A circus tent

by cheri sabraw

A tall handsome man with grey hair, nice teeth, and a positive attitude arrived at my house this morning to turn off our propane so that a fumigation company can tent our house (and kill all of my Boston Ivy vines that I have been enjoying for 16 years).

Although the fumigators are supposed to arrive any minute, they have not arrived.

It’s funny how once you know the heat cannot be turned on, you become conscious of the cold. You wish you could start the dishwasher or  do a load of laundry. You wish you could chop kindling and make a fire in your little stove. You are cold.

You wish you could make a cup of hot coffee but then remember the coffee is packed up and sealed in a gas-proof bag.

You mosey to the pantry for an almond or two or three. Or a cracker with peanut butter. But then you remember that all your foods in plastic packages need to be sealed and packed in a gas-proof bag.

Yep. Ten gas-proof bags hide in the pantry, the refrigerator, the freezer and even in my bathroom.

You  might be developing a headache, just thinking about the future unpacking, cleaning, and sorting all of the food, medicine, liquor, olive oil and anything else that could possibly become contaminated and kill you when you return to your home.

But the aspirin is packed in a gas-proof bag.

Your dog is off property.

When the gas enters the tent, your plants around the house will die, along with their friends the vines.

All of this because you saw a 1-inch piece of evidence that dry-wood termites “might” be in your tower on the second floor.

“Cheri, why are you dragging your feet and not calling the termite people?” the Man of the House asked over 1.5 years ago.

” I don’t want my vines to die,” I grumpily answered, taking a drag on my cigarette (just kidding).

“OK…let’s evaluate  your logic…your vines or structural damage to your home? Which is more important?” he questioned in a rational tone.

With my hands on the Sunset Garden Book, I swore to God and my country “My vines!!! and ran to the couch, sobbing (just kidding).

Today is the day.

The vines die.

And so does the one termite that is probably living in our tower.





About Cheri

Writer, photograph, artist, mother, grandmother and wife.
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14 Responses to A circus tent

  1. The vines, the vines !! But I’ll bet the circus tent will be “snappy”. 🙂

  2. Richard says:

    Climbing Ivy’s romance has turned sour,
    Her termite has fallen from power.
    The pair meet their Watergate –
    A man’s come to Fumigate
    Moral: Do not make love from a tower.

    At great cost to her houseplants and food,
    Sleuth Cheri’s hard work’s for the good.
    Now she’s tracked down the ant,
    The Rancho’s extant –
    Flood, earthquake and termite withstood.

    • Cheri says:

      What a poem, Sir Richard. Let’s hope Ivy is able to resurrect herself and that love will continue on the wall. Now in the tower?

      • Richard says:

        Thank you, but unfortunately I am not a poet.

        Much as I admire many of the objectives of the occupant of another Tower:

        A propos new President Trump,
        He begins to give me the hump.
        He should know he speaks just a teeny
        Bit like that B. Mussolini –
        He fell from his post with a bump.

        • Cheri says:

          It will all be OK. We have let so many things in this country drift out of accountability and control (think education, security, illegal immigration, the budget, government spending) that it will take a force to rein some of it back into focus. Trump is not articulate. He is boorish. But he is not Hillary Clinton. I agree with Nigel Farage who said on television last night that if HC had been elected, we would have become a member of the EU!
          Ron says it will be OK. He is usually right. Note, usually.

          • Richard says:

            Sounds good. I’m sure the American system will provide the necessary checks and balances.

            Extraordinary man, Nigel Farage. He has never held any significant power but has changed the course of history. He has survived cancer and a light ‘plane crash and had to jump out of a sabotaged car to save his life.

            His father was a stockbroker and so was he. He was born in the village of Downe in Kent, location of Darwin’s house, and went to Dulwich College, a public school (in the English sense) in south London. In his final report the Master (headmaster) wrote that the schoool would never be the same again.

  3. Beth says:

    Tragic!!! But death to the termites! Can your house plants leave too like your dog?

    • Cheri says:

      I wish I could keep houseplants alive, Beth. Alas, our lack of humidity in the SF Bay Area does not lend itself to an inspiring house plant environment. Ferns, violets, succulents–all have shriveled in our house. No houseplants will have lost their lives in a fumigated house. Thanks for your comment and welcome to my blog.

  4. shoreacres says:

    I’ve read about such goings-on, but never known someone who had to endure them. Your circus tent metaphor did raise a worrying questions. Will the firm you’ve hired to do the job be professional, or will they send in the clowns?

    • Cheri says:

      Well. Good question (now that I have this behind me)–the fumigators were 6 hours late. The clowns were not on the job–they were in the office which, in my experience, is where the breakdown usually occurs. Folks working out in the field are doing their best.

      I was wholly ineffective as a ring master. This situation reminded me (again) that I am rarely in control. 🙂

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