Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Irwins vs. The Wasp-Monsters, Part 2 AND Kelley vs. The Mosquitos

Well I promised a part 2 of our wasp-invasion story, but I'm afraid it might be boring :(

After the original post on the wasp-monsters, I BEGGED Jeremy to find out where they were coming from. Look in the air vents, climb in the attic, check the windows! His response was that he was not going to crawl into a small confined space looking to find a wasp nest. Can't argue with that. I concluded that they must be coming from a nest in the chimney. This had only one remedy..... Smoke 'em out.

BUT... it was 75 degrees in November, so we decided that it wasn't really economical to turn on the air conditioner just so we could have a fire.

A few more wasps later, we realized that the chimney flue blocked off nearly the entire chimney from the house when closed - which it wasn't. So we closed the flue and haven't seen a wasp since. 

Such a simple solution. And MUCH more effective than my attempt to rid the backyard of mosquitos this summer....

I discovered the joy of gardening early this summer, and we planted a large vegetable garden in our back yard in July. However, I found myself covered in mosquito bites daily, just from spending a few minutes outside watering the garden. I already knew that mosquitos will fly a mile to drink my blood, but to make matters worse, our yard seemed to be the site of a local mosquito village. I tried dousing myself with heavy-duty repellant each time I went outside, but to no avail. I spent most of the summer puffy and itchy, but as our wedding neared in August, I realized I had to find a way to avoid the mosquitos. 

I received an email forward one day raving about Listerine mouthwash as a solution to mosquito problems. A little desperate, I foolishly tried it. I purchased a HUGE bottle of Listerine and a spray bottle, and misted the entire back yard with it. And you know what I learned?

Mosquitos are attracted to Listerine.

The day after I sprayed the yard I was bitten about 752 times in a 5 minute time span. Ok I'm exaggerating, but hardly. The mosquito village had evolved into a huge, sprawling metropolis. 

Good news is the yard smelled minty-fresh for 2 weeks.

New solution. I bought a spray bug repellant that attached to the  end of the hose and, positive that it would do wonders immediately, tried it myself instead of waiting for Jeremy to come over and help me. Turns out there was a reason it was on sale, because as soon as I turned on the hose, the connector exploded, and in a matter of seconds I was soaked in water and bug-poison. 

To make things SO much better, I pulled the hose across the driveway just in time for a neighbor walking through the alley to see me dripping with water and white-foamy poison, in addition to the ridiculousness that is my normal gardening attire (workout clothes, post-workout, and nearly-knee high polka dot rain boots).

So the moral to the story? Close the chimney, spray all the poison that you want, but the bugs will most likely always still win.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Irwins vs. The Wasp-Monsters, Part 1

I am not very good at dealing with spiders, snakes, bees, creepy crawly things...... to save myself from continuing this very long list, basically anything that can bite/sting/poison me and/or that scurries/flies/darts.

I grew up in the Canadian rockies. We did not have a wide variety of spiders and nasty flying things. We have cougars and bears. I'm okay with cougars and bears - they don't sneak into your house through the crack in the door and crawl up your leg during dinner. 

Then I moved to Texas. Bug-Central. Lucky  me.

When I moved into our first house together in May, it had been vacant for a few months. I didn't think about the repercussions of this fact until the night I pulled a wine glass out of the cabinet with a live brown recluse sprawled out inside. After finding six more in a week or so, we invested in a heavy-duty pesticide called "Demon WP". I'm pretty sure that stuff knocked out everything living on our property besides us and the dog. Good stuff. 

We thought that the disappearance of bugs meant they'd finally realized who was boss and vacated our property. Then last week I noticed a wasp-like hornet dirt dobber thingy (not sure what it was, but it DEFINITELY had a stinger and wings...) flying around the living room. My stealthy husband killed it skillfully with one slap. 

The next day we found two more in half an hour. We had no idea where they were coming from, but Jeremy assured me that there are usually only three or four to a nest, so no matter where this nest was we'd pretty much obliterated all it's inhabitants already. 

Then we found six more over the next few days. Luckily Jeremy was home for all of them and killed them before I had a chance to shriek girlishly for too long.

Last night I came home late from work, caught up in traffic, to hurriedly prepare dinner before our friends came over. Jeremy was still at work. About halfway into breading the chicken, I heard the familiar tink tink tink of a wasp-monster flying up against the ceiling light in the quiet room. 

I moved silently for my phone and called Jer. He was half an hour from home. I could wait half an hour, right? I continued breading chicken while constantly looking over my shoulder in fear, making sure I could see the wasp-monster and that it was across the room from me. Any time it got a little too close to my work space I would fly to the other side of the room, flinging butter and bread crumbs from my hands everywhere. I couldn't wait half an hour.

Problem - I was far too chicken to kill it like Jeremy did. Only a thin paper towel between my hand and the wasp-monster? Psssh, ludicrous. 

Solution - wooden spoon. 

Problem - putting a hole in the wall of the rent house trying to kill the wasp-monster. 

Solution - wrapping the spoon with a kitchen towel. Result? Ultimate monster-killing weapon. 

I stalked the thing across the room until it landed on the wall. I swung and hit it. It flapping around injured and ANGRY. Crap. 

Landed again. Smacked again. Knocked it onto the ground - woo hoo!! I couldn't let it get up again, so I went to town hacking the monster into the floor with the spoon for quite some time while the poor dog watched my massacre in horror. 

So now 10 wasp-monsters and counting have found themselves into the Irwin abode. There is no moral to this story yet.... we have yet to figure out where they're coming from.

But rest assured, Part 2 is coming.....

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Irwins vs. Hair Disasters

This weekend two dear friends of ours were married. We were in the wedding, and thus our appearance seemed important. Bearing this in mind, I decided Friday night after the rehearsal dinner that Jeremy desperately needed a haircut. So after borrowing scissors, an electric trimmer and a cape from a friend who is actually talented at cutting hair - me, Jeremy and our friend Robby headed to the garage to trim away the fluffy length that was Jer's head. 

I should preface this story with the fact that I've only cut human hair once in my life. Eight grade. Ashley Lundin. She cried and wore her hair in pony tail for two months. I did not tell Jeremy this before I set out to make him look studly before the Jacobson wedding....

Thirty minutes into the haircut, I was still nervous, Jeremy was still relaxed, and Robby was stifling giggles. Ok wait, Robby doesn't giggle - he guffaws. It's actually quite entertaining. I was doing great rounding the back and sides of my hubby's head, until I accidently took quite a chunk out of the top center. Bad news bears. 

Robby was laughing uncontrollably by then, so Jer decided to get up and check the apparent damage. A bald spot. Right in the front. Oops.

Jeremy, being so calm and not concerned about such trivial things as hair, laughed and demonstrated that if he fixed his hair just so, the bald spot wasn't visible. Crisis avoided.

Next day. Wedding day. Teagan had been staying with us that week, so I woke up to have a leisurely breakfast and chat with her before her hair appointment, and then flew into a whirlwind upon her departure trying to get ready on time. 

Shower. Blow dry. Trying to put my hair up in some elegant way.... (outdoor wedding = wind = eating hair is never fun) ..... time passes and I'm supposed to leave in 10 minutes.

Jeremy comes home to find me frantic, frustrated and half-bobby-pinned up in the back exclaiming that my hair is ruined and I'll never make it to the hotel in time to help Teagan. My ever-calm and collected husband picked up a few bobby pins, soothed me, and went to work pinning my hair. As he finished, a quick glance in the mirror revealed a perfect updo. Couldn't believe it. I think my husband is superman (or grew up with 4 sisters - same thing). 

I got compliments on my hair all night and loved shocking everyone by saying that my husband had done it.

Moral of the story: Kelley creates hair disasters and Jeremy calmly fixes them. Good to know.