bee's nest in the drainage pipe
Thursday, July 21 2022
Dina and Gilaud had brought bagels from Bagelsaurus, a bagel shop in Cambridge (Massachusetts), and we ate those out on the east deck this morning with coffee. I found some vegan cream cheese in the refrigerator, but it had a little mold on it, but it was perfectly good with the mold scraped off. Understandably, though, Dina and Gilaud held out for fresher cream cheese that Gretchen found in the refrigerator once she was up.
Later Gretchen, Gilaud, and Dina drove out to wherever Dina & Gilaud's daughter was attending camp to pick her up at the end of the season. Meanwhile, I turned my attention to getting the laboratory's air-conditioning split to no longer dump water on the laboratory floor. I got a step ladder and soon discovered that there was lots of material blocking the tube designed to drain away the condensation just below the laboratory deck. I managed to get some of this out (it was mostly wads of plant fiber) with a screwdriver, and it wasn't long before I was pulling out half-developed larvæ and pupæ of some sort of insect. The only insect that would nest in such a tube is the carpenter bee, which normally excavates its own holes in wood (even treated wood). I thought I'd gotten rid of enough of the nest to run the air conditioner, but again it started leaking. So I got a vacuum cleaner and used that to suck out more of the nest. It took a second round with the vacuum cleaner (the only one I could find was our Dyson, which is not a wetvac) before I finally got a satisfying slurp of the last knot of nest. And then a thick stream of water suddenly drained out of the system. At that point it was pretty obvious that I had finally cleared hose and there would be no more puddles on the laboratory floor. I think the lesson here is that one should run a split every now and then even when the weather isn't too hot so as to discourage any carpenter bees who might be building nests in the condensation drainage hose. Or put a screen over the end of it. Ultimately I decided to plug the end of the drainage hose with a piece of half inch copper pipe with a cap into which I'd drilled eight or nine tiny holes.
After the others returned from their long drive to pick up Dina and Gilaud's daughter (from a camp somewhere along the Delaware), Dina and Gretchen went to the pool at the farm at the end of the Farm Road for a swim, and at the end of the workday I was riding around on an electric bicycle and decided I wanted to get in that pool, so I rode out there and joined them. When I arrived, Dina was in the process of telling Gretchen that it's impossible to buy an apartment in Tel Aviv for less than 1.5 million dollars.
I happened to look at my left wrist just as the wrist-band I'd been wearing there for nearly ten months let go of its own end and went from being a toroid topology to a simple hole-less topology and started to float away. I drew Gretchen's attention to this immediately, as she'd been jokingly wanting that wristband to disappear for nearly all of its time on my wrist. It had first been placed there just as Gretchen and I were entering the Bearsville Theatre to see a documentary about (and then a question & answer with and performance by the surviving members of) the somewhat-forgotten all-women rock band Fanny. That had been the first (of perhaps only two) musical performances I'd attended during the pandemic and had it had occurred early in the Delta wave, during one of those periods when it seemed like maybe the pandemic was coming to an end.
As we were leaving the pool, a small green frog kept jumping into the pool, which seemed like a death sentence since the water contains salt as its means of preventing bacteria and algæ from making it unpleasant. But the frog looked perfectly happy in the water, swimming like a little humanoid. When he got to the other side and tried to get out, though, it was clear he was trapped by the high steep wall. So I rescued him with my hands and then poured some fresh water on him in hopes of washing away the salt water. Amphibians haven't evolved to cope with salt water. Dina asked if the little frog was maybe a baby one and I reminded her that baby frogs are tadpoles. "Oh right, I wasn't paying attention that day in science class," she chuckled.
We had dinner again out on the east deck and it featured corn on the cob (which I never eat) and an asian pasta salad with tempeh (which is more my thing). [REDACTED]
After the meal, Gretchen brought out an icecream cake she'd made to celebrate both Gilaud and his daughter's birthday, which had happened recently (or soon will happen). I didn't have any of that, and left the meal early so I could clean the kitchen, since I would be unable to do it tomorrow morning.
Later, all of us but Dina and Gilaud's daughter (who was spending all her time absorbed by her phone, since she hadn't had access to it at camp) went upstairs to watch tonight's riveting prime-time Congressional hearing on the events of January 6th, 2021.
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