Just do the dishes

On Thursday morning I woke up to our kitchen covered in ants. Running behind the sink, on the walls, and even poking their heads into the cabinet where we keep the spices. In a word, I was pissed. Our kitchen wasn’t immaculate to begin with (we’re still in that post-moving phase of having a few boxes straggling in the corner), but it certainly didn’t warrant a shock scene from Hoarders.

Frustrated, I started pacing back and forth cursing the last name of our landlord, trying to wipe up as many of the ants as I could. In the process of screaming and wiping, I was trying to find what they were after. It seemed like everything was the object of their affection. One counter would clear, just to turn around and see more.

Eventually I looked up to see that the wall above the oven hadn’t been entirely cleaned before we moved in. There were a few splotches of something causing a ride of the Valkyries style assault from the ants. I took out the step stool and a bottle of cleaner (our ant spray supply was conveniently non-existent) and went to town. I shot the spray in lumps, looking almost definitely like a mental patient doing their own rendition of the wax on wax off scene from Karate Kid. In the process, I accidentally got some of the spray on the just-cleaned dishes in the sink rendering them useless without an extra wash. After about ten minutes I was able to get most of the hoard down, with a few stragglers laughing at me from the harder to reach spots.

Shortly after I finished my terror, I cleaned up the kitchen and started my day. I was still a bit edgy, so I decided to cut my usual morning work session short and packed up to head to the office in the city. That entire day was a bit off. I’d let go of the ant situation by the time I’d made it to the train, but couldn’t shake that uneasy feeling. In the back of my mind I knew that I still had to come up with a solution to the ants, but also had a bunch of work to finish up on a client project. I scoffed through the day, getting done with what I could.

When I’d returned home that night, I dropped off my things and walked over to the Walgreens on the corner to buy some de-antification gear. Back at the house I laid some traps beneath the counters (glamour is my middle name) and sprayed some goop near the window frames. With a feeling of accomplishment, I took a quick shower, put on a movie, and settled into some leftover work from the day.

The ant episode was more or less over by the next morning. A few tempted fate, but for some reason my benevolence circuit kicked in and I channeled my inner Buddha: “I’ll leave this one be, it’s not hurting anything.” I ignored the ridiculous contrast between this morning and the last, laughing as I settled into the day.

I never quite recovered from Thursday’s ant attack in terms of focus. When I’d woken up Thursday, I was determined to get some ideas for the consulting business figured out. By Friday, I just sort of noodled around. My existing client work got wrapped up how it needed to, but the stuff I was determined to work on for myself just sort of sat there.

Going into the weekend, I decided to just reset. Hang out, get chores done, and do a bit of reading. I did these things, but of course, I found myself staring at the computer once or twice trying to get something meaningful to come out. Struggling to get some work done earlier today, I caved. Nothing was getting done and I was just running circles around myself.

The dishes from Thursday were still in the sink, half clean, half coated in cleaner used in the battle. Next to the strainer, a fresh pile was sitting waiting to be cleaned. Frustrated with work, I decided to open a beer and empty the sink. There weren’t that many dishes, so it only took 15 minutes or so. In anticipation of another attack, I decided to hand dry the dishes and secure them in the cabinet as I finished.

Emptying the sink was incredibly rewarding. I was in control. The plates, cups, bowls, and utensils were clean. The eyesore was gone. The ants are gone, too, and I’m looking forward to the new week. I’d recovered. “Adulthood,” I mumbled.

This week’s lesson: when in doubt, just do the dishes.