Thursday, May 03, 2007


When we were moving up to Pennsylvania from North Carolina, Rob and I had about two days to buy a house. Two whole days. We dumped dropped the kids with my ever-gracious parents, and we told our realtor to bring her A-game because we were here to get a house or die trying. (well, maybe not die exactly, but we were certainly serious about the prospect of having a lean-to of our very own).

We prayed that God would lead us in the right direction, since we weren't overly familiar with the area where we would be living. I had gone to college nearby, but the towns had changed dramatically since I had been a resident. Plus, I had no car in college, so I didn't get out to town much. If our prospective house was not somewhere along the route from campus to the local diner and the Wal-Mart, chances are I didn't know anything about it.

We had never bought a house before, always being renters or military-base dwellers, so we knew very little about the arduous process. That's probably why we were so optimistic. We figured that there was a home out there just waiting for us, and all we had to do was find it. We didn't familiarize ourselves with the school districts or the parishes in the area. We didn't calculate the distance for Rob's commute. I didn't even look for the closest shopping center. We were obviously prepared for the hunt.

Our realtor, who had the eye of the tiger for real estate, led us from one end of the Lehigh Valley to the other. We looked at old houses, new houses, houses that smelled like a thousand cats, houses that smelled like mold, houses that had no yards, houses that had too much yard - you name it, we saw it. We even saw a house with a habi-trail for gerbils (oh God, I hope it was for gerbils) running the entire length and width of the basement. That's not the house we bought.

Our house was the second to last on the list, a sweet colonial in a quiet neighborhood. Impeccably maintained by its semi-retired owners, Rob and I were instantly drawn to its tidy appearance and light-filled rooms. Even our realtor made little clucking noises of approval as she marked off all the highlights. Excellent school district, quiet neighborhood, well maintained, close to shopping, newer appliances. We were sold, and we made an offer that day. Our offer was accepted that night and we were on our way to becoming home owners.

We moved in at the end of the summer, and quickly started feathering the nest. While we still loved the house, and we realized more and more how blessed we were to get it, the honeymoon was short-lived. We started to discover all kinds of things that we would tweak or make-over in our own style, and we also started to take stock of all the little things that had escaped our notice on our one and only walk-through. The odd placement of electrical outlets and phone jacks, the random light switches that didn't turn anything on (but made such a nice crackly sound when flipped), and so on. Most of these things were cosmetic, so we weren't too bothered by them. The foundation was strong, the roof was snug, the basement was tight as a drum, the plumbing was good, and we had plenty of storage. In addition to all of this, was the property itself. The back of the house faced beautiful woods and a meandering creek, and we set up shop to watch the birds, deer, groundhogs, and rabbits.

While enjoying all of the aforementioned flora and fauna, I noticed something else. Something small and ominous right by the back door. It was a wasp. A triangular-headed, malevolent- alien-faced Winged Creature of Stinging Dread. And it was flying under the back porch light. Then he was joined by a buddy. Shortly followed by another buddy. I was expecting to see another buddy come flying along with a little beer keg for the wasp party that was evidently going on under my back porch light, but I got impatient and went out to investigate. Bad move, because, as we all know, the girl who goes out to investigate the weird noise at the slumber party is always the one who shakes hands with the axe-murderer first.

I turned to look at the back of the house and I saw that the upper right hand corner of the house was covered with wasps. Well, not covered as in Plagues of Biblical Proportions, but there were a lot of wasps hanging out back there. It was like some kind of Wasp Convention. Being the cool and collected gal that I am, I ran back into the house, yelling for Rob and locking the door behind me. I called the pest control company that day, that very minute. A very nice man came out and watched me point and listened to me describe the problem: The wasps! And the possible stinging of the children! And the buzzing! And total world domination by wasps!
He just smiled, and said "Don't worry, ma'am, they always do that this time of year. They're just paper wasps and they like the sunny backside of your house. I'll spray 'em." And with that, Dave became our Bug Guy, and not just because he said my house had a sunny backside.

Three years later, and we are still waging the war against the wasps. I have tried everything to make them feel unwelcome, but I have come to the conclusion that unless I can pick up my house with my own hands and move it down to the shady end of the street, wasps are the price I will pay for a sunny backside. They don't congregate on the house like they did that first summer, but they sure try. I think I singlehandedly keep the pest control company in the black
just keeping them at bay.

Most of the time, I can forget about them, even when we are outside, but sometimes little reminders pop up. Like the one I got last night. I wanted to put the light-weight quilt on the bed, so I asked Rob to help me put away the winter quilt in our hall linen closet. This closet is actually supposed to be for a washer and dryer, but I put our laundry center in the basement so the clothes would have more room to steep in their dirt. We store our linens in an old dresser in the laundry closet, and the dresser is directly under what would be the vent to the outside were there actually a dryer in there. Do you see where I'm going with this? Do you? Because I was blindsided when we moved an extra pillow and a four inch diameter wasps' nest fell out of it. I don't know if you can scream and vomit at the same time, but I think I did it last night. I sprang back like a - oh, well, I don't know - like a wasps' nest just fell out of my linen closet!

It took a second for me to realize that it was empty and old, and Rob surmised that it was one that they were building on the outside of the vent. Then, when Dave came to spray the Mist Of The Big Sleep on them, it just fell down the dryer vent shaft and onto the extra pillow that we never use. (And which, for any reader who may be a future sleepover candidate, has been taken out of this house, never to be seen again.)

After I convulsed in a massive fit of Heebie-Jeebies, we took the closet apart and found nothing but sheets and blankets. I listened for buzzing, but heard nothing, and I started to become satisfied with Rob's theory on the nest. Of course, that didn't stop us from plugging up the vent shaft, like we probably should have done when we decided not to use it for a dryer.

As we were making the bed with the spring quilt, I looked up to see a glimmer in Rob's eye, and a little smile played around his mouth. We finished spreading the blanket out, and he looked at me and said, "You have no idea how much I wanted to go 'buzzbuzzbuzz' when we were unfolding this blanket." A prince among men, that one.

I've checked the closet three times today, and found nothing. I've done a perimeter sweep of the house, and I haven't seen even one wasp waggling around the eaves. I've driven stalker-slow past my neighbors houses, peering up at their eaves to see if they have wasps casing their joints. Nothing. But I know they are out there, and they are plotting. So am I. I'm calling Dave and telling him to fire up the sprayer.


  1. Gross! I would totally scream if it had been me. We get all kinds of stinging creatures down here and I hate it. And the nests really gross me out--just looking at them gives me the shakes.

  2. Glad to know the pillow is gone. I would have had to do the exact same thing. Good thing the vent is plugged up now, but is it plugged up enough to keep out, say, a raccoon? Just wondering, cause they tend to crawl into chimneys and the like in our neighborhood. But, no worries! ;)

  3. T - believe me, we are talking hermetically sealed, because I thought of other "invaders" too!
    I've been going around the house checking on every nook and cranny for the last two days. The only things in here are the things that are supposed to be in here :)

  4. Oh that would have freaked me out too.
    We love our house too, but now that we "live" here, we found some odd quirky things too. Like not enough outlets, the laundry room is way to small, there are no outlets in the garage etc. But we still love it. Our "bee guy" should be showing up any day now. We get a lot of those.
    By the way, I tagged you on my blog :)

  5. We've had some wasp problems as well. Augh!

    I have to say though, I laughed out loud when you said your husband wanted to buzz. LOL

  6. ewww I don't like anything that goes buzzzzz....LOL!

    Loved reading your post.


  7. Anonymous10:23 AM

    Ah, the things you discover you need to seal in a new house. We lived here for six months and discovered that the outside vent of our fireplace had a small space that say a "vole" could squeeze through. Of course, said vole had it even easier once he got into the fireplace because they never bothered to seal the area around where the gas line came in. I freaked and once the vole was removed had the house locked up tight as ever, but still continue to freak whenever Tom leaves the door between the garage and the house open lest someone decide to look for a long lost relative.
    -Mirabella Mom

  8. eek! i got stung by a wasp that was hiding IN OUR BED when we first moved into our first house. we had had the doors open all day, bringing stuff in and out, and when i got into bed, there he was and got me on the thigh. oh, mama. my leg swelled up all huge and itched for a week. wasps are no punks, fo sho.

  9. Thank you - thank you, my internet darlings for making me feel so much better about admitting that I found a wasps' nest in my closet. I feel like so much less of a bad housekeeper now that I see that everyone has had some unwelcome visitors at some point.

    And Carrie - I nearly wet my pants! 'Cuz "wasps are no punks, fo sho" is probably the single funniest thing I've heard about wasps in a long time - maybe ever! :)


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