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#09

Monday, March 14, 2005

There are termites in the house. The kitchen reeks of kerosene fumes. The toilet sink is filled with an odd colourful assortment of plastic cups and containers I have never seen before in my whole life. Whatever spare room the house can spare without looking too unpresentable is being used to hold the many neglected appliances (salt and pepper grinders, utensils, glasses, age-stained china etc.) that occupied the now rotting cupboards for the galzillion years since we moved into this house (I'm thinking Primary two).

There are disney-inspired plastic plates (Anyone else thinks the Beast looks cool?), plastic kid mugs - one with adorable (quite) realistic rabbits printed on, the old white slightly-yellow plastic orange-juice squeezer that I quite fondly remember playing with when I was little: cut the orange into two, grind the halves into the squeezer using your hands and pour whatever pathetic amount of juice you could press out into a glass. The glass was quite important, I remember. Nowadays, I pour my carton suger-saturated orange juice into the same mug I use for all my beverages. I was less lazy back then, but I prefer to think that I'm become more effective now... when I opt to be, of course.

My Grandmama reacts with a panicked frenzy to any, however small, threat to her domestic domain. Getting her to calm down and give her sixty-six year old nerves a rest is impossible. I've tried, and all I ever got for my effort was a stern flustered look of incredulity, the same look one might receive if you told someone impaled on a pike 'That doesn't look too bad.' I have learnt, over the years, that the best approach is to do nothing and stay out of her way. If a glass breaks, or a plate shatters, I know better than to assist. I usually just makes things worse (or so she quite irritably asserts). I might be labelled 'unhelpful' but please remember: me helping out might make things more hazardous for all parties involved.

My Grandmama and the handyman uncle she called in to help are still working on drowning the white destructive critters in kerosene, the very flammable fluid that Grandmama reports is highly effective in exterminating the home-wrecking insects. This is no easy feat, considering that the damp, old shelves are well, shelves. Meaning that they're elevated some height above the ground. And on another point: am I the only one who is envisioning a burning kitchen? We are drenching the wooden shelves in kerosene. Well, at least the termites will be dead.

For my credit, besides trying hard to be nonchalant and unhelpful (the best course of action considering my Grandmama's increasingly frazzled, stressed state, believe me), I have helped in helping move the piles of junk from the infested cupboards to the new rising piles of junk growing throughout the house. All the while, passing around the junk up and down, being caffeine-deprived, I was mostly concerned with the termites finding their way on me. Cupboard boxes in storage are the usual suspects for holding termites within. I reasoned, if termites chew through wood, the prospect of them nawing on my very human skin would be terribly unpleasant. For those who have never had the privilege of seeing real termites, they do not resemble ants in the least (unless you count six legs). They are pale, rather translucent white and possess a huge abdomen and head, closely joined.

We're under attack by miniscule house-ravaging sausages. Oh my.

en at 12:03 pm

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