From Cleaning & Ants To Dreams

And I’ll throw in the kitchen sink at the end, too. ;D

I’m in the beginnings of spring cleaning, today. Due to our serious ant problem, spring cleaning this year must be incredibly thorough. Along with spring cleaning, I’m also trying to accomplish some of my normal cleaning rituals, like laundry, scrubbing out the cat litter boxes, scrubbing down the shower, etc. Before I could even begin in the bathroom, I had to take care of the hoards of ants in there that we’ve been feeding ant poison to take back to their nest because I HATE having ants crawling all over me! And lately, they have been, even at night… in bed… I’m regularly killing the ants that make their way onto my person and within arms reach of me. Their numbers seem to be growing rather than dwindling. Thus far today, not counting the hundred or more in the bathroom I mentioned a second ago, I have squished a total of 166 strays as I’ve cleaned. Yes. I’m counting. It’s a war between me and the ants! No one should have to live this way, skin crawling whether or not there’s an ant there. And yes, I’m obsessing over these ants!

My thoughts wandered as one cleaning task led to another which led to another before finally getting back to the original task. My thoughts wandered to living in Hawaii. The ants were bad there, too. The year I was pregnant with our son, my ex-husband and I celebrated Christmas early due to a planned trip back home for my sister’s wedding. That was the only year I celebrated with a real Christmas tree. The scent was heavenly. We didn’t have many decorations, so we strung popcorn to hang on the tree. Honestly, we didn’t think twice about it. When we got back to Hawaii after our trip home town, we saw clumps of black hanging all over the tree. Those clumps of black were thousands of ants! Tree and all went in the dumpster.

Then, my thoughts wandered to my childhood home in East Tennessee. We often had a problem with ants there during the summertime. My mother swore by Raid ant spray; and that stench that makes Raid recognizable is what prevents me from buying it to this day. Sure, it killed the ants; but the fumes were like noxious gas to humans as well!

From there, my thoughts wandered to a recurring childhood nightmare. In this nightmare, I am floating above my body, above the bed, close to the high ceiling in my childhood bedroom. I’m looking down at my sister, curled up on her side of the bed under the covers, and me, lying flat on my back, covered from head to toe in spiders, centipedes, and a variety of other creepy crawlers. Just my side of the bed! This sight jolted me awake many a time with a flash of myself high above me as the me above willed my eyes to open. At first, this nightmare caused me horrible panic attacks in the middle of the night (I didn’t know that’s what they were at the time). The first time was the most memorable because when I jolted awake, I also woke my sister who shared the bed with me. I couldn’t breathe. As I sat there gasping for air, my sister took off running to wake my mother and father.

Our parents came into our bedroom, Mom annoyed, but Daddy scooped me up and took me outside to the front porch swing. It was a warm, summer night; and he simply sat there with me, rocking the swing, occasionally saying something or another. I can’t remember what he said. I just remember feeling comforted by the gentle sway of that swing as my breathing finally slowed to shallow snubs (I don’t think “snubs” is the right word, but I can’t seem to find an alternative). Other occurrences of that nightmare led me to “wetting the bed,” much to my mom’s and sister’s annoyance. I can’t remember at what age that nightmare began or how long it went on. I know I must have been very young, and the issues with wetting the bed lasted until first or second grade. It’s strange how vivid that nightmare is to me, even to this day, especially considering that I normally do not remember my dreams at all.

Granted, I was also horribly scared of the dark as a child and feared the monster that I just knew lived in our closet. I swore that he crept from that closet to hide under our bed in the shadows of the night to snatch me up should any limb fall outside the safety zone of the covers. I had a very active imagination and spent many hours trying to fall asleep as a result during childhood. It’s possible that my fear of leaving the bed in the darkness prevented me from getting up to go to the restroom in the middle of the night, too. Although once I do finally fall asleep, I’m a very deep sleeper. I rarely wake up for anything – then or now.

There’s only one other childhood dream that I can remember as vividly as that nightmare. It was another recurring dream from my teenage years. In this dream, I am guided by a young child through an old, decrepit house in search of something. Each time I had this dream, we ended up in a dark and dusty attic, searching for this unnamed “something.” I don’t remember a lot of details about that one, now, just the search and the little girl who kept pulling me along to find “it,” whatever “it” was. This dream and it’s recurrence actually prompted me to write a research paper about dreams and dreaming for my high school English class at the time. This makes me think, “I wish I still had that research paper.

I rarely, if ever, remember my dreams nowadays. Like I said, I’m a deep sleeper. If I do remember one, though, it’s usually some freakish, nightmare type scenario. Now, I’m wondering, “How did I go from writing about cleaning and ants to dreams?” Oh, yes, now I remember. I just followed my train of thought. Thoughts are as weird as dreams. You never know where they’ll lead.

And hopefully by now, the hot water has built up enough so that I can go and wash dishes, completing the final task on my list for tonight!

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