Our bungalow sat neatly between two houses. My father, a painter by trade, bought the house in the late 1980’s; it featured daring fire red bricks.
One summer afternoon, we rested at the kitchen table in silence after enjoying an early dinner.
“Can you hear that?” my father asked, “that low buzzing?” he continued.
I thought he was winding me up, and I was waiting to hear the punchline. Then I heard it loud and clear above my head.
“Oh! I can hear it, it’s coming from the attic!”
My father took one of his large ladders from his van, and proceeded to climb into the dark attic space.
“I can see them. I think it’s bees, or worse, wasps,” he said. “They’re gathering at the gable end.”
I waited anxiously holding the end of the ladder. He descended, and I followed him outside to investigate. We looked up at where the wall met the roof. There was a flurry of yellow and black flying critters buzzing loudly.
“I think they are wasps,” my father announced upon inspection. “And, according to the google,” the site to beat it all, “we need to block their entry points.”
From the shed he unearthed a collection of long sticks and old sheets and duvet covers. Stacking them up along the facet and soffit, he smiled at me with excitement. Although I never met my grandfather, his ingenuity was always described to me with a sense of humour. In this instance, we were both reminded of him. I returned my father’s smile.
As the house slowly began to look like a pretend ghost. But it was unsuccessful. The next day, we tried to hose them down with the power house.
My father braced himself by wearing a blue face mask, his bucket hat covered with paint, and a pair of waders purchased from the middle aisle of Aldi.
“I feel like an action hero,” he said as he aimed at each and every wasp that came within a foot of him.
Despite the fun, it was another day of no luck, the wasp colony had grown. I checked my phone for another answer.
“Apparently, we can set up traps,” I told him.
“A mixture of just sugar and water!”
A simple solution that soon produced great results.
“248 wasps so far!”
“Just because of the sugar?” I asked.
My father nodded with confidence.
Each day that passed he updated me on the number, “568 today!” His delight was palpable as the numbers quickly dwindled. Unfortunately the more wasps he caught, the more wasps that arrived. The smart little buggers emit a chemical to alert their friends. The attic remained under attack until a professional was called.
Despite our failures, I revelled in the pleasure of the past couple of days. I knew that this was a memory I would, in the future, recant to my children.