So I’ve been waiting to tell a story about work but nothing seemed good enough. I mean winter is over we all experienced the great ice storm of January that shut down the city then we had the great blizzard in February then we went from winter into summer and we had a tornado scare. But work wise I didn’t have a cool pest story and you know what? I still don’t! JK but seriously…you know the old adage “if it was a snake it would have bit ya” we’ll change the snake into a dog and voila. For the first time in my professional pest career I was bit by a dog. This is how it went, I’ve been to this house many times and I’m so thankful they have a buried electric dog fence cause it saved the rest of my leg. So every time I service the home I pay attention to that buried line and the dogs, normally it’s not a problem. Today I had to speak with the customer who was down at the edge of the property. like dogs so I was hoping that with their master there they would be ok. One I knew would be a little iffy and that’s cause it’s a small dog, you just can’t trust a small dog, the other is a medium mix. Well that medium mix was a rescue dog who doesn’t like a guy wearing a hat, guess who was wearing a hat, yup me. As I got close to the dog I barely got the glimmer of his gnarl and as I was moving away he latched on to the back of my leg. Thankfully it wasn’t too hard nor was it for very long, just a little sting, like half a bee stings worth. Ironically I informed the customer that one of them got me, we both humored that it wasn’t the small one, he was the first to be accused. Then he told me about how the medium one was a rescue. And that folks is my tall tale for the day.
Ok. So today is not my day with dogs, just as I finished writing the above. I went to a house that has two blind dogs they are quiet and never are a problem. So I got in the back whistled and made noise to get them to come out so they know I’m there, and out comes this sweet brown boxer. We’ll not so sweet, as I have entered its territory she’s wasn’t happy. She’s so not happy that is quite aggressive, I’m thinking what is the deal, have I lost my mojo? I call the customer and he informs me that it’s is sister’s dog who is visiting and just likes to jump on people. He tells me the dog’s name and I give it a go. I went back to gate used the dogs name like a secret password, but she was defiant and decided that I was not going back there, I tested it out with my foot first, thankfully I’m coming back tomorrow to get my shoe.
Have you ever seen something so creepy that it belongs in the movies? Or been somewhere that just puts off the creepy vibe that screams get out? I’ve seen both over the last few months, and they both involve our favorite four legged mammal, and no I don’t mean a dog or a cat. The creature I speak can chew through metal, cause electric shorts and spoil food, it’s the rat. I’ve been to a lot of rat services and I feel quite confident when it comes to these guys. Except when it comes to hundred year old houses. I’ve met my everlasting foe. Never in my life have I ever been inside a basement that is not really even a basement but a giant crawlspace because the house is on a hill. These basements are almost indescribable without a picture but imagine walking through time to dirt floors with webs from floor to ceiling, and your worst fears coming to life. This past weekend I went to such a house that has a rat issue, they are hiding in the sub-floor making my life a little difficult as we find these secret holes that they have etched out across the house. It was this last visit that the home owner had found something that I have never seen in my life. The previous owner to this home was a lonely eccentric old man. Who evidently enough also had a rat problem. Now how do we know this? Simple, we found a rat that was held in place by a spatula, that was held in place by a wood shim. I was appalled at what I was looking at, the spatula looked like it was from the 60’s. The rat on the other had severely decomposed, very little skin was left from what could be seen, but the skull was quite visible. I don’t know what goes through someone’s mind whey they think that by placing an animal on display for other animals to see, as if to ward them off. I look forward to going back to this house and checking on the rat scenario and hopefully to snap a photo to add to the site.
Did you ever grow up wanting your very own flea circus? I didn’t either but I had heard of them, but I’ve never seen a flea my whole life until just a couple of weeks ago. Growing up in Phoenix it’s just not something that people have a problem with, now ticks on the either hand, I’ve seen and killed my far share of those blood sucking succubi (that’s plural for succubus just in case you didn’t know). So I’m at this customer’s house and he wants me to treat the garage cause he says they are fleas in there. I think nothing of it cause every time I go to someone’s house and they have fleas I never see any. While my tank was filling up I decided to take my de-webber and knock down some spider webs that in the garage, when I get back to my truck I notice all these small little dark objects on my pants. It looked like I had walked through some weeds and the seeds had gotten on to my pants. I tried to brush them off but they didn’t budge. I grabbed one and low and behold it looked just like the pictures that I had studied only these where like mega cat fleas. Now I had always thought fleas where small and really hard to see. This ersatz thought was blown apart by what I witnessed on my pants. Once I realized what was on me and there were about 10-20, I did what any rational human would do when they don’t want a blood sucking parasite on them. I frantically began brushing them off and trying to smoosh as many as possible, I even had the drastic idea of spraying my pants so as not to take any home with me. As a side note my foot itched a few hours later, my first thought was OMG there’s a flea in my boot. Paranoia aside, the itch went away and I am flea free.
There are a lot of hills here, and everyone has stairs, and we all have tests or experiences that make us feel like we have failed. I’ve experienced all of these in the past few months. This summer it has rained more times than I wish to count, don’t get me wrong I love the rain, and it’s always welcomed, coming from a desert where it may not rain for ten months I like being in the rain. Now rain, grass, dirt/mud, and a slippery slope…you know what’s gonna happen. The other day I was trying to safely walk down a gradual slope, slipped in some mud and gracefully sat down…OK I fell…all the same. As any normal person as I sat there two things came through my mind. First I looked around to see if anyone had seen my gravity inspiring experience, and secondly a move quote popped into my head. “Why do we fall, so we can learn to pick ourselves back up again.” If this sounds familiar to you it’s from Batman Begins. This fact also applies to when we fail. I recently didn’t pass a test, I was really bummed, and then this quote popped into my head again, so I changed it around, “Why do we fail, so we can learn to do better next time”. Some times we fail cause we just aren’t ready. In either case I have decided to rise up and face the challenges I have ahead of me.
So I’m just hanging out by my truck, minding my own business when this bug decides to just fly right into my chest. Now this happens more often then not in the South. This time though I took exception to the cause and after the bug hit me he bounced off me and landed right in front of me on the truck. Like the high noon show down of old, I stared long and hard at this guy and decided to do something that I will never do again. I reached out grabbed the guy and threw him. You know when you were a kid and your parents told you not to touch something, they told you this because they were trying to protect you from the consequences that you couldn’t foresee. I was told this a lot, and you know what I listened to them, but sometimes in our weakest moments we throw this knowledge out the door and we just grab things. Now I hate to break to all of you but I kill bugs, some times I let bugs live and sometimes there are bugs that I will never touch again, at least with my bare hands. So after I threw this bug away from me, he flew away never to be seen. I do see his brothers and sisters all the time, for this bug was a stink bug. Listen to me, never upset a stink bug, your hands will smell after you wash them and wash them and wash them.
The day started out like any other day, humid and hot. As the day progressed everything went very smoothly, then, that’s when it gets you, right when you least expect it.
I was in the basement of a new house, and I mean new, they were still doing the finishing touches on it. Down in the deep recesses of this newly built home lied a room that was very dark, and it didn’t have a light. If there are two things that I do not like they are dark places void of human contact, and what lurks in these dark dismal places, because what does lurk there is not looking to be my friend.
So I girded my loins and went in guns blazing, OK, maybe not, but I wanted to. I went in for a more of a cautious approach, spraying where I needed to, then out of the corner of my eye, a creature was creeping on the wall. I did what any person would do in my scenario, I sprayed it. Bad idea. It then leaped at me, going for my face, I knocked down it and promptly ended its life with my boot. Not fully knowing what just happened I thought it was a house centipede. Then a few days later I was in a crawlspace, and not just any crawlspace, my favorite kind of crawlspace, one that I can actually walk around in. It was in here that I once again was faced with this awful creature, with bug spray in one hand and my flash light in the other, I glimpsed something that I have never seen before, a cave cricket also called a camel cricket, my first thought was oh that’s cool, then I sprayed it. Oops!!! That’s when it jumped at me, eureka, that awful beast from the basement was just a cricket, relief washed over me and a smile creased my lips.