This week I had the fortunate opportunity to experience what could be the lamest adventure living in a house can provide – the fumigation process. See, my landlord plans to put my place up for sale sometime next year & apparently found out we had termites while preparing to do some home improvements. In order for them to make said improvements, they needed to tent the house first. Never having gone through the process, and always up for a new adventure, I was almost excited at first. I have vivid memories of being jealous of the people who got to turn their house into “a circus” when I was a kid. It was like a childhood dream of mine was finally coming true! Alas, all that glitters isn’t gold…
For those of you that are unaware of what the fumigation process is, let me take a second to catch you up. When termites enter your housing structure and create a colony, they will devour said structure til it’s gone. It is a very slow process, but a process that it weakening your home nonetheless. So in order to prevent the internal destruction of your home, an exterminator comes in to take care of the problem. It is about a 3-day process from start to finish, so you must prepare to vacate your living sitch for at least 2 nights. On the first day, the exterminator comes in & tents your entire structure with a large circus-like tarp & sets additional locks to keep anything from entering. The following day is when the gases are sent into your home on a mission to kill anything living in its path. On day three, the gas is sucked out, the tent is removed & the air is tested to make sure there is no more toxic gas before you are okay to move back in. By this time, all creatures have been exterminated & your home is safe once again. It really is wrapped in a proverbial red bow, but the process leading up is basically a trial-run of moving day and that’s where it lost its magic and became a giant hassle.
I returned home from work the evening before with a laundry list of things I had to do to prepare for the activities set to take place the following morning. I live alone but I have a cat & a set of water turtles that I also have to think about. Fumigating entails some heavily toxic chemicals. Nothing is going to survive this attack. Inconvenience #1: my turtles. Each about the size of a large grapefruit, their home consists of a 40 gallon aquarium. Not the easiest of homes to travel with, that’s for sure. Thankfully this isn’t winter so I had to get my dad to move the tank outside under some shade so they wouldn’t roast in this southern California heat, and wouldn’t be open to get attacked by the local critters running around nocturnally. As for the cat, I took her with me. Having to bunk up with a friend with a cat in tow isn’t the easiest sell, so I was stoked my cat-owning counterpart was available.
Now that the breathing valuables were taken care of, I have to concentrate on how we will survive once this is all over. Namely, inconvenience #2: take care of our food supply. Basically the rule of thumb is this: if it’s open, you gotta pack it up. So canned goods are cool…and apparently that’s about it. You don’t think about the amount of food you have hidden away in the recesses of your storage areas til you need to pack it all up. I’m a single girl and I had about 4 garbage bags worth of stuff to pack up. It sounds ridiculous when you think about it, but in my defense, I love to cook so I have lots of sauces, spices & condiments as my main storage issue.
After those issues were in place, we begin inconvenience #3: privacy. I don’t know about you, but I don’t go nosing through other people’s stuff. I just don’t care. But in this process, you need to have everything unplugged, windows & blinds open and every single door & drawer open to let the gas seep in. I don’t enjoy having my stuff free to be viewed by strangers killing bugs in my house. It just doesn’t sit well with me, but it’s a part of the process you cannot dodge. If you do it wrong, they will do it right before the gas even hits your place.
I came home after the process to find my house sort of tossed about, no doubt because of the prep team’s extra precautions. Nothing major, just some kitchen things I didn’t know needed to be prepped. But I gotta say, the feeling of having ZERO creatures living in my place for once is lovely. And putting my kitchen back together was a spring cleaning adventure I ended up enjoying because I rearranged my kitchen as I sanitized all the dishes & shelving. Now it’s so organized I could cry.
Was it the childhood dream actualized? Not exactly. Don’t’ get me wrong, it was really neat to see the house covered like a circus big top, but the prep so similar to moving day was a total drag. There were a few downfalls, sure. As a reward for the hassle taken, I have a new clean & organized, bug-free kitchen. I guess in the process I swapped out my childhood dream for an adult one.