Friday, July 24, 2009

Kingdom of the Giant Ants

We have ants in our home. I wouldn't call it an ant problem, exactly, because it's just a periodic invasion that seems to pass quickly. They don't really do anything, either, just hang around and look menacing and icky. We're pretty philosophical about it, simply referring to our home as "Kingdom of the Giant Ants" until they move on. It gives the situation a sort of cool, kitschy, bad horror movie vibe, which makes us feel better.

I'm talking about the gigantic black ants. Seriously huge, and I'm pretty sure I have a childhood memory of one of those suckers chomping onto my toe and holding on even after his body was removed from his head. I could be thinking of a different kind of ant, certainly I grew up in Florida, where the bugs are way more vicious than the ones we have in Georgia, but still, the giant ants make me shudder.

They're primarily focusing on the bathroom, which is their typical m.o., and therefore not unexpected. They come into the bathroom through some crack in this weird old house, a couple of times a year, camp out for a week or two, and then vanish. We've been here long enough for me to observe that any ant reduction measures seem futile, as such measures, (ant traps, borax, what have you), do not seem to shorten the length of their stay. They come, they go, and in the meantime I'm a little paranoid because I'm constantly afraid one of them is going to be in the toilet when I sit down, and chomp a delicate area with the ferocity and tenacity noted in the perhaps imagined childhood toe chomping incident.

I try hard not to pass these fears along to Small One. I act entirely blase about the ants, calmly washing them down the sink and flushing them down the toilet. (Did you know that you have to run the water a LONG time to get an ant down the sink? Just rinsing them down leaves you watching a bedraggled ant climbing from the drain and indignantly drying his antennae.) In any event, Small has expressed concern for the creatures, being careful not to step on them, and looking askance at me when I rinse or flush them away instead of carefully carrying them outside, which is what her Daddy, the bleeding heart insect advocate vegetarian, does.

"Where the ant is going to go, Mommy?" she asked, frowning, after I'd rinsed one down the drain.

"Swimming!" I said, brightly, "Swimming out to sea! Like at the beach!"

I'm not sure if she bought it, she gave me a suspicious look.

Tonight, they've entered a new phase, and invited their buddies in for a kitchen garbage party. This does not thrill me, and when I opened the lid on the garbage can to see zillions of the ugly things munching on debris, I called The Man in for backup. He took out the garbage while I swept the other ones out the back door. I didn't yell "And stay out!", but I thought it. Their stay is seeming longer than usual, despite the ant trap we've put behind the toilet, and I'm hoping they move along soon, because they're making me nervous.

As to Small One, today she told me she was going to the potty all by herself, but then immediately started yelling something I couldn't quite catch. It wasn't a pain yell, or a panic yell, so I finished what I was doing before I went to check on her, and when I got to the bathroom, she was still yelling, but also laughing and doing a little dance, pants around her ankles, staring into her little potty at 4 dead ants floating around.

"I pee peed on the ants!" she was crowing, gleefully, "I pee peed on the ants!!!!"

I think perhaps as their stay lengthens, her concern for them is fading.

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