Long Day Journey Into an Ant Bed

I should have known this was coming yesterday when I took a nap and kept noticing a few things crawling on me occasionally.  But I was preoccupied with musing about other goings on. 

Then last night I went in there to rest a few minutes and conked out, only to be awakened around midnight-thirty with a lot of things crawling on me.  Pretty much all at once, doing a little stinging here and there.

That half of the bed is taken up by upwards of a hundred books, some read already, some partway through the experience of being read, some waiting to be read, some held for re-reading.    They’re usually not enough of a problem to outweigh the advantage of having a book near at hand when I need something to read.  But when I turned the light on, here’s what I saw last night:

It’s not the first time that’s happened and I could have prevented further invasion if I’d been paying closer attention.  I keep a container of boric acid powder nearby and usually try to do a pre-emptive strike on them on a fairly regular basis.  But it requires taking the layers upon layers of books off and squirting the boric acid powder all over the underlying bed surface.

This, I’m reluctant to do, because everything gets disorganized and I lose track of which things have already been read, which are waiting to be read, which are occupied holding something else up, and generally where things are.

So they sneaked up on me.  I had to do it in the middle of the night with no pre-planning, no organization at all.

Sheeze.  Now it’s chaos in there.


9:30 AM edit:

Heck, I might as well add this since I’ve got them there together now.  Here are a couple of authors I’ve come across lately I’ve enjoyed a lot.

They’re thrift store books, so I’m not certain you could find them easily, but both authors have an interesting approach, plotting is tight, characterization’s good, and they hold the attention well. 

Upfield writes about an aboriginal who’s an Australian police homicide detective and his mystery solvings, along with his ethnic difficulties trying to do his job in that setting, along with his internal struggles demanding he go back to being a bushman.  Good reads.

Alexander’s a completely different bag of tricks.  He’s created a blind brother to Henry Fielding, author of Tom Jones, who’s a magistrate-cum-detective in London.  His characters include Dr. Johnson, whores, a pirate, poets, actors, and all manner of peasantry.  The narrator is actually a ‘Boswell’ sort relating the activities and events, a young teenager taken off the streets.

I don’t have enough distance from the Alexander books yet to decide whether it’s his unique and innovative setting, plotting and characterization intrigues me so much about him, or whether he’s also a damned good author.

Old Jules

11:20 AM edit:

Heck, I might as well add these since everything’s screwed up in there anyway:

Mari Sandoz – Crazy Horse, and Old Jules.  Mari’s my daughter in a previous lifetime.  Her biography of Crazy Horse is better than a lot of others about him.  Her biography of me during that lifetime is as good as you’d expect from a daughter.

Doug Stanton, In Harm’s Way is the hair-raising account of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis during the last days of WWII, and the ordeals of the survivors in shark infested waters off the coast of Japan.

Dan van der Vat, The Pacific Campaign is nothing to write home about. Of the thousand-or-so books following the steps, events, tactics and strategies of the Pacific War this one ranks in the bottom third,in my estimation.

Lauro Martines, Fire in the City, is a narrative of the strange and
surprising emergence of Friar Girolamo Savonarola in Rennaisance Florence.  So little attention has been paid this fascinating man and time it’s worth the read even if you aren’t crazy about Martines’s particular style of writing and his method of organizing his material.

12 responses to “Long Day Journey Into an Ant Bed

  1. wordsfallfrommyeyes

    Ha ha – you’re SORT of like me. I don’t have a bunch of books on my bed, but I do have journals of yesteryear & a folder of court papers. It’s for writing purposes & I don’t put them down on the floor/pick them up daily – I just keep them there. When I had a lover years back, he did actually comment, “Why do you have all these papers on your bed?” It was because I wrote! It’s just handy, isn’t it, Jules.

    • Morning wordsfallfrommyeyes: Thanks for coming by for a visit and read. Yeah, I think there are some in the human population do as you and I do, which is the obvious, best way, and the great majority do things other, tidier ways, which isn’t the best way. Handy is far away best. If I still slept with women and if I ever got another chance to sleep with a woman I’d never do so unless she had something with words written on it covering the side of the bed I was expected to occupy. I’ve no tolerance for dissent when it exposes character failings. Gracias, Jules

  2. Is it just me, or does it seem ants are getting worse than previous decades? Right here in our civilized trailer park, it’s been sometimes so bad a grandchild could drop food on the floor and a trail of marching ants would be visible in less time than it takes to realize the food was dropped. Not so bad this year, but the long term trend seems in their favor.

    • Morning Ed. Nice seeing you here. Seems to me the imported fire ants might still be on the upswing, though Texas A&M turned loose those tiny imported wasps on them in hopes they’d deal them some misery long-term. I’m not certain about the other kinds of ants. Seems there are definitely a lot of them. I recall a book from the 1950s by Clifford Simac in which ants were the next step along the way in evolution. City was the name of the tome. Ants inherited the earth. Forward thinking man, Simac, and a middling good SF author. Thanks for coming by. Gracias, Jules

  3. Jules, really enjoy your blog, grew up over near Junction. so am very familar with your area. Really miss the hill country, am living in Denison Tx.
    I really loved the Old Jules book, frowing up out in country, there was s o much I could relate to. First read it in college back in 1965 I think, in american history class. Those ants are in hiding up here due to drought, you must have had some rain, whatever that is, I seem to have forgotten.

    • Hi Wayne. Thanks for coming by for a visit. Junction’s the county seat here. I’d guess it was a really fine place to grow up. Yeah, it’s definitely causing mixups among the animalcules around here trying to figure out whether there’s rain in the offing, or we’re still dying of thirst. We had a bit of moisture fairly recently might have gotten those ants confused. Thanks again for the reads and comment. Gracias, Jules

  4. Sounds like you’ve already got a solution to your ant problem… just put some of those dirty dishes in with the books, and they’ll head that way and leave you alone, right? https://sofarfromheaven.com/2011/09/22/fire-ants-dishwashing-and-drought/

    • Hi Jeanne you devil you. The idea’s to attract them AWAY from the bed, not toward it. Ants aren’t humanocentric enough to get focused on one thing and leave everything else alone. Everything else, in this instance, being me. But other than that it’s a memorable thought. Thanks for suggesting it. Gracias, Jules

  5. Thanks for the reminder about the boric acid, Jules. I use diatomaceous earth around my house and around the feed bags in the storage shed.

    • Thanks for coming by Texasjune. I’ve heard about diatomaceous earth, maybe owned some once, but can’t recall whether it worked for whatever I was trying to do with it. If it’s working for you maybe I’ll get some to put around the feed backs, my ownself. I use the boric acid there at the moment. Gracias, Jules

  6. Now don’t be a knocking when those Ants come a booking!
    After all they were the Indians and Mountain Men’s original dry cleaners.
    You probably already knew that though, what with Texas being so big an all, but do you have any Mountains down yonder?
    Back to the Ants, them little buggers can chew up a lot real fast, especially if its blood and guts, or daily detritus that builds up on clothing, like Bear Grease and Castoreum (awful stench filled Beaver scent glands).
    Just toss them Buckskins on an ant hill, wait a few minutes, turn to perfection, shake off excess ants, and one new slightly chewed clean skin for less than a Buck!

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