The Wasp and the Male Nurse

I’m pretty sure there’s a giant black wasp lurking somewhere in my house.

The door to my driveway was open earlier today while I was repeatedly doing the domestic shuffle from house to garage, and I think it flew inside. I’m almost positive it’s the same pesky guy that was hanging around yesterday, looking for a place to build a nest. (Of course he was hunting over and over again for the perfect square inch of stucco right above the door. Excellent.)

He (?) inspired me to stand outside for 25 minutes yesterday afternoon while I waited for him to fly far enough from the door to where I could rush inside, but it took forever for that to happen. Just when he’d appear to be flying up and over the house, nope — just kidding. He’d do a U-turn when he got five feet away and would hover clumsily in the general vicinity of the door; I’d abort my mission to run inside, instead opting to do my own hovering at a safe distance while I kept my eye on him. We kept this dance up for what felt like an eternity.

I eventually made it inside, and promptly forgot about the dance we’d done until I noticed earlier this afternoon that he was back.

I busied myself in the yard and avoided the matter for a few hours until it got dark, then decided I’d try again to deliver my batch of homemade cookies to my neighbor who brings my trash barrels in for me. I hadn’t had any luck the last two days, and while I was debating just keeping them to nibble on here and there, I could see his windows were open. It was a sign (as though the scale isn’t sign enough) that I didn’t need the cookies, so I made my move.

His porch light wasn’t on, but the front door was ajar and I could see inside through his security screen. A small painting of the Virgin Mary hung on the wall and looked back at me. I rang the doorbell, but realized after doing so that it was broken. All I could hear was the portable fan he had positioned just inside; it was whirring so loudly that I wondered if he’d even hear my knocking. I knocked, which — to compensate for the fan — ended up being more of a pounding on the metal screen, and mustered a “Helloooooo” in my best friendly neighbor-standing-on-a-dark-porch-trying-to-deliver-cookies voice. I heard shuffling, followed by a, “Who’s there?”

“It’s Lauren,” I hollered back. He then appeared just inside the door, dripping wet and with a hastily donned plaid robe on. He was [thankfully] in the process of tying it shut, and explained that he’d just had a shower. I was jealous.

Before this goes into the gutter, I’d like to clarify: I’d just spent four hours planting flowers, on what — of course — has been perhaps the hottest day of the year so far. I’m not talking pansies, I’m talking relatively established flowers in large pots that called for deep holes which, of course, this genius who’s still recovering from knee surgery just had to dig. For someone who has never gardened before in her life, I’ve spent the last two weekends getting cozy with the flora — not to mention the unsavory-yet-very-helpful men in the garden center — over at Lowe’s. I was sweaty, stinky, my hair was held out of my face by a gnarly headband and, as I realized after the delivery of said cookies, my forehead was flaming red and rash-like from constantly wiping the sweat away. Bonus points for the streak of dirt across my cheek. Awesome. Good thing the Ziploc bag provided a relatively sanitary sheath for the cookies.

After the delivery, I settled in for the night and started to make dinner. The cat found his way into the kitchen, and it didn’t help my nerves that he’d go from sitting calmly on the kitchen floor to being fully alert, his attention clearly caught by something flying through the air.

I never saw what the cat was seeing, and while you’d think the buzzing of a small aircraft in the house would’ve been audible, there was none of that, either. I’m sure I’ll awake around 3am to some excruciating pain in my forehead, at which time I’ll realize that there’s a stinger and corresponding welt the size of Rhode Island dead-center. Can’t wait.

Thus, tonight I am simply thankful for the fact that my plaid robe-wearing neighbor is, in fact, a male nurse. Should the unthinkable happen during the wee hours, I shall pay my robe-wearing neighbor and the Virgin a visit, and pray that they’ll be merciful and provide speedy healing.

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