Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Attack of the Fire Ants...

Being a native Virginian, fire ants were a foreign concept to me.  We heard rumblings and urban legends of them making their way up the coast, for sure.  There was one knarly old cowboy who drove the hay ride at the pumpkin patch who told stories of them building huge mounds and children being killed by them. I even had a cousin in Carolina whose foot was swarmed by them, causing her foot to explode (well, not really, but it WAS pretty sore). 

I never would have suspected that I would one day fall victim to these little nasties. 

It started mundanely enough.  With a Ford Freestyle loaded with the fossilized remains of discarded french fries, McNuggets, and possibly even a piece of string cheese.  If only I had known what was coming and that I would be feeding the horde, I may have cleaned up the mess.  But I had a two-year-old and  a one-month-old, who had time to swab the decks?

I should preface my story by adding that my husband is arguably the biggest cheapo in the planet.  He is SO cheap that my nephew, when he was still a baby, practically learned to call him "Uncle Cheap" before he learned to say "Uncle Eddie."  My mom even bought him pajamas (because she buys us pajamas EVERY year for Christmas) that said "El Cheapo" all over them. 

But I digress.  Back to the ants.

My husband, whom I have to keep reminding myself that I love dearly, decided it would be a good idea to save $2 on airport parking by selecting a lot online.  Now, I was slightly dubious about this, mainly because the last lot that he tried to save money on ended up being surrounded by barbed wire and no where's near the airport.  Plus, all the money he saved on parking was spent on tolls to get to said parking.  However, I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. 

When we pulled up, in the rain no less, at the Howard Johnson in a seedy part of Tampa, I realized that my husband had picked "airport parking" that really should have been called "empty lots behind the HoJo that are not secured and are miles away from the airport."  He proceeded to look for a spot. 

And look.

And look.

We finally MADE a spot in between two cars in one of the fields.  As I grabbed an umbrella out of the back of the vehicle, I began to feel stings.  I looked down, and there were fire ants swarming my leg.  I quickly did what is affectionately referred to in our household as the "bug dance."  This is made by jumping up and down screaming while madly shaking whatever part of your body happens to have one or more critters on it.  While loudly praising the Lord that I decided to wear actual sneakers that day as opposed to my usual flip-flops, I climbed into our other vehicle and off we went on our road trip to Virginia.

Eddie returned home to Florida after driving us to Virginia, and when he picked up the car noticed that it "had a few ants in it from the rain."

Almost three weeks later, I returned home.  We went out, and I noticed the ants, but there were only a few of them.  If only I had known what lie beneath. 

On a family trip one evening to the grocery store, Eddie began being bit by ants in the car.  Then one bit me.  We decided enough was enough and we would vaccuum the car to get rid of their food supply.  So, we stopped at a gas station, took the children out of the car, and started cleaning. 

Then I heard a shriek and the sound of a floormat being dropped on the ground.  I saw my husband running away from the car like a scared little girl.  I decided to investigate. 

This is roughly what the floor of the driver's seat of our car looked like:

Yes, it was completely covered with fire ants.  They were angry little buggers, too.  They were swarming out from under the floor.  So we started vacuuming...

I literally felt like I was in a scene from the classic sci-fi movie Empire of the Ants.  Except that my ants were much smaller and there were like millions (possibly billions) more of them. 

We had to walk across the street to Wal-Mart with the kids in tow in the dark to get a flashlight, Raid, and ant traps. I am sure this cost much more than the $2 we saved on the parking.

We managed to get enough of the with the vacuum and Raid combination to quickly throw the kids in the car and get home. 


1 comment:

  1. Very well written. :) I especially loved the part where you said, "Then I heard a shriek and the sound of a floormat being dropped on the ground. I saw my husband running away from the car like a scared little girl." I laughed so hard! TTYL, Joy