Friday, April 20, 2012

A bit too much sprnging

Spring has sprung - certainly here in So. Cal., where there’s a heat wave this weekend. I’m sitting here typing this shirtless in my cut-off bib overalls.

Spring is known as a time of re-awakening, when all things living come back to life at full force. As wonderful and beautiful as it is, sometimes, as I point out in the following column published in the Claremont Courier this week, this abundance of life is a bit too much.

I will add or reiterate that the bee guy was super intense - scarily so. I thought he would go off on an anti-gay rant when he started off his spiel by saying, “All animals are meant to procreate. Those that don’t, die off.” Later, on his second visit, he told my attendant that a bee sting might do me good. A very intense, weird


Who knew that bees need more water, more hydration, than any other animal?

Wow! I didn’t.

I learned this fascinating factoid when the bee guy came to my house, and I asked why the bees were dying. He said that it was lack of hydration. That, and that they were smashing the windows, trying to get out.

Yes, the bees were trying to get out - of my kitchen. Or, as the bee guy said, they were heading towards the light. There had been dozens of bees coming into my kitchen over the previous two days. Most were quickly dying, which was enough of a nuisance, but there had still been plenty buzzing around, making life unpleasant and somewhat dangerous.

This is why the bee guy was at my house. I wanted to know why the bees were in my kitchen. After all, I never had had bees in my kitchen - or anywhere in my house. More to the point, though, I wanted the bees out of my kitchen, out of my house, and I wanted them to stay out. Like they always had.

It’s not that I have anything against bees. Sure, they are annoying and can be dangerous, even quite dangerous, but they play a crucial role in nature and make lovely honey, and I agree that the recent massive bee die-off is alarming. But, please, I don’t want them in my house.

But, as happens with disturbing frequency, when the bee guy came to my house, the bees weren’t coming in. Unlike the previous two warm afternoons, when the bees were coming in at a steady pace, it was a cool and cloudy morning, and there wasn’t much bee activity. After looking around a bit, the bee guy surmised that they were getting in through a couple air vents. He went on to explain, among many other things like the hydration, that, like humans, bees look at an average of twelve different places before choosing a place to live.

Again, who knew? “It’s really an amazing thing,” the bee guy said.

He guessed that the bees didn’t like my house and had decided to move on. It looked like he was right until two days later when it warmed up again, and the bees came buzzing, if not roaring, back into my kitchen.

I called the bee guy again, and he said he would come back the next afternoon - a good time, I thought, since it was more likely that the bees would be more active (even if dying once they were in my kitchen) at that time.

Sure enough and much to my relief, when the bee guy came for the second time, there were plenty of bees buzzing about, including in my kitchen. Better yet, he saw them going in and out of a small crack in the wall, a crack that he hadn’t seen before. He plugged the hole - no long lectures this time - and I haven’t had anymore bees in my kitchen.

This is good, because having two cats, along with two caged parakeets, in my house is enough. After having one cat in many periods of my life, having two for the last eight years or so has really shown me, as if I didn’t already see, that we’re owned by our cats (if not all our pets) rather than owning them.

These two cats that rule the house are brothers, both extremely affectionate and with a definite foot fetish, that I got as found kittens. (I still have the Courier classified ad stuck on my fridge.) At the time, I didn’t know their distinct personalities and how correctly I named them. Elijah, with light champagne stripes, is rotund and voracious, likes to bully but is really a huge baby, spending most of the time when he’s outside sticking close to the house and loudly crying. I think he is jealous of Irie who, with his darker orange stripes, really reflects the term from reggae music meaning “positive” and “happy,” being adventurous and sleek, if not sneaky, having the run of the neighborhood and maybe the town.

They do get into spats with each other, but it usually means they want food or out. Usually. At least they don’t bring live birds into the house, as one of my old cats, Sam, was wont to do, and at least they’re not fighting opossums under my bed.

This is what happened to an old friend of mine here in Claremont years ago. She had a cat door in her back door and was awakened one night by her cat and an opossum in a loud, vicious fight under her bed. My friend sat up on her bed and frantically called the police and was told, “Lady, we don’t come out for opossums.”

Years later, I found out that that was wrong. I was living in an apartment here in town and had a roommate from England. He had never seen an opossum and panicked when he saw one one night out on the patio and called the police. Before I knew it, I was lying in bed at 11:30 looking out the window at two officers rooting around the patio with flashlights.

At least the opossum was outside. One another occasion at the same apartment when I had a different roommate, I was having a birthday party. Some friends and I were playing Uno or something at the kitchen table, and the sliding glass door was open in the summer. My cat - another cat named Professor (he really was a genius and quite dapper in his black tux) - came in from the patio, loudly making an announcement. It turned out he had brought his own guest - a baby opossum. And it turned out that it wasn’t dead. It was, of course, playing opossum.

I probably don’t need to say that that was the end of that party.

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