one of the harder rooms in the house to clean because of the diversity of the mess. For every old pillow-and-blanket fort ravaged, seized and razed by a one-year-old, we have an entire pouch of Welch's fruit snacks smushed into our late-'80s mauve carpet. (Some say that's an improvement.) If we have a pizza box on the coffee table from supper, we also have tiny, misplaced choking hazards from toys we (by we, I mean I) never knew existed strewn all over the room, because of course the basement is Where the Toys Are. Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing Connie Francis.

Oh who am I kidding. Every room in the house is the toy room. The living room has a few shelves of toys and books a table that speaks both English and Spanish and plays music and names colors. And there are two train sets. In the dining room is an easel. In the kitchen we have another, smaller kitchen with 200,000 plastic hot dogs and french fries. In one bathroom there are various nautical items and water-dwelling animals. In the other bathroom is all our bathroom stuff all over the place because some 1-year-olds with long reaches think contact lens cases and toothbrushes are also toys. The garage looks like a kiddie episode of Hoarders. Maybe our house is Babes in Toyland instead.

Last time we looked to clean the basement though, we saw all the usual-- the pillows, the books, some clothes drying on a rack, a chocolate chip Ritz cracker, enough toys to open a Salvation Army satellite store, some critical tax information, an overturned hockey net, and two or three helpings of "rancid chocolate cottage cheese-like substance in a sippy cup" hidden under the furniture. (We're putting the other "rancid chocolate cottage cheese-like substance in a sippy cup" guy out of business.)

The chocolate chip Ritz cracker got my attention. I'm used to not being able to keep up with advances in snack food - they turned my favorite cereal, Special K, into flatbread sandwiches for God's sake-- so it's not surprising someone at Nabisco was able to engineer a chocolate chip Ritz cracker.

Except when I picked it up all the chocolate chips started spazzing out and crawling all over me. Silly me, it's Delaware Ant Season! And now they have a very willing accomplice, that 1-year-old who leaves large pieces of food in very bad places. Crackers on the floor, M&M's on the edge of the countertop, half-eaten ice cream sandwiches in the couch cushions. At least I'm not crazy -- there really is no such thing as a chocolate chip Ritz. 

Note the capital letters on Delaware Ant Season...if you capitalize something, you can easily explain it away as some sort of rite of passage or tradition that you cannot get around. Like Cherry Blossom Season, but more unpleasant. Instead of just saying "we have ants" we capitalize it in an attempt to distract ourselves from the fact that, indeed maybe within these walls just live five total scuzzbuckets.

The ants must have gorged themselves or were sleeping or both because they were motionless until I picked up their little tanning bed and threw it out the door. Then I found their little trail of followers, in a single-file line just like in the cartoons, and went to find the nearest pest killer.

I couldn't find any pest killers - so unprepared for Delaware Ant Season we are-- so I squirted the first thing I could find in a trigger bottle at them, which was Armor All. Not sure if that helped or hurt, but it slowed them down enough that I could wipe them up and throw them out. I kept a watchful eye for more but am happy to report we have been ant free for almost a week now. 

Obviously we have not heard the last of the Delaware Ants this year; the tiny little things multiply and grow and somehow manage to get into your cereal bag no matter how many Bag Clips you choke it with. Of course, one ant in a bowl of cereal, and the whole bowl is ruined. Just be sure to find it before it's too late, they taste like what rotten potpurri might smell like. Very pungent for something so small.

But we'll be more prepared in the future. As a seventh rule of the kitchen, we will no longer permit anyone (adults included) to take any food out of the kitchen ever again. We also need to get more of this stuff. That stuff draws all of the ants out of their hiding places, then murders them instantly. The little packets fill up with dead ants faster than your toddler can throw his entire plate of spaghetti on the floor. Given the damage the one-year-old can do, we'll need all the backup we can get.

(Editor's Note: The house is not as bad as my husband is making it sound.)
(Blogger's Note: Most of the time.)

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