Friday, August 21, 2009
Tender, saucy pork just falling off the bone. Corn on the cob, smothered in warm butter, with a side of cold potato salad. A perfect summer lunch. The four of us sit inside; there's not much shade in the yard today, the bright sun beating down on the picnic table out back.
We talk, laugh and re-tell old stories as we make a mess - rib sauce coating our finger tips. After lunch, Kat and her boyfriend head out, and Kristin and I start the clean up.
I start washing the dishes, starting with the plates which are messy with sauce, butter and bones.
"Hey - there's a bee in here," she says.
"Hunh, that's odd. Wonder how he got in here," I wonder aloud. I dry my hands and make my way to the dining room where she stares at the bee. He's bouncing around the screen, trying to find a way out. There won't be a way out today, I muse as I grab him - er, crush him - with a paper towel.
I walk back to the sink. It's mid-afternoon now, about 3pm and the sun is still shining. I look onto the street as I wipe dishes and place them in the drying rack. Kids are playing in the park across the street and the sound of their game carries through the open window. I hear an older boy curse as they run through the playground. I cringe. Soon enough our own kids will be playing in that park, having to listen to that garbage. Mine will be different, I hope.
My thoughts are interrupted. "Hey, there's two more!" she says, eying the 2 small yellow jackets flitting about the room. I quickly crush them as well. I'm a hunter like that.
Back to the dishes. I'm almost through the lunch clean-up when I'm interrupted again.
Where are all these bees coming from?! I demand an answer.
We don't often have bees - yellow jackets, to be more specific - in the house, and in the past 20 minutes I've killed 5! My heart slows, concern washing over my mind.
Kristin suggests we get out the bug zapper. It's small, red, and shaped like a tennis racket. Two AA batteries fit in the handle to provide the juice for zapping. I'm reluctant; it's packed away in a Rubbermaid bin and I don't feel like searching for it.
Two more bees arrive, seemingly out of thin air. Time for the zapper.
Kristin loves the bug zapper. I mean, she really loves it. For some reason she's very entertained - she quickly goes to work zapping bees and saying "Ha! Gotcha!". I finish the dishes as she zaps bugs. I love this bee-killing-bride-o-mine. I watch her with pride.
I've never seen more than 2 bees in our house during the 4+ years we've been here, but I quickly realize that in my zeal to seal up the hole from the outside, I must have blocked their only way out. Hmpf.
I figure I'd better check the basement. It's empty since the sewer back-up in late July. The restoration company had removed all of our possessions, cut the drywall 2 feet from the floor, moved doors and furniture. It's never felt so empty. I scan the rooms. No bees flying around ...
I look into my study, or what used to be my study. My eyes are drawn towards the afternoon sunlight pouring through the window. That's when I see it. The bees.
"Oh No!" I exclaim. Kristin stirs upstairs, I hear her at the top of the stairs, stepping down the first few steps. "What?? What's going on?" She says, curious and concerned.
"Don't come down!" I holler back, "Bees are everywhere!"
Kristin is too curious. She comes down a few more steps. I'm sure she just wanted to see her knight in shining armor in action. Action is my middle name. I make sure she stays upstairs, not wanting her to be stung.
My panic is carefully concealed in bravery, and I take up the tool of the trade. My red, plastic tennis racket. I know it doesn't sound like much, but it's all I've got. I go to work - quickly killing 20 angry yellow jackets. I duck and dodge them as they circle me, watching their comrades perish, and possibly waiting to attack me.
They send for reinforcements; more yellow jackets arrive quickly, and I take a break. Remnants of a yellow jacket army litter the concrete floor.
I check in with Kristin - I can see the pride on her face as I tell her what's going on - about my certain victory. Maybe it was concern... no, no, it was definitely pride. Her hubby is winning.
I descend back into the basement, back into the battle. This time I enter the back room. We usually refer to this room as the "freezer room". It's not hard to figure out why; basically the only thing that was in that room was a freezer and some building supplies from past projects.
It's empty now, and I search for the bees. I turn on the light; bees are instantly drawn to it, and I zap 4 or 5. More congregate, and I ignore them. I need to find their entrance point.
It doesn't take long to locate. The room isn't finished, so there's no drywall or ceiling. I edge closer, gaining courage. After all, I have a pregnant wife upstairs, nervously waiting for the outcome. Praying, I'm sure, that her husband doesn't run madly from the house chased by a swarm of bees.
Now is not the time to wimp out, I tell myself. Not that I'm scared of bees, I'm just scared of being stung. These yellow jackets can get aggressive - just ask any picnic-er who got to close to the nest. They can also sting repeatedly.
I 'man-up' and get closer. I can't see exactly where they're coming from, but it's not hard to find them - there's a lot of them! They've amassed a small, er, good sized army somewhere in my walls. There's some insulation that sits atop the concrete wall in the basement, a piece between each floor joist. From under one of those sections of yellow insulation, pours a steady stream of yellow jackets. Yikes...
She tells me it's time to go. She's right. We have plans today - things to do - and these bees aren't going anywhere. I consider staying home to continue the battle, but I decide that more tools will be needed. I continue to assault the bees with my battery powered friend, until I'm convinced that this will not end quickly.
That piece of insulation is going to have to be removed for me to win this battle, and I'm going to need some more supplies (and more courage) for that task. It'll have to wait.
I survey the damage. Yellow Jackets dot the floor and window ledge in 2 rooms. Kristin killed a few more in the kitchen with a sandal (what a brave woman!).
Team Simons plugged the hole, no doubt causing major problems for the opposing team. +1 for Paul. Team Yellow Jacket launched a surprise indoor counterattack on a novice homeowner who knows nothing of bee-culture. +1
So we're tied - both teams very annoyed with one another. I ponder what other supplies I need and consider a little online research.
Tomorrow - the second wave of attacks, plus more pictures! Stay tuned!