I finally managed to clean the house this weekend. It was rugged, what with the heat and humidity, but I just couldn’t stand it anymore. It was making me even crankier than I was before: beyond cranky! Enough already! Can’t do nothing about the heat, but I can clean the house. Even though it’s not as hot as it was last week, let me tell you, I was sweating buckets by the time I finished. But I took a shower, changed into some dry clothes, popped open an ice-cold Moxie and my spirits improved considerably. When Charlie come home, I think he was more than a little relieved to see a glimmer of my former self.
It takes me longer to clean the house during the summer, because I have to keep stopping to move the daddy long legs spiders outside. I just can’t bring myself to suck them up the vacuum. “Aren’t you a good little Buddhist,” my niece Caitlin says. I have no idea what that means. It’s just something I do. If I find a bug or spider in the house, I get a glass and a stiff piece of paper (my old Weight Watchers Points Calculator work best. Heck, I don’t use it for anything else!) and I scoop up the intruder and release it into the wild. With daddy long legs it’s best to scoop them from their web (usually, in a corner of the bathroom). If you try to capture them as they’re scurrying away, you might hurt one of their legs. That’s not good.
Now before you get to thinking that I’m the next Mother Teresa here, I have to confess: if a critter hurts me or mine, it’s another story. I have no problem smacking a mosquito or swatting black flies into oblivion. Same goes for horse flies and deer flies. I swear, when those things take a hunk out of you, yeowl! It hurts! That’s where I draw the line.
Then there are the mice come November. I try to ignore them. (They’re just trying to get out of the cold.) But then one will push me too far. I’ll get up in the morning, and there’s a hole the size of a quarter in the top of my picture-perfect apple pie, the one I was going to bring to the pot luck down to the Knights of Columbus.
“Oh, darn it all to hell!” I yell. “Now I’m going to have make some brownies from a mix.”
“Just cut out the piece with the bite marks,” Charlie says, “and you can say I got hungry and ate some.”
“I can’t do that Charlie! That’s gross!” Men!
“I’ll start the brownies, and you can find the mouse traps from last year. But I don’t want to see any dead bodies, mister. Killing varmints is your department.”
We tried those Have a Heart Traps, but they don’t work. Charlie calls them the shuttle bus. “More than once, I catch the fella, look him over and think, Haven’t we met before? Then, I let the mouse off down the street, and I just know that before I turn my back, that mouse is gathering his friends for another party at Ida and Charlie’s.”
So Saturday, I’m cleaning and there’s this big wasp flying around in the kitchen. Now, I usually trap bees, hornets and wasps and put them outside, too. I’ve never been stung. But this bugger wouldn’t land. I opened the door, hoping it would fly out of it’s own accord, but it kept circling the middle of the kitchen. I had to carry little Scamp around so he wouldn’t “scamper” out the door. Finally, I’d had it. I said to the wasp in my no-nonsense voice, “Mister, I want you to leave this house right now!” And I’ll be darned if that wasp didn’t head for the door, me following behind with Scamp in my arms. It landed briefly on the door knob, then out it went and I closed the door behind it. Ida LeClair: Wasp Whisperer.
That’s it for now. Catch you on the flip side!
(Listen to the podcast of Ida's column here.)