Something was eating the siding on the back of the house, so I called in a professional. The exterminator, a short and wiry young guy, pulled up and then immediately began putting on his work gear. This consisted of some heavy duty kneepads and some sort of breathing apparatus. I decided that being an exterminator was not something I'd ever like to do. I periodically have to go into the crawlspace to clear out the water filter. I only have to go in about five feet, there is a light, and it's more of a hunch-space at that point. But I don't like doing it. It's creepy and dirty down there, not to mention infested with camel crickets, who are not dangerous, but still very spooky with their long and bendy legs.

The exterminator went around and under the house and finally told me that we had carpenter ants. These are ants that eat wood, rather than ants that build little ant garages and wear cute little ant toolbelts. And I guess they prefer house-flavor, rather than all the many many trees that we have. The exterminator said that if we were willing, we could buy products at the local home improvement store to take care of this problem ourselves, rather than paying for guys like him to use the same stuff.

If ever I have any future exterminating needs, I will definitely be calling Swift Creek Exterminators. They tell you how to fix it yourself.

So I listened to his advice and then wrote it all down before I forgot it. I bought a fogger for the crawlspace (oh yeah, we have German roaches, too) and some spray for the perimeter of the house. The day after Christmas was lovely, and I was home from work while Josh toiled away at the restaurant. I figured that it was a good day to take care of my house.

It was a simple job. The stuff comes with its own spray attachment. I just walk around the house and spray the bottom foot of the wall. No biggie.


We have a back porch. The exterminator said that I should spray the house both above and below the level of the porch. Above was fine, easy. Below would mean crawling around under the porch for the length of the house. This was an actual crawlspace. There was probably a foot and a half of clearance under there. I did not have any heavy-duty kneepads, not that I would have room to go up on my knees. This would be more like shimmying underneath a locked bathroom stall door, or maybe something from boot camp.

I did the other three sides of the house, plus the area on top of the porch. It was my plan to leave it at that. Then, when Josh came home, I would tell him that I had done most of the work (four-fifths, in fact, nearly all), and I just needed him to do this last little bit. I would even have a nice cold beer ready for him when he was done.

I knew this was a raw deal. I tried to justify it to myself, saying that it really more of a man's duty. But then I got all offended on myself. I can do the stuff a man can do, but what if I don't actually want to?

I sat on the ground next to the porch and peered into the shimmy-space. I sat there for a good long time, feeling bad about making Josh do the dirty part, but not quite bad enough to start. I sighed several times. Earlier, I had been happy that the exterminator told me how to do it myself, but then I started thinking that there was a reason we paid people to do this job.

Finally, I just did it. It was a blow for feminism. Or homeownership. Or something. I would like to feel like it was a larger act than just me belly-crawling through the dirt and old leaves spraying chemicals on my house. It was a blow against carpenter ants.

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