A warning: this post contains foul language. Lots of foul language. We think it's OK in context, but if you're put off by that sort of thing, or easily grossed out by insects, you might want to stop here. Intrigued yet? Read on.
Grief humbles you. It reminds you that, for all your plans and schemes, all your preparation and deep thinking and big-shit job, you cannot control even a tenth of what really matters in this world.
You know what else does that? Fucking pantry moths. Aka the Indian Meal Moth. You might also know them as Weevils, although apparently these are a slightly different form of evil.
If you haven't ever had to deal with these little fuckers, let me enlighten you. They're moths. They live in your pantry, they get in your fucking food - and, if you don't deal with them, you EAT THEM. With your mouth. They lay eggs. You eat the eggs. The eggs turn into weevils. You eat the weevils in your super-goji-berry-muesli, you ponce. Urgggggh. There is not enough shudder in all the world.
As you may have guessed, we have been to Pantrymothville. They showed up after moving to our current house - a place set in the bush, so you get a reasonable number of creepy-crawlies anyway. But you set your traps, you keep them away from the important stuff, and you make peace with the occasional spider in the shower. And then they show up in your fucking food.
It took us a while to understand the scale of the issue. We noticed them initially, set a few traps, made absolutely sure all our food was in sealed containers, then got on with our lives. Then Annamarie's mother visited, and made comment on how full our traps were and that we may have a larger issue. This is where things got slightly more intense. I spent a good couple of hours one evening clearing the whole pantry, throwing out anything unsealed and slightly suspect, wiped the whole thing out and packed it in. Annamarie and Sam were away for some reason, and I called her to proudly announce that I, man, had triumphed over puny bug. Suck on that nature. Eat it with YOUR mouth, you stupid flying dickhead.
A few months later, we arrived back from holiday, and my darling wife made comment that the new moth traps were awfully full. Then she looked up and saw an unruly gang of pantry moths hanging from our shelves. They were just chilling - smoking a bowl and eating Doritos, those little shitheads. That was it. War had been declared - and the nuclear option was on the fucking table.
We spent the rest of the night pulling apart the entire pantry, throwing out anything unsealed (goodbye giant container of almonds, organic cacao powder, and how many fucking various flavourful seeds do we have anyway?), and wiping down everything else. I washed every one of those sealed containers. Annamarie vacuumed out the pantry, then wiped it out, then wiped it out again. And all the while we both felt completely disgusting.
I want to point out that this was February in Auckland, New Zealand, so it was a hot, muggy evening. We were both wearing very few clothes (rwoar, we know), and both felt as if they were crawling over our bare flesh. This, combined with the cat coming in every 30 seconds to meow loudly at us for no discernible reason, and the unfolding shitshow in front of us, did not put us in the best of moods. We started to turn on each other. Those little fuckers got in my food and made me fight with my wife!
"So am I throwing out the breast pump?"
"But it's on the bin and there's moths in the box"
"No, I said I was putting it there because we'd throw away the box and sanitise everything else"
"But that doesn't make sense, why would you put it on the bin?"
"You don't listen to me do you?"
"I DO listen, I'm just distracted"
"Well EXCUSE ME for being focussed on the mountain of dishes I have to do"
"Well EXCUSE MEEEE for being focussed on all the other shit I have to do!"
*Aggressive scrubbing and wiping*
I think we both knew what was really going on, because without discussing it, we refocused our efforts on the war. I scrubbed and dried container after container. Annamarie tirelessly wiped down packets of Rice Snacks and Instant Rice packets (how much rice does one family need? Especially one that doesn't eat that much rice?). As Annamarie cleaned out the pantry I could hear her seething "Die, motherfucker!" through clenched teeth. I found myself smacking errant moths with much more force than required. At one point I saw one on a section of bench I'd just wiped down, and killed it so hard I hurt my hand. The little fuckers actually hurt me! How is that possible? If you ever doubted that bugs could take over the world if they wanted it, then here is the evidence.
After a long, long evening (I was washing dishes past midnight) and a day's worth of organizing from Annamarie the next day, I think we're finally clear. We've seen the occasional one since, and swiftly dealt with them ("Die, motherfucker!"), but we both remain on edge. Is it over? Will it every be over? Even if we have dealt with this infestation, I'm going to constantly be on the lookout for the next one. It's another tension in an already tense life.
Grief is not always serious. It's not always about the "big stuff", the important emotions. It's boring. It's everyday. It's doing the dishes. It's a stubbed toe that makes you tear a bit more than you should have. It's just feeling randomly really fucking sad for no reason whatsoever. Sometimes it's feeling absolutely nothing when you know you would "normally" be feeling a whole lot of things.
Sometimes it's a fucking pantry moth, looking you in the eye with that smug "I'm all up in your food" stupid moth face. And there's only one way to deal with that situation. To quote a good friend of mine - "die, motherfucker!"
We are a family of 3. This blog is the story of how we almost became 4, why we didn’t, and what we are doing to recover from that experience.