It has all gone to rack and ruin. We have endured several nights of sleep deprivation. I nip down at hourly intervals to replace my "ice-packs" and the boys keep sneaking out of bed to stare at the blank television screen and wait for morning and electronics time.
With their father "away" we have no back stop, no terminator to shoo them back into bed. It’s the life of the living dead.
I leave them all upstairs tucked in and stagger down to clean up before I expire.
I am swiftly up to my armpits in washing up when it begins:-
“Mom! Mom come quick!”
“What is it dear?”
“There’s a bug!”
“You’re not afraid of insects.”
“No but this is a termite.”
“A termite? How do you know it’s a termite?”
“Coz it’s bigger than an ant.”
“Where is it?”
“On the boys’ bedroom wall.”
“What were you doing in there! You’re supposed to be going to sleep.”
“I can’t go to sleep if we’re infested with termites! Come on, come and take a look.”
I return upstairs with her. At least it’s more imaginative than ‘a drink of water’ or ‘I think I’m going to be having a nightmare.’ I am ready to offer my expert opinion, calm nerves and generally ensure that everyone is asleep within the next thirty minutes before I blow a fuse.
“Ah. Let me see. No. That’s definitely not a termite, it’s just a big ant.”
“How do you know?”
“Because termites are at least three times as big as that and they’re black.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, as apart from anything else termites don’t come upstairs until they’ve finished in the basement. Basement is an appetizer, ground floor is the soup, first floor is the main course and pudding is up in the attic, so they’ve got a long way to go until they get all the way up here.”
I hope that I sound confident and convincing. Where are all the scientists when you need them? Why is their father in England rather than waxing lyrical on the subject of wildlife? Is there no end to the duties I must perform? I’m tempted to go on line and drag “Andrea” to "buzz about" over here to earn her keep. Why don’t I have ‘instant messaging’ for such occasions? I check three pairs of liquid eyes to check whether all is well.
“Um…..is dah……are dey……are our house is be made of wood?”
“Yes indeed it is. We’re in California and all houses are made of wood here.”
“Why they are being made out of wood?”
It is bedtime, sleepy time, I am definitely sleepy even if nobody else is around here. I completely refuse to be tripped into the psychological minefield of ‘earthquakes.’
“They are made of wood because the Pilgrim father’s only had enough bricks for three houses on the Mayflower, otherwise they would have sunk.”
“Termites are vegetarians?”
“Usually but they’re more than a bit partial to the odd housefly.”
“They are be eatin dah wood?”
“Only when they’re run out of houseflies and you know how many flies we have around here with all those useless holey bug screens. We have enough houseflies to keep them busy until Christmas…..at least.”
“You are know…..”
“I know…......what do I know?”
“If dah termites are eatin at dah bottom of dah house first….den……we are all be fallin down, poof, poof, poof!”
51 minutes ago