03 May, 2009

Playing Ball With Army Ants

So, today was going to be the rubber match of a three game series between the Seattle Mariners and their arch division rivals, the Oakland A's. I thought the game was going to start at 12:00 noon local. I even had it scheduled on the satellite automatic timer thing.

Well, 12:00 noon came and went. I apparently not only can't get the VCR to quit blinking 12:00, but I can't program the automatic timer either. It seems the game actually was scheduled to start at 2:00 PM local time. Ok, two more hours to go.

That gave me time to take a quick nap (as you do down here). Not only that, but I also had time to go over to our new neighbor Dan's place to help him figure out why he couldn't connect to our wireless access point.

While I was there, he turned me on to a news/research/other hot poop aggregator sort of site called ( It might come in handy, so I pass it on to you at no additional charge. Anyway, we got him reconnected to the network.

Once we got that all done, I had to hurry back over to our place for the first pitch. I made it with plenty of time to spare.

It was a nice game, played at Safeco Field in Seattle, commonly called "the Safe", sunny and what they call "warm" up there at around 70° (f). A pleasant day for a ball game, even on TV.

I expected to blow about three hours in total non-productivity. Little did I know this was to become one of those marathon games you read about. The lead changed a few times. The ninth inning (where the game usually ends, for you folks who don't know baseball from a can of beans), came and went with the score tied at 4-4.

As the game advanced through the 10th inning, we ate supper, fed the dogs and the cats, and resumed watching. On to the 12th inning, virtually tied, then Oakland went and scored three runs, making it 7-4. It wasn't looking good for the Mariners. The tension mounted. I was on the edge of my seat.

Dianna went out to the front porch to have a smoke, when she announced: "The ants are invading," somewhat calmly.

I asked her to repeat herself. Once we both understood that the army ants had returned, we got into gear with our usual army ant invasion protocol. Slather on some bug juice, get the travel carriers for the kitties and put them into the carriers. Grab the keys and cell phones and whatever else we needed and evacuated.

About then, I realized I wasn't going to watch the end of the game. I probably wouldn't even know who won, nor what the final score was going to be.
A Steady Stream Begins the Invasion
Last year when we did the army ant evacuation, we moved into the Isuzu for a quick getaway should the need arise. This year, we simply moved out to the guest house and enjoyed sitting near the pool (See? We're becoming acclimated here in more than one way...).
Moving Around To the Front Porch
We periodically sallied forth to check on where the invaders were. When we weren't doing that. We stayed up on the deck by the guest house.

Dianna had gotten an email from her Dad earlier today, extolling the virtures of Listerine as - not mouth wash, but bug juice. Since we had a big bottle of it, she thought this would be a great time to try it out.
Listerine as Bug Juice?
I had checked on (, one of the leading rumor/urban legend checking websites as to the "truthiness" (as Stephen Colbert says) of Listerine as bug juice.

Turns out, there is some plausibility to it. Listerine does indeed contain a botanical ingredient that is commonly used in mosquito repellents, but it only contains .09%, as opposed to the .4% used by the bug preparations. Apparently, you can use it as bug juice, you just have to apply it more often than you would normally.

So, on with the story.

During one of the trips I made through the upstairs of the house, looking for ants, I realized the TV was still on. I could hear that it was a baseball game. I assumed it was another game after the Mariners-Oakland game had finished.

Was I ever wrong. On closer inspection, I realized the game was still on and the score was now 7-5. with the M's at bat.

A little while later, Dianna went through the house as I had done, looking for ants. She announced the score was now 7-7 and it was the 13th inning.

It was about this time that we noted the army ants were making a retreat for the evening, although we didn't initially put much faith in that assessment, as last year, one of our invasions didn't begin till about 9:00 PM. So we knew nightfall wasn't a deterrent.

Turns out that they were retreating, and we came back into the house. Now it was the 14th inning and the score was still 7-7. Who would have believed it? We evacuate the house for an hour or so, leave the kitties in their carriers, and entertain the dogs (since they're sure we came out to play with them).
Secret Showing How to Sit Pretty
While we're out, the army ants come sweeping through, doing their thing to clean the house of any and all vermin, and we still got back into the place and could continue watching the same game.
Moving to the Side of the House
Well, finally the bottom of the 15th inning came along and with a "crack" of the bat, Jose Lopez fired a hit for a single, scoring the winning run, making the final score 8-7, Seattle. This was the longest game in the major leagues so far this year at 5 hours 3 minutes. Amazing.

As such things go, it was really a minor invasion, more of a practice than the full-blown thing. Still, sort of fun to go through it - especially when the Mariner's win!


Unknown said...

So do the cats stay inside the house or come out on the porch too?

I assume the porch...


Dave Rider said...

Hi Joe,
No cats on the porch until we get screen doors made and installed. They only go outside on escorted tours to eat grass and sightsee. they don't seem to mind being cooped up. You know, they'll be taking over the world, but first, a nap is in order.