Crumby Situation

He shakes his head at me as I scoop the crumbs from the counter and carry them to the trashcan.

“We’ll get ants.” I laugh as the words leave my mouth. It’s not the first time I’ve said this.

In the seven years we’ve dated, we’ve never gotten ants, in spite of the fact that he’s left crumbs after every meal he’s ever eaten in our home.

My mom says it’s in the male genes. My dad does it as well. Something is wrong with the male species so that they are incapable of seeing crumbs on a kitchen counter or a dining room table. It is up to the women to prevent the ant infestation of our homes.

I don’t know what causes it but I know that there is no way to stop it. I’ve accepted my role as crumb cleaner-upper. Matt thinks it’s just part of my OCD tendencies. I clean constantly.

He’s wrong.

I clean up crumbs because of the ants. I’m terrified of them. I know that they’re tiny and essentially harmless. I don’t care. They’re disgusting little creatures and I hate them.

You’re probably thinking there’s a back story to this. You’d be right.

I don’t recall how old I was but I was young enough where I still loved climbing all over dead tree trunks at my grandmother’s farm. This particular tree had once been rooted in the front yard. The tree was cut down and the stump uprooted so it laid on it’s side in the yard. It was a young tree climber’s paradise.

I ran outside one morning and went to the tree stump. I climbed up as high as I could. The roots were easy to grab ahold of. There was dirt everywhere but I didn’t care. It was fun. I climbed higher and higher until I placed my hand in the dirt and grabbed hold of the tree beneath.

But it wasn’t dirt.

It was a fire ant hill.

The pain was immediate. They crawled up my arm in a fury. It was planned and orchestrated. They knew exactly what they were doing. I screamed in panic. At this point in my life, nature was fun and entertaining; not painful and full of evil insects.

I jumped off the tree stump and ran toward the house as my family burst out the front door. The image in my head of me covered in fire ants is probably much more dramatic than it actually was but the pain was intensely real. My mother stripped me of my clothes as someone swatted the ants off me as quickly as possible. My father threw baking soda on me to help with the pain. They were everywhere.

Needless to say, I never went back up on that tree stump. I don’t think I went back outside for the rest of the trip. From that point on, any mound of dirt in the yard was avoided at all cost.

So do I understand that crumbs in my kitchen will most likely attract ants of the non-fire variety? Sure. But I don’t care. All ants are evil little tri-bodied assholes that I would prefer to stay outside my quaint little condo.

Is that too much to ask?

So Matt will continue to laugh as I nag him to pick up his crumbs. He doesn’t get it. He thinks it’s just me being my weird little OCD self. I’ll laugh it off and pick them up myself.

Because those damn ants will not be coming in my house any time soon.

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Check out my Who’s on Fourth Interview with Marcy of (Don’t Be) Too Timid & Squeamish!

51 thoughts on “Crumby Situation

    1. Ahhhhh! We have them at my parent’s place in Myrtle (where I’m going on vacation next week). My mom is even more OCD than I am about a clean kitchen but they still fucking come!

  1. We moved to southeast Georgia in June 2006. In October 2006, my two-year-old sat in a fire ant hill. I swept up her screaming body, put her in a cool tub with oatmeal bath, covered her in calamine lotion, gave her Benadryl and waited for the swelling to subside.
    The following year, she and my son were bit by queens, resulting in tremendous swelling and pain.
    We endured the ants for seven years.
    We returned home to Indiana last year. When Spring came, the large picnic ants in our yard opened the peonies to feast on their nectar. Now and again, they came up on the porch or the front door.
    Despite telling my now ten-year-old daughter that the ants here are harmless, she screams bloody murder every time she sees one. Because, given her previous trauma, an ant that size can do serious damage.
    People think it’s funny, but it’s really sad. I’m sorry for your suffering. He should not leave crumbs. Also, Terro makes great ant killer. I like the liquid traps that can be used outside.

    1. Oh my gah. I’m sure grow out of it to a point but she’ll probably still hate them as much as I do. We’ve been lucky. No ants yet.

  2. I remember standing in ants when I was a kid. My mom pulled my pants off right there at the bus stop. In front of a boy named Karl. Scarred for life.

    1. It didn’t but I definitely stayed away from certain trees and was very careful. I’m still terrified of the tiniest of ant hills.

  3. Keep nagging him about the crumbs. One day, maybe 7 years into your marriage, you’ll bring it up again as you do each time and he’ll finally snap! Will he start muttering to himself, become even more passive aggressive or erupt into a sudden rage and carry on about crumbs for seven straight hours? The manifestation form is anyone’s guess so maybe take wages with your friends? I’ll put 10 on sudden fit of rage that involves him unsuccessfully trying to tear a spiral notebook in half. Lol. Also, I never heard of fire ants until I was 21 and moved to Texas. They advertise products just for them. I never had any runins cuz I’m the ant whisperer.

    1. He’s not the ragey type so we’re good. It’s a give and take. He laughs at me about this. I laugh at him over his squeamish side when it comes to anything bloody and gross.

      If you’re the ant whisperer, then I need you to move to Charleston. Stat.

  4. In Australia we have HUGE ants, called bull ants, and they actually chase you. When they bite you, believe me, you know it. These things are the size of wasps.

  5. We have something here my exterminator called “Crazy Ants”, but crazy or not, ants are the work of the devil himself, in my opinion. Despite my dislike of ants, I enjoyed your story.

  6. The summer after we moved down south, my niece came to spend three months with us. We took her on a spontaneous picnic. My son, then two, wandered away from the rest of us exploring. He stuck his hand into a tree stump. We found out when my niece looked up and started screaming. His tiny hand was covered with fire ants, fingertip to wrist, and they dotted his arm from wrist to elbow. My niece leaped up and ran to him while Scott and I were still processing what we were seeing, so we got there after her. She got herself rather thoroughly bitten smiting the ants swarming her tiny cousin. For entirely different and much more lazy reasons, we had a can of Lanacane with us, and we could spray him right away. But the immediate hard white welts all over his hand and arm were horrific, and we seriously debated the emergency room. So I suspect the drama in your memory is as great as you recall.

    Last month or so, we were helping out at a book fair. I set my jacket on the ground as the day warmed up, but put it back on when things grew suddenly cool again. I set it in a fire ant hill. Let me tell you what, those damned things got inside my shirt before I could get the jacket off, and you’d better believe I was ripping off my shirt and bra both while my husband and the other people at the booth tried to shield me. I honestly only got a couple of bites. But the real humor was in the non-reactions of the locals. Everybody just passed by like they saw stripping, shrieking middle aged mothers all the time.

    1. Hah! Though horrifying, that’s pretty hilarious 🙂 So glad you didn’t get bitten too many times.

  7. When I was a child, we were visiting the USS North Carolina. I was sitting in the grass outside of the harbor while my dad took a video of the ship. If you watch the video, the ship is just sitting there while somewhere off screen a little 9 year old boy is screaming at the top of his lungs because he’s being eaten alive by fire ants. Screw those little bastards.

      1. I went to that same spot a few years ago. I was on the lookout for them. I was ready to walk all over them. They must have been hiding, the cowards.

  8. Southern California is one giant ant hill. My current condo is the only place I’ve lived that hasn’t had ants come in at some point. Though, we do have termites, so…
    Ouch. Fire ants. Can’t imagine… Yeah, I’d be cleaning up the crumbs at that point too, even though I’m a guy and don’t see them usually.

    1. I remember an Indiana Jones movie with ants. It was awful. There should be warning like PG13A. If you’re 13, you’re good, but not if you’re scared of ants.

  9. I’ve never encountered fire ants before, but they don’t sound like much fun. But you’re right about the guys not seeing crumbs – my husband has 20/20 eyesight EXCEPT when it comes to wiping up after his own messes on the counter tops. Funny how that happens, isn’t it?

  10. It could be worse, though. You could have 3 boys to clean up after, like I do! I hate ants. I’ve never had them in my current house but I have in a couple of other houses in CA. Then I moved to the east coast and now I’m more afraid of centipedes that sometimes make their way into the house.


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