Saturday, May 22, 2004

My kingdom for some soap

Speaking of better living through chemistry, what I wouldn't give right now for some Boraxo. This morning I went to painting project sponsored by Hands on Nashville, and managed to cover my hands with latex paint. Boraxo is the only thing I know that gets this stuff off without a fight. Maybe I'll go on a soap expedition in a few minutes.

Kitchen declared federal disaster area

antIn addition to the Grape-Nuts fiasco (see below), I am also dealing with a massive ant infestation in my kitchen. When they first showed up, they just went after some hard candy that had been sitting in a mason jar on my windowsill for a few months. I got rid of that temptation, but new they were interested, and immediately commissioned ant-explorers to forage in new areas. Like the cabinets, the toaster, the sink, and just about everywhere else.

So yesterday morning I made an emergency trip to Cumberland Hardware. If you're imagining Home Depot, think again. This is the sort of old-school hardware shop that has been exterminated by the big boxes in most places. The moment you walk into the tiny shop, one of the proprietors quizzes you about what you're looking for. They then instantly locate it from amidst the floor-to-ceiling clutter. Once I asked for a lightbulb that they didn't have, but helpfully they sent me to another shop two doors down. I'd give you a web address, but they apparently don't have one. Which figures -- their main concession to modern technology is a cash register powered by a metal crank on its side!

Anyway, they sold me this stuff called Terro. It's a little bottle filled with clear goop that looks sort of like sugar syrup. And from what I understand, that's basically what it is, albeit with a dollop or two of boric acid thrown in for good measure. The idea is that you leave this stuff laying around, the ants go into a feeding frenzy on it, take a bunch of it home to the missus, and the die a horrible death. So far they're definitely snarfing it down as fast as I can ladle it out, but I haven't noticed a marked decrease in the number of ants marching in.

Too bad there aren't more of these guys around here.

A major Grape-Nuts related incident

For breakfast this morning, I was going to open a new box of Grape-NutsTM cereal. But the plastic liner in the box was very stubborn and refused to open. In hindsight, I guess using a pair of scissors would have been a good idea. But being a manly-man, I instead opted for the brute force method. And it worked -- sort of. The bag suddenly tore wide open, causing a massive Grape Nut explosion the likes of which have never before been seen. There are now Grape Nut nodules embedded in every nook and cranny of the kitchen. There should be a warning label on those things.