ANT FIGHT 2017, PART 2

May 3rd, 2017

I was at the dentist, fantasizing about my ant problem, also possibly on a stronger-than-usual anesthetic, when I finally came up with a solution for the pavement ant infestation. The kids and I had been talking about Eragon or one of the other books in the Inheritance Cycle by my good pal Christopher Paolini, and realized he could probably help me. So I called him:

Me: “Hello . . .Chris?”

CP: “Yes?”

“This is Ben.”

CP: “Who?”

Me: “Your friend, Ben Hewett.  Soon-to-be-famous author.”

CP: “Uh . . . how did you get this number?”

Me: “Your agent. Listen, I just need a little help. Shouldn’t take long.”

CP: “Er. . . okay. Anything to give a fellow author a boost, I guess.”

Me: “Actually, the writing’s going fine, thanks. I just need help killing ants.”

CP: “Wait. . .Who is this?”

Me: “Ben Hewett. And it’s not unrelated. It’s hard to write when the ants go marching across your fingertips. While you’re typing.”

CP: “Listen man, you’re a writer. Write a  letter to your HOA. They’re responsible for animals that enter your home from the exterior.

Me: “Um. Yeah. How’d that HOA letter thingy work for Thorin Oakenshield?”

[Awkward silence.]

CP: “More like, ‘How did it work for Smaug…’ ”

Me: “Of course you’d side with Smaug.”

[Even more awkward silence.]

Me:  “Listen, Chris. What I really need—besides your endorsement on my next book—is for you to send Eragon over to my house real quick. He can just sort of… you know… do that thing he did in Eldest.  It seemed like a pretty weak plot device at the time, but this idea of sucking the life-force straight outta the entire ant colony has really grown on me in the last few weeks.

CP: “Eragon isn’t like that anymore. He carefully considers the impact of each action and . . .”

Me: “This is sort of important. The pavement ants are recolonizing faster than my neighbors and I can poison them. Faster than Galbatorix learning new, obscure languages, actually. Your guy wouldn’t even have to kill that many. Just like. . . eight ant queens. And anyways,  My neighborhood would be more grateful to him than the whole continent of Alagaësia. Remember how much crap he got just for blessing that poor purple girl? Come to think of it, pest control’s a great fallback position for him. It’s safe, fun, and he could definitely minimize the environmental impacts of pesticides like Termidore and Anthrax.”

Click.

Me:  “Um, hello? Chris?”

See what I mean?

Nobody wants to help.

ANT FIGHT 2017, PART 1

January 1st, 2017

 

The rattle and crack of Russian-grade fireworks in the backyard wakes me up.

It takes me a minute to realize the kids are traveling with their mother, and that the detonations are in my neighbor’s yard, not mine.

Ahhh. Good. Not my problem.

I put a pillow over my head.

But it is my problem, because the new neighbors are West Coasters still acclimatizing to the dictates of Central Standard Time.  The detonations continue.

At 2 AM when wake up yet again, I realize that it isn’t just about New Year’s. This is payback. Both to the HOA, and the pavement ants that the HOA has refused to deal with. I say a few hurrahs and stack another pillow on my head. Can’t think of a better use for fireworks.

To understand this attitude, you have to understand pavement ants. They don’t bite, but they’re into everything: crawling across the kitchen counter, drinking from the toilet bowl upstairs, and tripping through my leg hairs while I write this post.

According to the Pest Control guy, our townhomes are parked right on top of a “super colony,”  a quarter-mile, underground ant complex complete with multi-lane traffic signals and 8 different queens, who all argue about whose day it is to wear the pANTs. (Juvenile, I know.)

The Pest Control guy says I’ll need some ANThrax to kill them, but I’m pretty sure that’s illegal, even in Texas.  Termidore is a close second-choice, but Termidore costs more than Anthrax, says the HOA, so they’re not going to spring for it, and their level of engagement only declines from there:

ME: Please? There are, like, a billion ants inside my house.

HOA: “It’s a town home, not an apartment, sucker. Everything inside is your responsibility.”

ME: “Um… but the ants are coming in from the outside.”

HOA: “That’s what you think.”

ME: “No! I’m serious! Here are three videos of them peeking through the windows before they work the latches. It’s really creepy.”

HOA: “Mr. Hewett, please stop trying to give us evidence. We’ve already hired expensive attorneys to help us avoid this responsibility.”

Now you understand why my neighbors have resorted to ant-bombing under the cover of New Year’s.

But this isn’t over.