As a lifelong seamstress, when the need for facemasks surfaced, I pulled out my stash of cotton and elastic, researched a design that allows for the insertion of a filter, and started sewing. Cotton masks with inserts for filters and some headbands with buttons were then sent to my daughters, one of whom is a nurse, and to friends and family who wanted them. (And yes, I’m still selling houses, too.) I posted on Facebook that I was surprised that I’d made over 200 masks, resulting in more requests, including some for friends of a hearing-impaired woman.
A few days into the stay at home regulations, I noticed that I was no longer alone in my house. Coconut ants were wandering up the window trim next to my sewing machine and there was evidence of mice on my kitchen counter. Good grief! A pandemic wasn’t enough? Combat liquid gel ant killer was applied to the window. A catch and release mouse trap loaded with peanut butter deep in the recesses of the trap was set in the kitchen, which only resulted in a trap that was clean as a whistle the next day. Deep sigh, grab my keys, and head to the store.
Numerous friends had advised me to use Terro ant baits, so I armed myself with those, with the old-fashioned wooden snap traps for mice, with MouseX, and with more glue boards (I know, I know… but if it comes down to me or a mouse living in my house, it will be me).
Once home, I set up the mouse traps, snapping my finger in them a few times. (I know… serves me right). I set up the Terro bait traps because there was no Combat gel to be had at the store. Once more, I sat down to sew.
My sewing machine belonged to my mother. It was the first electronic sewing machine by Singer. The Athena 2000. Doesn’t that sound incredible? Only my dear Athena 2000, which is now 45 years old, began to sew on her own. I’d heard her singing on her own in the past year, her electronics sending some sort of morse code to heaven knows where, but this was different. I’d lift my foot from the pedal and she’d continue stitching away. If she would just learn how to turn the fabric and assemble the masks, I might not have been so upset, but even stomping on the pedal a few times was yielding less predictable results. So a new sewing machine was ordered and I was able to pick it up the next day, curbside, at the store.
I wish the sewing machines could have magically switched places, but I figured out how to extricate Athena from her firmly ensconced place in the cabinet and boxed her up for future cannibalization, errr I mean, so they can use her parts to help someone else who still has one that’s working but needs a bit of help. Sewing on the new machine was like a trip back in time to when I first used Athena. I can actually sew quickly, with precision. It was as though I could hear the angels singing when I started using it! More masks completed, and then time for bed.
Up the next day to check on clients, and to check on critters. My kitchen counter once more showed evidence of the mice, including where they had dragged off the Mouse X for future snacktime inside the top of my stove. The ant traps and gel had deterred the coconut ants (they smell like coconut when you crush them) (I know… weird that I ever tried that, but now that’s what they are to me) but their much larger cousins, the Carpenters, and their medium cousins (some sort of common ant), must have gotten word that my house was an interesting vacation spot, so in they both came.
I think the Mouse X was the ultimate trick because within a few days, there were no more signs of the mice. The ants haven't given up the fight but they will. I have Combat gel arriving, thanks to Amazon. Look out ants! I’m not sure what I’ll need for murder hornets, if those find their way to the east coast and I haven’t seen any eggs from the Spotted Lantern Flies, but my senses have been sharpened, thanks to these other pests. As for the masks, I’m up to over 300 of them. I’ve been delivering them to clients, new and old, and to friends and neighbors.
Morals of the story? Don’t give up. Reach out to your friends, family, and clients, especially now. And don’t be afraid of the challenges. We will win this, all of this. Just stay the course!