Little StoriesMindsetTransitions

The ants came marching one by one, hoorah?

How is everyone? Hmm? Are you hanging in there? Are you having fun on your vacation or settling back in after returning from one? Are you listening to a new podcast or deep into a new book on your commute to work? Are you on the beach, in the garden? Scouring yard sales for treasures and a great pair of old cowboy boots?

I missed sending this out last week. We’ve been moving, again, unpacking boxes, again, getting ready for our son’s last year of high school, setting up systems and work spaces, hangout spaces, squirreling away our landlords many chachkies and miscellany so we have a place to put our personals.

Our first morning here, the basement filled with smoke and we scurried out to the pavement in our pajamas to the 2000 degree heat of another sweltering east coast summer day. Turned out to be a faulty sewer cover that was an easy fix. The next day, the power went out for hours. The day after that, as I sat cozy in bed reading cartoons in my New Yorker, a small search party of ants kept climbing across my arms and neck, each time sending me into squeals and spasms as I lunged for a tissue to squash them, (sorry, Buddha).

I tracked them to a couple of giant boxes of my clothes that had been in storage for 6 weeks, opened them up and found an INFESTATION. Ants poured out like zombies in that Brad Pitt zombie movie. Poured, I tell you.

I emptied every box in sight. More ants, and (grotesquely!) egg sacs and debris presumably from their life cycle scattered everywhere, down the stairs, to the 2nd floor hall where they, frankly, panicked and started scaling the walls. 

Dave dashed for the super strong porta-vac ( from his beloved Costco) and some trash bags and together we squashed, sucked, and sorted the mess, cramming & sealing the clothes to leave on the bag deck until the light of day when we dumped them out in the street and shook, sorted, and sucked some more, transferring de-anted and de-egged clothing into new trash bags for me to wash.

We were quite a sight out there. Greetings, neighbors! We looked like either a really energetic homeless couple or folks putting on a very bad yard sale.

The clothes are now clean, the ants are gone, the boxes have been carted away. We are mostly unpacked and finding our new routines in this new home, where we’ll be until June when our son graduates and then, who knows? We may find another rental or return to our home across the state. It’s not clear what house we’ll be living in, and even though that’s stressful, it’s also okay.

Why? Well, first of all, because we’re choosing it. I keep reminding myself of how lucky we are to get to drag our infested clothes to the street in front of a whole house we get to rent in order to be close to an amazing school where our son is celebrated for the wildly unique learner that he is. I’m not putting a smiley face on it–I mean it! We get to move and rent and put our stuff in storage and then take it out, take the time to settle in and make a home! I get to putter around in my pajamas as I rearrange the kitchen and greet the city sewer officials! 

Also also because, the truth is, I’m always home, even though I don’t always remember that (and during stressful times? I forget ALL THE TIME.)  Our bodies are our home, and we are never NOT in our bodies so we are never not home. The safety we seek is with us all the time. The trick is to notice when we’ve left and do whatever works to help us return.

I suppose there are people out there who would calmly lift and clean each item of ant-infested clothing rather than lurch and scream, ACH! EEK! OH GOD! or those who would calmly say to their partner, Ah, I think I need to take a minute to sit with myself and get back in my body, rather than slip and skid into a fight. I’m not that gal, today.

But I’m still here in this body of mine, moving and sorting and rearranging, doing my best to remember, remember, remember and return home. 

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