Life In Progress

I will not confuse my career with my life.

Drunken sailors

2 Comments

I feel so guilty. I gave a dinner party at which all the guests were intentionally doomed. Over the years, I’ve developed into a capture-and-release type of person where bugs in the house are concerned. Except in the case of ants. (And ticks. But that’s another, more gruesome story.)

We’ve been here 26 years and this happens every year. The ants start marching one-by-one into the kitchen sink area on the windowsill and onto the counter. Just a few at first, but, oh, bloody hell — here we go again!

They’re a bit early this spring. Usually, they wander in around peony blooming time. The first year we were in this house, I naively placed a couple of gorgeous peony blossoms into a vase on the windowsill above the sink. The flowers smelled wonderful and were uplifting to look at while washing up supper dishes. To my acute horror, the next morning the sill, counter and flowers were crawling with tiny, creepy ants.

I’m ashamed to confess that my 26-year-younger self ran out to get a big can of bug spray. I treated the sill and poisoned the ants (and us!) but it didn’t stop the invasion. The assault subsided gradually and aside from the singular, deathly scent of Raid, I forgot all about the problem. Until the next year. This continued for a couple of years until somebody suggested baiting with sugar water and boric acid. Actually draw the ants in? Yes. Belly up to the gooey sweetness like drunken sailors at a bar while on shore leave.

This is day three of onslaught 27. The baiting obviously doesn’t exterminate them entirely. Either that or new, opportunistic colonies move in every year to fill the void. Two days ago, I mixed simple syrup with boric acid powder and drizzled the sticky solution along the counter, behind the faucet and onto commercial ant traps (which they ignored until I dotted the traps with sugar.) The past 24 hours have been desensitizing. I no longer cringe to see clouds of black, shiny creatures all over the counter. Dozens of ants lined up at every drizzle and drop. This morning there were noticeably fewer of them. An encouraging trend. When they’re gone, I’ll scald and scrub the counter and windowsill.

And apologize to the little beings for causing their demise.

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Author: Rebecca Reinhart

Artist, graphic designer, yoga teacher, goldsmith, dancer, seeker. I strive for a balanced state of sustained exploration and nearly constant reinvention.

2 thoughts on “Drunken sailors

  1. Oh my! I read about certain native cultures (Indonesian?) that considered ants their ancestors…they would leave small bowls of rice in the corners to keep them happy. I read if you feed them outdoors they’ll have no reason to come in. My mother ‘n law gets ants but we never do…..despite the fact she lives next door. Her soil is sandier but I’m not sure if that’s why. We have wasps, squash bugs, spiders and Asian lady beetles. I never vacuum up the spiders cause they leave of their own accord in the Spring….but there’s always some critter around it seems…..good luck with yours!

    • I guess I’d be the black sheep of the lineage if that were true! I have read that Buddhists believe that EVERY being has in one life or another been our mother and to treat all accordingly. Did you watch the series “6 Feet Under?” There’s a character who tries to talk to the ants to persuade them to leave her kitchen. It didn’t work…

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