Thursday, December 15, 2011

Animal Kingdom

When I went to get Kate out of bed early on Monday morning, I heard a strange sound. 

“Joe, what is that sound?”
“I think it’s just a drill or something.” (There is a lot of construction around our street).
“Are you sure?… it sounds more like an animal to me…”

Kate and I started to walk down the hallway towards the kitchen but we only made it a few steps before I stopped dead in my tracks.

“Joe – come here.  Right now.” 

Let me back up for a moment and explain that we have this strange solarium in our house.  It’s totally enclosed, like a giant glass cage with a floor of pebbles.  Everyone who comes over jokes we should get a pet iguana or turtle to put inside.  It would be perfect for that.
The random "solarium" or "cage".
The roof.  It looks pretty enclosed, right?
Well, on this particular morning, we did have a “pet” inside.  I guess it’s not as “enclosed” as we thought.  This stray cat that we had seen just a few days before had somehow managed to jump in through the bars from a side roof.  The sound we were hearing was an animal – the sounds of the low growls and deep meowing of this newcomer cat reacting to our cat Fernando, who was very concerned about having another feline in the house.  The cat was also hissing and batting at Kate through the window any time she got close… 
El gato.
Scared and mad.
Fernando going at him.
We strategized over breakfast how to get him out without a consequent attack that would result in contracting rabies (Joe’s fear, not mine).  Joe finally ended up agreeing that opening up the little door to inside of the solarium and letting him sprint through the house towards the open back door was indeed the best plan, so that’s what we did.  Kate and I went behind closed doors, while Joe, with broom in hand for ultimate protection, let the felino out – and luckily all went as planned!

This was definitely an interesting start to our week!

To top off the start to our Monday, we ended with discovering something from the animal kingdom that was far more disturbing than having a random cat in our house: giant, brownish-red, ants.  By the hundreds.  Crawling out of the wood surrounding the chimney and dying in droves.  We had our yard sprayed for ants just last Thursday and all weekend we kept on seeing these huge ants crawl across our floor sporadically.  We’d rarely seen this big of ant in our house; thankfully our ant problem is with much smaller ants.  So this was kind of weird to suddenly see all these huge ants marching across the tile. 

Then on Monday evening we discovered where they were coming from.  I think I was arranging something Christmas-y on the mantle when I suddenly noticed a huge pile of dead ants in the corner by the chimney.  They were coming up from this crack and many were still struggling for survival, lying on their backs squirming around.  It was so gross!  We cleaned them all off, only to find a hundred more in the same spot just hours later… and they continue to come up!!
This doesn't truly show the quantity of the hormigas - it genuinely was a couple hundred!
We swept them up... and then more crawled up the cracks.
 We’re still not sure what’s going on – probably the spray poisoned their nest underground and they were trying to move away from it and ended up inside our house.  A few of them survive and we find many staggering desperately around on our floor before they are squashed and crunched by our shoe.  So we continue our extermination efforts… at least they are dead or dying and not alive and thriving!!

Yesterday, Kate had her “end of the year” party at school and today is the last day and her “Clausura” Christmas performance is in the evening.  We also have a big meeting this morning with all the other people volunteering down here at the Project.  The meeting is to discuss the vision for the Project in the following year.  We’ll post an update and hopefully some cute pictures of Kate in her performance this weekend!  Until then, here are a couple random pictures of Kate “dancing”, top off, tutu on!

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