Our deck is sinking. At first it was only an inch or two but now it’s over a foot deep and it has ripped away from the house. This is not good as my big beautiful deck now looks like a bowl shaped skateboard park. Apparently, carpenter ants are eating my house and it was time to call in a professional pest control company to take care of this as I will soon be living in a hole in the ground in the chewed up remains of what was once my home.
I like to give my business to companies that pride themselves on good customer service. When I call, I want a moderately fast response. Like, I don’t call my refrigerator repairman to check in on how things are going in his world, my damned refrigerator is broken and my five dollar pint of Ben and Jerry’s is melting all over the floor. I take into account that these people have more customers than myself to service and as long as they can come out to the house by the next day, I’m fine with it.
So these ants didn’t just start destroying my house last month. I figure this has been going on for a few years at the very least given the amount of damage they’ve so waiting a day or two was of little consequence so I thought it a bit odd that Pest Control Guy, henceforth referred to as PCG, was almost literally at my house before I put the phone on. I immediately suspected shenanigans and man was I right.
Me, “I was hoping you could come out and take a look at what I think is either a termite or carpenter ant situation at my house?” PCG, sounding very much like he was scanning thru his thoroughly booked calendar, “let’s see, I guess I could meet you at your home in like, ten minutes?” Me, “uh, excuse me, did you say ten minutes?” Where is this guy, in my effing driveway? PCG, “yes sir, ten minutes.” I’m a bit freaked at this point. I was starting to get a sense that this PCG guy may have, in fact, planted these voracious ants on my property and was camping in the woods behind my house just waiting for my call but then I remembered that I actually saw this scam go down on an episode of Ren and Stimpy.
We agreed on 5 o’clock. It’s 87 humid degrees, ants are eating my house, I had to leave a rather frustrating day at work an hour early and had to drive home with a screaming baby in the back seat as I picked up my granddaughter from day care on my way, so I was already pissed. Enter Phil, the PCG.
Phil is so fat that he actually had to do a twist to get in my front door. Like so fat that I can’t even guestimate his weight as I have nothing to compare him to. Maybe like that giant guy on TLC except in this case the show would be titled “My 600 Pound PCG.” We have an eight pound dog who literally goes into a barking frenzy to the point of giving herself an asthma attack when someone knocks on the door, but one look at Phil pirouetting in the front door and even she knew that scaring this poor bastard could only bring bad and obsequiously backed up into the bedroom.
Phil is sweating, profusely. Yes, it’s 87 degrees but he just got out of an air conditioned truck and had to walk all of about thirty feet to the door. The bill of his hat is soaked to the core and is actually dripping leaving a wet spot about the size of a garbage can lid on his rotund belly. I am worried about Phil. In fact, my first words to him are not to introduce myself or to say hello but, “Dude, are you alright?” This guy then proceeds to tell me that he has been, in between appointments, sampling chili at various local eateries in order to find the best brew. Seriously? It’s 87 degrees, he weighs an unfathomable number of pounds and he’s driving around eating bowl after bowl of chili? Who eats chili when its 87 degrees for fuck sake? At this point, I decide that there is no way this guy is living through this appointment and all I can think about is how am I going to get rid of these ants?
Fearing that I had little time left with PCG, I roll him out the kitchen doors straight onto the bowl shaped deck. I ask Phil to be careful as the deck is, as I stated earlier, at least a foot below where it used to be. Phil warns me that he isn’t in the best of shape, no shit, and hangs there for longer than what it took for it to become uncomfortable for the both of us. He embarrassed and me just praying for him to not die in my yard. I have repairmen coming two days from now to start fixing the deck and there is no way they can work around this whale. I become obsessed with trying to figure out how they would get him out of here if he did die and can think of nothing but my fence having to be cut down so they can get a backhoe to hoist him out.
My obsessing pays off as I design a scenario in my head where insurance picks up the tab for this whole project when I blame the bowl shape of my deck on Phil falling and crushing it into the ground. I am calm now.
This is the part where things start to go bad and I start taking the frustrations of my day out on poor Philly Phil.
It’s Phil’s fault. He bends down and trust me, this is no easy task, and starts picking up those brown pipe cleaner looking things that fall off of the oak trees every spring and proceeds to tell me that they are ant frass. First of all, frass? Is he supposed to use the word frass because it sound more dignified than shit? And secondly, what kind of special idiot does this guy think I am? Is he honestly thinking that I will believe that a four inch long piece of an oak tree dropping came out of an ant’s ass? Fuck!!
I realize at this point that this is not going to be as simple as me writing Phil a check and turning him lose on my ants. Something besides Phil stinks and I now feel like I’m being sold a timeshare. I tell Phil, “Dude, that’s oak tree sperm not ant shit and you don’t need the hard sales pitch with the scare tactics. I would have signed up twenty minutes ago. I just want you to kill the ants!”
Meanwhile my granddaughter is inside screaming for me because she has finished her dinner. I tell Phil, “can I just pay you now, I have to go in, my granddaughter is hungry and alone. At this point I notice that PCG is studying just how he is supposed to get back in the house as he is not a good foot and a half below the entrance to our kitchen. He starts heading toward the gate out to the driveway as his only option but I, instead, grab his sweaty hand and yank him up into the house fearing that if he took the long way I would find him dead in my wisteria garden.
It was at this point that I really understood just how fat this guy really was. Now, I’m no 98 pound weakling myself, I’m 5’ 10” and weigh in, depending on how well I’ve eaten in any given week, at around 210 but even at that, there is no budging Phil. I, next to Phil, looked like one of those little fish you see swimming around a sharks mouth picking at scraps on flesh off their teeth but we eventually succeed in rolling him back thru the kitchen door where Phil tells me that he doesn’t consider it a successful day unless he’s had a good meal. Well no kidding, fat ass. I kinda figured that out on my own when I tore a back muscle shoving you back into the house.
Where am I? The Twilight Zone? Is this some kind of a sick joke? Is there a hidden camera on this guy and is Alan Funt about to come out and tell me how stupid I looked fucking around with this behemoth?
Phil heads back to the truck to work up my quote, he actually has to turn sideways in order to properly lumber down our front steps. Twenty minutes later, no sign of Phil. I open the front door and there’s Phil, rummaging thru our bushes holding this ridiculous looking tool. It straps to his shoulder and has a long metal tube attached to a black squishy ball that Phil is furiously pumping on. It looks a lot like the ghost detecting apparatus Peter Venkman used in Ghostbusters.
Me, fed up with this bullcrap routine, “Phil, what the hell is that thing?” Phil, “I’m looking for signs of formic acid.” Me, “Really? I thought we were going to dispose of the sales pitch and just kill some ants? Phil, I know I have ants. You don’t need to build a fucking case! Will you please come back in the house so I can pay you?” Phil, “do you know there are ants on your fence?” Me thinking, “I would kill you if I could dig a hole big enough to hide your body.”
Phil, back in the house, is clearly weary from his ant hunting and is looking for a place to take a load off. I am hesitant to offer him a seat at the dining room table unsure of whether our chairs can support his more than ample girth. I can just see the chair splintering to smithereens beneath him and him going into another sales pitch about treating our furniture. In the end, he plops down between my granddaughter, now eating Oreos to keep her quiet and she only likes the cream inside, and myself and kicks the used car salesmen routine into fifth gear.
He tells me that the bug genocide price is based on the square footage of our house which he has overestimated by more than one thousand feet. This is clearly another ploy at getting me to sign up as the price at the adjusted area is one hundred dollars less per quarter. As I begin to lay into Phil about this bullshit sales crap, I refuse to break eye contact with him. I am burning a hole in his brain right now as I remind him that I would have signed his stupid agreement over an hour ago and am seriously pissed off right now. Phil has other more pressing matters on his mind at this point as I notice that while he is aware of my ranting, he is clearly torn between placating me and Leila’s Oreos which he cannot take his eyes off of.
Me, “I think this hard press to get me to sign up for a year’s worth of bug killing is bad business. You come in here with these stupid tools, you purposely over estimate the size of my house…..Phil? Phil? Dammit, do you want a fucking Oreo!?!?” Phil, “No, no, I’m trying to cut back. But if she isn’t going to eat the cookie part maybe I could just help her out a bit” He proceeds to eat three Oreos worth of cookie only parts and then polishes off the remaining two cookies in the pack.
Phil and I did finally come to an agreement and I think the ant problem is on its way to being fixed but I am now stuck with this guy for a year. Should it really take a year to kill ants? Something tells me that most of what they are doing is just feeding these intruders out in the yard so they stay away from the house then when my contract runs out Phil comes back to renegotiate.
I’m a learner and into gaining wisdom. This is what I take away from this life experience, everything and everybody is out to fuck you over, especially Phil.
Name the movie this line is from:
“Why are we in the parking lot across from my church?”
“You go to church?”