…..Yes, its August and the weather is its unpredictable hot, sultry, humid, blazing sun in the morning, skies-open-up-in-the afternoon-torrential- rainstorm mode. These almost daily deluges turn downtown and nearby Ghent into the Mississippi and the resulting humidity and dampness beckon the mosquito population to take refuge in everyone’s backyard.
……A couple of years ago when I resided in Churchland, the mosquitos were so bad swarms of them would follow people from their front door to their car attacking with such ferocity the citizens eventually demanded that the city not just spray the nearby military base but the streets/backyards so the residents could travel safely to their cars. I regularly armed myself with a spray can of windex which a friend from Florida had told me would keep them at bay so I could make the sojurn to my car parked in front of the building.
…..This summer the mosquito population has been kept at bay in my backyard by a combination of citronella plants, lemon grass and orange mint that I strategically planted around the patio near the back door. While this combination of herbs does not seem to deter the flies which still flit around the screen door (probably with memories of the Bring Your Own Meat/Seafood Cookout), I have deployed a number of natural methods to keep them in check as well.
…..My neighbor told me to hang plastic baggies filled with water around the screen as a way to keep down the flies. And indeed the guru of all knowledge essential and insignificant -the internet-was full of folks testifying to the wonders of this hack.
……Another friend said I needed to put a penny in the bag… something about the flies not being able to stand seeing their reflection in the water and that kept them away. Huh? I don’t know what the science is behind this but I can add my name to the ranks of believers online. This does indeed work. So do the old fashioned fly paper strips still on the racks at Walgreen. And while peta would probably consider them inhumane…they work. I think seeing all those fellow comrades stuck to that long sticky strip give the rest of the flies pause and make them reconsider whether this yard is one they want to invade.
…….Also, I noticed that since the departure of Lucky, the fly population has decreased significantly. Did she say departure of Lucky? Yes, Reader, it is true. The Luckster has returned to his family… not in the sky…but up in NOVA. It happened the first weekend in August when youngest daughter and the three grands paid a visit, ostensibly to bring the new baby down for his first trip, and to give the older boys a chance to see the family And badger and harass each other in a location away from home.
…..The visit was full of activity save the oldest grand who was BORED out of his mind from the minute he stepped in the door. When he asked for the password to my computer, I quickly said No and presented him with a challenge….get my old HP laptop up and running and he could use it during the three day visit. No 13 year old can resist such a challenge and within a few hours he was oblivious to everyone and everything as he and the old HP bonded.
……The 9 year old needed no such enticement because he was busy renewing acquaintances (human) and finding ways to try my patience.
I’m not hungry. I ate something yesterday. I just want to go down to T’s house and play with his new nerf blaster 5 foot long plastic gun. What do you mean I shouldn’t aim at people. That’s what you do with a toy gun.
…... Young 2 month old was ecstatic as long as he was being fed and changed regularly. He even graced me with a smile when I sang the eensy weensy spider song I had serenaded him with me during his early days at the hospital. And who says babies don’t have memories?
……Throughout the visit, Lucky was in dog delirium. His Family was Back. He followed daughter/Mistress ecstatically from room to room tail wagging non stop. He even allowed the boys to tussle with him…for exactly a minute. He’s never been big on the dog/kid playing thing. The family cookout on Saturday probably added to his delirium as he followed me from house to grill waiting for the inevitable dropped hot dog, rib bone, or grilled chicken leg. As Sunday approached, I sensed a noticeable change in the atmosphere. Lucky seemed torn between his loyalty to me and daughter/Mistress and spent Saturday night alternating between keeping watch in the bedroom and the livingroom while we slept.
……At breakfast, elder teen grandson who now towers above me and has become a skillful pancake maker, engaged me in a serious conversation between judicious pancake flips.
Nana, we want Lucky to come home with us. We miss him. Well, it’s not my decision. It’s up to your mother. I only brought Lucky here because she said you all weren’t helping to take care of him. I know Nana but we miss him. WE Will walk him and help moma. The 9 year old had wandered into the kitchen and joined the discussion. Yeah Nana, He is our dog. How you just gonna take somebody’s dog?
……I ignored him. And returned to the more sensible 13 year old. Here’s the deal, if you had to choose between my laptop (he had been imploring me to let him take it home as well) and Lucky, which would you take? A couple of expert pancake flips and that thoughtful…I’m-going-to-be-a-man-one-day look came over his face. Lucky, Nana. I would take Lucky. I smiled.
……As daughter/Mistress packed the car (she was determined to depart with the same number of passengers she had arrived with), I had a short conversation with Lucky who had retreated to the garden depressed, no doubt, at the family’s imminent departure. Enough already, I did not want to live with a Depressed dog and these grandchildren who might grow up emotionally stunted because I deprived them of THEIR dog…And We thought you were a Good Nana.
……..I carried Lucky to the car and deposited him in the lap of the 9 year old (he had been bawling since he got in the car), A chorus of nearby birds began singing Hallelujah. And the frown on both his and the 13 year old’s face immediately disappeared. Catastrophe averted. Dog scarring childhood memory erased. I waved goodbye to Lucky, the boys and daughter/Mistress.
A peaceful Sunday and a mimosa awaited me.