So Bee Man #1 came out Friday morning and said, basically, that we have a massive hive in our wall which may require an entire side of the house being torn open to remove. And there’s no way around it really. If you don’t remove the hive, even after extracting the bees, the honey in the walls starts to go rancid and smell, which not only stinks but also attracts more bees, as well as other insects and even rodents. So let’s say you take your chances, extract the bees, and just seal up all the possible entrances where bees and other critters could get in, and tell yourself you can deal with the stench…then you still will get rancid honey seeping through your drywall. So there’s no way around this one, I don’t think. We have to wait a week for Bee Man #2 to come out and inspect the situation and give us a new estimate, since Bee Man #1 couldn’t do anything because the job was too big.
Bee Man #1 got to our house about 9 AM and was gone by 10:30, and I immediately left the house to run some errands. I was feeling pretty foul about the whole thing; cranky and depressed in general, and while driving home I started to dig into why all these home repairs have me so thrown and moody; I mean, these things happen. But I feel like such a terrible failure about it all. You should have heard this guy going on about how many bees we had, and how huge the hive must be, and oh wow, look at this huge hole you have in your wall back here (the space where the air conditioner is hooked into the wall actually, so I don’t know what the problem was – he actually wanted me to crawl back there and look at what he was talking about but it was hot as hell and there were bees flying everywhere and I was already dressed for the day and I do not go crawling around sticking my head into wall-holes, sorry), and hey look at the siding peeling off over here against the fence and OMG you sure have a lot of cool air escaping from the wall over here and blah blah blah on-and-on-you-suck-at-homeownership-cakes.
True, our house is old. True, we are not the most fastidious of homeowners in the world by a longshot. But we are not losers, although we may slack on occasion when it comes to tending to the house – only in a cosmetic sense, at least that we’ve been aware. We get the house exterminated every three months, inside and out. We clean up after ourselves. When we see a serious problem, we fix it. We just don’t sweat the carpet or the paint job or the age of our appliances. But this whole summer has worn me down and made me feel like a loser anyway. I know this stems from some other place, some lack of confidence I have in myself as a capable adult that has its roots in childhood, when I was repeatedly told that I didn’t have what it took to take care of myself in the real world. My mother and grandmother always believed I was too sensitive, too soft, to survive on my own, and they both loved to criticize me for it. Grown-ups don’t behave that way, they’d say to me on a regular basis. You’re going to have to get it together and stop being so sensitive if you’re going to be able to function as a grown-up.
I’m not blaming anyone, and my past was what it was. It wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t always great, and I carry some scars from ways in which I was treated. Whatever. The fact is, I was driving back to the house today, and I was hearing this voice in my head over and over saying Face it, you’re a failure as a grown-up in relation to this house business. And I realized that I always feel this way when things go wrong with the house in particular. I didn’t feel like I’d “failed as a grown-up” when I thought I’d damaged up my hair last week, for example, or when I gained weight in the two years when I didn’t work out, or all the times I’ve had problems at work, or conflict in my marriage. But when anything goes wrong with the house, I feel like an absolute failure as an adult. I’m sure there’s a lot more analysis I could get into here – the fact that my mother was a quite unhappy yet meticulous homemaker whose house was the castle she ruled with an iron (if metaphorical) fist, perhaps? But I’m not going to get into that any further here. My mother has apologized for the mistakes she made, and I know if she had it to do over again she’d raise her children differently – and that’s all I can ask for really. What’s left is for me to deal with, without laying blame. But all these years later, it’s still there. And it’s messing with me this summer, in the weirdest way.
It’s at least part of the reason why I’ve felt so strangely bored and restless all summer, I think, something I’ve mentioned here before is rather unusual for me. It’s probably partly to blame for why I haven’t played dress-up and taken pictures. There’s all this stuff wrong with the house, stuff I should have taken care of sooner, and it’s all being pointed out to me and demanding my attention, and rattling my fragile little ego-cage, and triggering my neuroses and making me stir-crazy, and a little depressed. I’m glad I at least got a little glimpse of what’s going on with me though; I think I’m onto something with the connections I’ve made today and that I can start to work through them now. I’ve been reading about people having bees in the walls for years and never realizing it, and it’s actually not all that uncommon, so that makes me feel a little better about all this. But the process of dealing with this is not going to be fun, so I’ve got to suck it up and steel myself for the onslaught of more banging and ripping and exposing the dirty little secrets encased in our walls – like any good grown-up would do (and in fact, when I was feeling down about all this tonight and Doug was gone to play guitar with friends, I actually called my mom to talk through my bee-anxiety, and she didn’t make me feel like a “bad grown-up” at all. In fact, we were laughing about it by the end).
Well, there is a lot here and I don’t want to be glib. The first thing that I feel compelled to say is there is no such thing as a too soft or sensitive person. The first indicates empathy — how I wish more people had it; the second is a sign of intelligence.
As for the household problems, I think everyone has them and they are overwhelming when you focus on them. The big trees in our yard are pushing up the bricks and stones in our driveway so we will have to replace it before long. Our 20 year old gray wall to wall needs to be replaced, cha-ching. We should really update the bathroom and kitchen cabinets. The entire wooden pergola system should be replaced with composite that won’t weather badly. I could go on but it never ends. Oh, yeah, we haven’t replaced all the galvanized pipes with copper as all the rich people on every side of us have. We look like the charity case in our neighborhood as it is with three older vehicles in the driveway, one of which needs to be repainted from sun damage.
Who wouldn’t feel overwhelmed? You were right to laugh about it eventually.
Ha – that makes me feel better. Aside from the bees we have a never-ending list too. Our cabinets need to be completely replaced in the kitchen and all our bathrooms, and our deck is old and needs to be completely replaced. Part of me wants to move into a condo and be done with it all, but with two big dogs and a cat I don’t see that happening!
As far as the other stuff, I may take this post down or password-protect it eventually because it’s kinda personal, but it was a really big deal to connect some of those dots yesterday so I felt like blogging about it anyway. I didn’t even get into the fact that all that messing with the hive entrance yesterday stirred the bees up and we had them flying around in our HOUSE all evening – ugh!! – I ended up leaving and staying the night with a friend because it freaked me out to badly. What a day!
We want to do exactly that. We are slaves to this house and yard. But with a large dog (we had two, but one passed away a couple of years ago) and a very loud bird, we fear that we would have a hard time being at peace. Renovations are stressful — and that is Geoff’s profession, for pity sake, so you are doing well, believe me.
I fully realize that there are things that happen in our lives that seem overpowering and we are probably at fault. I too am going through some issues, not bee related , but have taken on the blame for the issue. We are quick to blame ourselves and then issue a punishment we feel fitting. Usually removing something that we enjoy. Like you, I too haven’t been getting dressed up and taking pictures. Granted, different reasons, but the end result is to punish ourselves by taking away something that we find fun.
This last week I discovered that there are things I can’t control, so maybe they are not my fault.
In your scenario, should you have been hanging around the exterior of your house swatting bees to keep them away?
Not hardly. They were going to find a place to build a hive with our without your presence.
You really had no say in the matter.
Bee 2 guy will probably give you an exorbitant price to fix the problem and to stop their re entry and that will solve the problem that the”bees” created.
Ease up on yourself.
Now get dressed up, start jumping, any take some pictures.
I started to – but then a friend sent me some flowers so I am doing macro shots of those instead. But the flowers are cheery and put me in a swell mood, plus I can take all day to figure out how best to photograph them, so it’s all good!
By the way, I’m probably the last person in the world to give advice.
Not to my mind! I value your advice considerably.
We came home once to a huge swarm inside our living room. Africanized bees. They were entering the house from upstairs, on the opposite side of the house. We had to have a Bee Man help us, too. Scary stuff. Sorry you had to go through it. I love the look of your new blog. I might have told you, but it seems so fresh whenever I come over here.
OMG! And aren’t those the really aggressive ones?! That must have been terrifying. And thanks about the blog – I really do like the new look. I paid the extra $30 or whatever it was to ‘customize’ it and get better color and font options; I think it was worth it!
Yeah, it’s definitely worth it. It’s both a soothing look and an exciting look. Very clean. And I love the colors. Really aggressive bees. It was so creepy to see them milling all over the wall in my living room, and I was terrified for my cats. We were so lucky they were still alive when we got home.
That was my concern too, when the bees got stirred up yesterday. i didn’t want my cat getting curious about the ones flying around the house and getting stung! But ours are not aggressive.
Marey, you really need to get over your house problems. So far from what I have read, they are all minor and not unexpected. Some contractors/service personnel really like to make a situation far worse than it actually is, then their exorbitant charges seem more reasonable. After I bought my house, I had a lot of work and remodeling done the first few years hoping that there would be no problems after that but there are and always will be, seems to be the nature of owning a home. For instance, I have a really nice faucet that is only 2 years old and it drips now (actually been dripping for a month). It may be under warranty (haven’t checked) but still takes time and a plumber (although I may replace it myself) to fix it. I also have hornets building a nest on one of the eaves that I cannot reach so have to call an exterminator…I could go on and on.
You are far from a failure, you are extraordinarily beautiful, you are an outstanding photographer, you have a great sense of humor, you love animals, you create wonderful images of yourself (have I told you how much I love your Victorian look!) and of other things.
As to analysis, it is a waste of time, I considered being a psychiatrist/psychologist at one time but after taking quite a number of courses I realized it was all quite ludicrous and idiotic.
Thanks so much Denise! I appreciate all the kind words, and you are right these things just happen, it’s a part of homeownership. At times I just react to it in the oddest way. But I do get over it and move on.
But I do have a Master’s in Counseling, so I doubt I’m going to stop the analysis anytime soon LOL. I know it doesn’t help everyone, but I do find comfort in discovering unhidden motivations or causes for why I might have reactions to situations that are more extreme than they should be. However, I don’t dwell on them, I uncover those secrets in order to eliminate them. I just find it helpful sometimes. 😉
You’ll whip this also. On matters of this nature, for me it’s always the $$$$$$. Good luck.
Looking for the post detailing the “unexpected” good results.
Yeah who knows how much this is gonna cost. We’re thinking it’s gonna be painful!
Just a thought–and I certainly don’t know if it would apply –but around my place I take care
of all the “mold / moss covered / rotten stuff” with heavy direct applications of good old Clorox bleach. It kills all the basement horrors, the moss covered wooden walking stuff, of course the shower stall, etc. I hit the outside stuff with the Lowes $9.00 garden sprayer nozzle adjustments.
I’m thinking after the bees are chased , the area could be saturated with the bleach to
oxidize and short circuit any left over honey. Probably repeated applications. Might beat the wrecking ball approach. Just a thought.
It is a thought…we’ll see what the contractor says and then weigh our options!