Yesterday’s Good News-Bad News

The Good News: Brother-in-law, Bill, is home from Iraq and coming to see us over the weekend. (They are going to finally let him retire at 56 and over 30 years of service in Special Forces.) We haven’t seen him since he went off almost 2 years ago so this is going to be great. He lost a lot of weight so it’s my plan to fatten him up a bit. He called a few minutes ago and asked how to get to our place. I said, "How the hell do I know?" Finally, I suggested he get himself to Oz Park and we would come find him.

The Bad News: I’m telling you this and it’s not even funny. It’s pathetic. So don’t say anything to rub it in.

My children have some sort of genetic defect related to fruit flies. 28 years ago, when I was dating their father he told me this cute little story about what a slob he was in college. Apparently at some point he and his roommate had so many fruit flies that they would sit around and flick disposable lighters and ignite them. Then one day his mother came for a visit and she was so outraged she beat him with a pizza box and didn’t speak to him for six months. When he related this incident to me I was still so blinded by lust that I just giggled. When I should have flagged that like a family history of something like what? Nose picking or toe sucking or something. Anyway.

Five years ago, at the end of Dan’s first year of renting off campus housing, I dropped by to see how the clean out was going. I was already touchy because early in the year he and his music school roommate had gotten themselves one of those half ton ancient wheezing upright pianos that never could be tuned and a week earlier they decided they had to get rid of it. Before the landlord discovered that the living room floor was sagging. Dan put an ad in the freebies and some guy showed up with a tiny pickup truck and no help and talked Dan into loading it up and escorting him across town to unload it. For free. They got to the Miller and 1st street underpass, hit a bump and the piano fell out into the middle of Miller- and essentially disintegrated. He barely escaped getting his picture on the front page of the News. But I digress.

So, I showed up to see how they were doing and discovered CLOUDS of fruit flies in their kitchen. They were everywhere, on every surface but mostly packed around about 300 empty yogurt cups. I sputtered and exclaimed and shrieked, "ARGGHHH! FRUIT FLIES! What the heck are all these unrinsed yogurt containers doing in here?!!??" Dan responded indignantly, "We’re recycling!"

Should I then be surprised to get a call from The Snarl, sobbing over the airways that she has fruit flies hatching IN her refrigerator and she doesn’t know what to do about it? I said, simply, "wipe them out and throw out whatever has gone bad."
She cried that she couldn’t because they were "Really bad." I started twitching and said I couldn’t discuss this with her and to call her father. He would know what to do.

Yesterday (when I forgot to post the good news- bad news) she called to say she had a(nother) problem. With her landlord. Apparently the fruit fly solution she came up with was to move out. That’s it. Just move out. She moved in with her friend. First, they set off a bug bomb in the refrigerator. Then she turned off the light, locked the door and moved out. Three weeks later her landlord is billing her for a new refrigerator because the motor is so hopelessly clogged with…this is just too disgusting.

You’ll remember that this is a child for whom I have historically had great affection. Normally, I consider her a peach, a delight, the apple of my eye. But now that this genetic defect has reared it’s ugly head, well, I don’t know. Right now I can’t speak to her. I can’t imagine a time when I’ll be able to speak to her. I don’t want to even consider that she has half my DNA. If she lived closer I’d put her out of my misery with a pizza box.

15 responses to “Yesterday’s Good News-Bad News

  1. A peach. An apple. Both will attract flies.

    More than 30 years in the Special Forces. Now there’s some genetic heritage you can hope your children acquire.

  2. Fruit flies ~ genetics. I have always thought of these in contex of a college lab course. But this is so much better. I know it doesn’t seem funny to you but I had to drag myself up of the floor after falling out of the chair with laughter. See? Yes those are little laugh tears in the corner of my eyes and I haven’t had those for quite a while. I particularly love that last line about “putting her out of my misery with a pizza box.” How many times have I felt like putting Nyssa “out of my misery”? We won’t go there.

    And the piano? (Choking with laughter) Where are our video cameras when things like this happen? There was your winning video for America’s Funniest…..sigh, cash for the college education.

  3. I blame you for not doing a better job teaching her the womanly art of keeping fruit flies in check.

  4. Vicki's sister, Betsy

    Ahh… drosophila species. The only time I cheated in college was when I procrastinated until Friday to set up my genetics experiment. I left my two fruit flies over the weekend in their nice test tube and returned on Monday to find approximately 700 fruit flies, mostly dead from asphyxiation but a few still doing what they do best and churning out more fruit flies. I got the scoop file, as did most of the other kids in the class, having achieved the same prolific results, and made up the paper. The biology lab was lousy with fruit flies for the rest of the semester.

    Other than penning them up in airless test tubes, I’m not sure you >can< kill them. Set up a trail of rotting fruit (or unwashed yogurt cups) out the back door? Good luck!

    Glad Bill’s home safely and hope that you all have a fine weekend.

  5. Welcome home, Bill!

    We know Abby is a sweet peach, but were they Trypetidae or Drosophilidae?

  6. Gee, Mom, it was only a little learning period. Isn’t that what college is for?

  7. We had a fruit fly issue at Evergreen last year when a certain daughter forgot about leaving fruit in the room during Christmas vacation. It was disgusting. I am HOPING that she learned her lesson. Welcome home to Bill!!

  8. Yikes. The good news is very good, but the bad news is very bad. I just read the other day that fruit flies have gone through a genetic transformation as a result of global warming. Maybe they have learned to find college kids to go home with, knowing they’ll be able to reproduce madly without any interference.

  9. Oh, yes, drisophila! Like Roxanne, I associate them with genetics, as I spent lots of time breeding them in high school biology.

    When we demolished our kitchen a couple months ago, we moved the compost bin into our dining room/makeshift kitchen… and then promptly forgot about it for a couple of weeks. By the time that it occurred to me to empty it, we had quite a little colony of fruit flies going in it. Yuck.

    Welcome home, Bill! That is good news!

  10. Normally, I consider her a peach, a delight, the apple of my eye.
    hahahahah that is a fruit loaded statement…
    Welcome home Bill!!!!
    Death to the flies.
    It is good to be back. I missed you!
    Have a wonderful day!
    (=’:’=) hugs
    (“)_ (“)Š from da Cool Raggedy one

  11. I have no idea how to respond to the fruit fly incident(s)… or the piano incident, for that matter.

    However, I would like to state my sincere joy on your brother-in-law’s safe return, and I am very glad that he is (finally?) ready for retirement and fattening-up. I’m sure that if ANYone can fatten him up, it’s you… although you might want to get Julie over at Kitchenography to help if you run out of ideas.

  12. * One sheet of paper or a plastic funnel
    * One glass or clear plastic cup or a jar
    * Scotch tape (Cello tape)
    * Vinegar, or water and bits of rotten fruit
    * dish soap
    * One bottle of wine and a good dvd

    Mix and match in random combinations until you find something that works. Hint: Based on fish traps used by native americans for thousands of years.

  13. I’m late as usual.

    Welcome home to Bill. It’s always wonderful to hear that one more of our kids (sorry, I think of all of them as kids) has returned safely.

    Just move out and let the bugs have the house? Ingenious.

  14. They need to move back in with you. It’s really all a cover for needing their mommy. I do it too…with bees.

    Welcome home Bill!! That is wonderful news indeed 🙂

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