Friday, August 27, 2010

Gutter Wars


Most of my neighbors know I'm a humor writer, so they aren't always surprised if they see me doing something goofy.

Case in point. Last weekend, I discovered a large nest of wasps in a seam in the gutter right over the walk to the front door.

Now usually wasps and I have a strict non-confrontational policy. They leave me alone - and I kill them any chance I get.

(seriously, do they fulfill any worthwhile function in the world?)

So there they were minding their own business - whatever that might be - and I'm plotting wasp-murder. Bwah, ha, ha.

Now you're supposed to wait until night to kill wasps, so you get them while they're in their nest watching reality TV. So I waited ... a couple of minutes. Then I found my wasp killer stuff - but neglected to read the label. If I had read the label, I'd have been kicked out of the Guy-Club .. but I would also have read that this particular spray kills ants, flies and other stuff.

As far as wasps, it just gets them mad ... and wet.

However, the spray had a nice stream function, so I was able to shoot them safely from the ground. Meanwhile, they were like angry hornets, or wasps. (I know this because I looked them up on the Internet later).

I figured out the spray wasn't working when I noticed them lining up with their mouths open and catching the so-called poison in their mouths, and swallowing it with satisfaction.

Time to get serious.

But what to kill them with?

My wife solved this. She got on the Internet (the same one that told me they were wasps) and she found you can mix detergent with water and the resultant mixture will kill wasps.

Okay, but do they mean laundry detergent or dishwashing detergent? It didn't say. We tried the laundry detergent first, and I went outside and thoroughly rinsed those suckers with a potent mix of Tide and water.

The wasps loved it, and not only was their thirst slaked, but now they smelled like fresh, clean cotton shirts.

Fine, time for dish washing detergent.

Five minutes later, I was dousing them with lemon-flavored Joy, and...

... it worked.

A splurt of the stuff would hit a wasp in mid-air, and it would buzz angrily and fly out of reach. But it wasn't killing them. It was deterring them. I wanted more. I wanted wasp death!

I got a ladder (right now, you're going 'uh, oh') and I climbed up to the nest. I soaked that baby while angry wasps watched from a nearby tree. Then I climbed down and settled down to watch.

After a bit, some wasps came to check out the damage to their home, and after consulting with their little homeowner wasp policies, they really got ticked off. But here's the cool thing ... they couldn't get into the nest. They could get close, but it was like a force field kept them a few inches away. The soap mixture was working.

But that was a problem. Now they can't land in the nest, how am I going to kill them so they won't build a new condo on House Cowie?

I needed something ... something better than a flyswatter, which is more for close in action.

Let me see.

I went into the basement and looked for wasp killers. And I found what I wanted, in the Sporting Goods section.

A tennis racquet.

Cars driving by my house were treated by the sight of one Norm Cowie jumping and wildly swinging a tennis racquet at a swarm of wasps buzzing around his gutter.

After a bit, my wife came out to enjoy the show, and my daughter made popcorn. Meanwhile, I was hitting wasp spin shots, cutting them in half, swatting them into oblivion. Half an hour later, the carnage was done, broken dead wasps were littered on the driveway, and I was nursing tennis elbow.

Wasps are dangerous. Don't try this at your home. Make sure you use a professional humor writer whenever dealing with wasps.

Hey, if you're in the North suburbs of Chicago, I'll be signing Fang Face at Borders Books at 909 N. Elmhurst Rd in Mt. Prospect from 2:00 til whenever. Come out and buy me a coffee.

Norm

www.normcowie.com

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