Asian Ladybug Blues

These asian ladybugs are so disgusting. And they’re all over my house. When we used to visit Mom and Dad in this house I’d see these horrible creatures crawling in windows, on lamp shades, everywhere. I’d think “Man, if I lived here those buggers would be GONE.” My Mom would say, “you can’t get rid of them.”  I’d think, “just watch me!”

When we actually moved here I had a cleaning frenzy, sucking hundreds of bugs into my sweeper. And Bud cleaned up piles of wood in the basement, uncovering ladybug nests and clearing them out. That fall (2007) we had the house pressure washed, all the cracks sealed, and new stain applied.

I thought, “Great! This should fix the problem.”  NOT

Here it is, February 2009, and — just like my Mom told me — I can’t get rid of these buggers. So today I decided to actually spend some money on the problem. Gardner’s Supply catalog has 2 products for cluster flies and asian ladybugs. They’re traps filled with finely-ground egg shells in which the bugs “drown.”

According to the sales pitch the traps last 2-4 years and capture 1,000 to 2,000 bugs each. For 4 traps (2 of each) we’re going to spend nearly $95 but, if I can go a few months without my skin crawling from ladybugs, without flies and ladybugs all over the big, arched windowsills, it will be worth it.

I don’t really believe the 2-4 year thing, but we’ll see. My calculations have them filling in less than a year, but perhaps I’m going to be impressed with how well something works.

If they work I wouldn’t mind replacing them once a year. Like most folks my age I’ve learned that a paragraph in a catalog can be written so that an item looks incredible. “Incredible” being the operative word there — unbelievable might work as well. The traps are due to arrive in the next 2-4 weeks, will be installed immediately, and I’ll be reporting on my blog as to their effectiveness.

In other news, I’m attempting to re-create my “Go Rally Training Manual” and “Go Rally Notebook” figures on my new computer. Every couple of years we have to get new computers, for whatever reason, and — regardless of what brand or what operating system — my work is almost always non-transferable.

This latest switch involved going to a Vista operating system and PageMaker (my favorite publication software) isn’t supported by Vista. So the Adobe folks sold us InDesign, the PageMaker look-alike which IS Vista-compatible. Bud had already transferred all my PageMaker documents to my new computer and — voila! — none of them will open, of course.

So now I’m left with a puzzle. I can recreate about 6 months of work, using new InDesign software, on my new system and publish “Go Rally Notebook 3,”  OR  I can set up my old PC and work on it. Since my office is right off the dining / kitchen area in our house, having 2 computers set up all the time is not feasible. So, to use my old PC I’d probably have to work in the basement.

I’ve decided to bite the bullet and just re-create my previous templates and figures. The task is so daunting I’m considering an entirely new approach to the “Go Rally Notebooks.”  In notebooks 1 and 2 I used APDT rally signs, though the training manual actually addresses skills rather than venues.

So the question before me now is this — how do I create future notebooks without using a particular venue’s signs? I’ve considered creating generic signs which allow instructors from numerous venues to place their sign where I’ve indicated with the generic sign. For example, my sign might just say “call front, finish left, halt” thus combining the AKC, APDT and C-Wags versions.

Okay, so that means I have to invent teeny, tiny versions of about 100 signs. Better get started …

Back to the home front, I’ve purchased black-out fabric with which to line all my curtains. When my parents chose the construction package for this house the salesman should have said, “this house should face south.” Our house faces east, which means NO ONE sleeps soundly past 7:00 a.m. as the sun is beating in on your face. In the winter it’s just overly light in the house. In the summer it’s boiling hot in the house by noon.

And the kitchen windows and doors face west so I have to crank the air conditioning up to keep campers from boiling away while they eat their dinner. The kitchen should have faced north while the living room windows should have faced south. I’m going to try to remedy some of this with black-out drapery liner. I figure that’s cheaper than having the house rotated.

If I can block some of the light, and get rid of the bugs, two major irritations will be out of my life. And isn’t that what progress is all about?  Minimizing irritation and maximizing comfort are my life goals right now.

Oh yeah, and making all those little signs and handler/dog figures for “Go Rally.” [sigh]

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