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Friday, May 27, 2005

Just When I Thought It Was Safe To Go Back In the Kitchen

He's baaackkk!

(Okay, so I couldn't decide between two movie tag lines for the title to this post.)

I've been working on the laptop in the kitchen most of this week. There's room to spread out my copy edits and my notes on the table. I've stopped carrying hair spray with me wherever I go and I've stopped jumping at shadows. After all, I hadn't seen the biggest wasp in the universe since May 18th and I must have killed him with the zap of spray starch. Right?

So I'm working yesterday and every now and then, I hear this noise. But when I stop typing and concentrate, I don't hear anything or see anything. I figure I'm still just jumpy and go back to my revisions. This happens on and off all day.

Finally, late in the afternoon, I grab the dishrag and wipe up the counter as I'm thinking about the book. I drop the dishrag back over the sink and hear that buzzing noise again. I back up. Fast. I look around frantically. I know I wasn't hearing things. Then I see him. My housemate is back. I don't know where he's been for the last week, but he's hanging out by the window over the kitchen sink today. In fact, I realize with absolute and complete horror, my housemate and I have probably been sharing the kitchen ALL DAY!

I may not be carrying hair spray any more, but I still had the kitchen armed. At one end, spray starch. At the other, old wasp spray. (See previous wasp killing notes where said wasp spray didn't work, just left a wet wasp.) The wasp spray happens to be at my elbow and I grab it. I fire. Nothing shoots out. Damn!

I keep my finger on the trigger, blowing nothing but air at the BIGGEST wasp in the universe. (Okay, maybe not the whole universe, but the other queen wasps I've killed have been 3/4 of an inch. This mutated thing was a full inch, swear to God.) So my housemate feels the air and climbs over the top of the curtain and goes behind it. Just as the wasp spray starts actually coming out of the can. Does that just figure or what?

But now that I've got actual ammo coming out of the weapon, I'm not giving up. I inundate the area just above where he's at, hoping it will drip down on him. I stop firing, assess the situation. He's still back there. He's still alive. This wasp is dying, I vow. I'll be damned if I'm going to spend another day afraid to walk into my own kitchen.

He's low on the window and the curtain just cracks open enough for me to draw a bead on him. I aim. I fire. I shoot half the can of expired wasp spray at him. In the entryway, I've cleverly stashed a six foot slat. Just in case. After last week, I wasn't going to be caught unarmed or unprepared again. I take the six foot slat, and standing about four feet back, I poke at the window with the board. Where is he? There's so much foam on the window and windowsill that I can't see him.

The silence is eerie. I move the curtain with the board, trying to find him, but hoping he doesn't fly out at me, pissed as hell. I'm only holding the slat now. I finally see him. I frantically slap the board against him through the curtain. Whack! Whack! Whack!

I don't feel or hear that crunch that I've gotten when I've killed the other wasps. I slap the board against the wasp (through the curtain) some more. Whack! Whack! Whack! He's gotta be dead now. Gotta be. What could survive half a can of odorless foam and a six foot wooden slat? Half terrified of what I'll see, I use the board to move the curtain. He looks pretty dead. Not mushed, but kind of twisted up.

Shaking, I put the board (two inches at the end wet from the foam) back in the entryway (like I said, I won't be caught unarmed again) and sit down for a few minutes. I need to recover.

I guess I needed more time to recover than I thought because the curtain was nearly dry before I looked over there again. I've got to get rid of the dead wasp. It's either that or never use the sink again and that doesn't seem like a real good plan. The vacuum cleaner, I decide. Perfect.

I plug it in. There's a handle on the hose, but I'm going to have to get my hand awfully damn close to the wasp. There's no really long attachment. I decide I'm tough enough to handle it. One quick suck, and he's gone. No problem. I move the vacuum into position. I want this fast. Just in case that mutilated, twisted body doesn't mean it's dead. I can't take any chances.

Only this is a new vacuum cleaner and I'm so shaken by my assassination of the wasp that I can't remember how to turn it on. I'm getting more and more frantic, feeling along the sides and ends of the vacuum cleaner for the lever to activate it. I look over my shoulder, just in case the wasp is moving or something. Okay, clear there. I go back to searching, pushing everything I can find. I'm just about ready to go search for the instruction book when I look down at the handle I'm holding. There, right on the handle attached to the hose, is an on switch. (oh, yeah, I remembered thinking the first time I used the vacuum that this was a clever idea.) I slide it. The vacuum comes to life. Hurrah!

I suck up the wasp and then I run the vacuum for another 5 minutes or so. Just to make sure the wasp is really down in the bag and that he isn't going to come back to life, crawl the length of the hose and attack me as I write.

I could live without this kind of excitement.

PS. My phone lines--both of them--are out. I'm posting this from the library. Look for my next post when phone service returns.