Have you ever done something that you never thought you'd do? You take care of something meticulously and then in a moment of weirdness you lose all sense of what's going on and that item you have taken such care of suddenly finds itself in a situation it shouldn't be in?
So you all know that Young'un has a small two-beehive apiary, right? He's beginning his third year with it and is so excited about selling some honey at the Chillicothe Farmers Market this year. He's even more excited that he's been able to raise his bees naturally, without synthetic chemicals, and is hoping to have his apiary Certified Naturally Grown, just like our livestock and produce.
Here's the thing with his bees ~ his original hive is nice. That hive of bees came from Dan Williams of Williams Honey Bees here in Frankfort. They get a bit of an attitude on occasion, but for the most part I don't feel like I'm risking life and limb while I stand there as Young'uns sidekick in my false sense of security suit trying to help get the job done. The second hive, on the other hand, must have bred with bee spawn from Hades. That hive came from the first swarm we caught a few years ago and had raised it's own queen.
Young'un and I went out to do some hive maintenance because that's just part of what you do when you're a beekeeper...or the sidekick, as in my case. It was a beautiful day. Young'un just puts his suit on over whatever clothing he's wearing. Me, oh nonono. I have on heavy jeans, a long sleeve shirt, a jean jacket, and a baseball cap under mine. I also put my cell phone in the bee suit's front pocked so I can call for backup if needed. This all stems from my first false sense of security suit. It was thinner than a t-shirt, which had me feeling every single sting those bees dished out last year without layers on. Along with us being dressed for the occasion, we also had the smoker, lighter, and a few hive tools needed for the job.
When we approached the hive from Hades we did so cautiously. The smoker was lit and Young'un smoked the daylights out of the little pistols as I got the top off the hive pried off. As I opened it I found that it was stuck more than what we usually deal with. The top box had the feeder in it, which we had filled for them earlier, but they weren't wanting to use, so we were going to take it out. I attribute their not wanting the sugar syrup to all the flowers that seem to be doing their thing early this year, a bonus for the bees. Well, when I got the top off I found that they had literally been busy little bees making their own free form comb in there. It was quite a good size considering it hadn't been long since we had been in there. It was actually very neat looking to see, and it was being used for honey storage. As much as we'd have liked to let them continue doing their own decorating, hive maintenance would have been impossible with it sticking to everything.
I began cleaning it out, angry bees flying all around us, Young'un smoking them. I kept telling myself to breathe...remain calm...breathe. I remember reading that they can sense a person's nervousness, so in hindsight I should have done calming exercises beforehand I suppose. Anyway, as I was cleaning and the bees were literally in my face with their little behinds twisting their stingers in the mesh of my hood I noticed the smoker wasn't really smoking much, so I asked Young'un to take a look, relight it...something. Well, that's when the lighter decided it was done. No more. Kaput. There we were ~ no more smoke. Angry bees all around. Both of us messing with their hive. I took a deep breath and decided to persevere. Young'un and I worked quick as we could to get the the job done, the hive put back together, the tools picked up, and us out of there as soon as possible. WHEW!
As we were walking away from the hives we were a mess. Taking the honey comb out kind of had us all sticky...and there was grass and dirty stuck to that. We checked for bees on each other and started peeling off our gloves. When we got to the house I told Young'un I'll just stick everything in the washing machine. As we stood there in the laundry room getting our sticky stuff off I heard a bee buzzing around my neck. I couldn't see it, but it was there. I started running around, flapping my arms. Hon opened the door for me to run out, him behind me to find it. Well, he saw it and started slapping at it instead of trying to pick it out of my hair. Ouch. Hello? That's my neck and head.
When he finally got it out I think I was as irritated as the bee. I stomped into the house, grabbed our bee suits and gloves, put them in the wash, and turned on the machine. Then I went about my business, still annoyed. All of a sudden there was a noise. Kind of like a blunk-blunk-blunk *pause* blunk-blunk-blunk *pause*. I told Young'un I have to have someone come fix the squeak it's making again, but the blunk-blunk-blunk noise was new. I figured maybe the drum was unbalanced so I opened the lid to redistribute our clothes.
As I opened the washer lid it hit me...I didn't take my cell phone out of my pocket. AHHHHHHHH! In all the years we've had cell phones, since bag phones were a hot item in the late '80's, I have always always always taken supreme care of my cell phones. Hon's the dropper, the one that has the ability to ruin one of those heavy duty Otter Box cases. Not me.
I scrambled around in the washer for my false sense of security suit, found the pocket, got my cell phone out, and then try as I might I couldn't get the Otter Box case off of it. Gesh, those suckers are not easy to get into when cell phone life depends on it. I tried it, Hon tried it, and then Eldest was finally able to pry it apart. I lovingly dried my cell phone and watched as the screen flickered all sorts of weird colors and then slipped into a coma. I was devastated.
As I stood there in shock, not knowing what to do, Eldest said he's always read to put it in dry rice and turn it periodically. What did I have to lose, you know? It wasn't looking too good. For days I lovingly rotated my cell phone around in the bowl of rice in hopes of it coming back to me. After three days, just when I was ready to give up, it flickered...then it went back under...so I continued it's rice bath. Next came the miraculous ability to reboot it, at which time my cell phone completely lost charge...but there was still hope. I plugged it in and then I was promptly given an error message that the cord and adapter I had plugged it into weren't the correct ones so it refused to charge. I tried every charger we had and still nothing. I was losing hope. I gently tucked my cell phone back into the bowl of rice figuring I might as well let it go...in the morning...to the store so I could tell my shameful story and see if they could help.
Then...a miracle happened. In the morning I found my cell phone plugged in ~ and charging. Yes! Yesyesyesyesyes!!! Hon said he was going to give it one more go at plugging it in and it just started up, accepted what it was plugged into, and was happily charging away. My cell phone was alive!
So there you have it folks, a cell phone miracle. I've been told many instances of cell phone washing haven't turned out well and mine is one of the fortunate. I've hung a sign up on the washing machine reminding myself to check all pockets to prevent an unfortunate incident like this again. It's kind of like periodically having to put a sign on the toilet to remind the testosterone around here to put the lid down and flush. We do what we have to. The bees are happy, this sidekick is happy, and I'm assume my cell phone is happy to be fully functioning again. Smiling & Waving, Sharon
Do you think Hon's going to notice? I really didn't intend on going so far with this project. My intention had been to pry the top of that half wall off to take a peek down inside and see what we'd be dealing with when it came time to move it. I shouldn't have ignored hearing the, "Danger, Will Robinson, danger," mantra going on in my head. You see, that's where the washer and dryer were located until this past weekend when my friend Christen's husband and her brother came over and moved the water and electric lines for them to the back of the kitchen. You know Christen, she's the goat lady down the road that gave me the big bucket of persimmons this past fall. Anyway, Jason and Levi did a fantastic job of moving that stuff and it's just so hard to wait to do some other things in the kitchen now.
While Young'un was eating lunch I got a hammer and screwdriver from the garage, figuring I would take that innocent peek. I pried off the trim and then started on the top board. Then there was another board that I had to take off that was glued and nailed to 2x4 framing boards. GAK! All of those layers were making it impossible for me to take the peek so I asked Eldest to go back to the garage and get me my crowbar. I thought I would sort of gently pry off the drywall on the sides so I could take that peek and quench my curiosity, nailing it back in place afterwards, Hon none the wiser. I know he had said we were going to wait until later in the summer to finally do any major kitchen renovating, but...well...curiosity, you know.
Anyway, Eldest got the crowbar for me and then disappeared after telling me I had better leave it alone or I'm going to make a big mess. *pft* Teenagers. I figured I've got this. So, there I went...carefully prying the drywall off. It was going great...until I pulled a little too hard and the stuff bent and broke. Who knew drywall was so fragile, right?! I stood there kind of stunned, crowbar in hand, wondering what I should do next. I tried to stick the drywall back up, but all it did was flop back down, breaking more, me mumbling a bit of a Scooby Doo "rut-row." At that point I turned to Young'un and said, "Do you think dad is going to notice?" Youngun's response being, "Uh-huh." I told him we'll need to come up with a plausible story that he'll believe. In the end we decided it would be best to not say a thing and just go about our business. Maybe he won't notice...and if he does, maybe he won't say anything. If he does, we figured we'd tell him the wall has always been like that and we just hadn't noticed because of the washer and dryer having been on that wall for so long. He may believe it. Weirder things have happened.
I figured that was the end of it. I couldn't really see inside, even with a flashlight, on account of all the framing and spiderwebs, so I figured I'd just wait. Well, I couldn't do it. Waiting was making me twitch with curiosity. Next thing I knew I took my crowbar and pried the rest of the wallboard off. It's like I was channeling Chip Gains of Fixer Upper...his love of demo days fueling my fire. If I wasn't pulling drywall off I was yanking it off with the crowbar. If I had a full wall of it I'd probably have tried running through it in merriment. When I stopped to really survey my work what I had was a big pile of drywall pieces crumbling around me and a bunch of spider webs, insulation, and a few big bleach bottles that were stuck inside the wall. Bleach bottles? There was an extra piece of pipe that was used for the dryer vent and some old newspapers jammed up in cracks, too. Thankfully no snakes. Seeing those in there would probably have sent me over the edge. Lots of mouse partying evidently had been going on in that wall, but no snakes.
I bagged the drywall pieces and had Eldest take them to the garage. Then he and I took all the wood I was able to pry off outside and set it on the patio...which I suppose in hindsight I should move because all of it laying there will only be an indicator to Hon that something potentially wicked may have been going on before he even gets in the door.
I've cleaned up my mess best I can, and I'm actually quite happy with the work that I accomplished. I'd have done more, but I figure I've seen what's there and then some, and now I should consult with Hon before removing the dryer vent...and then there's the little bit having to do with Jason coming back to cap off those electric and water lines under the kitchen. See, I do think about some of this stuff before it reeeeally gets out of hand. Besides, I may have learned to do a lot over the years, but plumbing and electric aren't included.
So, there you have it folks. My little peek of curiosity turned into a little bit more than I had bargained for. I think I'm going to have a hard time waiting until later this summer to do a little bit here and a little bit there when it comes to our kitchen. I have plans - BIG plans. In the meantime, I've hidden my little crowbar and a few other tools in case Hon had the same idea. Who knows what else in this kitchen will peek my curiosity as the months head into warmer weather. I'm kind of looking forward to seeing the look on Hon's face when he gets home...but of course we didn't do anything. The wall has been like that. Smiling & Waving, Sharon