If Connie’d had a blog, this would have been one of her finer entries. This was sent as an e-mail to all her friends and family on Wednesday, November 8, 2000 at 1:30 AM. Blogging in abstentia for her, exactly the way it looked when she sent it out:
“Okay, so you’d think that since I have a BS in Biology and actually worked for several years in Pest (Insect) Detection that I would not have a little more sense when it comes to bees. I guess knowledge does not necessarily translate into common sense (ie, all of our brilliant politicians). Next to our garage we have a ‘workshop’ (some of you may know it as the Taj Mahal) in the back of our yard that a colony of bees took residence in last spring. They have been very docile and accomodating and have done an excellent job pollinating the neighborhood. The Feijoia guava tree out back, for the first time ever, has fruit on it and the avocado tree has been quite prolific this year. However, our tenant would like to make use of the workshop and is tired of all the dead bees on the floor. They have made their home in a ceiling fan/vent pipe. Two weeks ago I replaced the paper plate that I had taped up over the fan opening (to keep the bees from going in the workshop) with a Marie Callendar’s pie plate (the bees had chewed through the paper plate and the housekeeping worker bees were pushing the deceased out the bottom rather than carrying them out through the top–One has to admire their pragmatism). In the process I got stung on the pinky and the back of the head. My pinky swelled up to the size of a Ball Park Frank and every time I moved my eyebrows it felt like I was being scalped but other than that the actual sting part was not too bad. While I was in the shed I noticed it was rather wet inside and unless the bees were also urinating out the bottom of the vent as well as cleaning house I suspected the roof was leaking. I climbed the nearby guava tree and hopped over to the roof and sure enough the roof was bad. I bought the necessary materials for repairing the roof but what I neglected to buy was a bee suit.
Armed with a broom I proceeded onto the roof (via aforementioned guava tree because someone who moved to Arkansas took their extension ladder with them) and began to sweep off all the loose debris wariliy watching the vent pipe. After I noticed about fifteen bees crawling down the side of the pipe I decided they probably weren’t too happy with my presence. As I struck out for the tree 3 or 4 bees broke out in pursuit. About halfway down the tree I realized that at least two of those were in my hair. By the time I got out to the driveway I had been stung on the top of the head. I ran across the street and startled Kim (Craig’s wife) who then graciously pulled the stinger that was left behind out of my head. Undaunted I decided to play it safe this time and use a ladder for starters but also to cover the entrance to the hive so the bees could not come out and sting me. I put up the ladder, got a Mark and Brian pillowcase (I have been saving this case for some special assignment for about ten years that prior to this occasion had never been used) and armed myself with the ever indispensable roll of duct tape. I pre-pulled the strips of tape, snuck over to the vent and threw the pillowcase over and taped off the bottom. I was so proud of myself–until I noticed the bees that had been out foraging returning to the hive and trying to gain entrance. I stood there and I could almost see the anger in their multi-lensed eyes at the fact that they could not get in to drop off their hard days work. There were only about six or so and I figured I could take them on with a broom. I went down to the cellar to get the broom and when I reappeared the number of returning foragers had tripled. They were not happy. At this point I realized that in their tiny little bee brains they would continue to try to gain entrance into the hive until they died of exhaustion. Instead of laughing at the thought and turning to go in to the house and eat Halloween candy some pang of sympathy welled up inside of me (P.A.I.T.A eat your heart out) and I actually felt sorry for them. I also realized that more bees would be returning and the longer I stood there the worse it would be. SO…..I took a deep breath bent over and grabbed the pillowcase off the vent and catapulted down the ladder. I held onto the pillowcase and ran faster than Forest Gump across the street (in all my experience I had read somewhere that it is possible to outrun bees) the whole time I am beating myself with the pillowcase. Now it may be possible to outrun bees if they are flying but if they have already landed on you they are along for the ride and they go where you go. As I crossed the street I could feel them crawling down inside my shirt. Without a thought for personal vanity I tore off my shirt. By the time I was up the driveway I was in my bra still beating myself with the pillowcase. I ran into Craig and Kim’s house via the back door but had the presence of mind to drop the shirt and the pillowcase whereupon I seized the throw rug in front of the sink and started beating myself with that. i was still swiping bees off with the throw rug when I realized that the bees were crawling out of the folds of my pants at my ankles and from the pockets and I needed to get those off too. I ran into the bathroom and pulled off the pants stomping and hollering at the same time. Craig came out and smashed the stunned bees that were left in the kitchen and hall and I got the ones in the bathroom. In the aftermath we ended up sweeping about 25 bee carcasses out of the house and off the porch. I ended up getting stung under the eye, on the tip of my nose, and on the bottom of my left forearm. I considered myself lucky in comparison with the bees. I really expected to look like WC Fields but ended up with more of a Liza Minelli look, however, my left arm did look rather much like Popeyes for the next two days. Well, it may rain at the end of this week and the roof needs to be done…”