Friday, July 7, 2017

The Great Termite Invasion Of 2017

     It's the words no homeowner ever wants to hear: "Your home has termites." Just like the five stages of grief, after hearing this news, there is denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. How do I know this? Because I just survived The Great Termite Invasion Of 2017.

     My journey into termite hell began shortly after my contractor started demo work on my bathroom remodel. I've known this man for many years, well enough that when he called my name by extending the "a", as in, "Marciaaaaaaaa...."  I knew that I had a problem. A BIG one.

     He pointed to an exposed wood beam that resembled a chunk of Swiss cheese. "And that, my Dear," he said, pointing to the holes, "is termite damage."

     NO. Just NO. Total denial. So what if I lived in a wood frame home? I hadn''t seen any termite droppings in fifteen years. No one in the neighborhood had had them recently, either.  I set an appointment with the pest control people just to confirm that it WASN'T termites.

     It was termites.

     Summer is swarming season, and my home had become a banquet of wood delicacies for those nasty bugs. I was beyond anger. I was ready to burn down the house, because everyone knows that termites in a house are akin to head lice on your kid.

     TORCH IT.

     The bargaining began with the pest control company. "Are you SURE it's termites? What if the damaged wood is just remnants from the last invasion? Can we skip the whole tenting process and just drill some toxic chemicals into the ground to kill them?"

     When I realized there was no way to avoid the miserable tenting process, I went into a depressive state. I'd ridden that rodeo before, and I knew what loomed ahead: removing all food from the refrigerator, emptying out the pantry, finding pet lodging for three dogs and weekend lodging for ourselves, shelling out tons of money to pump poison into my house, and spending a small fortune to replace all the shrubs and flowers the would be destroyed by the toxic gases.

     Acceptance finally sank in the night I found thirty-some termites swarming around my windowsills. IN MY BEDROOM, FOR GOD'S SAKE. And there were more----a handful of dead ones near my laptop and dozens of discarded, iridescent Tinker Bell-type wings scattered across the front porch floor. It looked like a drunken fairy convention gone wrong.


     BURN DOWN THE HOUSE.

     My husband and I frantically packed up our belongings, emptied half the contents of our house, grabbed the dogs, and moved out for three days. There was arguing. There was yelling. And there were tears.

     Yes, tears. We argued with the pest control people. We yelled at each other over the enormity of crap that had to be moved. And I cried when I learned that I might lose a few of my beloved trees in the gaseous tenting process.


     I was also extremely annoyed by the the fact that I had to cancel my seven day vacation to Tallahassee in order to afford the termite eradication. So I did the next best thing. I moved into my daughter's luxurious condo and spent my entire time lazing by her pool, sipping margaritas in the sun.

     After the three day termite vacation, my husband and I returned home. The flowers in our garden looked like they'd been singed with a flat iron, and the inside of our house felt like a landing strip on Mercury. It was ninety-two degrees inside, and while sweat pooled in our sneakers, we unpacked our suitcases, restocked the kitchen, disinfected the countertops, swept up the dead termites, and mopped all the floors.

     Home, sweet home.

     The tricky thing is that the termites are still swarming, somewhere, in search of another home to invade. It could be in the house next door. Or in the attic at the middle school down the street. They might even feast on the wooden dog house behind the fence in my neighbor's yard. Or they may decide the wood at my house truly is a delicacy and return to munch on more beams.

     At least for now, we are termite-free. And somewhere near a sunny pool, there is a celebratory margarita with my name on it, and a t-shirt that reads, I SURVIVED THE GREAT TERMITE INVASION OF 2017!



***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? I am THRILLED to have my first article on The Fix! This is a serious one, folks. It's all about the hidden dangers of Nootropic addiction/substance abuse. You can read it here: https://www.thefix.com/hidden-dangers-nootropics




29 comments:

  1. The advantage of living in a brick house (albeit with wooden interiors). I recently saw a nearby house "camping out" for a few days. I felt for the owner. But, not too long. Because I didn't know him or her.
    Obviously, Spandex is no protection from termites!

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    1. I'm still thinking on an invention to prevent termites from ever coming back here again. Spandex may be involved......

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  2. Oh my goodness, what a giant undertaking. I am SO SORRY! I would cry tears with this situation too. Isn't it incredible how much damage small little bugs can cause? I didn't know that that getting rid of them meant your outside plants died too. And to have to cancel your vacation just to try and get back to the state you thought you were in before. I hate spending money on things like that :( I'm glad your daughter had a nice pool you sit by as you cried ... hopefully into a nice, cool drink. I think I'll be looking all over my house for termites today!

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    1. It really is a pain in the butt but at least they are slow eating, wood-boring termites. I don't have to do this again for another 7-10 years. But I'll still keep those margaritas coming.

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  3. Wow, what an horrendous experience! I don't hear about termite infections here in the UK - perhaps because houses here are almost always brick or stone. We had a flea infection once, and that was bad enough, but nowhere near the severity of your Great Termite Invasion 2017. But at least you got a few margaritas out of it to ease the pain.

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    1. They definitely numbed me through the process, LOL. Fleas are also a pain in the butt. Several years ago, I had to deal with an infestation of them, as well.

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  4. Nasty creatures, at least the ones back east can not survive without having contact to the ground. Treating the ground will kill them off and we don't have to tent. That must be a horrible process!

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    1. I was hoping we could treat through the ground, but no such luck. I live in a tropical environment--warm, and with plenty of surrounding water, which they love.

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  5. Been there done that - we had a swarming in our house once - not knowing what they were I took the vacuum and cleaned them all up. it wasn't a day or so later we started noticing little sawdust mounds along the baseboard in our basement. Termites were sharing our home. The exterminator assessed our situation and determined they are living under our basement. They drilled holes filled it with some foam stuff then planed termite traps along the outside of our house. It worked and we never even had to leave. I wouldn't have minded though. sitting by a pool with a cool drink in my hand for three days would have been nice.
    Glad you survived!

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    1. I'm sorry you went through it, too. It's so disgusting when they swarm!!

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  6. Yow. And I thought bedbugs were awful. Okay, they were awful. Just not on the 'termite' scale.
    This doesn't happen often, but once again, I'm so happy I live in the frozen north! Congratulations on surviving!

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    1. I disliked the entire experience, except for the part by the pool and spending time with my daughter. She made the situation bearable <3

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  7. Good grief.............what a huge job that was for you both. Happy it is behind you now.................

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    1. Yes--I am relieved it's over for now.....but it will be an ongoing process every 5-10 years, I'm sure.

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  8. How terrible. We don't have termites where we live but we do have carpenter ants, and they can also do a lot of damage.

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    1. YES---we have those, too, and they are very destructive!

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  9. Oh, Marcia! What a nightmare! I'm so sorry you went through this. At least you were able to make lemonade out of lemons or should I say margaritas out of limes? Happy to hear you're back and getting re-settled.

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    1. Thanks! Those margaritas sure did taste mighty fine in the hot sun....

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  10. Holy cow!!!!! I am so sorry you are dealing with all that!

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    1. It's over now.....I can breathe once again....

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  11. Oh no, what a disaster. I'm one of those who wants to burn down the house if I see a spider. A termite infestation? I might burn down the whole neighborhood.

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    1. That would probably be the best way to get rid of them, too.....

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  12. OMG I have such a huge fear of bugs and don't blame you at all for wanting to burn it all, and drinking margaritas by your daughter's pool. Ick!!! Hope they don't come back!

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    1. If they do, I'll just have to move out again and enjoy life by the pool. It's either that or torch the house......

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  13. Ugh that SUCKS. But I have to say, I LOVE your hair!!!!! Glad you got the termites under control. We had an ant issue when we moved in here, so we immediately contracted with a pest control company. No termites as of yet, but last month I went to the closet where I keep my extra books and saw a mouse scurry past. I flipped out!!!

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  14. I'm so sorry to hear that it was that bad. I can only imagine.
    Good to know you're alright and pest-free for now. And looking at those smiles, who would have thought that there were yelling and tears involved?

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    1. Right? We try to look to the bright side of everything.

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  15. Wonderful post!
    Have a nice day!
    Gil Zetbase

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