Yesterday, I sat on the end of my bed, rubbing my eyes and mindful of all of the things that I still needed to do. I shifted a few discarded items from down the side of the bed and moved to carry on with my work. As I looked up, I saw tiny brown curls and black dots littered along my windowsill. I knew instantly what the culprit was,
Carpenter ants. They come back about this time, year after year.
I’m still recoiling the horrors of last year. They were everywhere, marching up and down the curtains, roaming over our bed (and even into it!), inside a vase.. everywhere. I even slept on the sofa for two nights because I couldn’t hack the idea of an ant crawling up my arsehole while I slept. By the end of the week, there were more lines of white powder in my bedroom than in Charlie Sheen’s entire house.
Die.. ants.. die!
When I traced them back, there was one little area on the edge of the window with a little bit of crumbled out wall. As I leaned against the UPVC windowsill for a closer look, the entire thing came away against me. Underneath the windowsill, it hadn’t been glued down at all.
And there they were, thousands of tiny black ants, munching away on the old wooden windowsill underneath.
Now, I made a mental note to go all-out exterminator on the damn things, but I guess because of losing my Dad, ant infestations were the last thing on my mind. I wasn’t pleased to see them, but I allowed them to be there and do whatever they wanted to do. A kind of uncomfortable co-existence, for a while.
The ants moved out around September time. Sensing their lack of activity, I vacuumed up the litter that these overstayers left behind and put the windowsill back. Maybe it was a one off large infestation, maybe?
Of course I was wrong.
When I saw their frass yesterday, I knew they’d returned. This time, I was ready. I was calmer, I was better, I was stronger.
Yesterday should have been about writing and housework, but these little devils needed dealing with, they needed kicking out and banning from my home. Armed with some research, I fetched the adhesive and some silicone caulk.. to war.
My first task was a good clean of the area. With the frass vacuumed up and the area wiped down, my next task was to adhere the windowsill back the way it should be. I beaded adhesive in generous blobs every two inches, put the UPVC windowsill back on top and pressed down firmly. It hasn’t moved since.
Next task was to run caulk along the gaps between the window and the windowsill. With a line of sealant nestled nicely over the gap, I did what my father would do and ran my finger along, pushing the sealant into the gap. A smooth, white finished remained where the line of caulk had been. I opened the window and left my handywork to dry. I haven’t seen an ant since.
But I’d learned from watching my father, my father hadn’t taught me. Just as I’d learned that beef, thyme and red wine go together to make a great stew, nobody had taught me that, either. I’d watched and learned from Gordon Ramsay, but nobody had taught me.
I’m just a housewife,
Except that I’m not.
I see this so often. People define themselves as Just a Mum, just a housewife, just a shopkeeper or just a student.
But you’re not, each and every one of you is so, so much more than just a title you’ve bestowed upon yourself.
If you nurse your child’s grazed knee, you’re something of a medic. If you perform an oil change on your car, you are something of a mechanic.
When we ‘just’ ourselves, we limit our skills and capabilities to that title, we limit what we can do.
Maybe you are a doctor, but you’re also an exceptionally good artist?
Perhaps you are a mechanic, but you can also play the violin?
Whatever your role, please never, ever allow your role it to define you. Your actions and your words define you, not what job you do. Your hobbies are what makes you interesting, not just your industry.
“I’m a housewife”I’ll say, with a hint of a smile on my face. After all, it is what I do on a day to day basis. but it leaves a whole world open as to what else I can do.
Be Bold, Be Bright, Be Beautiful.
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