I've always considered myself to be a strong woman, one who's not afraid of insects. Heck, I grew up in Minnesota where the state bird is a mosquito. We thought nothing of playing outdoors all day and coming home with little spots of blood from squished mosquitoes decorating our arms and legs. A quick bath washed the bodies down the drain.
Of course I'll never forget my first night in my first apartment when I'd moved to Miami. I went into the kitchen, opened the silverware drawer and found two cockroaches....I mean PALMETTO BUGS, frolicking on the forks! I'm not sure which upset me the most: that there were huge black bugs in my drawer or that they were having sex. No matter, I do believe they heard me scream as far away as New Jersey. It didn't take me long to get used to annihilating them. One good smack with a shoes, grab a paper towel to enclose the corpse, and into the trash they went.
Things improved a bit when I moved to California. No cockroaches....I mean PALMETTO BUGS there. Nope, they have spiders - lots and lots of spiders. Now I'm not the kind of woman who screams at the sight of a spider. No indeed. I simply grabbed a tissue, squished the little bugger into a ball of legs and goo, and flushed them. Mission accomplished. Even the dreaded black widow spiders were easily dispatched under the heel of my sandals.
When I moved to Oregon, I figured I come handle anything that crawled, flew or scurried onto my world. I found myself surrounded by mole hills, flies, slugs and....ants. The outside critters were easy enough to ignore, then my home was invaded for the first time. I found ants in the pantry. I'm not talking about a couple wandering around looking for sustenance. NOOO, this was a huge undulating mass of movement, scurrying up the walls, across the shelves and onto the ceiling searching for sustenance. This time they heard me screaming in San Francisco. Yeah, folks - that was me, not the minor earthquake that was reported.
In a fury of activity, I took everything out of the pantry, washed the shelves and kept them empty - for days! I'd show those nasty pests who was in charge. I carefully enclosed all the food in zip locked bags. HA, just try and get in there! For a few weeks I walked around with my head held high. Another victory for a strong woman....until I went to take a bath one night.
INVASION! Ants had taken over my bathtub and the surrounding area! I sprayed, I stomped, I swatted, I squished. No matter how many I killed, more kept pouring in from ... somewhere. I finally got rid of enough ants so that I could take a bath, but damn it, they just kept coming back! One of my new Oregon friends swore that vinegar would keep them away. I swabbed the tile with white vinegar. The ants just laughed at me and kept coming. Another friend told me with confidence that ants hate cinnamon. I sprinkled piles of the stuff all over the place. I found the ants had written naughty words in the brown swirls. No, no, said yet another friend, bay leaves. Put down some bay leaves - ants hate them. Really? I found the ants had lifted the bay leave around the piles of cinnamon - like a miniature beach surround by palm trees. I'm sure they believe my bathtub is one giant ant ocean.
I'm about at my wits end. Now at night I hear them straining and groaning - trying to lift my house off its foundation so they can carry it to the master nest. Never fear, I am a strong woman, I'll find a way to win. In the meantime, I've decided to let them have the tub and I'll take showers.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Carlene's problems are nothing compared to those of Carol Reston, the heroine of her humorous mystery FINDER! Carol has to contend with a dead body, missing women, her world-traveling, martini-drinking, Jaguar driving aunt and a husband who is growing increasing mysterious by the day. To purchase a copy of FINDER! go to: www.wildchildpublishing.com.