So you know where to find my latest tales
(autobiographical but fictionally finessed),
I’m going to schedule them for Tuesdays
(posting Monday night!).
Stop by otherwise, for this and that and the other thing.
“Mommy, I don’t know what to dooo,” Kenny whined wistfully, gazing out the window, threatening to lick it, as he might doooooo out of sheer boredom.
He’d already mixed and remixed colored water with toothpaste in his test tubes; blown up balloons only to deflate them; glued cotton balls together; knotted yarn into a messy web for Spiderman; scotch-taped plastic-wrap “ghosts” to the windows; and stuck hot chocolate marshmallows to his face:
I have no patience for boredom. “Well, go swat more flies then,” then I said.
He brightened, and ran down to the basement – with me yelling to please shut the door so no more flies escaped upstairs where they zigzagged blindly it seemed, colliding with my head. For a week now, I’d been waving my hands around as I only do in July.
They’re those big horse fly things, easy targets for the most part:
Especially when they step out onto a fully lit stage, stupidly clustering on the basement florescent overhead light:
They’re so annoying, I was provoked into looking them up on Wikipedia: “They are known to be extremely noisy during flight.” Well, hell yes, especially if one gets trapped in your bedroom once lights are out. “They are also important pollinators of flowers, especially in South Africa.” Well, who cares. No pollination going on around here. Not in January, and we don’t live in Africa….
My husband combed Target, Ace and Home Depot for more fly catchers, like this one from last summer:
They’re seasonal, he was told. Who has flies in January on the East Coast?
We do. Lots of them. First it was the odd one clinging to the window pane. Then it was all the extended family. (more fly trivia: they’re also called Bull Dog flies).
So one bored evening the boys and I, armed with rolled-up newspapers, went down to the basement and went at ’em. Since I was the tallest, I went for the stupid ones hardly camouflaged on the lights. The boys swatted the cleverer ones who thought they could blend into the fake knotholes on the paneled walls. This fly-swatting party was like Kenny’s pirate birthday one, except then they were swinging foam swords:
“Got one! Two! FIVE!”” they counted madly. All this fly killing made me sentimentally hark back to a moment in their sweet toddler days, when Kenny and Ryan couldn’t bear to kill even an ant. Those teensy weeny black ants that either of the boys would watch at eye level, one cheek to the floor. My oldest, the most sentimental, would name them only to cry mournfully as they disappeared beneath the heat baseboard, hauling a Cheerio.
Our last insect infestation was seasonal, those same little ants, last spring. Kenny had caught me in the killing act at our kitchen counter, as I was squirting a drop of sweet poisonous stuff onto bits of cardboard, to strategically place in every delectable ant corner.
One ant gang couldn’t wait. It had already gathered in a feeding ring:
“What are they eating?” Kenny asked.
I hate when he sneaks up on me. Especially in the killing act. “You’re feeding the ants?” I still would go lengths not to actually squash a bug in front of my children, to set free outside spiders they would point out around the house, in all the cobwebs I missed on my weekly vacuuming ventures. “They take it back to their nests,” I explained, too matter-of-factly. He looked at me in utter confusion. It was a pivotal moment. Of truth. As when one or the other had asked me what do girls have if they don’t have a “peepees.” He looked at the innocent ants then back at me. “So this stuff is poison?” “We can’t have ants in the house. Not this many…” The truth is the hard cold one. He leaned his chin on the counter to more closely contemplate the ring of death. He was thinking too hard about it, and when my children think too hard, so do I; how awful really, that these naive ants think they’re getting this super sweet treat, only to carry it home like tainted pie to share with their family and to kill off their relatives. “Sometimes nature can be cruel.” “It’s not nature, it’s YOU.” Kenny walked away. I felt like a killer. But later, Kenny was the one to direct me to another ant hot spot hangout. Actually it was a marching brigade, of hundreds of them, forming a crooked but well-enforced single line commencing from some place beneath the playroom bookshelf, criss-crossing through a pile of Legos, under and over Spiderman and Batman, to, across the room, a lone half-eaten Oreo cookie. Kenny got down to eye level again. “Awesome.” Then he said. “We need more of that poison food.” So from last spring’s ant killing spree, we’ve progressed to killing flies and it has become a winter sport. The flies are gone now, or at least the live ones – rather than sweep or scoop them up, we were reduced to having to pick up the Legos one by one so that I could then vacuum up the carcasses.
My boys seemed disappointed that the flies are gone. But thankfully it snowed, and when bored I was able to throw them out of the house to lick the snow. And they might be in luck; just spotted a couple of more flies clinging to that overhead florescent light. Rather, basking in it, sunglasses and all.
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