I once saw an episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond” where they had come back from a trip and Ray left the suitcase on the stair landing. After a couple of weeks it became an annoying unspoken presence in the room and the longer it stayed there, the madder each one got. Debra felt that Ray should take the suitcase upstairs and put it away, but he thought she should do it because she was home all day.

Rather than saying anything, the two of them chose to wait each other out. Ray, who was determined not to lose the fight, tried to hurry things along by putting a chunk of cheese in there. Enter Marie — who offers Debra some sage advice and Debra decides to take the suitcase upstairs, declaring herself the better person, and suddenly Ray is wrestling her for that honor.

It is one of my favorite episodes, and lately I could see the very same thing happening here in my kitchen as that can of Raid sat on the counter while the ants paraded by.

I felt that since he is the man of the house and fixer of all things in general, that it ought to go under his jurisdiction. I also knew him well enough to know that he was quietly expecting me to do it because its only ants and ants are in my jurisdiction. But it would be a big undertaking, which again, falls into his category. I was trying to give him the benefit of the doubt but eventually I just gave him enough rope to hang himself.  And we didn’t need a smelly chunk of cheese to move things along.

One night he had generously offered to barbecue the steak for dinner and asked me to cook up some corn on the cob he had just brought home. I was also trying to make a macaroni salad so I was a little stretched — and as I got his water boiling I picked up the lid and wondered what all the brown dots were on it. Ants! I looked into the boiling water … ants! Uh huh! We almost ate boiled ants for dinner and I’m so glad I caught it before the corn went in because you don’t mess with his corn on the cob.

The pot just happens to be kept in the cupboard directly under my utensil drawer and now he knew we had a problem. “Didn’t you spray the ant killer?” he asked me.

“No, I’m waiting for you to do it.” It was like someone had snapped their fingers and just like that the standoff was over. After dinner, while he went to find safety glasses, I had to empty all the cupboards and drawers, clear off the counters, and pray this didn’t kill us.

He did a bang-up job, too! I find new dead ants every day, not to mention a silverfish and a bug the likes of which I’ve never seen – all belly-up. 

But most importantly, the can of Raid has been put away.

By me – you know – because I’m home all day.

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