I’m laying on the couch/futon we’ve talked about replacing for years pondering how miserably hot it is in our apartment and trying to watch a baseball game on the tv. Absentmindedly I pick at a piece of crud on the fabric wondering what delicacy one of my kids enjoyed in that spot. The swamp cooler sticking out of a hole in the wall is making a lot of noise, but not making a lot of difference, and I’m wishing another cold beer would walk its way from the kitchen to my hand. Currently I’m playing “the waiting game” on that one.
“Oh dammit, they’re back!” my mother in law gripes loudly from the bathroom.
“What? Who’s back” I ask. She often yells out random things from articles in People Magazine or the internet in mid thought without giving me a clue as to what the hell she is talking about. I just pray it isn’t Kardashian related news.
“The goddamned bugs are back!” she calls, more than a little exasperated.
“Oh, crap.” Well this will make the day perfect, it’s hot and humid and miserable, and the last step in the trifecta is for those conditions to trigger a termite swarm. This particular flying termite storm rages a couple of times a year, and it happens in our bathroom.
Our lovely apartment building, which I think was built in the 70’s by the lowest bidder, is mostly held together with paint and stucco. Based on the inevitable swarming termites, there cannot be much wood left. I’ve spoken with a couple of neighbors and they also get their own special bug plague whenever it gets really hot and miserable. Ours come in from a wood frame around a skylight in the bathroom.
We’ve complained (my wife makes me complain) to the landlord multiple times, but he may be the cheapest man in the world – all due respect to dad and the patron saint of frugality Grampa “Squeaky” Art. Every third or fourth time we bring it up, someone claiming to be an exterminator shows up. He’s never from a company you’ve heard of and always has an unmarked truck, but he wears gloves and goggles and climbs around the room spraying something in a futile effort to stem the tide. Usually at the same time as this, the weather will finally fall below spawning temperature and it will appear as if the incompetent fool has accomplished something.
Then the next summer, like clockwork, on a truly, miserably hot day, we get a termite party. They do not come bearing cocktails.
The women look at me, clearly expecting me to make the call to Cheapie McSlumlord.
I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands. It’s come to this…the last line of defense. Like some fool stuck in a zombie apocalypse with no real barrier building skills or materials, I make my stand.
Plastic wrap and masking tape. Take that ya little bastards. Plus I think the new setup really adds something to the visual appeal of the bathroom. It’s like a bug terrarium above your head… and you can hear their desperate skittering above you while you sit on the toilet in the dark.