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What a day. Around noon-ish yesterday, I noticed a yellow jacket in Simon’s bedroom. “Hm,” I said out loud. “How’d you get through the screen?” Then I pushed the screen out a tad and let the unwelcome guest fly out.

Later, I saw another yellow jacket in the living room. “Shoo!” I said, this time opening the front door to usher her out.” Unfortunately, I heard more buzzing almost as soon as I shut the door. Had I let another one in? I looked up. There was a yellow jacket, hovering over my light fixture. I did! What was with the yellow jackets today?

I had no idea what was to come. With about thirty minutes left before Simon’s playdate with Caroline was due to end (school was out for Passover yesterday), I thought I heard buzzing—a lot of buzzing—around my   dining room window. When I opened my shutters to look, I was greeted by the sight of five yellow jackets circling against the glass. Instinct led me to dart downstairs. There, on the same wall as the dining room window, I saw twenty or so yellow jackets hovering against the glass block window over my washer and dryer.

We have a problem. I quickly ushered Simon and Caroline onto the front porch to blow bubbles in an attempt to get them away from the yellow jackets before they noticed them and got scared. That part worked, as Barry arrived to pick up Caroline before she realized what had been going on. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before Simon saw a yellow jacket and flew into a panic.

I yelled for Matt to watch Simon and calm him down while I went out exploring. It didn’t take long at all to find the hundred or so yellow jackets going into and out of a gap in our mortar on the back wall of the house.

Crap. We had a nest in the wall of our house! I’ve been on the wait list with a mason who can match my mortar exactly for two years now. Time to escalate and just find someone to plug the hole. Three weeks ago, preferably. But in the meantime, I had a newly awakened colony on my hands, some of which were tunneling through my walls and coming in basement cracks.

Caroline’s parents graciously allowed us to bring over pizza and decamp at their place for the afternoon and early evening. Jim and Evie agreed to a last-minute sleepover. And at ten o’clock, bedtime for yellow jackets, Matt and I headed outside armed with a flashlight and a can of poison. We had hats on our heads, boots on our feet, long sleeves and pants covering our arms and legs, and terror in our hearts. A less poinsonous spray was used on our basement sill. We sucked up the sleeping dining room guests with the vacuum.

This morning, with bated breath, we went to inspect the area and determine if our deadly mission had succeeded. First thing I saw? A dead honey bee. Second thing I saw? A window sill full of… … dead honey bees.

They weren’t yellow jackets after all. They were honey bees swarming while looking for a new hive. Damn. It’s not that I want them in my walls or house. It’s that I would have preferred to call an expert and explore non-toxic ways to remove them. I leave violets in my yard, have a wildflower section in my yard, and leave at least a few piles of leaves over winter specifically to encourage and protect honey bees. And I now I went and killed a ton of them without thinking.

Sigh. I’ve got the name and cell of a pest control expert now, a man who sounded audibly dejected when I told him about what had happened and offered to help me over the phone at any time for free. His advice? Leave the outside alone, but inventory numbers and activity. Leave the downstairs ones alone if I can stand it. Vacuum up the ones in the dining room—these are non-aggressive workers. And call him with the stats on Thursday. If there’s still a group trying to build a hive, he’ll come and help me then. He’ll also advise me about the best inside sealants and let me know when it’s safe to have my mortar repaired.

It wasn’t all bad news though. Because last night, my fondest wish also came true: Caroline proposed to Simon. I’ve had my eye on this one for a year now. Simon has lots of good friends in his class, including a lot of bright and funny girls. I know most of these kids pretty well by now and have a proprietary fondness for them. Even so, Caroline is a standout. Bright, sweet, athletic, and pretty, she’s the whole package. And as much as Simon enjoys several opposites-attract friendships, his play with Caroline is the most fluid. They agree easily, share well, negotiate effortlessly, and require little adult intervention.

I also dig her parents, who live any easy 5-10 minute walk from us and are interesting, smart, and fundamentally nice folks. They see the world the same way Matt and I do, and their house is littered with books we have read or are interested in reading. In other words, this is the exact family I’d want Simon to marry into. I’ve joked more than I should that were this the old days in the old country, I’d try to make a shidduch* with Caroline’s parents.

Having said this, you can perhaps imagine my glee when Caroline finished her dinner last night, put a scarf over her head to play “bride”, and asked Simon to marry her.

Caroline, honey, I know you’re only (not quite) four, but can I get that in writing?

*A shidduch is a traditional system of Jewish matchmaking in which parents or other interested parties make inquiries about the character, intelligence, level of learning, financial status, and health of prospective partners prior to formal introductions and supervised dating.

2 Responses to “Unwelcome Guests: Welcome Proposal”

  1. Amanda says:

    If they are honeybees, a beekeeper should be able to get them out without having to kill them. Sorry about the id mix-up, but comfort yourself by knowing you didn’t do it on purpose. Lots of folks would have just killed whatever without even caring.

  2. blg says:

    Mondays shouldn’t be this hard.

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