04 August 2015


I came across an ant recently. More like, my 1.5-year-old stopped dead in her tracks and squatted down to look at it, pointing and yelling in a weird mix of bewildered fascination that sounded an awful lot like shrieking. At this point, my oldest exclaimed, "My best friend! MY BEST FRIEND FROM DETROIT! You found him!"

"Your best friend is an ant?" I asked, incredulously.

"YES! I teach it yoga!"

This went down in my kitchen, by the way, not outside where one would hope to be if one were to have an encounter with a bug.

And, lest you think I left you hanging, I, too, have unanswered questions about my daughter teaching ants yoga. She did not feel it was necessary to speak of it any further. Three-year-olds. (Which, spell check suggested I change to three-year-colds. Why should that be considered an alternative?)

Where was I? Oh yes, standing in my kitchen, of all places, scouring the floor for more ants. There weren't any. Until a few mornings later when there were a few dozen.

I was perplexed, naively thinking that our fairly new house should not have ants. Our old home seemed more likely; a 1970s ground unit condo, it saw its share of bugs, may it rest in peace. Ants in our new home seemed a bit off-putting.

I mean, I sweep the floor at least three times a day because, small children. There are usually still crumbs at any given moment, though, because, small children. I guess I shouldn't have been too surprised.

I shrugged it off as Jason vacuumed them up with the shop-vac. I would like the record to show that when it comes to insects in our home, we are usually catch-and-releasers. I do not know if it was lack of sleep or sheer volume that led to the demise of the ants that day. I still feel bad about it.

In the vein of being humane, which is a really stupid rhyme that I don't want to go back to change, I grabbed my spray bottle of vinegar that I keep for wiping down counters and sprayed it along the baseboards. I don't know. I guess I figured it would repel any future ants. The real point I want to get to here is that as I was spritzing, I suddenly remembered this had kind of happened once before.

Many years ago, when it was just the two of us living in our old bug-magnet of a condo, we had a bit of an ant situation. They would be there and then they wouldn't be. It was a real on-again-off-again sort of thing and I hated it.

It so happened that it was Saturday and we had plans to be out for most of the day. Before we left, I had the idea to spray the baseboards to see if it would keep the ants away while we were gone, and perhaps for good. The only thing we had on hand to spray was a can of Pledge that Jason used to clean DVDs. I figured it was worth a shot, so I sprayed a hefty amount along the baseboards in our kitchen and dining area, overspraying a couple of inches in for good measure.

When we returned home that evening I didn't see a single ant. I also didn't see how slick my Pledged floor was as I stepped onto it wearing socks. Somehow our tiny kitchen became the length of a bowling lane as I slid across it, crashing into the table before falling to the ground. A chair might have landed on top of me.

The real downer, though, was not my bruised shins, or ego. The real downer was that the Pledge didn't even prove to be a long-term repellent and we had to resort to ant traps.

I'm hoping the vinegar yields better results but I have my doubts. I'm thinking of talking my daughter into letting me join her ant yoga class.

This post was much shorter in my head.

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