I Pulled Out Too Soon.

Posted by admin on August 28, 2017 in Home Ownership |
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Before I owned this house, I used to laugh all the way through the movie The Money Pit. Now, I think of it as a documentary.

This isn’t to say that the house we bought is a wreck or a shambles. The bones of it are very good. We had a top-rated inspector go through it all before we closed on the purchase. But the house is 33 years old, making it the oldest house I’ve ever owned.

As such, it has some quirks; some of its own making, others of my own because, well, I’m just not very handy. I am the first to admit that I am really good and rip and tear, but not so good at fix and finish. And, of course, I am famous for fixing it worse.

Such was the case last week. A strange spot had appeared in the corner of our master bedroom. Originally, Kat thought it was a small spider nest and tried to clean it as best she could. Still, the stain remained.

I had to check it out a little more closely, of course. As I went to touch it, my finger went right through the wall. What happened next was nothing short of biblical. From out of the hole poured yellow jacket after yellow jacket. The first one made a bee line (pun intended) down my back, stinging me in the butt crack. I let out a howl of pain, then dispatched him accidentally when my cheeks reflexively tightened, squishing him to death.

What happened next was nothing short of biblical. From out of the hole poured yellow jacket after yellow jacket. The first one made a bee line (pun intended) down my back, stinging me in the butt crack. I let out a howl of pain, then dispatched him accidentally when my cheeks reflexively tightened, squishing him to death.

By now, another 50 or so wasps were flying and flitting about, terribly confused about this new universe that had suddenly opened up as a new back door to their large nest in my wall.

I am often amazed when these moments arise, that I can have perfect clarity in the face of total disaster. Ignoring the riveting pain in my butt crack, I simultaneously called out for Parker to run to the store to buy a can of RAID, closed the door to the bedroom and flew down the stairs. There, I grabbed the flyswatter, a tub of spackle and a spackle knife. Back I went, but not before fetching a tube of sticky craft glue from the loft at the other end of the house.

The battle was on. I took a deep breath and entered the fracas. By now the wasps were pretty pissed that they couldn’t go back to their hive. I launched on them, swinging the flyswatter with laser-sharp accuracy, downing two dozen in seconds.

I then grabbed the sticky glue and waited for a lull in the activity in the new hole in my wall. I squirted glue in, temporarily halting the angry hoard, as they got stuck in the glue. Then I popped open the spackle and scooped a large dollop on the knife. On the wall it went in a one-two flourish that Picasso and Bob Vila would have been proud of.

That would have been the end of the story, except the wall had obviously been weakened by the wasps. A new opening sprung up along the roof line as I spackled the first and more wasps poured out. Again I spackled like there was no tomorrow, finally stemming the tide.

Now for the rest of the wasps still in the room. By now Parker had returned with a RAID can in hand. I quickly opened the window so 20 or so could fly back to their nest, which they could see, but not reach, due to that mysterious force field (glass) that stood in their way.

We had halved their ever increasing numbers. The can of RAID took care of the rest. All that was left was a mop up operation, which Kat kindly did. She was amazed that I had done this all in bare feet without getting stung again because the floor was littered with yellow jackets, some whole, others looking in pieces like a Cootie game was just starting. One unfortunate wasp even ended up in the jar of spackle, interred in a heinous pose in the white goo.

Two days would have to go by before the exterminator would arrive. That first night, I hardly slept, totally convinced that they would make a second raid on our master suite as I dozed.

It turned out I was right. On Wednesday afternoon, they broke through again. They were looking for that guy who had interrupted their work party two days prior.

I learned of this while I was in a meeting with my boss at work. The phone rang. It was Parker. A flood of text messages followed.

“They are in the house.”

“Who? The exterminators?”

“No. The wasps. They made a new hole.”

“Spackle the hole.”

“I can’t. There are too many of them. I have to kill them first.”

Throughout all this, I continued my meeting.

“Do you need to take that?” my boss asked, as I replied to another text.

“No. The house is just filled with wasps, again.” I said casually.

As we finished, my boss looked at me in amazement. He called me Zen Master Robb at a meeting a few weeks before when we were going over all the budget cuts because I always seem to be calmest when things are going haywire. I think he thought I had reached a new level of Zen.

As I hopped on the first bus north, the exterminator arrived. In just 20 minutes, he had applied the poison that would kill all the wasps and left me a bill for $248. Man, am I in the wrong business.

The buzzing behind the wall stopped about a half hour later. It was all quiet on the western front again. The battle was over. Dead and dying wasps continue to spill out onto my walkway.

Still, I can’t seem to shake the feeling that there will be another breach. And the clean up, well, it continues.

During the final battle, Parker used about a half of can of exterior grade RAID on the hoard. The carpet was soaked with poison and had to be shampooed. The blinds were stuck together by more RAID and the windows were covered in film.

Today, as I right this, things are returning to relative normal. I’ve begun to even like the smell of RAID as there are parts of the room still airing. No signs of any yellow jackets, at least inside the house.

In the future, I will tackle the spackle and repair the wall. It is a battle best left for another day as I’m not exactly sure how sturdy the wallboard is. And I just can’t face another wasp, dead or alive, right now.

In the Emerald City, beewitched, bothered and beewildered,

  • Robb

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