Encountering the twists and turns of life is an inescapable part of being alive, of sticking around, of aging, of “dealing” with it. I’ve been dealing with it all day, “it” being my own restlessness first, then the selling of property that has been kind of a millstone around our necks for years, add in the rain and wind outside, a couple of difficult emotional relationship dialogues, and preparation for the fumigation of our house starting Friday morning. I feel old and numb.
But I’m not going to cry. Instead, I’m going to write about our termites.
I discovered them when I was in the storage room looking for things to give away. Some boxes next to a wall were covered in termite evidence, looking a little like a pile of pepper. When the inspector came he found the tiny holes in the wall where the termites had been pushing out their tiny balls of … poop, feces, whatever you want to call it. One small corner of one small room has only one HUGE remedy.
Our property consists of two houses designed for generational living, connected by an enclosed breezeway. We have no generations willing to live with us at present so we rent out the other house, and use the breezeway for storage. The wall that the other house shares with the breezeway is where the termites live. Or maybe it’s only one of the places they live because they hide and generally chew very quietly so there’s no way of knowing where else they are. They are dry wood termites and eat very slowly, but having discovered them we had to do something. We are thinking of putting our house on the market and an inspection would undoubtedly reveal their presence. They are not a positive selling point.
The big (HUGE) remedy is fumigation. Do you know what that is? It’s a unbelievably large tent that will cover both houses and garages. It’s made with tarps held together with supersized clothespins and held in place at the bottom with weights. It holds in deadly gas that is pumped in and left for 24 hours. It’s a gas chamber for everything living inside. The workers have to be so careful that no people or animals are in the house that if there is one door, one closet, one chest, one refrigerator that they can’t open and check, then they can’t continue the procedure. Once ready, the whole house is locked up so no one can get inside. When it’s over, no one is allowed inside until tests show that the gas is gone (and I’m kind of wondering where it goes? And why are we not worried about that?)
My job today, and probably tomorrow, is readying the house, mostly the kitchen. All food that is not factory sealed in glass, plastic bottles or metal cans has to be double bagged with special bags provided to us, or removed from the house.
I suppose this is a blessing in disguise, kind of a dry run for packing to move. As the minutes turned into hours today, it really did help to give the job that redeeming feature. At first reckon, I could imagine filling three bags from the cupboards, another two for things in the freezer, one for the refrigerator and maybe one for medicines and vitamins. I was only wrong by about a dozen bags. I’m not done yet either.
Oh my goodness, I decided to throw away the yucky protein powder from five years ago and the slightly rancid smelling flour. I combined the three partial boxes of salt, the two bags of sugar and the multiple boxes of tea and hot chocolate. I threw away the jar of candy sprinkles (where did it come from?) and the half melted 50th birthday candle. No one is going to be fifty again in my remaining cake baking years. It’s strange how I keep finding more food too, in strange places. I can’t even talk about it.
What if I forget the candy bar in my back pack and it harbors deadly gas and I find and eat it next month and die? Yeah, what if? See why I’m a little restless today?
But I have one more day to deal with it – tomorrow, well, that’s after we go to the husband’s early morning doctor appointment, and after we sign papers with the realtor, and after I find a place for the husband and I and the cat to go live for three days while the termites are being gassed. Life… just sayin’.