The exterminator came to terminate the lives of some very
ugly and active ground bees. I thought they were wasps coming and going under the metal
siding of my house but the guy said differently and who am I to argue over the
point. They were entering under the last row of shingles but then, he said,
they were following a crack along the cement and going into the ground. As I
stood 25 feet away, he made them very angry as he used a long, skinny tube and a
hand sprayer to get a white and smelling powder down in the hole and under the
siding. The guy repeated the action at least ten times over the course of a
half hour causing bees to shoot out and fly around his body. One of the tallest guys I’ve ever seen in my life, he was wearing a
short-sleeved t-shirt that wasn’t long enough and it gave him something in common
with plumbers who show off their butt cracks and the man didn’t wear any
protective gear, not even a pair of gloves when his hands were only inches
away from the nest. I, however, had wished I was suited up for space travel.
Neither of us got stung, thank goodness, or I wouldn’t be here to write about
it. I wasn’t too worried about it, I’d been studying their flight pattern for three
weeks so I knew they never came near the area where I was standing, and being
allergic to bees I’ve learned over the years to calm myself when one is near me. Apparently he knew that trick too.
I was told to stay away from the area for 24 hours because bees who make their way out past the powder were going to be “madder than a wet hornet.” I don’t know how they gauge wet hornet anger against powdered bee anger but, again, who am I to question a guy who does that kind of work for a living? Twenty-four hours later I went out to pick up dead bee bodies because I didn’t want the frogs in the area to eat them and get sick. They did that once when I killed some bees with Raid---ate them, but I don't know if the frogs got tummy aches. Dead, the flying death machines puffed up huge with their load of white poison. I didn’t feel one bit sorry for them. The exterminator said to be eco-friendly I should have sprayed them with equal parts of water and vinegar and if he knew why my bottle traps didn’t work, he didn’t share that info with me. He got distracted admiring a restored, antique ECO air pump in my garage that caught his eye. I told him it’s promised to the son-the-I-wish-I-had to cover $2,000 toward the cost of him helping me move next year and the exterminator had me take his personal contact information as a back up for a quick sale in case that deal with Tim falls through. I love back up plans.
The guy said I might still see some bees up to two weeks and
after that if I see any I’m to call back within 15 days and they’ll come spray
again for free. You can bet I put that date on my day planner so I don’t let it
slide and miss the deadline. The service cost $189.00 but I didn’t have a
choice. If the gods of the pandemic allow tricker-or-treaters this year they’d have
to walk right in bees’ flight patterns as the mail carrier did when she picked
up my e-Bay packages and I’ve been doing to take Levi for walks.
The next day I had to get acquainted with my new house cleaner. If you follow my blog, you’ll know I loved my old cleaner for both her OCD cleaning abilities and our conversations. Purity has a hard luck history that includes childhood sexual abuse, rebellious teen years, giving up a baby for adoption---all leaving her with some serious issues that sound like you're picking random letters out of your alphabet soup. But she is street smart, determined to make her own way in the world, wise beyond her years and she had too much potential to be working a dead end job cleaning houses for the rest of her life. So I was both happy and sad to lose her because she’s going back to school to become a vet’s assistance.
Who knows, maybe my magnet that I placed on the refrigerator where she had to keep cleaning around helped give her a push in the right direction. It’s a George Eliot quote that says, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” More than likely her going back to school was triggered by the fact that she’ll be aging out of a state-aid program that helps kids like her with tuition money and that window will close on her 25th birthday. I’m happy for her and when she left she said, “You have my phone number, if you ever want to meet for coffee call me.” I was frankly shocked by that offer but I managed to say, “I’ll do that.” Maybe, just maybe she got as much out of our conversations as I did over the past three years...or maybe the coffee offer came because I had just given her a $50 going-away tip.
So many people come and go through our lives and we never really know how or if we’ve had an impact on each other. I do know when I’m around young people like her I have a tendency to try to be like my father. He had a sly way of teaching values and life-lessons, of planting seeds of wisdom that I didn’t fully appreciate until I was much older and cousins and lake friends would tell me how much he'd influenced them. I don’t fool myself in to believing I have his gift but he did pass it on to my nieces. I see my dad in them every time they're around young kids....their warmth, their patience, their positive reinforcements, the teachable moments they find are right out of my dad’s playbook. ©