I'm starting to notice "theme words" that keep popping up. The pattern seems to be that I hear or read a word, wonder what it means, and then keep noticing it over and over again, until I finally ask or figure out what it means. The current theme word: pourri. Rotten.
I first started noticing this word pop into conversations as I asked anyone who seemed to be older and wiser if they've had experience with termites. I told a colleague at work that we suspected an infestation. No, she said, you would see holes in your poutres, your ceiling beams.
You don't have termites, she said, you would see dust sprinkling down.
Check. We had to move our kitchen table so we wouldn't get dust in our food.
We weren't 100% sure, though, so we didn't want to say anything to the landlord. It just seems like we're always complaining (you know, what with the salt growing on the walls, the humidity in the basement, the recessed light that fell out of the ceiling, the leak in the kitchen sink that saturated the floorboards, and the trick toilet seat that falls off if you lean to one side...). But then, around midnight last week, we heard a creaking noise coming from the ceiling. We thought it was collapsing, until some research (google, I love you) clued us in that termites can make noise. LOUD noise. It sounded like some kind of animal (a four-legged one) was scrabbling around inside the poutre.
Then, to seal the deal, we managed to catch one of the "ants" that had been falling out of our ceiling since we moved in and get a good look. No ant-like waist between thorax and abdomen? Straight antenna?
Fast forward to today. We spent all afternoon spray-injecting poison into termite holes in the rafters and painting on termite treatment. One of the only things that freaks me out as much as bugs is toxic chemicals. I tried to make sure Josh wore "safety goggles" but he kept taking them off when I wasn't looking.
The whole thing was pretty depressing. I know from my extensive internet research that just treating the outside of the wood won't do anything to the termites on the inside, but this is what our landlord asked us to do as the first step (well, he actually said he would do it, and then Josh volunteered to do it ourselves, for which he is majorly in the doghouse). This reminds me of infamous backfiring medieval warfare tactics. Like the French king with a superior army of mounted knights, who lost a battle because there were so many of them that they didn't have room to maneuver their horses. We've painted the outside of the beams, essentially laying siege to the termites inside--you're trapped in there and you'll get poisoned if you try to come out. And just like a medieval siege, they'll eat everything they've got in there before venturing to the outside. Except once they finally venture to the outside and get killed by the termite spray, our beams will be eaten through, and the apartment upstairs will fall in on us, and we'll both have lost the battle, us and the termites.
Or maybe I'm being a bit too pessimistic.
On a completely unrelated note, the weather here is getting nicer, and our nextdoor neighbor decided to take out his motorcycles, I guess to tune them up, for the first time this season. He had more than ten (I didn't bother to count) and two of them had sidecars.