Once again, I'm following a long-term employee who left the company, with big shoes to fill. Once again, I'm wading into systems that largely existed inside the previous administrator's head. It'll take a while, but I do like my boss very much. He's very smart, very energetic, and as I said previously, has no problem saying, "I don't know," or "my bad, I screwed that up." We will get along just fine.
So, I started this new job, right? I have to leave the house at 7:30 now, and I certainly don't want to be late during my first week, right?
So, Thursday is garbage day.
So, Wednesday night, I decided it was time to bag up the failed balcony agriculture projects and put them out the following morning. I can't grow tomatoes on this balcony. I can get some early season herbs, like, from March through June, but tomatoes and peppers were abject failures, and my surviving rosemary is looking quite anemic and scraggly. I left rosemary, but bagged the other potted failures.
I left the big trash bag of failure on the balcony. I'd bring it through the condo, down the stairs, and put it out at the curb in the morning.
Before I went to bed, I put the shorts and tee shirt I'd been wearing on a low open storage box that holds my yoga stuff (everything but the mat, obviously), that sits near the big sliding glass doors to the balcony. I'd throw them on in the morning to walk the dogs before showering and dressing for work.
I got up the next morning at 5, drank my first cup of coffee in the living room, bleary-eyed, and my bleary eyes noticed two random ants wandering aimlessly on the living room floor. I squashed them, thought they'd probably hitchhiked in on the dogs or something.
It was time for the dogs' real walkie (they get an o-dark-thirty pee trip before I even have my first cup of coffee). I put on my shorts, and HOLY SHIT SEVERAL SOMETHINGS BIT THE HELL OUT OF ME!!!
I yelled and stripped off the shorts, and three or four ants were crawling on my...upper thigh area. Let's just say the ladyparts narrowly escaped invasion, thank God I was wearing underwear.
Yelling and swearing, I raced for the shower, scrubbed self thoroughly, applied Benadryl gel to the bites, and examined the area of the bedroom near the big sliding door to the balcony. There were, oh, maybe two dozen ants there, milling around in a disturbed mob. These weren't sugar ants, they weren't marching in a neat line in search of food, and I can only conclude that they had built their own condo in the pots on my balcony and were outraged that their home had been demolished. These appeared to be, inexplicably, fire ants. Despite the Benadryl gel, the bites formed huge red welts the size of nickels.
A frantic thirty minutes of dealing with the invasion ensued, and I left for work on time but looking like I'd blow-dried my hair in a wind tunnel, and just a bit stressed. Today I cleaned the area thoroughly and laid down a barrier of allegedly safe but effective crawling insect spray along the tracks of the doors, and so far, so good - I haven't seen any today.
I am chalking this up to a freak event and also a warning - I'm not supposed to have plants on the balcony.