WASPS, HOT TUBS 8-11-2003
The hot tub starting gushing water last night. We were just about to get in when my but brushed against the button that controls the blower. The blower kicked on, then there was an odd sound, kind of like a creak or crackle, and then there was a noise like a babbling brook. "This is bad" I thought to myself. I went to open the door to the insides, and when I did I paused. I was still a little gun shy. Let me go back.
We have this hot tub that is free, or was nearly free anyway. It is going on thirteen years now, and let me tell you it has seen better days. When a co-worker told me she was buying a new hot tub, I asked her what she was doing with the old one.
"Oh, that old thing? You can have it if you want it."
Offering me a free hot tub is kind of like offering me, well, a free anything. Its free isn't it? What more do you want? Of course then it had to be moved, and that cost a few bucks and a visit from Reliable Hot Tub supply, a company that prides on answering at least a third of its telephone calls, and of showing up for an appointment at least half of the time. Reliable indeed. Maybe Reliable was his last name. But they did eventually move the hot tub, this was about three years ago, and it works just fine for the old creeky mess that it is. Hey, the water is hot, and it is a tub. My needs are simple.
But the door never shuts right on the front and the paint is all chipped. I put in a bunch of fiberglass insulation in the front of it last fall to help insulate it. Old hot tubs leak energy like sieves and use lots of electricity. Yet another cost of being free. But the insulation helped. It kept the heat in the hot tub, and it provided a great place to gorw wasps. The nasty insects I mean, not the anglo suburbanites. Big suckers, 2 inches long and mean looking. I discovered these bad boys two weeks back, when Kathleen had gone to the store. I was trying to start up the tub after having our vacation. To do so I had to prime the pump. I had baby Samuel under my arm, and I went to open the doo under the hot tub to get at the pump.
I had to pull some of the insulation back to get at the pump. I guess I must have seemed pretty menacing to the wasp, some big sweaty guy pulling his nest apart. First he stung me on the bridge of the nose. Bang! I remember being stung by a wasp once as a kid and swelling up real bad. That was a while back but it left a mark. Okay, I was mostly concerned about Sam at this point, to my credit. I wisely and calmly screamed "Ahhhhhhhhh" and threw my eyeglasses at the wasp, and dropped to the ground. Then I rolled over and tried to kick it to keep the wasp away from Sammy, who was calmly watching me with a budda-like calm. The wasp stung me three more times on my knee before I got inside. And yeah I know, kicking at a wasp wasn't a very bright thing to do.
Later I got some Wasp and hornet killer and sprayed the nest with a demented glee. "Die, die, die!" I cackled while I peeked my arm out past the screen door just far enough to spray the insecticide at the insulation. Three or four days later my knee stopped itching. Kath said that the bit on my forehead exagerated the ridge above my nose, and gave me this dull sort of stupid cro-magnon look. I noticed at work for the nesxt few days people kept explaining things to me two or three times, so maybe it made me look confused.
The hot tub's water filter had a collar that had split horizontally. I think I can find a part to fix it. Kath and I got in the hot tub anyway, after I turned off the power to it. We had a bout half an hour before the water level got too low and we had to get out. Plus the gurgling noise of the tub draining itself over the ground kept making me want to pee. No more wasps though, they seem to be gone for the moment. But I have my can of wasp-killer stuff ready, just in case.