Sunday, March 10, 2013

Lord of the Flies

Trey Smith

Ever since we moved into this house in South Bend 5 1/2 years ago, we have had a problem with flies. It is not a universal problem; it pertains solely to the southeast corner of the house. Anytime the sky is clear and the temperature gets to the mid 50s or above, flies congregate on the exterior walls of this one corner. If you walk around the outside of the house, you will find them nowhere else.

Initially, we speculated that some critter died in the inner walls of that location and the decomposing corpse is what attracts the flies. But one would think that such a corpse would have decomposed in nearly 6 years time. The problem that we first noticed in the summer of '07 remains the same in the late winter of 2013!

Not only do we experience this problem on the exterior walls of the southeast corner of the house, but the front bedroom -- Della's bedroom -- shares this problem as well. Anytime the temperature goes up and the sun is bright, hundreds of flies appear on the front wall of her bedroom. They don't flit around the room very much; they seem to be affixed to that front wall.

Over this period of years, I have tried in vain to figure out WHERE their entry point is. For some reason, I had decided that the entry point involved the window frame, despite the fact that I didn't see any holes or cracks that would suggest this indeed was the entry point.

With Della gone, I tend to keep that bedroom door closed. About one month ago -- on one of those warm and sunny days -- I went into her room to grab an empty box. I was greeted by the usual swarm of flies. I grabbed my trusty flyswatter and set about to "play god." Thirty minutes later, after the last fly had been swatted, I again investigated the window frame. Even though, as in the past, I couldn't find any holes or cracks, I somehow decided yet again that this MUST BE the point of entry.

Over the past month, this scenario has played itself out several times. It wasn't until the last time that something dawned on me. Every time I entered this bedroom to a mass of flies, I have noticed that a particularly large grouping could always be found near one spot of the interior wall about knee-high. Taking a closer look, I discovered two small holes -- holes most likely utilized for an old cable TV hookup.

It can't be there, I thought to myself. The problem is the window frame! However, on the off chance that these holes indeed played a role, I covered them up with some duck tape. I had almost no confidence that this act would remedy the problem in any way.

Two days ago, we had clear skies and the temperature hovered near 60 degrees. With much trepidation, I opened the door to my wife's bedroom expecting the be hit with a mass of flies. To my utter shock, I did not see one fly! The same thing happened the next day.

The moral to this little true life tale is that our expectations often do us in. I expected that the fly problem was due to a faulty window frame and I completely disregarded the two holes in the wall. If I had not allowed my expectation to cloud my vision, we could have fixed this problem within days of first discovering it, instead of suffering through it for nearly 5 1/2 years!

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