Thursday, August 26, 2010

In Which I Talk About Myself In The Third Person

Sheila vacuumed up a newly hatched swarm of winged ants yesterday. This swarm was in her kids' bathroom. There were zillions of them, it seemed to Sheila. They were clumping all over the window screen. They were crawling on the floor. Tiny ants with wings. Balls of them clinging together. Sheila had never seen anything like it in her entire life. She felt like slamming the door shut it was such a strange and bizarre sight. She wanted to run away. She mentally cursed her husband for not being there to rescue her from the Adult In Charge position she'd been thrust into.

Reminding herself that she was (in an alternate universe) a stalwart Jane Austen Heroine, Sheila girded herself with a shopvac and some nerves of steel. She needed them, because behind her were her delightfully horrified children, making many retching noises and getting way too excited. Nothing like a gazillion crawling winged insects in the bathroom to add some zest to the afternoon, not to mention the fact that now the kids would HAVE to use Sheila's bathroom, something she doesn't normally like them doing (well, not the boys at any rate). It was seriously weird, so weird that afterwards, once Sheila had shopvacced all those winged insects up into a mushy oblivion and could therefore relinquish the role of Sole Bug Remover, Sheila telephoned her husband at work, something she rarely does, to tell him all about it.

But while Sheila was talking breathlessly to her husband a sudden memory popped unbidden into her head, of a time when they'd lived in another house in another city and she'd called him to tell him how the sudden heat of the afternoon sun had woken millions of ladybugs from their winter sleep in the shingles of their house. Ladybugs were crawling all over the windows of the house. Ladybugs were coming out of the ceiling. Ladybugs were flying all over the front yard. Big ladybugs. Little ladybugs. Orange and red ones. It was wonderful and wondrous at the same time. Sheila was entranced, mystified - she felt like she'd just received the most beautiful love note possible from Mother Nature. Sheila's husband, probably because he was sitting in a cramped office in front of a computer screen punching out the words to a book he was trying to write before the next semester started and was thus feeling hurried and irritable, did not grasp the import of this mystical messaging system quite the way Sheila did. "Why are you calling?" he asked Sheila. "Do you want me to do something about them when I get home? Is it a problem?" Sheila, realizing that her call was reminding him of hot sunny lazy days sitting in front windows watching the blue sky, ended the call, reassuring him that a few billion ladybugs was not a crisis in any way shape or form. "It's just a text from Nature," she said. "Hmm," said her husband, wondering no doubt if Sheila had been into the gin.

So there was that memory, inching itself into her thoughts as she told her husband all about the swarms of winged ants in the downstairs bathroom. She described how she'd wrestled with the shopvac. She described the crawling feeling on her skin. She told him how she'd had to go back twice more to get the rest. How she'd even used a - gasp - stinky chemical spray in the cracks of the floor and the wall, from which they were issuing. How the boys were peeing gleefully in her bathroom. How awful the entire event had been. And she might have said a little bit about Being Brave and Stalwart and fortunately he made all the right noises and reassured her that he would look into that crack when he got home. She was glad her husband didn't seem to have the same memory of those long ago ladybugs in his mind as they talked, and she damn sure wasn't going to remind him, because a gazillion winged ants crawling all over the bathroom wall didn't seem like much of a love note to her.

13 comments:

Michelle said...

Jane Austen Heroines don't say 'ladybugs'...they say 'ladybirds.'

sheila said...

Yes, but we have a distances of time and space and geography to deal with; I'm living in a place where they use the term ladybug so I've opted to keep it local. Odd and quirky, I realize, but a true JAH has to respect these things, even if she doesn't agree with them.

Rebecca said...

I heart you. As in, you are a woman after my own heart.

cation, si?

nicolaknits said...

Isn't it funny that we have such different reactions to ladybugs and ants! One good, the other, bad.

I feel for you - recently we had what looked like carpenter ants coming in and I was very uncompassionately vacuuming them up too.

sheila said...

Rebecca, that is because we are both princesses at heart. (You're a little more princessy than me, cough TRUG cough, though) If I could get away with (and afford) a peon I'd be there in a flash.

sheila said...

Nicola, it is weird, isn't it?

Wasps, ants = ugh

Ladybugs, butterflies = awww

Michelle said...

Oh, fine then! But ladybirds sounds much more delicate...ladybug is too oxymoron-ish.

Samantha said...

You never fail to make me laugh. Bugs in the house are usually not funny (actually never funny) but you take the experience and make it very funny. This is why you rock.

Sorry you had to go through that.

Samantha said...

Hey, blogger didn't give me a word again, so I typed one in (hee hee hee) but it was the wrong one. It seems that my word startled it so much that it gave me a word the next time so that I wouldn't guess again. Poor blogger.

sheila said...

LOL! Michelle, you will have to think of me as an uncouth JAH, although I promise, trans-temporal heroine that I am, to adjust my terminology in your presence. They WILL be ladybirds.

Samantha, I'm very sorry for your Blogger travails. It's very lacking in the Witty Repartee Dept. isn't it? No sense of irony whatsoever. I will smack it henceforth and send it off to be reprogrammed.

Did it ask you to choose your identity? I would just type in SuperGirl and see what it does.

SuperGirl said...

It does ask my identity but yet again in the visual verification box all I get is a little blue square with a question mark. I get four choices of an identity... let me try SuperGirl...

now it's scolding me in angry red letters, but at least I get a word. It doesn't care that I may be SuperGirl.

sheila said...

Aw, you poor Supergirl you. Hmm, I bet it's because you're were messing around with Wordpress and now it's jealous...

You'll always be Supergirl to me.

Becky at Farm School said...

We had those same swarms of winged last week, almost following us around in the yard. Very strange, and most unwelcome.

Love the ladybug memory : ).