Home Sweet Humidifier, Or, My Totally Rational Aversion to Arthropods

Dear Kids,

The other night after putting you to bed while the wind blew flurries across the frozen tundra which was our lawn, I remembered that I should really refill the humidifier. Bitter nights like that require warm coffee in the morning, warm fires in the evening, and warm, humid air at night.

I shuffled over to the squat little humidifier in the dark and popped off the top heating element. I noticed the reservoir had some silt around the top where the element had been; this is not terribly unusual except that the silt usually falls directly in to the water. No matter. I grabbed the reservoir by the grimy rim and trucked it to the bathroom.

As soon as I saw the light of the hallway fall upon the reservoir I began to freak. The silt had spread…and it was moving.

I dropped gently set the reservoir on the floor and hastily flicked on the bedroom light – with only mild apologies to the sleepy children.

Ants. Hundreds of ants.

“Where’s the bug spray??” I screamed. They were spreading out fast – fleeing the scene. ‘Where’s the ever-loving bug spray??”

I raced up and down two flights of stairs three times searching every cabinet in the house for bug spray in about 20 seconds. I set records for both speed and hysteria. The laundry room finally produced the only container of bug spray on the property (which defies belief). In my absence your father had removed the offending reservoir to the freezing outdoors (take that intruders!). I amply applied the bug killer while my husband calmly (too calmly! How could he be so calm??) asked “Where do you think they came from?”

The heating element. I dashed to the other side of the room and inspected the heating element which yielded the remainder of the squirming colony. I yanked its plug from the wall and unceremoniously threw it outside with its other half. I sprayed the floor, the baseboards, and the window ledge.

Breathing heavily and heart racing, I stepped back to assess.

Bugs: 0
Mom: 1
Dad: 1
Children: …um…terrified and confused.

I addressed my children, who were staring at me with their mouths open. “Um…so, you don’t have to worry about anything. The bugs are gone. Mommy just got…a little…um…Mommy doesn’t like ants in the house.”

Children: “Are they going to eat us? Do ants bite? Are you afraid of bugs? Am I afraid of bugs? Are there more bugs? Are there bugs in my bed? Can I see the bugs? Is the cat going to die if he eats the bugs?”

Daddy: “No, kids. It’s ok. Mommy’s just irrationally afraid of bugs that can’t actually hurt her. These were ants; tiny, little, harmless ants that just came in to get warm. Now they are back outside. Everybody’s happy. Ok?”

Mommy: “Yes, everybody’s happy. Cuz Mommy got ‘em. Every. Last. One.” Twitch, twitch.

The next morning I inspected the disassembled humidifier discarded in the snow outside. Not a single ant got more than 2 inches before it froze; a mini sea of tiny arthropod corpses. So satisfying. So irrationally satisfying.

And your father? He bought me an 8 pack of ant traps. Better than roses 🙂

angel ant

Categories: Kids | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on “Home Sweet Humidifier, Or, My Totally Rational Aversion to Arthropods

  1. Terri Boris

    Funny story, Meg. Well told. I have had ants, also. In fact, when I took the Master Gardener’s course, we learned that almost everyone does get ants periodically. What REALLY works (over a course of 3-4 days) is a product called, Taro. It uses borax and works better than any other product I’ve used and is recommended by Master Gardeners also. It does my heart good to see those pesky little critters gobbling up the sticky clear liquid, taking it back to their nest and queen, then slowly dying off. Serves them right for not staying put outdoors where they belong. Love, Terri >

  2. Very funny. I have that same creepy crawly fear. I HATE BUGS.
    I lived in NYC as a poor college student, and TWO, not one, but TWO of my apartments had roaches. Not the kind that go away, either. They laughed in the face of every exterminator that dared cross their path. Anyone would develop a twitch after waking up to the tickle of cockroach legs on their naked flesh. UGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH. KILL THEM ALL.

  3. Your stories almost always give me a good giggle. Thank you for that! By the way, I HATE bugs. Hate! I’m terrified especially of centipedes. Those things make me scream in pitches human ears should never have to hear!

  4. If you could experience our ants – fire ants – your reaction would not only be justified, you would be accused of UNDER-reacting!

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