According to courthouse records, our house was built in 1876. We think it was cobbled together until we moved in almost 20 years ago. No doorframes match; one has wide oak trim while another has narrow pine. That doesn’t affect the livability of the house.

The house was vacant for at least five years prior to our purchase. During those years, evidently, the house was not unoccupied.

The fall we moved in we learned about Asian lady beetles. The ladybug look-alikes sheltered in the corners of our bedroom. Hundreds of them. I learned that they taste horrible after one wandered into the plastic straw of my water bottle and I took a swig. Blech!

Some falls, these creatures abandon us choosing to winter somewhere else. I notice, but don’t really miss them.

Another critter is not so ready to relinquish control of our mutual domicile. Especially this year.

Whoever penned the song “The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah…” must not have had to live with them.

They are taking over my kitchen counter. Husband has placed little cardboard squares of an anticide at several intervals around the perimeter of the counter. This has not seemed to antagonize them in the least. It seems to serve as an antipasto prior to hitting more anticing spaces like the cutting board.

The cutting board is ever present on the counter in front of the toaster. Bread is buttered (or more likely, peanut buttered) here. Apples are sectioned with the corer for Husband’s lunch. The other day I noticed a sliver of apple (sliver being the size of one of wood that accidentally offends a finger) being wrestled by troops. Fascinating to watch, but the antithesis of what I wanted in my kitchen.

There have been so many this year and so diffuse that I have anthropomorphized them as having Fitbits attached to a limb counting each step taken, mile accumulated and calorie burned traversing my counter.

The day I picked up the chef’s knife from its designated space for when it’s dirty (at the edge of the counter, next to the stove, blade pointed toward the stove) and watched them scurry towards my Keurig coffee maker, my antipathy maximized, I decided to up the ante. I may be making a mountain of an anthill, but I would ant-ihilate them.

I googled “getting rid of ants” and found an anthology of suggestions. All required destroying the trails by applying deterrent smells. Vinegar is anathema to ants. I had that antidote.

I started by washing the few dirty dishes on the counter (one of the articles said to do this or put them in the dishwasher… No thanks, I’m full). I removed all appliances and canisters and washed them. I scrubbed the cupboard. There were a few spots I could feel something – a long ago spill maybe.

Finally, I poured vinegar into a spray bottle and added some water. As my antepenultimate action, I sprayed the perimeter of the counter with the vinegar solution, making sure that any final ant anthems were dirges. I wiped up excess fluid then returned the appliances and canisters to their proper places.

By this point, I had worked so hard in the high humidity I knew my antiperspirant had not survived. That was a small price to pay for putting the anti-lock brakes on the ant invasion.

Within an hour, I returned to the immaculate perception for a cold drink and to admire the kingdom that I had regained. Unfortunately, the ants hadn’t gotten that message. Aargh! What would it take? A trip to Antartica? A dose of anthrax?

I adjourned to the throne room, ready to call it a (k)night. While sitting, finishing my paperwork, a new creature scurried from behind a cabinet across the doorway and under the bathroom door. A mouse!

I think I’m going to need an antidepressant.

 

 

 

 

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