The Life, Times & Musings of an American Midwest Woman Who Lives in the Middle East

Meltdown in 3…2…1…

Meltdown in 3…2…1…

By on Sep 3, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

It all began this morning when I realized that it was September 3rd and I had not yet changed my tablecloths and decorations to reflect the beginning of a new season. (I know! Horror, right?) I went to my little hutch of fabrics and noticed a patch of something that resembled mud on one of the cloths. I began looking around the inside of the hutch and noticed a long trail of mud the entire height of the area.

Remaining calm, I called John over who said, “Hmmmmm….looks like termites.”

Just like that. “It looks like termites.”

Not, “Oh, my darling dear, it looks as though pestilence have befallen us. Quick! Let us away and go to a 5-star hotel so one must not look upon such awful scourge.”

He simply said, “Let’s ask our friend.”

Our local friend arrived and confirmed, “Yes. These are gorda. They like to eat wood.”

I tried to concentrate through our Arabic lesson, but all I could picture was the Termite Troops calling for reinforcements.

We finished fairly quickly as John knew my psyche was already teetering and Arabic verb conjugations were not at the forefront of my concerns.

I gingerly walked to the hutch and lifted up a couple of tablecloths. Nothing. Okay. Maybe it’s not so bad. I had just pulled something from there a few days ago with no signs of anything. Perhaps, I had caught it early.

I pulled some of the material out and prepared it for the washing machine. (Precautionary, but fabric is one of my favorite things in the whole world. They must be purged of any potential pestilence.)

The bottom tablecloth must have disturbed whatever was below it because suddenly thousands (maybe millions!) of ants and termites were running everywhere. I was now, too.

John had gone to get some bug spray and heard me yelling.

“They. Are. Everywhere.” I said in an eerily calm voice.

He stuck his head in and said, “Wow. They built a nest.”

Nest?! Nests are not that! Nests are twigs and cotton and flora and fauna braided neatly to hold sweet little bluebirds and their tiny little eggs.

This!? This was no nest.

I immediately began looking for a torch thrower.

John seeing the crazed look in my eyes suggested that he get a tub of soapy water so that we could put the fabrics in the water and drown the nasty inhabitants.

“Are you sure gasoline is not the better choice?” I quizzed.

Shaking his head he went to get the tub ready while I tried to find some gloves. We live in a desert. There is absolutely no need for gloves. I have one pair of tube socks. That will have to work. I pulled them on up to my elbows and put on my Brave Pants.

One by one I pulled the pieces out as John submerged them in the water. As we neared the bottom of the hutch, I can only describe it as an entire wood-eating metropolis full of paths, tunnels and termites in every direction.

I think that termites and ants do not normally co-exist. However, it seems that in an effort to send this human screaming into the streets that they had formed some sort of alliance. It worked. It was at this point that I looked at John with tears in my eyes and said, “I am as near a meltdown as I’ve ever been. I think…”

I didn’t even finish the sentence when he said, “Let me do this part.”

I offered my tube socks, but he said he’d proceed without them.

Pictures, keepsakes, art pieces were all affected. John bagged them in trash bags and placed them outside mentioning that we could go through them later if we felt we wanted to.

He concluded the siege by spraying Raid over the whole area and then suggested we retreat to one of the side rooms before we passed out from the fumes.

I said a prayer out loud, poured us cold drinks and watched an episode of “Mountain Men.” (It was the only thing available and doggone it if they could face the creatures of the wild so could I.)

So now the non-fabric things are in one area of the house while the material goods are being washed load by load in hopes that the termite trails can be thoroughly removed. (Insert riggers/shakes/heebyjeebies here.)

I’m sure that you creative sorts are thinking of all kinds of good metaphors for life from this most unexpected, unpleasant scenario. You’re welcome to share them if you wish. I’m sure we’ll all laugh about this some day. Some. day.

For me at this moment…I’m googling “Places on Earth with the least amount of pestilence” which so far has only offered up Antarctica.

I had a video to offer as evidence, but it’s simply too awful to show. I don’t want to be THAT FB friend. You’re welcome.

I’ll attempt to decorate again tomorrow if anything remains after the great scrubbing. Until then, drink a pumpkin spice something, hug your Terminex man and celebrate with me this wild, unexpected, brave-making life we get to live.

Pamela J. Morton

An author, speaker, teacher trainer and self-proclaimed "professional luncher," Pam wants to share laughter, life and hope with her dear Arab neighbors while providing insight into Middle Eastern/African customs and everyday life with her friends in the West.

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