This year, I have decided, is my semi-retirement year. I turned 62 less than a month ago, and that means I am eligible for the attenuated version of Social Security.
The little notice I got from the Social Security Administration-- the one that says, "If you filed today, you would receive..." says I'm worth $653 per month when I get myself out of the house and go down to apply. Yay. I'm going for it before Rep. Boehner and his minions yank it away.
One of the nicest parts of no longer working for somebody else with regular 9-to-5 hours (I always used to get 8-to-6, or travel 24/7, which was better than 0-to-0), but rather, determining your own schedule, is that it lets you do tasks that rate way up on the Maslovian Hierarchy of Needs in your back yard, or your studio.
Or out in the garden. Two days ago I was out transplanting tomatoes, peppers and a couple of eggplants out into the ground, because they were becoming potbound. I try to be conscientious about getting lots of stuff into the garden to improve the tilth-- that's the fluffiness, y'all-- of the soil, real important if you're gonna try carrots in particular.
I had various patches of leaves that I had schlepped in for fertilization and tilth, and I grabbed a bucketfull of these to mix in with soil in the holes I had made for the new arrivals.
I suddenly realized that I was being attacked. I had several ants digging into my hand, and a platoon was rushing to the assault on my legs. I dropped what I was doing, and repelled the current boarders.
However, I knew that I wanted these decaying leaves and stuff in the holes with my jalapeno peppers. So figuring I'd get bitten a time or two more, no matter how carefully I took the job, I went ahead and carried the bucket of leaves over to the holes, and with several delays for shooing ants off of my body-- I bear them no animosity whatsoever, I just don't want them to bite me, and I am quite sure besides that it doesn't matter to the ants whether their home is where it is or 5 yards away in my back yard-- I had my peppers emplaced.
I rubbed the several stinging places where the ants had laid into me before I became cognizant of their homeland defense. They weren't fire ants, of course, but there were several different species of black and brown ants attacking me.
Later, I came back in the house and went to fix myself a bite. I noticed that I had dropped a little dab of ice cream on the floor the night before while late night snacking.
Now, I have a little ant infestation in the kitchen. And I mean little. So I had a few hundred truly tiny ants making the best of it. Y'oughta see 'em get after a particle of watermelon!
Well, all I had to do was thump a spoon on the floor next to the temporary ant ice cream bar once, and immediately every little ant was heading for the exits. It was as though they knew that the Big Ant wanted to clean the ice cream splotch off his floor.
What nice, hospitable, cooperative domestic ants. What pleasant ants, even in one's kitchen.
Quite unlike the insurgent, terrorist ants I encountered while going about my appropriate and responsible affairs of commerce. You could have thumped a two by four, these girls were coming after you like the goblins under the mountain after Bilbo Baggins and company!!
I mean, I'm a civilian, right? This is MY garden, right, I'm just trying to improve it to better serve my interests, eh?
What right or motive did those bad ol' ants in the garden have to swarm me and go (as much as a garden-variety ant, not an army ant, can go) for my throat? Why, at least a few of them-- the ones who succeeded in their mission, through determination and the element of surprise, bored in and bit me-- undoubtedly committed suicide in their resistance.
What's that you say, it was the ants' HOME I was raking up and putting in a bucket? Wait a minute, antsies, isn't that my sand underneath your home?