"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity." ~ Gilda Radner

Friday, March 23, 2012


by John Kult

If you have read my wife’s blogs, you might assume that she is a little quirky, therefore, it would only make sense that her husband of 30-plus years would be level-headed and mature to help offset that “perkiness” that so endears Ann to others.
Indeed, I am the level-headed one. But for some reason over the last couple of years my leveling compass has become a little skewed. I would like to think that I am becoming colorful. Ann, on the other hand, is calling it senility. So what if I celebrated my 60th birthday by locking my coat sleeve in the post office box at our local post office. The postmaster wasn’t laughing that hard when she had to free me because I buried my own key under a pile of mail. But I digress, which I do a lot lately while telling the same story over and over to the same people, but I digress... oh, said that already...
Okay, so maybe my wife is right about me being a bubble off plum. But the truth is, I am trying to develop interests that will keep me from being bored out of my skull when I finally retire after working fairly steadily since I was 14 years old.

One of my interests is worms, not the parasitical type, but the kind that fish love (and the robins). I have aspired to become a worm farmer motivated by my love for fishing and my inability to capture the little invertebrates. In my youth, flashlight in hand, I would capture thousands of night crawlers popping out in the yard after a spring rain. Now they laugh at me and take my flashlight away.
If you scan the internet you will find thousands of articles and suppliers for the art of worm farming. Red wrigglers were a thriving industry a few years back with some entrepreneur promising thousands of dollars in return for the little boogers that  can pretty well munch their way through any vegetable organic matter and paper products. An acquaintance of mine gave me a small bucket of red wrigglers with egg casings, larva and adult worms. It was true they could munch through anything organic, and you could pretty well forget about them for weeks on end and then throw them some coffee grounds, paper filter and all. Only one problem: I would have to use an electron microscope to thread them on to a hook. I have seen bigger threads come off my shirts than what an adult red wriggler grows to.
Not to be daunted, I found a supplier of various genius and species of worms. After carefully reading the suppliers' online catalog, I settled on Eudrilus eugeniae, the African night crawler. This worm was perfect for my needs, just a little smaller than a Canadian night crawler which grows wild in my yard, but takes my flashlight away from me. But all Canadians like it cold, and I had to keep the few puny ones that I could catch in my refrigerator, right next to the milk and this upset my wife for some reason. The African crawler, on the other hand, liked to live in the warm outdoors.
My 400 African crawlers arrived alive and healthy and immediately started munching away on the table scraps and paper I provided for them. But they weren’t making babies. I then read that they really like it about 77 degrees before they start raising families, so I moved them outdoors into the warm Iowa sun. They really did like the heat. They also liked the fact I moved them outdoors, and they packed their little bags and moved into my lawn thanks to my oversight  and not firmly attaching the lid of the plastic tote they were living in.
Not to be thwarted by a beast with no brain, I went back to my supplier and acquired 400   European night crawlers. Since our country was settled by Europeans, I felt that they would feel more at home, and want to stay in the little tote villa that I provided for them. They arrived safely and happily last night.

I lovingly  introduced them to their new tote home, complete with coffee grounds from the finest gourmet coffee you can buy at a Super Valu and the shredded editions of the local and state newspapers. I couldn’t find the correct lid to snap down tightly atop the tote, so I placed an oversize lid on top and weighted it down with an old shoe. I wasn’t worried about escapees, figuring they were tired from their four-day journey from the supplier  --  and the lid was weighted down --  so I left them in the kitchen, which is much warmer than our basement.
I said a fond goodnight to my new tenants and slept blissfully through the night, awaking refreshed  this morning at 4 a.m., starting my day with my usual habit of grabbing the coffee carafe off the little coffee bar we have in our living room next to the kitchen door. As I walked across the darkened kitchen floor  in my bare feet, I heard this awful squishy noise and felt  something more than just the cold vinyl floor. Squishing my way back to the door and the light switch, I flicked on the light to witness what can only be described as the snake scene from the Indiana Jones movie, “The Search for the Lost Ark”. 

For there on our kitchen floor were 400 European night crawlers doing what worms do when the temperature is right --  mating. Oh, yes, there were mating pairs of worms everywhere... under the throw rugs, in our shoes that we left by the back door next to the kitchen...a few had even made the trek up the kitchen garbage can for an early a.m. snack.
"Ann is going to kill me!" is all I could think about as I fell to my knees and began plucking globs of mating worms off the floor.

In the meantime, Flower, our youngest house cat, decided to join the fray and was pouncing upon the escapees with a blood lust. I would pluck up another glob and throw it back into the tote and they would start inching their way back up the sides. It was throw in a glob, smack the tote on the floor to knock them to the bottom, and snatch another glob.

Flower was going haywire, she had no idea what this alien invasion was. I was diving after worms that were trying to escape under the stove, under the refrigerator, and into the carpeted living room. After 30 minutes of frantic night crawler wrangling, I had the majority of them corralled. I found another tote with a lid that fit (superb idea) and incarcerated the lot.
The easy part was done. Now I had to explain to Ann what had happened. Since I start work at 5 a.m.,  and my wife awakes at 6 a.m., I had an hour to figure out how to break the news. I decided to just go with the plain truth.

Six a.m. arrived and I called her on my cell phone as I usually do to make sure she’s awake.

“Hey, sleepy head! You awake?”

“Thank God it’s Friday!” she  replied. 

“I know, it’s been a long week hasn’t it?”

 “Yes, it has, it has just been weird,” she said.

“Speaking of weird, honey, the darndest thing happened...” 

"Oh, no, John, what did you do?" she asked.  (I imagined her shutting her baby blues tight, preparing for the worst. 

“Well, it’s nothing I did, it’s more what I didn’t do.” 

"Ack. What didn't you do, John?" she countered.

“Well, it’s rather humorous, really. You know I got my new worm order yesterday, and well, the lid didn’t fit quite right and I put a weight on it but a few escaped.”

“How many is a few, John?" she inquired, sounding just a teensy weensy bit annoyed.

“Ahh, well, all 400,  Pumpkin. But I have them all rounded up, uh, at least most of them, Sweetness.” 

“You let 400 worms escape in our kitchen? Seriously?" she inquired once more, understandably incredulous, as was I.

“Well, I didn’t really let them, they kind of busted loose. You might want to shake your shoes out before you put them on.” 


"I'm sorry, hon, I know, what a mess...I cleaned them up the best I could..."

"Oh, no apology necessary! Are you kidding?" my wife suddenly sang out with delight.  "This is perfect fodder for my blog!  Welcome to Day 31 of the 40 Days of Writing challenge, darling!  I get the night off!"

No comments: