Grandma Says..

Observations and views from a different set of eyes

Da Ants In My Pants


A few weeks ago, Danny and I took a good look at our lawn and found that there wasn’t a patch of green grass to be found.  We worried that the neighbors would start complaining about tumbleweed from our yard drifting across their green, lush, and cushy lawns.  We decided to turn our no man’s land of a front lawn into a wonderland of green.

Oh boy, I thought!  A great project for two old farts to take on in the summer heat of Florida.  For those of you who have not experienced the humidity in Florida, I can only describe it as life sucking heat that vacuums all energy from your body on impact.  But, not one to back down in the face of a challenge (and hating to be called a wimp) I was determined to work by my man’s side and accomplish this great feat of landscaping.

Our project involved getting the sprinklers system that has been on the fritz for the past three years fixed and raking up the straw that crunched when we walked on it. Then, we would lay down new sod and bingo…we would have our new lawn!  Easy Peasy!

We decided to split up the duties; I would arrange for the sprinkler repairs and schedule the sod delivery.  Danny insisted on doing the lawn preparation (I fought him tooth and nail on this for at least ten seconds).  He knows my tolerance for the heat and I believe he didn’t want me doing the more physically demanding work as I might pass out and he would have to perform mouth to mouth resuscitation (but that’s just a guess).

The sprinkler repairman came Friday and spent an hour getting half of the little buggers to spit out a respectable amount of water; he had another appointment and rumor has it that he will return tomorrow (after a five-day wait to finish the job). Can I pick them or what?  The sod was also delivered on Friday and we were ready to lay that sod.  I wore my lightest pair of shorts and a lightweight tank top and reported for sod laying duty.

Danny suggested that I don a pair of work gloves to which I responded “I don’t need no stinkin gloves.”  I proceeded to pick up those squares of sod and carried them (with a slight wobble) to their designated spot.  I was on a roll; I was one sod laying grandma making tracks across that lawn.

And, then it happened.  I looked down and shrieked when I saw the army of red ants parading up and down my arms.  Evidently, sliding both your arms underneath the square of sod proved easier to lift the sod, but left your arms an open invitation to the red ants lying in wait.

Now, everyone here in Florida will tell you that red ants have a plan when they attack.  They have a general who leads the army up the extremity and when he feels the time is right, yells “Attack” and all the ants bite you at the same time.  So, you don’t get a warning nibble or a chance to brush them off before you wind up with a multitude of welts.

I did the “Red Ant” shuffle, dancing around in panic as I brushed the millions (okay, hundreds) of ants off my arms.  What I didn’t know was that the ants had launched an attack on other regions of my body.  My legs were being chewed and some insidious little suckers even got around to biting my butt.  I ran into the shower, stripped and washed those little suckers down the drain.  As I dried off, I looked down and thought “This is not good!”  Welts covered my arms, my legs and my upper chest.  Even my butt had been bombed.

I put a long sleeved shirt on and jeans and decided that I might want to wear those “stinkin” work gloves after all.  I walked out to continue laying out the sod and did manage to get two squares down before I started to rip my skin off.  I felt like a thousand sparks were lit all over my body and I scratched until I was a red mess.  I started feeling dizzy and Danny marched me back in the house and ordered me to stop scratching.  Yeah, like that was gonna happen!

The next morning, after a restless night trying not to scratch myself bloody, I got up to find that the welts had now turned into nasty looking red bumps which sported a white top filled with ant venom.  Yuck!

Now, the bad news is that I have spent the past three days slathering on anti-itch cream and antibiotics.  The good news is I’m doing so in the comfort of the air-conditioned living room while Danny and his nephew are outside finishing up the lawn.

The moral of this story?  If you’re allergic to red ant bites, stay away from the sod. On the other hand, if you hate manual labor and soul sucking humidity, a few bites can get you out of the heat and get you a bit of sympathy too.  Hmmm…:)  Maybe da ants in your pants might be your salvation!


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