Ah, glorious summer, the kind that brings lazy afternoons, sunshine, and ground wasps that take up permanent residence near your front porch.

You tell yourself not to panic.  They’ll go away if you ignore them long enough.  Then you remember the relentless plantar wart on your foot, and you re-evaluate your thought process.

After several weeks, the mailman stops using your mail slot to deliver the mail.  Instead, he hurls it towards the porch like an Olympic shot put.  As you pick utility bills out of potted plants and seat cushions, your patience wears thin.

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You remind yourself that the wasps are just doing their job.  You try to appreciate them, as you observe them pollinating the roses, the lilies, and the pizza slice you left on the porch.

When the wasps stop depositing pollen on the flowers and start depositing welts on your children’s bodies, you break down and tell your husband something must be done.  You determine your line of attack.

You try bug spray.  Not only do the pesticides not work, they give the wasps superpowers that allow them to unlock doors and carry away small pieces of furniture.

Next, you call the exterminator.  When he gives you the estimate and tells you you’ll probably need multiple treatments, you learn that having a professional remove wasps for you will be like having a root canal on your wallet.

Taking matters into your own hands, you try a Do-It-Yourself method that involves boiling water.   You nickname the method “wasp stew.”  Your husband nicknames it “dangerous.”

You wait for evening to arrive, when the wasps retire to their hole in the ground.  You place two pots of water on the stove to boil.  Despite the 80-degree weather, you suit up in your thickest flannel pants, rubber boots, hoodie, and ski mask.

It’s not your sexiest look.

Your husband looks you over.   He asks if you plan to detonate a bomb.

You hold out your arms to him.  “Pot holders!”  He slips the heavy-duty gloves over your hands and you carry out the heavy pots.  “Door!” you command.

He opens the door and out you step into the hot night.  You’re terrified of the wasps, but more fearful that your neighbors will call the police and report a masked burglar across the street stealing Farberware.

You step down from the front porch and advance two paces towards the wasps’ nest.  You lean in to get a better look, but it’s obscured by ground covering.

Your husband peers out the window from the safety of the indoors.   He looks skeptical.

Poised, ready to run for your life, you pick up the pot and slowly pour the scalding water into the nest.  Nothing happens.  You pour the other pot of water into the hole.  Still nothing.   The method appears to have worked.  Relieved, you return to the house and peel the protective layers off your sweaty body.  Your husband looks mildly impressed.

When morning comes, your husband hands you a cup of coffee and says, “You’d better start boiling some more water.”

“More wasps?” you ask.

“No, worse.” He says.  “Carpenter ants.”


When Jersey Girl Lisa Tognola traded her job as freelance writer for that of full-time mother of three children, it didn’t take long before her writing was reduced to grocery lists, notes to school nurses excusing her kids from gym class, and e-mails to her husband reminding him to call his mother.  Daily life as a suburban mom was fraught with challenges and unexpected dangers like adult dinner groups, town hall meetings and home shopping parties.  Rather than fight her fate, this mom embraced it by unleashing her inner columnist.  Her weekly column, Main Street Musings, reflects on life in the suburbs---the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Visit her blog http://mainstreetmusingsblog.com/.  Follow her on twitter @lisatognola