Here in Texas, they have these things called fire ants, and let's just pretend that they terrify me, ok? Oh, and the fire ants have these friends called acrobat ants, with heart-shaped asses. So let's pretend the terror is multiplied with nightmares about insect circus-themed nightclubs. Anyway, things have been rather brutal on the whole family for the past few months. Once we introduced Insane Clown Posse ants to the mix, things started getting desperate. So rather than placing the ant poison in my incapable, unsteady, and I-WONDER-HOW-IT-TASTES hands, we hired a bug guy. A bug guy with a website that has a section for prayer requests.
This is Texas, you see.
I'll spare you the details about my obsessing over how much bug protection we needed versus how much I so desperately wanted, tapered with but-how-bad-will-the-cancer-be? In the end, a nice boy named after a Biblical so-and-so came and sprayed down the house. (The children and I hid in the closets while wearing gas masks and aluminum suits.) Then he went outside to kill the ants. The ants with hearts on their asses and the ones that play with fire. As he was leaving, he told me, however, that I'd need to water the grass in order for the chemical to take effect.
Well, son of a bitch, because for a moment, the prospect of even HAVING a bug guy made me think I was quite elite and why should I have to finish the damn job, you Biblical so-and-so?! But I remembered the prayer request tab, and decided to say nothing. Other than, THANK YOU SO MUCH! BYE BYE NOW!
Instead, I hurdled the boys toward the television and began my quest to find a hose and sprinkler. It was a quest, of course, because the garage is not yet unpacked. Rather--it's not just NOT UNPACKED, it's more like a to-scale diorama of a hoarder's house. But luck was on my side! Because I found a hose instantly! Then instantly discovered it didn't work! So I dug for another. (Broken.) And another (Leaking.) AND ANOTHER (MISSING PART OMFG.) In between discoveries, I'd dash back into the house to make sure the children weren't sneaking into the cookie stash. Or licking the pesticides off the wall.
AN HOUR LATER...
I texted my husband. It was a frantic, rambling, unhinged text, and he knew it...
Me: And I've spent all this time out here FOR NOTHING and why do we have so many hoses that don't work and now I have to put the boys to bed and EVERYTHING IS RUINED.
Him: Ok, do you think the sprinkler system would work?
[Appropriate pause filled with inappropriate language and hand gestures.]
Me: YOU SAID WE DIDN'T HAVE A SPRINKLER SYSTEM IN THE BACK YARD.
Him: No, there is one.
Me: [Radio Silence.]
Now, the sprinkler system control panel, as many of you may know, is completely INCOMPREHENSIBLE. It makes no sense at all, has about 12 different ways to turn it on, and lots of other options that are labeled with only letters and/or hieroglyphics. So turning the damn thing on required lots of me switching a knob and running outside to see if it worked. And repeat. And how the hell did the cat get out? And boys? I can HEAR YOU fighting! Along with POOR ME I HAVE THE HARDEST LIFE EVER.
When I finally got the backyard turned on, I took a deep breath. Then I noticed that our fire pit was, um, moving.
I had no choice but to run out there, dodging the lines of water, and lift the damn thing off the sprinkler that I DIDN'T THINK EXISTED. It was at this point that I was hit from behind by a rogue, angry stream coming from a spout that had been hidden by our massive grill.
I'm pretty sure I heard the kids cackling from the upstairs window.
Now [deep breath], at this point, I'm trying so. very. goddamn. hard. not to just unleash my fury. (Because I'm outside now and maybe the neighbors can hear.) I stumble inside, tears of anger--ANGER AT WATER--streaming down my face. (Well, plus the ACTUAL water from the sprinkler.) I drag my soggy ass upstairs to tuck in my children. I let them put their pajamas on backwards. I let them skip brushing their teeth. And, when we sat down for bedtime story, I gave Thomas the Train a voice so melancholy that the boys will likely never PEEP! PEEP! with enthusiasm ever again. Dejected, I kissed their heads, deflected their WHY ARE YOU WET, MOMMYs, and closed their bedroom door.
Still unsure if the front yard had actually seen any water in the midst of my dashing in-and-out, I slumped down the stairs and absentmindedly stepped out the front door to survey the damage. Naturally, my neighbors were out there. They were out there, dry as a bone, presumably very skilled at operating a home sprinkler system, and happily chatting and watching the children play tag on the sidewalk. I froze for a moment, hoping they wouldn't see me, but I think my involuntary moaning gave me away. They waved me over. I flipped a flap of wet hair out of my face. Then I stepped a few feet out onto the lawn and tried to pull together a laughing face to retell my backyard water sprinkler folly.
That's when I suddenly heard that telltale tic-tic-HISSSSSS.
And that's when I got an enema. From my sprinkler system. In front of the neighborhood.