Cameron likes to mow the grass. He likes to mow grass so much that when we bought our lawnmower, he got a push mower. Not a self propelled push mower, but a for-real, you do ALL the work lawnmower with a bag on the back so that it collects clippings and gets heavier and heavier. Needless to say, I have never mowed our grass.
I honestly think that mowing the grass is cathartic for him. It’s his man time. If he has something on his mind, he can escape the house and sweat and grunt and work it out in his white noise enveloped solitude.
A couple of weeks ago, while I was at work, he put the kids in front of some delightful 80’s cartoon (thank you, Netflix!) and headed out to beautify the yard. (Disclaimer: I was NOT present for this, and so keep in mind that part of this is how it happened in my imagination…) About halfway through mowing the front yard, he ran over an underground nest of hornets. A cloud of black, angry insects swarmed him immediately. He ran across the yard, kicking off his flip-flops (yes, FLIP-FLOPS) as he ran because the angry buzzing menaces were covering his feet and had been trapped between the soles of his feet and the flimsy foam shoes.
He attempted to enter the house calmly, so as not to alarm the kiddos who were still engrossed in Inspector Gadget or Woody Woodpecker or something.
He retreated to our cubicle of a master bathroom where he immediately stripped down to survey the damage. Unfortunately, as he stripped down, about 5 irate hornets came out of his clothing and proceeded to dive bomb him. (Had this been me, I don’t think that anything in the bathroom would have survived. I’d probably have broken everything in the bathroom and possibly climbed naked out the tiny window, pregnant or not.) He received a couple more stings before he managed to kill them.
My favorite part of him telling me this story later went something like, “And then I realized that they were INSIDE WITH ME, and they were stinging me again, and I thought ‘I WILL BURN THIS HOUSE TO THE GROUND!!’” I can’t say that I would have blamed him.
Instead, he burned their house to the ground – but we’ll get there.
By the time I got home that night, his feet were more swollen than my 8 month pregnant ones. He was covered in perfectly miserable looking whelps, and I found myself thanking God that he hadn’t gone into some sort of shock based on the amount of bee poison he had had injected into his body. I still had to beg him to take an antihistamine and a pain killer… his Tylenol aversion is another story for another time.
I explained to him very rationally that one of the benefits of renting our house was that we could just call the landlord and have her take care of it for us. He (slightly less rationally) declared that this was his war and he was going to finish it.
Once the swelling had gone down, and I believed that another battle with them wouldn’t send him into shock, I okayed his next offensive maneuver. The plan of attack was to pour gasoline into their main entrance, light it on fire, and cover it with something to prevent their escape. This is supposed to be done at dawn or dusk (if not in the middle of the night), because they are less active. Because we live in a subdivision, setting the yard on fire in the middle of the night seemed like something that might cause a panic.
Tuesday morning, after I left for work, Cameron placed his plan into action. He dressed from head to toe (no flip-flops this time!), tiptoed out to the hole in the yard, poured a gallon of gas down the hole, and then covered the whole thing with a piece of cardboard that had been soaked with gasoline as well. He then ignited the whole thing. It flamed up almost 6 feet and then fairly quickly burned itself out. Most of my yard was still intact, and he reported that he only saw a few hornets stumble out of their now-destroyed home. I waited a full 48 hours before sneaking out there to take photos of the burned spot in my yard, but according to him, there has been no more activity around the nest since Tuesday.
And that is how you win a war.