When I grow up …

When I finally decide that it’s time to grow up and make something of myself I want to be just like our bug guy.

I look up to him.  And, it’s not just because he’s taller than me.

It’s because he has the bearing of a man who relishes tackling household problems.

He’s the type of guy my wife sometimes wishes she married.  She got me, instead.

I’ve tried to live up to her expectations (she has a lot them). But much to her consternation, I tend to gravitate toward more sedentary activities such as writing silly newspaper columns  while watching movies I’ve already seen a hundred times on TV (John Carpenter’s “Big Trouble in Little China” is on right now.  Kurt Russell’s character is a hoot and probably just as inept around the house as I am).

The first inkling I got that she might be less than satisfied with my ability to do the jobs around the house that are traditionally reserved for men came while we were living in the little fixer-upper we bought in our hometown of Charleston.

It was our first home.  We bought it shortly after we got married.   It was a cozy little white stucco house but it had its problems.  Actually, it had a lot of problems.   It was an old house, after all.

A guy like our exterminator would have seen them as a challenge and met them head-on.  I tried to ignore them if anything more than duct tape was required.

One day, my wife looked around, shook her head a little, threw up her hands and grumbled under her breath “I thought all guys knew how to do things.”

But not all guys do.  That’s why guys like me keep guys like our exterminator around.  They’re our last line of defense.

When we moved to Martinsburg seven years ago I had one goal in mind – to buy a house that didn’t require much maintenance.  For the most part, I succeeded.  But there are still times when better men are needed.

Just the other day I had to call our exterminator because of my failure to get rid of some nasty bugs.  They were yellow jackets and at some point they decided to make my home their home.

I learned they had moved in while I was at work.  My wife called in a panic because they were dive bombing her while she was in the basement.

“We need to call the exterminator,” she told me but that was like telling me to ask for directions.  I might have a man crush on our bug guy, but no man likes to immediately cave at the first sign of trouble.

When I got home, I went on an inspection tour and discovered the yellow jackets had somehow built a nest beneath the siding around the back of the house.  How they managed to do that unnoticed, I don’t know, but there they were.  So I bought a couple of cans of extra strength nasty bug killer, sprayed them like a cop with a water gun putting down a riot and walked away thinking that’s that.

Only that wasn’t that.  The next day they were still buzzing around their nest and getting into the basement.  Over the course of a week, I sprayed them so many times that I feared my house would end up so contaminated that government environmental inspectors would force us to move.

I finally gave in when even my 13-year-old son suggested I bring in the exterminator.  It was a Wednesday when I called.  I made an appointment for that Friday afternoon but our bug guy showed up within an hour of my SOS.

“When I hear bees I come running,” he said and immediately set about his work.

We’ve found a few dead yellow jackets in the basement since our bug guy’s visit but I’m not worried about them anymore.  I’ve moved on to the impending stink bug invasion.

I’ve already found one in the house and, since they will likely remain true to form, we can expect more to move in as the weather gets cooler.

Maybe I can make our bug guy proud and take care of them myself.   But my track record suggests that I’ll be seeing him again soon.

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When I grow up …

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