Sunday, January 21, 2007

Termites Terminated

Here's what I did this past week.

January 13th/14th, Saturday/Sunday:
Trimmed back trees, trimmed back the roses and the cactuses (really, the strange ice-plant like stuff), trimmed back the bushy tree-like things in front of the house, and ANNIHILATED the weed-like bush on the side of the house.

In my struggle against the EVIL WEED LIKE BUSH, I inhaled alot of the green stuff growing on the side of said bush. Maybe it was moss, maybe it was fungus, mold... don't know. I figure if I end up coughing like a mad fool, it's either vikane gas left in the house from the tenting, or the green stuff. :P

The bush struggled mightily against me. I ended up throwing everything at it. Clippers, small tree branch trimmer, large tree-branch trimmer/hacksaw... even an axe. I started attacking the bush Sunday, with a headache. The Advil finally kicked in, but I was exhausted from Saturday's trimming.

Then, after the bush threw green-stuff at me, and gave my arm a rather nasty scratch, I became violent. Bush became decimated. "Scratch me, will you... I'll give YOU a good scratching!" *Wham* *Wham* *Wham*

Adrenaline and anger can be a good thing.

While hacking and yanking the heck out of the thing, it occurred to me that it would be wonderful to have a real lightsaber about then. Would make the job so much easier.

I finished, and realized I didn't have any time to do much bagging of our food. I did chuck out some old food, but that was about it.

Then, Sunday evening, it occurred to me that I'd just worked harder, not smarter. We have a chainsaw in the garage. :P

January 15th, Monday:
Husband got on plane Monday morning for work. Away from home until Friday evening. Drove my car. Husband parked in short term as he was afraid of missing his flight.

I wanted this. It meant that I could bag food and box up valuables or stuff I didn't have time to bag, w/o my husband having to worry about it, or wondering why I was boxing/bagging "this". I had been forewarned that my house could be robbed during the tenting event... either by the tenters or by those who followed the tenters' schedule. So I wasn't taking any chances.

Basically, I didn't want my husband to be around for the event to worry... and I also wanted to be free to have my full OCD fit w/o interference!

So Monday night, after work, I stop at Staples for boxes. Then, I double-bag food. I box some valuables. But it's just such an overwhelming task. And I find myself not getting as much done as I KNOW needs to be done, when the tenting is only a few days away. Not good.

Got a ride from a friend to the airport to rescue my car. Continued boxing/bagging, gave up, crashed.

Before I crashed, discovered mouse poo in my home office, on my desk. Ghrrrrrr. I suspect the mouse I killed in the kitchen had a friend, since I don’t think the mouse poo was there AFTER the death of the kitchen mouse last year. I certainly don’t remember seeing it when I was wrapping Christmas presents in there.

Sleep tight, my little furry friend. You’ll be dead by the end of the week.


January 16th, Tuesday:
I'm stressed. I didn't sleep well the night before, and I wake up late. I pull myself out of bed and email work that I'm not coming in, that I need to take today off to bag food, etc.

Around 10:30 am someone knocks on the door. It's a guy from the tenters. He needs to measure the property to determine how much gas they need to bring.

But... the exterminators, who subcontract out to the tenters... they already measured the place?

Well, the tenters needed to measure, too. And check the property to ensure it's ready. So I let the tenter into the back yard, leaving the doggies in the house. I walk around with the tenter. He notes how the perimeter has been nicely cleared. And I'm hoping the guy is really from the tenter's, and that my house isn't currently being cased, LOL!

No-one forewarned me that this guy was coming. I got the impression he wasn't prepared to call me to get into the backyard. And if he'd jumped the fence, he would have been lunch for the doggies.

Tenter leaves. Someone else knocks on door. I'm suddenly really glad to have these big ferocious-looking huge mean loudly-barking dogs by my side every time I open the front door.

It's some dude who wants to leave a card. He does home repair. I wonder if he's making the rounds, if he happened to see the holes left by the exterminators who poked our property to locate the termites (on one roof beam, the only thing really still there is the paint!), or if this is guy #2 casing the joint.

Good doggies. Yes. Look mean. Puff up that fur on your back. Let your combined weight of 170 pounds of fur, fang and claws scare the living daylights out of the strangers!

Mommy is SO proud of you! :)

Anyway, it turns out the first guy really was from the tenters. Don't know about the 2nd guy. But am beginning to feel like my co-workers and friends are conspiring to make me into a paranoid nut.

I spent the day bagging and boxing, and realizing we have medication spread ALL OVER THE HOUSE. Over-the-counter, bandages, salves, prescribed, you name it. All kinds of stuff that we either put in our mouth or put over wounds, and therefore fits my definition of "can be ingested", i.e., can make it into the body.

Damn. How the heck did we accumulate all this crap? It's everywhere. I box it, and my jewelry box, and contemplate drinking heavily. If I drink the nearly empty bottle of booze in the freezer, I don't have to bag it. Heh.

January 17th, Wednesday:
I go to work. I have to leave to pick up doggies at 4pm, so I can get them down to the doggy hotel by 6pm, and continue the nightmare that is this week.

By 3pm, it's started to rain. Like it might mean it.

Doggies are German Shepherds. Does this mean they are smart enough to stay out of the rain and the mud? No. This means they are smart enough to get wet and muddy for the fun of annoying their owners.

So I let my Supervisor know I'm leaving early. I get behind every person who is driving to pick up their kids from daycare/pre-school, but eventually get to the house. Where I find Boss in his outdoor dog-house, and Ellie on the concrete under the patio roof. Both safe and dry, and snoozing away. Thank the Lord!!!

I start some hoses running to saturate the ground. This is both to give the tent a good seal with the dirt, and to protect the roots of any plants that end up under the tent.

I fight 101 South traffic. It takes probably 30 to 40 minutes to get downtown. Doggies are drooling heavily... much longer, and vomiting is imminent. But I make it, drop them off, pet them goodbye (sigh), and find out that for $40.00 extra per dog, I can torture them with a bath. Heh-heh. Sure! :)

Call my Mom on the way back on 101 North. She's ready. She agreed to give me moral support on the longest evening of my life. She's got congestive heart failure, so her job is simply to sit on the couch, watch movies, and be another soul in the house. She did her job perfectly: it was exactly what I needed to keep me going.

I pick her up. We stop at Staples for me, Borders for her. I need more rubber bands and packing tape, and more boxes. She needs a book. Then we stop and McD's for burgers and shakes, and settle into the groove that is the Nightmare on Wednesday.

When we get home, I see that I've definitely flooded the roses, LOL! They've had hours of watering by this time. I move hoses around the outside of the house, and set the timer for 30 minutes. 30 minutes per spot that I want to douse.

Mom and I ate dinner. Then I sat her on the couch and put a movie in for her. First one was Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Second one was Ocean's Twelve. Last one was 28 Days.

While perimeter saturation went on, (i.e., in between when the alarm beeped and I had to move the hoses), did the following:

  • Double-bagged food items
  • Single-bagged food items I was just going to haul out of the house
  • Boxed valuables, etc.
  • Talked to neighbors regarding keeping their cats indoors, so they don't run under the tent and die
  • Took trash out
  • Did the dishes, put dishes away
  • Packed a bag for myself
  • Moved doggy dishes and dog water dish outside to the railroad ties that serve as planters for some by-the-fence plants, which would put them outside the tenting. [Just in case… dishes are supposed to be ok to be tented.]
  • Loaded my car with boxes and bags of stuff that wasn't so valuable, but that I didn't want gassed, and moved it 2 blocks away. Alot of dry food in the trunk, dog meds in the back, and a big container of dog food in the passenger seat!
  • Loaded Tahoe with boxes, 90% of our DVD collection, a sleeping bag, my packed bag, my work bag and purse, etc.
  • Turned off heat.
  • Unlocked the side gates into the back yard.

And finally, lost my mind.

Got out of my house around 1:40am.

Got to my parent's place. Crashed on the couch. Died of heatstroke: my parent's are elderly, and keep it really warm in their mobile home. And something in the living room beeped plaintively every few minutes or so. But I was dead tired. So sleep finally came, although not until almost 3am.

I have to say, I have become an expert in double-bagging food. FYI, when you get your house tented for termites, you are given a specialized bag to double-bag your food in. It looks like a giant zip-lock bag, minus the zip-lock. But it fights you the way packing tape fights you when you are trying to get it correctly placed on a box.

So, here's how you double-bag food with these uncooperative bags:
1. Slide open bag, push arms in to make it quit holding to itself via static.
2. Do the same to a 2nd bag.
3. Shove 2nd bag into first. Keep pushing, gently, trying to get 2nd bag to actually make it all the way to the end of the first one. This takes some patience.
4. Hold opening edge of both bags together to keep them lined up, as they will immediately try to shift out of position.
5. Start placing objects into the bags, fighting with the bags as they immediately try to shift out of position again.
6. Fill bags only 1/3 full. Then twist inner bag, tie with rubber band to hold in place, then tape. Test gently to ensure air-tight. Then twist outter bag, tie with rubber band to hold in place, then tape. Test again to ensure air-tight.

Optionally, to speed up the process, you can triple bag. Take a regular plastic trash bag and fill with a conservative amount of food. Then, when you are at step 5 above, you gently place the trash bag of food into the double-bag. Center it well. Then proceed with rests of steps.

Yes, this is painstaking. No, this is not a swift process. Yes, it might be easiest to only double-bag your booze and your refrigerated items, and haul the rest of your crap out with you. Matter of fact, if you don't have alot of time, I highly recommend doing exactly that: bag refrigerated items and booze, haul rest of stuff out.

January 18th, Thursday:
Got up late. Dead tired. Crawled into work. Called exterminator to make sure things were going ok. They were. Whew.

After work, stopped by the house. Realized that w/o a flashlight, and just with the darkness and all, the camera in my phone wasn't going to do the tenting justice. So, you'll just have to take my word for it... yea, verily, it was tented.

Dragged the trash cans to the curb. Picked up the newspaper and the mail. Stopped for burgers for my parents. Ate dinner. Watched a movie... what was it? Thursday evening is just a blur... uhm... oh, yeah. Someone Like You.

Talked to my husband on the phone. His week was going pretty well except for something stupid. And he was wishing he could be there to help me out.

Crashed on couch at midnight.


Turned music on my laptop. Mom was up, watching tv in the family room. Light was filtering around the corner, but not too bad.


Dad was already in bed. He gets up early. Set the music to something comforting, good familiar white-noise to compliment the fan that was running in the living room. Snuggled deeper on top of my sleeping bag, trying to feel comfy and ignore the warmth of the mobile home.


Stared up at ceiling. Damned smoke detector is right above me. No-wonder... it’s obviously needing a *beep* new battery. Crap, too tired to deal with it. Turn music up higher.


Pull watch over, set to stop-watch mode.

Wait... *Beep* Click.


*Beep* Click. 33 seconds. It’s beeping every 33 seconds.

Let’s see. I need to be up at 7 or 8am. 33 seconds... *Beep* That’s what, 700 to 800 more beeps before I need to *Beep* get up?

Great. For Heaven’s sake, DO NOT START COUNTING *Beep* THE DAMNED BEEPS!

Ok then. Sleeping. Finally.

Dad gets up at 4am. *Beep*

I hug Dad as he leaves at 5am. Then crawl back onto the *Beep* couch.

January 19th, Friday:
Get up eventually. Pack. Shower. Put crap in husband’s car. Work. Pick up husband at 6pm at airport. Drive by house. Tent is off, but notices are up as it’s degassing.

Drive to husband’s parents house. Order pizza. Crash in guest bedroom. Oh, thank the Lord: a bed!!!

January 20th, Saturday:
Leave husband’s parent’s house. Drive through McD’s for lunch. Get home by noon. Go inside... breath in... still alive. Cool.

Unpack husband’s car. Eat lunch. Then husband drives away to pick up dogs.

I walk around and hunt for doggy toys I might have missed in the house, that therefore got tented. Ditto outside, if I even suspect they were under the tent.

Then I rescue my car: it’s parked 2 blocks away. And start unloading that.

Dogs come home. Happy happy, joy joy! :)

Husband and I collapse on couch. We’ve both had a really rough week.

Gas man comes around 2pm, turns on gas, advises us that maybe we should change that filter on the heater that’s been sitting there FOR OVER 6 YEARS.

Huh. Yeah, that might be a good idea.

Gas man leaves. Husband and I crawl into bed and sleep from 3pm to 7 or 8pm!!!

Get up. Eat. Feed dogs. Do very little. Crawl back into bed by Midnight!

January 21st, Sunday:
Crawl out of bed at 11am. Get cleaned up. Go eat lunch. Purchase water. Go home. Be vegetables, but eventually unbox crap.

It’s 10:30pm. Still have boxes, but we’re mostly done. Sigh.

All in all, if I had it to do over, I would give myself three weeks to prepare, and not just one.


Anonymous said...

"I started attacking the bush Sunday, with a headache." -- Definitely less effective than a chainsaw. ;-)

All that prep? What a nightmare! Glad everyone seems to have survived the tenting. Except termites and rodents that is.

Sith Snoopy said...

In my defense, I was very tired when I typed that! :)

I'm afraid of where I'm going to find the dead mouse. ;)

Thanks for the well wishes, RAJ! :)