July 29, 2021

infestation, ants, Raid, funny story by Randi Lynn Mrvos
                                                                                                                                                                                                           Photo: Maksim Shutov


We've got ants.

And I don't understand why these itty-bitty creatures insist on seeking out our house when they can have the great outdoors for themselves—which from an ant's perspective must seem enormous.  There are plenty of houses in the neighborhood.  Why the Mrvs'?  Maybe they like the smell of cooking or a vacation away from the colony?

Judging by the army of ants, you'd think we'd hung a plaque on the front door that says "Welcome Y'all" as is customary with many Kentuckians.

Our kitchen is under siege.  These ants are perfectly camouflaged—their black bodies blend with the dark granite countertops.  So, how does one fight them?  We tried ant baits.  

In about a week the battle was over, but before their demise they must have called for reinforcements because in no time, their huge cousins (seriously, picture ants on steroids) crawled on the deck, the patio, and the front porch and then invaded our house.  Let me tell you, this troop traveled in hordes.

By now you've realized that I am not a fan of ants, but let me throw in that I equally abhor spiders.  It's possible they could help with the ant invasion, but they're not allowed in the house either.  No arachnid is going to share my living space, despite the fact they eat ants.

There is nothing funny about ants, unless we cover the funny-sounding word shpilkes pronounced:  spill-kees.  Shpilkes is Yiddish for “pins and needles” or in other words, being fidgety or feeling anxious, like having
courtesy Amazon.com
 ants in your pants.  When people can’t be still or pace back and forth, they are said to have the shpilkes

That's about as funny as it gets with ants.  

My husband set out new ant baits, but these did not combat the enemy.  So, he resorted to spraying Raid insecticide (a great product name when you think about it because a raid is defined as a hostile and surprise attack).  But after the hostile and surprise attack, the ants were for the most part unfazed.

We were losing the battle and figured it might be time to call an exterminator. 
Before surrendering and calling in the big guns, I goggled homemade bug killers and found that a 50/50 solution of water mixed with white vinegar is supposed to stop ants in their tracks.  Easy enough.  Mix, aim, and squirt.  Time will tell if this simple tactic will work.  

You might think this blog is giving ants a bad rep. I mean, all they've done is crawl on the kitchen floor.  They haven't gotten into any food.  They haven't bitten us.  And they amuse our cat Ozzie.  

The Old Farmer's Almanac states ants can be helpful: "Most ants nest in the ground, digging a labyrinth of tunnels that allow air and moisture to get to the roots of plants. The leaves and insects brought into the nest decay and fertilize the surrounding plants. Many ants are predators and feed on insects that attack lawns and gardens, and in the process of gathering food, they often pollinate flowers and distribute seeds."  

After learning about the benefits of ants you might think I'd feel guilty about the way we've treated them.  But these benefits take place outside—in the lawn or in a garden.  

And definitely not in the house.  If ants could read, I would put little signs on the deck by the kitchen door informing them to Bug Off!  That might seem a bit harsh, so I would put up one more sign in the garden that would say Welcome Y'all!  That way, we'd come to a truce.  We'd all be happy.  
These itty-bitty creatures might be inclined to accept the invitation and make the great outdoors all theirs.    

À la prochaine! 

July 1, 2021


conundrum buying a formal gown; formal wedding
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Black—my go-to color


My favorite color is black.  

Proof?  My closet is arranged in color groups from light to dark, where some of the clothes are pinks, yellows, blues and purples and more than half are black.  

I feel comfortable in black.  And black is easy—it goes with everything.  

But a dilemma came up this winter.  My husband Jim and I have been invited to a formal wedding.  Naturally, I planned on wearing black.  It will be a fancy evening affair and black would be appropriate.  But Jim said he'd like to see me in another color.

That got me thinking.  Maybe it was time to mix things up and try a different shade for a change.  So, I began searching online for styles of wedding guest dresses.  One company stood out: JJ's House.  It carried a huge assortment of gowns and the prices were reasonable.

If you look at the color palette, you can see the selection of colors.  I liked stormy or wisteria—but I'm not sure.  Not wearing black, my go-to color, has thrown me for a loop.  Feeling unsure, I asked a friend.  She selected dusk which is a beautiful color, but my husband thought it was too subtle.  My hairdresser has great fashion sense.  He chose coral.  Meh, not my favorite.  Too bright.  Then I asked my daughter.  Her choice:  cabernet.  Hmm, maybe.  Decisions, decisions.  

Since choosing a color was nearly impossible for me, I focused on selecting the style of the dress.  This decision would be easier.  My vision:  a fitted bodice with sequins, a flowy shirt, a rounded neckline and sleeves.  Believe it or not, that combination was easy to find. 

But I had forgotten one detail:  choosing the dress length. What was appropriate for a formal affair?  I googled formal weddings to find out and discovered a variety of choices:  full-length, mid-length, cocktail, and tiered skirt.  So, what would be the most acceptable?  Since I knew the mother of the bride, I asked for her opinion.  She told me she was wearing floor-length, but to wear something that would make me feel comfortable.  She was being polite, but didn't she know I needed more direction than that?

I'm only 5'3" and a floor-length would not be ideal.  A length that would hit at the calf would be better.  The hem could always be shortened. 

Finally, I was making progress.  I felt good about the style and length.  So, two decisions down and one to go—choosing the right color.  I felt pressured.  Over two hundred people will be attending.  Our daughter will be among the twelve bridesmaids.  I'm sure the wedding we will be extravagant and glamorous.  So, it's important to me to wear a color that will make me feel confident, especially since I won't be wearing black.  

After months of going back and forth and agonizing about making the right choice, I made a decision.  Drumroll, please.  And the color is:


When the dress arrived, I tried it on for my daughter.  Ever-so-carefully, I slipped it on being mindful of the delicate sleeves.  The bodice fit perfectly.  The length hit just below the calf.  My daughter assured me that with heels the hemline will fall at a good length.  After her approval, I placed the gown into the guest room closet for safekeeping.  It's going to be a surprise for my husband and he'll see it for the first time on the evening of the wedding. 

Wearing a deep-red gown will be something new for me.  Something a little out of my comfort zone.  Bolder.  More daring.  I'm a little nervous about wearing a new color and yet, I'm excited.  Change may be good.  I have a feeling cabernet may be every bit as elegant as black.      

À la prochaine!